She spoke quickly and in a language I couldn’t understand – Intensity growing with every word. My new friend repeated one line over and over again, louder and with a sense of urgency until I found a translator to help.
“She wants to share the gospel with you,” the interpreter said. “To show you that she understands.”
I had just finished teaching a session to a group of native Bengali women and was headed to a fifteen minute break – Selfishly looking forward to samosa, tea, and conversation with the few other English speaking women I’d come to know and love over the previous days.
But God. He has an uncanny way of interrupting our plans with His own, and what followed in the next few minutes would leave an impact I won’t soon forget.
When given the go-ahead by the interpreter, her face broke out into a relieved smile – Eyes alight with hope. She spoke with passion and authenticity – Pausing only to let the translator catch up and relay what she was saying.
I was in complete awe.
“Separated by sin…”
“God in His great mercy…”
“Jesus, conceived by the Holy Spirit…”
“Suffering, He did not struggle…”
“Our eternal life because of His great sacrifice…”
“Guided by the Spirit in wisdom and truth…”
“Until Christ returns…”
I took her tiny frame and enveloped it in my own. “I’m so proud of you!” I declared, and meant every word.
For women to study, learn, and know the Word of God in Bangladesh takes more sacrifice than many of us in North America can fathom.
Christians make up a mere .5% of the country’s Muslim majority. Many women are rejected, ostercised, threatened, shunned, and sent away by their community and family when they claim Jesus as Lord. Husbands may divorce them – Leaving limited ways to care for themselves and their children. Some can’t read or write.
So how do they do it?
Little by little.
Precept upon precept.
With great urgency.
Under the guidance of a mentor.
And, often times, in secret.
I wish I could show you pictures of the local teachers – of the Bangladesh locals and missionaries who tirelessly give themselves to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and disciple others in the Word.
I long for you to see the pastors and their beautiful wives – The ones who travel hour after hour by bus, on foot, by boat, rickshaw, or even horse-cart to love, disciple, and equip fellow followers in villages that were unreached only a year ago.
I wish I could publically boast about the men and women who put their lives and reputation on the line every day as they step out in obedience and sacrifice. If I could, I would put their pictures up on church mission boards so we could all pray for them by face and name.
I so desperately want to share images of the rescuer who runs a program for women coming out of a violent and volatile sex trade industry – Who provides a training center and safe place where they learn their value, the Truth of a Father who absolutely adores them, and where they receive compassionate care, education, and work experience.
I want you to see the faces of the women who have experienced true freedom because another woman said “yes” when God asked her to rise up.
The truth is, these pillars of strength and beacons of light may never receive earthly recognition for their effort and sacrifice. It would be too dangerous.
Nor do they need it.
Every one of the teachers and leaders we met are beautiful examples of Matthew 6:1 – Humble servants whose righteousness is practiced in secret – Their reward in heaven far greater than any they could gain here on earth.
They are content to simply walk out their knowledge of the Word and love for their Savior.
Step by step.
Mile by mile.
Chapter by chapter.
Verse by verse.
Little by little.
We recently finished a study series about spiritual disciplines in church. Our pastor spoke boldly about how many look for supernatural encounters and seek revival by the masses in an effort to relive an Acts 2 experience. He reminded us that the beautiful manifestations of God are not always in the extraordinary, but rather in the ordinary. The ordinary IS the extraordinary – Study and meditation of His Word, diligent prayer, fasting, confession, silence and solitude… The sacrifice no one sees.
Be assured of this: There is a revival in Bangladesh – The slow, steady, authentic kind that happens when believers cram themselves into one-room homes and sit cross-legged on the floor – Eyes closed with hands lifted in praise.
When voices rise together in prayer – surrendering the needs of Christian brothers and sisters with genuine compassion and faith that God desires their freedom.
It’s the kind of revival that begins by understanding the power of the gospel and the necessity of discipleship. Studying the Word with heart, mind, and soul – Even if it costs them everything.
It’s a revival where fervency and knowledge of the Word will change a country and a culture for His glory – With great discipline.
One woman at a time.
Little by little.
Also To Note
Freedom Challenge is a community of women who push their bodies to extremes in an effort to raise funds for women and children living enslaved or under oppression. They summit mountains, trek for days, and do all kinds of other things to raise awareness together – Praying, praising, and reflecting on scripture the entire way. Their mantra, “Your Challenge, Their Freedom,“ resonates deeply with me. It’s why I jumped at the opportunity to represent Arise Ministries Collective and journey through Bangladesh with their small team.
You can read more about these stories in a recent article published on the Freedom Challenge website: “Witnessing Transformation for Women in Bangladesh.”
Also, the Summit View “Rhythms” series speaks to the importance of developing spiritual discipline. You can watch and listen to the sermon where Pastor Michael Hearn refers to the ordinary in the extraordinary by clicking here.
About the Author: Lisa DaSilva is a wife, mom of two teenagers, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word. She writes, speaks, and teaches the Bible to anyone who will read or listen.
Lisa is a teacher by trade and passion, voice for the marginalized, recovering striver, and lover of simplicity, authenticity, and all things pretty. She enjoys thrift store shopping and often has to convince people she’s an introvert. Just a loud one.
Lisa loves the local church and is proud to call Summit View Community Church in Vancouver, WA home.
Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.