Bangladesh (MNN) — UN officials met virtually this week to discuss the Rohingya crisis in Southeast Asia. Bangladesh urged fellow UN members to press Myanmar for a political solution. Turkey and Saudi Arabia praised Bangladesh for hosting the most refugees, pledging political and humanitarian support.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch urged Bangladesh to move Rohingya from a remote island to the main settlement in Cox’s Bazaar, and Amnesty International advocates for refugee input on relocation decisions.
In the past five years, targeted attacks forced nearly a million Rohingya Muslims into Bangladesh. More Rohingya headlines here. Bangladesh is already one of the world’s most densely-populated countries, and an onslaught of strangers didn’t make locals happy.
According to Aja, FMI’s National Director in Bangladesh, crowding isn’t the only issue.
“[The] Rohingya people, they have a lot of things they got from the NGOs, but local people [received] nothing. Sometimes our local people [tell the NGOs] they’re targeting [the] wrong people, not Bangladesh peoples,” Aja explains.
“It is [a] very big problem for us in Bangladesh.”
FMI recently held a workshop for partnering church planters and pastors, offering them a different perspective. Many left with a new heart for Rohingya refugees.
Reaching Rohingya for Christ
Bangladesh restricts open ministry in refugee camps, but Aja says local pastors have found other ways to share Christ. “Our government has restricted [in-person activities], but we can talk with them by phone, and we proclaim the Gospel [to] them,” he explains. Some people have even been baptized.
Pray that many Rohingya will find hope in Christ through these efforts. “God’s opened the door for them; [pray] they can receive Christ and come to Jesus,” Aja requests. For the believers among Rohingya refugees, pray for a gathering place.
“Rohingyas who are Christians, they have no church; they have nothing. Our government won’t give [us] permission to proclaim the Gospel or build a church, so we are praying [about] this.”
Use the prompts listed alongside this article to guide your intercession. You can also support indigenous leaders like Aja by giving through FMI.
Header image is a 2019 photo depicting a Rohingya woman and children in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. (Photo credit: UN Women/Allison Joyce/Flickr)