Please pray for a pastor in Sri Lanka’s Kalutara district whose home has been attacked twice in the space of two days.
The pastor received a letter from a local official stating that his religious worship activities were not registered and that he could only continue with them if he registered in accordance with the 2008 Circular, issued by the Ministry of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs. The Circular requires all new constructions of religious places of worship to be registered, though it has no basis in Sri Lankan law.
A little while later, on Saturday and Monday, his home was pelted with stones, the first time for more than an hour. The pastor, who has conducted religious worship activities in the area for the past 17 years, has lodged complaints with the police.
Source: Release International
- Pray for protection for this pastor and his congregation. Pray for wisdom.
- Pray that church leaders in rural areas of Sri Lanka would not be intimidated by officials’ use of the 2008 Circular.
- Pray the Holy Spirit will be at work mightily in Sri Lanka to bring repentance and salvation to many, including those attempting to intimidate this pastor.
The leader of a Sri Lankan church destroyed by a mob last month has vowed that the church will continue to meet. Kamal Wasantha, leader of the Kithu Sevana Prayer Centre, states: “No attack can stop us. We shall continue to meet and pray under a tree.” Despite the attack leaving the Christian community of 15 families and 20 other worshippers nowhere to meet, they have no desire for revenge. “(We) shall not attack them in retaliation,” he adds. “Judgement belongs to God.”
On 5 January, a group of people, allegedly led by a Buddhist monk, attacked the church in Paharaiya, north-western Sri Lanka. “First, they threatened us verbally,” Kamal explains. “Then they came with wooden sticks, iron bars and knives, and destroyed everything. [People] begged the attackers not to damage the place of worship.”
Four days prior to the attack, a Buddhist monk from Gothamiramaya reportedly threatened them with “serious punishment” if they continued to lead worship at the church. A complaint was filed with the police by the leaders of the church and warnings were given to others in the Christian community. Then on 5 January, two of the church leaders and the monk were summoned to the police station. Ironically, the attack happened that same night. About 200 witnesses named the monk and 12 other people as the attackers. The accused perpetrators of the crime remain free on bail.
The church was growing quickly and, with all its members being from other faiths, this attracted the attention of those in the village who do not tolerate Buddhists changing their religion to Christianity. Kamal, himself a Buddhist convert, says he “cannot abandon (this) mission just because of the attacks.”
Source: World Watch Monitor
- Praise God for the faithfulness of Kamal and his parishioners, who are living out 2 Timothy 1:7 (For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind).
- Thank the Lord for the growth of the church, pray many more will receive the Gospel as a result of the witness of these believers and the work of the Holy Spirit.
- Pray for the perpetrators and those in authority; may they too have an opportunity to hear the Gospel and come to know the Lord Jesus.
Those who come to Christ in Sri Lanka face challenges and trials from Buddhist or Hindu family members or village leaders. Sometimes the challenges are extreme: church buildings torn down, Christians beaten and even martyred for their faith. Yet God is at work: even with persecution the church in Sri Lanka is growing. Rev Godfrey Yogarajah, the leader of the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka, tells about both the exciting growth in the Sri Lankan church and the persecution that our brothers and sisters there are facing, and how they prepare to stand strong even in the midst of persecution.
Listen to the full interview on VOM Radio here