Adventist Logo Adventist Logo Adventist Logo

Global Mission

God Was Here First

When my wife and I first received our assignment as Global Mission pioneers in a dark region of a closed country in the Middle East, we knew the work would be challenging. But it was harder than we expected.

Realizing it was humanly impossible for us to make any impact, we began praying for God to reveal Himself through signs and wonders. We knew only He could open the people’s tightly guarded hearts and dispel their misconceptions and fears. We didn’t know about Asli’s dreams.

Asli had told her husband and daughter that she had been having dreams in which Jesus appeared to her and invited her to follow Him. Concerned, they took her to every kind of spiritual teacher they knew but received no answers. Every medical doctor they visited had their own diagnosis, each one identifying a different problem in her brain. The dreams continued for five years.

In one dream, Jesus asked Asli, “Do you love Me?” In response, she asked to see His face. Asli noticed that He was smiling at her. In another, Jesus said, “Come to Me,” and she ran to meet Him. In another dream, Asli saw two churches with Jesus standing between them. She saw Him point to one of the churches, indicating which one she could attend. Asli understood clearly that Jesus was inviting her to become a Christian. When she had a dream of Jesus reading the Bible and inviting her to join Him, Asli began researching Christian faiths online. In her search, she came across our Instagram, where we post our travels and family happenings. Asli felt impressed to contact us. As we visited, I realized she was on a spiritual search and sensed the Lord had sent her to us. I didn’t hesitate to invite her to our Sabbath house meeting.

I don’t know why I was surprised when Asli showed up at our house church with her husband and a bouquet of flowers for my wife. It was clear she assumed she was at the end of her search.

“I’m so happy to meet you. It seems I have finally found my family—people who can understand me,” she announced. It was the most natural thing to suggest we begin Bible studies together. She was ready to start the following day. Our first study was on Creation; she appeared satisfied with what she was learning. The next day, I received a message from her:

“I have been researching tithing. I know God requires it from us, but because I’m not following His instructions, it seems so much of my money is being wasted.” She wanted to know if I could answer some questions she had about tithing. I was shocked because, in the surrounding culture, tithing can be one of the hardest truths to embrace.

We had a Bible study with Asli on tithing that same day. Knowing the hurdles, I asked her to pray about her decision and ask God to guide her in what she should do. She contacted me the next day, informing me that she understood from her Bible what God was inviting her to do, and she would begin returning her tithe to the Adventist Church. In her words, “You treated me so well, and I feel part of this family. I want my tithe to help this ministry and the work you are beginning in our city.”

In answer to our prayers, long before we prayed them, God was working in Asli’s life. No one was near to explain; no one was available to guide her. But He kept near her as He waited for someone to tell her more. This region has not been sold to the enemy. These people are being preserved for God.