Reverend Swapon Bose
“Philip lost both his legs, but it seems to me that I lost my right hand,” Swapon Bose mournfully wrote ANM in 2014.
The Reverend Bose, now deceased, founded Faith Bible Church in Bangladesh and served as a faithful ANM ministry partner for two decades. Through his efforts, Philip came to faith in Christ. Philip was a Muslim, but upon hearing the good news of Christ’s saving grace, he gave his life to Him in the 1990s. Philip became a dedicated and fruitful worker of the ministry from then on.
As coordinator of the Light to the Nation team of Faith Bible Church, Philip became a pioneer worker and evangelist, going to different areas to preach the gospel and establish a church. He proclaimed the name of Jesus boldly to more than 3,000 people.
A man of formidable faith, Philip built the first Bangladeshi-believers church in his region. This achievement infuriated his Muslim brothers and relatives, who had never approved of his leaving the Islamic religion and embracing the Christian faith. These irate relatives joined local hardcore Muslims in destroying the church on more than three occasions. They even set his house on fire.
But Philip stood strong during those tough times and remained true to his faith and service to the Lord. The church still stands today for the glory of God. Even though his solid faith in Jesus brought on threats to his life numerous times, he persevered and endured the persecution from his community as well as from his kinsfolk. He was fearless in his faith and did not look back.
Disabled but Not Defeated
One fateful day in June 2014, Philip was the victim of a horrendous accident while on his way home from baptizing 30 new Muslim-background believers on the northern border of Bangladesh. While trying to board a moving train at a railway junction, he suddenly lost his balance and slipped. Both of his legs went under the train.
The railway police took Philip to a well-known Christian mission hospital in the area. Although he survived the accident, his legs had to be amputated, one above the knee and the other below.
Once an active person who extensively traveled from place to place proclaiming the Word of God, Philip became immobilized. His inability to move around easily, travel, and do ministry like he used to made him feel sad sometimes, but he never lost his faith and hope in Jesus. Many of Philip’s relatives mocked him, saying that the accident was a curse for turning his back on Islam. The mental and physical persecution Philip endured — in addition to his physical disability — might have dampened his morale, but he remained steadfast in his faith in Christ.
Even Unto Death
Last September, Philip suffered a stroke and died a week later. This battle-scarred but faithful follower of Christ was 74 years old when he was taken to glory.
Shortly before his stroke, some of Philip’s Muslim relatives initiated a land claim, yet to be settled, on a portion of the property where he had built the Bangladeshi-believers church.
Philip’s widow, 65-year-old Ruth, was a faithful companion during his 20-year journey of faith. Her prayers and faithfulness to the Lord helped the family withstand the hard times. Now, with no source of income, Ruth is being supported by her two sons and five daughters, who are all married and have children.
Through the kindness of ANM donors, Philip’s widow is receiving some financial assistance to help with her immediate needs. With her beloved husband gone, life has not been easy for her. Different relatives have been vocal in their deep-seated aversion to her family and their Christian faith. Nevertheless, Ruth has joy in her heart, knowing that her husband has been called to his heavenly home.
Salim Haidar, General Secretary and CEO of Faith Bible Church, reports that the ministry is praying to be able to buy Ruth “cattle” (i.e., goats) as a long-term income source to provide for her personal expenses.
A Family of Solid Faith
On the day of Philip’s funeral service, his relatives demanded that the family return to Islam so that his body could be buried according to Muslim rituals. Philip’s family members, however, were unanimously unrelenting. They stood their ground and buried their loved one according to the Christian faith.
“As we were present there,” Salim shares, “we saw how God used Philip to raise a family who is saved and sustained in Christ.” Not only did they celebrate “his bold and faithful life in Jesus,” but they rejoiced over Philip’s commitment to “raising a generation that will serve only a living God.”