Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Final Project Abstracts

Mitzi D. Pulliam -- "Heeding the Call: Protestant Missionary Work in Mexico, Past and Present"

During the nineteenth century, Protestant missionary work burst like an open flame across the globe. Single men and women, and married couples embarked on what they called "the Lord's work" with eager anticipation of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ to foreign countries which may have never heard of the Bible. A missionary's purpose has been misinterpreted as forceful assimilation, with an objective of turning their vulnerable listeners into converts to their [the missionary's] culture. However, a missionary's purpose derives from a heart-felt desire to help others. Today missionary work has increased by leaps and bounds. To many secular scholars and non-evangelicals, a missionary's goal has continued to be construed into a self-glorifying endeavor instead of a holy one. This work's objective is to disprove this false impression by focusing on American Protestant activity in Mexico, past and present.

Mexico, situated directly south of the United States, where a transfer of cultural influences can ensue without much effort, is a superb candidate for such a study. However, Protestant missionary work with Mexicans has not been as easy as one might think because of their Catholic allegiance. Another facet of this work will involve arguing why Protestant missionaries have become more accepted in Mexico.