A Ghanaian colleague of mine was making contacts in a rural area for Bible translation. In one particular village, he didn’t know anyone. So he parked his pickup under a handy mango tree for the shade. He made his contacts and left.
He learned later that the village chief had passed away some time earlier and that two men were vying for the position. The mango tree under which he had parked belonged to one of them. That man then said that the vehicle parked under his tree showed that he had received an important visitor.
He used that as a reason why people should support his bid for the chieftancy. My colleague unwittingly got involved in a bit of political intrigue.
Working in cross-culture ministry means acting with insufficient information, especially at the beginning. You never know how people are going to interpret your actions. So some missionaries start out with a lot of trepidation that they will make a big mistake and ruin their ministry. That is highly unlikely. In any case, there’s not much you can do about it.
Actually, there’s a lot we can do. Pray that missionaries will have wisdom and good relationships. When I trust God and have his wisdom I can live my life without worrying if I’m parked under the wrong mango tree.