A Desperate Call for Help: Reaching the Rohingya in Bangladesh

Pastor Bony and the Taleb family (wife not pictured)

Pastor Bony and the Taleb family (wife not pictured)

The Rohingya people group have suffered for decades under ethnic and religious persecution. Now, after enduring fighting in Myanmar, many Rohingya - who are both Muslim and Hindu - have fled their home country for refugee camps in neighboring nations. Pastor Bony, a Global Advance and Alpha Relief initiative partner in Bangladesh, has felt the burden to ease the suffering of this community inside his home country, while at the same time sharing the love of Christ with them.

While working in one of the two official Rohingya camps inside Bangladesh, Pastor Bony was requested by a friend to check on the well-being of a few specific families inside the camp. One of the families Bony visited was that of a Muslim named Abu Taleb. Bony spent a good portion of the day with them, discussing their situation within the camp and distributing some much-needed aid to them. As he departed, Bony gave them his contact information in case they might ever need his assistance again.

Little did Bony know that he would receive a desperate call for help just two days later. It was Abu, who, in a panic, shared with Bony that his elderly mother had been missing for two days. They had searched everywhere within the camp to no avail. Bony was their last hope.

Bony was heart-sick with this news. Immediately, he informed his team within the camp of the situation, as well as the appropriate army and UN camp officials. Then they began to pray, and everyone began to search. For over a week they prayed and searched without success.

Eight days after this discouraging news, Bony visited Cox’s Bazar, a city some thirty-five kilometers from the Rohingya camp. At approximately 5:30 in the evening, Bony was walking the street about ten minutes from his hotel. There, in the mass of humanity, he saw what appeared to be a woman lying in the road. Bony immediately asked a local rickshaw driver to come and help him attend to this lady who, for all intents and purposes, appeared dead. 

Bony with Abu’s mother

Bony with Abu’s mother

As Bony approached the woman, he recognized her clothing. Bony took out his cell phone and looked at the recent picture he had taken with the Taleb family – it was Abu’s mother! Bony immediately attended to her urgent physical needs and informed camp officials of the situation. Within three hours, Abu’s mother was back in camp and reunited with her family.  As it is impossible for a refugee to leave a Rohingya camp, everyone recognizes that what happened on the evening of May 25th, 2019 is nothing short of a miracle. 

Because of these events, Bony now leads a house church inside the Rohingya camp, and the Taleb family are members. When asked how and why something like this could have transpired in their family, Abu’s reply is this: it all happened so they could know the one true God.

Our Global Advance national team of leaders in Bangladesh is strategizing to see churches planted in every village, and we are lifting their arms to help them accomplish the task. Through our Frontline Pastors initiative, local pastors are convened and trained in church planting. Fueled by the Alpha Relief initiative and gospel-compassion in their hearts, local leaders bring food and water to the Rohingya, along with health supplies for nursing mothers and children. They also provide Bibles and collect mobile phone numbers as they go so they can follow up and encourage seekers and new believers in the Word.