“Greetings from Bangladesh in the name of our Risen Lord Jesus Christ! Please pray for us, that we may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Please ask our Father to give us strength and encourage us through the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The village where “Tarak” lives is beyond poor, and more than beautiful. By dint of backbreaking labor, pathways of hand-piled dirt offer passage through land annually besieged by monsoon floodwaters. Fields of rice and jute stretch out in unending green and golden tracts. Yet the beauty of the land contrasts sharply with the spiritual state of its people – they stumble in the darkness of a false religious system and severely persecute anyone who follows Christ. In Bangladesh, leaving Islam to follow Christ can cost you your life.
Tarak himself has suffered much for Jesus. A few years ago, an Islamic leader found out he was sharing the Gospel with Muslims. The leader hired a bus driver to put a stop to Tarak’s outreach … by running him over. Miraculously, Tarak was not killed, but his arm was crushed and spiked with shattered glass. Yet when he arrived at the hospital, all five doctors were afraid to treat his wounds, explaining that Taliban militants had given hospital staff strict instructions to kill “the dangerous Christian.” He was forced to find another hospital, and for the next several months, excruciating pain was his constant companion. It was two full years before he regained the use of his arm.
Prior to the bus incident, Muslims attacked Tarak. After beating him up, they left him in a ditch to drown. His friend found him, took him by rickshaw to a hotel, and helped him travel from city to city to escape further persecution. On another occasion, a hit-man, in the pay of an irate Muslim, cornered Tarak and put a gun in his face. Tarak immediately cried out to God in prayer, and the assassin’s hand froze—paralyzed. The man panicked. Filled with compassion for his would-be killer, Tarak offered to pray for him, whereupon the man’s hand unfroze … and he fled from his presence in fearful awe.
Tarak and his wife, “Lydia,” operate a safe-haven camp for converts in dire need of a refuge from their Muslim persecutors and for orphans. His camp includes a Christian school for the orphans, children of the converts, and local area children. While the children are in school, the adults receive vocational training in areas such as sewing, agriculture, small engine repair, carpentry, and welding.
Each day at 6 a.m., Tarak leads the whole camp—about 60 adults and 150 children—in a time of praise and devotion. They meet again at 8 p.m. for the same purpose. Every day, he and his assistant teach four hours of Bible classes, preparing the Muslim background believers to go back out into their communities. Hundreds of pastors and evangelists throughout Bangladesh trace their beginnings directly back to Tarak’s discipleship training.
Tarak bears on his body the marks of the Lord Jesus; the Gospel is his all. He’s in his early sixties, but he looks like a man past seventy. Diabetes, coupled with old injuries, makes each day painful, and yet Tarak appears content with his circumstances. He and Lydia live in a barebones room smaller than a college dorm room, and the only possession that distinguishes him from the refugees he serves is his personal computer. Everything he has goes to the welfare of his fellow Christians. He built the camp on land he inherited, as well as some he bought with his own money. His obedience and devotion to Christ is tangible—he leads by example.
Please keep Tarak, Lydia, and their ministry staff in your prayers as they offer persecuted Christians shelter, vocational training, and discipleship. Pray for health, strength, and joy.