Vassula Ryden Returns To Bangladesh Where “True Life In God” Began
Vassula Receives Her “Third Gold Peace Medal Award for Inter-Religious Harmony and Peace”
On Saturday February 19, 2011 Vassula Ryden, Sami Carlos and myself departed from Athens on route to Dhaka, Bangladesh. Albert and Valerie Mueller also joined us and we met in transit in Doha and we all flew to Dhaka together. We arrived at five am Sunday morning February 20, 2011. We were greeted by Duleep De.S.Gunesekere, who helps with the Beth Myriam in Dhaka, drove all of us to the lake Castle Hotel. We were informed that this day starts the ICC Cricket World Cup which Bangladesh is one of the three South Asian countries to host this event. On the way to the Hotel from the airport, you can see the beautiful and colorful decorations they have put up for this special event.
Shortly upon arrival at the Hotel, the President, Bangladesh Bouddha Kristi Prachar Sangha the Ven. Suddhananda Mahathero, Sujit Kumar Barua, Buddhist, the Imam, Mohammed Mazharul Islam, Mr. Nirmal Kumar Chatterjee of the Hindu Inter-religious committee came to greet us. They all had come to the airport; unfortunately we missed each other so they came to our Hotel. They greeted Vassula with beautiful flowers and brought us flowers as well. It was a pleasure to see them in their hometown of Dhaka. They have all joined us before on our Ecumenical Pilgrimages. It took me by surprise, that at five am in the morning, people would want to come to the airport. I was told that this is the Asian hospitality and they feel honored that Vassula has come back to their country. We then had breakfast all together at the Hotel.
The invitation for Vassula to come back to Dhaka, was by the Venerable Suddhananda Mahathero. In His invitation to Vassula, he addresses her as "Divine Messenger, Sister Vassula Ryden, Divine Emissary of True Life in God". It was for The Grand Gala Inauguration Ceremony Of Buddha Image erected under the patronage of Royal Thai Family to be held on Wednesday February 23, 2011 at eleven am at Dharmarajika Buddhist Monastery Campus, Sabujbag, Dhaka Bangladesh. Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina Honorable Prime Minister Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh had kindly given her consent to grace the ceremony as Chief Guest and expecting that Honorable Ministers of Social Welfare Ministry, Religious Affairs Ministry, Cultural Affairs Ministry and Education Ministry will also be present as Special Guests.
Once hearing Vassula will be in Dhaka, The Imam, Mohammed Mazharul Islam had written an invitation stating that it is his long cherished desire to bring her to his town of Mymensing to visit his Mosque and to meet with the Muslim Clerics. Vassula also added to the program to visit the Selesian Nuns at the convent in Mymensing as well as the Beth Myriam and the village of Kulun.
On Sunday February 20, 2011, we rested after such a long flight and then we went to see the house at 27 Banani where Vassula and her family lived for three years in Bangladesh. Here is where it all began on November 28, 1985, the divine inspirations started and where Vassula’s guardian Angel Daniel visited her.
27 Banani, The house where Vassula and her family lived for three years
A week before this mission, I had opened randomly the TLIG messages and I came on the dates of February 1995. I found it providential how we were all there on the same month as when Vassula was there in 1995 and received some messages in Bangladesh.
Jesus says in a message on February 17, 1995 (Bangladesh), My Vassula, I bless you; come, My Spirit is with you and will be with you so that you, as My Echo, then will be able to give My Celestial Manna to everyone;
My coming here again with you, was so that I bless through you the premises of the Nature of your being; by this I mean, of your being in existence and alive! I, Jesus, came to you in your poverty, in your misery, to lift you to My Heart and make you the living sign of My divine Mercy; allow Me now to speak through you and give My graces in these meetings; reap with Me this rich harvest you have not prepared;
pray without ceasing and honour Me; keep Holy My Name; I, Jesus, am with you;
In another message on February 18, 1995(Dhaka) and now, one question: do you still want to continue with all that I have given you and evangelise with love for Love?
say: "yes, Lord, but with a fire inside me, with zeal for Your House and Your Glory;"
renew then your vows of fidelity to Me and I then will renew My graces upon you .... I will continue to pour out My graces and My teachings upon you; please Me and satisfy My thirst, realise what I have given you; 6 My pleasure is to give ....
(Footnote 6- my vows had to be renewed on the premises of the dawn of True Life in God) (February 18,1995)
We then all continued and went to visit the Beth Myriam in Dhaka . The children of all ages were so patiently seated at the tables waiting for their lunch to be served. What impressed me right away was how disciplined they were and they all had such beautiful smiles on their faces. These children are so very poor and come from the neighboring slums.
A beautiful message from Jesus on March 27, 2002; establish Our Beth Myriams everywhere you can; lift the oppressed and help the orphan; protect Me, rescue Me from the gutter, shelter Me and feed Me, unload My burden and fatigue, support Me and encourage Me but above all love Me; all that you do to the least of My brethren you do it to Me ...
