Bit of a long winded introduction. I'll get to the meat of the story eventually.
It's been an inescapable fact for a very long time that congregations in Guyana don't have nearly enough support. Even in the heavily populated, city areas, congregations are struggling for help. The further out you get from there, the more sparse the help is. Naturally, any help is quickly snatched up and assigned.
However, this obviously means that for those of us further into the interior, the search for help is even more difficult. The current standing of the Orealla congregation is two elders and two ministerial servants, which is head and shoulders the best it's ever had. So on top of trying to manage one congregation, we're attempting to hold meetings and get a group started in another village (Siparuta) three hours away from us, which adds quite a burden in the workload and the travel time.
Of course, we're far from alone in this. Across the river from us in Suriname is the Apoera congregation, which has three elders and no servants, who are handling Dutch and English meetings, on top of also having distant territories (Washabo) to work in and maintain.
But, yeah, you already know this. Why bring this up again?
Because we've recently learned there's yet another village much, much further down the river, which is larger than Orealla, Siparuta, Apoera, and Washabo combined. So not only is there a vast unworked territory, this one will come with certain challenges.
For one, when I say it's much further down the river, I really mean it. Last estimate I heard was it would take one week of traveling just to get to it, and it isn't simply paddling a canoe down the river. There's waterfalls and jagged rocks along the way, which leads to having to carry the boat over huge tracts of land.
Two, since it is so isolated, there's basically no technological development. Electricity, running water, etc. So anyone going there would have to be a bit of a trooper to not only get there, but deal with living conditions while there.
Three (and this is likely the single biggest obstacle), they don't speak English. Or Dutch. They seem to use an undocumented indigenous language, which one brother in Apoera has attempted to learn bits and pieces of, but is having slow going of it.
So then, before any progress can be made at all there, Orealla and Apoera will need about three more appointed brothers each to stabilize the congregations. Then about three more pioneers each to get meetings rolling in those nearby-ish territories. Then on top of that, a big batch of people able to deal with moving into an isolated area and learning an unknown tongue.
Now, let's get one thing clear. I am not recommending that some of you pile up a boat and head down to this village to get things started. There's a method to dealing with this madness, and the local branch offices know how to handle it. What I am recommending is Matthew 9:38. "Beg the Master of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest."
Because seriously, we need it.
Caveat: some details in this blog may be inaccurate, seeing as I have never visited this village, and likely won't for a good many years, or even decades. But my point stands, regardless.