As a young believer, I attended the local Every Nation church (an international church family that I still consider to be ‘home’), and I remember Pastor Celeste beginning every sermon she shared with a faith confession:
“This is my Bible. I am what it says I am. I can do what it says I can do. I believe it is the Truth. I believe in the power of the spoken Word of God. I will consult it in tribulation. I will speak it in season and out of season. I will use it as reference. I will not be silent. I read it with a wiling heart. I am guided by the Spirit. I will do mighty deeds in the Name of Jesus. The enemy shall flee before me and the Sword in my hand. I will use it to guide and disciple. And I will follow His guidance, step by step.”
Pastor Celeste Nel, Every Nation Faith City
You see, this was not simply a rhyme or empty prayer to declare, but a reminder, a deep-rooted conviction that God is who He says He is, and that I therefore am who He says I am.
As believers, and non-believers or sceptics, one of the issues we most often grapple with is simply this: Who am I? What is my purpose? Why am I here?
I think it was Oswald Chambers who famously said, “We exist to know God and enjoy Him forever,” and though this definitely lays the foundation for doctrinal discussion, I think Who Is God and therefore, Who Am I, are questions that can be answered in this: by knowing who He truly is, we discover who we truly are.
“In the Kingdom, function does not determine purpose. Understanding your purpose will determine how you function.”
It’s been 16 years since I embarked on this faith journey: having a relationship with God, and not simply living under the yoke of religion, and though there is still SO MUCH MORE to discover and learn, one of the things that has been integral to my relationship with God is learning and understanding His character, the I AM of which Scripture speaks.
Understanding who God is, and understanding why he created Man in His image and likeness, unlocks our Identity, purpose, authority here on earth, and adds a deeper level of intimacy of our relationship with Him.
Hardus, one of the students who attend our virtual Bible study shared this testimony with our group last week, and I asked whether he would be willing to share it with the world.
As you watch this video, may you be encouraged that He is the God who is who He says He is, who can do what He says He can do — who created you in His image and likeness!
Ons was op Ekspedisie in Simwatachela Chiefdom in Zambië. Ekspedisies is Evangelie-uitreike van twee weke lank, waar ons met die DAF-vragmotor in die bos kamp met basiese toerusting. Ons het ongeveer 7 ure lank gery om in Mafuta village uit te kom waar ons net buite die dorpie gekamp het. Ons was hier om met die plaaslike kerke te werk, van huis-tot-huis te besoek en die Evangelie te deel.
Ekspedisies is opwindend! Tydens huis-tot-huis besoeke hoor baie mense die Evangelie vir die eerste keer. Zambië staan bekend as ‘n Christelike nasie, maar die werklikheid is dat die kerke gebuk gaan onder valse godsdiens en leerstellings, en die goeie nuus van die Koninkryk was nog nooit gepreek nie. Verhoudinge met plaaslike leiers en pastore is een van die grootste geleenthede om hulle uit die Woord te bemoedig. By baie van hierdie bos-kerke waar ons aan doen, vind ons dat die hoof pastoor of leeraar nie eers ‘n Bybel besit nie, en wanneer hulle wel ‘n Bybel besit, is dit gewoonlik nie in een van die stamtale wat in daardie spesifieke area gepraat word nie.
Na Bybelstudie (ons het 14h00 by die skool ontmoet), kom ons terug kamp toe om aandete voor te berei voor die nag-vergadering (wat om 19h00 sou begin).
Ek was besig om aandete voor te berei toe Kati en Trenton vra of ons nog 5 gaste vir aandete kon akkommodeer.
Ek was weliswaar huiwerig om ja te sê. Ons het ordentlike porsiegroottes vir elke maaltyd uitgewerk, maar aangesien ons span meestal bestaan uit jong mans (wat die eet soos kommandowurms), is daar raar tweedeporsies of oorskied.
Kati het gevra, “Kan ons meer mense voer?” En ek het gesê: “Miskien. As ons nou begin bid. ”
Ek het onmiddellik gevoel hoe die Heilige Gees my berispe vir my selfsug.
