If God Can Open Uzbekistan to the Gospel, Why Not Other Places?
Obstacles can seem immovable when working to reach unreached people groups. YWAMers believe in the God-given vision of Revelation 7:9. As a result, YWAM-FM teams respond by praying and going. We want to see every nation, tribe, and people reached for Jesus. This story of how God opened an impossible door among Uzbeks brings these verses from the book of Revelation to life.
“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” (Revelation 7:9, NIV).
A Closed Country: Uzbekistan
In the late 1980s, one of our mission’s researchers, Todd Johnson, spoke at a YWAM Conference on Frontier Missions. YWAM-FM was just getting started back then.
He told us that the Uzbeks were one of the largest and most difficult people groups to reach. He described their land, Uzbekistan, to us. It was a closed country within Communist USSR. Outsiders were not allowed to enter this mostly Muslim country at that time.
YWAMers who heard Todd’s message understood. God had called us to go to every nation. He wanted to reach all tribes and people groups. This included the Uzbeks. Those who heard the message wanted to believe it, but the obstacles seemed insurmountable. God knew how to overcome this difficulty. It was not too hard for Him!
Within just two years of Johnson’s message about the Uzbeks, the Berlin wall fell. The symbol of communism’s “Iron Curtain” came down on television for all to see. It shocked the world! A sudden and unexpected pathway was created for sharing Christ with the unreached Uzbeks. The USSR was now open to outsiders.
YWAM Frontier Missions knew they must respond to this open door. YWAMers were mobilized from around the world, and more than a hundred responded to the call. They arrived in Uzbekistan and began learning the language and culture. As they built friendships, they began talking to people about Jesus.
Uzbeks readily opened their hearts and believed the good news. Lives were powerfully transformed. Fellowships were established and local elders trained and commissioned. What was once unattainable had become a reality. The Uzbek people were loving and obeying Jesus! They started sharing the gospel with others. The movement started to multiply.
Local Believers Remain Strong
In recent years, the Uzbek government tried to bring the growing movement to a halt. Missionaries were forced out. There was intensified persecution in the Uzbek church. Despite this new obstacle, the local believers continue to remain strong. Local believers keep pressing on toward God’s purposes for their people and their land.
Looking back over these years as YWAM-FM, our hearts are full of gratitude. God has accomplished what once seemed so impossible. There will be Uzbeks in the midst of the multitude as described in John’s Revelation!
Today, there are an estimated 10,000 Uzbek believers, and several movements taking place. Praise God for the open door He gave and for YWAMers who took a step to go through it! They prayed and went. God moved, and disciples worshiping in multiplying churches are the result. That is what praying and going looks like.
More Must Go
Will the remaining unreached tribes and nations come to know Jesus? If so, how? The obstacles today seem impossible, just as they did years ago when we looked at the nation of Uzbekistan. But God’s Word speaks to our passionate questions. God already gave us a prophetic picture of a great multitude that no one could count. They are from every tribe, people, and language. No people group is too hard for God to reach. He is more than able to open the doors.
God has done it before, and He will do it again. When the door to an unreached area opens, will we be ready to respond? Let’s pray and go.
Are you interested to reach an unreached people with the gospel? Sign up below to talk to a YWAM Bridges coach today. Start your journey.