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IMPRESSIONS, THOUGHTS & SUGGESTIONS BANGLADESH MISSIONS ASSOCIATION

HISTORY & BACKGROUND
Rev. Edward Ayub was invited by AMA leaders to attend the 11thTriennial Convention of the Asia Missions Association (AMA) held in South Korea in 2013. Due to his trip to the USA, he could not attend. Dr. Timothy Kiho Park, the Head Chairman of AMA and Dr. Steve Eom, the General Secretary of AMA visited Bangladesh on November 11-13, 2015 to invite two of Bangladesh Christian leaders to the 12th Triennial Convention in Manila from April 18-22, 2016. Bishop Philip Adhikary and Rev. Edward Ayub were invited as speakers. Mr. Shankar Shikdar has also been invited through e-mail communication. Suddenly Bishop Philip Adhikary could not make it but 2 others attended the Convention in his place.
Rev. Ayub was invited to present a paper on “A Critique to the Missiology Based on Common Grounds between Christianity and Islam.” He also served as one of the seven committee members for drafting the declaration of the AMA Manila Convention. During the convention, he was elected as one of the members of AMA Executive Committee and as South Asia Coordinator for the next 3 years.
Connection: This is to mention that Dr. Timothy Kiho Park was the President and professor of Presbyterian Theological Seminary in the Philippines when Rev. Ayub was taking his Masters of Divinity degree program from 1993-1995 at PTS. Dr. Park has later joined Fuller Theological Seminary to serve as Professor of Asian Mission. He has also been serving as the President of East-West Center for Missions Research and Development (EWCmrd). Dr. Eom serves EWCmrd as Gen. Secretary. Dr. Park and Rev. Ayub did not have any communication for a long time. But Dr. Park shared that he searched for Rev. Ayub through Google and found his e-mail contact address and invited him to get involved in AMA ministry representing Bangladesh. AMA met Dr. James Tejosh Das of Dhaka University to consult about the missionary movement of the Bangladesh church during their Bangladesh visit. This re-connection resulted to Bishop Philip Adhikary and Rev. Ayub were invited to attend the AMA Manila ‘2016.

The AMA & BMA
In 1971, Dr. David J. Cho, the founder of AMA, made several trips to various Asian countries, discussing the possibility of calling an All-Asia Missions Consultation. This proposal was warmly received and the Consultation was held in Seoul, Korea in August 1973. As a result of the Consultation, the Asia Missions Association was formed in August 1975. It’s consisted by 14 Asian nations, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Brunei, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.[1]
According to the history of AMA, “Rev. Subhas Sangma from Bangladesh was invited to the All-Asia Mission Consultation in 1973. He was the Secretary of the National Council of Churches at that time and was invited as a representative from Bangladesh because there is no mission organization there at that time. He presented the ‘National Report’ at the All-Asia Mission Consultation in 1973. He attended again the Inaugural Convention of AMA in 1975 and became one of the Board of Directors of AMA. We can see from the Official Report of the Inaugural Convention of AMA that he was actively involved in discussion on the future plans of AMA. As AMA encouraged other nations, his country, Bangladesh, was also encouraged to form the national missions association and AMA officers promised to help on that matter.”
Bangladesh church was one of the 14 founding members of AMA. Rev. Subhash Sangma, the then President of Garo Baptist Convention and a respected leader of Bangladesh Church,[2] was the representative of Bangladesh church. So we feel that the legacy he left should be carried by our generation as Dr. David J. Cho did. Dr. Timothy K. Park visited Bangladesh once again on July 21-30, 2016 to teach at the Center for Religious Studies of Presbyterian Church of Bangladesh. During his visit, he met Mr. Shankar, Rev. Ayub and some Korean missionaries in Bangladesh to consult how to facilitate the missionary movement of the Bangladesh church. Through his second visit, the vision of AMA has become more convincing and a growing interest for BMA has merged.
AMA has challenged Mr. Shankar and Rev. Ayub to seriously consider the forming of Bangladesh Mission Association with the purpose to send cross-cultural missionaries to other parts of the world for the implementation of the Great Commission. The burden for fulfilling the Great Commission in Matthew 28: 18-20 has moved their hearts. They have started to realize that the Bangladesh Church must start sending missionaries into foreign land. For this, there should be some wing for:

  • Challenging the Bangladesh Church towards sending missionaries to foreign mission.
  • Equipping missionaries – short term and long-term.
  • Sending them through church and missions.
  • Networking with other international mission agencies for the mission development and partnership ministry.

When these are in clearer perspective, they were moved to involve other mission-minded evangelical leaders of the Bangladesh Church to widen the national network for the said mission goals. This has also been understood that some platform like Bangladesh Mission Association (BMA) should evolve – not by one or two individuals but with a collective effort. This venue must not or should not be a competing one with NCC and NCFB. BMA would only work with the agenda for mission through the Bangladesh Church.
The first set of five persons who started to pray for such an initiative are:

REV. LEOR P. SARKER
General Secretary, Bangladesh Baptist Church Fellowship
Brief Bio and Ministry Involvement: Rev. Leor has been serving a church planting denomination named Bangladesh Baptist Church Fellowship for a long time. He has also been serving national and international bodies and is now considered as one of the key leaders of Bangladesh Church.
During the meeting among Rev. Leor, Mr. Shankar and Rev. Ayub, we discovered that Rev. Leor is already involved in missions. Some of his dreams he shared are to send missionaries among the Bengali Diasporas in Lebanon and other parts of the world, and sending short-term missionaries for experience. He already challenged some missions-minded individuals to going abroad for mission work. To carry out his missionary sending dream through BMA Rev. Leor P. Sarker conveyed his responsibility to Mr. Naba Kumar Das, Program Manager of BME, so that he could represent on behalf of BBCF.

