We’ve all heard of surveying land for building roads and other things, but do we often think of surveying for a people? How much surveying have we done of those harvest fields out there that Luke and John talk about in the Word of God?
Maybe we can’t really relate to Joshua who sent surveyors out so they could claim their inheritance. We don’t often hear of lots being cast to determine who gets the land being surveyed. But in Joshua’s day they brought their findings before the Lord and lots were cast.
For Elijah and Moira Hall, missionaries to Paraguay, it’s been quite a process on this surveying journey. It’s definitely about their inheritance and about a people.
Following a homemade map, with help from Internet maps, Elijah has gone from village to village appraising the situation. He and missionaries experienced in people group assessments, who have come to help him ascertain the condition of these people, then outline where and how they live.
They see the soy plantations, small farms, wooded areas and how the “winding, unmarked roads are like a maze” that get them to people who live in thatched roofed huts.
He sees that they work their fields with oxen and hoes.
Elijah says that, “they drink terere (Paraguayan cold tea served in a special horn with a metal strainer straw, passed from one person to the next) together as they talk” with the chief.
They ask defining questions like, “What does the chief think about his people helping us learn Mbya language and culture? Have his people lived here for very long and about how many families are there?”
Gifts are given and they drink more terere.
More questions like, “Is there land available in the area? Do they think it’s a safe place to live?”
More terere drinking. Maybe they’ll get an invitation.
Sometimes the survey team sleeps in tents, on the ground or maybe a little place resembling a hotel “complete with bedbugs” but out of the rain.
Elijah and Moira sense that they may be coming to the end of their survey time as far as where they might set up a home and engage with these people. It will take another consultant who will come give a second opinion about a possible location to begin their work.
They could be close to the time when they will be able to share that inheritance that is theirs in Christ Jesus with the Mbya people.
Let’s pray with Elijah and Moira as they continue to answer that wide open invitation by God Himself to go to the harvest fields as workers together.