Four years ago I visited the country of Bangladesh. While I had been to several countries, it was my first encounter with South Asia. The sights, sounds and smells are something I can recall quickly. The crowds of people (Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries on earth), the trash on the streets, the rickshaws, CNG vehicles and pedestrians make it almost impossible to get across the streets of Dhaka. The call to prayer was a constant reminder that the god they served was not the one, true God.
But one of my favorite memories was standing in a poverty-stricken area of the city waiting on some of our team. As usual, children made their way to me–partly because I looked so different and partly because they hoped I would give them something. A sweet young girl around 8 years old got my attention. There was no interpreter around and we had no way of verbally communicating. Oh how I wanted to tell her Jesus loved her! So I did what came naturally. I started singing a simple song about Jesus. As she watched and listened, she started repeating the words back to me! She had no idea what she was singing, but I knew she was singing the precious name of Jesus over and over again.
To me, it was part of the girl effect. Because right now there are more than 50 million girls living in poverty around the world. Girls, who without the opportunity for education, will most likely continue in a cycle of poverty and be exposed to prostitution and disease.
While this one young girl faced life in poverty, there were also glimpses of hope in Dhaka. I visited a girl’s school where they were learning all kinds of things, including reading, cooking, sewing and childcare. The principal took me for a tour and I even brought home a vase that one of the students had made. These girls have the opportunity for a future. But even in the midst of this hope, many of them may never hear of Christ.
I’m thankful for workers in this country who are boldly proclaiming the Gospel. House churches continue to expand and people are coming to the Lord. Will you pray for this kind of girl effect to continue around the world?