For Vana Bawm and his community in remote Bangladesh, December 12 is a significant day of remembrance and celebration.
Prior to the year 1918 the Bawm tribe had never heard the gospel. Living in the relatively untouched and remote hills of Bangladesh the community practiced animism, believing that all things were living and spiritual, but not following or worshipping one God.
On December 12 in 1918, the Bawm tribe was visited by a missionary from North East India General Mission named Edwin Rowlands. This Welsh missionary, known for visiting and preaching to remote unreached villages, shared the gospel with the Bawm people for the first time. The gospel was welcomed by the tribe, whose descendants still trust and follow God to this day.
Now, 100 years later, the Bawm people are celebrating a century of knowing God. In January, the Bawm community will gather together, with other guests, in the small town of Ruma not only to commemorate the exciting occasion, but also to reunite with members of the Bawm community from around the world, and share the love of Christ with neighbouring communities in Bangladesh.
The celebrations will involve cultural shows, traditional dancing and group singing, as well as the commemoration of several important historical events, including a dramatic retelling of how the Bawm people received the gospel.
Vana Bawm, founder and General Secretary of the Bandarban Hill Churches of Christ, said that the celebrations are an important time for the Bawm people to reflect and rejoice. As a visionary leader with a heart for outreach, Vana hopes that the joyful celebrations will have a profound impact on neighbouring people groups.
Vana has been ministering to local churches since 2007 and works in outreach ministry amongst the Mru people, many of whom still hold animist beliefs. Following in the footsteps of his evangelist father, and in partnership with Global Mission Partners since 2012, he has worked to plant 16 churches, totaling 700 members.
While the gospel has reached a significant number of people in Bangladesh, Christianity is still a minority religion. Please pray for Vana’s ministry to the Mru people and other neighbouring people groups, and join the Bawm people in rejoicing in 100 years of gospel ministry in Bangladesh.