Be properly prepared if you travel to a neglected field to do research. The items below suggest what you might need to discover about the culture, people’s receptivity, government restrictions and opportunities for residence.
- The most responsive segment of the people group
- Where the receptive people live (urban, rural, new development in a growing city, etc.)
- How people would go to meetings (walk, ride a horse, take a bus or car, etc.)
- Where meetings should be held
- Income, education and literacy levels
- Family size and how members interact
- The kind of church that could multiply easily: size, type of leadership, form of worship and method of evangelism, what actions are feasible with restrictions that authorities impose
- Native music style
- What Scripture exists in the language and if old translations are usable with uneducated folk
- The methods they use to communicate spiritual truth, and along what social channels
- The type of government and the people’s attitudes toward it
- Small business opportunities and entrance requirements for permanent residence (if applicable)
If considering a short-term visit…
- Begin projects only if you can bring them to completion during your stay (hundreds of development projects have floundered because workers left them in the wrong hands).
- If you plan to return for a longer stay, verify with any field supervisor that you can do work that uses your gifts and strengths, and that is consistent with God’s leading.
- Upon returning, write a brief review of your trip and insights gained. If a team is involved, report impressions and discuss the work with potential coworkers.