Ons was moeg en honger, en ons het ‘n bietjie span tyd nodig gehad voordat ons na die nag-byeenkoms sou gaan, en nou het ons 5 ekstra gaste en verskeie kinders wat opgedaag het, wat verwag om gevoed te word, en ons span tyd sou opneem.
Die Heilige Gees het my herinner aan hierdie gedeelte uit Hebreërs 13: 2 – “Moenie vergeet of verwaarloos of weier om gasvryheid aan vreemdelinge uit te reik nie (in die broederskap) – vriendelik, hartlik en genadig, deel die gemak van u huis en doen u deel vrygewig ], want daardeur het sommige engele vermaak sonder om dit te weet. ”
Ons gaste het al die pad van ‘n naburige dorp af gestap — 13km. Hulle het almal hierheen geloop om die Bybelstudie by te woon, en hulle wou vir die nag-byeenkoms bly. Hulle het so ver gestap omdat die Boodskap wat ons gebring het vir hulle belangrik was om te hoor!
Tog was ons bekommerd dat ons hulle nie sou kon voed nie, en dat ons eie gemak sou ly? Belaglik, nie waar nie?
Ek het my herinner aan die offer wat ‘n jong seuntjie na Jesus gebring het toe vyfduisend mans (en baie vroue en kinders) bymekaar was om Hom te hoor preek. Dit was ‘n eenvoudige offer: vyf brode en twee visse. En dit het die menigtes gevoed.
Hoe moet ons die Gees voed as ons nie die liggaam voed nie, en vice versa?
Ons Westerse skeptisisme het daartoe gelei dat ons hoër heinings gebou het in plaas van langer etenstafels. Ons is bang dat as ons een aand vyf besoekers en ‘n paar kinders voed, dat die hele village die volgende aand by die voorstoep sal regstaan en aalmoese en kos verwag.
Ja, ons wil nie ‘n ingesteldheid of ‘n verwagting van afhanklikheid skep nie, maar is ons so selfsugtig dat ons nie kan deel wat ons het met diegene wat dit nodig het nie?
Ons het gisteraand ontbytburritos vir aandete gehad, en nadat ons gaste, bedieningsvennote en die hele span bedien is, en elkeen ‘n tweede keer kos gekry het, was daar nog ‘n burritos oor wat ek toe aan die kinders buite ons kamp gegee het.
Hoe sal ons ooit God se voorsiening kan uitput?
Matteus 6 sê dat ons nie hoef te bekommer oor wat ons sal eet of drink of dra nie, dat môre vir homself sal sorg. Dit is egter wat ons daaglikse lewe vul: ons werk hard sodat ons geld kan spaar om meer dinge te koop en meer plekke te gaan en vooruit te beplan en beter dinge te kan bekostig. En hoewel daar niks verkeerd daarmee is om spaarsamige rentmeesters te wees nie, is ek verbaas dat hierdie mense wat in modderhuise woon, omring deur bosse aan alle kante, wat 7 jaar laas ‘n goeie oes gehad het, deel wat hulle het met ‘n hele gemeenskap, hulle kla nie of hou nie terug wanneer hulle hul nshema moet deel met Westerlinge wat dink dat dit aaklig smaak sonder sout of sous nie.
Maar hier is diegene wat die minste het, die gewilligste om te deel.
Nadat ek byna 40 mense op ‘n 25-porsie begroting gevoed het, was ek herinner aan hierdie gedeelte van Kolossense (hier onder).
Laat ons ALTYD gereed wees om te bedien, te dien, te deel, ‘n antwoord te gee vir die hoop op Christus wat binne ons is!
“Wees ernstig en ongeduldig en standvastig in u gebed [lewe], wees [albei] waaksaam en bedoel [met u danksegging] met danksegging. En bid terselfdertyd ook vir ons, dat God vir ons ‘n deur kan oopmaak vir die Woord (die Evangelie), om die verborgenheid rakende Christus (die Messias) te verkondig op grond waarvan ek in die gevangenis is; Dat ek dit volledig kan verkondig en dit duidelik maak [praat met vrymoedigheid en openbaar daardie raaisel], net soos my plig. Gedra julle verstandig [leef verstandig en met oordeelkundigheid] in jul verhouding met die buite-wêreld (nie-Christene), maak die beste van die tyd gebruik en benut (koop op) die geleentheid. Laat u toespraak te alle tye genadig wees (aangenaam en oorweldigend), gekruid [soos dit was] met sout, [sodat u nooit kan verloor nie] om te weet hoe u iemand moet antwoord [wat ‘n vraag aan u stel] . “ – Kolossense 4: 2-6
We were out on Expedition in Simwatachela Chiefdom in Zambia. A bare-bones two-week ministry trip in which we drove 7 hours with the DAF truck and set up camp in the bush just outside Mafuta village. We were here to work with the local churches, visit from home-to-home, and share the Gospel.
