I never fail to be intrigued and amazed at the many ways in which God makes His gospel good news known to peoples all over the world. And that gives me hope when I think about the many people in our own peninsula neighborhood who still need to know Jesus and the rich life He offers to those who will follow Him.
This past July I had the fascinating opportunity to sit with a group of 75 workers in a remote location in Kyrgyzstan who gathered from around the world to discuss their ministries among nomads. Some were relatively new to this venture, others have been networking their efforts for more than 25 years, but all have a passion to reach more of the 265 million yet unreached peoples who are best identified as “nomads” – those whose livelihoods depend on the herds they follow from place to place, often thriving in the harshest climates in the world, and for that reason, some of the most difficult to reach with the gospel.
But the stories these workers shared were filled with hope. Though many shared of disappointments related to the difficulties of connecting with and caring for remote and fiercely independent people groups, they also shared stories of God’s remarkable providence in going ahead of them and opening doors where workers were faithful to step out with prayer and an enduring willingness to follow God’s lead. Linguists, healthcare workers, midwives, veterinarians, agriculturalists, educators and engineers, these workers are investing their vocational skills for God’s kingdom purpose among these most hard to reach peoples and God is faithfully drawing whole clans of nomads to Himself.
In preparing for my involvement as a morning devotional leader for our July gathering, I contacted friends of mine who began working among the nomadic Daasanach in northern Kenya more than 30 years ago. When I visited them on location 23 years ago, they could only identify one elderly woman who had responded to the gospel in their almost decade of Bible translation work there. Today, there are more than 300 believers among that clan and they are reaching out to other tribes that have been their enemies for centuries!
Also attending our gathering was a national Afar man from Ethiopia, a man whose story is familiar to many in our Sanctuary church family as an evangelist among his own nomadic people. Our story crossed paths with his story less than a decade ago when our Advent Conspiracy gifts helped build a camel watering center for his clan. And, again, the recent response to the gospel among this people group (after centuries of hard hearted darkness) has been nothing short of miraculous, by some reports upwards of 100 now following the way of Jesus.
All this leads me to two major points of reflection. One, the ongoing urgent need for more committed workers who will invest their vocational skills for God’s kingdom purposes to reach nomadic peoples. “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth workers into His harvest,” urged Jesus. Could God be prompting you to pray and to find out how you might use your skills to further His work among nomads? And, two, how might God be pleased to do a remarkable work of His grace among people in our own peninsula neighborhood...how might God use you and me with the vocational skills and opportunities entrusted to us? Pray the Lord of the harvest to send us as workers into His harvest, and keep your eyes open to the people He is purposefully putting in your path.