The ELCA’s accompaniment in Bangladesh

Posted on February 17, 2015 by Global Mission Support

Chandran Paul Martin

blood bank-Bangladesh_2-17-15
Government officials help open a blood bank in southern Bangladesh.

Chandran Paul Martin is the ELCA regional representative for health care, development and disaster response in Bangladesh and throughout Asia and the Pacific. To support Chandran, click here. To support another of the ELCA’s more than 240 missionaries in the global church, click here.

The year 2014 was very eventful. Several companion churches and partners were visited. Toward the last quarter, I visited our partners in Bangladesh. The Rangpur Dinajpur Rural Service had its biannual partners consultation in Rangpur. The ELCA also accompanies the Light for Life Rehabilitation Center for the Visually Disabled. The center currently has 45 students (22 male, 23 female) registered. The project caters to visually disabled students who undergo literacy programs from primary grades to college. Some of the students have received the Bangladesh State Award in recognition of their excellence in studies, and two former students are completing their post-graduate studies in the city of Dhaka.

The Rangpur Dinajpur Rural Service continues to be engaged in the areas of civil empowerment, quality of life, food, environment and disaster, research communication and advocacy, and micro finance. The ELCA accompanies the service by supporting its core activities in addition to supporting the Light for Life Center.

I also visited the Lutheran Health Care Bangaladesh’s Health and Healing Ministries in Dumki, a village in southern Bangladesh. The health center is a 40-bed hospital providing primarily obstetrics and gynecological services to women predominantly from the Islamic community. It has been providing services for several decades. The hospital also manages three mobile clinics in very remote parts of the districts. A blood bank was inaugurated in the hospital to serve these communities, and this has also been supported by the local district departments. The hospital is looking to improve its services with a 20-point program. The ELCA continues to accompany and support the work of the hospital through Lutheran Health Care Bangladesh – USA.

Vellipalayam Jubilee project
2015 has already begun with a visit in January to the Vellipalayam Jubilee Village, along with the Rev. Y. Franklin Ishida, ELCA area program director for Asia. This visit was also very special because it was the 10th anniversary of the 2004 tsunami. The ELCA has been accompanying the Vellipalayam communities since 2004 and currently has been supporting a micro finance project, working through seven self-help groups. Five of these groups are headed by women, and men’s groups have been supported by the women’s groups. We also attended the biannual meeting of the United Evangelical Lutheran Churches in India, a key partner of the ELCA.

ELCA joins hands with Madhya Pradesh church
ELCA Global Mission has recently signed an agreement with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Madhya Pradesh. The Rev. Ishida and myself met with church’s synod. On this occasion, a special ordination service was also conducted. The church’s bishop, Emmanuel Panchoo, also announced the good news that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Madhya Pradesh would ordain women in 2015. This information was received with celebration.