I’ve been reading the story of Joseph for the past few weeks in my daily Bible study. In Genesis 45, Joseph invites his brothers to move to Egypt in order to survive the remaining years of famine. I stopped at this chapter for a long, long time. Why would God allow His people to move to Egypt when He knew that in several hundred years, they would be completely oppressed by Pharaoh, enslaved by a vicious ruler?
And then one day, the answer came to me! How would God’s people understand redemption if they had not been enslaved first? Although God sent Moses to be the deliverer, it was through God’s mighty acts of power that the people were actually saved. God showed His power through ten separate judgements, but the final judgement of the death of the firstborn established the feast of Passover, and more importantly, pointed to a redemption yet to come. If the Israelites in Exodus had not experienced that final judgement, the Israelites in the New Testament would not have understood the sacrifice made by Jesus on the cross. They would have had no frame of reference for the redemptive shedding of blood nor what it meant to be delivered from slavery. God allowed His people to be enslaved by Egypt to provide a frame of reference for the work He would do centuries later.
Since we left Vienna, almost two years ago, there have been many times when we felt enslaved, oppressed, forgotten by God. When you are separated from the people and the country you love while you are going through deep hurts and trials, it can feel like slavery.
God has given us so much in the last two years. A place to live and work are just the beginning. He’s allowed me to almost complete my graduate degree. He’s given Joe two years of IB teaching experience. He’s allowed the kids to gain a better understanding of their home culture. And He’s planted us in a Church family who tirelessly works to break through the walls that we unknowingly create around our family to show us love. He’s brought healing and growth in areas of our lives that I thought were beyond repair. He is a good and gracious Father, and I don’t want to take away the value from any of that. But in our hearts, we are often oppressed.
And just like the Israelites, we cry out to God for Him to remember His promise. The Israelites longed to be in the land God had given them. And we ask God to allow the pain we have been through to count for something, to be worth something, to be useful to someone.
When our Church announced an opportunity to minister to career missionaries serving in Northern Germany, we struggled for a long time with whether we should commit to go. But one night, through teary eyes, we understood that all the pain and hurt we had gone through could be used to minister to these people who share the same pressures and stressors we had while ministering overseas. It was as if God remembered us, assuring us that our past struggles would be used for His future plans.
The journey to our promised land is still filled with obstacles. Rather than wander in the desert for 40 years, $4000 must be raised. And instead of battling huge, walled cities and massive armies, work schedules, graduate school responsibilities, and the kid’s school tasks must be tackled. But we trust that the same God who led Israel as a cloud by day and fire by night will lead us as well.
If you would like to partner with us on this short-term mission opportunity, you can make a tax-deductible donation through our Church in three ways:
1. You can give online at this link https://thevintagechurch.churchcenteronline.com/giving
Change the “To:” box to “Germany Trip Overby.”
2. You can text your donation from your phone.
Text “$xxdeoverby” to the number 84-321 (the xx represents the donation amount).
For example, if you want to give $50, your text should read “$50deoverby”
3. You can also give by check.
The check should be made payable to The Vintage Church with Overby Germany
Trip on the memo line.
Mail the check to The Vintage Church, 107 E. Lamar, McKinney, TX 75069
Thank you for prayerfully considering a donation to our trip and for being obedient to how the Spirit leads you. We have been blessed by so many of you who continue to partner with us through each unexpected turn our lives have taken. We thank God for each of you.