Janet* had been working as a tentmaker nurse for 17 years in a very difficult country. Sometimes she felt all that time had been wasted—no one had been baptized; no one was even taking Bible studies.
One day, a pastor was able to visit her city (the first pastor in more than a year who had been able to get a visa to come). She asked him and his wife to visit some friends with her. They agreed, expecting to visit another foreign family. But as the car pulled up to the house, the pastor realized this was no foreign worker’s home. This was a massive mansion owned by wealthy locals. His mind was whirling. In this part of the world, Adventist pastors rarely have the opportunity to visit non-Christian locals in their homes. In fact, he had never been in one like this before. But he knew a little of what to expect. Inside the door would be an ornately furnished visiting room. That is where they would sit and talk because in that country men aren’t allowed in the center of the home unless they’re part of the family.
The hosts welcomed Janet, the pastor, and his wife warmly and then turned and walked past the visiting room and up the stairs into the center of the home. As the group took their seats in the large family room, the pastor almost had to pinch himself to see whether this was really happening and not just a dream. This family must really think a lot of Janet, he thought. They must consider her part of the family, and because of her, my wife and I are being counted as part of the family too.
The men soon excused themselves, and after a few minutes, the women went to prepare refreshments. As soon as all the family members had left the room, Janet said softly, “Pastor, look at this!” and reached over to the wide-screen satellite system on the wall and turned it on.
The pastor gasped in surprise as a familiar picture came up on the screen. It was a well-known Adventist pastor preaching on one of the Adventist satellite channels. “Janet,” he asked in amazement, “how is it that this family is watching Adventist television?”
“Oh, Pastor,” she laughed, “they like cooking. So, when I saw a cooking class, I told them about it. I offered to program it into their favorite channels so they could see it anytime. To humor me, they began watching a few minutes of it now and then. They liked it and began to watch more. Then they started watching what came before and after it. Now they watch many of the Adventist preachers and programs.”
“Janet,” the pastor asked, “have you done this with anyone else?”
“Well, yes, I guess so.” Janet thought for a moment. “Yes, with quite a few people really. I’ve done it with most of my friends and coworkers. I find a program I think they’ll like and then, with their permission, program it into their favorites list.”
Later, after they left the home, the pastor gently chided Janet, “Don’t tell me you’re not making a difference in this country. You may not be seeing people baptized or coming to church, but families all over this city are watching Adventist television. They would never have selected a Christian program on their own, but because they’ve learned to love and trust you, they’ve started watching. And some of them will be walking the streets of heaven with you after Jesus comes!”
* Name has been changed.
Total Employment™, the Global Mission tentmaker program, is an initiative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to recruit, train, and place “tentmakers”—self-supporting professionals who want to share Jesus—in places where it’s politically or religiously challenging to share the gospel openly. Sometimes the only way to get a dedicated Adventist into these areas is to help someone with the right training and experience get a job with a company in the community.
The church has an urgent need for tentmakers in the 10/40 Window, an area that stretches from northern Africa through the Middle East and Asia. This is home to two-thirds of the world’s population, most of the world’s least-reached countries and people groups, and the fewest Christians.
Tentmakers can work as entrepreneurs, computer technicians, public relations specialists, graphic designers, engineers, agriculturalists, international development workers, artists, teachers, and health care professionals, among other professions.
When we learn of an opening, we search the Adventist Professionals’ Network (APN) database and send out notices to all who might qualify. Please sign up so we can include you in future searches and notifications.
For more information, please visit TotalEmployment.org.