Every Nation, Tribe and People?

Revelation 7:9 “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.”

Every nation, tribe, people? Yes, we want to believe it but often the obstacles seem immovable.

At a YWAM Conference On Frontier Missions (COFM) in the late 1980s, our speaker, Todd Johnson told us of one of the largest and most difficult people groups to reach—the Uzbeks. Their land, Uzbekistan, was locked up within Communist USSR. Outsiders were forbidden to enter this Muslim country.

Every nation? All tribes and people groups? Every…all…including the Uzbeks?

Yes, every. Within two years of hearing about the Uzbeks, I stood in front of our television watching the Berlin Wall—the symbol of Communism’s “Iron Curtin” being broken down. The world was shocked! The USSR opened to the world. Suddenly, unexpectedly a way was paved to the Uzbeks. Shortly thereafter, scores of YWAMers arrived in Uzbekistan. They set about learning the language and culture; building friendships and talking about Jesus.

Eventually Uzbeks opened their hearts and believed the Good News. Lives were transformed, fellowships established and local elders trained and commissioned. What once seemed unattainable became reality. Uzbek people were loving and obeying Jesus and sharing the Gospel with others.

Not long ago, the government tried to bring the growing movement to a halt by forcing all missionaries out and intensifying persecution of the Uzbek church. Despite this new obstacle, the local believers continue to remain strong and press on toward God’s purposes for their people and their land.

As I look back over these years my heart is full of gratitude that God accomplished what once seemed so impossible. Yes there will be Uzbeks in the midst of that multitude John saw—many of them! Today it is estimated there are over 10,000 Uzbek believers and many movements.

How will God draw in the remaining thousands of unreached tribes and nations? It’s not up to us to figure it out ourselves. He has His ways. Between now and then, let’s pray in faith—He’s done it before, He’ll do it again. May we remain ever available to respond in faith and obedience, doing the part He gives us to do.

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