Poisonwood Bible: Missionary Work

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The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver, is a novel that is being narrated through the eyes of four daughters, and their mother, who have all been dragged to the Republic of Congo during the 1960’s. The reason behind these five young ladies sudden move to the Republic of Congo is all because of a man by the name of Nathan Price, the husband of Orleanna Price, and father of their children: Ruth May, Adah, Leah, and Rachel. Each woman in the story narrates the novel telling the reader how each copes with the new lifestyle that they are faced with, while growing up in the Republic of Congo. But what these women thought was going to be a short visit turned out to be their new home. Leah talks about the Congo saying “It’s a heavenly paradise in the Congo, and sometimes I want to live here forever" (Kingsolver 104). But what Leah doesn’t know is that her wish is going to come true. During the novel we see many arguments, constant conflicts arising, and many struggles being brought to the characters. As years and years go by we start to see the family drift more and more apart until it reaches to the point where everyone has gone they’re separated ways and the family is no longer together anymore.

The cause of all these conflicts in the novel and the reason for the separation of the Price family is all due to Nathan Price and his over obsession with his preaching and ministry. This leads me to my topic on this term paper on how I evaluate Nathan Price as a minister and a missionary. This history on missionary work plays an important part in this novel also, and with the information needed on the history of missionary and Baptist work, we the reader will be able to better understand the novel. In this paper I will show the kinds of history that we find when we explore the cultural conflicts that are predictable in missionary work. I will also show how cultural assumptions aid or worsen the conflicts in missionary work. My main audience for this term paper is for people who are academically intelligent at a high school level and higher. This paper would not be enjoyable to read for any child due to the topic and the lack of interest coming from that child. The history of missionary work created many conflicts that produced different assumptions for the native Africans growing up in a society where Christian religion is not even practiced. By proving that my thesis statement is correct the following points have to be made: 1) the history of missionary work and Baptist missionaries. 2) The conflicts in missionary work in Africa. 3) The African assumptions that aided or worsen these conflicts. 4) and Nathan Price described as a minister and missionary. With these points, along with citations from numerous sources, my thesis statement will be able to be proven true.

One of the first ever English missionaries in the country of Congo was a man by the name of Rev. W. Holman, who “saw some of the Congo tribes when they were practically untouched by any foreign influence” (Bentley). He was practicing his missionary work in the Congo for twenty-one years and converted many natives with his stories and his preaching. After Holman’s death, more missionaries came to the Congo to continue Holman’s preaching. One important missionary named Diego Cam discovered a placed called Ndo Dioko Kam, where there he established many Christian missionaries. Baptists missionaries came years later but Bentley talks about the establishment of Baptists missionaries and he writes “Baptist missions had been established at a few points on the coast of Africa as early as 1848, but the work was not pushed energetically until it was taken up by George Greenfell and Thomas Comber in the seventies” (Bentley). One key component in the establishment of Baptist missionaries was the search for Dr. Livingstone, who was eventually founded by a man names Henry M. Stanley. Bentley says that this exploration by Stanley “prepared...
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