See what God is already doing...

Have you heard this advice given to people when entering into a new missionary situation? It doesn't ring true to me. Why is that? Can anyone help me clarify this?

It could simply be acknowledging that God is at work, providentially, in all things and that we should hope to be able discern some of the ways he may be preparing for his gospel to be preached.

But it could be opening the way for some kind of doctrine of prevenient grace, where God is at work in salvation apart from special revelation in the gospel of Christ.

There is also, perhaps, a danger in us reading too much into what we imagine God might be doing. After all, the first answer to this question must always be: God is giving people over to their sin, for his wrath is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people who supress the truth by their wickedness.