Most people say the top export from Bangladesh is its people. Bangladesh is a predominantly Muslim country located next to India. It has half the population of the United States but in a land the size of Arkansas. As a result of overcrowding, many Bangladeshis dream of leaving their country in hope of a better life. Over 230,000 Bangladeshi Muslims have found their way to North America. Joshua Project considers Bangladeshi Muslims to be the largest unreached people group in the world. In North America, the largest populations are in New York, Toronto, Detroit, Washington D.C., and Houston. Some Bangladeshi families thrive and integrate into American society, but most remain in a social cultural bubble among their own people.
One story of Bangladeshis in Houston:
Salman and Shaheen are a typical Bangladeshi Muslim family. They came with their son to the U.S. through an invitation from a relative. Coming with little skills or English, they relied on their teenage son’s ability to translate everything for them.
Arriving in Houston, Shaheen labored in a predominately South Asian factory and walked over one mile to and from work. She was once a victim of a purse snatch that left her bruised and fearful of life in America.
Unfortunately for Salman, who has severe asthma, cooking at a Bengali restaurant was the only job he could find. The smoke from cooking affected his breathing. Three times during his first year in Houston his asthma landed him in the hospital.
The dream of their son becoming a doctor ended with the reality that his reading level was below high school standard. After struggling for two years, he dropped out of school. The crush of this dream threatened to send them back to Bangladesh.
Change is Possible
Within a one-mile radius of Salman and Shaheen’s apartment, 20 churches meet and enjoy fellowship. Churches appear unaware of families such as Salman and Shaheen. For the two parties to meet, they need a cross-cultural missionary. These bridge-builders along with the American church could alter the salvation history of these people. Bangladeshis are a significantly unreached people group now, but with concentrated efforts, they could become reached! They are truly the unreached within reach. So pray for laborers who will show love, concern, and most of all, share the wonderful news of salvation. Maybe you are ready to take a step of faith to care for your Bangladeshi neighbors. We’d love to help connect you!