Bangladesh (MNN) — New Gospel work begins in Bangladesh, home to one of the world’s largest Muslim communities. Together with a network of evangelical churches, FARMS International is helping believers from a Muslim background.
Eking out a living is already difficult in Bangladesh. Long known as one of the world’s poorest nations, Bangladesh’s poverty rate was slowly but steadily improving. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic, sending scores back into poverty.
Becoming a Christ-follower adds yet another challenge, FARMS Executive Director Scott Clifton says. “They are often not accepted in their family anymore. They have to find a new place to live, a new network of social connections,” he explains.
Discrimination goes beyond believers’ social circle, Clifton continues.
“If they try to open a bank account or join the credit union, they [are often] denied because of being a Christian with a Muslim-sounding name.”
By combining Christian stewardship with interest-free loans, FARMS helps people work their way out of poverty. More about that here. At the same time, loan recipients support the local church by tithing from their new income.
Blessings in Bangladesh
Ask the Lord to bless the new FARMS program in Bangladesh. Cross-network collaboration is already underway.
“One of our members, who had previously received a loan, was able to host a ‘pilot program,’ essentially. He was able to walk them through a very in-depth seminar on everything he has learned [about] farming and raising livestock. This (the seminar) is significant in several ways.” Clifton says.
“Often in Bangladesh, people hold very tightly to their ‘secrets to success.’ But he did this as service, sacrificing his time and his knowledge to benefit and strengthen the Church.”
By clicking the “Donate” button here, you can help FARMS officially “launch” the program this month and keep it going. “We’re just at the beginning stages right now,” Clifton explains.
“We need resources to operate it, and people can certainly give financially and join in that way. We would love if people saw fit to do so.”
Most importantly, pray. If Islamic fundamentalists learn about this project, they might respond with violence. “It’s a genuine threat [and] that’s been very real in the history of this church,” Clifton says, referring to the Bangladeshi church network partnering with FARMS.
“One of their lead pastors was killed about four or five years ago, and the contact I spoke with had to leave the country because of threats on his life.”
Header image is a representative stock photo courtesy of Ashraful Haque Akash/Unsplash.