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!
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.
“Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Israelites went through on dry ground with a wall of water on their right and on their left.”
Exodus 14:27, 29
Exodus 12:1-42; Exodus 14:5-31
Moses did as God commanded him, and went to speak to Pharaoh, saying, “Let God’s people go!”
Moses and his brother Aaron went to Pharaoh and did everything God
commanded. Aaron threw his staff on the
ground, and it turned into a snake. Pharaoh laughed, “My sorcerers can
easily repeat this little trick!” The Egyptian magicians also threw their
staffs on the ground, and they turned into snakes as well. But the snake from Aaron
‘s staff was bigger, and it swallowed the magicians’ snakes.
Pharaoh was a cruel and strict king, and he did not want to let the
Israelites go because they were hard workers and they were his slaves. God
hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he refused to set the Israelites free.
Moses trusted God for a plan, and God sent plagues to Egypt. First,
the Nile turned into blood. All the fish died and the river smelled so bad that
the Egyptians could not drink the water. Then God sent a plague of frogs. There
were so many that they covered the land. Then there was a plague of gnats —
they were so many that they looked like dust from the desert. Next, God sent a
plague of flies. The fifth plague God sent on the Egyptians was death to
livestock. All the Egyptian horses, donkeys, camels, goats, sheep, and cattle
Pharaoh would still not listen! He would not let God’s people go!
Then God sent a plague of boils that caused the Egyptians to become
very sick. He also sent hail, and the hail destroyed all the planted crops.
Then, a plague of locusts came, and they ate all the crops the hail had not
destroyed. The Egyptians had no food reserves left!
Then the lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the
sky, and darkness will spread over Egypt. It will be as thick as a
blanket.” Moses did as God commanded, and it became very dark for three
“Pharaoh, let God’s people go!” said Moses, but Pharaoh
Then God said to Moses, “Gather the Hebrews, and tell them to
slaughter a lamb. Put the blood of the lamb on your doors and windows, and eat
together. Tonight I will send an Angel through Egypt, and he will kill all the
firstborn children. When the Angel sees the blood on the doors and windows, it
will pass over, and will not come into your houses.”
That night, the Angel went through Egypt and killed all the
firstborn children to every family — even Pharaoh’s son. At last, Pharaoh gave
up and said to Moses, “Take your people, and leave.”
The Hebrews rejoiced! God had freed them from Egypt! When they came
to the sea, there was no way to get to the other side, so God split the water
in two, and they could safely pass on dry land.
Discover: God wants what is best for us.
Memorize: “Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Israelites went through on dry ground with a wall of water on their right and on their left.” Exodus 14:27, 29
“You will be in charge of my palace, and my people will submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.”
Genesis 37 – 50
The bottom of the pit was dark and cold. Joseph looked up, and saw
some movement at the top. There were many voices talking together in a language
that he did not understand. A rope came falling down the side of the pit.
“At last!” thought Joseph, “My brothers decided that
they were wrong to throw me in this hole, and they have decided to save
When Joseph reached the top, strong hands grabbed him and tied a
rope around his wrists.
Judah folded his hands across his chest. “You thought you were
so important telling us about the dreams you had where we would bow down to
you. And our father even thought you were special and made you colourful
“Here comes the dreamer!” said Simeon and bowed down to
The people speaking a strange language loaded Joseph on a wagon. His
brothers had sold him as a slave. He looked back at them as they were laughing
and cheering, and sadness filled his heart. He knew that God was faithful.
Joseph trusted God.
Many years later, Joseph was working as a servant in Potiphar’s house. Potiphar was the captain over Pharaoh’s guards. The Lord was with Joseph, and he did very well in the house of his Egyptian master. Potiphar’s wife grew jealous of Joseph, and she thought of a plan to have him thrown in jail. But, while he was in jail, God’s favor was on Joseph. Joseph made friends while he was in jail, and he helped them to understand the dreams God had sent them. They promised to tell Pharaoh about Joseph and his ability to understand dreams when they were released.
One day Pharaoh sent one of his soldiers to fetch Joseph from jail.
Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream; and no one can
understand it. But I have heard it said that you can understand dreams,”
“I cannot interpret dreams,” said Joseph to Pharaoh,
“but God will give you the answer you desire.”
Pharaoh explained his dream to Joseph. He was standing on the bank
of the Nile while seven fat cows were grazing nearby. Then, seven skinny cows
came, and they swallowed the seven fat cows. Pharaoh also dreamt about seven
healthy heads of grain that grew from a single stalk. Then seven more heads of
grain sprouted, but these were thin and they were blown away by the wind.
Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Both dreams Pharaoh had have the
same meaning. There will be seven years of abundance, followed by seven years
of drought and famine. Pharaoh will be wise to save grain during the years of
abundance so that Egypt and the nations around here will not starve during the
Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to
you, there is no one as wise as you. You will be in charge of my palace and all
my people will submit to your orders.”
God had remained faithful and kept his favor on Joseph’s life. That which others intended for harm, God used for good.
Discover: God makes everything work together for the good of those who love
Memorize: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
“She named him Moses, saying, “I drew him out of the water.”
Pharaoh was a
cruel and strict king. He wanted the Israelites to work as slaves and build big
palaces and temples for him. One day, Pharaoh realised that the Israelites were
becoming more than the Egyptians.
Israelites are slaves,” Pharaoh said to himself. “If they become too
many, they will start a rebellion and overthrow my ruler ship. I will find a
way to get rid of them.”
his advisors together, and they wrote a law that said every Hebrew boy younger
than two years old had to be fed to the crocodiles in the Nile.
There was a
young Hebrew woman who had just had a baby boy. She did not want the soldiers
to kill her son, so she made a basket from reeds, and covered it with sticky
tar to make it waterproof. She told her daughter Miriam to take the basket down
to the Nile, and hide it between the reeds.
her baby brother down to the Nile, and placed his basket on the water. She hid
close by where she could watch the basket.
Suddenly, a big
Egyptian boat passed by and it caused big waves. The baby and his basket
drifted further away from the shore. Miriam could not catch it in time! The
basket was already floating downstream.
Please protect my brother,” Miriam prayed.
tossed and turned in the waves, and crocodiles swam around it — snapping their
Then, the basket
drifted into a quiet part of the river, right in front of Pharaoh’s palace! The
Egyptian princess saw the basket, and told one of her servants to fetch it for
When she opened
the basket, she saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him.
closer and said, “Princess, I know a Hebrew woman who would be able to
care for this baby.”
fetch her,” said the princess. “I will call this baby Moses, because
I drew him out of the water.”
Discover: God takes care of us through others
Memorize: “She named him Moses, saying, “I drew him out of the water.” ” Exodus 2:10
I promise — I do more than run around and take unstable videos of things.
This is a summary of yesterday’s jaunt. The mud was kindly supplied by hurricane Kenneth.
For the past few days, we’ve had the loveliest showers and I’m so excited to see rivers and dams filling up.
South Africa has been suffering under extended drought for the past 4 years, and as a water scarce country surface water is not nearly enough to maintain the continually increasing demand for water for humans, animals and crops.
Large parts of Kwa-Zulu Natal have been flooded, and even now Hurricane Kenneth is ripping through northern Mozambique and the lower end of Tanzania.
Infrastructure is completely destroyed, taking with it the meager crops that was left over after hurricane Idai ripped through the country, less than a month ago.
So many precious people lost their lives, many lost loved ones, and many still lost their homes and livelihood.
I remain confident that, even in the destruction, there will be testimony of God’s faithfulness and His abundance.
My friends, these are the signs of the times! The harvest is ready, but the labourers are few!
Therefore, pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send out more labourers into the fields!
Go then and make disciples of all the nations,baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all the days (perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion), to the [very] close and consummation of the age. Amen (so let it be).
“God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.”
Genesis 18:1-15; Genesis 21:1-6
One day Sarah
was sitting in the shade of the tent, fanning herself to cool off. The sun was
blazing, and it was too hot to work outside. The camels were sleeping in the
shade, and the sheep were gathered around the cool water of the well.
running in to the tent.
“Sarah! Visitors are
coming! Call the servants! Fetch water so that our visitors can wash, and
prepare some bread for them to eat. I will slaughter a calf, and we will give
them a place to rest from the heat.”
The men sat down
to eat and rest.
“Where is your wife, Sarah?” the
visitors asked Abram.
“She is in the tent,”
“In exactly one year your wife Sarah will have a son,” said the visitor.
help but laugh! Was this a joke? She was already 90 years old. That’s too late
to start a family.
“I am old, but Abram is
even older than I am,” Sarah said to herself. “We won’t be able to
raise a child at this age.”
entered into the tent.
“Why do you laugh, Sarah?
Is anything too hard for the Lord? In exactly one year I will visit you again,
and then you will have a son.”
