It has been a very full month in Bangladesh with floods, food relief, persecution, and baptisms. Dated messages from Pastor Darpan*, our Bangladesh director, paint the picture.
July and August saw severe flooding in many parts of the country. Several million people were displaced in early August alone.
“I would like to share about the flood situation which has taken a devastating and destructive face and it has been attacking the South and North Bengal. The flood situation has been taking a very worse and devastating turn where our church families and the community people are sufferers and victims. The related rain water made a big swamp – people could not go out for their groceries or for their daily work. It is a devastating situation.”
That same day, we were able to tell him that we could send $4500 for flood relief, to be used however it was most needed in this crisis. This was in great part due to your giving this summer! Pastor responded with this:
“Greetings and thanks for the immediate response for the flood crisis and support of Bangladesh. It is a humanitarian call to you and all who may come forward to stand beside this crisis because it is for the life saving. It is very glorious that Harvest Bridge is always responding, standing beside the victims. I praise His name for the love towards Bangladesh.”
In the midst of flooding and subsequent food relief, two group baptisms took place.
Within the network of the 50+ church leaders we support in Bangladesh, baptisms are done in large groups so that people who have begun following Jesus within a six month period can go through the process of learning more about their faith together, and then take their first communion together after receiving baptism. In this way, they take this step of faith, which often leads to increased persecution, with the support of their family in Christ.
Pastor Darpan’s joy comes through as he shares these updates:
“We had a Holy Baptism in southern Bangladesh where the Lord has blessed us with 66 new souls (men and women). We praise His Jesus name that by the blessings of the Holy Spirit new believers have joined in His Kingdom through our church ministry. So, we are thankful. We are so thankful for His loving care and rejoice highly as He is Emmanuel with us.”
“Again, in another southern village, the Lord has been using us for His Kingdom purposes and we were praying to see His blessings more. On Saturday morning, a Holy Baptism took place in open sky where 87 new people were added to His Kingdom. Praise the Lord that He is the Almighty, doing miracles and we are one of the little parts of His blessing. So, I rejoice in His begotten Jesus’ name. Hallelujah. Pray for our Bangladesh ministry to also have other places where the Holy Spirit is going to bless them. Pray for the new souls and all the church members of Bangladesh who are listening and learning from our missionaries’ preaching and sharing through His word. We hope His Kingdom work will be continued by your loving prayers and care.”
In the midst of ministry comes persecution. Pastor Darpan shared about the following attack on a Christian leader, Meena*. Meena has been severely persecuted in the past as well, and yet, she continues to serve and lead and love. With the financial support of Voice of the Martyrs, we have and will continue to support her medical and economic needs following such attacks. We are thankful for Pastor Darpan’s compassionate and wise leadership in difficult circumstances like these.
“We are not at all well because we are mentally upset/impatient/restless due to the continuous persecution happening to Sister Meena. The extremists were influenced by a local chairman who has been continuing his bad work with others to remove Mrs. Meena and other followers of Christ, as Meena has been leading followers of Christ in her cluster of villages. Mrs. Meena has been leading on behalf of the Christian minority and many people are following her leadership. She is logical and doing the right things. The local government views her work as lawful and positive, and she has been given documentation by a local parliament member to prove her legal right. But, these local extremists do not want Christian people in their villages or to be allowed to have homes. Her enemies are opposing the local government decision to allow Meena to do her ministry work and live there.
In the evening, they came and forcefully started to attack Meena and other believers in the village. She was beaten and punched and they tried to drag her out of the village by her arms and legs and pulling her hair.
Others in the village stopped them. After that, she was taken to the district hospital for treatment for two days. She is now home again and feeling a little better than previous. Her condition is bad all over her body, but mainly she was hit in her face, and so her eyes were most damaged.
At this moment, the situation is a little normal, but the people who attacked her will continue to try to evict her and other Christian people from the area. It has stopped for now, but it will start again. So, I have told our local church leader, Pastor Sekhar*, to get the help of the local parliament member.”
As of September 20th, Meena has received the medical help she needs, but as she heals, she is practically blind right now, and cannot tolerate being in the sunlight. So, please pray for her complete healing and for the ongoing persecution of believers in her villages.
A month after sending funds for flood relief, Pastor Darpan gave this encouraging update:
“By HB’s love and care, our church ministry has been increasing, and in every disaster, you come forward to stand besides the victims. And this time you did so again, so we are thankful to HB. With the $4500, we stood besides the two centers, with a total of 250 families. The heavy rains and swamp water is now removed from the land.
Now people are getting the new breath and are trying to go to the cultivation field to sell their day labor. Now – their bodies are happy and thankful as they got the help in their crucial moment. We distributed the rice, dal (lentils), soap, salt, and potatoes among the flood victims, which lasted about 15 days for each family of 3-4 people.
The local government officers were present at our centers and bowed their heads during our prayer time. So, they could understand that we are the Christians doing compassion work for the flood victims. So, these two distributions were very good and organized and the government is happy with our work. So, all the goodwill belongs to Harvest Bridge and our church ministry is thankful to you every time – we love you. We hope your love and cooperation will continue for Bangladesh to bear His Kingdom works. Kindly pray for districts in the north, west, and northwest, where the Lord has been using us for His Kingdom works.”
Thank you to each and every one of you who prays and gives to our work – thank you for sharing in the burdens and the joys of our brothers and sisters in Bangladesh, and beyond!
The Harvest Bridge Team
*Names changed for safety