With 160 million inhabitants in a land mass of just under 57,000 square miles, Bangladesh is one of the world’s most densely populated countries. Its people are crammed into a delta of rivers that empties into the Bay of Bengal. Poverty is deep and widespread, but Bangladesh has in recent years reduced population growth and improved health and education. As Jim Jacobsen continued his fact finding journey, he came across one pastor who told him that, after he converted in 2007, his rickshaw shop and tea business were taken away and he was disowned by his family.
“Two imams caught him talking about Christianity in the market and attacked him. They beat and tied him with ropes in front of a nearby mosque. His sons ransomed him only after they agreed to force him to reconvert to Islam.” When the sons failed to persuade him to return to Islam, they beat their father nearly to death, took all his possessions and left him for dead. Yet, since then, he has seen more than 700 Muslims convert to Christianity in the last two years.
Babul, another Muslim who converted to Christianity in 2013, once worked as a labourer. After his conversion, his life was threatened and he was disowned by his family. He went into hiding in the jungle to survive. After eight months, some Christian converts helped him. He is now a ‘street preacher’ and faces many hardships to share the gospel. He has been beaten numerous times but sees it as a badge of honour. “The young like me, are converting,” Babul told Jacobson. “Many more are interested in Christ.”
Jacobson believes the under-reporting of believers is because most tallies only count ‘traditional Christians’, people born into the Christian faith who attend government-approved churches. “But ‘converts’, those who change their religion from Islam to Christianity are not counted and no surveys have been made,” he contends. “The number of Christians in Bangladesh may be as high as 10 percent of the population.”
Source: Jim Jacobson, Christian Freedom International
Bible Study: 1 Timothy 4:12
JUNE PRAISE GOD for Christians prepared to suffer joyously for the name of Christ. Pray the witness of converts, even in the midst of persecution, will provoke many to repentance and faith.