Letter from Cindy and Les Morgan in Bangladesh
September 19, 2009
The inner task of evangelism
Last week Cindy and I returned to Bangladesh. We had suddenly departed from here two years ago upon learning of our son Everett’s cancer diagnosis. In the United States, we cared for him throughout his treatment and were by his side when he died last December.
Resuming missionary service has not been easy because we are still grieving for our son. We wonder how this deep wound will affect our ability to proclaim the gospel in Bangladesh. Our plan is to continue our work with the Church of Bangladesh, a small denomination of eighty congregations in a country with the fourth-largest Muslim population in the world. The church has asked us to help improve the outreach of its 14 medical clinics, most of which are associated with rural parishes of the church. We will also minister to slum-dwellers in Dhaka, the capital. We will travel by train, boat, bus, taxi, and rickshaw, as well as by foot, and at each destination a church congregation will host us.
Our principal responsibility is to help develop and carry out a healing ministry that proclaims the gospel of Jesus Christ. Most of our patients will be Muslim, and we will visit many in their homes, often at their bedsides. Caring for the sick is a good way to get to know the needs of a community, and we will help each of the clinics address the particular needs in its area. So where malaria is prevalent, we will focus on improving the clinic’s malaria treatment and preventive services. Where antenatal care is lacking, we will help figure out ways pregnant mothers can get the check-ups they need. The clinics can also serve to link the community with other health care resources in the area. Of course, many patients will have needs that are not addressed by any particular program, so it is important for us to be prepared to care for them personally as best we can. We may find ourselves sitting at the bedside of a paralyzed widower, squatting in a dirt-floored kitchen with a young mother hurting from rheumatoid arthritis, or holding a severely malnourished child. We pray that God will use the pain we have felt in the loss of our own son to make us more sensitive to the suffering of others and better able to proclaim the goodness and love of the One who suffers with us.
Such a proclamation emanates only from work we must do within our own selves. For the evangelical task is, essentially, an inner one, the work of believing, whereby we allow the crucified Christ to become, through our own deepest wounds, the bread of life for others.
As Cindy and I struggle to apply ourselves once again to mission service in Bangladesh, we remember with gratitude your faith, which encourages us in the work God has called us to do. We look forward to letting you know how it all goes.