Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Indigenous Vision

Sometimes when we think about local leadership, we have to be honest about our own prejudices. We want to play god in the lives of people around the world and so perpetuate the problem of poverty by destroying the image of God in people rather than budding it up.

Today we had a chance to meet the office staff of Bangladesh Baptist Church Fellowship. They are a denomination nearly a century old planted by the New Zealand and Australian denominations. They currently have over 500 churches, 800 staff and are involved in transformation all across Bangladesh. Schooling, church planting, orphans, holistic transformation are all projects run by Leor and team.

These are individuals who deeply understand their own cultures and the brokenness within. Whether it be corruption in the government, or unique nuances to other faiths; successful missions in a foreign context is a complicated thing.

It is amazing to hear of their vision for the next 5 years. For each of their ministries, be it children's, women's, church planting, evangelism, they have unique, ambitious goals. Currently they reach 2500 people for Christ each year, and they hope to reach 30000 by 2020. That's doubling their current evangelism goals. In addition, they want to plant 200 churches all throughout Bangladesh. It's ambitious, no matter how you spin it, and the lay people in the denomination are all behind it.

They've seen and experienced what God can do.

As I write this there is a Muslim call for prayer over the city. The Bengal are one of the least reached people groups in the world. Trapped in abject poverty, they carry a history of animism mixed with modern faiths that cripple their ability to move forward. It is in this context that the gospel can truly transform a people through the freedom of the cross.

The team also spent some time out in the city today. We guys walked around the streets for a time, taking in the sights and smells. One portion that really stands out to me is meeting a few very young girls who were begging for their parents.

The first little girl had a beautiful little smile and a practiced routine. She brought along her toddler sister to tug on the heart strings of people walking by. It's a strange dichotomy of poverty that beauty and brokenness exist together. They followed us for a time and I had a fun time taking their photos and showing then what they looked like.

God is moving in this city. I'm not sure what that looks like yet, but it is so encouraging to know that groups like BBFC are here for the long term.

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