Asia – Europe: The Role of Religion in Migration
One of the things about the book is that with these selections of chapters and works of different authors, we were trying to communicate the role of religion in migration. But we realized that some of the traditional migrant categories such as missionaries or refugees were not very useful when it comes to studying religion and migration today.
The case of the Catholic migrants was similar here. In a way, the boundaries of these very strict categories are a bit blurred now. For example, if you take up the old missionary models, let’s say 100 years ago, you had Catholic or Protestant parishes in Europe or in the United States collecting money to send to families as missionaries and developing missionary projects in different parts of the world.
The people were just going as missionaries and working exclusively as missionaries. That model does not apply very well now.
One of the examples in the book is Arkotong Longkumer, who works with Nagaland Baptist missionaries whose aim is to go to China. But these are very poor missionaries, who do not have the infrastructure or support of the Dutch Calvinists or the Catholic Church. And, they cannot get visas to China as missionaries. The way they’re traveling is as migrant workers, a little bit as entrepreneurs. There is a very creative mixture of different things that people do overseas to fulfill their missionary intentions.