“The last great gift I want to give to my people is a move of God.”

With a tear rolling down his distinguished face, Emperor Mwanta Yanvwa of the Lunda tribe professed this heart cry to my husband, Jacob Schwertfeger, when they met in Lubumbashi, DRC in September of last year.

Neither of them understood the weight behind their “chance” meeting. Jacob’s passport had been detained by Congolese police and he made calls in desperation to the highest authorities he could think of. The MwantaYanvwa caught wind of the situation, righted the wrong, and insisted on a face-to-face meeting–with a missionary.

A mere eight months later, and history was made as the Emperor and his Queen, surrounded by a party of senior chiefs and entourage, entered Livingstone for the first time in the history of the tribe. The MwantaYanvwa traveled three days by road and one day by air to reach us from his remote place amongst the Lunda people. Overland Mission’s Rapid 14 base had the privilege of hosting him and his leaders for a week of revival meetings. At first, the tribal officials didn’t understand the cause of his travel. “But”, they admitted at last, “We have come to the conclusion that this is a spiritual encounter.”

We sat together as a Body of Christ during that week and rejoiced under the presence of the Lord, thanking Him for His purpose in every tribe, tongue, and nation. What an honor it was to minister the freedom and joy of Jesus to the Emperor, his Queen, the senior chiefs and their wives, and those in official government positions. Joy and praise abounded because the country and continent that the world has dared to label the “Heart of Darkness” has begun to burst into Marvelous Light through the call and anointing on these tribal leaders who are fathers and mothers to their people. We truly believe that the plan and purpose of our good Father will shine on the faces of those leaders who have committed their ways to Him. And THAT is a visitation worth everything.


A new program and vision within Overland Missions is the beginning of our Student Sponsorship Program in 2015. Wherever we go in Zambia, we see the need for education. And wherever there is a need for education, we see the obstacles that stand in the way of receiving it. One of the big obstacles here in Zambia is that the school fees that even the government schools charge are out of reach for those not gainfully employed. That means that up to 60% of students in Zambia do not complete their secondary school education, because they lack the funds necessary to pay those fees.

 

At just one school, in just one village, in just one district in the country of Zambia, we have identified 10 of the brightest and most promising students. Their only battle? They cannot pay the fees necessary to stay in school. Some of them live so far from the nearest secondary school that they get up at 4:30 in the morning to make the trek in the dark. Sometimes it rains as they walk. More often it’s blazing hot. They turn around in the afternoon and walk back, only to do it all again the next day. They often walk on little to no food and with the anxiety of worrying if they will be turned away from school that day because the bill has not been paid.

 

These students stay up into the wee hours studying by candlelight. They polish their broken shoes covered in the dust of the road before entering the classroom. They wash their one uniform every night and put it on damp in the morning. They are fighting to get an education for the purpose of making a difference in the lives of their families.

 

The least we could do is allow the fight to be a fair one.

 

In addition to covering their tuition bill and fitting them with new uniforms and strong shoes, we have begun to have weekly discipleship sessions for these precious 10 students. Maria and Emmanuel take off their uniform shirts as soon as they arrive, revealing funny T-shirts underneath. Gabriel and Everson kick off their shoes at the door, more comfortable without them. They share their questions and talk about their concerns. They learn about the Bible and pray together for their upcoming exams. And they play raucous games that require the desks to be rearranged.

 

Before their end of term exams in December, the students told us what subjects they were most concerned about. We made it a point of prayer for them and kept them in mind the whole of exam week. They lived up to their potential and worked hard to study for those exams. This week, I traveled to the school to get their exam results and discuss them together with them. They stared at me nervously as I shuffled through them, straining to see the results as the papers were still in my hands. Guess what? NINE of the ten students improved their grades dramatically from the term before. No one failed [This is almost unheard of in a Zambian classroom. Almost every student fails at least one subject every term.] Almost everyone received distinctive marks and were noted for working very hard. Just a few received a comment about, “working even harder” and you could see their determination focus on the bottom of that report. Patrick said, “I will improve this more next term. They will see how hard I can work.”

