Westerners can’t go where this man goes. He travels deep into Bangladesh’s jungle, where few have ventured. He carries with him a message too good not to share.
At a dining table that welcomes a steady stream of believers, pastors, evangelists and those seeking truth, Subhash Tripura* enjoys a meal of pumpkin, pork, lentil soup and bamboo shoots his wife made. It is his last familiar meal before several days deep in the jungle.
Subhash is a missionary with a heart for his own people and other tribal peoples of Bangladesh. Subhash is from the Tripura people group, a Hindu group who live in Bangladesh and India. The Tripura use their people group name as their last name.
“I had a vision and I have a vision. I want to share the Gospel all over the community,” Subhash says.
His vision keeps him out of pocket for more days than he’s home — but that’s the life he’s been called to.
Today, Subhash travels deep into Bangladesh’s Hill Tracts, a government-designated area for the country’s tribal people.
His journey will take him to an area where Westerners are not permitted to go. He’s taking the Gospel to the Mru, an animistic people group and the oldest inhabitants of the Hill Tracts.
Subhash’s people, the Tripura, heard the Gospel from brave souls who journeyed deep into the jungles like he is doing today.
Subhash says walking into a Mru village is like stepping back into time.
Spilling out the door
In a mud-walled hut, a church of Tripura believers people worship. The Tripura people live in the Hill Tracts of eastern Bangladesh. These indigenous believers now have a vision to see other tribes come to know Christ throughout the untamed, jungle covered mountains. Photo © 2012 IMB / Kelvin Joseph
Though most of the Mru women wear nothing but a loincloth around their waist and Mru food is very different from Tripura food, nothing is new for Subhash and the other Tripura Christians he travels with.
Subhash came to this village with questions to ask the Mru.
“Why receive Jesus?” Subhash and the other pastors ask. Subhash then explains that becoming a Son of God is like receiving an inheritance — we inherit the Holy Spirit.
Subhash has the chance to tell the Mru how the world began. They don’t have an explanation for why we are here or how we got here. When they hear the creation story, it clicks.
It’s the story they’ve been missing for centuries.
As a result of this August trip, 212 Mru accepted Christ as their Savior. Subhash says they’ll return to disciple the believers before baptism.
“Every month, they are asking to be baptized,” Subhash says. On his last trip, he was able to baptize 30 Mru believers. Twelve Tripura also were baptized.
In a year and a half, 145 Mru have become Christians and two churches have been started in 13 villages.
In all, Subhash works with 300 believers in seven Mru villages .
Read more at southasianpeoples.imb.org. Story written by Caroline Anderson*. Photo by Kelvin Joseph.