What is a missionary? How does one become a missionary and what do they do? People attending church service at the First Baptist Church of Cypress got answers to these questions. Two missionaries from Bangladesh arrived on Friday and gave a presentation that included a slideshow to church members on Sunday, September 19th. A missionary is defined as a person called by God to cross cultural or linguistic barriers to spread the gospel. Missionaries work through sending organizations. Through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering campaign, Southern Baptist Churches (including First Baptist Church of Cypress) support thousands of missionaries worldwide.
In 2013 two missionaries traveled to a city called Chittagong, which is a large port city on the southeastern coast of Bangladesh. Chittagong is about 65 square miles and has a population of 51,000 people per square mile. Fast food franchises are slow in coming, but there is now a KFC and a Pizza Hut in town. Bangladesh is about 86% Muslim, followed mostly by Hindu and a small portion of Christians.
One of the missionaries said that the best way to get around town is to ride a motorcycle. Most of the time the streets are full of traffic, so motorcyclists ride on sidewalks, circle around traffic and sometimes even ignore stop signs.
Working at the Light of Hope Learning Center, the second missionary described the purpose and goal of the Center. This Center provides showers, clothing, and nourishing food, along with job skills training for girls. Bangladesh parents of girls 14 years of age will usually marry them off to perhaps a Hindu or Muslim man. Girls at the Center are trained in the operation of embroidering and sewing machines. Using colorful fabrics, girls exhibit their creative talents by providing handmade items such as small totes, small handbags, jewelry cases, pillow covers, and coasters. These girls receive $80 to $110 a month which goes to feed their immediate family. They also get full medical and dental services. Families have come to realize that the training the girls receive at the Center helps a family to survive. Approximately 84 percent of the populace live on less than $2 per day.
Several church members purchased handmade items that were on display.