How to Safely Correspond with Workers in Creative Access Countries
Many international workers from our church and the Alliance serve in Creative Access Countries (CAC). Since they are living and working in areas of the world that may be hostile to the gospel it is important to follow certain guidelines when communicating with or about these workers. This not only protects the workers on the field and allows them to continue in their work, but it also protects the locals that they are in contact with.
The following guidelines were issued by the Alliance national office and should be carefully followed in your correspondence with any CAC workers.
Our objective in asking you to cooperate fully with these guidelines is to protect on-the-ground Alliance international workers and partners. Thank you for being vigilant in observing these.
The most vulnerable place where sensitive information about Christian work is being sought is the Internet. Never put anything about Alliance work in a creative-access country (CAC) on a Web site. Do not put the names of workers, the countries in which they’re working, or any other information on the Internet that could be used against Alliance international workers and partners. If sensitive information is accessed by those hostile to the gospel, it could mean the expulsion of Alliance workers or even their imprisonment. The consequences could be worse for national partners from the country in question.
There are many inappropriate words and subjects that should not be used in communication with our C&MA creative-access workers. The following guidelines are to be used in all your correspondence with them. The single most important communication mode requiring discretion is e-mail. One has to assume that all e-mail sent to and from a creative-access country is downloaded, opened, and/or saved by someone other than the intended recipient. This is a reason for extreme caution.
- Don’t criticize the host country’s government in any way.
- Don’t mention missions, missionary activity, evangelism, witnessing, giving out Bibles, the host country’s church, raising support, etc. The C&MA does send missionaries; however, while they are living in a CAC, their identity is that of a teacher, business person, medical professional, development worker, consultant, or other professional. Removing the title of “missionary” does not remove their purpose. They will continue to share Christ with others, discipling new believers and helping them to join or form a local church. In a CAC our workers will be witnesses through their words, lives, and the credibility of their work.
- Don’t send missionary prayer letters, tracts, church bulletins, missions magazines, Bibles, district or church newsletters, etc.
- Don’t send letters on church stationary or send support information traceable to church sources into the host country. Any sermon tapes mailed should be labeled only with the speakers first and last name. Don’t send packages with church labels.
- Don’t mention your workers’ friends in the host country by name or in any way identify people who might be interested in Christianity.
- Limit your use of Christian language to talking about your own spiritual life and growth. You can quote Scripture. Just remember that moderation is the key.
- Don’t send bulk e-mail to CAC workers.
- Only give out your worker’s e-mail address or mailing address after obtaining permission from that worker. When you do give out their address, please make sure that you also give the recipient a copy of these guidelines.
- Do write letters to your CAC workers. Mail is a cherished and needed encouragement. Even if you cna’t say all you’d like to, please do write. A letter about what’s happening in your life could make your worker’s day.
- Don’t encrypt or code e-mails (or letters) to and from CAC workers, as this can bring unwanted attention to the sender and receiver.
These guidelines should be followed for all phone calls, e-mails, letters and packages. First-class mail, in most cases, can take 2-3 weeks to reach your worker, so be sure to send mail early!