They travelled by bus, van, car and motorcycle to the Bangladesh Mission Center. It was the sight of what will be seen in years to come as an historic gathering.
Believers from all five districts of Bangladesh committed multiple days to participate in volunteer missionary training. This the first step for Bangladeshi Nazarenes to participate in Kingdom-building as a sending church.
One young trainee, Samuel*, shared his reason for attending:
“We were so poor, we got our water from relatives. We were dishonored in many ways. In the midst of our struggle, a JESUS Film Harvest Partners team member came to our home. He shared with us about the hope of the Lord and the chance to change our lives for good. He talked with my father for two days before my father agreed to allow the film to be shown in front of our home.
“When the nails went in to the hands of the Lord, I was filled with deep sadness. We all wept. My father was crying in a way I never before had seen. When we saw the Lord resurrected, we were filled with joy! My father was encouraged. He said we should be free from our sin. He became a believer and encouraged my mother to do the same. I was 8 years old. That was 15 years ago.
“To my dismay, our extended family, of another religious belief, was angry about our decisions. I could not understand how our own family could treat us so badly. They would block our path to prevent us from passing by. They no longer gave us water, forcing us to travel great distances for drinkable water.
“Through God’s blessings, our home became a fellowship gathering with my father serving as the leader. In the first year, 22 joined the church. Our community was transformed. Following the example of those who helped transform my family, I serve as a JESUS Film team member. I go to communities to help people find forgiveness of their sins and become followers of Jesus. When I see the crowds cry as the hands of our Lord are pierced, I remember my own family.
“I am here today because of the change in the life of my family, I want to help others know about Jesus Christ. I also have an interest in cross-cultural mission service. The M+Power training is helping me to learn more about these options.”
M+Power, which stands for mission power, is an opportunity for short-term volunteer service in the Eurasia Region of the Church of the Nazarene. Service locations and opportunities vary in Europe and Asia, but may include coffeehouse ministry, youth and children’s ministries, finance work, and education. Volunteers of any age are invited to learn more.
Samuel’s missionary journey is still in process. After completing M+Power training and the interview process, volunteers who wish to continue submit five references and must receive approval from the district superintendent and the field strategy coordinator. One of the 24 volunteer attendees may well be the first Bangladeshi Nazarene missionary sent to another country to share Christ.
*Name changed for security reasons
Written by Diane Robbins and previously published in 2018 June edition of Where Worlds Meet.