I thank my God every time I think of you!

“I thank my God every time I think of you! I always pray with joy, whenever I pray for you all, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. Of this I’m convinced: the one who began a good work in you will thoroughly complete it by the day of King Jesus.”

Philippians 1:3-5

Friends! Family! Kingdom Partners! This update has been a long time coming, and I’m writing it from the stoep of Overland Missions’ logistical base in Zambia, Rapid 14, overlooking the Zambezi gorge.

Rain has just started to sift down, and in the distance I can hear the rumble of the Zambezi as it pushes over the rugged boulders that lay in the gorge. The previous time I was here, in August 2019, the Victoria Falls were nearly completely dried up, with mere trickles making their way over the magnificent cliff face. It was a wonder and beauty to behold in its own right, but I am thankful that once again the surrounding landscape is filled with buzzing bees, and chirping birds, and the rumble of the cloud that thunders.

not a bad view for writing a newsletter

It has been a while since I last sent out a full update, but I wanted this newsletter to focus specifically on thanksgiving.

Sarah Wilson

This morning when we had our team devotion, Lilly shared how gratitude changes the way we lean into the Father.

Gratitude and thanksgiving can become such forced things when we say, “Thank you, Lord, for A, B and C,” and they’re often hard words to say out loud — to God and to other people. But when, in the moment, we simply appreciate the simple things, that is, in my view, a response of gratitude and thanksgiving. Gratitude might be reflected in big things like healing, financial breakthrough, or a restored relationship. But it can also be small things, like a finch’s nest dangling on a branch after a heavy storm, a warm cup of coffee, or the steady confidence of a friend.

This past year has held many challenges — each unique in their own way — but one of the things I have TRULY come to appreciate and be thankful for, is for a tribe, and a team of family, friends, and Kingdom Partners who are able to keep my arms up in the midst of a battle.

I often find it hard to be emotionally vulnerable or transparent, especially within a faith context, because I have somehow convinced myself that I have to maintain an impenetrable facade of faith in the face of opposition as an answer to the challenges of life. It might be from trauma and wounds in my past, and I am working through those things now that I am able to recognise and name them, but I think it’s important to remember that though we are human, and we DO experience emotion (and that it’s totally valid to feel all the things), it’s important to align our experience of things with the Truth of the Word. In the moment it might be hard, to recognise and call out the lies, especially when we’re facing anxiety, uncertainty, or confusion, but it’s in those moments where things seem most overwhelming to recognise that the Truth of the Word is able to cover those things — however real they might be — and that His grace is sufficient in all things.

As I was reading through Philippians 1:3-5 I was filled with gratitude as I realised that Paul’s words to the Philippian believers were echoing in my heart as well.

a 2min video update of the last couple of days’ travelling from South Africa > Lusaka, Zambia > Rapid 14

I am immensely blessed that you (yes, you reading this update) are an extension of EVERY victory in the Kingdom. Your generous financial partnership, prayers, support, and involvement is a mobilisation of the Gospel to the nations, to unreached people groups where the Good News set slaves free, bringing hope in stead of despair, bringing life where there was death, and peace where there was hurt.

Yes, of course it’s not always easy going. It takes a LOT of hard work, many hours on the road, and personal effort. But the destination isn’t a place, it’s the people, and that’s why we go.

give this great song a listen — “I thank God”

I am often asked why I don’t simply stay in South Africa (my home country) to preach the Gospel there, because it would be easier and there (in South Africa) are also people who do not yet believe. And yes — that’s true. It would be easier.

I didn’t sign up because I thought it would be easy. I signed up because HE IS WORTHY.

As believers in a Western context we often forget that many years ago (however many that may be) a foreign missionary had come to our nation, our people, and learnt our languages to tell us about the Good News. It might seem far away from where we’re standing now, but someone still had to do it, and has done it. And because tht someone has gone, we’ve had the opportunity to hear the Gospel.

I was 16 years old when I first knew FOR SURE that I wanted to spend my life telling others about God. Not because I don’t agree with different world views or cultural practices, or spiritual convictions — but because I know that the God I serve is Living and Powerful, that He is able to break the chains of bondage, that He is able to heal and restore, to give Life, and Life in abundance — and being a missionary to a foreign nation, I have a front-row seat to bear witness to exactly that happen in individual lives. It’s not glamorous. Some days are really hard. But other days are great. And it’s still 100% worth it, even if only ONE person came to know Him.

All this to say that I am truly thankful for your partnership in the Gospel — because ministry is not one directional.

Through your prayers, support, and financial partnership, I am able to live out the call of God on my life. In the same way, I pray for each of you — and I hope that I am able to do more too — that the good work that God has started within you will bear much fruit. I pray for each of your personal lives, for your relationships, work environment, personal growth, financial growth (even in the midst of a global pandemic), your walk of faith, and healing and wellbeing. Not because it is expected, but as a symbiotic relationship within the Body of Christ, we are called to support one another however we can — sharing in joy and in misery, and contending for the Truth of the Word to be made manifest in our lives.

And on that note, I want to share some of the global Overland Missions’ team victories. In a year where the world seemed to come to a standstill, the Gospel still moved forward.

  • Overland Missions mobilised 350 full-time staff across 14 nations
  • 148.809 square miles (385.4135 km²) were covered with the Gospel — that’s roughly the size of Japan
  • On the continent of Africa, 200 missionaries across 7 nations, strived to do whatever it takes so that no person is left without the life-giving Gospel of Jesus Christ (Mozambique, Angola, North Afica, DR Congo, Zanzibar, Zambia)
  • Ministry expanded into the United States, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Brazil

You can read the full report, with specific details on the DR Congo team on p7, in the 2020 End of Year Report.

Thank you to all of you who sow and continue sowing into my life and the lives of others who are growing in Christ, receiving Christ, and are sent out by Christ. I love each and every one of you and am so excited for what the Lord is doing and going to do through your lives as well.

Giving it all might require finances, time, and sacrifice, but it’s worth it. He is worth it. The greatest gift was given when Jesus laid His own life down for us. Everything else falls short. He deserves eternal glory!

I want to encourage you all to live in the here and now. It’s important to have vision for the future, but let’s remember to practice gratitude. The Kingdom of God is eternal and we all have a part that we can play. That moment of when we stand before God’s throne, we will hear “Well done good and faithful servant. Enter into the Joy of your Lord.”Matthew 25:23

That’s the update for now, from the stoep of Rapid 14’s Main Center, and as I wait out the next 4 days of quarentine before our conference kicks off, I wish you grace and peace that surpasses human understanding.

Until the whole world hears!

#runwildlivefree

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