Bangladesh’s capital city is already home to about 12 million people and it has recently been rated as one of the world’s fastest-growing cities; experts at the UN forecast it will be home to 25 million souls by 2025. Its population may grow fast, but it certainly does not move fast.
The traffic is incredible in Dhaka. There are virtually no private vehicles, so the overwhelming majority of people – unless they walk – rely on busses, trains, smaller contraptions simply called human haulers, or rickshaws. (With 400,000 pedal-powered rickshaws coursing its streets every day, the city is Rickshaw Capital of the World.)
Sometimes the congested highways seem more like parking lots than thoroughfares. Once, it took three hours for the van I was in to travel just 25 miles. (That’s not even twice the rate I move on the treadmill at the gym.) On another trip with some FMI pastors, our vehicle was stuck in the middle of an intersection for about an hour. The traffic from the converging roads had no semblance of forming any type of lane; it was just a mash of metal, fiberglass, and wheels at a myriad of angles, all within inches of each other. I saw one man who was riding a bicycle simply abandon his bike in exasperation when he no longer could make any headway. He made much faster time on foot, but the deserted bicycle just became one more obstacle for the hundreds of other vehicles to maneuver around.
Thankfully, the move of the Spirit of God knows no such impediments or traffic jams.
Even though Bangladesh’s population is nearly 90% Muslim and the remainder is almost all Hindu, God is drawing many people to faith in Jesus Christ, and they are coming at a great pace! In just the past year, attendance at the Bible college and seminary FMI has helped operate has swelled, filling every seat in the classroom with eager students. New churches have been planted, and more than 200 people have trusted Christ for salvation.
As the capital grows, we are excited to see God’s kingdom growing in Bangladesh as well.