TEAMS is one of the ministries under the umbrella of People to People. It continues to be such a joy to work with the group that’s been committed to coming to Asia for medical clinics. It’s wonderful that a group from the U.S. and the Philippines loves to sacrifice time off from work to spend two weeks serving the nations. Our last trip was in February 2020 to Bangladesh. When we were hugging each other in Dhaka as everyone was heading home, our parting words were, “See you in a few months in India.” We are all very familiar with what occurred in March of 2020 and the global travel shutdown.
In August 2022 I received a message that TEAMS was organizing a trip for February 2023, and guess where – Bangladesh! I was beyond excited. And how appropriate for this to be the country to relaunch this group. We were grateful on this trip to have a group ministering to the children during clinic times. As the planning progressed, it was very exciting to hear missionaries Vijay and Aparanjani Balla would be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the ministry. People to People Ministries has been so blessed to support this wonderful ministry through child sponsorships for almost 17 years and with five TEAM outreach trips. At the conclusion of this latest trip, we saw over 700 patients, over 300 received reading glasses, and hundreds of children played, laughed, and heard Bible stories from children’s ministry.
The clinics hosted by Holiness Academy and one of the churches in the North are such a display of God’s love. I recall in the first outreach trips, women never came to the clinics alone and were mostly accompanied by their husbands or another relative. We saw very few women along the roads as we passed markets. Today, as you see from the picture, women come alone or with their children.
Another dynamic that changed the landscape is the garment factories opening. One factory, owned by Indian friends of the Ballas, hosted a one-day medical outreach for their staff. As we toured the facility, we paused by a workstation to meet the longest-serving employee. This individual had never missed a day of work for eight years and her beautiful face was beaming with pride.
We also traveled to the northern part of Bangladesh which was an area TEAMS first visited in 2008. Last year a church office was completed, and they hosted another 20th Anniversary Celebration. On our recent trip, we conducted two days of clinics, and I was fortunate to meet two former PTP kids who stayed at Holiness Academy in Dhaka and are now young men. I am thankful for the opportunity of schooling which impacted their futures.
Great is Thy Faithfulness was the theme of the 20th Anniversary Celebration. I rejoice with Vijay and Apa for their faithfulness to God’s calling in Bangladesh and the testimony of God’s faithfulness. They first arrived with their two young children and 20 years later it was such a blessing for their children to be here (Andrew came from the U.S. and Roslin currently teaches at an International school in Dhaka).
I also want to echo their theme in closing. I do proclaim “Great is His faithfulness.” He faithfully blesses me every month with faithful supporters, diligent prayer partners, and surrounds me with a confidence that He who calls us provides for us in every area of our lives.
May each of you continue to experience His faithfulness individually, in your families, and churches.