John N. Biswas uses the following testimonial in a printed tract he uses in evangelistic efforts in Bangladesh.
On March 22, 1971, the front page of every newspaper in Bangladesh published a statement from its nationalist leader to the Bengali people stating, “This struggle of ours is for the complete freedom for the…people of Bangladesh…. We must be ready for any sacrifice in order to achieve our goal.”
The Pakistani army opposed the independence of Bangladesh. At midnight, March 25, 1971, the Pakistani army began killing and terrorizing Bengalis. Seeing hundreds of people killed and many mass graves, I escaped from my college in Dhaka (capital of Bangladesh) and joined Muktibahini, the Bangladesh Liberation Force.
One awful night I joined 200 other young men on a two-week, 220-mile walk barefooted along the rough and muddy roads to India to train to fight for our homeland. This treacherous journey was filled with calamity and death. Several people died from lack of food, medical needs and severe exhaustion. It was a painful journey.
My first real inkling that God was calling me occurred during one of those perilous nights while trying to rest on the steps of a church. A missionary there invited me in, gave me a glass of water and showed interest in my troubled fate. He understood my apprehension to defend our country. He gently spoke about a great Defender, Jesus, who shed his blood for my sins. The missionary’s story sounded like a fairy tale, but the Lord planted a seed in my heart. Afterward I went to Spicer College in India to study the Bible. There I placed my faith fully in Christ and trained as a soldier for Jesus.
The Bengali people suffered nine months of looting, rape and slaughter by the Pakistani army. Ten million people fled to refugee camps in India and three million were slaughtered—young and old, men, women and children. However, by God’s grace the Pakistani army was defeated, surrendering to the valiant freedom fighters of the Land of Bengali— Bangladesh—Dec. 16, 1971.
Feeling fortunate to have survived the civil war, I believed God had spared me for a particular purpose. After completing my college studies at Dhaka University in Bangladesh, I decided to pursue higher knowledge at Far Eastern Theological Seminary in the Philippines and at Andrews University in Michigan in the United States.
At first, I wanted to be a rich lawyer, live in a big house and do great things. However, I got my degree in religion. God had other plans. I eventually returned to my home village and organized the native gospel mission now known as the Bengali Evangelical Association (BEA).
Why would anyone choose to follow Jesus? Because of his love, Jesus had respect for all people, especially the ordinary ones, the ones oppressed, whom other people look down upon. The prostitutes found refuge and forgiveness, not condemnation in him. He touched lepers, cast out demons, cared for children, esteemed women and foreigners.
Jesus was compassionate, and it cost him his life. God has come to us in Christ, offering us friendship, joy, hope, courage, doing good rather than evil, forgiveness rather than violence, renewal and more. The resurrection of Jesus is the main message for Christians to share with others. Jesus gave his life for a reason to pay the price to rescue us.
Jesus’ death shows the depth of God’s love for us. People should know that God loves them truly, and “that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Christianity teaches that eternal life is possible through faith in Christ. In Christ there is nothing to lose but rather everything to gain.
For some people, this makes tremendous sense, and they desire to follow Christ as their Savior. Jesus assures his followers that sacrificing for his sake will be repaid many times over in this life—Mark 10:29-30. People around the world have accepted his call and become his disciples. His word changed my life and it can change others.
I chose to invest my Christian education as a servant and an ambassador for Christ. Today I am not a lawyer but a fellow defender of the poor and follower of Jesus. He commands his followers to love one another. Jesus also told his disciples to preach the gospel.
Along with other native missionaries, we are now preaching God’s love in the remote villages of Bangladesh, distributing gospel tracts and Bibles, extending emergency relief, running elementary schools, providing medical support to the rural destitute, baptizing new believers and establishing churches.
We desire to reach the entire rural population of the 68,000 villages of Bangladesh, sharing the salvation story of a great Savior who is calling us to follow him. Jesus said, “Come, follow me” (Matthew 4:19).