During July we’re focusing on God’s creative solutions. Each of the posts published this month will be about the author’s experiences with unexpected solutions and how God provides beyond our limited sight. Please see the Prayer page to read our strategic prayer request for this month and to see how we, as a branch, are hopeful to see God’s creativity at work.
By Brian Paris
The most unpredictable side of survey work is the logistics. Getting from village A to village B can be quite tricky at times. It is here that I have seen God at work in His most creative flairs, sometimes giving us solutions beforehand, sometimes giving them on the fly as we grope around in the dark (literally).
In preparation for a survey in Morobe Province, the team was sitting around a topographical map judging the terrain. We had to survey a river valley from the mountainous headwaters to the gentle slopes right before it joined a larger river and flowed toward the ocean. As we contemplated the villages scattered in the mountains we were pleased to see they were all located directly on the river. The mountains on both sides of the river looked steep and impassable from the maps. The plan: fly into the first village on helicopter and then hike and canoe down the river stopping at all the villages on the way. Great plan.
We landed in the first village. After completing our work there we started to ask about getting to the next village. We quickly found out the maps were inaccurate. They had the villages on the river while in reality they were in those steep and impassable mountains; the people rarely traveled between them. Someone did volunteer to take us so we set out at dawn.
Seven hours into a grueling hike that only took us a few kilometers and saw us go up and over many ridges, we stumbled into a mining exploration camp. We had heard it was there, but didn’t know it was on the way. Feeling pretty dead and finding out we weren’t even half way to our destination, we sat down in the jungle not sure what to do. All of the sudden a cheery Australian came bounding up the path in large rubber boots, telling us we could stay there for the night. We instantaneously went from the prospect of sleeping on the trail in the middle of the jungle to curry cooked by an Indian and soft mattresses to sleep on. The camp had a washing machine and hot showers, just what we needed and never expected. After a full breakfast the next morning they sent us on our way declining any money.
We were arrogant in our understanding of the location of the villages. We were sure there were ways to get from village A to village B, but never did we think we would have a night in “Camp America” (the local name for the mining camp, despite it’s Australian origins). God never ceases to amaze in His unanticipated provision!
Brian serves as a language surveyor.