Cette page n'est pas disponible en FranÃ§ais.
If you would like to help translate this site please click here.
with GRN Australia Director, Graydon Colville
Why would eight young people and one, not quite so young leader, head off to Bangladesh in the middle of the summer monsoons?
Well... airfares are cheaper at this time of year, but more than that! "..to learn something about a 3rd world country", ".. to experience a very different culture", "..to see how I'd go in that kind of situation!", "..to learn something about mission work", "..to try to make some contribution to God's work in the world".
During orientation the importance of adaptability was stressed. Just as well too! After taking more than an hour to get through immigration at Dhaka airport we discovered that only 2 of our 12 pieces of luggage had arrived with us! The rest were presumably still in Bangkok! Outwardly, the team was a model of calm composure.
The enthusiastic welcome by 300 'flower-hurling', 'welcome-chanting' children at the Samaritan Children's Home, Savar, run by HELP/GRN Bangladesh was enough to lift the dampened (by the rain) spirits of the team. (The rest of the luggage arrived later that afternoon.)
Time flew by! We taught classes, led chapel services using music, drama, 'magic' and other story telling techniques, played games and just 'hung out' with the kids. We heard some of their stories and shared some of our own and answered lots of questions. In a short time some significant relationships were forged. Very early in the trip it became clear that leaving was going to be painful - and it was.
We also spent a few days at another ministry centre about 4 hours drive away in a small village. Life was certainly different there and dealing with the bathrooms and wildlife (frogs, mosquitoes, dogs, cats, leeches etc) was something of a challenge!
There was a children's home there also and we did the same kind of things we had been doing at Savar. In addition we had the privilege of meeting with dozens of believers from non-Christian backgrounds. Hearing their stories was a blessing and a challenge.
One young man, we'll call him John, was only 18, but God had taken hold of his life. His family had beaten him and thrown him out but his new-found faith in Jesus was strong. Another older man had been a believer for about 20 years. His ministry had resulted in about 900 people coming to the Lord - from non-Christian backgrounds! There were more exciting stories of what God is doing in this country.
The team also had opportunities to share the Gospel with a Hindu family, using the Good News flipcharts. We pray that God would bring understanding and faith to that family.
A couple of days in Dhaka to do some shopping and visit the GRN office and Board Chairman, and visits to the local market in Savar added to the breadth of cultural exposure. Being confronted by beggars and by women doing heavy labouring work was somewhat unsettling. We were repeatedly blessed by overwhelming Bengali hospitality - even if our stomachs did not always feel 'blessed'!
We came back changed people. God had worked in each one of us in different but significant ways.
We couldn't have done it though, without the help of David Halder (GRN/HELP CEO) who made most of the arrangements and translated tirelessly for us, James Karmakar (GRN Bangladesh Director), and 'Andrew' (not real name), who heads up the work at the village ministry we visited. Thanks also to the many who prayed for us.
Global Recordings Network Bangladesh is making recordings of God's Good News available to the millions in that country who don't read. HELP (Health, Education & Leadership Programme) is caring for the physical, emotional, vocational and spiritual needs of many young people who are being prepared to serve God and their country in the years ahead. For more information about GRN and HELP Bangladesh, including information on child sponsorship, contact GRN Australia.