PASTOR NABA KUMAR DAS
Program Manager of the Board of Mission & Evangelism (BME), BBCF
Brief Bio and Ministry Involvement: Mr. Naba Kumar Das is currently serving as the Program Manager of Mission & Evangelism (BME), BBCF. During his tenure from 2009 to 2012, he was the secretary at the BBCF affiliated church, the Jhenaidah District Church Fellowship. Later BBCF sent him to the Philippines along with his family for 3 years to study theology (M. Div.) in Baguio City. After the successful completion of his M. Div. degree, he returned to Bangladesh in 2015. Since then BBCF appointed him as the Program Manager of the Board of Mission & Evangelism (BME). He has the passion for ministry to move forward in Bangladesh and other parts of the world with a view to lead evangelists, and pastors through BBCF churches in Bangladesh. Being a part of BBCF he has the opportunity to encourage sending missionaries to other parts of the world. BMA is blessed with his involvement towards the great commission of Christ. He has a strong desire to study abroad for a doctoral degree in the near future and to serve for His Kingdom.

REV. SETU MUNSHI
Pastor, Assemblies of God Church
Brief Bio and Ministry Involvement: Rev. Setu was pastoring the central church in Dhaka with Assemblies of God Church for more than 20 years. He recently resigned from his pastoral work last August 2016 and now aiming for a work in mission. He believes he is called for Christian works. Rev. Setu is dedicated to preaching the gospel; he is even ready to serve as a missionary among Bangladesh Diaspora population in the foreign land especially in Malaysia, the land where he studied Theology.
The family of Rev. Setu is considered as the main resource for AG Church formation and growth. Most of his family members are engaged with ministry works in different capacities.

MS. SUKLA SANGMA
Former President of Garo Baptist Mohila Central Committee & the daughter of Rev. Subash Sangma (former President of GBC).
Brief Bio and Ministry Involvement: She has a long professional experience with World Vision Bangladesh as a Translator Analyst; HEED Bangladesh as Leadership Development Officer, Women in Development Manager; World Concern as WSBAC Manager, HRD and Program Coordinator and since 2012 she has been involved with the Leprosy Mission International Bangladesh as Human Resources Manager. Being a HR Manager she attended different workshops on HR, Finance and IT at home and abroad. During university life she was a regular member of endeavor society of GBC and took part in seminars, rally, mission activities and Bible camps. As a professional, she was mostly invited as speaker on different Mohila camps, seminars and workshops of GBC.
She has a heart for the women of Garo Baptist Convention who are living traditional lives working in different beauty parlors, work as maid servants at different houses in Dhaka city and girls seeking higher education.

MR. SHANKAR SHIKDAR
Member of the District Advisory Board (DAB), Church of the Nazarene Int’l & Former General Secretary, Bangladesh Nazarene Mission.
Brief Bio and Ministry Involvement: Mr. Shankar and Rev. Ayub have come to know one another during their participation at the AMA Convention in Manila, 2016. Mr. Shankar and his wife have been successfully leading a school ministry in Dhaka. This shows that Mr. Shankar is a strong administrator since he had the privilege to serve in diverse fields. He started his career as a Lecturer in English in a Muslim fundamental institution. Subsequently he worked with Bangladesh Football Federation as the first Executive Secretary appointed by Asian Football Confederation –AFC in favor of the FIFA Goal Development Project, then Director – International Affairs at Christian Service Society (CSS) and finally as Director – Administration at Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), the leading human rights and legal aid services organization in Bangladesh. He also served as honorary General Secretary of the Executive Board of Bangladesh Nazarene Mission (BNM) and continuing as a member of the District Advisory Board (DAB) of Church of the Nazarene int’l. Mr. Shankar has shown his heart for mission. BMA would be blessed if his gift in leadership is used.

REV. EDWARD AYUB
Chairman, Presbyterian Church of Bangladesh
Brief Bio and Ministry Involvement: Rev. Ayub has served in different responsibilities through Christian Life Bangladesh [CCCI], as Dean of Students with Bangladesh Reformed Theological Seminary, as Acting Director for Bangladesh Reformed Presbyterian Church, as Dean of Students and Business Manager with Gloria Theological Seminary, served also as Director with Shikkha Kalyan Trust [a project of SIM], then as founding General Secretary of Isai Fellowship in Bangladesh, then first founding Country Manager of Light Foundation, and now as Founding Executive Chairman of Presbyterian Church of Bangladesh. He is involved to reach the Muslims with the Gospel and plant churches among the Muslim Background Christians. Some of his writings are being used by Bangladesh Church for sharing the Gospel with the Muslims.
Mission is in his heart. He believes that Bangladesh Church should send her people to the foreign mission field and this is very much possible. But the church now should be taught and challenged.

ENDNOTES


[1] Taken from PARTNERSHIP IN KINGDOM MINISTRY by Timothy Kiho Park, Ph.D.
[2] The intended meaning of “Bangladesh Church” is the whole body of Jesus Christ in Bangladesh covering all churches/denominations.

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Mr. Shankar Shikdar has a post graduate degree in English Literature from Chittagong University. He has 15 years experience in the field of teaching, training, communication, administration, event management, community development, business development, international relation and human rights activities. He and his wife Lusia are the founders of a Christian school William Shakespeare Academy in Dhaka.

Rev. Edward Ayub is a Presbyterian minister in Bangladesh. He is the moderator of Presbyterian Church of Bangladesh. He is one of the five initiator of Bangladesh Missions Association.


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