Tentmaking is a calling. It involves a whole lifestyle. It involves a long-term commitment to become a meaningful part of people's lives and become a part of their world. In the Middle East and North Africa region, where relationships are a primary point of influence, it can take years to win trust, develop relationships, and make a personal impact. A mindset of longterm commitment is important.
The time a tentmaker invests in a foreign country depends on many factors, though, including the employing company's hiring policies, the local economy and political situation, and the changing needs of a corporation or institution. Many employing organizations offer two- or three-year renewable assignments to international workers.
A tentmaker doing business as mission (BAM) is somewhat more independent, but every entrepreneur knows it can take years to establish a sound business base. In addition, national economies, politics, and market needs can make the process even more complex. In the end, the tentmaker places Business as Mission completely in God's hands and trusts His leading.
Tentmaking is a commitment to step into whatever opportunities God provides, to become part of a setting that gives optimum outreach possibilities, and to work and witness as long as He keeps open the door of opportunity.