OUR BLOG

05 Dec 2023

Within Your Gates Bulletin: Persecution of COG Brethren in Bangladesh

The following is an update received from the United Church of God:

On December 1st, there was a major disturbance in the village of UCG members, Manik & Rita Balaam.

Manik writes: “The Land Office sent the final Land Title Transfer Certificates of the Church and Graveyard to the village headman that he may give to us. Our village headman is a Hindu & when he received the certificates, ๐ก๐ž ๐ฐ๐š๐ฌ ๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ฒ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ซ๐ฒ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐œ๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ž๐ ๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐‡๐ข๐ง๐๐ฎ ๐ฅ๐ž๐š๐๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ, ๐ฌ๐จ๐ฆ๐ž ๐Œ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ฅ๐ข๐ฆ ๐ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ & ๐ฅ๐จ๐œ๐š๐ฅ ๐ฏ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ๐š๐ ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ. However, I nor any of our family and fellow Christians who meet with us each Sabbath, knew the headman had received our Title Certificates.

๐“๐ก๐ฎ๐ซ๐ฌ๐๐š๐ฒ ๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ง๐ข๐ง๐ , ๐ƒ๐ž๐œ๐ž๐ฆ๐›๐ž๐ซ ๐Ÿ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐š ๐ฆ๐จ๐› ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐š๐›๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ ๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ๐ŸŽ ๐ฏ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ๐š๐ ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ ๐š๐ญ๐ญ๐š๐œ๐ค๐ž๐ ๐ฎ๐ฌ. ๐“๐ก๐ž๐ฒ ๐›๐ž๐š๐ญ ๐“๐จ๐ซ๐ฎ๐ง, ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐ฐ๐ข๐Ÿ๐ž, ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฌ๐จ๐ง, ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฆ๐ฒ ๐Ÿ๐š๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ-๐ข๐ง-๐ฅ๐š๐ฐ. (He is a prospective member that had personally worked with Manik to successfully file government required paperwork to register the United Church of God in Bangladesh and to purchase a required plot of land for a future church building and land for a required graveyard.) They did not attack me as I’m an outsider who did not grow up in this village and recently moved into the area. They were searching and inquiring the names of whoever helped me to buy the lands for the church and graveyard.

๐ˆ ๐œ๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ž๐ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฉ๐จ๐ฅ๐ข๐œ๐ž ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฅ๐จ๐œ๐š๐ฅ ๐ ๐จ๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ง๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐ญ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐ก๐ž๐ฅ๐ฉ. ๐๐ž๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฉ๐จ๐ฅ๐ข๐œ๐ž ๐œ๐š๐ฆ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฅ๐จ๐œ๐š๐ฅ ๐ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐‡๐ข๐ง๐๐ฎ ๐ฅ๐ž๐š๐๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐ซ๐ž๐š๐ญ๐ž๐ง๐ž๐ ๐ฎ๐ฌ. The local police and local government arrived and handled the matter. They attempted to explain to the angry Hindus and Muslims that we maintain all the legal procedures to buy the lands for the Church and the Graveyard and even the District Commissioner had ordered us to buy lands for Church and graveyard in order to be registered. ๐™๐™๐™š๐™ฎ ๐™™๐™ž๐™™ ๐™ฃ๐™ค๐™ฉ ๐™–๐™œ๐™ง๐™š๐™š ๐™ฌ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™–๐™ช๐™ฉ๐™๐™ค๐™ง๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™š๐™จ, ๐™๐™ค๐™ฌ๐™š๐™ซ๐™š๐™ง ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™ข๐™ค๐™— ๐™ฌ๐™–๐™จ ๐™—๐™ง๐™ค๐™ ๐™š๐™ฃ ๐™ช๐™ฅ.

My father-in-law who was also beaten is now taking rest. ๐“๐จ๐ซ๐ฎ๐ง ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐Ÿ๐š๐ฆ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ฐ๐ก๐จ ๐ก๐š๐ ๐š ๐ก๐จ๐ฆ๐ž ๐จ๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ข๐ซ ๐‡๐ข๐ง๐๐ฎ ๐ฉ๐š๐ซ๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ฌ ๐ฅ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ข๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐ฏ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ๐š๐ ๐ž โ€” ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐ง๐จ๐ฐ ๐ก๐š๐ฏ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฅ๐ž๐š๐ฏ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฏ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ๐š๐ ๐ž ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ ๐จ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฌ๐ญ๐š๐ฒ ๐š ๐Ÿ๐ž๐ฐ ๐ก๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ฌ ๐š๐ฐ๐š๐ฒ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐ฐ๐ข๐Ÿ๐žโ€™๐ฌ ๐Ÿ๐š๐ฆ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฒ. ๐‡๐ข๐ฌ ๐Ÿ๐š๐ฆ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐ซ๐ž๐ฃ๐ž๐œ๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ก๐ข๐ฆ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ฒ ๐ก๐š๐ฏ๐ž ๐ง๐จ๐ญ ๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฐ๐ž๐ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ฆ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ž๐ซ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ข๐ซ ๐ก๐จ๐ฆ๐ž ๐›๐ฎ๐ญ ๐ฌ๐ž๐ง๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ฆ ๐š๐ฐ๐š๐ฒ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐ง๐จ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ง๐  ๐›๐ฎ๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฌ๐ก๐ข๐ซ๐ญ๐ฌ ๐จ๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ข๐ซ ๐›๐š๐œ๐ค๐ฌ.

The police and government told us to file a case against them. But we told them we had already forgiven the villagers and we are following Jesus’ teaching not to file any case against others but to try to solve it. We want peace and live with them in peace. The government officers are very astonished at our decision. But they threatened the villagers and leaders that if they do anything to us then they will take serious steps. Still, the police are giving us security, from Thursday a police van staying on our main road to protect us and stop the villagers from getting together again. As now is a voting season, they don’t want it to become national news.

๐’๐จ๐ฆ๐ž ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ญ๐ก๐จ๐ฌ๐ž ๐ฐ๐ก๐จ ๐ฆ๐ž๐ž๐ญ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐ฎ๐ฌ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐จ๐›๐ฌ๐ž๐ซ๐ฏ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐†๐จ๐โ€™๐ฌ ๐’๐š๐›๐›๐š๐ญ๐ก ๐š๐ง๐ ๐‡๐จ๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ƒ๐š๐ฒ๐ฌ ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐ง๐จ๐ญ ๐š๐›๐ฅ๐ž ๐ญ๐จ ๐ ๐จ ๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐ฐ๐จ๐ซ๐ค ๐š๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ข๐ฆ๐ž. ๐“๐ฐ๐จ ๐ฉ๐ซ๐จ๐ฌ๐ฉ๐ž๐œ๐ญ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž ๐ฆ๐ž๐ฆ๐›๐ž๐ซ๐ฌโ€™ ๐ก๐š๐ฏ๐ž ๐š ๐ ๐ซ๐จ๐œ๐ž๐ซ๐ฒ ๐ฌ๐ญ๐จ๐ซ๐ž ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ก๐š๐ฏ๐ž ๐ก๐š๐ ๐ญ๐จ ๐œ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฌ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ข๐ซ ๐๐จ๐จ๐ซ๐ฌ. The Hindu villagers said they will not buy from the Christian man’s shop and if they open it they will destroy it.โ€

In the near future Manik and fellow Christians hope to work with UCG Good Works program to drill a much needed well and open this to all nearby Hindu villagers. It is hoped this gesture will extend good will and be a positive step to peace.

Please pray for healing, peace, and God’s protection. This is a challenging time, and your prayers mean everything. Thank you for your love and concern!