Updated: Mar 6, 2019
“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?” – Luke 15:3-6
When Jesus became a man, he relinquished every comfort, every benefit of his life in heaven, for the sake of bringing humanity back into relationship with their Father. The Good Shepherd left the security of the ninety-nine for the sake of the lost one. As a team, we strive to follow that example. The most telling statistic we track is not salvations, healings, or deliverances, but miles traveled. God’s responsibility is to change hearts, but our responsibility is to go.
In 2018, Overland missionaries traveled over 1.4 million miles across the globe, a portion of those miles went to our reconnaissance trips in brand-new areas. Recon is the first step toward our ministry in an area—every sector that we now call home was first visited by a recon team beforehand. Preston S, who has worked with us as an expedition leader since 2015, said, “recons are physically and sometimes emotionally demanding. Some of the craziest stories from the field come from recon trips. In Myanmar, we took three different trains, and each train was 24 hours long. On each recon trip I’ve taken, I’ve traveled hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles to meet up with these pastors and ministers. It’s not an easy task. It takes money, it takes grit, and really it takes guidance by the Holy Spirit in so many ways.”
But even if it’s difficult, recon is a necessary first step, and often the foundation for incredible testimonies. One example is Joy B, who now lives and ministers with her husband Tyler at our base in Mozambique, however, that wasn't always her plan. “At the time, I was committed to Zambia. I was released to go to Africa, and through that I got caught up in the recon for Mozambique. I had never even heard of Mozambique, didn’t even know where it was—I just said, ‘Yes, sure, I’ll go!’”
“I just remember that as soon as we drove across the border, I was fascinated with the country and the people, and just loved every minute of it. Beau and Courtney K and Trey G were all that were on Mozambique team at the time." Joy shared that while traveling with the team, she kept saying inclusive statements like, "we," and that "the whole time in Mozambique, something was just drawing me to that country.”
Without even realizing it, God was directing her words and steps toward Mozambique. There is power in setting foot on the land, like Abram, and claiming it in faith that God will restore those people back to himself. As Overland grows, so do our opportunities for recon to new areas. In 2018 alone, we visited 13 new countries on recon, including Timor-Leste (pictured below), Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, and Tunisia, with even more scheduled for this year. It may not always be easy, but God’s faithfulness is constant. Reaching the one is worth anything.