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Hip Hop Missionary

by Tony V. Thursday, Jun. 19, 2003 at 1:09 PM

A trip with the Missionaries, to Oaxaca, Mexico,leads to unexpected revelations for one student.

I’m hard at work filing papers in the office in
which I work at my University. I
hear the Department Chair yell for me. He asks
me in a big ole Kentucky accent "Tony, How'd ya like
to go to Hoo-waaa-ka?" I’m thinking that anyplace at
this very moment is worth going to. So I find out, a
professor at the university has put in a request to
travel to work with orphans whom were abused or had
parents serving time in a Mexican Prison. We were
also to head into the mountains and work with
indigenous populations. This amazed me. Maybe I
would catch Zach De La Rocha and Rage doing a concert!
Maybe I can kick it with the revolutionaries? I did not really expect any of that. But what I
really did not expect was for the Professor to inform
me that this would be a missionary trip.
I did not know how to take it. On one hand,
I felt the missionaries would be people that would
want to stone me once they found out that I was not a
"believer" of what they believe in.
but on the other hand, I was being offered its a free trip to help people in another portion of
the world.
So prior to leaving, I’m meeting with the church group,
and they all circle me, and say a prayer for me, which
makes me feel uncomfortable. Then I see them all go
off for "prayer class".

We leave for Oaxaca Mexico, one of Mexico's
most southern countries that borders the state of
Chiapas and Guatemala.
I had brought a couple interesting books to read, and
often found time to read. Each time I opened a book, a "faith team
member" would come up, and asked about my beliefs.
I felt that I should reserve my ideas and concepts
about God since I was the minority within the group.
I don’t remember exactly when or where, but I felt
that I wasn’t being true to myself by holding in my
philosophies and beliefs. One day at a lunch bench
during a discussion with an elder, I spoke my mind.
This lady seemed to almost have a heart attack. "What? You don’t
believe in Jesus?" she said. I did feel anxious but
liberated. Then I noticed how every one began to
distance themselves from me. I spoke my mind to every
one who came up to me. I began to question those who questioned me about their belief systems. Then I quoted Saul Williams
only to see how they would respond.
"Never question who I am..
God knows, and I know God personally
infact he lets me call him me
infact she lets me call her me.."
Wine - Saul Williams (NICE!)
They were horrified. I on the other hand, felt a sense of
liberation.

One day, while in the mountains of Metla, the
missionary group set up camp, consisting of a tent, a
P.A. for the ministry band, and lots off food and
offerings of those who "believe". Now I’m a firm
believer if you feed the hungry, and provide them with
any sense of hope, they will believe in anything you
want them too (there are exceptions). But I wandered
into away from the village and began to talk with the
others. They referred to the Christian villagers as
"locos". I then made my way back to tent and I heard
the pastor ask for the U.S team to assemble in the
front of the villagers. I figured if I did not go to
the front, then they would really hate me because that
would only demonstrate my character as a non team
player. So I casually make my way to the front, and
next thing I hear, the pastor asks the villagers to
come to the front for a moment of faith. I did not
know what to do, nor where to go. Almost the whole
village had gathered and stood before me and the faith
team. The faith team begin to place one hand on the
body of the villager, and the other hand high in the
air for god, and recited prayers. Next thing I knew,
I had villagers in front of me and I decided that I
would give them a hug and just kick some lyrics from
hip hop songs I knew (Common's I used to Love H.E.R,
Blackstar's Respiration, Dead Prez's Lets get Free
and so on...) And the villagers loved it! I began to
hug these people and in my arms they cried, and held
me tight. I did not realize the impact in which a hug
could do for people. I realized that these people
were smarter than I thought. They knew damn well life
might not get any better for them. All this food
brought by the ministry will be gone at some point,
but when they cried to me, I could feel the sense of
hopelessness. I then looked to out to various lines
and mine was the longest. How could this be? I am not
a faith healer. I’m only giving hugs. My shirt must have been drenched with tears.


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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 5 posted about this article.
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TITLE AUTHOR DATE
hip hop missionary ralph lopez Friday, Jun. 20, 2003 at 7:22 AM
hip hop missionary steve jones Friday, Jun. 20, 2003 at 8:04 AM
hip hop missionary steve jones Friday, Jun. 20, 2003 at 8:04 AM
KOBE KOBE SBM Friday, Jun. 20, 2003 at 10:55 AM
hip hop missionary brian johnson Saturday, Jun. 21, 2003 at 1:25 PM

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