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Bangladesh: 'I can read the Bible now!'
13 July 2016
Benu Ara never received an education. Married at 12, for 20 years she has suffered from low self-esteem because she was unable to read and write. Then a local literacy teacher invited her to join a Open Doors supported literacy class.
At first she was too shy and too low in confidence to accept. Fortunately, her husband and her children strongly encouraged her to participate.
So she began the course. It didn't take long before she could recognise letters. Then letters became words, words became sentences, sentences became stories. And then she was reading the most important story of them all.
"I can read the Bible now!" exclaims the 32-year-old housewife.
"I love the stories of the Bible. They give me peace. I loved the worship and the singing at the literacy centre, too. I enjoyed the fellowship, sharing and praying together. I worked very hard and now I can read the Bible! I read it often. It teaches me so much about God and Jesus. I share the stories from the Bible with my children and they love to listen to me."
This has changed her life. "I am so grateful to God because He gave me this opportunity to learn how to read and write. Now, I've sent my mother-in-law to the literacy class, too, so she can learn how to read the Bible as well."
Benu has only one prayer point: "Pray for my daughters and son so they all may grow up in the realm of Scripture."
'I found joy'
Benu is just one example of the life-changing impact Open Doors' literacy programmes can have on believers in Bangladesh. Through our partners, last year we trained 1,830 Christians. Three times a week, hundreds of people come to one of the 125 literacy centres where they participate in classes for two hours. The activities include simple reading comprehension and writing exercises - the groups also discuss health and social topics with Biblical illustrations and principles.
And around two-thirds of the participants are women: women like Hashi.
Hashi, 27, only has one good eye due to problems at birth. She was married off at a young age to a Christian with a Muslim background and attended a literacy class together with her mother-in-law.
"I really wanted to attend the literacy class," she said, "But I wasn't a real Christian. I stayed faithful to the Muslim faith. But my husband was a Christian, so I was interested to learn more."
During the classes, very often the Bible was opened and people read from the Holy Scriptures.
"I found joy in Bible story reading, praying together and singing worship songs. This class really helped me to become a true believer. My husband and son are also happy as I can now read and write. We read Bible stories in the evening and pray together."
Hashi asks for prayer for her husband who works hard to provide for the family. "Also pray for my son, that he will study well and later may work for God. Pray that I can bring other women to attend the literacy class and that they may also receive Jesus as their Saviour."
For over 60 years, giving people access to the Bible has been one of Open Doors' core aims - but that means more than just handing them Scripture. It means teaching people to read and to write, helping them to understand what they are reading, and to bring the truths of the Word into their lives.
Thanks to your support, many thousands of Christians around the world are given tools which not only improve their chances of employment and increase their dignity and self-esteem, but that also bring them into closer contact with a God who loves them and who has given them life.
Help Persecuted Christians in Bangladesh Now
As persecution increases, so do the needs of our brothers and sisters.
You can support Bible distribution and literacy projects in Bangladesh and transform the lives of more people like Benu Ara.
- Every £22 can provide a Bible to four persecuted Christians in South East Asia.
- Every £74 can provide intensive literacy training to a Christian in South East Asia who have been socially disempowered as a result of their faith.
Source: Open Doors
- For Open Doors' literacy programmes around the world. Pray for women like Hashi and Benu, that they will have the confidence to join in with classes.
- That many more people will encounter Jesus through literacy programmes and reading the Scriptures for the first time
- For Christians in Bangladesh who face a lot of pressure and oppostion at this time from extremist groups.
More News from Bangladesh:
- Open Doors provides life-saving aid to flood survivors
- Christians face discrimination in aid distribution after flooding
- 'We have the joy of God in our heart'
- Cafe attack - further signs of growing extremism
- Helping believers to stand strong as persecution rises
Find out more about persecution in Bangladesh.