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SRI LANKA: Pastor Forced to Close Ministry Following Threats and Intimidation

SRI LANKA: Pastor Forced to Close Ministry Following Threats and Intimidation

A pastor in Sri Lanka has been forced to close his ministry after being detained by police and threatened by Buddhist monks.

On Sunday 18 October, police arrived at the pastor’s house in Bakamuna, located in the Polonnaruwa district of Sri Lanka. Police ordered the pastor, whose identity has been withheld, to immediately report to the local police station.

At the station, he was taken into an office crowded with Buddhist monks. With the pastor’s church attendance list in their possession, the monks went on to issue a series of threats against the pastor and demanded his ministry be closed.

The pastor’s church has endured similar threats in the past five years. However, in light of these most recent threats, the pastor has decided to close down his ministry.

Christians make up 8% of Sri Lanka’s total population. They face frequent persecution and local opposition, often led by Buddhist monks.

Sources: Barnabas Fund, International Christian Concern

  • Ask the Lord to provide the pastor with wisdom, protection and courage. Pray too for the church members, that they will be encouraged in the faith.
  • Pray this incident will in no way stifle the growth of the church in Sri Lanka but that the Lord will use it somehow for good and for His glory.
  • Ask God to work in the hearts and minds of those who oppose Him and the Gospel in Sri Lanka. Pray for a harvest.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

SRI LANKA: Pastor Harassed by Mob and Police

SRI LANKA: Pastor Harassed by Mob and Police

As believers gathered for worship in the village of Ihala Yakkura on the morning of 2 February, a mob of around 150 people, led by Buddhist monks, arrived and disrupted the service by questioning the owner of the premises. The pastor called the police, who were able to maintain peace until the service concluded, even though the mob remained present.

After the service, the pastor went to speak to the monks and the police. During this time, the monks attempted to assault the pastor, but the officers intervened. The attackers insisted that because theirs was a “Buddhist village”, no Christian worship would be allowed. Even though the pastor had been invited by villagers, the police sided with the monks and falsely stated that the church needed state permission to conduct worship activities. After making a formal statement at a nearby police station, the pastor was warned by the officer involved to not re-enter the village due to the threats made against his life.

That evening, the pastor went back to the village, taking along his wife, son and eight others. In their attempts to leave the area, they discovered that the road had been blocked. A mob then proceeded to accost the visiting Christians, physically assaulting them and causing damage to their vehicles. After an eventual escape, the believers were able to receive treatment at a hospital. A police report was filed and, the next day, five people were remanded in connection with the incident.

Source: National Christian Evangelical Alliance Sri Lanka (NCEASL)

  • Pray for the physical and emotional healing of the Christians injured in the mob attack.
  • Ask God to make a way for His ministry in the village to continue touching hearts and transforming lives.
  • Pray for Sri Lanka’s governing authorities, that they will justly uphold the rights and freedoms of all citizens.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

SRI LANKA: Theology Student Brutally Assaulted

SRI LANKA: Theology Student Brutally Assaulted

While a Christian theology student was conducting a worship service, a few residents led by Buddhist monks stood outside the establishment, questioning his religious activities and demanding to see his identification.

Thereafter the group physically assaulted him and demanded that he leave the village immediately. The student is presently suffering from injuries to his head, neck, ear, and spine.

Sri Lanka remains a nation divided. Hinduism is prevalent in the north, while Buddhism dominates the south. Buddhist monks are the primary persecutors, stirring up communities against the Christians who live among them. Hindus also oppose evangelism and conversion to Christianity.

Sources: WEA Religious Liberty Commission, The Voice of the Martyrs USA

  • Pray for God’s protection, healing and comfort over the Christian student injured in the attack.
  • Pray for those who witnessed the attack, that the Lord would help them to overcome any fear.
  • Pray that the church in Sri Lanka will continue to minister the Gospel in hostile areas despite the pressure and persecution.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

SRI LANKA: Pastor Shan Kidnapped and Tortured

SRI LANKA: Pastor Shan Kidnapped and Tortured

In 2006 Pastor Shan Babu started the Gospel Tabernacle Church in Sri Lanka. In the first two years the congregation was small, and the pastor took to evangelising from house to house.

By 2017, God had brought many Buddhists to Christ and the church had steadily grown to 250 members.

Throughout this time, many Buddhists openly objected to the work Pastor Shan was doing.

In October 2018 the pastor was riding home on his motorbike, after working at the church. He was stopped by a self-proclaimed inspector in uniform, was held down and was forced to inhale chloroform; he fell unconscious.

When he awoke, he found himself tied up and blindfolded, not knowing where he was.

He was tortured by electric shock to his face and over the rest of his body. He suffered cuts in many areas of his body, causing heavy bleeding. The pastor was drugged using a funnel which was forced down his throat. He also had an iron rod placed in his rectum, which contributed to the pain from the electric shocks.

Pastor Shan was held for 24 hours.

He was released in a distant jungle setting 40kms away, his body was swollen and numb and bleeding.

A young boy saw Pastor Shan, knew who he was and sought help.

Following his release the pastor vomited blood for two days. Nerve endings throughout his body had been damaged and now lack feeling.

Pastor Shan has regular medical check-ups and he remains on medication following his horrific ordeal.

Despite all he has suffered, Pastor Shan still operates his church.

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SRI LANKA: Christians Under Pressure from Extremists

SRI LANKA: Christians Under Pressure from Extremists

The church in Sri Lanka is facing mounting violence and discrimination — as extremism extends its influence. Buddhist hardliners and Hindu extremists with links to India are gaining influence.

Large mobs, even entire communities, are being mobilised against the church. One example involves the Assemblies of God (AOG) church in Beliatta, southern Sri Lanka.

A mob of about 100 people from various villages attacked the church building, demanding an end to worship services and threatening to kill the pastor and his family.

Police had to call for back-up to be able to escort the pastor to the safety of the police station. Later that night, the pastor’s home was pelted with stones.

Three days later, about 500 people, including Buddhist monks, staged a protest against the church, demanding the pastor leave the village. The pastor and his family were put under police protection.

Partners of Release International say that Hindu extremist groups that have taken root in India, including the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh), are extending their reach into Sri Lanka, especially in eastern areas. They are reported to have been holding meetings with Hindu villagers to promote religious hatred towards Christians and incite violence.

Sources: Release International, Morning Star News

  • Ask God to protect the pastor and family and reassure them of His faithfulness.
  • Pray that God will strengthen His people and uphold them with His righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).
  • Pray that those who are spreading intolerance and extremism will be moved by the witness of Sri Lankan Christians and touched by God’s unconditional love.