This is a nation known world wide for poverty and annual devastating floods. Bangladesh, a strongly Muslim nation with the earth’s seventh largest population, was a great surprise to us. The flight that we were to have taken was cancelled at 4:00 a.m. and we were then changed to a new route. It was 8:00 p.m. and dark when we finally arrived. At the airport tough customs agents checked everything and when they got to the cross they asked, “What is this?” There is a time to talk and a time to be silent. One man said, “It’s a big tent for camping!” I laughed, everyone laughed and we were allowed in! Exhausted, we boarded the bus for the Sheraton Hotel in Dhaka and prayed for an expensive room. We were treated like VIPs. at the hotel. We were given a 50% discount on the hotel’s least expensive room and then we were put in the Presidential Suite. The hotel management invited us to a party where Denise met the hotel’s publicity director. The director was so deeply moved at what we were doing she arranged for a news conference in front of the hotel. She told us, “It’s too dangerous for you to carry the cross in this country. Just pose with ithe cross and tell your story.” She also told us it’s forbidden to carry a cross in the streets.
The next morning we got up early and carried the cross through
the heart of the city arriving back to the hotel in time for the news
conference. We spent hours with the reporter and the lovely
The next day we were featured in all the major newspapers with
photos of the cross and us. On the airplane, a missionary working
as a businessman had warned us that we would probably be
arrested in the country. He kept away from us at immigration.
After we were front-page news he sent a local preacher to invite
us to dinner and to speak at their church. We could only laugh to
keep from crying and decided to stay with the regular Bangladesh
people that had accepted us.
Locals awakened us as they phoned our rooms wanting to see us
and have us pray for their sick. In the streets the people were very
friendly. Our biggest problem was when we stopped to speak with
people, everyone else stopped too. Even the bicyclers, rickshaws
and three-wheeled bicyclers stopped, which created traffic jams
that totally blocked the streets. Again, God defied the critics and
had the cross walk welcomed in a Muslim land. It’s just beyond
explanation except to say, God did it.
The poverty was horrific. We gave money to the poor but had to be discreet, as crowds would gather if they saw you giving away money. The Bangladesh people were so kind to us!
One lasting memory was trying to cross the street with no traffic light in the midst of thousands of rickshaws. There was a real wild dash. The cross was welcomed in Bangladesh.
The poverty was astounding as this is one of the poorest places on earth. How heartbreaking.
Yet the response was so glorious.
This is one of the times that we did not take any photos in the street. We did not want to look like tourists. The cross mission was more important.
Pilgrim followers of Jesus,
Arthur and Denise Blessitt