The First

Just four months ago, the first person from a certain North African country joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church! I shared a hotel room with him this month at an event the MENA Union organized for tentmakers. Here is his story:

He grew up an atheist in a Muslim land. In his twenties, a deep depression overcame him. While flipping through a book about galaxies, a single unexpected thought pierced through his darkness: Maybe the universe is created. That single thought showered him with what he called a “supernatural happiness that broke my depression.” He embarked on a quest for meaning. He began searching through New Age philosophies of energies and extraterrestrials. For three years he told me that he searched in all the wrong directions. Then one day he stumbled onto a YouTube video presentation of the gospel. “I immediately knew this had to be true,” he said. “There was nothing else like it—God becoming human and dying in my place!” He decided to read the Bible. After reading the Pentateuch, he decided that observance of Sabbath was something important for a follower of God. As he began keeping the Sabbath alone, he began reading about the Sabbath and watching YouTube videos about it. This led him to discover Ellen White’s writings online. He told me he began by reading all the Testimonies, and he loved them! After a long search, he made contact with Adventists thousands of miles away. God is great!

Now he is being discipled by a GoTential-birthed tentmaker in his country. This new North African convert is humble, educated, on fire, loves Jesus and knows our message inside and out. I couldn’t help but ask him what it felt like to be the only one of his nationality in the entire world who has taken this step. He answered simply, “Special.” Then, after pondering a moment, he said, “Now I just want to be a steward of this appointment I have received.” Ratio: 1:32 million. “Go!”

The Ethiopian eunuch of Acts 8 was this North African man’s equivalent 2,000 years ago. Ethiopia has had a Christian presence ever since. From the time of Pentecost forward, there has always been a frontier—we could call it an “edge”—where the gospel hasn’t arrived yet. Paul says in Romans 15:20, “I have always made it my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ has not been named.”

An ancient commentary recounts how Jesus’ apostle Simon the Zealot was sent to preach the truth of God to the Berbers of Northern Africa. Perhaps North Africa’s conquest required a zealot in the first century, as it does today!

In an age of interplanetary missions to Mars it is hard to believe that there still is a mission frontier on earth. But human hearts are harder to conquer than space.

Once earth had men like Shackelton and Amundson who were consumed with a vision of going where no one had gone before. Such men and woman are needed today for the mission frontier. Today our “last frontier” isn’t unexplored territory but cities, towns and human hearts that must be entered. Adventist tentmaker professionals, taking strategic job placements, are entering cities and towns and homes where no Christian has ever gone before.

If it weren’t for our tentmakers, the North African man I mentioned above would have no Christian fellowship. Tentmakers provide the chance for people to learn the nuances of Christ’s love, have fellowship, be discipled and become multipliers.

If you yearn to see the gospel spread to the ends of the earth, support the GoTential tentmaker vision. It is the cutting edge.

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