Where would I be without my Bible? I don't think I would be living this far from family. I don’t think my husband would be a tentmaker. I am sure I would have nothing to share with you.
But it's solely on God's Word that we are here--tentmakers in the Middle East. Luke 10:2 changed our lives.
It was only a few years ago that we were enjoying the comforts of living in a pleasant Adventist community in the United States. One quiet Sabbath afternoon, looking for some good inspiration, we decided to listen to a sermon on mission. Luke 10 was the passage, the verse was familiar:
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Luke 10:2)
But the message to our hearts was new, unfamiliar. We couldn’t get it off our minds. We were both convicted that the harvest is really large and the number of laborers is miniscule. We prayed that God would throw us out into His harvest. Within a year we were in the Middle East, searching out His will for us.
One day, as we were praying and reading passages of scripture, awaiting the next step of our journey, God spoke to us. The picture we found in Deuteronomy 8:7-8 seemed reassuring.
“The Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey."
Now, that’s not the common geography of much of the Middle East. We didn’t know the specific place He was going to take us. But we hardly thought the Lord was describing our final destination. But at least this verse gave me great hope; we felt assured God had good in store for us.
But when we arrived and settled in, we were surprised at how much good!
The city where we are serving as tentmakers is surrounded by valleys and hills, wheat and barley, vines and figs and pomegranates. It is a land of olive oil and honey. Right now we even have fifty olive trees in our back yard!
The likeness to God’s promise was so astonishing that I wondered about one more detail. God seemed to have fulfilled almost everything, but… Then I learned that our home receives its water from a gushing spring 75 meters from our back door. That was what He had promised.
Of course, such things can be taken figuratively; any place is “a good land” if we are within God’s will. In faith, we claimed the promise that He would do good by us. But the tangible fulfillment of the promise we read in Deuteronomy that Sabbath has left us with special evidence that for us, in this place, at this time, God has spoken literally and personally.
It is great encouragement to us for the times—which are sure to come—when He seems to be silent and the only word we have to go on is His Word!
When we feel alone, uncertain, unproductive, and perhaps even weak witnesses for Him, His Word is certain: “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city” (Acts 18:9-10). His calling always come with promises, and He will not fail.
Dear fellow tentmaker—as well as those considering a tentmaking mission—let His Word speak to you. Let Him be your encouragement, solace, and strength. Then, as the verse says, Speak and do not keep silent. He is with you. He has many people in the city where He has placed you. --MW