Expeditions are exciting! During home-to-home visits, many people hear the Gospel for the first time. Zambia is known as a Christian nation, but the reality is that its churches are weighed down by false religion and doctrine, and the Kingdom has never been preached. Building relationships with local leaders and pastors is one of the greatest opportunities to encourage them from the Word.
After Bible Study (we met at the school at 14h00), we came back to camp to prepare dinner before the night meeting (which was scheduled to start at 19h00).
I was halfway into preparing dinner when Kati and Trenton asked whether we could accommodate 5 more guests for dinner.
Admittedly, I was reluctant to say yes. We had worked out decent portion sizes for each meal, but since our team is made up of mostly college-age young men (who eat their weight’s worth), there are hardly any seconds or leftovers.
Kati asked, “can we feed more people?” And I said, “Maybe. If we start praying now.”
I immediately felt convicted by Holy Spirit for my own selfishness.
We were tired and hungry, and we needed some team time before heading into the night meeting, and now we had 5 extra people, and multiple kids, who had shown up, expected to be fed, and would impose on our team time.
Holy Spirit reminded me of this passage from Hebrews 13:2 — “Do not forget or neglect or refuse to extend hospitality to strangers [in the brotherhood–being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for through it some have entertained angels without knowing it.”
Our guests were from a village 13km away. They had all walked here to attend the Bible Study, and they wanted to stay for the night meeting.
Yet, we were worried that we wouldn’t be able to feed them, and that our own comfort would suffer? Ridiculous, right?
I was reminded of the offering a young boy brought to Jesus as five thousand men (and many women and children) were gathered to hear Him teach. It was a simple offering: five loaves, and two fish. And it fed the multitudes.
How are we to feed the Spirit, if we do not feed the flesh, and vice versa?
Our Western scepticism has lead us to build taller fences in stead of longer dinner tables. We’re afraid that, if we feed five visitors and some kids the one evening, that the next evening, the whole village will line up at the doorstep, expecting handouts and food.
Yes, we don’t want to create a mindset or an expectation for dependency, but are we so selfish that we cannot share what we have with those who need it?
We had breakfast burritos for dinner last night, and after our guests, ministry partners and entire team had been served, and EVERYONE had a second helping, there were still some left, which I then gave to the kids standing around outside our camp.
Who are we to think that we can ever out-give God?
Matthew 6 says that we are not to worry about what we will eat or drink or wear, that tomorrow will take care of itself. Yet, this is what consumes our day-to-day: we work hard so that we can save money to buy more things and go more places and plan ahead and afford better stuff. And, though there’s nothing wrong with being frugal stewards, I’m amazed that these people, who live in mud houses, surrounded by bush on every side, who haven’t had a good harvest in 7 years, who share what they have with an entire community, do not grumble or complain or hold back when they have to share their nshema with Westerners who think it tastes terrible without salt or relish.
Yet, here, those who have the least are most eager to share.
As I was feeding nearly 40 people on a 25-person budget, I was reminded of this passage from Colossians (here below).
Let us ALWAYS be ready to minister, to serve, to share, to give an answer for the Hope of Christ that is within us!
“Be earnest and unwearied and steadfast in your prayer [life], being [both] alert and intent in [your praying] with thanksgiving. And at the same time pray for us also, that God may open a door to us for the Word (the Gospel), to proclaim the mystery concerning Christ (the Messiah) on account of which I am in prison; That I may proclaim it fully and make it clear [speak boldly and unfold that mystery], as is my duty. Behave yourselves wisely [living prudently and with discretion] in your relations with those of the outside world (the non-Christians), making the very most of the time and seizing (buying up) the opportunity. Let your speech at all times be gracious (pleasant and winsome), seasoned [as it were] with salt, [so that you may never be at a loss] to know how you ought to answer anyone [who puts a question to you].” — Colossians 4:2-6
Hartspad is an Afrikaans word meaning “path of the heart”.
