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Initial Problems Faced by the Early Missionaries

Introduction

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Although the Christian missions achieved great success in their missionary enterprise in West Africa, the experienced many difficulties and hardships in the 19th and early 20th centuries. First, there was the problem of health. The missionaries often suffered from ill health owing to the unhealthy climate and tropical diseases such malaria and yellow fever. Even the use of quinine from 1854 as a protection against malaria did not improve the situation much. The humid tropical climate quickly told on the health of many an energetic missionary who either died prematurely.

Initial Problems Faced by the Missionaries

  1. Language barrier. They were face with the problem of language barrier, this was because Africa had a multiplicity of languages hence rendering communication between the missionaries and the local people very difficult.
  2. Confrontation of Human Sacrifice

The act of human sacrifice in Africa had been an ancient religious ritual of African tradition prior to the coming of European missionaries with their Christian teaching into Africa. The missionaries totally condemned human sacrifice and endeavored to abolish it. It was referred to a nefarious act for whatever reason or purpose. Though it generated lots of conflicts between African rulers and the missionaries but the action of the European missionaries on the issue was  perceived by the people as an act intended to sanitize the society from cruelty and it died a natural death. But with the turn of events and the missionaries sudden involvement in slave trade even when the act had been outlawed with some persons described as imposters of the government officials seizes people over taxations and would later sold them into slavery.

  1. Confrontation of The Killing of Twin babies

As the European missionary thought of tackling slavery and slave trade issue as the only menace that stands to be confronted and eliminated, the traditional religious practices of killing twins became significant as it was seen as an anathema and an aberration whose ultimate end should be elimination of their life. As an opposition and challenge that stirred the church (missionaries) on the face, just as Nnaemeka (2007)  emphasize “that the church fought against various ills, like the  killing of twins and human sacrifices.

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The Christian missionary’s  fights and struggles to completely abolish the culture of killing of twins was a fight to finish with a strong resistance was put forth by most Africans against the laudable objective of the Christian missionaries.

Conclusion

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The conflict that ensued in the mission communities of Africa during the period of the European Christian missionary’s activities became challenging between the two parties involved and caused frictions against the success of the European missionaries in their evangelizing work. These challenges delayed the church missionary activities not only in their evangelizing work  but also in the promotion of Christian education in African society. There was biased view and

Reference

Nnaemeka (2007). The growth of the church in Africa. Kaduna: Barakap. 436.

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