We sat with our dear friend Hanhanmangue in Cavulucamue II, discussing for several hours how his community runs their farming operation. He’s been lamenting their agricultural woes to us over the last few months, and during our last trip, we had our colleague Brad Russ with us from Zambia. Brad is well-versed in Foundations for Farming, an amazing Biblical agriculture project that Overland Missions implements through its Sustain division.

Our team exploring one of the plots

Visiting our friends’ struggling small-scale community farm.

“It has been incredible to join the team in Angola and minister the gospel to the Mucubal people. Most people don’t realize that you can share the gospel by teaching people about God through their farming. It’s no coincidence that Jesus used agricultural parables so often during His ministry and it always brings me great joy to do the same.

Upon arriving, I quickly realized how easy it would be to implement new methods of farming that would bring people closer to the heart of God. There is such a misuse of the resources and a spirit of lack and poverty. Helping people realize all of the blessings God has already given them and how to be faithful stewards actually increases their capacity to understand the wisdom and knowledge of God.

Jesus said “the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son does also”. Farming and agriculture are such a big part of the Mucubal people’s lives and it increases their faith to see that honoring God with everything they have produces amazing blessings in their lives and the lives of their entire community.” ~ Brad Russ

Brad discussing Godly principles for farming in Hanhanmangue’s community’s context.

Brad asked and answered dozens of questions, to get a really thorough picture of the situation in Cavulucamue II. He then led a small Bible study focussed on creation and farming. Brad had some ideas to offer that day, but will later return to Zambia to brainstorm a wider strategy to implement in Cavulucamue II with the rest of the Sustain team. We’re thrilled for this new development, as bringing the Sustain element to our Mucubal friends will likely be a major game-changer in provision for them!

Recently, we met Kapopo and Kauhanga in Cavulucamue II. I knew that Jesus had unfinished business with these women, and I was positively anxious to return as soon as possible to hear what God had been doing in their lives since our encounter!

This weekend I had the opportunity, but not before we overcame a number of extraordinary obstacles! It usually takes about 6 hours to get to Kapopo and Kauhanga’s community from our house, but on this occasion, due to assisting with the health issues of a local pastor’s wife, a local event that the entire administration department were in attendance at, and then the alternator in our car going out, it took us 24 hours instead! It was an unexpectedly arduous journey, as journeys sometimes are in this part of the world, and if I’m really honest, I was really hoping our efforts would be rewarded [read: I was about to get really mad with something if they weren’t!]

We finally arrived in Cavulucamue II the following day, pulling up to the “gate” to the community at apparent rush hour 😉 Cavulucamue II is a community based on a massive farm project, and we happened to be arriving at the same time as many of the people returning from the above mentioned event who were riding in the back of a pick-up truck. The advantage to this was that no announcement was needed of our arrival- our presence was known from the get-go.

We hadn’t seen another vehicle in almost a day, and yet when we pulled up to the gate to Cavulucamue II, we had to wait in line to get in, lol!

Opening the “gate” to Cavulucamue II. The locals have to construct and deconstruct this opening every time they want to get a vehicle in or out, otherwise they risk loosing livestock.

We headed to the spot we camped at the previous week, and were surprised to find that the pick-up was also headed there. An amusing dialogue ensued between us and the driver as we both perceived that we were in each other’s spot! Who knew that in all the acres and acres of farmland we’d have each been headed for the same shady tree! Again, the timing and location actually worked to our advantage as we and the truck driver made a plan, and we ended up being right at the heart of where the community was coming and going, which made meeting with people really easy.

As we began setting up camp, I kept one eye out on the fields, looking for Kapopo and Kauhanga. It was only minutes later that Kauhanga appeared and I couldn’t help noticing that her countenance had completely changed since our first meeting. She was without her bulky coat this time, and I asked her how she was doing and how her heart was feeling. “It’s been beating normally!” she told me with a fresh joy on her face. “I feel different. Since that day that we prayed, I haven’t been experiencing the same heart pain.” I was overjoyed as she shared these things, and the difference in her body and in her mind was clearly evident! She was insistant that she wanted to continue in this peace and asked if we could pray again with her sometime that day. We agreed of course, and she headed off to work the fields for the morning.

