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March 2024

It has begun

Along with Barnabas and Nandita, we sank into our chairs yesterday evening, tired but happy. We had finished our first week of training, prayed with our new mission workers and sent them on their way. We had tidied away the training debris, made a long list of things we need to do next and then we smiled: “it has begun”. The Baptist Mission Training Centre has its first set of trainees, sent out across Bangladesh and studying for a diploma in applied mission.

Overcoming challenges....

Starting the first course has felt at times like one long problem-solving exercise. The training centre is open, we have students, we have a new practical skills-based course, we have tutors and mentors. We have a mix of couples and young people who want to share the gospel and who are willing to go anywhere that God sends them - but we don't have a designated place or designated staff.

Our trainees have overcome challenges to join the programme. We have spent a lot of time in prayer, laying before God the hurt and difficulties that they have encountered along the way. They are finding ways of living with the cost of their calling, but it is painful when it sometimes involves rejection, suspicion and at times cruelty.

Barnabas and Nandita have also overcome difficulties and challenges to be where they are today – particularly Nandita as one of the first women to be ordained as a Pastor by BBCS. This week saw her sharing her experiences as she taught and began to mentor the women who are working with their husbands in new areas.

As we write this, we are counting down the time until Calum, Jonah and Abbie arrive in Bangladesh. Hospital shift rotas and school timetables made a joint visit impossible, so Calum comes out first and then after Easter, Jonah and Abbie come. We praise God that they got visas and all their vaccinations in time and without any difficulties - although I think Calum and Jonah count a day at the Bangladesh High Commission, as one of their more unusual days out together in London and a small insight into cultural differences.

Where to begin .....

On Wednesday, in a session on cross cultural communication, we all shared how we would greet each other according to our own culture and tradition. As our trainees come from different ethnic backgrounds, different faith backgrounds, different parts of the country and from different age groups, we had a rich conversation. Just knowing where to start is not always easy. One couple said, “We were sitting at home, wondering how we would begin but now we feel really happy, because during the time on the course, we have had this question answered.” Their comment rang bells for us as we have often been asked, “Where do you work? What do you? Why are you in Bangladesh?” and we learnt a lot from listening to their gracious and respectful answers. Please pray especially for the three couples who are moving into new places as their new neighbours ask these questions, sometimes out of curiosity and sometimes out of suspicion.

  • When God begins ....

We thank God for those willing to take these steps of faith, this is not an easy calling, but hearing their stories is a huge encouragement for us. A husband and wife from a Hindu background, who along with the local Pastor are now preparing a group of 80 for baptism. The story of a young woman who has an MA in Islamic studies who along with her husband has come to know Jesus. Two brothers and their wives who over the last couple of years have been among 26 people from their area who have come to follow Christ. A group of 5 young people from the Hill area, each with their own language, each called by God, and wanting to serve. God reminds us that this is His work and when God begins, anything is possible.

Thank you for your prayers for the start-up of the Baptist Mission Training Centre. Please pray that it will provide training pathways that enable people to live out the words of Jesus, “Let your good deeds shine out so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:16

Pray for this first group of 18 trainees and for a new generation of mission focussed workers who will plant churches and revive dry places.

Pray for God's provision of facilities and people so that the centre can grow as a training hub for the Bangladesh Baptist churches and for the blessing of the nation.

Pray for us and the boys as we have some time together enjoying beautiful Bangladesh.

Thank you as always for your amazing support and encouragement.

May the same power that raised Jesus from the dead be at work in you this Easter. (Eph 1:19-21)

Love from Peter and Louise