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What Life is Like in Bangladesh Part 2

What my life is like in Bangladesh is in demand. Many of my online students are still in awe after hearing that we are missionaries here in Bangladesh, I am posting a few more photos I took around my husband’s village years ago. The following informative pictures should give many of you, my friends and relatives, an idea what it’s like to survive in a Bangladeshi village. 🙂

Brace yourself if you are not so used to facing culture shock. 🙂 Let our virtual journey begin!

  1. People in the villages still continue to cook using this clay stove.1915378_1288640821150_7725397_n
  2. Women cut/slice their meat and other raw ingredients using what they call “boti.” No, knives are not commonly used by Bangladeshi women in the villages. 🙂1915378_1288640861151_6672681_n
  3. Most families in the village own a man-made pond where they can grow their own fish.
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  4. While hollow blocks are commonly used in building houses and constructions in the Philippines, bricks are the ones favored by builders here in my adopted country.
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  5. In the villages of Bangladesh, rickshaws rarely exist. They have what they call “van” and it is the most common mode of transportation by village peopleIn the Philippines, if you hear the word “van”, you’ll think of a vehicle that can accommodate about 10 people.  Now, take a look at the big difference. 🙂

    Van in Bangladesh vs. Van in the Philippines.jpg

    I love taking Bangladeshi vans in the village though. 🙂 It allows you to view the beauty of the green meadows clothing the whole village.

  6. People mourn over their deceased loved ones in their homes and they don’t provide any coffin for them. The bereaved bury their loved ones’ corpses as they are beside their homes using clay soil.
    funeral-in-Bangladeshi-villages
  7. People still cross the river by wooden boats. In my experience, I remember Jesus and His disciples every time we cross the river by boats.
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  8. Most vendors in Bangladeshi markets are men. They have a very patriarchal society. Take note that men also buy groceries for their families. 1915378_1288658061581_7850140_n

Some people pity me upon hearing that as I live in Bangladesh, I have to go through a lot of adjustments. However, I consider it a privilege to be serving my husband in his home country so he can pursue the call God gave him–to win souls for Christ. To me, going through a culture shock is a cause of inconvenience, yes, but God is working in my heart. There’s a mission work in progress within me and even though I don’t realize what He wants me to do with the experience I have been having here in Bangladesh, my calling is to remain steadfast in my faith that He is doing something. His mission work through us and in us is ongoing.

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P.S. I stayed in the village for a year and that’s how I was able to learn to speak Bengali. A year later, I had to face another  acculturation when we moved to Dhaka. Hopefully, I can share with you a few photos I took around Dhaka so please stand by for the sequel of this post. 🙂

Also, I hope that this list would prepare you if you are considering to come over and visit us in the future. 🙂

 

 

 

 

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Christmas Giveaway

Year 2016 is almost over. Looking back at how year 2016 went for me makes me stand in awe of God’s goodness. I saw His daily grace and provision for my family, His deliverance in times of our adversities and forgiveness in our failures to please Him at times. The thought of God’s undeniable myriads of boons upon my family is entirely humbling.

The question I have been asking myself is, “What can I do to thank God in return?” The answer is nothing. And yet, I believe that the least I can do is use whatever time and talent He entrusted me to bless others (I hope…).

So to celebrate God’s kindness upon my family and me, I would like to share a Christmas giveaway to you who are interested. I am sharing these free-printable-spiritual-journal-pages. My desire is that these journal pages would motivate you to journal your lessons from your walk with God and develop your “gratitude-attitude” further in year 2017.

SUGGESTIONS: 

  1. Buy a 5×7 three-ring binder.
  2. Print one page of the first five pages.
  3. Print the page that looks like this 365 times. 😉

journal-entry-page

4. The “Random Thoughts” page is optional but it’s great for writers. 🙂
5. Another great idea would be to go to a printing shop and have them assemble your bound journal. 🙂

I wish I could do more but these will be all for now. Enjoy and have a Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas

Book Review: “Fan the Flame” by Joseph Stowell

Click the image for more info.

