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A missionary is a member of a [religious group] sent into an area to carry on ministries of the word, such as [evangelism] and [literacy] , or ministries of service, such as [education] , [social justice] , [health care] and [economic development] .Thomas Hale 'On Being a Missionary' 2003, William Carey Library Pub, ISBN 0878082557 The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the [Jesuits] sent members abroad, derived from the Latin missionem (nom. missio ), meaning "act of sending" or mittere , meaning "to send". [ ?term=mission]
In [Christian] cultures the term is most commonly used for Christian missions, but it applies equally to any creed or ideology. [Buddhism] launched 'the first large-scale missionary effort in the history of the world's religions' in the 3rd century BC.Foltz, R.C.; Religions of the silk road ; 1999; p.37

Christian missions

A Christian missionary can be defined as "one who is sent to witness across cultures." The [Lausanne Congress] of 1974, defined the term, related to Christian mission as, "to form a viable indigenous church-planting movement." Recognizing justice as being at the heart of the Gospels, some modern missionaries now promote the development of western government, education [Robert Woodberry- the Social Impact of Missionary Higher Education] and economic structure in the place of pre-existing local systems and tradition. Missionaries can be found in many countries around the world.

Biblical mandate
[Jesus] instructed the apostles to make [disciples] of all nations,. This reference is understood by Christian missionaries as the [Great Commission] to engage in missionary work.

Catholic missions

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