By Roy S. Askins
During the rainy season of Bangladesh, water is everywhere. Roads become submerged, homes become unlivable, church buildings uninhabitable and schools unusable. Villagers must walk on bamboo bridges, even within the village, and use skiffs to visit family and friends. In some places, high water levels cover wells. In other places, the shallow wells have become contaminated with arsenic. The flood waters also contain harmful diseases and parasites.
The Rev. Roger James said, “How ironic that despite all of this water, safe drinking water is often hard to come by.” Water, so essential for life, endangers the lives of the Bangladeshi people.
Recently, numerous Bangladeshis of the Bangladesh Lutheran Church Mission (BLCM) learned of the new spiritual life granted to them in water combined with God’s Word.
At the same time, God calls His Church to care for those in need, especially those of the household of faith (Gal. 6:10).
The Office of International Mission (OIM) of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod recently sent nearly $8,000 to help drill six water wells for churches and schools of the BLCM. The BLCM has completed the first of the six water wells at St. Peter Lutheran Church at Baniarchur. Because of the high waters during the flood season, the other five wells will be finished once the flood waters have receded.
The Rev. Monotosh Banarjee, founding pastor of the BLCM, thanked the LCMS for providing the wells: “We are very thankful to God and also LCMS OIM. We received funds for six water wells. Our congregation and school children are drinking water tainted with arsenic. Now we have safe drinking water and all our people are very happy.”
The people of the BLCM have learned of the life-giving power of Holy Baptism. They have also seen the love of Christ through the mercy shared by supporters in the LCMS.
The floods have affected more than just wells, however. The water has risen so high this year that numerous BLCM buildings cannot be used including the homes of deacons and parishioners, church buildings and schools.
For example, at Faith Lutheran Church in Chocksing, they cannot gather in their church building. The building, which also doubles as a school, remains flooded. The deacon who serves the parish cannot live in his home behind the church building.
The school administered by the BLCM in Bedgram has also suspended classes. The waters have covered the recently constructed bamboo bridge to the school, and water weeds have surrounded and almost hidden the building from the rest of the village.
LCMS Disaster Response Helps
Land reclamation is often the cheapest solution. LCMS Disaster Relief gave $10,000 USD to help with land reclamation for these buildings. If you would like to partner with the LCMS in support of the BLCM, please go to LCMS Disaster Response and designate your support for BLCM disaster relief.
“I give thanks for the work that has been done with the help of LCMS congregations and RSOs, such as Lead a Child,” James said. “The BLCM will greatly benefit by increased coordination between these congregations and organizations.”
The Lord be praised for the support He has given to the BLCM through the LCMS. But most especially do we give thanks for calling the members of the BLCM to faith through the waters of Holy Baptism and preserving them in and by His Holy Word.
The Rev. Roy S. Askins is the director of communications for the Asia region of the Office of International Mission.