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January 2024

The Wind Blows

Hello and Happy New Year! It has been quite cold this winter - so thank you for the many cheery Christmas messages, animated cards and gifts - we felt very cared for and loved.

Bangladeshi's grow a lot of rice and eat a lot of rice and we have had to become a lot more knowledgeable about how it gets from the field to our plates. After the rice has been harvested, cleaned and dried, it is thrown up in the air and the wind takes away the husks and the little bits of debris, leaving just the rice, ready for cooking. That seems like an appropriate metaphor for us at the beginning of 2024 as we experience some change and uncertainty, but trust that the wind of God's Spirit blows where He wills (John 3:8) and that many good 'grains' will land in the right places.

Elections and Appointments

Bangladesh Baptist Church Sangha has a new General Secretary. Rev John Karmakar has taken over from Rev Ashim Baroi. Please pray for both during this time of change. BBCS have recently also had leadership elections and so we will be working with some new leaders as well as with some more familiar faces. We are waiting to see how this will all settle as the year progresses.

Amid the changes in the office, we have welcomed some visitors from BMS and have enjoyed the opportunity to share our work and our lives with our colleagues and to have time to talk deeply together. We have two more mini-teams of visitors coming out in February, so our plans for what we thought we might get done at the beginning of the year are a bit like those rice grains as well.

Personal Update

For a while we have had 2024 in our minds because it is passport and visa renewal year. The metaphor is very appropriate for how that feels. We have just started the process and so we will be Bangladesh based for some time as it takes its course. The fact that we can't travel has an upside – it means that family holiday will be in Bangladesh later in the year with Calum and then Jonah & Abbie coming out to visit us. We would really appreciate your prayers as we apply for new visas as it easily creates that “up in the air” feeling.

Sharing Songs

“Brother and sister, you will sing a song now”. This unusual invitation occurred in a really beautiful moment in our relationship with a dear brother in the faith, who is part of the majority faith community. He and his brother have told their family that they are following Jesus and we had accepted their invitation to join their local festival. So, we were surprised to be given centre stage not only because we generally haven't been in the habit of singing in public, but also because this wasn't a Christian festival. We sang and the believers joined in, and the crowd watched us and listened and showed appreciation. Then one of their relatives shared their faith song and we listened, watched and showed our appreciation. It was a profound, wonderful and slightly unnerving experience. More grains tossed in the air – and our prayer is that the breath of God will do the work.

In the last few weeks. we've heard some great accounts from the field of many people preparing for baptism – eighty in one place in the south, another eighty in a northern area and twenty in the place described above. True, there are a lot of people in Bangladesh and in relative terms these are just a few grains from among many millions, but we thank God that He is at work.

 

Thanks and Prayers

Thank you for praying about the Bangladesh national elections in January. It passed peacefully on the day, disruption has ended, and the Government continues working for the development of Bangladesh.

Pray for our BMS colleagues as they come to visit this amazing country. Pray for safety, health and inspiring times for them and for God to bless the news that they share.

Pray that God's Spirit will direct us as we interview people to be sent to some of the new places where there is an openness for the Gospel. Pray that the seed will land in good soil.

Thank you for your prayers and ongoing support. In all things, it is not by might or power – but by God's Spirit.

With our love

Pete and Louise