We have been praying about this change for many months and have wrestled with two different options to consider for our next season of ministry. We have invested a great deal of prayer, investigation, and research into this decision and had many spiritual mentors speak into our lives as well. We have felt God's guidance and confirmation in this process and we are excited about what is ahead for our family.
We will be moving to Livingstone, Zambia!
After 8 years of being missionaries with OC International (5 years in Africa) we feel God nudging us into something new and different. We are so thankful for all the amazing people God has brought into our lives through OC to shape us, grow us, and prepare us for this next season of ministry. Our OC teammates have walked this exploration journey with us and even though they are sad to see us go, they are incredibly supportive of our transition. We will really miss these wonderful families as well as many dear African friends.
We have been accepted as missionaries to Overland Missions, and have resigned from OC, effective May 31, 2011.
Things in our life will be pretty different. We will be saying a lot of "goodbyes", packing up our house, selling/buying a different vehicle, and moving from the really big city with several 6 lane freeways to live in a pretty rustic environment where you light a fire under the water tank if you want a hot shower. We have intense peace about our choice and although we'll probably go through a bit of culture shock again J we are confident this is where God is leading us.
Here is a bit more background to our story:
You might recall that three years ago on our way up to a conference in Lusaka, Zambia, our trailer was quite literally "eaten" by a pothole in Botswana, leaving the axle and trailer separated from one another. We were able to drag it a few more hours up the road and then left it with some friends on a missions base in Livingstone. We then continued another 8 hours up the road to Lusaka where we met up with the rest of our church's ministry team. After our time of ministry we headed back to retrieve what was left of our trailer.
This missions base where we left the trailer was operated by Overland Missions. Our close friends also lived on base and we were going to spend some time with them as well. Much to our surprise, when we arrived on base the trailer was flipped on it's head, and pieces were in place making it look once again like a trailer. With a few more welds, it actually seemed like it would make the 20 hour pot-hole filled journey back to South Africa.
The next few days were spent on base relaxing, exploring the base operations, and discovering how God was using Overland to make huge impact into the lives of Zambians who might not otherwise be reached if not for the massive 4X4 trucks they use to get into the deep bush. I (Dan) almost immediately felt as if I had found my perfect fit for ministry… not Janell. It was a little too rugged for her!
Now, fast forward 2 ½ years, and I believe that the feelings I had then, are now God's intention for our family this year. We had a 6 hr meeting in January with the director of base operations/ministry and the answers he gave to our difficult questions resonated like a C Major chord within our hearts. As well, just as a bonus, the base-life is much more family friendly then it used to be (they now have electricity and houses on the base for the missionary families to live in rather than safari tents!) and Janell's spirit is in union with mine as we pursue Overland.
I have been given a gift of teaching others not just with my mind, but also with my hands. I believe that I am a capacity builder for others. I am passionate about finding the potential in others and then exploring it so that their heart and mind understand who, and what God has created them for. Overland has invited me to teach their AMT course and it is a dream job for me! AMT stands for advanced mission training and is designed to train and equip someone who is interested in becoming a missionary with skills to help them minister effectively in challenging rural situations. It is a 3 month course, run 2x a year, which will teach missions theology, preaching, cross cultural communication, medical wilderness training, 3rd world country diseases, GPS navigation, expedition training, 4x4 driving course, welding, bush cooking and much more. What an amazing opportunity to impact world missions right from the starting line!
You can find out more by watching the course promotion video here: http://www.overlandmissions.com/index.php?/amt/article/amt-description-new/
During the months that the course is not running I will have the amazing opportunity to participate on evangelistic expeditions into the unreached and neglected regions of Zambia and Southern Africa. Western Zambia is an extraordinary landscape because the Zambezi River is in flood 3-6 months of the year. This isolates a huge number of people groups that settle within and west of the River. Because it is so difficult to reach by modern transportation they often receive minimal priority. These hard to reach places are where Overland wants to explore with the vision to evangelize, train pastors, teach Biblical principles and assist with social/health education. I first set foot in Zambia in 1994 and always had a portion of my heart set aside for this opportunity. I never imagined it might be so much fun experiencing the fulfillment to this dream.
(the picture above is the Zambezi flood plains at sunset from our Zambia trip in 2010)
We are not sure exactly what Janell will end up doing, but her first priority will be our children and then there will always opportunities to assist with projects around the base. There will also be times of mentoring / coaching needed for the gals who will be going through AMT and that is her favorite thing! She will have these opportunities and more to have great loving influence into the lives of women as well as into the "life" of Overland. She is an amazing mother and the model she will live, out of her love for God and others will speak much louder than any seminar could ever accomplish.
We know that we are only seeing a partial glimpse into our future but we are very excited about what is ahead for our family! Above are a few pictures of the base and view.
We will continue to stay in touch with you about how to transfer your support of us to a new account with Overland in upcoming communications. Until the end of May, please continue to send in your financial support to OC International. Thank you so much!!
To learn more about the other amazing holistic ministries of Overland Missions go to http://www.overlandmissions.com/ and check out Expeditions (short term teams), LIFE (caring for orphans), sector management (evangelism and discipleship in a target area), SAM (helping develop agricultural projects and microenterprise), RPN (Rural pastors network – pastoral training), and more.
With hearts full of thanks to God for all He has done and for you all,
Dan, Janell, Miesha and Titus Hartley
PS. We are in process of updating our communications database – if you have moved in the last 5 years, will you please send us your updated residential address? Also, if you want our emails to go to a different email address (or not come at all! J) will you please drop Janell a quick email at firstname.lastname@example.org Many thanks!