 

It brought tears to my eyes as they left that small office that morning. They were smart kids before. Motivated kids. Strong and brave kids. But from just a few people consistently telling them the truth of their value, they became something else. They became convinced! Convinced that they are worth every ounce of motivation they pour into what they are completely capable of doing—changing their nation.

 

Maybe I’ll have my Zambian residency and be able to vote by the time one of them runs for president!


Vaughan Preaching“What happens if one of you believes what I say…and it changes your life?”

Last week, Overland Missions, as well as countless other bodies of believers, said “goodbye for now” to Vaughan Jarrold when he passed away suddenly. The missionaries here at the Rapid 14 base in Zambia didn’t get the opportunity to be with Vaughan’s family or attend his “life celebration” funeral. So, the only way I know to bring honor from afar towards our father in the faith, who was also our leader, prophet, and friend, is to challenge myself to do what he spoke out in one of his most remembered sermons.

Vaughan would not exult at his name being mentioned over and over. He would not be impressed with flowery obituaries praising his value. He knew his value. And he made it his life mission to communicate to others THEIR value and responsibility in the Kingdom.

So here goes, Vaughan-in-the-Heavenlies. Here’s what God has said, what you always communicated clearly, and what I commit radically and afresh to believing:

  1. He will provide for you.

“I was young and now I am old, and I have never seen the righteous forsaken, nor his children begging for bread.”Psalm 37:25

I’ve been doing this ministry thing for just a blip of time compared to Vaughan’s 30+ years. But still I know that He has NEVER, EVER failed me. Why would I ever doubt Him?

  1. There is nothing impossible for God.

“But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Jesus didn’t say that some things, or even most things would be possible for God. He said ALL THINGS are possible for the God of the Universe.

  1. You have no reason for, or right to, fear.

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”Romans 8:15

Not only do we have no NEED to be in fear, since we have the protection and provision of God; we have no RIGHT to fear. He has called us out of slavery for a reason and a purpose.

  1. There is absolutely no part of having a spouse and children that can hinder you in any way in ministry.

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine, within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.” –Psalm 128:3

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward…blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them.” –Psalm 127:3,5

A Scripture that Vaughan often used was from the book of Titus, and it says that the “older women are to train the young women to love their husbands and children.” He emphasized the TRAINING part. It does not always come naturally to understand that children can only bless and not hinder your ministry. Especially when you are spending hours in their care at the sacrifice of other kinds of ministry. But God has purpose for our children, and for our families! May the BLESSED arrows in our quivers be a constant benefit in God’s calling on our lives.

  1. Stop making excuses.

Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” -Matthew 28:19

All the nations do not yet have disciples. How do you know that you’re not supposed to take the Gospel to them?

  1. You will never regret falling under authority.

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account.” –Hebrews 13:17

 What a blessing to believe the principle that in addition to the Holy Spirit, my leaders are “keeping watch” over me. And what freedom that joyful submission gives to us.

  1. Shut up and listen.

The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.” –Proverbs 12:15

Is it possible that this is the “Vaughanism” that I think about the most? Yes. And he told me directly, as a young 23-year old with all the wisdom and knowledge I thought I would ever need, to, “Stop talking and LISTEN TO ME.” I am thankful for his reminder that with my mouth open, I am only learning what I already know. But with it closed, I can listen to the wisdom of those who have walked roads I have not even considered.

I will really miss Vaughan. We all will. I will miss the breath of fresh air that he brought to his ministry times at the Rapid 14 base. I will miss the encouragements, prophetic statements, and rebukes that sent me scribbling in my journal so as not to miss a word. I will miss bringing him a cup of tea to have him look up at me and say, “Thank you, Princess.” But I would not do justice to his ministry by only missing him when he is exactly where he wants to be. So, in addition, I will set his life as an “ebenezer.” As a reminder of a general who helped to father me to a place of depending on the same Holy Spirit that lives inside of both of us.

