Not even the Smell of Smoke

Whatever it takes. This foundational principle has guided Overland Missions since its inception. No spiritual struggles, no difficult terrain, no culture is too hard for the power of the Holy Spirit. We do whatever it takes because we know the King is with us and He is worthy. If Jesus considered all people worthy enough to shed His blood, to make the ultimate sacrifice, then we will do whatever it takes to bring all people the Gospel message.

Shane and Chelsea B, Sector missionaries in Chipepo, Zambia, are no strangers to the struggles that come with a calling into ministry. “God never promises that we won’t have trials,” says Shane. “But, He promised that, when trials come, He would never leave us or forsake us.” After more than three years living in Chipepo chiefdom, they have seen the truth of this promise, and it has changed the way they experience struggles. Power failures, broken vehicles, or simply cross-cultural communication—through all these things, their focus has grown wider to encompass the glory that God will bring into every situation. “We have this different perspective where we can actually get excited when the trial comes, because we know that if we submit it to God, we can ask him, ‘What fruit are you trying to produce through me in this?’

“One story we always go back to is Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,” says Shane. “Nebuchadnezzar said to them ‘Who can save you from me?’ And they replied, ‘Our God is willing and able, but even if He doesn’t, we won’t bow to fear. We know the nature and the character of God.’ As long as they were willing to follow His plan, even going into the furnace, He was there with them. And they came out, not even smelling like smoke, and the only things that were affected were the things that bound them.”

The base in Chipepo may look like a utopian society from the outside (the people of the village call it “the garden of Eden” because it’s the only place that’s consistently green), but it’s a product of the faith and faithfulness of missionary families like Shane and Chelsea, who have truly believed and seen Jesus with them in the fire. Even when complications with malaria ended Chelsea’s first pregnancy in miscarriage, the God of comfort never left them for a moment, and finished the story in victory. Now they have a 9-month-old son, Zeal, and more passion for the ministry than ever. “We truly believe that you can emerge from the trial not even smelling like smoke. After the miscarriage, one person said to us, ‘Wow, you can’t even tell.’ It’s encouraging to me that we can use that testimony to encourage others.

“Nothing is wasted in the kingdom of God.” This is the truth that Shane and Chelsea have clung to throughout all the attacks and trials that have come against them. “Everything can be redeemed if it’s given to God. Even when Satan thought he had won, Jesus turned it around and ultimately sealed his destruction—and on a smaller scale, I believe that’s what’s happening whenever we turn it over to Him, for the destruction of the Kingdom of darkness.” In order to do whatever it takes, we have to have what it takes—a true revelation of the Kingdom of God. The fire may blaze all around, but not even the smell will stick when we cooperate with the power of our Savior.

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