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Bangladesh

AIM
After this lesson, each girl should be able to
* Tell five facts about Bangladesh.
* Briefly describe the work of Uttam's Place, this year's Coins for Kids project, and tell why it is important.
* Suggest a way she can assist Uttam's Place.

BEFORE THE MEETING
* Bring materials to make Bright Bengals.
* Prepare green bean bhunas and gulab jamuns to serve at the meeting.

Bangladesh Girls Edition

FOR STARTERS
Let the girls show the Bright Bengals they made and provide supplies for those who did not bring one from home. Talk about the Bengali sayings before playing a round of golap-tagar. Afterward let the girls sample green bean bhunas and gulab jamuns.

LESSON

Howard and Olive Hawkes

Olive Hawkes and her husband, Howard, lived in Bangladesh for more than 35 years. During that time they raised four children, shared the gospel in cities and villages across the country, and lived alongside the people through war and disaster. Along the way, they tried their best to help anyone in need.

Born in Massachusetts in 1919, Olive gave her life to Jesus when she was 14. Two years later she knew God was calling her to be a missionary. After attending a missionary training school, she began pastoring a church in Vermont to get ministry experience.

While in New Hampshire at a meeting for ministers, Olive met Howard Hawkes, who also sensed God's call to missions. The couple soon married and began planning for a life of sharing the gospel in another land.

Five years later, the Hawkeses set out for India as missionaries. After learning the language, they began their work as directors of an orphanage and girls school. With 60 girls in their care, they were constantly busy. During their time there, they grew to love the children and learned a lot about the culture and needs of the people of South Asia.

In 1958, the Hawkeses were asked to serve in East Pakistan (now called Bangladesh). They settled in Khulna, where they pastored an English-speaking church and worked with another church that operated a school.

Howard spent a lot of time traveling. Olive dedicated herself to building relationships in the neighborhood and caring for the couple's four children. In these unfamiliar surroundings, she had to depend on God for everything. Once, after the children spent the day playing near a pile of wood, Olive learned that a nest of cobras had been discovered inside the pile. How grateful she was for God's protecting hand!

The Hawkeses moved several times during their years in Bangladesh. Wherever they lived, Olive enjoyed working with children and teenagers. She often taught Sunday School and led many children to Christ in her classes.

In 1970, the Hawkeses faced one of the greatest challenges of their lives. They had only recently returned to Khulna after living for a time in Dhaka, the nation's capital. Khulna is located in the Ganges River Delta. The Ganges River winds through Bangladesh and India, and Howard planned to travel by boat to unreached villages in the area.

But a great disaster sidetracked their plans. In November 1970, a major cyclone struck Bangladesh, bringing massive destruction. In only six hours, as many as 300,000 people were killed as a massive tidal wave caused widespread flooding and swept entire villages out to sea. Those who survived were left homeless and hungry. The Hawkeses worked with relief efforts and did all they could to help supply food and shelter for as many people as possible.

Even as the nation was trying to recover from the storm, another peril came in the form of war as Bangladesh began their fight for independence. Several times the Hawkeses' home was caught in the crossfire of opposing armies, and once a gunboat fired a shot through their kitchen wall. But each time God protected their lives.

Two major disasters in such a short span left the nation in overwhelming need. Howard and Olive's home became a focal point for relief efforts. With food supplied by various international organizations, the Hawkeses and their team of helpers fed as many as 130,000 people each month. Though the work was hard and stressful, they faithfully reached out to the sick and needy with the love of Jesus.

Howard and Olive continued to work in Bangladesh until 1981 when they returned to Massachusetts for retirement. Howard died in 1995. Olive, who will be 96 this year, continues to serve the Lord and pray for her beloved Bangladesh.

For many years the Hawkeses shared God's love with the people of Bangladesh. They were drawn to people in need who had never had the opportunity to hear that Jesus died for their sins. This year, you have the opportunity to help girls in Bangladesh by giving to the Coins for Kids project-Uttam's Place in Dhaka.

Uttam's Place opened in 2009 to help children in need. Today it serves as a tutoring center where girls from poor areas can come after school. At the center the girls get a healthy meal, take classes in computers and English, and talk to people who really care about them. They also learn about Jesus-the One who cares about them most.

The center is named after a young boy, Uttam, an orphan who learned about Jesus and wanted to share Him with others. Uttam died of leukemia in 2005, but his testimony continues as girls learn how much Jesus loves them and that He has a plan for their lives.

Coins for Kids is helping Uttam's Place move to a permanent location. Right now the girls meet in a rented space, but they are running out of room. They also know the building owners could raise the rent without warning or even close Uttam's Place with no explanation. The center needs a place of its own so it can always be ready to help the girls who need it most.

Your gifts to Uttam's Place will help girls in Bangladesh who have dreams just like you.

CLOSING

End this lesson by praying for Uttam's Place and the girls of Bangladesh. Discuss ways your club can assist in this year's Coins for Kids Project.


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