Not long after her departure, Kapopo arrived, almost skipping to come and greet me. She was beaming, and I knew that God had been moving in her life since the previous week in a way that she was recognizing and receiving for herself. I wish I could share with you the look on her face! The previous 24 hours’ trials faded in that moment as listened in awe at what she shared. Her heart had also stilled, both physically and metaphorically. But more than that, she’d begun sharing this change with her family and friends, and they had come with her, hungry for this life-giving, peace-bringing presence too.

Sharing with Kapopo and her family and friends.

We chatted and then settled down in the shade to share more of the word of God. In this community, we’d previously shared about creation and the fall of man. Today, I felt to build on that by sharing about why God created man. I posed the question to our little group, “Why do you think Huku (God) created man?” A discussion followed, and the group agreed that he probably created people to make more people. Reproduction was His likely end goal, the group explained. I agreed that was definitely part of His plan, but before that, His desire was to make man in His image, to have relationship with Him. This concept of relationship with God, we have come to learn, is usually very far from the minds of most Mucubal people. It’s a new concept, one with few, if any, existing reference points. But with the Holy Spirit’s help, Kapopo and others are embracing this new life.

Towards the end I wanted to ask who else in the group wanted to receive God in their life. Agosto, our Kuvale translator friend, had barely finished his sentence before the whole group had responded, “Of course! That’s why we’re here!” I prayed for the group and set about learning their names, to be better acquainted the next time we come back. It’s no easy task for me to learn correctly Kuvale names as you’ll see below! They’re often 5-7 syllables long with combinations of consonants that we don’t use in English or Portuguese!

From left: Kantchholo (Kapopo’s step-daughter), Mupombah, Kauhunambanga (Kapopo’s daughter), Kapopo, Kakendu (Kapopo’s daughter), Moankhoatonkhombe and Kangiola all shared desires to receive God in their lives after learning of what God had done in Kapopo’s life!

This meeting was just one of four that we had during our one-night stay in Cavulucamue II this weekend. As soon as we wrapped up with one group, another had always appeared and would ask to hear the news that we were sharing too! I can’t fit all those stories in this one post, but needless to say, our time was extremely fruitful, and the hardships of getting out to this remote community, were so worth it! Even our little Faith and Ivy have been excitedly talking about how Jesus healed their Mucubal friends’ hearts!

David at a later meeting with a group in the riverbed.

Meet Kapopo and Kauhanga (below), the two women I met recently in the small rural community of Cavulucamue II, about an hour and a half outside the small town of Virei, in Southern Angola. It’s hard to convey to you just how far from anything these women live. It’s a mission for us to reach them and it’s only with great intention and commitment that we have opportunity to meet people like this. You’re not going to run into ladies like these by accident while passing through, believe me! The terrain is tough, the administrative formalities of travelling in locations like this are stringent and costly, and infrastructure is non-existent.

Kapopo and Kauhanga (excuse my early morning appearance, did I mention it’s about 6am in this photo?!)

I am thankful every time we meet someone like these women, that through many faithful partners and friends, we have the necessary vehicle and camp setup. Our kind of gear is absolutely essential to enable us to reach highly remote, yet precious people with the news of Jesus. So if you’re any one of the hundreds of people who support our work here in Angola in ANY capacity: be it through prayer, finance, watching our kids when we’re in town, introducing us to new networks, sending human resource with us… the list is long… then this story is for you. I want you to know just how powerful and transformational your part is.

Our camp at Cavulucamue II. Everything we need to both reach the location and stay for a few days.

It was still early at our quiet, little campsite. The girls were eating breakfast and I was enjoying the green that surrounded us. Since the rains had come, it was amazing to experience the Mucubal tribe’s terrain in its new appearance. The night before, David had shared the creation story with ten or so locals around the campfire and had invited people to come by in the morning if they wished. A few came and went with a greeting, but two ladies stuck around. They seemed to be interested in far more than greetings, and after conversing with them a little more, they revealed what had led them to us. Each had pain in her chest and were experiencing what they described as an unpleasant pounding sensation in her heart. One also described the symptoms of TB and said the pounding in her chest was so strong you could feel it through her jacket. It was a cold morning by Mucubal standards (around 75F) so she was wrapped up in a winter coat. She took my hand and put it to her heart and sure enough, as I watched her chest, it wasn’t just the rise and fall of her lungs that I could see, but the beating of her heart. Now I’m no medical practitioner, but I’ve never seen anything like that. It looked like her heart might literally beat out of her chest, and this was through the weight of a bulky coat!

