Four interesting things about Bangladesh
What’s life like for people in this South Asian country? And what’s life like for the Church? So much more than exploited garment workers and regular floods, Bangladesh is a place with a greater story to tell. BMS mission workers Andrew and Gwen Millns offer a different perspective on life in this fascinating country.
1. Work in Bangladesh is rewarding
Andrew and Gwen know that they’re where God wants them to be. Gwen teaches at the College of Christian Theology Bangladesh. She spends her time mentoring and training students who will become future leaders in the Church and finds building the relationships the best part of the job.
“The work is incredibly rewarding,” says Gwen. “It’s a real privilege to feel that you have made some tiny impact in somebody’s life in a way that helps them move forward in their own Christian journey.”
Andrew is in a mentoring position with the Bengali Baptist Church Sangha, where he offers assistance in the development of ministry and mission. “We’re facing some exciting times and prospects in the future,” says Andrew. He has been a part of developing a new church strategy focusing on mission and finding the best ways to equip and develop Christian leaders.
2. The Church is committed, despite challenges
Bangladesh is a tough place for Christians, but that hasn’t stopped people from staying committed to their faith. A small country geographically, Bangladesh has the ninth largest population in the world: 168 million people. Only about five per cent of them are Christian. “I think it’s true to say that to be a Christian in Bangladesh is a challenge for people because you are in a very small minority,” says Andrew. “But I think once they’ve made that commitment there’s a great degree of prayer and trusting God. Their dedication to their spiritual life is impressive.”
That dedication has been tested in the last year when there were instances of Bangladeshi pastors being attacked because of their faith. This can create an overall sense of fear for Christians in Bangladesh, yet the Church continues to rise from these setbacks. “Over the last year there have certainly been challenges in the country for all sorts of reasons. Nevertheless, the Church continues to move forward,” says Andrew.
3. The Church has a “big picture” vision
The Church in Bangladesh is constantly trying new ways of ‘doing church’ and adapting as it goes along, yet at its heart the Church stays faithful to its primary vision. “The main goal for the Church in Bangladesh is to be faithful to the calling of Jesus Christ and to share the good news with all people,” says Andrew. There are constant efforts made in the Church to identify the best ways they can share faith with Christians in Church and people outside of the Church.
4. Bangladesh is a beautiful place
Andrew and Gwen know that the media can portray Bangladesh in a negative light and as a difficult place to be. But, they would argue that Bangladesh has a lot of beauty to offer the world. “I think people are quite surprised to know that Bangladesh is a very beautiful country,” says Gwen. “The people have a real sense of hospitality and warmth. There is a real openness of heart with the Bangladeshi people that sometimes people don’t discover until they actually get to experience the reality of this place.”
Andrew and Gwen are thankful for the privilege and opportunity to work in a place with such wonderful people.
Please pray for Bangladesh and for Andrew and Gwen. Pray that the country develops into a safer place for Christians to live out their faith. Pray that God will bless Andrew and Gwen in the work that they do. Pray specifically that Gwen is able to overcome the health issues that she has experienced in the last year so that she can continue her work. Also pray for that the Church remains resilient and continues to share God’s love with the people in Bangladesh.
This article first appeared on the website of BMS World Mission and is used with permission.