Since the time of the Apostle Paul, trade routes have always been highways for missions, taking missionaries from the Old World to the New, and from the West to the East.
Church of the West: World Changers With Mixed Reviews
Before the U.S. emerged as the pre-eminent superpower after WWII, Europe had been dominating the world for 500 years. Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, England and France were the major powers that explored, traded, and colonized many parts of Asia, Africa and the Americas.
During those 500 years, missions and trade were associated with colonial expansion, resulting in criticism from historians and anthropologists.