POWER OF THE GOSPEL TO CHANGE HEARTS
by Brother K
I have spent quite a bit of time over the past 10
years working with indigenous missions in the
Bengali homeland. This region includes the
country of Bangladesh, and the Indian states
of Tripura and West Bengal. According to Operation
World the Bengali constitute the largest Unreached
People Group (UPG), numbering around 250 million.
A common definition of a UPG is that it is an ethnolinguistic
group with an Evangelical population of
less than two percent.
In May our Canadian office hosted Daniel Shayan,
a mission leader from India, who works to reach
Muslims in India with the Gospel. Many Muslims
whom Daniel is sharing Christ with are Bengali. As
I listened to him share his testimony of coming to
faith in Christ (which included how he moved from
Pakistan to India), it finally dawned on me to ask
him a question about the Bengali.
Before I let you know the question I asked, I'll offer
a bit more background first.
Daniel and his family traveled on a holiday from
West Pakistan in early 1971 to visit an uncle who was
living in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). About a
month after arriving there, the violent independence
war broke out and Daniel and several family members
found shelter in a Red Cross refugee camp.
Eventually they were able to leave Bangladesh and
travel to Kolkata in India to live with another Uncle.
Several members of Daniel's family were killed in
the war. Bitter animosity between the two groups
intensified. This mutual hatred endures until today.
In my trips to Bangladesh I have heard many times
of the Bengali hatred of the Pakistani. I had not
thought much about how the Pakistani felt about
the Bangladeshi, especially those who were living
in East Pakistan and were directly affected by the
"Daniel," I asked. "You speak of your ministry among
the Bengali; how did you feel about the Bengali people
when some of your family members were killed?"
"We hated them," he began. "For many years I
intensely despised them."
"What changed?" I continued, "What did Christ
do in your life to change your heart? Clearly now
you demonstrate a love for them as you talk about
sharing the Gospel with them."
His answer was direct, simple, and profoundly Gospel
centered. He said, "Christ had compassion on me;
how could I not also show compassion to them?"
Daniel spoke so naturally of how Christ's work in his
life was the source of his changed heart. This, brothers
and sisters, is what marks the Church. We are sinners
who have tasted of God's kindness in Christ. Jesus
has given all for us; how could we not, in response to
receiving his kindness and our offering of gratitude,
spend our lives in treating others the way we have
been treated in Christ?
posted on August 15, 2018