Today I’m bringing you a different interview. I’ve mentioned before that my goal with this blog is to promote those who are furthering the Kingdom of God. Those who are doing what they can to lift Jesus higher and see him change lives. Today’s interview is with a man named David Killough. David and his family are missionaries in Angola. I met David in 2009 through Overland Missions. I was looking for a place to link up with so I could go on a mission trip. Through internet searches I found Overland Missions. I began talking with David and invited him to speak at our church. The rest is history. They have a blog where you can follow them too. Just go here and check it out. They didn’t ask me to plug this,but I wanted to make sure you could find where to support them. They are in need of a new vehicle in Angola, you can read about that HERE and find out how you can help. Also, if you’d like to find out more about Overland Missions visit their website here.
When did you first know you wanted to be a missionary?
Growing up, I had no grand thoughts or ideas about going into vocational ministry. In fact, I wanted to be a naval fighter pilot. During high school I was working towards an application to the Naval Academy, but the Lord started doing something different. After graduating from high school, I had earned an academic scholarship to Arizona State University, but decided instead, to go into a nine month discipleship program with a 3 month stint in China. I passed up the scholarship and was working towards saving money for the internship/discipleship program in the summer of 1999. For various reasons, the program that year was canceled, which was devastating to 17 yr old me, especially since I gave up a scholarship to attend the program. Shortly after, an opportunity arose to join a missionary family my family had been supporting. They lived in the bush of Northern Kenya. After I had been living in the bush of Kenya for about a year, I began to realize that this was the life that I was made for. The best way I can describe it is as if a lion had been born in a zoo, he’d know nothing but captivity and bars. However, if that lion is released into it’s proper habitat, it will eventually get hungry, instinct will kick in, and that first animal it kills, sinks it’s teeth into will change it forever. It will be a wild lion, no longer a zoo lion. I felt like I had been let out of the zoo, tasting the life that I was made for.
How many countries have you been too?
Excluding the USA and countries where I never left the airport, I’ve travelled in 17 different countries and I’ve lived in 5 (USA, Kenya, Portugal, Zambia, Angola)
Did you ever imagine that God would take you to the places you’ve been.
Never in my wildest of dreams. When I think of my life, I think of Ephesians 3:20 “Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly beyond all that you could ask, dream or even imagine, according to the power at work within us, to HIM be the glory forever and ever.” The most radical, dangerous life I could dream up was to be a Naval fighter pilot. This has exceeded that by a long ways. I go places, and do things that even the military doesn’t do!
How did you get involved with Overland Missions and how long have you been involved with them.
I was teaching kids church at my church Vineyard Christian Church in Gilbert, AZ when a guy named David Philips happened to stop by and visit. He was supposed to be speaking at a different church, but the engagement was cancelled. My good friend and leader of our youth group, Obie Pinner, met him through a mutual friend and invited him to speak to the youth. I didn’t hear him preach, but my mom did. She introduced us and we hit it off right away. We were the same age, had lived and traveled in many of the same countries, and he was doing what I wanted to do. I joined him for the annual Overland Missions conference in Cocoa Beach, FL that year, December 2005, and then joined Overland on an expedition to Mozambique during the summer of 2006. I left my job not long after and joined staff full-time in January of 2007. This January will mark 10 years of working with Overland Missions full-time.
Didn’t you meet your wife through Overland Missions? If not or if so, tell us how you met.
I met my wife sort of through Overland, sort of through her brother. Her brother had joined me in the Amazon for the better part of a summer on a few expeditions I was leading. We became good friends and he invited me to the UK to do some support raising and recruiting. I was excited at the opportunity so I traveled there at the end of October 2009. I didn’t know that my friend James’ sister was living at his house, nor was I traveling there with any hopes or desires of meeting a British girl to marry. As far as I was concerned, I was going to preach, raise support, recruit, see my buddy and have fun! Fiona and I quickly connected though, and I it would take an entirely separate article to go into what happened there. Suffice it to say, the only support I raised was my wife, and the only recruit I recruited was my wife. I would say I did pretty good! We met in early November of 2009, and were married at the beginning of October 2010. No messing around for us!
You’re currently living in Angola and I’ve been following your journey there. Can you tell us how you were called there? Tell us about the journey to get there?
My family and I are currently living in Namibe, Angola along the SW coast. For my wife and to say we were called by God to Angola, would be akin to saying we were called by God to breathe. It just sounds funny. Especially in light of the Great Commission which we read about in Matt 28: 18-20. Who needs a call when you have a verse? Our perspective on who is a missionary is perhaps a bit different from what is common place today, but it is certainly not new. According to the 1st century church and the demonstration that Jesus gave us in His life, all who are Christ followers, are ambassadors of the Kingdom of God. That is to say, if one believes in Jesus Christ and is committed to following Him, then one IS a missionary or ambassador if you like. See 2 Corinthians 5:18-21. As far as our journey here is concerned, it was a long one, over 10 years to be precise. I had done a reconnaissance trip here with my colleague Dan Hoyme (working with us in Angola) and Mateus Mandala (working with Overland in Mozambique) in 2007 shortly after joining Overland Missions. No one from Overland had been to Angola since our founder Philip Smethurst (conscripted into RSA military) had left the country after South Africa pulled out of the Angolan civil war. He was preaching and ministering the Gospel then, and had a heart to return, so off we went to see what we as a ministry could do in Angola. That reconnaissance trip was the trip from hell. It was by far the most difficult and challenging expedition I’ve ever been on. We learned quickly that Angola was the country that would expose any weak points in your life or your equipment. There were very few missionaries working there and the need for them was never greater. It was and still is rated as the most expensive country in the world for expats and visitors. The infrastructure had all but been destroyed, land mines were a constant threat and the roads would beat your vehicle to pieces. Our Land Rover Discovery was towed 4000 of the 5000 kilometers that trip. We didn’t even use a full tank of diesel… However, that trip opened up the doors for future trips and for the work we’re doing now amongst the Mucubal tribe. The price was high to be sure, but it’s all been worth it.
