Unreached People in a Thousand Villages

Twinkling lights blinked and beckoned to me. How many unreached people were out there? There must be a thousand villages. Had they even heard of Jesus? Despite the remote location, there were too many people here who had never heard of God’s saving grace. Sadness and a wave of helplessness washed over me. 

The Smoke of A Thousand Villages

“Many a morning have I stood on the porch of my house, and looking northward, have seen the smoke arise from villages that have never heard of Jesus Christ. I have seen, at different times, the smoke of a thousand villages—villages whose people are without Christ, without God, and without hope in the world…the smoke of a thousand villages.”

Robert Moffat, the pioneer missionary to Africa, originally spoke these words. It was these words that prompted David Livingstone to set off for Africa in search of unreached people. As I stood and looked out at the lights, all I could hear were those same words in my head.

“The smoke of a thousand villages… the smoke of a thousand villages… a thousand villages without Christ.”

Doesn’t God see? Doesn’t He know how impossible the task is for every person to hear? There are so many, so very many. How in the world would we ever reach them?

God Shows Me a Sign – Literally

Over the next few days, I just couldn’t shake my feelings of despair. Then I realized something sobering. As we drove through side streets, I saw signs I recognized.

Every food vendor and cafe had a sign above their place of business. The red and white swirl mocked me—Coca-Cola. You couldn’t have found these streets with a GPS and yet somehow, Coca-Cola had already made it here. I didn’t speak a word in their language but I could say “Coke” and they would instantly know what I wanted. Yes, Coca-Cola had beat the Gospel in reaching a thousand villages, and more.

It wasn’t just Coca-Cola. Every village we passed had in the dead center of town either a faded, ornate Hindu temple or a white and gold shining Buddhist shrine. The Gospel wasn’t even in second place. Satan had also already reached more than a thousand villages before the Gospel.

What excuse did I have now?

Inheriting an Unreached People – Psalm 2:8

Back at the house, we gathered with a young church planter for evening devotions. Our attention was drawn to Psalm 2 and God spoke. “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.”

More precious than silver or gold is the souls of the unreached people. You can’t take anything of material wealth with you when you leave this life. I know I don’t want to enter heaven poor and empty-handed. I want to enter bringing other souls with me. The best inheritance can’t be written into a will. It only comes from pleading with God for the salvation of souls. Only He can grant the reward of that type of fruit to my account. If I enter heaven holding the hand of just one person I’ve led to the Lord, then it was worth more than all the money in the world.

God wants to see us accomplish this, which is why He promised to give if we ask. The heathen can be “ours” for Christ if we but ask! The people groups at the ends of the earth belong to us if we only request them.

Have We Asked for Our Inheritance Yet?

I think of the prodigal son willing to ask his father for his inheritance. Are we half as bold as he when coming to our Heavenly Father? He cannot deny His children especially when they ask according to His will (I John 5:14).

Asking for the unsaved is most definitely His will. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

The command is to ask. So, have we?

Have you and I truly knelt before our Father’s throne to ask for the promise? What a difference prayer makes. We are invited to boldly enter the throne room, yet, far too often, it is only a place we visit. Perhaps we haven’t laid claim to our inheritance because we’ve never asked for it. As the Bible says, “Ye have not because ye ask not.”  

  • When was the last time you prayed specifically by name for someone’s salvation?
  • When was the last time you prayed over your city specifically?
  • Can you conjure up in your mind a face of someone in your life who needs Jesus or is your mind blank?

I’m not encouraging or endorsing the “name it and claim it” fad in religious circles today. I do believe there is Biblical support for God blessing what we have prayed for in faith.

Can One Person Impact a Thousand Villages for Christ?

I was folding newly printed Gospel tracts as fast as I possibly could. It wasn’t fast enough for my husband in the front seat. He kept reaching back his hand for more tracts to pass out the van window. Pedestrians reached out their hands and crowded the side of the van in order to get one of whatever it was we were distributing. Sometimes we’d just have to throw a handful out for them to pick up.

At one point, I looked behind our vehicle and everyone on the side of the road had stopped walking to read. We passed a school just as classes were letting out. Students in their neat white uniforms lined the mountain road as far as the eye could see. Talk about the field being “white unto harvest.” Every student received a Gospel tract that day. We gave out over 2,000 Gospel tracts that afternoon and evening.

I relate that story because maybe reaching  the unreached people isn’t as hard as we think. I mean we were throwing a piece of paper out a window. How hard is that? Our modern technology has made it even easier to “go into all the world” without leaving your sofa. We as Christians truly have no excuse. There is always a way to get the Gospel to unreached people. Maybe we just aren’t being creative enough in our efforts.

His Word Shall Not Return Void

I was one person folding paper. Yet so many were handed the Good News of Jesus that day. What if there had been more vans and more hands? Reaching 1000 villages may be more within our reach than we dare to dream. Remember God has so many promises in His Word meant to help us accomplish this task. He wouldn’t have commanded it if He knew it was an impossible and pointless mission.

Isaiah 55:11 is one such promise. “So shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

I love this promise because the result isn’t based on my efforts. God Himself takes responsibility for making sure His Word is prosperous. Once again, we see that the Christian life isn’t about our good works. That’s not how we get saved. That’s not how we accomplish the Great Commission either.

With God All Things Are Possible

That wave of helplessness is stilled by the voice of the Master. I no longer have to feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the work. Realizing the success is ultimately determined by the Lord of the harvest gives comfort to my heart. My job is not to save the whole world, but to show the world the One Who saves. Be faithful, but leave the results up to Him.

Have you asked? Have you prayed for your 1000 villages? What about the unreached people in your life? Have you requested your inheritance? “And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us:” (I John 5:14).

Hannah Schmutzler

About the Author

Hannah Schmutzler

Hannah and her husband Cameron are currently on deputation, raising support so they can begin full-time missionary work in Mongolia. She juggles the demands of traveling with those of a toddler and keeps a sweet spirit through it all. Hannah has authored two books in addition to her writing for the Submissive Spirit. She also blesses us with her beautiful voice.

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