The Lord was
gracious to Sarah, and He fulfilled His promise. In their old age, Sarah and
Abraham got a son and they named him Isaac.
“God has brought me
laughter and He has restored my joy!” Sarah said. “Everyone who hears
about the birth of my son will celebrate with me!”
Sarah lifted their son toward God, and thanked Him for his faithfulness.
Discover: God brings us joy.
Memorize: “God has brought me
laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” Genesis
“Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”
Abram stood on the hill overlooking the valley. In the distance, he could see the lights of the city. The night was quiet and a cool breeze blew across the hilltop. Abram looked up at the stars above him. They were spread out like bright jewels on a dark velvet cloth, shining brightly. In the distance, he could hear his sleep bleat as they shuffled around, looking for a place to sleep. Abram looked up at the moon and tried to see if he could recognize any constellations. He even saw a shooting star!
Abram knew it
was God speaking to Him.
“Yes, Lord. Here I am.” Abram
“Look up at the
heavens and count the stars. Tell me how many there are.” Said God.
Abram shook his
head and replied, “Lord, you know that I am old and that I cannot see that far!
Besides, there are too many stars to count!”
“You shall be the Father of
Nations, Abram. You will have as many children as there are stars.”
“How is this possible, Lord?”
asked Abram. “I am an old man, and I don’t have any children. Isn’t it too late
for me to have a son? I am nearly one hundred years old!”
“Abram,” said God, “I have many
great plans for you and your family, and their families to come. I promise to
watch over you and your descendants,” said God.
Abram closed his
eyes and imagined what it would be like to hold his own son for the first time.
Ten toes and ten fingers, and the brightest brown eyes! He would call his son
Isaac. Abram was not sure how everything would work out, but he knew that God
would keep his promise. Abram trusted in God.
that He would change Abram’s name to Abraham, which means Father of Nations.
God promised that Abraham’s family would become kings, and that they would be
His special, chosen people. God’s promise, which is also called a covenant, was
the beginning of an adventure for Abram and his family.
This promise, or
covenant, was part of a long, long friendship God keeps with his special,
chosen people. God promised to protect them and lead them, and show them the
way through every adventure.
Discover: When Isaac was born as the first of many sons, Abraham was 100
years old, and Sarah was 90!
day the Lord made a covenant with Abram.” Genesis 15:18
“I have put my rainbow in the clouds… The waters will never become a flood to destroy all life again.”
Genesis 9:13, 15
Noah was sitting in the shade watching his sons play with a ball. Shem passed
the ball to Ham while Japheth tried to stop him from scoring a goal. Noah
laughed aloud when Shem gave Ham a high five after scoring.
God said to
Noah, “The people on earth have grown corrupt and violent. This is not why I
created Man. I am going to make a new start to the earth and its people.”
All of a sudden,
Noah heard God speak to him.
Noah was a
righteous man. He always lived close to God. God chose Noah and his family to
be part of the new start He was planning.
“What do you want me to do,
God?” said Noah, and he kneeled down to pray.
God told Noah to
build a big boat and call it the Ark. God gave Noah specific instructions about
the size and shape the Ark should take.
praying, and got up from where he was kneeling. He called his sons together and
explained God’s plan to them.
“Shem, Ham, Japheth, God wants
us to build the Ark. It is going to be a safe place where we can hide when the
“Father, what is a flood?” asked
“God said it is going to rain a
lot. The many waters will cause a flood”, answered Noah.
Noah and his
sons started building the Ark. They worked hard every day to complete the
building project in time. Every day people from the villages around them came
to look at the Ark. They laughed at Noah and his sons and pointed at the Ark
saying, “That will never float! Where will you find water?”
Noah and his
sons remained obedient to God.
When the Ark was
finished, Noah and his family went inside, along with different kinds of
animals. This was part of God’s plan to start new life on earth once the water
of the flood had drained away.
It started to
rain, but Noah and his family were not afraid. God had a plan. They would trust
Discover: It rained for forty days and forty nights, and the water covered
the tallest mountaintops. Everything on earth died. Only Noah and his family
were left. God remembered his promise to Noah and He made a new start with
Noah, his family, and the animals on the Ark.
Memorize: “I have put my rainbow in
the clouds… The waters will never become a flood to destroy all life again.”
Genesis 9:13, 15
“You must not eat the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden.”
On a sunny afternoon, Eve was sitting on a
rock, when she saw a creature she had never seen before.
are you?” she asked.
am the sssssserpent,” said the creature, flicking its long tongue.