I will take your challenge, pastor, teacher, friend, father Vaughan, to believe not only what you have said, but the message that lived inside of you. And I will praise my heavenly Father because of it.

 

 

 

 


The church was hot. So hot that the men at the front had sweat dripping from their chins and falling onto the lapels of their suit jackets. The music coming from the speakers was loud and raucous, and every person sang with their whole heart, so that the children sat covering their ears. The dancers were waving palm leaves back and forth in rhythm to the music with their arms up and their heads down; all of their attention focused on praising the Lord with their dancing and singing.

A generation ago, a year ago, a week ago-these people were worshipping Allah. They were believers in the faith that says that only men may pray in the mosque and women must cover their entire bodies when stepping foot in public. They understood God first as a judge and second as powerful-but never as loving and full of grace. They prayed out of ritual and worshipped without understanding and lived through fear. Fear that if the works were not done correctly then righteousness would not be earned. And they were right. It wouldn’t be. It couldn’t–in fact–be earned by an act of righteousness outside of the one act of righteousness fulfilled on the cross.

Through the work of a faithful local pastor and his team of ministers, many on Zanzibar have come to know Christ and attend one of 14 small churches of Spirit-filled believers on the island. Those who are believers in Christ are not without persecution in their communities that are 95-99% Muslim Some attend church across town so that those whom they live near will not persecute them. Some women continue to cover their heads and faces in public to escape the attention of those who disapprove of their freedom. But those believers are ultimately salt and light in their communities and testimonies of God’s faithfulness and passion to set people free from legalism, religion, and fear. And there are those who are willing to hear of Christ’s love and enter into HIS righteousness. In fact, the Sunday that Jacob preached while we visited, TWO women came forward to receive Jesus out of Muslim backgrounds.

As our family returned to Zambia from Zanzibar last week, I couldn’t help but add another place to the group of African countries that I have come to love. This one so different in culture. In food and dress. In history and religion. But the same in their need. The need for workers who will passionately go after the harvest until the whole world knows. We traveled to Zanzibar this year to be a small part of a chain of people who have sown into the island so far. And we are so privileged to do just a few of the tasks that allow a more full-time Overland team to gather there next year. Every job that Jake and I get to make the way for becomes the dream job. The one that we would happily move from our home here on the base and become the pioneers for. And every team that makes the move into a new area become our new heroes—the bringers of unfailing hope. It is so wonderful to be a part of a team where every individual is willing to GO, to never count the cost, and to assess not the sacrifice, but the glory that it brings to our Father. As they say in their church in Zanzibar, “Bwana Yesu Sifiwe.” PRAISE THE LORD!

 

 


For the last 9 years, our family has faithfully served the rural people of Zambia, Africa. Our weeks were sometimes difficult, but often predictable in that we knew we would find ourselves on little traveled roads, ministering to a people who were not accustomed to visitors. We have had the great privilege of preaching the Gospel to hundreds of remote villages and tens of thousands of people.

Overland Missions values and honors our relationships with the rural people of Zambia and with the leaders of Zambia. The opportunities to meet with Tribal Leadership just keep flooding in, and since arriving to Zambia in March of this year we have travelled to nearly every corner of Zambia and met with Chiefs from every province of this nation. Our purpose was to share a new vision we believe is given as a strategy from the Lord to infiltrate every palace with the culture of the kingdom of God. The picture above was a gathering of the 30 chiefs who represent the House of Chiefs in Zambia. These chiefs meet annually to discuss the key initiatives that will shape tribal culture for the year to come. By the grace of God, we were given an opportunity to host a meal on their final night and minister the gospel of Jesus Christ to these men and women. We shared our vision for a tribal chaplaincy program that puts Overland Missions into a position of training and discipling a small team of godly advisors to be present on all of the 288 chief palace grounds in Zambia. The chaplains’ main role would be to minister the Word of God to the Chief or Chieftainess and their family as well as provide intercession and godly council.

