“As they traveled from town to town…the churches were strengthened in the faith…they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them...Then they left.” Acts 16:4-5, 40
“When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.” Acts 11:23
Albert and Metali Adhikari are the EFM National Leaders in Bangladesh. They've been working with EFM since 2005. They are such effective and powerful leaders, and have facilitated a powerful work of God. Albert is extremely gifted in leadership and continues to lead a very effective and discerning strategic ministry.
Albert and Metali, who have two young boys—Steve and Edwin, and are committed like you can’t imagine to Christ, to the Gospel and to seeing the Kingdom of God advance through a church planting movement of Friends Churches all over Bangladesh. They are so, so faithful to the ministry God has called them to and live out faithfully the disturbing words of Jesus in Luke 14:26-27,33 so well! The testimony of Albert and many of the newly baptized Christians in Bangladesh reflects closely the story of the apostles in the book of Acts, especially chapter 5:
“the apostles left the Sanhedrin rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.” (5:41-42)
The 2011 prayer, encouragement, and exposure mission trip to Bangladesh was a great success! Team members consisted of Matt Macy, myself, Jana Mullen, Jeff Mullen, Eric Sallee and David Wells, all from Crossroads.
These trips are a lot like treasure hunts – we are constantly spiritually alert, looking and spiritually discerning “Where is God at work in Bangladesh?” so that we can celebrate it, announce it, affirm it and support it. We found so, so many treasures every day on this trip. There are so many new Christians and new churches popping up. With only a few exceptions, every church and ministry site we visited was different from the places we visited last year in 2010 (and different from where we went in 2009 as well). This means that they are hard at work in ministry and that the church is growing in exciting ways.
While we were there we presented gifts on behalf of Crossroads to two of the lead local churches in Bangladesh. We included framed 8 x 12 photos of Crossroads “sending their greetings”. The Bangladesh Christians send back their greetings! We also were able to hand-deliver greeting cards handmade by Crossroads Kids. The Bangladesh Kids will soon write back to our Crossroads Kids!
Our ministry consisted of Bible teachings, impromptu messages of encouragement and discipleship to people who are new Christians or who are newly exploring the Christian faith and know almost nothing about the Bible. We visited a dozen different villages, some with newly baptized Christians and some that are preaching points where the gospel was newly being shared. In every occasion, our ministry of presence and our words of testimony were an important encouragement to the Bangladeshi believers, many of whom have endured significant persecution for making their important decision to follow Christ. Each group we visited offered us very kind hospitality (tea and a snack, like a hard-boiled egg or crackers) and very eager to hear our words, demonstrating a spiritual hunger and eagerness to learn and grow. When you witness first hand the growth and work of the field, you learn how to pray with more intelligence and support with more compassion and hopefully to invite others to do the same.
The six of us on the team represented not only Crossroads and Mid America, but all of the Evangelical Friends Church. We were able to share in person that many, many people all around the world love and care about what happens in Bangladesh and that many Christians in our Friends Churches are praying for them – they are not alone!
There is something so special about our time there that has so much do with what God wants to do in our lives and our church back at home. I was so challenged yet again to be even more faithful to Gospel ministry in Wichita, KS! “Pray for me that I may declare the Gospel fearlessly.” (Eph. 6:19) This is my prayer for myself and for Albert & Metali Adhikari and the pastors and evangelists in Bangladesh.
Thanks for your faithfulness to send, support, and pray. Personally I am grateful and I believe whole-heartedly that the Church is blessed and advanced because of it!
“But life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work of telling others the Good News about God’s mighty kindness and love.” Acts 20:24