Today I got to spend some wonderful hours outside, and did the first trail run (and honestly, first outdoor anything) since lockdown began in May!
I did a combination of walking with Marietjie and Felicity, and jogging back-and-forth, and it was lovely!
The winter scenery was exquisite, and I look forward to getting back on the trails soon!
Hartspad Adventure trails are hiker/runner/MTB friendly, with route markers clearly indicating the trails and difficulty (especially for MTB) along a beautiful course. I was very impressed with the route layout and the visible signage. Keeping fit and healthy is conducive to mental health, and today’s adventures certainly brought a measure of balance!
When I started using #runwildlivefree in 2018, it was because of a life-altering adventure I said yes to — stepping out in faith, and acting in obedience to the call of God on my life.
May you be greatly and abundantly blessed! May you see beauty in every season, and may He be your Source in all things!
May your heart be lead on paths of righteousness. May you be filled and refreshed by Holy Spirit. May you be guided by Him in all things. And may you have the courage to step into the Great Unknown, to pioneer the things that He has called you to!
Love in Christ, Cornelia 🇨🇩🤍🙌🏻
“THE SPIRIT of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound, [Rom. 10:15.] To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord [the year of His favor] and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, [Matt. 11:2-6; Luke 4:18, 19; 7:22.] To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion–to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit–that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” — Isaiah 61:1-3 AMPC
« Jésus dit: « Père, pardonne-leur, ils ne savent pas ce qu’ils font. » Les soldats tirent au sort pour savoir qui aura ses vêtements. Puis ils les partagent entre eux. »
Bonne Nouvelle selon Luc 23:34
Trahi par des amis, accusé bien qu’innocent, torturé jusqu’à être cloué sur la croix – les injustices que Jésus a souffert ne pouvaient pas être pires. Et en plus de cela les gens autour de lui se moquent de lui et l’humilient. Dévêtu, Jésus est mourant sur la croix avec ses blessures. Il y a personne pour lui offrir de la compassion. Bien au contraire, les personnes présentes cherchent à le briser avec des paroles accusatrices et ignobles. Tous les yeux sont rivés sur lui.
“While they were nailing Jesus to the cross, he prayed over and over, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” The soldiers, after they crucified him, gambled over his clothing.”
Lorsque Jésus ouvre enfin sa bouche pour répondre, personne ne s’attendait à ces paroles : « Père, pardonne-leur ! ». Ce que Jésus a enseigné dans son sermon sur la montagne à propos d’aimer ses ennemis, ces paroles sont démontrées avec la manière la plus incroyable.
Je trouve difficile de ne pas rétorquer et de ne pas me défendre, alors que je me sens victime d’une injustice. Bien sûr, je sais que dans le fond c’est pour mon bien que Jésus me demande de pardonner. Lorsque je porte une rancune à l’égard des autres, avant tout cela pèse mon cœur, mes pensées et mon âme. Jésus nous montre comment être libres de ces fardeaux. Je souhaite être guidé par cet exemple bien plus que par les choses négatives dans ma vie.
Tourne ton regard vers ton cœur. Qui est responsable pour les plus grandes blessures dans ta vie ? Qui est la personne envers qui tu as de la rancune ? Pour en être libéré, commence à prier pour cette personne pendant trois minutes. Le ressentiment ne va peut-être pas disparaître immédiatement, mais persévère dans la prière et laisse-toi inspirer par le manière que Jésus a de prier pour ses ennemis. Voilà où se trouve le premier pas vers la liberté.
“Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance.
And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation.
Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.”
— Romans 5:3-5 AMPC
As always, I invite you to let me know how I can pray for you!
I am still here, writing from my home town in South Africa, and here not much has changed since our nation-wide lockdown has been instituted. Yes, some provinces have started phasing out the lockdown restrictions, but in many ways, we are still where we were before.
