2011 Bangladesh – Sarah Won

Knee Deep

 

I have never been to a third-world country nor have ever been in a Muslim nation. Thus needless to say, my eyes were opened during this trip. I was holding out on going on missions for so long, partly out of fear of discomfort, but also because of my cynical view of missions. I believed that a week or even a month in the mission field did nothing more than exhaust resources and energy. I also thought it was completely irresponsible of the missionaries to do the work of God in an impoverished country only to leave them in due time. But this time when missions season rolled around, I put all my confidence in the New Philly staff and my redemption. I held on to the truth that I AM a new creation. So new, in fact, that I would actually volunteer myself to go into one of the poorest nations on earth.

From the day we arrived to the day we left, we got a glimpse of what the phrase, “road marked with suffering” meant. Literally, every road we travelled on was a cause of suffering. We spent unhealthy amounts of time in a van where the A?C did little to fight the unrelenting heat of Bangladesh. We rode tractors that were very unforgiving to us city people who are used to smooth roads and cars with shock absorbers. Literally and figuratively, we ran into some bumps in the road. I know geographically the equator is well below Bangladesh, approximately 28° below, but the whole team confirmed that we were ministering in the hottest place on earth.

The only thing that kept me together spiritually, physically, and mentally was knowing that Jesus was with us the whole time. He felt every discomfort, pain, and sickness. And as Jesus was with us in our times of suffering, He was with us in our times of rejoicing. Jesus was praising God with us when our tire blew in the middle of nowhere, because He knew that 12 salvations would follow. He was there when hundreds of Hindus gave their lives to Christ right in front of their Hindu shrine. He was with us as thousands of children cried out, “Hallelujah,” the word that opens the gates of Heaven over Bangladesh. His love was embodied in Sonya as she wept with a barren woman, praying for restoration, and then Jesus multiplied the candy so that every child would have a piece. He was with every step of the way, through the highs and the lows, and it brought me so much joy just being a part of it.

On our last Sunday in Bangladesh, we were so relieved that the only event on our schedule was to go to a small house church. But after sitting in traffic for 4 hours, we started to realize that this was not going to be an easy day. After all was said and done, we spent 12 hours in the van only to do 45 minutes of ministry at the church. That night, I had only one question for God, “Why?” Why did we spend so much time in the car, to have such a short time of ministry? In that moment, God spoke to me. He said, “It’s because that church means so much to me.” The Father’s heart for Bangladesh is that He will go to any length to see His beloved. He sent the team out knowing the cost that we would have to pay, but in this case the road of suffering was the only road to His people. I realized that every act of God costs us something. Because every time we say “yes” to the Father’s heart, whether decision is big or small, it costs us our fleshly desires. Now, the total of twelve hours spent in Dhaka traffic was worth it. It was the price that was paid to fulfill the desire of God’s heart.

In Ezekiel 47 God tells Ezekiel to walk into the river flowing from the temple. So the prophet goes in ankle-deep, knee-deep, waist-deep until he can’t pass through. I felt like God skipped the ankle-deep, knee-deep, waist-deep part and just threw me into the deep end of the river when He sent me to Bangladesh. Yet God revealed to me that the Bangladesh mission trip was actually just ankle-deep. There is more that God wants to show me. But there is nothing to fear because the deepest part of the river holds the most grace and His grace is always sufficient. I came out of Bangladesh with priceless revelations, glimpses of God’s kingdom, and strength that only comes from the Father. I can boldly say that I can’t wait for God to take me into the river again.

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