Sometimes the most significant moments are the ones we overlook.
It all boils down to this very moment. The sweat. The grind. They end here. For this purpose we carry out our daily marching orders. Like the fine mechanisms of a clock our gears turn in perfect harmony…
The shadows seem to dance around the fire. Perfect little faces stare in my direction, barely outlined by the orange glow emanating from the small fire. My son Caleb pours river sand on my lap, seeking my attention but his attempt is feeble. My heart is preoccupied capturing this moment to create a perfect memory; a memory I hope to retain for all eternity.
Caleb gives in and makes his home for the night nestled into my lap. My chair sinks into the river sand, gripping its restless feet into its coarse granules. I hear the echoes of my teammates voice as he shares this Gospel in Portuguese. The Portuguese is then graciously translated into Mucubal by a Mucabai gentlemen named Isaac. Mucubal… an unwritten language seeking to know this Gospel of Jesus. A language that longs to have Love interwoven in its messages and words.
The moon plays hide and seek with us, bouncing between the clouds. The riverbed has made the perfect meeting spot for our Mucubal audience. Their hearts hunger and their ears draw them nigh. We speak of the voice of God and the ultimate peace He brings with His words. We speak of Jesus, the Father God revealed, and the finished work of the cross that makes us sons and daughters and perfectly righteous.
My hope is that this meeting will continue for far longer than expected as seeds of revival are planted… this is that. This small, seemingly overlooked meeting in the middle of a dried riverbed, somewhere in Angola is why Overland Missions and its headquarters, bases, departments, and daily operations exist.
The Stateside office. The Rapid 14 base. The trucks. The machinery. The finances. Our Advanced Missions Training department. Our hospitality department. Revival week. Chief ceremony attendance. Worship services every morning. Community. Community breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The kitchen and the thousands of meals multiple hands produce. The endless paperwork. The importation of vehicles. The shipment of containers and barrels. Expeditions. Reconnaissance missions. The building of staff homes. Staff meetings. Cappuccino and tea time. Logistics. The support raising. The traveling. Newsletters. Facebook posts. Timbuctu posts. Our annual conference and staff retreat. Our tribal chaplaincy program. Our sustainability department. Our sector managers. Our sector missionaries. Drilling wells. Sourcing water. Mozambique base. Zanzibar base. Angola base. Cambodia base. Brazil base. Congo base. Oman base. The Netherlands office. Immigration visits. Work permits… they exist because of this very moment I find myself in. And if this moment should cease to exist, all of the things I just mentioned would cease to exist.
I pause and ponder this. Chills travel up my spine and goosebumps appear on my flesh. Words seem too trivial to accurately convey this thought and I wish that somehow, dear reader, someway, I could pluck you out from behind your screen so I could physically show you that which I speak of; the dramatic movie that plays in my mind beckons you. I picture the vast day-to-day operations that take place in Overland Missions, both big and small, completed by every personality under the sun. I envision the true grit on the faces of our missionaries as they cook meals, hold staff meetings, file paperwork, communicate with partners, strategize, build teams, hop on crazy buses and fly in a dozen airplanes, learn new languages, tend their children, solve logistical problems, volunteer to clean toilets and turn on generators, and more. And I pause and think how all of these things boil down to this very moment… the seemingly insignificant that holds more significance than you or I will ever know.
So, I let my kids sleep amid the riverbed tonight, cuddled together on top of a chitenge to witness the glorious faces before me receive the Word of God. The seeds making home in their hearts are so real they’re almost tangible to my very hands. My husband’s voice lulls me into a sense of comfort and peace as he expresses the heart of God through relatable stories to the ones in front of me. To a people so isolated they’ve probably never seen a carrot and don’t even know other countries exist outside of Angola. I am here because they are here. We are here because they are here.