A particular organization that is known worldwide has a program where they collect gift boxes filled with various novelties from people in the West to give as Christmas gifts to people in impoverished countries. A friend of mine here at The Location was contacted by a representative for this organization in a neighboring country. The rep was going to give my friend (a national and a Christian leader) charge of 200 boxes to distribute in The Location.
After bringing the boxes into the country my friend proceeded to give them to every family in his community who was of the same tribal group as him. These were his "target" people, so to speak, since he spoke their tribal language and had led people to Christ mostly from his same tribe. He hoped that by "showing the free love of Christ" people would be interested in following him. He wanted people to see that he was giving these things to them free of charge and that there would be no strings attached.
These activities almost got him put into prison. After distributing the boxes and being interviewed by the local television station (where he answered the question as to the boxes origin: from God) he was called in by the police. So was his wife. They endured long interrogations about the boxes, their involvement, their association with foreigners, the source of the boxes and what they were trying to accomplish. My friend was able to escape imprisonment but the police watched his every move from then on. They viewed him with suspicion and as a threat. Why?
In The Location to give someone something for free is to try to influence them to agree with you about something. That could be religion or politics. In fact, to the government authorities here, religion IS politics. In their eyes, spreading religion (specifically Christianity--the "Western Religion") is how foreigners (specifically "imperialist Americans") make poor peoples oppose their own government and become traitors to society.
So, those who give things away so easily will be forced out. Those who receive things will be persecuted.
In The Location a prevalent question national Christians are asked is, "What did you get to become a Christian?" They don't ask IF the person received something, just WHAT did they receive. It is assumed they did. For what other reason would they become a Christian? It is assumed that the reasons are: Money. Opportunity. Health care. English education. A job. Unfortunately, for too many, those are the exact reasons.
I have often said that our situation here in The Location (a "closed" country) forces us to do things right. In the next post I will share what I mean....