Before Fi and I made the decision to come to Angola, we had been leading expeditions to the Amazon for 1-2 months a year, and would then travel to Angola for further reconnaissance trips. Eventually we knew that we would have to make a decision between the two. It was a very tough decision to make. We never had a specific word from the Lord saying ‘choose Angola and not Brazil’, it was more a decision He gave us to make. We felt that even though the need in the Amazon was great, there were already many missionaries and churches working there. Angola however was a different story. Many had tried to live and work in Angola, but for one reason or another, decided to go elsewhere. For us, it was the great need, and the lack of people ministering there in a discipleship and evangelism capacity. Along with the decision to move to Angola was a decision to move to Portugal to learn the language. We had to apply for visas, which was a process that took about 16 months and was quite costly. We also had to increase our monthly support goals and are in the process of raising money to purchase a vehicle to work here.
What has God been doing in Angola since you’ve been there?
I cannot speak for the larger part of the country and the places where I haven’t been traveling, though I’m sure God is moving and working there. What I can say is that the doors amongst the Mucubal tribe have blown open! In order to work in the country or in a region, you must have special permission from the governing officials. Additionally, if you wish to work with a tribe, you must have permission from the head of the tribe as well as the local leadership. There are many hoops to jump through, but the strides we’re making are great. The Mucubal people as a whole have no to little concept of God. So it makes preaching difficult to impossible. I’ve found that telling stories or parables if you will, are one of the most effective ways of communicating the Gospel of Jesus to the people. They understand the comparisons of Jesus being the ‘Good Shepherd’ or Jesus being the ‘Sower of seeds’. Additionally we’ve seen many miracles take place. People are being healed, rain has fallen after we’ve prayed with the people for rain. We’ve found that when the Word of Truth and the power of the Spirit are combined, people respond. The Mucubal certainly have.
Are there specific goals that you want to see God achieve while you are there?
I’d like to travel down the remote road to the Mucubal tribe one day and be going to a people completely reached with the Gospel. A people who are actively planting their own churches and are reaching their own people. I’d like to see their language written and a Bible translated into it. Additionally, I’d like to see Angolan leadership, both governmental and tribal submitted to the authority and purposes of God for their people.
Is it hard raising a family on the mission field?
Raising a family is hard. Period. Nothing will test one’s resolve like little children running around screaming at each other while deliberately ignoring what you’re saying to them. Especially when it’s done in two different languages! There are certainly challenges that come with vocational ministry in a foreign nation. For instance, being far away from family, friends and the support network that one is used to. Not being able to be there for family members when they’re going through a tough time, and likewise not having them with you to assist when you’re going through a tough time.
Can you tell us a time when you were in a frightening situation but the hand of God was with you and brought you through?
While in the field, the one thing I can think of is when someone tried to break into my car while my daughter was sleeping in it. We were in the town of Oshakati, Namibia which is about 45 minutes from the Angolan border. I was swapping SIM cards in our cell phones, emptying my wallet of one currency and filling it with another as well as doing a bunch of other logistical things. My wife was in a shop and my daughter was sleeping in her car seat. I had all the doors locked, and then someone came up and opened my door. All of my internal alarm bells were going off, but he mentioned that there was something wrong with the back of my car. I had just come from a couple of weeks of driving in the bush of Angola, so I thought he may be right. I got out, shut my door, went to the back and took a look. He pointed under the car, but when I didn’t see anything, I started going back to the door when I saw a man rifling through my car with the door open. I quickly put him in a headlock and shouted for the nearby police and other help. No one came and we ended up fighting it out. I was concerned he’d done something to my daughter or stolen our passports, wallets, phones etc… As he tried to get away, I gouged him in the eye and he fell to the ground with me following. I hit my knee pretty hard on the asphalt, which prevented me from continuing the fight. He got away, but not with anything from my car. The police never came, and neither did anyone else. It was the grace of God that I wasn’t seriously injured. It was clearly a 2 man job and he could have easily been carrying a screwdriver or other sharp implement which could have seriously hurt me. How’s that for frightening?
Can you share one of the most miraculous things that you’ve seen God do either while in Angola or any other place?
One of the most miraculous things I’ve seen God do is not what you might expect. Many look for the obvious, blind eyes opening, deaf ears hearing, lame walking, mute speaking, etc… While I’ve seen God do all of those things and many more, the most miraculous thing I’ve seen God do, is change a dead man’s heart, a heart of stone, into flesh. A person born into iniquity, being re-born into new life. The new creation is by far the most miraculous, most mysterious thing I’ve witnessed. In one moment a person can be destined for eternal death, at enmity with God, a child of wrath; and then in the next moment, they are a child of God, born from above, a child of righteousness destined for eternal life. How that happens in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, is most miraculous to me.