2015 Bangladesh – John Matthew Ko

The Beginning of Something Great

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. – 1 John 4:18

Bangladesh was a really special trip for me. This was my sixth missions trip with New Philadelphia Church. However, this was my first trip that focused primarily on evangelism and reaching the lost. On my past missions trips, our teams would minister at revival services, encourage the local believers, and build up the local churches. But our Bangladesh team was sent to preach the Gospel to ears that had never heard.

At first it was a little bit tough, simply because we were unable to see tangible, typical fruit from our ministry. I was used to seeing Holy Spirit manifest Himself with power, and God’s people breaking down in tears and falling under the weight of His glory. However, as we continued to preach and pray in faith, we realized that our job was to sow seeds and trust that the native pastors, and ultimately God, would take care of the rest. With this new perspective, our trip was extremely powerful and effective!

We worked with Pastor Ishan Biswas, our local contact through Native Partners for World Mission (NPWM), and the national director of NPWM’s ministries in Bangladesh. Knowing that the seeds that we planted are in his hands puts me at ease. Pastor Ishan is a man whose heart longs to see the Kingdom expand in Bangladesh. He has a huge vision to plant 20 churches within the next 10 years, and knowing him, he’ll do it! Even though the nation is predominately Muslim and Hindu, I fully believe that each of these 20 churches will be filled to the overflow! It’s really exciting for me to think that even though our team was in Bangladesh for only a week, our work was a big part of this huge vision!

God really loves Bangladesh. As I looked out at the fields and villages each day on our tractor rides through Jessore, I couldn’t help but wonder at the beauty of the land. Though these people may not acknowledge God as their provider, He provides nonetheless. The land is God’s love letter to the people. As I was witness to this spectacle of God’s great love, my heart also began to burn for the Bangladeshi people to turn fully to their one, true provider. I want them to FULLY experience His love! It’s not just enough for them to be blessed in their land, but I want them to be full of joy, full of peace, and full of the life that only comes from Christ!

My theme verse for this trip was 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” It was from this verse that I preached a message to a small village we visited. More than anything, I want all of the people we met to be confident in God’s love. On this trip we saw almost 350 people receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior! The implications of their salvation are quite serious, especially since it is not part of the religious norm in Bangladesh. Yet, these men, women, and children raised their hands without any fear! I believe that as our team went out in love, it was impossible for the people to fear any consequences. That is the nature of perfect love! It attracts people, draws people, and drastically changes their lives!

Having now returned from the field, this is my prayer: “that He who began a good work in [Bangladesh] will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” On this trip, we planted a LOT of seeds. We don’t know how these seeds will grow. Still, even though I may not witness it, I am confident that God will finish what we started. Not only will these 350 people grow to full maturity in their faith, but they will in turn multiply into a multitude of salvations in Bangladesh by the time Jesus returns!

Thank you again for sending our team out to Bangladesh. It was my honor and privilege to be a part of this team, and to be sent out by each one of you. May God continue to perfect us all in His Love!

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