Sunday, March 1, 2009

Prayer Hoax

I received a text message today, with a message sort of like this (freely translated from Norwegian):

“Please pray for the 22 christian missionary families that will be executed today in Afghanistan. Please spread, so we will be many who pray.”

I hesitated. First, it was because I didn’t like the intrusive way of communicating, and I kind of felt bad that I didn’t want to forward the message. After a moment of rational thought, though, I concluded that intrusiveness in itself wasn’t necessarily bad. No, certainly not, you should indeed be intrusive if nobody wants to listen to your important message.

This was of course an important message. But I still hesitated, still scared to act intrusive. I decided to find out more about the missionaries. If I could get to know these missionaries a little better, I’d probably care for them a little more, and if I were to forward the message, I’d be able to stand for it.

As I googled it, I found two things:
1. The message had been circulating in countries all over the world for about a week. If the story was true, then the missionaries would have been dead already.
2. Nobody wanted to confirm the message. No news agencies, no churches, no missionary organisations. Anyone with an informed opinion seemed to call the message a fake, with the exception of the World Periscope blog. The post concerning the matter at World Periscope is now removed, but you can se a screenshot if you click on the picture to the right.

Kind of relieved, kind of disappointed, kind of angry, kind of glad. Let me end by recommending a trustworthy alternative to these hoax text messages: NMIØ, Norwegian Missions In the East, regulary sends e-mails with updates and prayer suggenstions on the situations in different areas of Asia. Unfortunately, it is in Norwegian only. But I'm sure you'll find an alternative in your language as well!

Read more:
A similar view: Davy Mull
A contributor to the story: World Periscope
An islamic view on a relating matter: KavKaz Center: Afghanistan flooded by Christian missionaries
NMIØ: Bli en forbønnsvenn (in Norwegian)