The people who once walked in darkness are now seeing a great light. This was true millennia ago, as prophesied by Isaiah, concerning the promised Messiah’s coming from an unexpected place (Isaiah 9:1-2), and it continues to be becomes a reality in places which would surprise many people today – even in the most remote and undeveloped corners of one of the world’s largest Muslim-dominant countries.
To reach the rural tribal village where Pastor Arjun lives, our team had to travel two days by van, then hop on motorcycles to go off-road through forest trails. When the trail ended, we launched on a hand-made boat to go down river, followed by a hike across rice paddies and over ravines using several narrow bridges without railings. Even though the trip to Arjun’s village was arduous, what we saw at the destination was worth it.
Even though 90% of Bangladesh’s population is Muslim, this tribal area has traditionally been an enclave of Buddhism. But that is changing as people here learn about Christianity and begin to tell others how Jesus Christ has changed their lives.
In less than two years as an FMI-supported church planter among his own tribe, Arjun has one firmly established church with about 40 members, has planted a second one in another village (and trained a pastor to shepherd that congregation), and has begun outreach into a third village. When I consider how difficult it is for foreigners to access places like this, I am delighted to see how well FMI’s distinctive strategy of empowering believers who already live in such places is working. Arjun has identified people who are spiritually hungry, nourished them with the light of Christ, and equipped them to share the gospel beyond their own village. Even while his own church was steadily growing, Arjun began evangelistic outreaches to other villages which are a three-hour walk away…and he identified and mentored men to help him in the process – men who are committed to eventually serve as pastors for two new church plants.
The New Testament speaks of evangelism and discipleship as a process of multiplication. As Arjun understands, it is not simply about one person introducing another person to Jesus, but fostering movements of people who are committed to entrusting the gospel to new generations of believers who are equipped to radiate it others who will, in turn, be reliable to pass it to others (2 Timothy 2:2). It leads to exponential growth. And now, even the dark hills of Bangladesh are a bit brighter.
You can help empower a national church planter like Arjun for $140 per month by setting up a recurring Electronic Funds Transfer to FMI’s National Pastors account or by sending your contributions by check through the mail. We’ll be delighted to send you a packet of information about the pastor and his field, a list of prayer targets plus a special prayer reminder card, and a semi-annual report on the pastor’s ministry progress.