How are you doing as you walk the journey God has called you to pursue? Have you been weary? cold? just going through the ebbs and flows of life?

I found a very special book which is about as old as me. It was published in the year I was born.

I found this book quite engaging and indeed, soul-inspiring!
I got a copy of this book all because I tried to dig up some books to read from my father-in-law’s library.

One of the most interesting books I discovered was this one by Pastor Joseph Stowell called “Fan the Flame.”

I decided to write a review because it’s too stellar not to be shared about. I believe that this book will definitely ignite the fire in your heart toward God, which might have become cold because of too much familiarity with the Christian routine you have been doing.

I hope the following details will persuade you to get your personal copy or borrow the one I read.

1. Price on Amazon: It’s only $0.01. Isn’t that a great deal? It’s almost free! Click here to get your own.
2. Length: It’s only 138-page long. It should be a great read during your breaks in a day. 🙂 I read it during the holiday break. The point is whether you are busy or not-so-busy, you can afford to read a chapter or two in your spare time. It’s definite that you will find the words in this book truly encouraging!
3. Quality: It’s full of stupendous illustrations from the life of Pastor Joseph Stowell. It’s filled with encouragement from the Scriptures on how to keep your love for Christ alive. I assure you that you will have so much indelible takeaways from this book!
Here’s a sample for you:

What’s the latest book you have been reading aside from the Bible to help you to continue your spiritual journey? Let me know what that is in the comment box and I will try my best to get my own copy or borrow from one of my friends’ library when I can.

May God inspire you to remember your first love for Christ as you read this book. Keep moving as the Holy Spirit leads you. Have a wonderful journey! God loves you unconditionally.

Leaning on Jesus,

5 Life Lessons from Pain

The fact that I am able to write at the moment is a tremendous blessing! I had thought that I would never be able to pen my musings again.

In fact, holding a pen has never been this uncomfortable but I see this as a great privilege to trust God’s sufficient grace as I continue to be His mouthpiece in the form of writing.

As a writer, I couldn’t but reflect upon what I am going through (i.e. healing my injured thumb.) Different thoughts, both positive and negative, run through my mind at times.

I am definitely sure though that it is God’s will for me to saturate my mind with thoughts that are virtuous and praise-worthy (Phil. 4:8) and to remember that this trial of mine is meant to bring forth patience (James 1: 1-4).

Now, what are the other lessons that God is teaching me from this point of my journey?

5 life lessons from pain

 

  1. God has a purpose for this. (Romans 8:28)
    What is God’s purpose for allowing me to go through this pain? To be very honest, that’s beyond my understanding and I have to take this as from Him. I have to trust that He wants His glory out of this experience of mine.
  2. He uses pain to make me appreciate health.
  3. He is the source of health and recovery!

    “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.” Psalm 103:1-3

    If you are like me, going through a healing process, please remember that your other body parts are working normally. Praise God for that! 🙂 Also, remember that our full recuperation may take time but one thing is definite–it will happen in God’s time.

  4. He wants me to move on from this point of my journey continually relying on His might and keep on encouraging others to do the same. Just like a portion in a traditional marriage vow, I must continue to put my faith on my loving God “In sickness and in health.” 
  5. He uses this opportunity to open my eyes and let me see how many people from around the world sincerely care about and pray for me.

For that reason, let me take this opportunity to let you, my dear friends, know that your prayers are greatly appreciated. I have been able to work around my home and write again. My desire is that God will continue to bless you for your prayers for me. Thank you so much. In Bangla, we say, onek dhonno bad. 🙂Thank You!

What are the things that you have been going through at the moment? What are the life lessons you are learning from your spiritual quest? I hope and pray that the five life lessons I am learning from my journey at the moment will be a blessing to you as well.

