from the CEO
2018 will be most remembered for three things: we graduated the largest AMT classes so far; our full-time team nearing 200; and the Kalene Hill mission in Central Africa coming under our administration. These were just a few highlights for our team in 2018.
Since it began in 2007, we have never graduated as many students from Advanced Mission Training (AMT) in a single year as we did in 2018. Fifty-one students attended our two AMT courses this year, and thirty one joined our full-time staff. With this increase in staff from the trainings, our team is nearing 200 and is positioned to grow more in future years with the addition of a third AMT class running in 2019 at our Mozambique base.
Another highlight of 2018 was our new administration of Kalene Hill. Receiving Kalene Mission into our administration was a big deal for me personally. Kalene was founded by Pentecostal missionaries out of the Welsh Revival in the early 1900s, becoming a hub for many great endeavors into Central Africa over the last century. Britain valued the land so much that they included it in the British colonial territories, calling it the “Finger of God.” As we agreed to take Kalene, I felt it was like a changing of the guard in Britain.
We feel so humbled that God would allow us to continue that work, which was founded by great men and women of God, who gave their lives and were buried there. The team experienced wins all over the world.
We expanded in Brazil with the purchase of two house boats on the Amazon River. We accomplished a successful reconnaissance of Malawi, with a strategy approved for full-time staff to launch. Our Congo team was awarded five-year visas in Katanga province, DR Congo. Land has been given and paperwork approved for new bases in Zambezi and Mwunilunga in Northwest Zambia, and building has begun. We finished the repairs of the base in Mozambique, and we are also excited to have missionaries living in an undisclosed country in South East Asia.
At the end of 2018, Overland has an established presence in Zambia, Angola, DR Congo, Tanzania, Mozambique, Morocco, the Middle East, Cambodia, South East Asia, Brazil, the UK, Holland, and the United States. In addition, our short-term teams are visiting several other nations.
Next year, we will be registering our organization in Malawi and pioneering into Mauritius, Madagascar, and Panama. As we near 200 staff, continue to grow our AMT program, and see the Lord’s blessing, our influence and the power of the Gospel will continue to spread to the most unreached people in the world.
Philip and Sharon Smethurst; CEO and Founders
sector management: DR Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of those African nations that stirs the imagination. The DRC lies at the heart of the continent, encompassing an area approximately 1/3 the size of the continental United States.
The Congo is a land full of biodiversity and natural beauty. The second largest rain forest in the world dominates the landscape, covering over 50% of the country. With a population of 84 million people and 56% of them living in rural areas, it is easy to see the need for the Gospel in the remote areas of this nation. Overland Missions has been working for almost a decade, attempting to establish a base in DR Congo.
Last year, that dream became a reality when our team established a base in the southeastern city of Likasi. That first year taught our team the importance of building local relationships and our glaring need for language training. The DRC is a country with approximately 242 tribal languages. As a team, we decided that the first part of 2018 must be spent in language school. This training has given us a solid foundation of French. In September of 2018, we returned to Congo.
During the limited time we have been in the DRC, we have focused on relationships. Due to the long history of political and social unrest in the country, many people are suspicious of outsiders. This suspicion raises many barriers that have to be navigated and overcome by building sincere, trusting relationships. Our team has focused on nurturing the relationships that we began last year. These include government, church, tribal, and civil leaders. Ministry here is about laying a strong foundation for the future. The people are receptive to teaching, and we believe the truth which we are ministering will result in future open doors for God’s glory.
sector management: Mozambique
Our Mozambique team established a legal ministry presence within Inhambane province, allowing us to officially minister the Gospel to Mozambicans. After great government resistance, the aftermath of a cyclone and ministry setbacks in 2017, the first months of our year were set on rebuilding. We rebuilt our base, re-established our ministry paperwork, and welcomed our first 3-week expedition.
Perseverance has been our closest friend and the faithfulness of God our anchor. He has established our feet throughout the year, and the fruit of our labor has been proven sweet. While we have yet to establish our sector presence, we have established strong relationships with a local pastor and church body, and have jumped quickly into routine ministry alongside them. These relationships have opened several doors, many of which we explored on our first expedition.
Most locations have few or no churches established, and are heavily oppressed by witchcraft. In just a few weeks, the Gospel was shared in areas like Linga Linga where people now live free from bad dreams and night terrors. After we left, many in the village came together to start their own church. Why? “We no longer suffer at night with bad dreams. Since you prayed for us, we can sleep. The message you brought had to be true! What else can we do now but start a church in the name of your God?” We look forward to returning to Linga Linga and raising local leaders through discipleship.“Perseverance has been our closest friend & the faithfulness of God our anchor.