 

IMG_1194

Jacob preaching to 30 Representative Chiefs from The House of Chiefs

We are taking this strategy from the Old Testament model: Godly leaders always surrounded themselves with godly counsel. We shared this passion with the gathering of chiefs and watched in amazement as the entire room nodded in agreement and commented that this was critically important for the nation of Zambia.

Revival is touching the tribal leaders of Africa and it is beginning in this beautiful nation we have come to call home.

Opportunities like this have enabled Overland
 Missions to place mission bases and sectors in every
region of the nation. Last month our family 
drove 3000 kilometers round trip to the eastern province of
 Zambia. We were able to meet with and preach the Word to 
paramount Chief Mpezeni, along with 8 of the other royal 
highnesses in his area. We also got the opportunity to minister to a king of Malawi and dozens of chiefs from the bordering country of Mozambique. As these leaders give their lives to the Gospel, it literally opens the door for millions of people to follow Jesus Christ.

When we aren’t in transit to these kind of meetings, our family has been able to visit our sector missionaries in their various rural deployments. It is amazing to see the commitment of our team members in these difficult rural settings and how God is transforming the lives of the people around them.

Next week (August 20-27) kicks off the first ever Overland Missions Tribal Chaplaincy Training here on our Rapid 14 base in Zambia. We are so excited to see the fruit of these pioneering expeditions, which we know will result in well-discipled men and women at the side of the Chiefs who are making the decisions for the wellbeing of their country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


A few Sunday mornings ago, I was given the great privilege of “bringing the Word” to our congregation here on the Rapid 14 base. I wanted to share with you what the Lord put on my heart for that time.

 

I have confessed in this space in the past. The truth is: I am a reformed scaredy cat. Before I moved to Africa, I was afraid of everything that crawled, flew, slithered, and stalked. I was afraid of dirt and ants. I was afraid of poverty and inconvenience. I was afraid of marriage and of motherhood. Upon moving to Zambia, I had not a few breakdowns about the perceived “craziness” that is life here. And then…I got over it. Or should I say, The Lord supernaturally took away my fear. He cast it far from me. I am no longer nervous about a snake in my path or an unplanned day. I am so grateful for that.

 

But when I really get honest before the Lord, I find that there still fears that occasionally find their way into this new heart. Mostly, they have to do with “not having time,” “being too tired,” and “not sure if that would work out.”

 

I was so encouraged to consult the Word of God and find that it spoke to directly to my silly fears.

 

In 2 Timothy 1:6,7 Paul is writing to his disciple Timothy. He writes to “remind” him of things that Timothy needs to remember to fan into flame. Paul brings to Timothy’s mind the fact that he has been prayed for; the gifts of God have taken up residence in his spirit. I know that I am not insulted to be compared to Timothy, so I am very ready to hear whatever Paul has to say to this faithful brother, who was also a missionary and a lover of people, and apply it to my own life.

 

Paul reminds him of this: “You were given a spirit, not of fear…” He means that God gave Timothy a life source-a breath. And that breath did not contain timidity or cowardice. The definition of cowardice is: “An unwillingness or inability to sustain hardship, pain, or trial.” We do not have that breath! Our breath is one that CAN sustain hardship, pain, or trials of ANY and ALL kinds.

 

Paul continues to remind Timothy that what he WAS given was a spirit of power. That word “power” is used in the New Testament by JESUS. He uses it to refer to the power and position He has been given at the right hand of the Father. It is referring to the “inherent power that resides in a thing by virtue of its nature.” Friends, THAT is the kind of power that resides in us by the grace of the Lord through the Holy Spirit. We have no lack. We have no ability to feel “powerless.” The very breath of God in us is HIS power because of the virtue of HIS nature.

