For some of TWR’s faithful listeners in Bangladesh, coronavirus lockdowns resulted in more than anxiety about the disease, disruption of daily life or even possible job loss. The lockdowns in this country of more than 160 million people made it hard for many families to get enough to eat.
The TWR Bangladesh team began hearing from leaders of radio home groups that their members, most of whom already struggle to make ends meet, were having a hard time providing three meals a day. Echoing others, one member told TWR, “Some days we have food, and some days we do not have any food.”
Similar to Bible-study groups or small house churches, radio home groups (RHGs) bring neighbors together to learn about God’s Word from TWR-furnished digital audio players. RHGs were developed and deployed by TWR India, and this effective method of biblical instruction has also been implemented across Bangladesh, which is cited on the Open Doors World Watch List for high levels of persecution against Christians.
TWR is a media ministry and not a relief organization, of course, but the local team prayed and committed themselves to helping people they minister to in any way possible. The local staff consulted with RHG leaders and area pastors to identify the most vulnerable families and then bought groceries and distributed them during April and May, the heart of the lockdown.
“We had rice in our house to last for only four days, and we would eat rice once a day due to the shortage of food,” one RHG member told TWR. “In the meantime, TWR Bangladesh came and stood by our side. They have helped us a lot and gave us almost everything we needed.”
Another wrote, “I am a day laborer and live from hand-to mouth. … I lost my daily income and did not have enough food for myself or my family. But I did not lose my belief in God, and by his grace, TWR Bangladesh surprised me with a food package.”
The bags of groceries, which included rice, lentils, oil, potatoes, flour and other items, were given to 709 families comprising over 3,300 individuals.
Generosity Generates Generosity
The blessings didn’t stop there. Even “the least of these,” as Jesus called them in Matthew, chose to be generous. Pastor Lucas,* who was helping TWR Bangladesh with the outreach, distributed bags to several RHG members and later was approached by 13 women who were not members but needed food. Pastor Lucas had to tell them the supplies were all gone.
Hearing that these needy women had been turned away, the RHG members who had just received small bags of essentials for their own households gave whatever money they could scrape together to Pastor Lucas. When he purchased more food and called the 13 ladies to come back, they brought another 12 women with them.
“Although though those packets were very small, we were encouraged that our radio home group leaders and members took the initiative to share their blessing with others,” TWR Bangladesh’s report about the initiative concluded.
* A pseudonym used for security reasons.