Leaning on Jesus,

 

 

 

 

 

The Gift of Life

It’s my birthday today!

So my wonderful husband wanted to pretend that he forgot about my birthday until this sassy moppet of ours excitedly told me, while I was working on my lesson plan, that there's a

Midnight of May 13| So my wonderful husband wanted to pretend that he forgot about my birthday until this sassy moppet of ours excitedly told me, while I was working on my lesson plan, that there’s a “happy birthday cake” in the fridge. It was a few minutes before midnight, to be precise. I cannot but praise God for the gift of life!

I woke up to a morning birthday greeting and a kiss from my husband! My dear loving moppet also did her share and hugged me tight and gave me a bunch of kisses. I got both virtual and personal greetings from friends and relatives. I cannot but praise Him for the gift of life!

God, indeed, has been making me feel loved through my family since the day I was born until now. I am in awe of His faithfulness and goodness despite of my unworthiness to receive any of His blessings. I cannot but praise Him for the gift of life!

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Our small Bible College threw a short yet surprise birthday party for me. I cannot but praise Him for the gift of life!

He has planned from the beginning that He would like me to see this physical world and eventually know Him not only as the Creator of this world but most especially, as my personal God. Since then, I learned and am still learning to live life according to His Word. I cannot but praise Him for the gift of life!

Today, all I want to do is rededicate my life and my all unto the glory of His name, since I cannot but praise Him for the gift of life.

What Life is Like in Bangladesh Part 1

“Are you really in Bangladesh now?!?”

“What are you doing there? What is life like over there?”

I know. It’s a little fascinating at times that most of the new people I meet always get shocked, or I should say, excited when I tell them that I am living in Bangladesh! I really would love to give them a detailed answer but normally, we just have a limited time so I can’t really elaborate my answer.

Considering the aforementioned situation, I had a meeting with me, myself and I in the conference room of my brain and I concluded that it would be interesting to write out my answers so I can also give a much better thoughtful response using a good chunk of time.

Now, it’s finally here. The answer to the top FAQs of every person I meet the first time, after mentioning that I live here in Bangladesh, a beautiful green pasture. Green Bangladesh “Wait, did you say ‘Green Pasture?!?'”

Yes, you heard it right. Bangladesh is literally covered with green meadows especially in the rural areas, but this isn’t what the world considers to be a so-called “greener pasture.”

Alright, enough beating around the bush since I don’t want to make you wait too long. 🙂

1. Why do you live in Bangladesh?

This is the top question I am asked in any first time conversation. Well, I came here first of all because my husband is a local of this country and I am here to support him in his desire to do his share in penetrating this nation with the seed of the gospel. That was the theme of our sacred union anyway–to join as lights together for Christ. 

2. What’s the general flavor of Bangladeshi food?

Bangladeshi food is generally hot and spicy. The main spices present in every dish here are onions, garlic, plain cumin powder, plain turmeric powder, plain chili powder. bay leaves and garam masala, a fragrant blend of ground spices used in Indian cuisine, often containing black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, nutmeg, and turmeric.

I have learned to cook local Bangladeshi dishes and they are pretty simple and easy.

Watch out for some recipes I would share with you in the future.

Now, I have to debunk the myth that Bangladeshis, just like Indians, eat just chicken curry everyday. I would say that it might be true for other families but not for ours and the other Bangladeshi families I know.

We have what we call “Daal” or Lentil soup, “Shak” or sautéed greens, “Alu Vorta” or mashed potatoes, “Daal Vorta” or mashed lentils and many more for lunch and dinner.

Bangladeshi Food

upper left: Fish Curry; upper right: alu vorta (mashed potato with fried onions and mustard oil) lower left: crab curry; lower right: sautéed water spinach (kangkong)

Daal Vorta

Daal Vorta–mashed lentils in mustard oil and chopped onions

normal Bangladeshi combo meal

Here’s a typical Bangladeshi set of meal: chicken curry and shak (any vegetable tops). Chicken curry can be replaced with fish, shrimp, crab or assorted veggie curry.

