HLI’s director of Asia and Oceania, Dr. Ligaya Acosta, sends an initial report on her first mission to Bangladesh.
Dhaka, Bangladesh — The foreigner coming to Bangladesh for the first time is in for a culture shock. The roads are always teeming with honking buses, cars, trucks, rickshaws, CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) tricycles, and a sea of people all at the same time. As if this is not enough, every vehicle can swerve anytime, each trying to outdo each other on the road, and thus each one is always blasting the horn. The huge scratches and bumps of almost all vehicles testify to the contact sport that is driving in Dhaka. The passenger must simply hold on for dear life and pray that the driver will get her to the hotel, which affords views over the dust- and smog-shrouded city.
Remember as you read this that I am coming from Manila, and know a little something about bad traffic. Dhaka takes this chaos to a whole new level, bringing the new visitor’s prayer life to a higher level as well!
It did not take long for my fears of the chaos around me to literally hit me in the face, wh
en my taxi slammed on its brakes to avoid a motorcycle that slammed on his brakes to avoid a child who jumped into the street. The seat belt did not work, which isn’t unusual, but was obviously a greater concern here in Dhaka. My face hit the driver’s seat, and I was somewhat in shock as a crowd formed around the car and I tried to make sense of the situation.
By the time I made it to the hotel and the understanding staff provided me with ice packs and I was able to relax in the room, I was praying that I would make a decent presentation in meetings soon to follow. Bangladesh may be mired in poverty, but people’s hearts are definitely rich.
Later that same day, I met with Alfred Biplob Biswas, a Baptist pastor, and an advisor. Pastor Alfred wrote to HLI in August 2016 inviting HLI to conduct a mission in Bangladesh. He runs an orphanage and is moving toward building a home for unwed mothers. He was excited to hear about our educational materials and training on life and family issues, and we continued our meetings for the next couple of days in between other events.
I found in Bangladesh, and Pastor Alfred confirmed, that unfortunate passivity that sets in in many underdeveloped countries, where people expect to be paid for every effort that is made, even on their behalf. It is referred to by some others in the HLI family as an “NGO mentality”, the idea that agency and initiative come from the outside, from those from wealthier countries. This is exactly the mindset exploited by the population control industry, one that is happy to pay people to turn against life and family, and it must end. If they only knew how morally undeveloped these wealthy nations often are, and how unearned their authority is.
As a Methodist Bishop I met told me later, “This is our shame in Bangladesh due to our economic situation.”
With GOD’s amazing grace, in the five days that I have been here, I have been able to have six important meetings, among others, with key people needed to establish the mission here: with His Eminence Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, CSC, Archbishop of Dhaka; Bishop Nibaron Das, Chairman of the Bangladesh Methodist Church, who serves as Vice-Chair of the Inter-denominational Council; Rev. Fr. Quiroco Martinelli, PIME, the Parish Priest of the Mary Queen of Apostles Church in Mirpur; Rev. Dr. Father Mintu L. Palma, Judicial Vicar of the Interdiocesan Ecclesiastical Tribunal, who is also Professor in the Holy Spirit Major Seminary and Director of the Christian Family Counseling Centre in Dhaka; Rev. Fr. Emmanuel K. Rozario, rector of the Holy Spirit Major Seminary; as well as Pastor Alfred. I have also been able to speak with several religious sisters, who all expressed interest in the mission of HLI.
The meetings brought me to various areas of Dhaka in either car or CNG tricycles. On my second day, I visited Pastor Alfred’s “Home of Champions”, the orphanage he founded, located in Savar District, about three hours away from the city center, where I was able to speak to the 28 teenagers and adolescents in residence. I also visited Smyrna Development Office and Baptist Church and office of Pastor Alfred, to speak to some of his community. In the remaining three days, I am here, I have a scheduled visit and mini-talk with PIME Sisters in Mirpur; and another very important meeting with the Secretary of the CBCB Episcopal Commission on Family Life, Rev. Fr. Jyoti Costa, among others. Each meeting has been abundantly blessed, paving the way for our planned return later this year to this country, which has been a favorite of death peddlers and a training ground for abortionists around Asia (where catastrophic mistakes will not be noticed).
Though there have been many challenges, it has been an immense joy and privilege for me to plant the seeds of HLI’s mission for the very first time here in Bangladesh, which I pray will grow and bear much fruit.
To all of the benefactors and supporters of Human Life International, I THANK YOU most sincerely for your continued generosity, without which we would never be able to do this wonderful life-saving mission. I also personally beg for your prayers and support to this mission in Bangladesh, which we are just starting.
May everything we do glorify the LORD!