I kept listening as the women shared their stories, tuning in to what the Holy Spirit wanted me to do. At one point Kauhanga told me, “I came here this morning to speak to Huku (God) about this matter. I know He can heal me. I’ve seen Him do it before.” I was intrigued. How and when had this woman, so far from any church, not speaking a language with any Bible translation, seen God heal? She went on to explain that her brother’s hand at one point had become injured, and someone had prayed for him and it became well. She credited the God we were talking about with this healing, and now she wanted Him to heal her body too.

I prayed for the physical symptoms of the women, but they still reported pain. I called David over to join us and got him up to speed. We prayed again and both felt a sense that these women were dealing not only with physical issues, but emotional and psychological ones to. The presence of fear and anxiety weighed heavy on us and we approached the subject with them. “Are you experiencing any fears or concerns for something or someone?” we asked them. They both immediately and readily gave up their fights. “That’s exactly right.” They told us. They didn’t want to share details, but they did say that they had no peace, and were plagued with anxiety concerning some situations. They explained that the more they thought on these issues, the worse their chest symptoms became. We discussed peace and faith versus fear, and asked them if they would like to receive and walk in God’s peace. They did. We prayed again, now better informed to address not only the physical symptoms, but the underlying other issues too, and there was some progress.

As we wrapped up our conversation so they could continue on to their work in the fields, I explained that I would return soon, and I was eager to hear from them how God’s peace had been transforming their lives. Tomorrow morning, we pack up to go back to their community and I can’t wait to share with you the next installment, knowing that God is faithful, and He is in the midst of a mighty work in Kapopo and Kauhanga! It’s been a week since we started this journey with them, and I trust that good things await these women and their community! Stay tuned…

Our teammates spent most of March in Namibia getting work done on their vehicles, and when they returned, we headed out on a reconnaissance mission to the neighboring province of Huíla. We were expecting to spend several days in a remote community to assist the local church in pioneering a mission there. However, unfortunately the permission with the local authorities was not in enough order for us to remain. After much too-ing and fro-ing, the best we could do was be granted permission to stay the night before heading back the next day. After traveling more than 8 hours through tough terrain with six kids under 5 between us, that came as a relief, but of course, none of us were exactly thrilled to be told we needed to go home for more paperwork.

When you strike up story time next to the lake because the husbands are working through administration hiccups and it’s taking several hours, and your story is interrupted by a heard of cows. Yep, this is the life of young pioneer families sometimes!

While we didn’t have permission to stay longer in the bush or to hold organized meetings, we of course attracted attention at our camp, and we weren’t about to ignore the curious onlookers. Fiona struck up a conversation with Lucia, who is from a larger town and therefore speaks Portuguese (the rest of her family are local to the community and only speak the local dialect). With the aim of having a meaningful conversation with her that would hopefully lead to a spiritual one, we started to share a little about each other’s lives. After a while, the conversation did indeed turn to more spiritual subjects, and with Lucia as a translator for the group of young people gathered, we learned that some of them were eager for prayer to be free from troubling demons in their homes. We were able to pray for them, along with another request for healing in a sick child who was not present.

Fiona and 14 year-old Lucia.
Our curious onlookers.

We don’t know when the doors may open for this community to receive more regular visitors in the name of Jesus, but we do know that many of our curious onlookers were very interested in discovering more. And we know that the Holy Spirit is present to continue the work in people’s hearts. Our assignments are rarely black and white, and this was one trip that didn’t go according to any of our plans. But we are thankful for the word that the Lord gave us following our departure from the region: “For God is not unjust so as to forget the work and the love which you have shown towards His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.” Hebrews 6:10. We know that the plans for these people’s lives rest in His hands and we will continue to intercede for them.

Our camp was situated in the middle of a popular grazing field, so we spent our short visit surrounded not only by the curious locals, but by cows, sheep and goats, much to Faith and Ivy’s delight!

In many of my conversations with God over the last year or so, it seems He’s been very clear and repetitive in something: He wants children to know Him! He’s made Himself utterly accessible to children and values them highly. And along with the promptings He’s been making in my heart, God’s been more than faithful to extend opportunities to demonstrate what He’s showing me. He’s cool like that, huh? He exposes truth to us, then gives us the opportunity to live it out!