I bless the supporters of My life, may they remain virtuous and all-loving;
I am with you ... ic; (March 27, 2002)
Beth Myriam Children |
Vassula had asked one of the children in Bangla,” is it good “and the child nodded “yes”.
On Monday February 21, 2011 We departed after early after breakfast to visit the village of Kulun, a Christian village.
Dances by the children who were dressed in their traditional clothes with such vibrant colors
Vassula with the children of Kulun
Xavier Pereire and on behalf of the villagers of Kulun, gave Vassula a warm welcome
Warm Welcome Speech by Xavier
We then went to see the True Life in God school in Kulun that was expanded in 2006. Alongside was the chapel of St. Joseph’s.
TLIG School in Kulun
On Tuesday February 22, 2011, We departed at seven am to go north to Mymensingh as it was a four hour drive outside of Dhaka. Mr. Sujit Barua joined us as well .The Imam Islam waited for us to arrive in the city of Mymensingh and we followed him by car to his Mosque which is the largest Mosque of greater Mymensingh (Boro Masjid)
The Greater Mosque in Mymensingh
Upon arrival of the Mosque, we went into a room to meet all the Muslim elites and the head Imam named Moulana Aboul Haque. Vassula greeted the head Imam in Arabic as he was surprised to hear her speak Arabic. Everyone was introduced and they were so gracious in meeting everyone. To their great surprise Vassula spoke to them in fluent Arabic all the while during their conversation. The fact that she spoke Arabic made them feel somehow closer to her, since all of them should learn this language to be able to read the Koran. Imam Islam (who joins us on our pilgrimages) had organized this meeting. On the premises, was the dormitory that houses two thousand young boys that are studying Islam.
The meeting with the Muslims clerics in the room
Outside the meeting room with the Muslim Clerics
When Vassula lived in Bangladesh with her family in the 1980’s, her husband Per, and the family used to drive on the weekends and visit the Salesian Nuns and have lunch with them. In fact in 1987,Vassula gave them a large painting of hers and offered it to them. So we asked one of the Nuns if she could show us that painting. They brought it out for all of us to see.
The Mother Superior Shanti of the Salesian Nuns (Left) Vassula and her painting that she gave to the Salesian Nuns in 1987 (Right)and Fr.Robert Mankin
We then continued in Mymensingh and The Imam Islam escorted us to the Hotel Mustafiz , where there were many Muslim clerics patiently seated around a large table waiting for Vassula to address them. There were a few Baptist, including Fr. Benjamin Banerjee, and Matthew Mitra. A couple of Seventh Day Adventist, including, Edward Chambugong. Also, Fr. Robert Mankin the Catholic Priest who accompanied us there. Mr Sujit Barua a Budhhist, who accompanied us from Dhaka, he was the translator as Vassula spoke to them. This already was Ecumenical. Vassula addressed the group for approximately for a half an hour to forty five minutes
| Vassula and the Muslim Clerics at the table in the Hotel Mustafiz in Mymensingh
Matthew Mitra, from the Baptist Church, asked a question as he read about it on Wikipedia which he had printed out with him, about the encounter with her guardian Angel Daniel and asked her to explain it. Vassula continued to explain how she saw her guardian Angel in a supernatural way. She also informed them of the thirty three Beth Myriams that are around the world to feed the poor .She mentioned that faith is not enough and we must do something for the poor. It is part of the mission to help the poor and feed them.
We then were invited to have lunch together with the Muslim clerics .We went to a Chinese Restaurant Rom III.
The Chinese Restaurant with the Muslim clerics in Mymensingh
After lunch, we departed Mymensingh back for Dhaka as we had a four hour drive ahead of us.
On Wednesday February 23, 2011 We departed for the Grand Gala Inauguration Ceremony of the Buddha Image and The Atish Dipankar &V Suddhananda Peace Gold Awards. Upon arrival at ten am, there was tight security as the Honorable Prime Minister; Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina , who is Muslim, would be present. This event was held at the Dharmarajika Monastery in Kamalapur. Bouddha Kristi Prachar Sangha organized the function marking the opening of the 48-feet standing image of Buddha erected on Dhamarajika Buddhist Monastery campus with cooperation of the Royal family of Thailand, who has donated the statue, the highest such sculpture of Buddha in Bangladesh. Representatives of 11 countries including Greece, Japan, China, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore attended the opening ceremony and over two thousand people attended
| Vassula being escorted by the Ven Suddhananda |
| Vassula seated next to the dignitaries from the other countries |
Once the Prime Minister arrived the programme started with a Bangladesh dance and a Thailand dance. The program also started with people from the different faiths to say a prayer. The Imam Islam sang a prayer from the Koran in Arabic, and Duleep had been asked to read from the Holy Bible. However, they didn’t have one there so Duleep asked Vassula what to say. There was only a few minutes before he would go up on the stage, and this was really urgent. Vassula asked God to help her write some words in a rush. This is what she wrote and Duleep read out:
| Duleep |
Blessed are the Peacemakers for they shall be called “Son’s of God” Jesus said to his disciples; be the light of the world do not be like salt that lost its taste For what use is salt if lost its taste? It shall be thrown away. Blessed are the meek in heart for theirs is the Kingdom of God. Be good and perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect: So in the morning sew your seed of love, at noon sow your seed of peace, in the evening sow your seed of reconciliation, then go and collect your harvest and offer it to your Father in Heaven, and he shall tell you: In your graciousness my child you have obtained your reward in Heaven. The word of the lord….
