Bangladesh: Far-off followers find fellowship

Shiuli felt far from God. She knew about the Christian faith but had never really believed it. One evening, at the national camp organised by IFES movement Bible Students Fellowship of Bangladesh (BSFB), that all changed.

It was “revival night”. As students prayed, Shiuli was in a corner, on her knees. She wanted to see Christ, to feel him and know him. But all she felt was that she was in a deep, dark hole – all alone.

“I prayed to the Lord: ‘Lord Jesus, please forgive me’,” she recalls.

“And then I saw Jesus standing before me with outstretched arms, dressed in a shining purple robe. He said to me, ‘My child, I never forget that I forgive you.’ It was then that I truly understood God’s love for me – and that all my shortcomings are forgiven.”

Shiuli returned from the camp committed to live for Jesus. She wants to know him more deeply and serve in his kingdom. She actively encourages others to experience God’s love and has become the secretary of her local BSFB group in Bandarban city, many miles from the life-changing conference in Jashore.

Shiuli’s testimony reveals how the national camp is vital, not only for those who are spiritually far-off, but also for those who are geographically far-off. Her family home is in the remote hill track district of Bandarban.

Many of the 2,200+ students involved in BSFB come from rural areas – for them, communication, travel, and finance are huge challenges. Those from a different faith background often face pressure or hostility from family and some are cast out from their communities. They’re left isolated, with few resources to support their growth in Christ. BSFB groups and conferences help meet that need; last year’s annual camp brought together around 365 students from across the country.

Over the years, as students have found fellowship and been strengthened in the Word, they’ve brought blessing to the movement and beyond: worship songs composed by BSFB members are now sung in churches across the country, and in June, in partnership with Wycliffe Global Alliance, the movement will publish translations of the New Testament in four ethnic languages. Now, some of those who feel linguistically far-off from Bengali will be able to encounter Jesus in their native tongue.

So, as BSFB celebrates its 50th birthday this year, let’s give thanks with and pray for them:

  • Give thanks for Shiuli’s encounter with Jesus and pray that her witness to the reality of God’s love will draw in many others who are far-off.
  • Ask the Lord to lead those who are feeling isolated geographically, emotionally, or spiritually to a local BSFB group.
  • Thank God for 50 years of BSFB ministry and the blessing this has brought to individuals, churches, and society. Pray for the Spirit’s guidance and inspiration as they take stock and look ahead – particularly as they transition from Peter to Lasar as BSFB General Secretary.

See glimpses of the BSFB 2023 national camp here.

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