Bangladesh Assemblies of God
In 1896, some Pentecostal missionaries from USA came to the Indian subcontinent and began their pioneering work. On the 22nd October, 1926, Rev. and Mrs. Maynard Ketcham came to Calcutta as the first Pentecostal missionary couple in East Bengal. They teamed up with Rev. Abdul Wadud Munshi from Kamarol of Orakandi Faridpur. In 1933 he began to work with Rev. Maynard Ketcham. Many miracles of healing and deliverance took place at that time and with pioneers like Jakob Baroi of Chourkhuli, Jotish Halder of Ambari, Nepal Golder of Pithabari and many others, the Bengal Pentecost Union (BPU) was founded with the small churches. Thus the foundation of the Bangladesh Assemblies of God was laid.
In 1939 the first property of 12 acres of land was bought at Pagladaha, Jessore and the work spread to Dakatia, Rakhalgachi. In 1945 the Pentecostal Mission work in East Bengal officially began. Some of the pioneers Tarun, Kudiram, Foni, Nirapodo, Mother of Pulin, Bhusan, Mahendra and Deben. In 1952 Rakhalgachi church was built. Others who joined the movement were Abhinas, Ananda Babu of west Bengal, Mokter Uddin Mollah and Korshed Mollah of kamarol. Nabokumar Mistry, Madhumala Mistry and Mrs. Promila Mondol of Chourkhuly, L.K. Joydhar and SurehMondal of Gaila, Prosad Sarker of Batbari, Mrs. Labonya Bose and Mr. Amal Munshi of Gopalgonj. P.K. Biswas of Jessore, Basanto Babu of Suagram, Aditya Saha of Askar, Jotish Halder of Buruabari, Jatin Talukdar helped take the movement forward. In 1946 the Khulna work began.
In 1957, Maynard Ketcham came to Khulna and the name of “Bengal Pentecost Union” (BPU) was changed to “Assemblies of God”. In 1955, it was registered in Lahore, under the name of “East Pakistan Assemblies of God”. After the independence in 1971, the name changed to “Bangladesh Assemblies of God.”
The earlier missionaries included The Woolivers, Elsie Bridgman, Elsie Meriesly, Rachel Vanmeter in Jessore/Khulna area. In 1950, the “East Pakistan Bible institute” was established, Elsie Bridgman was the first principal joined by Glena Lilee Bridge. The first four graduates of that Institute were Mr. Jagodis Ojha, Niva Rani Biswas. Profulla Biswas and Mrs. Munshi.
In 1960 the Assemblies of God adopted the self-supporting strategy for the support of the Churches and all foreign funds stopped. Some workers left the movement at that time. In 1963 BAG General Council was called in Gopalgonj to discuss this matter and they pursued the decision taken earlier. Those who stayed with the Assemblies of God included the faithful men like Ashutosh Sarker, Joseph Panday, Profulla Biswas, Nabokumar Mistry, Niranjan Sarker, Hiralal Gathia are some of them who committed to carry the ministry forward.
Rev. Maynard Ketcham took the responsibility of first Chairmanship of the Pentecost Mission in this land. After him for many years Rev. Abdul Wadud Munshi served as the chairman. From 1953 to 1957 Mr. Amal Munshi served as the chairman others who served in that position includes Mr. Prosad, served in this position. After him the responsibility of chairmanship was handed over to Rev. Ashutosh Sarker. A decision was made that expatriate missionaries will not serve on the General Council but due to lack of workers Rev. O. Carlsson, Rev. Ronald Peck, Rev. C.P. Olson and Rev. Dale E. Decker served in that position for a few years. From 1977 to 1982 and 1987 to 1990 Rev. Daniel Munshi was elected to serve in that position. In 1990, Rev. Asa M. Kain was elected as the Chairman/General Superintendent of the Bangladesh Assemblies of God till present date. Rev. Jonathan Munshi served in that position for three years in this period.
The missionaries who served with the Bangladesh Assemblies of God include the Maynard Ketchams, The O.Carlsons, Malcolm Blaconey, Marian, Ms. Elsie Bridgman, Ms. Glena Lille Bridge, Rev. Haward and Mrs. Olive Hawkes (1949), Ms. Josephine Spina (1955), Rev. Ronald Mrs. Montiel Peck, Rev. Calvin and Mrs. Marian Olson (1954), Rev. Jerry and Mrs. Karen Parsley (1970), Rev. Harry and Mrs. Vera Morin (1975), Rev. Larry and Mrs. Mary Pate (1977), Rev. Dale E. and Mrs. Beth Decker (1979), Rev. and Mrs. Wooliver, Rev. and Mrs. Don Tarno, Rev. Mark and Mrs. Gladys Bliss, Joseph and Alevin Marzol, Rev. Larry and Mrs. Sharon Smith (1979 Still serving), Rev. Bob and Mrs. Twyla McGurty, Rev. Larry and Mrs. Karen Mangone, , Rev. Richard and Mrs. Christie Greene, Rev. Mark and Mrs. Dalene Good, Rev. Duane & Mrs. Lori Danielson.
In 1957 those who joined with the mission as the workers were Rev. Jogodish Ojha, Mohananda Sadu, Muktidan Baroi, Provudan Shaha, Ashutosh Sarker, Nirmal Ojha, Dizen Das, Dinesh Sarker, Swapon Das, Joseph Panday, Daniel Munshi, Paul Munshi, Robin Barikder, Samar Biswas (Ashraf), Rajbihari Golder, Niranjan Barikder, Joel Sarker and many other faithful believers who worked hard and experienced mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
An Evangelism and Church planting strategy through “way to life” programme planted many churches including Bollovpur, Kaligonj, Jessore and Kaligram. An extension Bible School program called BBI began to train pastors and workers. The ICI began the Ministerial Training Programme which then developed into the Assembly of God
The Dhaka ministries began with efforts of Missionary Don Tarno, who began a book room and a small church congregation in Bangabandhu Avenue (Formerly Jinnah Avenue) in the mid fifties. It was then moved to a rented facility at 25 New Eskaton Road. ICI programme began and an English speaking Dhaka AG Church begun under the leadership of Rev. Hawkes. Later Rev. Calvin Olson became the Pastor of this Church till 1988 when the present Pastor Rev. Asa Kain became the Senior Pastor. The pioneering members included Melvin Heatherly, The George and Carol Alexanders, Clary Waterfield. A Bengali Speaking congregation under the leadership of Rev. Smith Adhikary called Bethel AG Church was founded. The pioneer members included Ranjit Halder, Lila Halder, Peter Sarker, Nikhil Halder, Mr. Badol Baroi etc. In 1970 with a series of miracles and provisions, the present property and Church building was founded at 401/1, New Eskaton Road.
From Dhaka Churches all the pioneering work in the Northern Bangladesh was established which include Sharisa Bari in Jamalpur, Sherpur, Fulbaria in Mymensing, Sirajgonj, Rangpur, Noagaon, Dinajpur, etc.
As a strategic direction the Bangladesh Assemblies of God was divided into four divisional councils and regions. An NGO called “Ashirbad” to coordinate the Caring ministry of the Bangladesh AG was formed. The ministry of the Bangladesh Assemblies of God continues to grow. Currently we plant one church every three weeks. All glory to the Lord Jesus Christ!