Just before we were scheduled to go on our survey trip, one of our supporting churches gave us a love offering that covered the exact amount that we still needed to be able to make the trip. Wow! I have learned that God provides a way to do what He wants us to do. One little boy even broke his piggy bank and sent us an envelope with $1.67 in change, mostly pennies. He did put a $0.28 stamp on it. I guess the biggest miracle in this story is that the post office did not return the envelope for insufficient postage. We really did enjoy our survey trip, and I believe it was one of the biggest learning curves in our lives. We returned from our four week survey trip with a greater zeal to reach the mission field as quickly as possible. Here are four more reasons why I am glad we took a survey trip:
1. The survey trip allowed us to learn first-hand how to answer questions from prospective supporting churches.
As I said in the last post, we had already been traveling for several months before we went on our survey trip. We were able to write down all of the questions that we had been asked that we did not have an answer for, and then we were able to find out the answers to those questions while on the field. After our survey trip, we had a much better reception at prospective churches; and I believe that the main reason is that we were able to tell our own stories about what we had seen with our own eyes.
2. The survey trip allowed us the ability to prepare a better visual presentation that addressed many of the questions that pastors had been asking.
We took hundreds of photos while we were on our survey trip. We wrote a script for our presentation while we were there, and we tried to answer as many of the most popular questions that we had been asked in the presentation itself. I can tell you that I do not know how that presentation affected others; but every time I saw it on deputation, it made me want to go to the field right away.
3. The survey trip allowed my wife to see the kind of things that she was interested in. I am so thankful that the Lord provided a way for my wife to go on this survey trip.
I firmly believe that it was more important for her to go and see where we would be living than it was for me. I can eat anything, sleep anywhere, and talk to anyone. My wife is not like that at all. She was able to go to the market, the local grocery stores, and the big supermarkets in town and see what she would need to do to prepare the kinds of food that she enjoys making.
4. The survey trip allowed us to see the local economy and helped us to better prepare to pack our container with useful things.
We were able to see the kind of furniture that could be purchased and what was not available. We were able to see the vehicles so that we would know how to prepare for our transportation needs. It was nice to be able to write a list of things we would need to bring in a container. That list made things so much easier. Did you take a survey trip? I would love to hear from you about what the biggest lesson was that you learned from the trip. Please leave your comments to this article in the comment section below so that we can all join in on this conversation and so that future missionaries can benefit from our discussion.