A Family Mission in Bangladesh
As a second-generation executive director for International Needs Bangladesh, Mcdonald “Mac”Adhikary oversees the thriving ministry once nurtured by his father.
Crops were destroyed and inflation, food hoarding, and a U.S. food embargo incited one of the worst famines in global history. An estimated 1.5 million people perished.
When the rains first hit, International Needs founder Dr. Ray Harrison was in Bangladesh for a Youth for Christ conference. He asked fellow Youth for Christ leader Rev. Smith Adhikary for an assessment of the calamity.
The two set off on a motorbike around the flood-affected areas. Entire communities lay under water and hundreds of orphaned children roamed the countryside desperate for food and shelter.
As he boarded a plane for New Zealand, Dr. Ray emptied his pockets and promised more help.
With the money, Rev. Smith rented a house for six orphaned children and gave them food and education. This marked the beginning of International Needs Bangladesh. For the next 30 years, Rev. Smith helped to grow International Needs Bangladesh into a thriving ministry.
Today, two years after celebrating its 40th anniversary, IN Bangladesh’s widespread reach includes village evangelism and church planting via six full-time evangelists; vocational Bible, computer, and sewing courses; primary and secondary schooling; maternal and infant medical care; and poultry and fish farming.
Rev. Smith’s health began to decline in 1998, and he was joined in the work by his youngest son Mac. Upon his father’s death in 2005, Mac became the new executive director.
In this role, Mac draws upon the lessons his parents modeled.
“Through every difficulty, I saw my father bow down and lift up his hands to the Lord,” says Mac. “Sometimes he lacked the funds to pay his staff or to feed his family. But he trusted God in every area.”
Rev. Smith’s trust extended to Mac’s own welfare, for Mac came into the world suffering from an incurable kidney disease. He wasn’t expected to survive for more than a week after birth.
Even after leading hospitals declared Mac’s condition to be untreatable, Mac’s parents never gave up. Every day they prayed, and every Sunday, the church leaders lay hands on baby Mac and prayed for his healing.
God heard their prayers, and by the age of two, Mac was fully and miraculously healed.
Mac feels privileged to be following in his father’s footsteps and brings much rich experience and expertise to the job. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and is now earning his master’s in development studies. He is a former church deacon, has served in youth ministry for 15 years, and volunteers with the international evangelistic ministry Every Home for Christ.
At International Needs, Mac is particularly committed to helping displaced, orphaned, and exploited children, including girls and women discriminated against because of their gender. His wife Henrietta, a gynecologist, volunteers at an IN orphanage and leads visiting medical teams in rural areas.
Mac emulates his parents’ devotion to intercession by praying earnestly for his country, in which Christians make up only one percent of the population and are often a target for violence and persecution.
“Food, water, and medical care are all important to my country,” says Mac. “But by far the biggest need is spiritual. What the people of Bangladesh need most is Jesus Christ.”
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