The following are questions that I sent in to Austin Gardner to be answered on his “Leadership with Vision” podcast. He answers these questions in the podcast below:
Answers Podcast #1
Answers Podcast #2
I recently returned from a survey trip to Japan with two fellow missionaries and we had a good time. Since this is fresh on my mind and you were a tremendous help to me on my survey trip when we went to China in 2009, I wanted to ask you several questions about taking a “survey trip” that will not only help me in future reference but might help other missionaries who are going to be taking survey trips in the future.
What is a Survey Trip?
I think we would agree that a survey trip is “when a missionary travels to his future mission field to learn what he will be facing when he moves there permanently and to form a strategy that will help set the course for future ministry”. Do you agree with this, why or why not?
So with this in mind, my next question is when should a missionary take a survey trip? Before deputation or during deputation? How much support should he has raised to take a survey trip? How should a missionary fund a survey trip?
Pre Survey Trip
Today, we have the internet and can easily find out almost all the information that we would need to know about a country; we can even call or Skype with missionaries, so what kind of information does one need to gather before a trip likes this? With the ability to do this kinda of research from America, does one even need to take a survey trip?
How long should a survey trip be?
I have always heard you say that a new missionary taking a survey trip should take a senior missionary with him on his survey trip because his experience will help them see things from a different perspective etc. Can you explain what you mean by this? How will taking someone with missionary experience help a new missionary on a survey trip?
What kind of missionary should he take with him? Does he need to be a missionary in my country? What are the dangers of taking the wrong missionary with you? Should he pay for all the senior missionary’s expenses?
Who Should Go?
Should a missionary take his wife with him on the survey trip? Should he take his children? Why? What are the pros and cons? Should he take two survey trips, one with his wife and one without his wife? If he doesn’t take his wife or children, what are things he can do to help them know what the country is like?
During the Trip
To learn from a trip like this a person would need to gather information, firsthand knowledge and personal experiences about being a missionary there, the practical side of life there and what it is going to take to get started; what is the best way to do this?
- Cost of living – How does he calculate the cost of living? How does he figure out how much support he needs to thrive instead of survive? How does he price items, appliance, food etc.? How does he figure out the transportation cost?
- Language School – How does he pick out a language school and figure out what the best method of learning the language is?
- Missionary Mentor – Should he work with a missionary on the field? Why or why not? If so, how does he find someone he can work with? If no, how does he pioneer his own way?
- Right Location – Most missionaries know the country they want to go to, but how does he pick a city? How many cities should he visit on a survey trip? What are things he should be looking for in a city? What do you mean when you teach on “strategic cities”? After he knows the city, how does he choose what part of the city to live?
You often say we need to be constantly asking questions, especially on a survey trip, to be learning. Can you tell us some of the questions we should be asking when visiting the following:
- Missionaries – What should he ask missionaries he visits on the field during his survey trip? Is there anything he shouldn’t ask them? How does he evaluate what is told to him?
- Churches – What should he ask the national pastors or missionaries when he visits their churches? What kind of things should he note or look for?
- Language Schools – What does he need to know about a language school? What are specific things that he should ask them?
- Realtors – If he finds a real-estate agent or however they rent houses or apartments in his country, what are the practical things that he needs to ask about? What things would he need to ask about that might be different than America?
There are some extra things that people can do during a survey trip, would you recommended doing the following:
- Visit Religious Sites? If he visited a religious site in the country, such as a Buddhist temple, what are some things he should ask them?
- Get a Bird’s Eye View of the city? Is it a good idea to find the tallest point in the city and go there to get a view of the city, pray over the city and realize the task ahead of him?
- Gather Resources? What kind of resources would you encourage him to gather? Take video, pictures and/or buy items that will help give voice to their burden?
In closing, if a missionary’s survey trip is done in the wrong way or a person doesn’t prepare properly then how would that differ from just taking a vacation in their future mission field? What are the final precautions you would give a new missionary to help them understand a survey trip and to keep them from wasting time and money?
Is there anything else I missed that you would include about a survey trip?