Rohingya humanitarian disaster
All across the globe, Saddleback Church has engaged International Partnering Churches (IPCs) to help build Purpose Driven nations. This global strategy empowers Purpose Driven Churches (PDCs) to take The PEACE Plan around the world and help fulfill The Great Commission.
Among those partnering churches is Bangladesh Evangelical Revival Church. Since 2014, it has actively responded to the Rohingya humanitarian disaster that left more than half a million Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar. Attacks have left the country’s 1.1 million Rohingya Muslims stateless and seeking refuge in Bangladesh.
This need to serve the displaced has resulted in members of Bangladesh Evangelical Revival Church stepping up to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Under the leadership of Pastor Bony Baroi, they’ve leaned heavily on guidance and support from Saddleback’s PD and PEACE Teams.
The relationship between the two churches started in 2012 when Pastor Baroi first visited Saddleback. He had read Pastor Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Church, and felt a calling to plant churches.
“I kept praying that God would open doors,” recalls Pastor Baroi.
In 2014, the committed leader attended Saddleback’s Finishing the Task Conference — an annual event to commission churches to reach the Unengaged, Unreached People Groups (UUPGs). From that point onward, Bangladesh Evangelical Revival Church launched a church planting movement with over 35 churches serving people across the region. Their central church has just over 50 members coming from cell groups to bring moral and spiritual change through God’s Word.
But planting churches was just the beginning for Bangladesh Evangelical Revival Church. In November 2014, the church began sharing the Gospel with the Rohingya people and gained a reputation as a house of hope. As refugees came pouring in last year, they were offered food and medical treatment as a way to build relationships and share God’s love. One by one, church members prayed with people and handed out audio Bibles for those who couldn’t read.
Refugees included young children including one 12 year old girl who came with her 8 month-year-old brother. “Her father died and she couldn’t find her mother who was on another boat,” says Pastor Baroi. “She was far from her community and was so happy to receive assistance. She called it ‘A package of love that will save them from death.’ We are still praying that she can find her mother.”
This heartbreaking story is not unique, says Pastor Baroi. As many refugees are not permitted to leave the camp, the church is now going to them to meet their needs. The larger vision for Bangladesh Evangelical Revival Church extends far beyond the camps. Over the next five years, their goal is to plant 30 more churches in Bangladesh, to baptize 600 new believers, convert 250 people from their Muslim background, establish 12 preschools, support 8 pastors, and construct 3 new church buildings.
“There is still a huge need for help,” says Pastor Baroi. “Please pray for God’s protection and blessing over the Rohingya refugees. Through Christ’s love, we want to help them find salvation and become disciples of Jesus.”
To learn more about building a Purpose Driven Church, visit pd.church/start.