In the last couple of weeks, the opportunities to sow into little lives have been abundant. To start, a friend and I in town were finally able kick off an informal kid’s discovery Bible group after throwing the idea around for months but not having our schedules line up! Then Becca, one of my Overland Missions teammates, suggested we offer to do kid’s ministry at an adults training that the husbands were running in Virei. Meanwhile, another friend in town who works a lot with Youth for Christ in Angola, asked if I could help her facilitate a training for children’s workers and leaders in Youth for Christ. “Sure!” I said without thinking. God, you really are moving on this notion, huh?! She came back to me later to say that she really felt she’d like to invite leaders from all the various denominations in Namibe to participate in the training seminar, not just those involved with Youth for Christ. I was ecstatic!

Here’s a few photos from the kid’s Bible club (we don’t really have an official name at present, so I’m experimenting with options here!) and from our Sunday day trip to Virei to serve the kids. On each occasion we ran with the theme God Wants to Talk to Me and led the kids in identifying God’s voice and developing a relationship with Him. We facilitated a couple of simple activations for them to experiment with forms of prayer on their own (thank you Flame Creative for an excellent, bush-friendly idea for this! We just used a rock instead of a coin.) And what exploration of communication with God wouldn’t be complete without a game of Chinese Whispers/Telephone?!

I’m so looking forward to seeing what God has up His sleeve for the next times we meet!

We spent this week in the Mucubal communities of Cavulukamue I and II. Some months back, David and our colleague Dan, along with a couple of our Kuvale translators had done a small recon to the area, and had promised to return.

After the usual formalities in the regional town of Virei were complete, we drove out to Cavulukamue and found the local chief. He helped us find a shady spot to set up camp and we began to reconnect with him regarding why we had come. Some of the locals brought sugarcane to share with us, and friendships were immediately kindled as we conversed in the sandy riverbed under the trees.

The local sugarcane was some of the biggest I’ve ever seen!

The girls loved it of course!

The people of Cavulukamue, like so many in the Mucubal tribe, are in a season of devastating drought. There is desperate need for the rains to come. The drought is so bad that rivers haven’t flown steady in eight years. The one we were camped next to, should have been flowing by this time of year, and instead it was so dry that it acted as a giant sandpit for our kids to play in. The desperation of the people was tangible.

During one of our meetings, this group of youngsters and I had a great time discussing the time Jesus fed 5000 people, and what that means for us today.

We held a meeting during the following afternoon and the people came, but with one resounding question: “If God is good, then where is the rain? Why are we suffering so, if He is good?” It’s an understandable sentiment, isn’t it? We responded with love and truth, and put our faith on the line that God would indeed demonstrate His own power and goodness to them in their area of need.

The next morning, the heavens indeed opened and rain fell heavy throughout the morning. I sat under our caravan’s awning, doing some homeschool with the girls and marveling at how God was speaking for Himself during that time. I wondered if we would actually have a meeting as planned that afternoon, or if it would be rained off! I actually hoped it would be rained off as the people absorbed the blessings of God being poured out on them. There didn’t feel much need to say things ourselves, when He was clearly speaking already!

In those moments under the awning though, God spoke something sweet to me. Something beyond the rain, something that is permanently true in the face of temporary circumstance. “This is just rain, Fiona.” He whispered, “What I really want, is to pour out my Spirit on these people. What they need more than the rain, is life in me. I send the rain only to demonstrate what abundance and faithful provision looks like. They asked for rain, and I am sending rain. But I want you to ask me to open heaven and pour out my Spirit on these people. I will come in even greater measure than the most abundant rains!”

And so my prayer is exactly that, that the Mucubal tribe and Angola’s other remote people groups, would become friends of God and vessels of His presence. That the heavens would open wide and that His life-giving spirit would flow into even the driest and darkest of places.

img_5542Imagine that you live in an extremely remote part of the world, with no shops, markets, restaurants, internet or TV. Your family is part of Angola’s Mucubal tribe. You live nomadically in the Namibe desert, which is an arid scrubland rolling for hundreds and hundreds of miles without so much as a decent size town. Rarely do you see an outsider; someone not from your, or the neighboring tribe. You live meal by meal, each morsel scratched out of a meager existence of ground maize and raw milk (not the kind of raw milk that health bloggers rave about, but the kind that can be laden with TB and parasites). Clean water is a daily struggle, and is the most precious of commodities to you and everyone you care about. In this life, you can forget health care and physicians. Out here, you’re pretty much on your own.

