Gospel Harvest Hopeful in Islamic Bangladesh
Typical tribal house found in the villages of Bangladesh
Deep in the villages of Bangladesh, revival gatherings are winning souls to Christ in a predominantly Muslim world. Where churches are burned, pastors threatened, and land and jobs denied to believers, newly-reached tribes are receiving the Scriptures in their own language. Many are turning to Christ.
Although Bangladesh officially extends “freedom of worship” to its citizens, harsh social pressure and persecution constantly threaten Christians, who make up about 1 percent of the population of 150 million people. Ninety percent are Islamic, while about 6 percent are Hindu.
Despite statistics, indigenous missionaries are hopeful for the harvest.
With focus, perseverance and an understanding of the times, gospel workers with Bangladesh Mission are calling people to faith in Christ. Hungry hearts are responding.
“God is blessing our evangelism ministry among the tribal peoples,” Ministry Leader Bawm reported. “By the grace of God in the near future many tribal peoples will come to Christ.”
Through conferences, assemblies and revival meetings, several hundred people from the Maru, Chakma, Bawm, Tangchangya and Tripura tribes have embraced the gospel. They meet together in the open or in small bamboo structures in their various communities. At least 15 full-time missionaries work to encourage these fellowships, baptize and disciple new believers, and train young evangelists for more church planting.
About 250 people gather at the annual assembly meetings, while some 125 turn out for conferences and seminars. They return to their villages with power, urgency and a faith that´s contagious, and more people turn to the Lord and are baptized. Christian Aid sends support to provide for outreaches, Bibles, work projects, and education and housing for children at the mission center.
A major focus for the mission is teaching children. Christian teachers educate and disciple the children during the day and share the gospel with their parents during fellowship meetings in the evenings. Currently, 25 needy children are staying at the mission center hostel, thanks to help sent through Christian Aid. More await provision to live there. Offering children an opportunity to grow up with an education in a nurturing home-like atmosphere saves them from street life.
Ministering among the tribal people in remote and needy areas, mission workers recently built and dedicated a house church building. Dozens gathered as Bawm prayed and consecrated the land and building to the Lord. Land is difficult to acquire for Christians, but it means everything for believers to have their own land and building in which to worship freely.
“With your support, we have built a church house with corrugated iron sheets, wood, and bamboo,” Bawm wrote to Christian Aid. “We praise God.”
To provide for the ministry and for some of the village families, the mission started a pig rearing project and a mango project, with help sent through Christian Aid.
Missionary raising pigs with help provided by Christian Aid
“We have given 80 pigs to 40 families of the village churches on the mountain,” Bawm reported. “Thank you very much for the financial assistance for this and for the mission center. In the beginning of this year we had a meeting with the 25 sponsored children´s guardians and another 30 children´s guardians in the hostel of the mission center. Many children want to stay in the hostel.
“Thank you for the mango project for church development,” he wrote. “The mango plantation is improving, and the trees are growing and becoming big. All the mango trees started to bear fruit this year. We can sell the mangos in the market to provide ministry income.”
In nations where persecution burns against Christians, it takes great faith to press on to make His Name known. Native missionaries long to build self-sufficient ministries effective in gathering the Great Commission harvest. Christian Aid is helping them achieve their goals, strengthen their work, and expand the reach of the Kingdom of God.
Bangladesh missionaries are standing strong, and those who sow into their ministry will help them produce a harvest tenfold in a land that, though ridden with the thorns of fear, is far from dormant.