 

The Scripture goes on further to say that we have a spirit of LOVE. This is the “agape love that God has for His children. This is the love that “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.” (1 Corin. 13:7) Ever worry that you don’t love people QUITE enough to complete the task that God has given you? That maybe your passion has waned? The truth is: The same love is living inside of that moved in God when He sent His own son down to earth and sent Him to the cross for our sake. It’s a love that is not intimated by the weaknesses or pride of others. It is a love that is completely confident in His love for US, which makes us confident in our love for others.

 

And finally, Paul says that we have the spirit of SELF-CONTROL. Or, in some versions, A SOUND MIND. It turns out that the wording “a sound mind” is closer to the original Greek. Because the Greek words that are used there have roots in this thought: “MIND” and “SAFE.”

 

Before we knew Jesus, our minds were not safe places. There was darkness lurking there. Accusations. Shame. Irrational anger and worry. Now that our minds are a dwelling place of the Prince of Peace, they are safe. They are, in fact, a “MIND SAFE.” The word implies a “restoration to ones’ senses.” And since Paul used it, I feel confident that he meant “a restoration of ones’ senses to HIS senses.” Isn’t it good to know that we do not have to listen to or be swayed by our OWN senses? Instead, we can be assured that we can quickly and without drama turn our own worry and fear back to the One who created our minds as “safe places”; and be restored to His senses on the matter.

 

I may have taken liberty here. But from my short research on this verse, I would like to present an “amplified” version of the verse so that we can see just how clearly Paul was confronting the things that we may deal with in the day-to-day:

 

Dear Timothy,

 

Let me remind you, my son, that you have been given a gift. It is already in you. Do not forget to contend for it. Because…

 

“Our lives are not lived in cowardice [lack of courage to face difficulty, danger, opposition, or pain.] They are lived with the very breath of His inherent power. The same power that sits in Jesus at the right hand of the Father. The power that resides in a thing by virtue of its nature. We have the spirit of LOVE. The kind of love that the Father had for us that moved Him to nail His own son to the cross. And we have the very life source of a SOUND MIND. Our minds are SAFE PLACES. We have the power to be restored from our own senses to HIS senses. We can moderate, control, curb, and discipline ourselves in those moments. We have the power to hold to our duty.”

 

By speaking these things over Timothy’s life, I believe that Paul was speaking prophetically for him and for the body of Christ. Timothy had not completely forsaken every single fear, worry, or insecurity that pervaded his senses. But he had what he needed in him to do it.

 

So I am deciding to speak prophetically over MYSELF. I have everything I need to look my fears in the face and declare, “I have everything in me that’s necessary to deal with you and the lies you speak to me.”

 

I am on a mission to contend. For energy. For patience. For love. For a SOUND MIND. And I challenge you to hold up to Jesus whatever you have held onto. Allow Him to pour His blood over it, redeem it, and give it back to you as one of your greatest strengths.

 

 

 


At the beginning of April, Liezl Pienaar, Hannah Sauer, and I had the opportunity to come alongside “Reaching a Generation.” Reaching a Generation is a ministry based in South Africa with a satellite base in the Western Province of Zambia. They were running their first-ever Zambian ministry school. The focus? CHILDREN!

 

As we taught these precious seven students for the week, we asked them a challenging question: “Why kids’ ministry? What led you to minister to children?”

 

Children are notoriously under-valued in Zambia. But these leaders have received the revelation that Jesus taught His Disciples when He said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

 

Here’s what they said in response to my “challenging” question.