Now, imagine the day that someone brings you a piece of chocolate cake.

You slowly take a bite after eyeing it up. It tastes good. Like, really good! It’s probably the best thing you’ve ever tasted, in fact. You now want more. But what is this stuff? How can it be duplicated? The words “chok-o-lat cay-ke” sound so foreign and strange to your ears. But this stuff, this stuff is the bomb. You feel that you could eat it forever, it tastes so good. Maybe a few of your friends try some too, and together you wonder if you could make some more.

img_4809Where do you begin? You’re a world away from boxed cake mix, so you’re going to have to make it from scratch. But what do you need to make a chocolate cake? You have no idea! The person who gave you some is around to ask, so you set about questioning them on how to make a chocolate cake. More foreign sounding words enter your ears as you listen to the ingredient list. It all seems so strange to listen to. But that taste. That delightful experience needs to be pursued!

In your attempts to experience that chocolate cake again you will need to learn to embrace new and foreign ingredients like flour, leavening agent and cocoa. If you’re lucky, you’ll patiently find your ingredients by way of someone bringing some supplies from a town a very rare once in a while. If not, you may have to start growing some sugar cane and some wheat. Then you’ll need to learn how to harvest and process it. You may need to find someone willing to trade something for a couple of chicken eggs, too.

One way or the other, in time, you should be able to make it happen. Especially with help from someone who is already familiar with chocolate cake. We’ll imagine for now that the person who brought the first piece is happy to stick around, until you and some of the wider community are prepared enough to make cake on your own. They can help you understand if a recipe attempt falls flat, or burns. They can enlighten you in the fascinating elements of chemistry that are at work in the process.

Over time, you will make that cake your own. As you grow in confidence and knowledge of the process, your cake will develop a unique and beautiful identity. It will be a wonderful addition to the world of chocolate cake! A chocolate cake to rival any other, as perfect and whole as any other. It’s a beautiful and marvelous thing to imagine, isn’t it?

img_6056My friends, this is what lies before us with our newfound friends in the Mucubal tribe. The words “God” and “Jesus” are distant, foreign concepts to the Mucubal. In fact, there is no word for Jesus in their native language; knowledge of Him simply doesn’t exist yet. A word Huku, exists for God, but interpretation of this word is very open. No-one can really define who God is, or what His intentions might be.

My heart flickers between excitement, sadness and apprehension at the situation we are coming to grips with. The room for God to move is vast. The needs are suffocating. We must be sure to lay a firm foundation. This is a from scratch mission field, where even the raw ingredients of faith will need to be grown and processed by hand. We cannot expect or assume that the Mucubal tribe knows any of our knowledge of God’s Kingdom. Our conversations with them reveal that so many of the basic elements of faith in Jesus are bizarre sounding and completely new. Nevertheless, we continue pursuing relationships with those we meet. Those who after a couple of encounters greet us fondly and even change their dress to reflect a more personal relationship. We have long conversations with them, and welcome their questions and contributions.

Above all, we lean on God’s Holy Spirit, thanking Him for being such a sweet and faithful teacher. We put out our own faith, publically, for all to see. We are expectant that all that He has said and promised, He will do. We know that the power of God will move in this people and our irresistible Savior will draw our Mucubal friends to Himself.

Virei is a small town nestled out in the desert of the Namibe province in Angola. It serves as a hub for the nomadic Mucubal tribe. It’s a place we’ve been directed to in previous years’ reconnaissance missions as we’ve sought a strategy for reaching this unreached group. We had heard over and over, that this group was yet to hear that there is an almighty God who loves them so much that He sent His Son to redeem them. Most had never been given the opportunity to choose to follow Jesus.

A crowd of Mucubal people quickly gathered.

A crowd of Mucubal people quickly gathered.

It’s been three years since I was last in Virei. A labor of logistics, linguistics and immigration has filled that timespan as we’ve worked and waited to get back to these people. This month it was finally time. 8 adults and 9 small children set out from our home base in Namibe for two expeditions to Virei, a 2+ hour drive away. We packed to be as self sufficient as possible, knowing that clean water, food and fuel, are often hard to come by in this region. I thank the Lord for His provision of an amazing off-road caravan that makes this kind of work as a family so much easier than before!

