Bangladesh (MNN) — If home for you is in the northern hemisphere, you may be making travel plans to enjoy the warmer weather. However, for ministries like FMI, summer travel oftentimes means field visits.
Rural church in Bangladesh. (Photo courtesy of FMI)
“During the last part of June and into early July, I’ll be in Bangladesh, where FMI has national church planter partnerships with national church planters across the country. I’ll be going in to do field visits, visiting the pastors, visiting the evangelists, and helping assess their ministry,” FMI’s Bruce Allen explains.
“So, it will be a good time to help strengthen the ministry overall in Bangladesh, as well as to see how the things we talked about at our conference back in January when I was last there has been translated into daily life for them and their ministries.”
For many of these FMI-supported church planters, their congregation isn’t just one group of people in a single area. Instead, it’s multiple groups of people spread out across a region. And Allen has the chance to hike, literally, and meet the congregations.
“So I’ll be trekking through the rice patties as well as the cities, like Dhaka or Chittagong, to see what the Lord is doing firsthand, and to help fortify those church planters to go to the next level,” Allen shares.
After visiting Bangladesh around early July, Allen will head straight into the islands of Indonesia. However, the trip to get out to ministry sites in both Bangladesh and Indonesia is difficult.
Getting to the Field
At times, Allen will have to spend hours on the back of a motorcycle going across unpaved, bumpy roads, only to finish his trek out to a village by hiking the final distance through what some would refer to as backcountry. Thankfully, the national leadership teams, the teams who are on the ground for these missionaries, will be accompanying Allen along the way.
A pastor and a church member role-playing during the conference in Bangladesh to practice using their Snapshot packets. (Photo courtesy of FMI)
“[Indonesia] is the world’s largest Muslim-dominate country. We support church planters on a couple of different islands, so I’ll be having ongoing training conferences on two different islands and then doing field visits [in] both of those islands,” Allen says.
These visits involve more than talking to pastors, though. Allen says he’s usually able to better figure out if a pastor is burned out or what his needs are by talking to the pastor’s wife and/or congregation.
“That’s really the fruit that I want to evaluate — the fruit of his ministry. So, I want to find out about the lives of the people in his church,” Allen shares.
“I’m meeting a lot of church members [and] hearing amazing stories of how God has taken them from one place in their life and now brought them to salvation through Jesus Christ…and the impact that’s had in their own life, and the impact they’ve had on the rest of their community.”
Field visits are also important to encourage these Christians and to keep donors updated on how their financial gifts are being used, how God is moving, and the needs the people are facing.
Allen also gets a front-row seat to see how these Christians live under religious persecution. And sometimes this persecution comes from family members. Yet, it doesn’t end there. Christians also face social prejudices, such as being unemployable simply for being a Christian.
After living under such difficult measures, it’d be easy to believe these Christians living in Bangladesh and Indonesia would be discouraged. Yet, they’re not. Instead, Allen comes home more encouraged than when he arrived because of the faith these Christians have and the ways God is moving in their lives.
So please, as Allen prepares to travel later this month, will you pray? Pray for safety on the road, protection from illness, and for this time to glorify God.
Also, Allen asks for prayers for his translators, for their health and protection, and for translation to go smoothly — that despite cultural and linguistic barriers, communication between Allen and the Christians he’s visiting would be clear.
Check back tomorrow to learn more on Allen’s trip and the Snapshot Evangelism Tool he’s introducing to Indonesian church planters.