Ben and Tabea, and their team in Asia-Pacific, wanted to gather as much information as possible before their recent team meetings. A major part of this was surveying a neighbouring tribe to the one that they have been trying to get permissions to move into.
Ben was part of the survey team and it turns out the new village is only 7km away from this village as the crow flies. The locals told them that it takes about five hours to hike to there, it’s on another mountain which requires a hike down to the river and then up again. Being on a different mountain actually makes a big different for the paperwork as it falls under a different governing body and should be much easier for them to get permissions. It is the same language group and there might also be somewhere suitable for an airstrip, so it looks like a more strategic location for the team.
According to the GPS, it was about 28km from the beach to the mountain and the village was about 1000m above sea level. After about five and a half hours of hiking, they were running out of daylight so slept overnight in a hut. The next morning it took another five hours hike uphill the whole way. They were warmly welcomed.
Usually for a first time survey, the team would not explain much about the mission but in this case the people had already heard something from the neighbouring village and so even on the first day, they were asked to explain what the organisation is about. They people were very excited and made it clear that they wanted them to come. However, the team had to tell them that it depends on other factors such as paperwork etc. They slept two nights in the village, which gave them one full day with the people and then they hiked all the way down in one day (ten and a half hours). Overall, it was a successful trip and a huge encouragement to the team.
After getting back from the survey trip, some of the mission leadership joined the team for a full week of meetings. It was very intense but great to be able to plan some future steps. One major decision has been to form two tribal teams. They always knew that there were too many missionaries for one team and so this had been hanging over them for some time. They have already been through a lot together and become like family, so it was a difficult process but with the Lord’s help they now have peace about the decisions that were made.
Ben and Tabea will be in the second team, which means that they still need to continue with surveys to find their ministry location. The first team will takes steps towards the people group that has already been surveyed.
Between the survey trip and team meetings, Ben and Tabea managed to squeeze in a language evaluation. Thankfully, they have both passed, and officially finished with their national language and culture study!
It looks like this might be a good time for them to take a short holiday and celebrate this milestone.
- Survey trip
- Team meetings and team formation.
- Officially finished with language study.
- Purchasing a car from their co-workers (as a family of six they cannot all fit on a motorbike anymore!)
- More survey trips (to find a location for the second team).
- Permissions to work in the locations where the tribal people have accepted them.
- For a holiday. They are feeling tired, now that the adrenalin has worn off after the craziness.