Workers —

Serving the Sanamahists

Reaching the Meitei people for Christ.

Bangladesh is a relatively young nation, having gained independence from Pakistan only 50 years ago. Its capital, Dhaka, is one of the world’s most populated cities with over 20 million residents and an estimated 2000 people moving to the city each day.

Of Bangladesh’s 170 million strong population, 99% are considered unreached. Christianity is a tiny minority here. In some ways this is surprising, churches in Bangladesh are typically allowed to operate with relative freedom; holding services, times of prayer and serving communities. 

The challenge to the gospel in Bangladesh is the stronghold that other faiths have in the nation. Over 90% of the nation’s population is Muslim along with a significant minority of Hindus and other tribal faiths. Converts to Christianity are commonly subjected to severe persecution.

idol worship
idol worship

Despite this challenge in Bangladesh, God is working here. Recently, we received a report from an evangelist named Monsang among the Meitei people. This is an unreached people group largely found in India but with around 30,000 people in Bangladesh. 

The Meitei follow an ancient religion called Sanamahism which is a polytheistic faith involving spirit worship, shamanism and construction of shrines. The first mention of the faith that has been discovered dates back to the first century, but is regarded originating several centuries earlier. The Meitei worshipped the gods of Sanamahism until the 1700s, when an influx of Hindus brought their faith to the Meitei. A recent effort however, has seen a small revival of Sanamahism.

Monsang shares that the Meitei have shrines in every corner of their homes and regularly worship spirits. Today, the practises of Sanamahism are mixed up with those of Hinduism. Monsang comes from the Meitei people himself, and so is well–equipped to communicate the gospel into this complex religious context. 

Monsang visits as many Meitei villages as he can, often bringing food or other necessities to help create connections with those he meets. Recently, a couple of villages were preparing for a period of combat training. Monsang managed to secure a welcome in the villages because of the supplies he was able to offer. During his time in the villages, he visited 30 different homes and shared Christ whenever he could. Over 100 of the Meitei heard the gospel for the first time through Monsang’s witness and amazingly, 16 came to faith in Christ! Monsang is beginning to disciple them and soon they will be baptised.

Pray for this work among the Meitei people in Bangladesh. Pray that many would see the emptiness of the Sanamahist religion and turn to Christ. Pray for more opportunities for Monsang to share the gospel and for these new converts to be shielded from persecution as they mature in their faith.

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