‘All I could see was fire’—Sri Lankan bomb survivor’s face glows with the joy of Christ

February 12, 2021 by Lindy Lowry in Asia

“By the blood that Jesus shed for us, He made us priceless treasures to prepare us for things like this.” —Sri Lankan attack survivor Rebekah

On Easter Sunday, April 19,2019, Rebekah woke up, excited to go to church and sing the song she had practiced with her sister Verlini—a song, she says, that’s all about Jesus’ suffering and love for us. She was standing in the church bookstore, when the bomber detonated the bomb in his backpack in Zion Church in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka, killing 30 people and injuring hundreds of others. That day, in a coordinated operation, Islamic extremists targeted and bombed two other churches and three luxury hotels in the island nation.  

Recently, Open Doors CEO David Curry spoke with Rebekah about that day and her faith as she continues to follow Christ in the midst of so much grief. Rebekah’s young nephew was killed; and her niece was blinded in the blast. Third-degree burns completely cover the left side of Rebekah’s body and parts of her right side. She spent 60 days in the hospital.

Sri Lanka bomb survivor shares her story
Sri Lanka bomb survivor shares her story

Like so many of the persecuted believers Open Doors talks to and serves, Rebekah shows us what resilient faith looks like. She shares what went through her mind in the chaos:

“All I could see was fire … Even though my sarai had caught fire, I didn’t dwell on the fact that I was burning,” she says.

“I knew I was going to die and go to Heaven. My only aim was to meet Jesus.”

Rebekah’s story reminds us that we have so much to learn from our persecuted family.

“I didn’t take anything negatively,” she shares. “I began to think, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. So I thought to myself, I can.”

Today, almost two years later, Rebekah continues to sing—and pursue her faith. She asks us to pray for her in that.

“I need to draw closer to Jesus,” she says, “so pray for that for me.”

Since the attack two years ago, Open Doors has been walking with grieving and traumatized families, like Rebekah’s, who have lost so much in the attacks.

Stand with Christians in places like Sri Lanka

Through your gift today, you’ll help believers around the world as they experience persecution for following Jesus. From helping attack survivors in Sri Lanka and discipling refugees from North Korea to providing trauma care in Nigeria, to secret projects in countries we can’t disclose, your gift strengthens the Church to stand for Jesus.

Help today
Share Your Comment

Related Stories