Our team's bush camp in Virei.

Our team’s bush camp in Virei.

We camped in the bush, about 10kms from town, positioning ourselves as strategically as possible to attract a crowd to share our message with. Once we found the right campsites, it didn’t take much to gather the people. The Mucubal tribe are herdsmen, following water for their animals, and sojourning between circular homes spread throughout the bush. They came together to eat a meal with us and we slaughtered a goat to feed the crowd, while we shared about God’s identity. At the first gathering, over 40 men and women joined us. It was the afternoon and as things were wrapping up, one of the elder women told us, “Some of us want to come back tonight to hear more on this subject. We will make a fire and we would like you to tell us more about this God. Will you do that?” Of course we were delighted! That night we shared under the moonlight around the fire. So hungry were the crowd of twenty or so that had returned, that they had brought their beds with them, to simply sleep there in the bush when the meeting ended!

It was a beautiful night to share about creator God.

It was a beautiful night to share about creator God.

During our second expedition, we visited a different location, one that we’ve been to in the past. We reconnected with a couple of Mucubal families that have now seen Overland Missions’ team return to them at least four times. They are always touched to be remembered. We shared another meal with another 40 or so people, and the Word of God was delivered again. The response? “We’ve never heard this before! What you’re telling us, we’ve never heard of. We need to know more about this. Please come back soon.”

These two expeditions have given our long-term vision here a massive kick-start. We were so encouraged to be warmly and curiously received. We loved how many questions we were asked. Deep questions, that we have deep and truthful answers to. We found the Mucubal we met to be so much fun. Our kids played with theirs, and they played with us, joking around as we took and shared photos, and we all laughed as we attempted to pick up some more Mucubal vocabulary!

Our team will be returning to Virei soon. The doors to the tribe have been opened by the tribal chief and the local authorities. The local church is in support of reaching the Mucubal tribe. We pray now for the unquenchable fire of the Lord to touch lives, and for revival to break out in the people!

Today was awesome. This morning we got to connect a little with some of the people that we came to Angola to serve, the people of the Mucubal tribe! David and I are still digesting much of what we learned in just a few hours spent getting to know some new friends, but needless to say, we are excited!

We packed up the kids this morning and drove a couple of hours away from Namibe, into the desert to a small town called Muninho. We met up with a native missionary couple, who are working on an oral Bible translation project with the Mucubal. In Angola, the missionary community is small, and usually works together really well, so we were thrilled to be able to get to know this couple and the work that they are doing. We learned a lot about the culture of the Mucubal, and our first few words of their language!

“Ocamine” means “Good Morning”, written in Fiona phonetics given that there’s no written language for Mucubal. Note taking is going to be interesting as we learn!

I’ll let a few pictures do the rest of the talking…

Our gathering

Apologies that I failed to capture a couple of people’s heads in this picture! I was trying to demonstrate that throughout the morning, our group represented people from four countries and three tribal groups. We spoke in three languages in total. No wonder we were tired on the way home!

Today the group are discussing on how best to translate Jesus' death on the cross, and are lead by our new friend Sebastião. Translation takes place word by word, with some words causing much more difficulty than others!

Today the group are discussing on how best to translate Jesus’ death on the cross, and are lead by our new friend Sebastião. Translation takes place word by word, with some words causing much more difficulty than others!


Our group: us, our native missionary friend, and three of his Mucubal translators that are working on an oral Bible translation. Why an oral translation? Because Mucubal isn’t a written language. Not even a written alphabet exists yet!

Getting to know Angola's tribal languages is a huge mission, but an absolutely necessary one, as many of the speakers don't speak a language that already has a Bible translation. This diagram was put together by our friend Linda who conducts language surveys and assesses Bible translation needs. It shows overlaps with other language groups and shared likenesses between ethnic groups. Her work is really useful for people like us, who come in to work with a tribe , as from her reports, we can gain an understanding of the context of a culture. The Mucubal tribe, that we are initially focussing on, fall under the Kuvale group.