“I decided that I HAD to consider children as important members of God’s Kingdom.” –Dorothy

“It is a calling that leads me to children’s ministry. I want to see the child. I want to see them know, love, and serve Jesus Christ.” –Gloria

“I must paint a bigger picture than the one that was painted for me.” –Mekelani

“I was born with this calling. I want the children to be able to be used as a tool to reach the whole community.” –Hellen

“I realized I couldn’t just evangelize to the elder ones, but I also must spend time with the children.-Faith

I must work hard. Not just on my own side. But also for the children.” –Aaron

“I want to make a better generation.” -Loveday

 

What a blessing and honor it was to teach these precious people things like songs, games, and ministry techniques. Even better was to open the Word of God with them and share our true identity in Christ and watch as it infiltrated their spirits. They left changed, we left changed, and we wait expectantly for the next generation of children who will be changed because of these teachers and their passion to love the little ones.Sioma teachers

 


Sometimes it looks like an extra cup of coffee and a few tears as a story is shared. Sometimes it looks like a borrowed car. A bible study. A potluck meal.

In Africa, it looks like a cup of tea while sitting on a smoke-charred stool. A baby’s wet bum on your lap. Bleeding palms from shucking corn kernels off the maize cob. Cracked, sore feet from bush paths walked. Continue reading


Two weeks ago, we traveled with 16 students from all walks of life who have come to Zambia to be trained as missionaries. We could have labeled their first trip out to the bush of Zambia “advanced” for sure! They spent a looonnnggg day traveling over horrific roads, set up camp in the dark, and then hiked off into the hippo infested darkness to find a place to…well…relieve themselves. It was not for the faint at heart. They were up and at ‘em early the next morning attending church services and traveling to the area huts, ministering to the people one by one, face-to-face. Because we camped at our new property on Lake Kariba, which is being built up as a logistics base for several missionaries, the students had to walk quite a distance to reach the nearest village center. The students walked a minimum of 6 miles, a maximum of 12 miles in any typical day. Thrown in 95-degree temps, limited water, and a few soccer games and this would have been a feat for the in-shape youth…but the student group included a family who traveled along with their 6-year-old daughter and a woman deep into her 6th month of pregnancy. They all traveled, spoke, formed relationships, and prayed with such beautiful attitudes. It was a blessing to be with them and to teach them the ins and outs of African culture. Continue reading


Jacob and I sent this letter out to our supporters this week because our hearts are overflowing with gratitude for them and we wanted to find a way to encourage them. We hope it encourages you too!

My daughters and I read this week the account of Abraham and Isaac. It’s such a beautiful story to me, but I assure you, the girls required some explanation! They could not understand why Abraham would EVER consider harming his beloved son. As we talked about it, I was struck yet again with the beauty of the Lord’s provision for Abraham (and Isaac!) in that place. Every time, I am awed when Abraham names the mountain, “The Lord Will Provide.” Continue reading


What if you got the opportunity to travel around your state with a Christian governor whose vision and heart was for the Gospel? What if the plan for the two of you was to minister to the politicians, leaders, and government officials in your area, encouraging them to seek godly counsel and praying for them personally in the midst of their trials?

You would consider that a pretty AWESOME opportunity, wouldn’t you? And you would be REJOICING for the miracle of relationships that the Lord brings into our lives and into our ministries at the exact time of the most fruitfulness. Continue reading


god_loves_you_blog__mediumYou wouldn’t believe it if I tried to tell you the whole story. It would take me an hour to regale you with the tale of how long it could possibly take to get an appropriate Sunday School curriculum, in Tonga, into the hands of the ladies that are teaching preschools in Nyawa. You would think I was exaggerating…telling tales. But you would be wrong.

4 months. It took FOUR MONTHS.

To find a (free) curriculum. Get permission to use it. Go through each lesson to make it more “village appropriate.” Find a translator who is comfortable with typing and has a computer. Try (several!) methods to try to get curriculum to said translator due to spotty internet and electricity. Drive 100 kms to pick up the translations. Print them via a very moody printer. Make several trips to several shops in town to find laminating sheets. Laminate them.  Trim each page individually to fit the American sized perforator. Do battle with a binding machine bent on my destruction. And finally…sit with an awesome, appropriate, curriculum IN TONGA, in my hands. Literally. I’m not willing to let it out of my sight for very long until I put it into the calloused hands of those beloved women in Nyawa. Continue reading