I am so thankful for technology that helps us to stay connected internationally, but I am excitedly looking forward to a day when we can once again connect face-to-face!
Despite the limiting physical circumstances, MPD preparations are well under way, and language learning and life is going well. While being in lockdown, I have kept in touch with my team (spread out across Zambia and USA, since they had to evacuate DRC before the borders closed down), who are also in various phases of quarantine. While Jessy and I are fundraising through MPD, and learning French, Julie, Darrin and Sherrill are on Rapid 14.
Julie has been able to serve in the local clinic as a Midwife. She has shared some incredibly encouraging stories, and I encourage you to follow these testimonies on social media — whether on their personal profiles, or through Overland Missions.
We all anticipate the day when we will be together in DRC, advancing the Kingdom and sharing the Word of God. For now, we remain faithful in doing what we can do to prepare for post-pandemic ministry, and await communication from Overland Missions’ leadership as well as that of the various countries in which we are currently waiting out the quarantine restrictions.
In recent video meetings, our founder and president, Phillip Smethurst (CEO), predicted that many African nations (South Africa included) may take longer to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic because of the lack of medical resources and facilities that will be able to manage the influx of patients.
I spoke to some friends at Kalene Hill Hospital in Northwest Zambia (right on the border between DRC, Angola, and Zambia), and they have reported that they are only now receiving many patients who are showing symptoms of COVID-19. These areas are so remote that they are only now catching up with the global exposure to the virus. Unfortunately, people living in these remote and rural areas often don’t have access to health care (health care is in limited supply in most African countries), and generally don’t have good immune systems due to harsh physical conditions and malnutrition. However, our team gladly serves these communities, not only with humanitarian care, but with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
As far as DRC is concerned, a report was sent to our team which projected that cases for COVID-19 will peak in September. It is expected that South Africa’s borders will also remain closed until then, though limited travel in-country will be allowed. However, the guestimation that the borders might not be open to foreigners or international travel, means that things are still uncertain. We pray that things will stabilize and return to normal as soon as possible.
Even during this time, we’ve heard testimonies from our team on the ground who have shared that even though they are under lockdown, ministry continues through their disciples in the villages.
The plans and purposes of the Lord are never stopped or hindered, or even delayed by anything in this world.
I have been considering that Paul (who is, in my opinion, one of the greatest missionaries) wrote two thirds of the New Testament from prison. Our ability to go out and see other people face-to-face might be limited by lockdown, but the Good News is never locked in.
My co-workers in an Unnamed North African Country, have shared how in the midst of Ramadan, they have been able to share plates of food and snacks with their neighbours (they leave it on neighbours’ doorsteps and communicate from further down the hall). Now that they have been living in-country form some time, doing language training and discipleship, they are able to add encouraging notes to these food packages, sharing Scripture and greetings in the name of Jesus Christ, and it has opened further doors to ministry in this closed country.
We all pray and are expectant to see increase and abundance when we are able to return to the ministries we’ve been assigned to, because we know that God is continually revealing more of Himself. He still heals. He still restores. He still pours out His Spirit. There’s no bad report that can undo what God is doing in the nations. He’s always doing something new, and brining dead things to life.
As always, I invite you to share any prayer requests — you can reach me via email, social media, or WhatsApp.
Love in Christ,Cornelia
3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
This morning I’d like to share an excerpt from Capturing the heart of God for the Nations with you!
It is still true today that the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few (Matthew 9:37-38). Today, as we ride out the effects and affects of Covid-19, I ask you to orient yourself to the harvest that lies beyond.
While our ability to go out, and preach that the Kingdom is at hand may be limited right now, we can prepare for the harvest that is yet in the field, praying and asking God to send laborers into His harvest.
Moreover, won’t you be as bold to ask if He wants to send you as one of those laborers?
Love in Christ, Cornelia 🇨🇩
OUR MISSIONS RESPONSIBILITY
And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.
The torch for world missions began with the primitive Church. In obedience to the supreme commission entrusted to them, these early apostles were dispersed throughout the nations, eventually dying as martyrs because their message of Christ would be unacceptable to the religionists and the lost of their day. One of the major figures in launching world missions was the Apostle Paul, whose missionary journeys took him from Antioch into all of Asia and then to Rome toward the end of his life. Through the obedience and passion of these firebrands, the gospel fires blazed in many nations.
