People's Republic of Bangladesh
Area: 143,998 sq km
Occupying the delta and floodplains of the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers, with high rainfall and frequent flooding.
Population: 164,425,491 Annual Growth: 1.43%
HDI Rank: 146 of 182 (UN Human Development Reports 2009)
Peoples: 423 (88% unreached)
Official language: Bengla; English also used Languages: 46
Largest Religion: Muslim
Challenges for Prayer
Mission agencies have played a valuable role with their social uplift programmes, hence their emphasis on institutions and aid. Pray for the following:
a) Evangelism and church planting. This core aspect is still not occurring on a level that will see the entire nation reached. Blatant proselytism is not tolerated, but relational evangelism is effective. Increasingly strict limitations have been placed on missionaries; some believe expatriate mission work may eventually be squeezed out altogether, especially if Islamists have their way.
b) Development/aid, another area of rightful focus and one which bears good fruit. ABWE, AoG, ELCA, Mennonite Central Committee, The Leprosy Mission, Interserve, SIM, OM and YWAM are just a few of the many ministries providing much needed assistance for the millions who suffer whilst building good relationships with local governments.
c) At risk people. Child labourers and sex workers are forced into involuntary servitude in tragically high numbers (hundreds of thousands and millions, respectively). Gripping poverty and rampant corruption contribute to these structures of sin and create a living hell with no easy way out. Agencies such as CMS, Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, Compassion, and Tearfund minister into these situations.
d) Business ventures started and run by Christians provide another avenue for serving those in need. Entrepreneurs and investors are currently welcomed by this country.
Scripture is in great demand despite legal complications involving the use of Koranic language in the Bible and attempts to “protect” Muslims from Christian Scriptures. Pray for:
a) Literature distribution. The Bible Society and its extensive ministry of Scripture production distributes around one million Bibles, NTs and Scripture portions each year. EHC has distributed over nine million tracts door-to-door and provided over 200,000 BCC courses to seekers.
b) Literacy issues. The availability of the Bible in the Muslim Bengali dialect avails little when over 50% of the population suffers from literacy problems. Pray for effective programmes that will combine literacy training with Scripture. Pray for initiatives in sharing the Bible orally, through story telling and other means.
c) The translation of the Bible into tribal languages. At least five and possibly more translations are needed; work is in progress in some of these.