Wednesday, 16 November 2011


Well behind as barely a signal to pick up in Bangladesh, so here's a few journal notes ......

Arriving in Delhi, I’m not sure what I expected for my first time in India.

-       Cleaner, less noisy, more ordered traffic, generally feeling less ‘busy’ than Kathmandu. I didn't think the contrast would be so striking.
-       The obvious presence of street beggars was probably less than I’d been warned about.
-       The void between rich and poor was grater than anticipated, considering we’re staying near the centre of the capitol city.
-       The general apparent level of affluence was probably higher than I anticipated.
-       My first curry, in India, was much better than I’d hoped.
-       The hotel was excellent & great value for money – thanks to Gareth on this one.

Wow, here in Bangladesh. Bigger contrast with Delhi than I’d prepared myself for. Great rickshaws, but I’m glad it wasn’t raining. The potholes here are something else, but I’m told, when it rains and you can't see where they are, they call the front seat the ‘meet Jesus’ seat! Bad enough in a car, but in a rickshaw – lethal!

An amazing visit to a church school. Now this is real commitment from three women in particular. Around thirty young girls, taken in from extreme poverty (handed over by families who ‘cannot afford to keep them at home’. They’re looked after and provided with an education. So, boarding school with many extras thrown in. The context is harrowing, it raises all manner of questions I didn't find answers to, but it does build credibility for the Church in a hugely challenging environment.

God is clearly up to something here in Bangladesh. A whole number of Isai fellowships and churches have sprung up in recent years. Simply ‘followers of Jesus’ made up of Muslim background believers. One person has told me today there are, a conservative estimate of 50,000 people in such groups and churches, compared to around 20,000 ten years ago.

Great to hear some stories from Muslim background believers today. Great to meet mainly young people (20's) from Muslim, Hindu and Christian backgrounds in the discipleship school. Wonderful reception, but we have so much more to learn than we can ever teach. I'm asking everyone to pray for us.

Kolkota tonight. Vehicle fumes terrible - far worse than Kathmandu which I didn't expect. Staying at BMS guest house - very good. First rickshaw in India tonight - to the Chinese restaurant with Benjamin Francis. So good to hear something of his story and a little of the 6000 churches planted over the last six years, or so. Truly inspiring and I'm looking forward to our two days out with him ..... more 'down the river' than 'on the road'.

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