January 12, 2005—Dear God, my friends tell me that older brothers are demanding and arrogant. That may be true, but I have never seen that in my brother, Tapan. Today for my birthday, he completely surprised me by giving me a brand-new necklace! If he made it himself, it must have taken him hours, because he’s terrible with small beads.
March 9—Dear God, I’m scared! Yesterday, a pastor from a church we know was beheaded. He was murder by 10 Muslims, seven of whom are still out on the streets. Because of this, Mother and I decided not to go to church this week, but Tapan still went. I tried to tell him to stay, but he wouldn’t listen to me! He said worshiping God was more important than his safety. I suppose this is true, but I was still too scared to go. But, I did pray for him the whole time that he was gone, and he has come back home safely!
June 18—Dear God, guess what Tapan got a job with a Christian organization. He is so excited. They are called Christian Life Bangladesh, and they do medical work to help prevent AIDS, and also share the “Jesus Film” with others and tell them about Christ. I am very excited for him, but also very scared. People say that the Muslim extremists in our village have a “hit list” and that if you work for a church or Christian group, that you are put on that list. I hope that does not happen to Tapan!
July 23—Oh God, please keep Tapan safe! Today, when I was walking by the madrassa (Islamic school), one of the boys told me that if my brother keeps showing the “Jesus Film” that they’re going to do something to him! I told Tapan this, but he just calmly replied, “God is protecting me. Every day that I am alive, it is because of His mercy, and if I am hurt or killed, it will be for His glory.” God, I wish that I could just hold onto my brother and tell him that he must stay at home, or hide somewhere. But I know that is not what you want him to be doing. Please help me to be able to let him go.
July 29—God, no! No, no, no, NO!! How could they Less than three hours ago, men broke into Tapan’s room. While Tapan and his friend Liplal were sleeping, they began to stab them over and over until they were practically hacked to death. As soon as we heard their cries, we tried to get into the room, but they had chained all of our doors and the neighbor’s doors closed. We could do nothing but bang on our doors and listen to Tapan and Liplal’s screams. One of the neighbors finally broke through their door and the murderers ran off. Someone got a car and we all piled in to drive them to the hospital, but—but it was too late. Tapan was dead by the time we arrived. And so now, I’m sitting in Tapan’s room, only…he’s gone.
October 26—Dear God, I have doubted You so much over these last few months. It has been so hard having Tapan gone. I want to blame You for his death. Sometimes I think to myself, “If only Tapan had not been a Christian, than he would not have been killed!” But then I think, “If Tapan had not been a Christian then he would have been dead in his sins. How much better is it that he was free from guilt and sin and now is alive in heaven.” Yes, I know that is true. But often times a message is harder to cling to than the real, fleshly body of Tapan.
July 29, 2006—Dear God, I still believe in You. One year ago today, Muslim men martyred my brother because he was a Christian. Because of that I have struggled with hatred, bitterness, and depression, but, I have also seen Your love, strength, and compassion. It would be easy to say “I do not believe in the Christian God anymore,” but it would not be better. I can honestly say that I have felt Your presence this year. You are not the God of easy answers, magical fixes, or painless lives, but You are the God who meets us in the middle of our trials. Thank you for being real to me, my mother, and our whole church as we mourn the death of my brother.
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