From generation to generation there has always been a remnant that has remained loyal and passionate to continue to grow the Church and pursue the lost. These determined followers loved not their lives unto death and sacrificially went to the regions beyond. This fire of God for the nations must once again be kindled in our hearts.
In his book, The Passion for Souls, Oswald Smith wrote about Dr. Alexander Duff:
“Dr. Alexander Duff, that great veteran missionary to India, returned to Scotland to die, and as he stood before the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, he made his appeal, but there was no response. In the midst of his appeal he fainted and was carried off the platform. The doctor bent over him and examined his heart. Presently he opened his eyes. “Where am I?” he cried. “Where am I?” “Lie still,” said the doctor. “Your heart is very weak.” “But,” exclaimed the old warrior, “I must finish my appeal. Take me back. Take me back. I haven’t finished my appeal yet.” “Lie still,” said the doctor again, “You are too weak to go back.”
But the aged missionary struggled to his feet, his determination overcoming his weakness; and with the doctor on one side and the moderator on the other side, the old white-haired warrior was led again to the platform, and as he mounted the pulpit the Apostle Paul, whose missionary journeys took him from Antioch into all of Asia and then to Rome toward the end of his life. Through the obedience and passion of these firebrands, the gospel fires blazed in many nations.
“When Queen Victoria calls for volunteers for India,” he exclaimed, “hundreds of young men respond; but when King Jesus calls, no one goes.” Then he paused. Again he spoke. “Is it true,” he asked, “that Scotland has no more sons to give for India?” Again he paused. “Very well,” he concluded, “if Scotland has no more young men to send to India, then, old and decrepit though I am, I will go back, and even though I cannot preach, I can lie down on the shores of the Ganges and die, in order to let the peoples of India know that there is at least one man in Scotland who cares enough for their souls to give his life for them.” In a moment young men, all over the assembly, sprang to their feet, crying out, “I’ll go! I’ll go! I’ll go!”
For years handfuls of people have gone, prayed, and given to the harvest, but most today remain disconnected from this call. Many Christians will give more money to buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks than they give to missions. Some will spend thousands of dollars to keep their pets healthy and strong while giving next to nothing for the sake of world missions. Their out-of-balance lives and their misplaced priorities need to be addressed.
Without a vision the people perish… Without a vision the people will not carry the gospel torch.
In developing nations, missionary zeal burns white-hot, with believers carrying the gospel torch despite their meager resources. There are nations being visited by the same Holy Spirit that blasted into the upper room and transformed a handful of trembling disciples into world-changing, dynamic soul-winners. Asia is experiencing tremendous church growth, with thousands coming to Christ each day. In Africa, believers boldly carry the gospel torch on trains and buses, and in the markets you will always find at least one zealous Christian busy about the Father’s business.
Anyone who has ever taken a short-term missions trip to a Third World nation has been impacted by the success of the gospel, as thousands are seen responding to the message of life. This gospel must be preached to all nations before the return of the Lord Jesus. We need to see the lost reached in the nations but also those all around us.
Every Christian should carry the gospel torch in this nation and to the ends of the earth through intercession, generous missionary offerings, and short-term missions trips. Some believers may even end up being called into a long-term missionary lifestyle.
“Any church that is not seriously involved in helping fulfill the Great Commission has forfeited its biblical right to exist.”
Oswald J. Smith, 1889-1986, Canadian missionary statesman and pastor
— Dr Leon Van Rooyen; Capturing the heart of God for the Nations
So, while we are all facing physical restictions in some form, we look toward the future with expectation; eagerly waiting for the go-ahead so that we can run to those who have not heard, who have not seen, so that every tribe and every tongue may come to know Him!
I know that for many of you, this season of quarantine or lockdown has taken a heavy toll on your emotional wellbeing, but I want to encourage you with this text that I recently sent to a friend: nothing you lay down in pursuit of the kingdom will ever make you less than what He created you to be. Sacrifice isn’t meant to be easy. But it’s not without reward.
