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Religion

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It is quite likely that the area you work in will have had missionary contact, and that there will be converts to some variety or varieties of Christianity among the people you meet. There may be assumptions about your personal religious beliefs.

SIL missionaries also do linguistic fieldwork, and you may find experienced and enthusiastic consultants among the converts. On the other hand, Christians may reject traditional norms and beliefs, so they may not be ideal consultants for example, they may not know or may not be willing to tell traditional stories.

If more than one religion coexists in the area, you need to consider carefully what the possible implications are if you align yourself with one group. You may be expected to participate in religious ceremonies, and it is worthwhile thinking in advance about what level of participation you are comfortable with and how you could avoid participation without causing offence.

I lived in a Peruvian village in which church services were held every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evening, as well as Sunday morning, afternoon and evening. Although I initially accepted invitations to all the services, after the first week or two I settled on only attending one Sunday service. The compromise meant that the Christians in the community were not offended by my lack of religion.

-- Simon Overall