Despite the anxiety and fear around the coronavirus, believers in Bangladesh are still receiving spiritual encouragement, thanks to your support.
Please pray for Bangladesh, which is facing an increasing number of COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases. It’s a high-risk country due to its large population and dense settlements, coupled with a lack of doctors, nurses and specialised hospitals to handle such a pandemic.
The Open Doors team in Bangladesh are receiving phone calls every day from believers and partners all over the country asking for help. One Open Doors local partner says, “Some of the believers are starving. Some are forced to eat less, so that they can maximise the number of days they can continue to have food. Some are borrowing money with high interest rates to buy food.”
These vulnerable people are not currently receiving any sort of government aid.
The economy of Bangladesh has been hit badly by the lockdown which has been put in place to stem the spread of the virus. The government has strictly prohibited any public meetings and now millions of people are unemployed, including Christians, who are especially vulnerable as they are discriminated against when aid is being distributed.
Although the government are making efforts to try to raise awareness and giving instructions on how people can protect themselves and others, many are not following the guidelines. People who have returned from foreign countries are not adhering to the call to be quarantined at home.
An Open Doors partner also reported that religious leaders are giving their followers false information and spreading rumours about the pandemic, saying that COVID-19 is a curse from Allah for the non-Muslims and that it will not affect a true Muslim. This only adds to the persecution already faced by Christians in the country.
Thanks to your prayers and support, Open Doors has so far provided help for 74 families in Bangladesh, but the need is far greater. Please pray for Open Doors local partners as they take risks to reach and support those in need.
While the situation in Bangladesh seems dire, praise God that, in the midst of this pandemic, Christians are able to receive spiritual encouragement and teaching through Omega magazine.
A member of staff prepares Omega magazine for distribution.
In Bangladesh, Omega magazine is playing an important role in educating and strengthening the faith and knowledge of Christians. With support from Open Doors local partners, nearly 1,500 copies are printed every month and distributed to many families of believers from Muslim backgrounds, and to different organisations and institutions.
“I read the Omega magazine whenever I have time. I love the way they explain the Scriptures, really easy for me to understand. I especially love to read the articles on any events or history of Christianity. I find many good articles that help me to live a happy life,” says one reader, Lipu Dhuni.
Well-known theologians and writers have contributed articles on various topics, events and stories in the magazine, such as family life, church life, religious history and religious events. The language is kept simple to make sure that readers of all ages can engage with it.
Mr Saju, a regular reader, says, “I can learn about the explanation of a scriptural text by reading the magazine. Some writers write about biblical historical events and it helps me to understand the context. The graphics also make reading it interesting. I love the Omega magazine.”
Omega is also reaching many non-believers with the gospel, who are being given the magazine by their friends. “The magazine is very useful for me. I read it, my family members read it and sometimes my friends read it. I am indirectly sharing the gospel through this magazine. We find many lessons on how to live out a good life,” says Jahangir Kabir.
Open Doors partners are reaching persecuted Christians with vital aid across Asia at this difficult time, from the southern Philippines to China. Please keep praying that your worldwide family will get the resources they need and go to opendoorsuk.org to read the latest news and find out how you can support persecuted believers impacted by the crisis.
Your support helps persecuted Christians continue to courageously follow Jesus.
Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.