Bangladesh Vision Trip
Meeting Heros of Faith
The summer of 2018, our team of six persons from the Fellowship at Western Oaks Church in Oklahoma city, went on a missions trip to Bangladesh. It turned out to be a once in a lifetime experience as it is for so many who take on the adventure of going on such a trip.
Whenever I hear reports after people return from mission trips, I usually learn details of how they helped with physical labor, told Bible stories, played games with children and other witness activities to the people they visit. However, as I’ve reflected on our own visit, I believe this trip was a “reverse work and witness trip” as we were so blessed and were permitted to “witness” the work being done effectively now by JesusFilm teams and Nazarene Compassionate Ministries leaders. An unforgettable experience and an everlasting impact in our lives
We met with JesusFilm team leaders who shared their personal testimonies with us. Though we were not aware of what we were about to hear, our hearts were moved as we heard how Jesus had rescued them first by watching the JF film, and how he had transformed their lives. We also heard stories of miracles and tribulations they have suffered as a result. We learned how they have given their whole lives to leading these JesusFilm teams to show the Jesus film. These men develop relationships in remote villages after child development centers and self help groups have been formed. When the time is right, the JF teams go in and build upon those relationships already formed, then they invite the village to come see a film (which is a novelty to them). The following day, they gather with the people to talk about it, invite them to accept the gift of salvation, and they help establish new congregations as a result. It is an effective process and learning this at the start of our tour was wonderful as it gave us perspective and understanding. It brought us joy to learn how we were linked to this process and these people as we were bringing new equipment to the teams.
We heard many personal stories directly from the JF leaders; we felt their hearts and heard their heart’s cry to the Lord for the salvation of their own families and communities. They are paying a very high price that most people in the so called “Western World” will never have to pay. In Bangladesh and in many parts of the world, to choose Christ brings a reality into their future that costs many their lives, their families, their cultures, and everything they have ever “known to be true”.
Like the story of this young man which is exemplary for many people we met… He came to Jesus Christ by watching the Jesus Film. So when he accepted Christ as his Savior, because of his influence, 14 other families also accepted Christ and the local church was formed in his village as a result. He has been serving in the JF Ministry since 2008. He shared how though there were many who accepted Christ when he did, his extended family did not. His immediate family was ostracized from mixing with their relatives as a result as his uncle and other people would not allow them to eat with them. They didn’t realize Bob, his wife and children were now Christians as his village had never heard of Christianity. His Auntie would spit on the ground in disgrace every time she saw him to let him know she rejected him. It was a very bad and hurtful experience! There was much neglect and it was a terrible reality that was difficult for him to accept.
But praise God, over the years, things have changed. Through his influence and Gods working he eats at the same table again and gathers as a family with those who had cast him aside when he chose to follow Jesus and though they have not yet decided to accept Christianity, if anything happens to his family, this young man is the first one they call. I believe they are drawn to the Spirit inside him who is pursuing them as well.
Over and over again we became witnesses to these heroes of the Faith. As a result thousands are believing in Jesus, accepting him as their savior and many have joined the JesusFilm teams so they too can spread the gospel. These heroes boldly shared their journey’s of how their families and communities are beginning to receive Jesus and shift their cultures; however, they equally told of great persecution and loss of family they have endured or are experiencing now as their “current reality” for choosing to walk the narrow path. They took courage and they also took a risk to tell us their stories so we could know how to pray for them.
After we soaked in all the details, we encouraged them to keep the faith and continue their journey with Christ. We prayed with them and I have no idea what was spoken as they cried out to Jesus on our behalf, but I can’t deny a transfer in the heavenly realm took place on that Holy ground that day. We arrived to make a deposit in their lives, but it was us who left with a much greater deposit and blessing.
by Suzanne Grimaud