The welcome speech was by Mr. Saber Hossain Chowdhury M.P. The other speeches were by Mr.Dilip Barua,Honorable minister for industries, Police Major General suwira Songmetta PH.D., Advocate Md. Shajahan Mia M.P ,Honorable State Minister for Religious Affairs, H.E.Ms. Tasanawadee Miancharoen, Ambassador of the Royal Kingdom of Thailand to Bangladesh and the Ven.Prakhru Sangkhru Boonsong Upassamo, Lord Abbot, Wat Songmettawanaram, Thailand
| The Prime Minister HE Sheikh Hasina |
Her Excellency handed over the Atish Dipankar Peace Gold Award-2011 and Visuddhananda Mahathero Gold Award-2011 among the recipients for their contribution in spreading the message of peace.
They announced her as Vassula Ryden, “Divine Messenger” from Greece. She was the first to be called to receive the Atish Dipankar Peace Gold Award Medal for Inter-Religious Harmony and Peace, where Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina placed it around her neck and awarded her the large plaque as well.
| HE Sheikh Hasina placing the Peace Gold Medal and receiving the large plaque|
| Peace Gold Award Medal for Inter-Religious Harmony and Peace |
Among the other recipients for their contribution in spreading the message of peace where;
Phan Wannameethee of Thailand, Hye-Jeong of Korea and Phrashru Sangkharak Noonsong Upasamo of Thailand received the Atish Dipankar Peace Gold Award-2011
The Visuddhananda Mahathero Gold Award 2011 was given to T Y S Lama Gangchen, Founder Lama Ganchen World Peace Foundation, Italy, Thailand Police Major General Suwira Songmetta, Ajitananda Mahathero of Bangladesh, and Prof. Takahi Uemura of Japan, chair of Bangladesh-Japan Association of Science and Technology.
The Prime Minister departed and then we had a break for Lunch and the afternoon program began at four thirty in the afternoon with the ceremony of the Buddha Rupa.
| 48-feet highest standing sculpture of Buddha in Bangladesh |
We then continued into the large meeting area for the reception of all the recipients. His Holiness Acting Sangharaja of Thailand Somdej Phra Wannarat remained present as Chief Guest. His Holiness Sanghanayaka of Bangladesh S.Dharmapal Mahathero formally inaugurated while His holiness Sangharaja of Bangladesh Dharmasen Mahahero presided over the function. Professor Dr. Pranab Kumar Baruya Secretary General who has joined us on our pilgrimages in Egypt 2002 and in Turkey 2007 greeted Vassula and gave her one of his books.
| Mr. Saber Chowdhury M.P,Police Major General Suwira Songmeta, Dr.P.K.Barua and Vassula|
They invited Vassula Ryden, along with the other recipients to sit at the Dias that they prepared along with the other dignitaries. Again they announced Vassula Ryden, Divine Messenger from Greece, to go to the podium and address the people.
| Vassula speaking to the dignitaries and the crowd of people|
| Vassula’s speech at the Grand Gala Inauguration Ceremony 2011 Bangladesh|
Vassula’s speech at the Grand Gala Inauguration Ceremony 2011
Vassula went back to her seat where next to her was sitting Police Major General Suwira Songmeta. He congratulated her for her speech saying how much he liked it. He asked her if he could have and keep her speech. Vassula handed it to him immediately.
| Thailand Police Major General who congratulated her asked to keep her speech |
At the end of the program, around seven thirty in the evening, we were invited to a special dinner at the Hotel Dubani hosted by Mr. Saber Chowdhury M.P. for the recipients of the awards.
Vassula sitting next to the Ambassador of Thailand to Bangladesh H.E.Ms.Tsanawadee Miancharoen
The scripture that comes to mind while I was there is this one: And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd (John 10v16)
May God bless all of those people who worked on this program and during our visit with the people, we met wonderful people along the way, to make this a most memorable experience for me to witness, such warm hospitality and graciousness of the people in Bangladesh; Even though it is a poor country it is very rich in spirit!
TLIG reader and companion,