It was the year 1971 and Bob Tyson had finished language school and he was now in Nicaragua. I had just had my first birthday. Dad started praying asking God to show him a way to reach the Nicaraguan people to Christ. Missionary Rich Comer was in Nicaragua helping Dad at that time. My Father would always go all out on any project. He decided to hold 12 thirty night tent campaigns in 12 villages. Someone had loaned them an old tent and Palacaguina, Nicaragua would be the first village.
Back in those days, the catholic priest had more power than the mayor so after getting permission to put up the tent from the Mayor and the local Priest, they started inviting people from the village to come. Instead of announcing an evangelistic campaign, they would tell people "You are going to see things you never saw before, You are going to hear things you never heard before". Most people thought that it was a Circus. The only people back in those days to put up a tent were Circus Promoters but instead of seeing Clowns and Animals, they saw my Dad and Brother Rich preaching night after night the good news of salvation.
During the day, Dad would teach young men who had been saved and called to preach under the Tent. In the afternoon, they would go door to door inviting people to the tent meeting and at night they would preach to the many or few that would come out. Dad had a 16mm projector and at the end of each service, a Christian Movie would be shown. In many of these villages, there were no TV's or Movie Theaters so this was a great way to get people to come out to the tent.
This went on for several years and by 1978, 12 Churches had been started in 12 Villages with their own Church buildings and Pastors. It was not easy. I could spend days telling you stories about Demon Possession, Vandalism, People throwing Rocks at the tent and so much more. This was the start of the Good Samaritan Baptist Mission. This is how it all began. Today, there are over 200 Churches and it all started out under a tent. It has been along time since we put up a tent in a village but three months ago, the National Pastors decided that they wanted to once again go back to our roots by holding 30 night tent campaigns in villages, towns and cities in Central America.
The first city they chose was Comayagua, Honduras. Times have changed. People now have Internet, Cable Television, Cell Phones and many other activities. Getting people to come out under a tent has become very difficult but from the start they decided that no matter the size of the crowd, they were going to be there for 30 nights. They started out with 8 people showing up and before it was over, around 100 people were showing up each night. At the end of the month long campaign, 60 people had received Christ as their Savior. A National Pastor was chosen to stay behind to minister to this new group of believers and plans are being made for a second 30 night campaign under the tent in a different area of Honduras.
This Tent Ministry is being led my Pastor Mario Sanchez which many Americans who have visited Honduras on a Mission Trip know very well. He told me personally that God has called him to follow the same footsteps and my father by starting new Churches through Tent Campaigns.
My father would be proud of these men. They still have no funds or financial support for this but all the National Pastors are coming together to help out so the tent campaigns can continue.
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Philip Tyson is the Oldest Son of Bob and Joan Tyson, founders of the Good Samaritan Baptist Mission.