Bangladesh is renowned for its tea plantations as well as its tea drinkers; the beverage is a staple of daily life.
For members of Pastor Pabok’s first church plant, tea is also an economic necessity. It’s their livelihood. They work to plant and prune the short tea trees, pick the leaves, and prepare them for sale. Their families even live together in a plantation settlement, with a one-room school building situated among the tea trees for their children.
By the time he was in seventh grade, Pabok’s family no longer could pay the fees to keep him enrolled in school and he had to drop out. As his family did not live in the plantation settlement, instead of going to classes, he walked the mile and a half from his village to work in the tea fields. In doing so, he not only was able to share his income with his parents, but he also became close to the other plantation laborers and their families. His heart bonded with them. After saving enough money as he could throughout his teen years and receiving an education, he eventually saw the door open for him to attend Bible college. After graduation, he knew where he wanted to start his vocation as a church planter – back at the tea plantation where he had spent his youth.
Pabok is one of four new church planters in Bangladesh to be supported by FMI this year. Already, this former tea harvester has reaped a bountiful harvest of souls. During a recent church service, more than 40 people gathered in the one-room school building which now serves double duty as the church site for the plantation community’s new followers of Jesus Christ. Pabok has also begun evangelistic outreach at another ministry site a few miles away.
It is because of encouragement and support of FMI that we were able to expand the scope and depth of our ministry by adding new church planters in each of the countries where we develop partnership! Because of our partners, we are trusting the Lord for the goal of launching 30 new churches this year. Better than tea, partners help bring the Living Water to spiritually thirsty people who might otherwise lack access to the life-transforming message of the gospel.