Founder Bio

Meet Philip and Sharon Smethurst, Founders of Overland Missions

Philip Smethurst is the founder and president of Overland Missions. Overland Missions is dedicated to communicate the Gospel to the neglected and isolated people of the world. In 1999, Philip and his wife Sharon founded Overland and under their guidance, it is currently at work in 14 countries.

Philip was born in South Africa and began his work in the ministry in 1989, at the age of 20, after finishing a two-year stint in the South African military. While in the military, he was deployed into Angola for a year-long operation fighting with the U.S. backed UNITA militia.

founder-bioAfter he served in the military, Philip traveled independently for six years throughout more than 40 countries. It was during that time that he was contracted by Camel Trophy to be an international instructor in highly publicized expeditions. These expeditions spanned the most challenging terrain on earth including: Indonesia, Africa, Mongolia, Central America, South America from the Equator to Tierra del Fuego, Burma, Tonga and Fiji.

The vital experience that Philip gained became part of the platform that spurred the vision to start Overland Missions. Overland works in the nations to build an infrastructure that uses advanced vehicles and technology to reach people who remain isolated by geography.

Overland is committed to bring the Gospel, humanitarian care and economic opportunities to save and empower lives. It mobilizes pioneering expeditions to work among neglected people all around the world. Overland has a fully functional logistical base in Livingstone, Zambia that serves as a hub for all of the expeditions within the defined unreached sectors in sub-Saharan Africa.

Philip and Sharon met in East London, South Africa in 1997 and quickly realized that they shared the same love for the nations. Sharon was born to missionary parents in Portugal and raised in Brazil. She dedicated her life to serving people through the ministry, receiving training at a missions school in Brazil. At 18 years old, Sharon began to travel the world and lead worship and has since traveled to over 40 countries sharing the Gospel of Christ.


Philip and Sharon have been featured on CNN Headline News, CNN International and Fox World News. Philip and Sharon were rated by Charisma Magazine in 2007 as being one of the top 30 emerging voices in the USA. They have also been featured in print in both Charisma and Outside for their work in developing nations and their work with the unreached people of the world.