“I decided to follow Christ because Hinduism offers no hope of forgiveness.”
In many of FMI’s fields of partnership, church planters serve inside Muslim-majority cities and villages, but some of our partners have a vision to also preach in minority Hindu communities. Pastor Upkar, one of our newer church planters in Bangladesh, is one of them. Upkar already has two ministry sites in rural villages of western Bangladesh and because of their proximity to the border of Hindu-majority India, the residents are either Muslim or Hindu.
17 year old Asif, whose name means “Forgiveness”, was looking for ways to remove the stain of sin from his life. He is one of the youngest people in his small enclave inside a village of 3,000 people. There is no church in the village and he never heard of the liberating gospel of Jesus Christ until Pastor Upkar visited three months ago. Asif was stirred to hear that Jesus paid the penalty for his sins and made a way for him to have a relationship with God. “Tell me more,” he told Upkar. Asif and his grandmother listened to Upkar’s preaching and swiftly placed their faith in Christ. “My favorite story from the Bible is about Jesus’ loving sacrifice for me.” Asif and his grandmother are preparing to be baptized in a few weeks from now.
Asif lives with his grandmother and they have invited Pastor Upkar to the space outside their home for gathering people of the village to hear him preach. So far, about 25 people sit in the shade of a plastic tarp every Wednesday to learn about the One who loves them and sacrificed himself to redeem them. Ali, an older man from a Muslim background, says he now understands that Jesus is truly Emmanuel – God with Us (A breakthrough idea for Muslims, who typically view God only as one who is separate from his creation) and professes that he expects to become a Christ-follower like Asif in the coming days as he learns more from Pastor Upkar.
Prayers and financial gifts help fuel the ministries of indigenous church planters and disciple-makers like Upkar. This faithful partnership allows thousands of people, like Asif and his grandmother, to be introduced to the good news of Jesus Christ and find the forgiveness and redemption that makes them whole.
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