Getting to know Angola’s tribal languages is a huge mission, but an absolutely necessary one, as many of the speakers don’t speak a language that already has a Bible translation. This diagram was put together by our friend Linda who conducts language surveys and assesses Bible translation needs. It shows overlaps with other language groups and shared likenesses between ethnic groups. Her work is really useful for people like us, who come in to work with a tribe , as from her reports, we can gain an understanding of the context of a culture. The Mucubal tribe, that we are initially focussing on, fall under the Kuvale group.


Ivy got in on the act of sandal making while Pedro worked on a new pair of leather flip flops from a piece of cow hide and a couple of round stones.

The girls did their thing and made new friends too. Everyone loves to color, right?

The girls did their thing and made new friends too. Everyone loves to color, right?


Faith and Ivy were in love with the puppies that were tucked back there by the water tank!

Grão em grão” was the phrase we became accustomed to while we were learning Portuguese, meaning bit by bit. Word by word, encounter by encounter, mistake by mistake, was how we proceeded through the learning process until the pieces finally seemed to be coming together. It took time, it took focus, it took humility and it took dedication.

Grão em grão” is also how I would describe our ministry’s progress in Angola. Having learned the Portuguese language sufficiently, we’re accomplishing much relationally each day here.

This morning we met with for coffee with a brother in the faith who pastors a large church here in town. He shared incredible stories with us of the Church’s growth in Angola and his own adventures in seeking to bring the Gospel to Angola’s rural tribes. My heart was racing as he shared how back in 1994, during the civil war, he and a few believing friends decided to venture to a small town (small meaning five or so houses at that time!), where they believed the nomadic Mucubal tribe at times could be found. Their desire was to meet them and share with them God’s love and the availability of relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Us camping just outside the town our pastor friend first visited back in 1994.

Us camping just outside the town our pastor friend first visited back in 1994.

They drove on and on, further and further into the desert where no marked road existed. At one point they found a Mucubal couple, and while they didn’t speak the same language (the couple only spoke Mucubal and the pastors only Portuguese), they discerned that they had taken the wrong track, away from the town. Fortunately they had carried extra fuel, and were able to retrace their steps, eventually stumbling upon the town.

The few locals that they found informed them that they likely wouldn’t encounter any Mucubal unless they went to a trading post where they sometimes came to buy local wine. Our pastor friend and his buddies went there and were fortunate enough to find not only a few Mucubal, but also someone who could translate! They shared their message and the following dialogue ensued:

MUCUBAL: “So you’re saying that God exists?”

PASTOR: “Yes, God exists.”

MUCUBAL: “If that’s the case, then why are we experiencing drought? Other parts of the country have rain, but we have none. Why is that?”

PASTOR: “We need to pray. We can ask God, and because He hears us, He will send the rain that you and your herds need.”

MUCUBAL: “But how do we pray?”

PASTOR: “We simply talk to God.”

MUCUBAL: “Ok. So do it! Ask Him to send rain for us!”

The group of men prayed.

MUCUBAL: “Is that it? When did God say the rain would come?”

PASTOR: “He didn’t give us a day, only that the rain is coming. Be ready.”

Mucubal women in the Virei area.

Mucubal women in the area that our pastor friend first visited during the war.

The group left and headed home, having not planned to stay away the whole night. Later they came to learn that it rained hard that night, for the first time in years! When the pastor sought permission to plant a church in that small town, he was at first greeted with resistance. The head chief said there was no need of religion there and that the church was unnecessary. Then a Mucubal man recognized him from the wine store. “This was the man that prayed for rain!” he exclaimed. “You’re the one who prayed for rain?” the head Chief asked. “You’re from the church of the rain?” he asked with interest. “Yes, that was me,” said the pastor. It seemed the knowledge of that encounter had spread throughout the whole tribe! “Come! Plant your church here!” exclaimed the head Chief. And so a door to the Mucubal was opened in that town. Today that church still exists and is actively spreading the Gospel in that town.

It’s people like this pastor and his team that we’ve come to support in Angola. We see in Angola a harvest ready, but a severe lack of laborers, especially in the rural areas. Our pastor friend is laboring with a team of brothers and sisters who have caught a vision from God. It’s always a huge honor to find these people and learn of their endeavors. It’s the way that we at Overland Missions operate, seeking to establish and support the indigenous move of God. Finding people like this, and learning of any foundations that the Gospel has in a place, is like mining for gold. It takes investment on many levels, but the gold, small though it may seem, is so utterly worth all the investment that it costs to find it. Here’s to both the mining and the harvesting of more gold in Angola!

