We now have more information about John Chau, but mission work is still the work of fools.
On November 17th, John Allen Chau was killed by the tribesmen of the remote North Sentinel Island while attempting to share Christ with them.
His death made world news and sparked mostly negative and antagonistic reactions towards the idea of missions in general and Chau in particular.
From the initial accounts, and the news reports that followed, it appeared like a rogue fanatic rushed onto a protected island without preparation or care for what might happen to him or the people he might endanger with disease, and was killed. Many online comments have even celebrated his death as taking another crazed religious zealot off the planet and out of the gene pool.
However, new information released yesterday has shaped a much more complex picture of this man who was killed on the beaches of North Sentinel Island. In an interview for Christianity Today, Mary Ho, Executive Leader of All Nations (the missions agency that Chau was affiliated with), shared that Chau was intentionally preparing for many years by getting a degree in sports medicine, training as an EMT, and studying at a respected linguistic institute in order to learn this previously undocumented language.
Furthermore, it appears that Chau was not unaware of potential health risks his presence could pose to the tribe (which has been a major point of criticism) and planned his trip accordingly. According to the interview, Chau had received multiple vaccinations, and intentionally quarantined himself for many days prior to his multi-day trip to the island.
Let me encourage you to listen to the entire interview here.
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