“Most people are afraid”: The latest from Sri Lanka

April 29, 2019 by Christopher Summers in Persecution updates

It’s been just over a week since the devastating Easter bombings in Sri Lanka that killed more than 250 people and left hundreds injured. Open Doors workers are on the ground, talking with and worshiping with Christians as they try to recover and mourn their dead friends and family. Our workers have been attending many funerals—these bombings rocked the Christian minority in Sri Lanka. We recently heard from one of our fieldworkers Sunil (not his real name) to find out what he has observed in Sri Lanka, and how believers around the world can pray.

Open Doors: How is the church coping?

Sunil: Many churches and believers are praying for the situation to be resolved. But most people are afraid. A lot of people were shaken in their faith and began to question God and why He allowed something like this to happen (especially new converts). But people who understand God and the way He is working through everything have been unmoved.

Did Protestant and evangelical churches hold services [Editor’s note: Roman Catholic churches did not hold services this past weekend]? Or were they obeying the government not to hold meetings? What did they advise their church members?

The National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka [NCEASL] advised churches to follow some safety procedures if they are going to hold their services, such as not parking near the church, not allowing bags inside, changing the time of the service, etc. But some of the mainline churches were asked by their senior pastors to not conduct their services. Other churches did not conduct their services in fear of possible attacks. However, there were some churches that conducted their services as usual.

How do Christians experience the emergency situation and arrests?

Christians, like everyone else, are reminded of the time before our civil war ended. Then, too, we had curfews and police check points. To many people, the events of last Sunday reopened old wounds. Yet many mature Christians who have had a solid foundation in their faith are standing strong and many are coming together to uphold our country in prayer.

Have any houses of Christians searched?

As far as I know, Christians’ houses have not been searched. But the authorities have stopped and searched vehicles. I was transporting some Bibles from Colombo [the capital of Sri Lanka] to my home, and even the taxi driver as well as the police officers at checkpoints insisted on checking every single box. But the Muslim population in Sri Lanka has faced the most difficulty these days as many Muslim politicians and mosques have been under investigation.

Our Christian brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka need to know they’re not alone and the worldwide Body of Christ stands with them through prayer and encouragement. We need to do everything we can to lift them up in prayer—and to strengthen them in the face of great persecution. Here are two ways you can encourage your Christian family in Sri Lanka through prayer.

  1. Post your prayer on our Sri Lanka Prayer Wall today.
  2. Post a prayer or an encouraging message on your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts using the hashtag: #PrayforSriLanka