This morning I took a bit of a reality check. Now that we’ve landed in Angola, I compiled the $ figures of what it’s taken to get us here. I’m going public with this little breakdown, because this victory belongs to many. Our presence here is the result of many families, individuals and churches saying, “We want to give Angola’s rural people the opportunity to receive Jesus and all that He has for them.” I can’t tell you what an honor it is to pursue this vision on behalf of so many. I look over these numbers, knowing that there are many more costs besides these (that would have taken too long to assemble), that well frankly, somebody has to pay for. We simply wouldn’t be here in Angola with the resources we have, if not for the team with us, willing to trust God with us to foot the bill. Thanks guys. Our support team is something we are both deeply grateful for, and deeply proud of.


Those long-awaited visas!

To the numbers:

Angola Launch Costs
Moving costs incl. flights & container shipping $17,954.59
16 months Portuguese language school [read: fluency in Portuguese] $13,449.96
Angola visas $2,903.85
Acquisition, transportation and importation of our car and off-road caravan $45,875.63
Total $80,184.03

Back in Portuguese class!

The costs don’t end there of course. Now we are on the ground, we daily learn of new requirements that our family needs to be prepared for. We are in the fundraising process for a new vehicle to replace our current one (which can only be temporarily imported for the current year). Our dreams for Angola’s people have only gotten larger since returning and we look forward to the challenges that the coming months will bring, knowing that we already have the victory, in Him!

Again, to each of you who stand with us in this mission, thank you!

Note: I’ve chosen not to include the costs incurred by waiting an extra 12 months in Portugal, associated with housing etc, but focused on the costs that feel more directly associated to pioneering Overland Missions’ work here. I am confident that this is on the lower end of the scale of what could be included!

We touched down in Luanda, Angola at 4:30am, the sun not yet illuminating the capital of our new homeland. The four of us shuffled along with our bags, our tired kids gazing around at their latest new surroundings. Our passports were stuffed in our hands, prepped and ready with bright yellow vaccination cards. We greeted the immigration officer in Portuguese and handed him our family’s small stack of documents. After rifling through each person’s, verifying who we all were and taking our photos, he went ahead and stamped each of us into the country.

Feeding and chasing chickens at our accommodation in Luanda

Feeding and chasing chickens at our accommodation in Luanda

Oh what a sweet sound the well oiled, “thuck-thuck” of that stamp is! Four times we got to hear that melodic “thuck-thuck” as the immigration officer unknowingly ushered us into a new season of our lives. With one swift gesture, for him so routine, this man had launched us into something we’ve been dreaming of for several years now. He had activated our long-awaited visas and ensured that we are ready to stay legally in Angola for the next 12 months (before the end of which, we will apply for visa renewals).

These feet were so happy to be back on Angolan soil!

These feet were so happy to be back on Angolan soil!

After two years of patient, passionate pursuit of the correct visas, during a few minutes of chit-chat and formalities, our wait was over. Angola is now our home.

Angola is our home at least in that we’ve arrived. The years that follow are what really make a place a home. We come in with our hearts open, ready to embrace this land and all of its character, knowing that living outside of one’s native culture has a way of taking you on journeys you can never imagine. We are wide-eyed at the possibilities that living in Angola will afford us, and we are eager to see how the Lord will use us during our time here.

Headed to one of Angola's neighborhoods.

Headed to one of Luanda’s neighborhoods

We spent only a few days in Luanda, to activate the visas and reconnect with the Aliança Evangélica de Angola (Angolan Evangelical Alliance), who are Overland Missions’ covering body in the nation. We connected with our brothers and sisters in the Lord who are serving the AEA and were received with warmth and joy. It was a sweet and appropriate start to our time in Angola to have the privilege of spending time with these people, who are so passionate to see God’s Kingdom come in Angola.

With our visas activated, it was time to press on to Johannesburg, South Africa, where we would be reunited with our Landcruiser that has been in storage. Its collection would signify the start of the long drive back to Angola to set up home in the south of the country, in Namibe, some 526 miles or 848 kms from Luanda in the North. And from there, the next chapter in our lives will begin!