“Do you sssssssmell the delicioussssss fruit on that Tree?”
The Tree was at the centre of God’s
beautiful garden. Bright fruit hung from the Tree’s branches.
told us not to eat the fruit from The Tree,” said Eve. “Any other
tree is fine, but not this one.”
The serpent slithered up the tree and coiled
itself around a big branch.
you ssssssure God ssssaid you sssshouldn’t eat thissss fruit? He is jussssst
afraid you will become like Him if you eat it. Then your eyesssss will be
opened, and you will underssssstand many thingsssssss.”
Eve’s stomach growled. She was hungry. Maybe
she could try just one bite?
She reached up toward The Tree and picked a
bright fruit from the branches. Then she took a big bite.
As the juice from the fruit dribbled down
her chin, Adam peeked out from behind The Tree.
you have to try this! The fruit is sweet and delicious!” said Eve.
Adam knew that God told them to eat fruit
from The Tree, but he took a bite anyway.
Adam looked at Eve. Eve looked at the
serpent. The serpent slithered off into the bush. Something had changed.
Something was not right. Adam and Eve heard God walking in the Garden, but instead
of running to him like they always do, they felt ashamed and decided to hide.
Adam and Eve had sinned. They were
disobedient to God. Sin had separated Adam and Eve from God’s presence.
Adam and Eve could no longer live in the Garden. They knew God still loved them, but they knew life would be very different from now on.
Discover: After Adam and Eve left the Garden, God placed an angel with a
flaming sword at the entrance to the Garden so that nobody could get back
Memorize: “You must not eat the fruit of the tree in the middle of the
garden.” Genesis 3:3
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
when God said, “Let there be light!”
separated the light from the darkness. All in one day! God called the darkness night,
and the light day. This was the very first day.
The next day God
made water. It bubbled and whooshed, and it covered the earth with oceans and
rivers and lakes. And up, up high, God placed the sky. All in one day! This was
the second day.
God pushed the
whooshing water to one side to make land. He made trees with roots that dug
deep into the soft ground. He made sprouts that burst into budding plants,
bearing fruit and beautiful flowers. All in one day! This was the third day.
Then God made
the sun and the moon, and he put them in the sky. He made the sun to shine
during the day, and the moon to shine at night. God also made stars and
planets, and He scattered them across the sky. God wanted the planets and the
stars to show different seasons. He saw that everything was good. All in one
day! This was the fourth day.
In the sea, God
placed different fish and all kinds of creatures. In the sky, He put birds –
some of them large and soaring, and some of them small and chirping. God made
the fish and the birds all in one day! This was the fifth day.
Then God made
wild animals of every kind – tall, short, furry, smooth, round, skinny, some
crawled and some jumped, and some walked! He made every animal according to his
or her kind, and He saw that it was good.
Now it was time
to create the Masterpiece! God said, “let us make Man in our image and
likeness so that He can rule with us”.
God made Adam,
the very first man. Then He made Eve, the very first woman. He created Adam and
Eve to have relationship with Him, and He saw that he made them very good! God
blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number. Help me to rule
over Creation by looking after the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky,
and all the animals on the ground.” He made wild animals and people – all
in one day! This was the sixth day.
By then God had
finished the work he had been doing, so he rested. For an entire day. He
blessed the seventh day and set it apart as a day of rest.
everything, and now the world and everything that lives in it was ready for the
adventure to begin!
Discover: God created Adam from the dust of the ground. Then God formed Eve from Adam’s rib.
Memorize: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis
One of the ways we express love is by showing compassion.There are multiple verses from Scripture that attribute compassion to God’s character. As much as He is Love, and Good, and King, and Just, and Kind, and Fair, He is compassionate — slow to become angry, and abundant in mercy.
Compassion is deeper than sympathy in that it urges us to take action.
Merriam-Webster’s definition of Compassion.
Here are the Scriptures we’ll be looking at in this Devotional:
Compassion will propel you beyond your natural resources to access heaven’s resources; prompting you to look beyond your own needs, desires, and pain, as it urges you to respond to the move and unction of Holy Spirit.
Compassion has power because it’s God’s own power that is at work in us, and through us. Compassion calls you out of the boat, beyond your self-imposed limitations, beyond your comfort zone, into the uncharted waters where the glory of God dwells.
We must ask God to revive a heart of COMPASSION within us — to feel what He feels, to see through His eyes, and to respond with His heart, and His love.