Last month a team of Freedom Challenge women helped lead a Christian women’s conference in Bangladesh - alongside the project leaders working full-time in that country. Here, one of the project leaders shares the powerful story of Reja and the impact her faith is having on her community
It was a dream many years in the making—over 60 ladies from across Bangladesh came to take part in the first women’s conference in the country. Many traveled from difficult to reach places, which is one reason why most are not able to meet with other followers of Christ regularly. Others face family and community persecution if they openly share that they have left their majority group’s faith.
The Operation Mobilization (the organization Freedom Challenge is part of) team hoped to encourage and equip these ladies, some of whom are the only believers in their areas. As they gathered and shared their stories, the team was reminded of the dedication and devotion needed to reach some of these most unreached places. Reja* shared one such story, evidence of discipleship happening by local believers and faith being passed down to the next generation.
A purposeful meeting
Reja said, “I used to pray and read the Qur’an but still there was a fear inside my heart.” She was afraid of what would happen when she died. One day she visited her aunt’s house and saw what she knew to be a holy book that she had also seen at her in-law's home. Her aunt told her she received it from an OM team member who then agreed to meet with Reja and her husband.
“They behaved very well,” she said of the believers she met at the OM office. “Their behavior was very different from the Muslim people. We chatted with him and they gave the message to us.” She and her husband left with several books to read and started meeting every Friday with the team member and his wife to read the Bible.
She read the entire Bible and said, “This is the truth. This is living. I asked, ‘What should I do? I want to accept this?’” She and her husband were baptized and kept reading Scripture daily at home. “My house is 20 kilometers away from the leader’s house,” she said.
When their son was a teenager and old enough to understand she and her husband said, “Now we should share the truth with our son, too.” When he approached his parents about a girl he was interested in marrying his parents said, “Yes, if she wants to accept Jesus too.”
“She’s a good girl,” she said, motioning to her daughter-in-law who had accompanied her to the conference. Her granddaughter joined in the sessions as well, making the crafts along with the ladies, bowing her head in prayer as she watched her mother and grandmother act out a living faith.
“Since my family was completed, I now secretly started to preach to my cousins, then others,” she said. She said many responded with questions. She would bring the questions she couldn’t answer to the leader and his wife and grew in her knowledge and confidence in sharing with others.
She now tells the primary school students she teaches about Jesus—and anyone who she can meet with. She knows of 32 people who have been baptized. She says her sister, brother-in-law, and mother have believed and that she is still sharing with her father who goes to pray daily at the mosque. “He says that whatever you are saying is correct but when you say Jesus is God’s son, that is not correct,” she said. “But I believe one day he will come.”
She goes to eight different areas to meet with people and takes her Bible when possible or takes a recording of the Scriptures on her mobile phone. This is especially helpful for those who can’t read.
A growing faith
One long-time OM team member who has watched Reja’s faith grow over the past nine years added, “She does this of her own initiative. No one is telling her to go. It’s very encouraging.” As the ladies left the conference, they took their faith back with them to their homes. The team prayed together that they would then carry that faith to the others they encounter.
Please pray for these ladies to grow in their knowledge of God and in boldness. Pray that many like Reja would faithfully share with others and that generations of Christ followers would be raised up as a result in Bangladesh.
*Names changed/withheld to protect identity
If you want to see Freedom Challenge projects for yourself and see God at work in women’s lives, join us for one of our 2019 Mission Trips