When a missionary accepts a teaching challenge, a sudden illness proves to be a blessing.
“Elisha, you need to read this book again,” I turned to my husband. “It provides such meaning in light of current events.”
I had read The Great Controversy before, but it had never spoken to me the way it did now. After reading the chapters about Martin Luther, the conviction fastened in my heart that we must teach the biblical books of Daniel and Revelation to our students. I shared the thought with Elisha, and then with our staff. They all agreed. Of course, since the idea came from me, I was the one to whom the task was assigned.
Teaching the stories in the book of Daniel proved to be quite easy. But when we reached the prophetic sections, I had to scratch my head. “Lord, how can I teach these things to 16 through 20-year-olds who have no clue about world history?” I questioned. “They do not know anything about Hitler, Charles V, the Roman Empire, and Julius Cesar. How can I teach them without losing their interest and attention? How can all this make sense to a group of youth who are only interested in their cell phones, boy-girl relationships and food?”
I am so thankful that our God equips the sent. He saw my perplexity and helplessness. We had been teaching the Bible to our students for 9 months now. Some of these young people had never opened or read the Bible before, and had never set foot in a church. At this point, they had some idea of what God’s Word was about. My challenge was to attach prophecy to the rest of the Bible, and the method seemed unclear to my mind.
Then one morning, after many days of struggling and prayer, it all made sense. I would start at the beginning of our earthly history, and highlight the battle between good and evil. Following the biblical account, I would share God’s revelation that all earthly kingdoms will end, and that His heavenly one will last forever. I realized that I could not teach about beasts and kingdoms without the context of the great controversy between good and evil.
All went smoothly until I reached Daniel chapter 10. Here again, I was challenged.
I stood in front of the students one morning, feeling discouraged. “I will not be teaching Daniel 10–12 because of all the historic details in these chapters,” I announced. “I feel that they would be more of a burden for you to understand than a blessing.”
As I left the classroom, I suddenly began to feel unwell physically. I turned to my translator, “Suzan, help me up the hill to my house.”
I could not make it up the hill even halfway. “Please, Suzan, just leave me here and go call Elisha,” I breathed in pain. “I cannot walk anymore.”
Suzan left me sitting on the grass and ran up the big hill as fast as she could.
I felt cold and nauseated. Elisha arrived a few minutes later with the pickup truck, and helped me into the back seat.
The two-minute drive home felt much longer as the vehicle rattled over the bumpy road. Where was this pain coming from? I could not understand. I had been just fine that morning.
My pain was so acute that I agreed to take medication for it. The pills brought no relief. Our natural remedies teacher prepared a bitter brew containing sweet wormwood and garlic. I swallowed the terrible tea.
After a short time, the pain abated, but I felt as if I had just fought a lion. Although still bed-ridden that afternoon, I felt much better.
“I need to prepare to teach a Revelation class now,” I reminded myself. “I’d better make use of this time in bed!” Elisha brought the computer over to me, and I haphazardly clicked on a study I had downloaded months before when we were in the United States.
This study and the next two just happened to be all about Daniel 8–12! I sat there, astonished. I had decided not to teach a section of these chapters to my students right before my illness struck. Was God trying to tell me something?
I concentrated on the material God had placed before my eyes. I studied these chapters for three days until I could finally stand on my feet without assistance. Whereas before I had felt discouraged and uncertain, everything seemed clear and simple to me now.
When I walked down to the classroom again, I told the students about God’s rebuke to me. “I need to teach the whole book of Daniel,” I said. We finished Daniel with a beautiful view of God’s love and care for us.
“God revealed in advance the result of putting our trust in man,” I turned the pages in my Bible. “If we repeatedly violate His law and reject His rulership, the Lord will finally withdraw from us and leave us with what we desire—subjection to man. This is how God’s people came under the successive dominion of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. And what is man without God? He is an instrument in the hands of the great adversary.”
Now, the students understood that the great controversy was about much more than one denomination being the “right” one. Through the attitude of Daniel and his companions, they understood that the conflict was about worship: whether we worship God through obedience, or Satan through disobedience to God. What an eye-opener! So many people—even really sincere Christians—have attitudes of disobedience or rejection toward God and His law without even realizing it.
As prophetic events unfold before our eyes, I am reminded that God is leading ordinary people to study and understand His Word. Let wonderful truth in its entirety be shared with the world!
The experience of my inward struggles, sudden illness and inspiration to share the Scriptures convicts me of God’s great love for His people – including a handful of turbulent teenagers in a lost village of Tanzania.
Update: After the classes on Daniel and Revelation, many students gave their hearts to Jesus and thirteen were baptized. Now they are facing “persecution” from their families for taking a stand for the truth. Nadege reports, “Some go through it with pain, others shrink from the decision, and still others give in and renounce their faith. We need prayers—very earnest prayers.”
Nadege Vande Voort and her husband Elisha operate Eden Valley Foster Care Mission, a trade school for underprivileged youth in Tanzania. You can reach them by emailing email@example.com. Their address is Box 17, Mafinga, Iringa, Tanzania.
How You Can Help
Pray for the Vande Voort’s outreach in their home villages, and that the youth will be able to keep their faith.
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Donate. If you would like to give to Elisha and Nadege’s mission, mark your donation “Eden Valley Foster Care Mission” and send it to:
Outpost Centers International
5132 Layton Lane
Apison, TN 37302