Therefore, whatever sacrifice you make, or whatever challenge you face, may you endure it for the joy set before you, so that He might be made known, so that His Name may be glorified, and that all might taste and see that He is good!
I am not fond of inefficiency, but if a job takes time getting done in order to do it well, that’s just fine — because to carry the message of Christ is to do whatever it takes.
Worldwide, people are experiencing some form of quarantine. Here in South Africa, where I am currently doing MPD, our lockdown period has been extended to the end of April. While that presents some challenges with travel plans and timelines (no less than to anyone else), I aim to use this time to train my spirit and body to be a well-equipped carrier of the message of Christ.
Overland Missions’ vision is to reach remote and unreached people groups from all nations with the Gospel of Christ.
Often times, this means walking over rough terrain where there are few to no roads. It means covering long treks with 4×4 vehicles to camp in the bush. It means learning a foreign language so that you can communicate the Gospel accurately and effectively. It means sitting down for hours with one person to answer their questions and navigate cultural barriers.
No sacrifice you ever make in pursuit of the Kingdom will ever make you poor.
While this life is filled with adventure and travel, new experiences and breathtaking. scenery, our hearts are always after the ONE.
So, while I am not allowed outside, I run in circles — if that’s what it takes — to train my body to be strong and fit so that I might be a good steward of the gift of the Spirit. I study French so that I am better able to communicate to the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo — though French is not at all representative of the colourful scope of languages and peoples we are privileged to serve! I study the Word, so that this great Message of the Gospel of Identity, might be engrained in every aspect of my being — so that, whatever it takes, the Kingdom might be expanded and His Name be made known to every tribe, and every tongue!
This is the job: to run wild, so that all might live free.
“I am the Door; anyone who enters in through Me will be saved (will live). He will come in and he will go out [freely], and will find pasture. The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd risks and lays down His [own] life for the sheep. [Ps. 23.]”
This morning I took a few minutes to catch up with global Overland Missions staff, and read through a couple newsletters.
As more and more countries are implementing quarantine measures in response to COVID-19, I want to encourage you that being at home does not mean you are ineffective in ministry.
Personally, this quarantine has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster — I had specific plans and dates in place which would structure ministry and life. Like many others, such as yourselves, multiple plans have been restructured or temporarilyplaced on hold.
However, I diligently work towards improving my French vocabulary (a slow but steady progress) so that I might be more effective in reaching the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo. And spending time in the Word to be better equipped in life and ministry. 🇨🇩
Here is a fun little video about what language learning looks like for our global team, and what this looks like across nations.
As some encouragement, I wanted to share some newsletters with you from fellow Overland missionaries — ministry often does not look like you expect it to.
Be faithful in the assignment before you, and obedient to the call of God in your life, and then these in-between moments become ministry in itself!
I’d like to share this update on the worldwide COVID-19 situation from Overland Missions‘ CEO — Philip Smethurst.
As missionaries who work in the foreign field among vulnerable people groups, who are remotely situated and not regularly exposed to the outside world, our international teams consider the risk this superbug presents to isolated communities with low immunity.
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.
I’m currently working my way through The God Ask, by Steve Shadrach.
In one of the illustrations on asking in faith, the author shares a story about Emperor Napoleon who after a long and particularly brutal battle, conquered a highly prized Mediterranean island.
Afterward, while he and his generals were sitting, drinking, savoring the victory, a young officer approached Napoleon. When the revered general asked the man what he wanted, he replied, “Sir, give me this island.”
The soldier’s answer to Napoleon’s question prompts the other generals to break out in laughter, mocking him for this ridiculous request. That is until Napoleon asks for pen and paper.
To their amazement, Napoleon wrote out a deed to the island, signed it, and handed it to the lowly, bold, soldier. “How could you do that?” one of the generals asked — knowing how costly the hard-won island had been obtained. “What made this man worthy to receive a great island after we fought so hard to win it?”
Napoleon replied, “I gave him this island because he honoured me by the magnitude of his request.”
One of the notions I’ve recently been stewing over is the idea that we best honour God by agreeing with Him about the Truth. If He says it, it’s true.
May we run the race in such a manner that we honour Him with the magnitude of our requests — our prayers and our lives that reflect Him as He truly is.