News / Thoughts

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News / Thoughts

Sri Lanka: 10 weeks on

June 24, 2019

Ten weeks ago, on Easter Sunday, a series of attacks killed 253 people in Sri Lanka. What happened next?

Many of those killed had been worshipping, with bombs being detonated at St Anthony’s Church in Colombo, St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo and Zion Church in Batticaloa. Thank you so much for continuing to support your family there, as the wounded recover and the mourning rebuild their lives.

Remembering those who died…

There were 136 children in Zion Church on Easter Sunday – 14 of them died. Six-year-old Peter, one of those who was killed, loved cricket.

“I’m glad that he’s with Jesus but it’s painful he’s not with me,” said Peter’s mum. “Peter didn’t just die, he died as a martyr,” his aunt adds. “Even if you know that in your head, it’s hard to accept it in your heart.”

Image: A memorial to Peter in his mum and dad’s home

Trying to stop the bombers…

Senior leaders of Zion Church, Ramesh and Sasi, spoke to the suicide bomber in the church foyer. They stopped him from getting to the main congregation.

Chrishanthini, Ramesh’s wife, said: “We were about five minutes into the worship when we heard a loud bang, but I didn’t know what happened at that time. We thought it was the generator.”

Ramesh and Sasi died instantly. If the attacker had got into the main part of the building, 200 more congregants could have been killed.

Despite her grief, Chrishanthini is holding on to her faith. “Nothing happens without God knowing. And what I know is that God is love.”

How you’re helping…

These are just some of the hundreds of stories we’re hearing from the church family in Sri Lanka. Thanks to your support, Open Doors has provided trauma care and counselling for traumatised Christians, and is running persecution preparedness training in the three towns where the bombings took place.

Through livelihood and education support, Open Doors is helping families to get back on their feet. At the beginning of June, Open Doors workers went to Batticaloa to buy new motorbikes for six Christians who lost theirs in the explosion.

Image: Zion’s motorbikes

Let us take heart…

As Tala*, an Open Doors fieldworker who travelled to Sri Lanka shortly after the attacks, says, “Let us take heart. Jesus has overcome the world, and in Him, we are not helpless. We can call to our Abba Father to hold our family in Sri Lanka. We can be one with them. We can pray. We can weep with those who weep and journey with God’s precious remnant. We can choose to be a family to the suffering church at this critical time. It will be a long and difficult road ahead for our family in Sri Lanka, but God hears the cries of His people, and He answers our prayers in His beautiful time.”

Pray now…

  • For Peter’s family, and all grieving families, that they would receive God’s grace and healing
  • For St Anthony’s, St Sebastian’s and Zion Church, that they will continue to be Christ’s light in Sri Lanka
  • For courageous faith for our brothers and sisters across Sri Lanka, and protection from future attacks.

Get inspired to live out your faith with Guts and Courage…

Choosing to follow Jesus takes courage in Sri Lanka. Get your free copy of our new Guts and Courage resource to learn more about the places in the world where Christians face pressure, violence and intimidation for their faith and get inspired to live out your walk with God with more boldness…

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