*One weekend earlier this year, I found myself in the Kinoya neighborhood just outside of Suva, Fiji’s capital city, preparing for the largest missions event I’d ever been a part of. I originally traveled to the South Pacific as a missionary to serve at Homes of Hope, a parachurch organization committed to rescuing women and children victims of sex trafficking. But I now found myself partnering with some locals as they prepared for a church wide rally that would raise funds to support about 300 Fijian missionaries all around the world – including in the United States.

While this was my first international missions trip, missionary work was not new to me. It just did not look like this. I grew up in two different predominantly black churches in Washington, D.C. And while the denominations that my home churches affiliated with were certainly involved in international missions work, overall, our missions philosophy was very local. This approach to missions work is not unique to Christian communities of color or urban churches and it has been my experience that these communities are less likely to be consistently involved in international missions than predominantly white and/or suburban churches – and when they are, that involvement rarely includes actually sending missionaries abroad from their local congregations.

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