Imagine 150 million people on land the size of Iowa. Part of the country doesn’t have any infrastructure. The people are predominately Muslim with a large Hindu minority in a country that is one of the poorest in the world. It is a perfect place for a Maryknoll priest, his bicycle and a bag containing only a change of clothing and the essentials to celebrate his own Mass.
For more than 35 years, Father Robert McCahill, who was born in Des Moines, Iowa, has lived in different villages of Bangladesh. Most recently, Narail, in the southeast part of the country, was his home. He said it is “a good place to make a mark of Christianity, not for the purpose of conversion but simply for the idea of showing what a Christian is and does.”
As one of five Maryknoll priests who arrived in Bangladesh during 1975 to begin a ministry of Christian witness, the priest who was raised inGoshen, Indiana, has traveled within the interior of the country to help people, particularly children, who are in urgent need of medical assistance. His special criteria for mission: the place should be poor, no other foreigners or Christians should be present and some of the locals must be willing to allow him free use of a small piece of land so he can build his own shack.
He spends about three years in each location. Wherever he goes, especially in the local tea shops, his foreigner status draws crowds along with many questions – has he come to convert, how does he finance his work and why doesn’t he have a family.
“I am Brother Bob, a Christian missionary,” he tells them. “I am here to serve seriously sick people who are poor.”
Read the rest. It’s a great tale.