Christ in Sri Lanka- After Years of Civil War
After years of civil war, the tiny island nation of Sri Lanka was left with deep physical and emotional scars. Thousands were left homeless, others had lost family members; in some places entire villages had been destroyed.
Pastor Neil and his wife Shiromi, burdened by the deep wounds left on its citizens, moved to the village of Ampara located in the southern part of Sri Lanka. With a heart to minister to the traumatized youth in the area, many of whose families had been displaced by civil war, they ministered sacrificially – often in the midst of their own hunger and desperate need.
Bringing reconciliation to the broken families in the village the young couple quickly became part of the community and was loved by many. As their ministry grew beyond the troubled youth, Shiromi began reaching out to women who were victims of domestic violence. But, in spite of the many villagers who benefited from their ministry, some were not happy with their work…that’s when the threats began.
On February 18, 2008, just outside their home, a bullet pierced Pastor Neil’s heart, ending his earthly life. People who knew the pastor believed that it was a hired gun that killed him and that it was religiously motivated. At only 37 years-of-age Pastor Neil knew that the day would come when his life would end. But, while seeing the inevitability of his imminent death, he was convinced that it was not the end saying, “After me, thousands will rise to proclaim Christ’s message.” Pastor Neil’s wife Shiromi and their little boy, then a two-year-old, were also shot in the attack, but they survived.
Now, three years later the small house church in Ampara is growing under Shiromi’s care and guidance. Besides preaching and worshiping every Sunday, Shiromi visits members on weekdays. But as Shiromi and their five-year-old son continue to build their lives in the very place where Pastor Neil was taken from them, the trauma of that day still fills their minds.
As you read the account of this young family consider sending them a letter of encouragement. Help strengthen them in their grief and encourage them with hope as they continue to build His kingdom in Sri Lanka.