Standing on fence posts and 'whole cow soup'

Elijah and Moira Hall share insights on a recent survey trip.

Missionary Moira Hall says she waited eagerly every night for the phone call from her husband, Elijah. And Elijah says he stood balanced on a fence post each evening hoping for better cell phone reception to call Moira.

Elijah Hall was on a five-day survey trip to eastern Paraguay to visit three different Mbya Guarani communities and learn more about this people group. And Moira could hardly wait to hear what he discovered each day.

Elijah says that the Mbya Guarani people in Paraguay number somewhere between 14,000 and 16,000. (There are more Mbya Guarani living in parts of Brazil and Argentina.)

Moira shares, “They are a people who have lived in the shadow of European ways for hundreds of years now, and yet are separate and very distinct … They are very secretive about their religious practices and not much seems to be known about how different their heart language is from the rest of the Guarani dialects … They are very much in need of the message of salvation in words they can understand.”

Elijah’s survey trip included many interesting introductions to the Mbya Guarani culture. Not the least of these, he says, was the concept of what he calls “whole cow soup.”

Elijah says he was invited to join in a big tribal gathering for a meal. “Traditionally at a big gathering, a cow is slaughtered and the least desirable parts are used first, with the best meat saved for a big bar-b-que on the last day.”

But Elijah was present for the first day of this process, not the last. So instead of beef bar-b-que, he was served up a hearty portion of “whole cow soup.”