2015 Bangladesh – Ruth Yee

A Living Hope

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. – 1 Peter 1:3

Throughout missions training, our missions director Lisa Kim would always remind us not to be phased by what we see in the physical, but to always stay in a place of hope. Pastor Christian’s missions sendoff message likewise was about being prisoners of hope. He reiterated once more the importance of staying hopeful throughout our time in the field. So I decided that I was going to enter the mission field with a steadfast heart filled with hope. I would not be wavered by a place that in the natural seemed to be chained to poverty, hopelessness, and endless political strikes.

On our team’s second day of ministry, we were given the opportunity to minister in Gohbindpur village. After preaching, our team leader Gina Kim gave an opportunity for the villagers to give their lives to Jesus. When I saw the number of children lifting up their hands and praying sincerely for Jesus to come into their hearts, hope filled my heart for this new generation. I was suddenly reminded of the moment I received Christ into my heart. Despite the persecution these children may face, I know the same grace that has kept me, will also keep these children in His arms. I cannot help but to hope for this group of children who are going to be messengers of the Gospel to Bangladesh.

At the end of our third day in the field, as our team was on a tractor ride back to the hotel, I got to converse with Pastor Ishan, our local ministry contact. He personally shared about the state of religious oppression in Bangladesh. The conversion of Muslims is forbidden by law, and formerly Muslim converts are usually persecuted heavily. Yet though the current state looks so bleak and hopeless, Pastor Ishan spoke with hope for the salvation of these people. He continued sharing about different strategies he uses to reach out to this group of people. In my own country of Malaysia, the conversion of Muslim believers is likewise illegal. For their own safety, Muslim converts usually do not publicly announce their conversion. For a very long time, I grew weary of this hopeless situation in Malaysia. I would ask God persistently, ‘How do we share the Gospel when it is illegal? How are we going to share the Good News if Muslims are not allowed to be in churches?’ Gradually, I started wondering whether my Muslim friends would ever hear the truth about Jesus. But as Pastor Ishan was sharing, there was a renewed hope in me for Muslims to come to Christ, particularly those in my beloved land of Malaysia. I realized that He would give us different strategies to reach out to this group of people who needs Him. I was reminded that the prayers that I lift up for the Muslims are filling up golden bowls of incense in Heaven, and the religious stronghold in Malaysia will surely come crumbling down.

Through the native pastors and the native congregation, God renewed a hope in me for this nation and also for the lost. I hope you will continuously keep Bangladesh and the native pastors in your prayers. First, please pray for Pastor Ishan who is overseeing five other native pastors. Pray for open doors with ministry partnerships, particularly international partners who can consistently sow into him and the other pastors under his ministry. Secondly, pray for political stability in Bangladesh. A lot of Bengalis including Pastor Ishan are affected by the frequent political strikes, as if affects their ability to travel to and from Dhaka safely. Lastly, uphold each of the new converts in your prayers. May they grow to know more about Jesus and grow in faith despite the persecution they may face.

1 Pet 1:3 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” We hope not from a place of hopelessness or bitterness. Instead, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have a living hope of eternal salvation for everyone who calls upon His name, a living hope of freedom for the captives, and a living hope of everlasting peace and joy for those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in Christ, the hope of glory.

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