Fried eggs and boiled fish with greens. See? These dishes don't have so much spices.

Fried eggs, boiled tomatoes and boiled fish with greens. See? These dishes don’t have so much spices.

In our family, we usually prepare Biryani (see photo below) and fried aubergine when we have guests at lunch or dinner. If we serve Pulao rice, we pair it with chicken or beef curry.

biryani

Yummy Biryani-a mixture of steamed aromatic rice, meat, spices , potatoes and other optional vegetables.

I hope I didn’t make you drool by showing these mouthwatering dishes. Please come and visit us sometimes and I’ll be more than willing to cook these dishes for you.

3. Describe Bangladeshi people.
Bangladeshis are beautiful people in and out if you get to know them deeply.

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These are friendly college girls I met years ago in the village and I praise God for the privilege to share the gospel with them. They were quite receptive to the gospel. They did not outwardly profess faith in Jesus Christ right there and then, but I was thrilled to hear them ask questions about God.

Generally, their generosity is displayed when someone visits their house. They wouldn’t come to your house empty-handed. If you invite them for lunch or dinner, they will give your household some sweets in return.

Bangladeshi sweets come in different shapes and colors. They also have varied flavor but the main ingredients of these sweets are milk and sugar.

Bangladeshi sweets come in different shapes and colors. They also have varied flavors but the main ingredients of these sweets are milk and sugar.

They are also very hospitable. Take a look at the caption of the photo. While coffee is popular in the US or in the Philippines, tea is the common drink served to their guests.

Bangladeshis are so hospitable that they offer and serve whatever they can despite their poverty. Sometimes, that's all they have.

Bangladeshis are so hospitable that they serve whatever they can despite their poverty.

People here are creative. Their love for arts is depicted in their folk dances, music and clothing. (I’ll talk about clothing later.)

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Part of any program intermission is either a folk song or any traditional dance number.

4. What’s the primary religion of people over there?

Approximately ninety percent of the people here are Muslims, most of them though are just nominal ones. In the village where I stayed, people are mostly Hindus. It is said that around 8-9% of her population is Hindu. Only a little percentage of people are Christians, Buddhists and of other religion. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I learned later that you can tell a person’s religion in this country by his or her name. No wonder my husband’s name has a Christian influence.

It’s our earnest prayer that we could reach a few of these unsaved souls with the gospel.

Alright, I guess these would be all for now since I know that you might need to run an errand after reading this but please consider praying for us as we continue to stay here and shine as lights together for Christ.

Watch out for the next part of this post.

With love,
Nance

My Intercultural-Wedding Story: Joining as Lights Together for Christ

My wedding story….

God is the best love story Author. Don’t you think so? 🙂 I just want to share how He wrote ours.

“In God’s perfect time, He planned to make our (Joseph’s and mine) paths cross,

In His wisdom, He planted the seed of love in our hearts,

And in His kindness, He nurtured and allowed it to grow to have His perfect will done in our lives.”

He led us to the verses below while my husband and I were starting our relationship over again after a lot of maturing in the process and until the time we have decided to tie the knot with the blessing of our parents and spiritual leaders.

1 JOHN 4:18  There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.

ECCLESIASTES 8:7  Many waters cannot quench love, Nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love All the wealth of his house, It would be utterly despised.

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|Our wedding ceremony on April 9, 2011 in Bethany Bible Believers’ Church|

We ended up with a theme “Joining as lights together for Christ.”

After much prayers and a year-long preparation for our wedding, God made our wedding not only beautiful to the eyes of people but pleasant in His sight. I must believe that it was His work!

I am persuaded that every love story is beautiful and here is the version of ours. 🙂

Kindly click on the link to inspire you as you prepare for your wedding as well. 😉 God bless you as you prepare.