One of the saddest parts about being a missionary is when missionaries fight over nationals. Now, you would think this would never happen. You would think, that for all our theological and philosophical differences, we would still all agree not to steal each other's sheep. You would think that, wouldn't you?
I know that some (most?) missionaries who do "steal sheep" do so unintentionally or without realizing that this is what they are doing. Sometimes missionaries just feel they are building relationships in the wider national Christian community and then "following opportunities." Sometimes they offer free financial assistance more readily than others and unwittingly draw nationals to them who feel they can get more from the new guy. Sometimes they just think what they're doing is better than what you're doing and they are justified in pulling someone away from you.
But with all the fish in the sea...
There are an ocean of unreached people here in The Location and in most of the Least Reached World (10/40 Window, or whatever you want to call it). Why do we fight over a few of them?
I have made it my policy to try to find and work with locals who have no connections with other full-time foreign missionaries. It's not because I have anything against those who do. It's just that I want to maximize the effectiveness of ALL of our efforts. I don't want to be accused by others of stealing their sheep, nor do I want to be guilty of that.