Tentmaking is a missions strategy practiced by the Apostle Paul himself in the first century (see Acts 18.) By using the skill of tentmaking which he would have learned as a young man, Paul and his companions were used by God to spread the gospel throughout the entire known world. One of the basic ideas behind tentmaking missions is that by meeting physical needs in the land to which you are called, you will find more open doors for meeting spiritual needs. We have found this to be true in Poland. On a survey trip several years ago, we were confronted time after time by the need of early childhood education facilities. In European Union countries, preschool education is deemed very important, and Poland had experienced a “baby boom” that had set the stage for public preschools not having nearly enough space for the demand that was coming. The Lord opened the doors for Worldwide Tentmakers to work with a Polish couple who had a heart to reach their people and to start a new private preschool. Following is a peek into that ministry written by one of our tentmaking English teachers.
Just over a year ago our beautiful preschool was simply a rundown building, missing floors and walls, void of furniture and having a yard full of rock, debris and unkempt trees. Miracle is the only word I can think of today when I look into the beaming face of a little three or four year old as they run past me on the lawn, or when I peek into the brightly decorated classrooms to see the young lives that our teachers are daily pouring themselves into.
This preschool is the result of the passion of a Polish couple to reach their own people and an American mission looking for ways to use businesses to reach the world with the gospel. Our goal here is to make connections with families in the community by offering a quality preschool for their children as well as English classes for the entire family. As friendships and trust develop we use the children’s programs and everyday conversations as an opportunity to present the gospel.
Please don’t get the wrong idea; starting up a brand new preschool is not an easy route. Just think paperwork, paperwork and more paperwork and you will get an idea of just one of the hurdles that we had to jump. Another hurdle came when anonymous people in the community spread rumors about us being a cult. And let’s not forget the challenge of bringing together a new staff, learning to work together and building a solid foundation that will help further Christ’s ministry through this work. Yet in every trial or “growing pain,” God has showed us that He is more than capable of taking care of each situation and He has given us the strength and patience we need.
The school opened in October 2012. Our first day we only had two little girls, and by Christmas we had only grown to five students. At first, this was disappointing because we had expected more interest from the community and many more students from the beginning. But by February, God decided we had waited long enough; we started receiving one or two students every week! By April we had doubled in size and we had started receiving applications for the new school year.
One of the advantages for families looking at our preschool is our English program. Instead of simply offering one to two hours of English per week we have an American assistant in each class all day long. This allows our students to hear English throughout the day as well as in the allocated “English class” times. Children learn so quickly and easily with this method that even if they have only been with us a week or two they already show some sense of understanding. Our four year olds who have been here for over a semester are starting to talk in complete sentences, and they understand most of what the English teachers say to them.
This preschool, which is meeting a real need in the community, has been blessed by the same God who miraculously led the children of Israel out of Egypt, the same God who miraculously raised the dead and gave sight to the blind, and the same God who miraculously came as a human baby to die in our place. This same God miraculously used finite humans and limited resources to start a work here in Poland that has the potential of reaching hundreds of families for Christ. Please pray with us that God will continue to shower his miracles on us and that we will be a light in this community.
If you are interested in getting involved with this preschool ministry, or if you would like more information about how God can use you right where you are or around the world, check out Worldwide Tentmakers. While you’re there, be sure to check out the entrepreneurial missions index to find the countries that are best to start tentmaking missions works or check out the Missionary Presence map to see which areas of the world are in most need of people to take the good news of the Savior to them. Worldwide Tentmakers is the mission organization closely connected to Teach Them Diligently Convention. David Nunnery serves as president of both organizations.