Nomadic People Now on the Move with Jesus

nomadic people

Nomadic People Now on the Move with Jesus

An increase in terrorism in the region had kept Timon* from returning to the mission field for the past three years. Now he was going back. His flight was to leave Sunday afternoon. After a day of air travel, he would land in the capital city. He would reunite with friends from the nomadic, Muslim tribe he’d served since the early 2000s.

Plans Disrupted

Like so many of us across the world, Timon’s travel plans were disrupted by the Corona Virus pandemic.

Over previous months anticipation of the reunion had filled his heart. He had been out of communication with his tribal friends, expecting to see them soon. Normally they stayed in touch through cell phones. WhatsApp made it easy to talk with one another when they were on opposite sides of the world.

Face-to-face is always better. “Let’s just wait until we are together.” That was their plan. He would soon be with them for months: lots of time to talk, pray, plan, and enjoy each other’s company.

Then, suddenly, the flight had to be rescheduled. The trip delayed by eight months.

Those Early Days

Timon felt disappointment creeping in. He remembered back to early days when he and the YWAM team began to work with the tribe.

The young team members had finished their Frontier Missions Discipleship Training School (DTS). Most were beginning a 2-year internship. Jason and Heather* were YWAMers who served nearby in another unreached tribe. They helped as wise and experienced mentors.

Each team member worked hard learning the language. Adjusting to the vast cultural differences had often been painful. Offering literacy classes was one way they’d built relationships. What a difference there was, once local friendships formed!

Timon always loved the outdoors. Eagerly, he would spend weeks at a time traveling with his new nomadic friends as they tended their herds. At night, they sat around small campfires and slept under the stars.

First Believers

He and the team became effective in telling Bible Stories and sharing the Gospel. In time, they saw a few people come to faith in Jesus. They taught new believers the basic commands of Jesus and urged them to spread the Good News. With transformed lives, believers grew in love for one another and in obedience to Jesus.

A few years back, the tribal believers were introduced to using audio recordings. Bible Stories, the Gospels, and the New Testament were made in the local language. Ministries like Gospel Recordings and Faith Comes By Hearing produced these resources. Special “radios” were loaded with the Good News. Many also started to use SD Cards in their mobile phones. These are ultra-small flash memory cards. They are becoming powerful disciple-making tools in the hands of the believers.

People With Potential

Timon saw the potential. He did all he could to equip his brothers and sisters with these new, simple ways to grow and to communicate their faith.

How are they doing now?” Timon wondered. Since he would not hear stories around a campfire any time soon, it was necessary to revert again to phone calls. He must get a sense of how things are progressing within the emerging movement. Over the next two days, he reconnected. He spoke with nine of the twelve followers of Jesus he worked closely with.

How Are They Doing?

Each one expressed such excitement! He heard story after story of an amazing openness to the Gospel throughout the land.

One friend said, “Timon, these are same Muslims that would beat people twenty years ago for talking about Jesus. Now they want to hear about Jesus.” The believers cannot keep up with the requests for more radios and SD cards. People don’t want to hear the stories one time, but want to listen over and over.

Journeys are being planned out to the bush to visit the people. They learned about Jesus in town and now want to learn how to follow Jesus in their daily lives in the bush.

Going to Other Tribes Too

They are not only reaching out to their fellow tribal people. They are reaching beyond to three other unreached people groups. Multiple tribes share these grazing lands. Muslims throughout the area are becoming interested in following Jesus. It’s the first time in their long family histories anyone has shown a desire to know Christ.

In terms of advancing God’s kingdom, we are in an unprecedented time. People are begging for discipleship. It’s more than the local believers can keep up with. They are asking for help. Hearing this, added to Timon’s frustration of not being there and not having more to offer. Yet this was balanced by a sense of deep joy.

Our labor was not in vain. God chooses to bless the work.” As Timon spoke to one of his closest tribal friends, he heard, “We baptized three people at my house today. Another five were baptized at my house on Sunday. People are getting baptized all the time.


On another call, one of his coworkers shared this unexpected report. “The number of people who have recently come to Jesus is uncountable!

Even though the believers ask for further help, the spread of God’s Kingdom is not slowing down. It continually grows. Timon wonders what else would happen if they got the extra help they are asking for.

The coronavirus is hindering foreign travel, but it’s not hindering gospel spread! In fact, in many places, we see an acceleration of movement growth.

Join us to pray for many new Disciple-Making Movements to be launched during this season of global crisis. Pray for workers like Timon to have wisdom in how to continue to assist and mentor from afar. Believe with us for hundreds of new movements to begin during this time of crisis.

Sign up below. Join the prayer movement today.

* Names changed

Comments: 1

  1. […] “Mom! Dad! Let me tell you what happened today!” One of the best parts of growing up was telling encouraging stories to my family. As my wife Laura and I became parents ourselves, dinnertime was a highlight of the day for our family of six. It was storytime, accompanied often by lots of laughter. Laura’s great cooking helped too. Often it’s like family time when we have our various YWAM-Frontier Missions leaders’ meetings. Filled with stories. The other day was our weekly “Team 4” Zoom meeting. Team 4 serves as global leaders for FM. I think of us as the A-Team because we are made up of:· an African· an American· an Asian · an AustralianDuring this meeting, it really was like family time. We had the privilege of sitting with the “dad and mom” of YWAM, Loren and Darlene Cunningham. They have enough inspiring stories to fill books. In fact, they do fill books! You should read their books!We loved listening to their stories and telling a few of our FM stories that they might not have heard yet. Some of those we told are written and posted on and are available to you right now. One of our Team 4 members told us about his pioneering work among a tribe in Southern Africa. Here is a beautiful part of his story:Going Down the Road Feeling Glad the time he, his family, and his team were there, only a few of these Muslim people had come to know Jesus. Since those early years, the movement among this people group has grown to thousands! The local disciples are now impacting the various spheres of their society. Here’s a story about the transformation happening now:Can Every Sphere of Society be Transformed? it was my turn for a story. I told the story of when I first visited a YWAM team working at spreading the Gospel in a city along the Ganges River. So much has happened since then! A young Indian man and his team, by God’s grace, helped launch a growing disciple-making movement. A few weeks ago “Arjun” said hundreds of people are coming to Jesus monthly! The vision of the local believers is for millions reached by their growing movement. Here is a brief part of their story:On the Banks of the Ganges story came up as we talked. It takes place on an unreached island filled with witchcraft. A few of us on Team 4 have visited our friends working there. They know about the lady with “elephant leg” who sat under the Mango Tree—in need of a healing touch from Jesus:Need on a Witchcraft-Stricken Island? — I’ll Go! is passionate about getting Oral Bible Translations to Bible-less peoples. He spreads this vision far and wide. Darlene told us he even talks about it in his sleep! Eagerly I shared what’s happening with translated Bible stories in West Africa. Key audio Bible stories are being distributed in the mother tongue of a nomadic tribe. Gospel messages are changing lives. Having been there myself, I could picture the place and the people as I was speaking:Nomadic People Now on the Move with Jesus […]

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