'Why did you help me?'

written by Ellyn Schellenberg

“Many people [here] are day labourers, poor people, and they do not have work because of the COVID-19 lockdown," Farhan* an OM worker in Bangladesh shared. "After I saw the needs of the people, I came home, and I talked with my father and we decided to help a few families. So we bought some food and some other things and we helped 10 families.”

Aside from wrestling with the COVID-19 pandemic, Bangladesh also experienced horrendous flooding in July that impacted some 3.3 million people according to UN sources. While flooding in this region is not uncommon, the disaster response efforts were complicated by the ongoing pandemic which has forced much of the country into lockdown. With few resources and tools available, the past few months have left millions in precarious situations.

The OM team found ways to distribute food and other supplies, raise awareness of safety measures related to the new coronavirus and share openly about Christ with their Muslim neighbours in four parts of the country where they have existing work, including among Rohingya refugees. Food packages made up of rice, lentils and basic vegetables, and other items such as face masks and soap can mean the difference between life and death for these families.

During one package distribution Farhan met Muhammad. A few days later, Muhammad came to the OM worker’s home to ask him: “Why did you help me? Because no one was helping us when we didn't have food at home. So why are you?” Farhan shared about Jesus and invited Muhammad to join a Bible fellowship group at his home later. Muhammad brought his young daughter to the first meeting, and then began attending regularly. Now, he has decided to follow Jesus. “This is the beautiful story we have,” Farhan shared. “People need food, but they also need hope.”

Another woman that Farhan’s team met was Ayesha, a 75-year-old woman who was sleeping in her house when the floodwaters came. She lost everything and had been sleeping for two weeks on the side of the road, higher up from her village. “She had been begging from her neighbours, but they also did not have any food for their own families. So many people have the same story here. So please, pray for the people who need help,” Farhan asked.

Ayesha and about 1,000 other families have, to date, received food packages that cost $23 USD and provide enough food for a family to eat for two weeks. Please partner with us in meeting the practical needs of those in critical situations and sharing with them that they are loved.

*name changed

Bangladesh: In the midst of COVID-19 and flooding, OM has been distributing food and non-food items to families in need across four areas in Bangladesh.

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