This Sri Lanka survivor shows what resurrection looks like

April 14, 2022 by Tim Dustin in Persecution updates

In Isaiah 61:3, we read the Lord will bestow on those who grieve “a crown of beauty instead of ashes.”

God’s promise was miraculously and beautifully fulfilled just recently as Rebecca exchanged vows with her groom. Rebecca was one of the survivors of the Sri Lankan Easter Sunday bombings in April 2019 that killed more than 260 people.

The coordinated bombings of three churches and four hotels in Batticaloa, Negombo, Colombo and Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia were one of the most horrific terrorist attacks since September 11, leaving 269 dead and more than 500 wounded.

In those attacks three years ago, Rebecca lost her sister, brother-in-law and nephew. She also suffered third-degree burns on her face and hands, and spent many weeks in an intensive care unit and underwent countless surgeries.

When she returned home, she stepped into a life that had been turned completely upside-down.

In the absence of her sister and brother-in-law, she jumped in to take care of her orphaned niece and nephew, but behind closed doors, Rebecca grieved the loss of so much. Although she remained strong on the outside, inside was still a smoldering fire. She found it hard to celebrate birthdays, and even Christmas, because the pain of her loss was so great.

“I was in the bookshop, and the suicide bomber stood right outside when he detonated the bomb in his backpack. All I remember is fire. Fire everywhere . . . Even though my sari had caught fire, I didn’t dwell on the fact that I was burning.”

Yet, she has continued to fight to reflect the light of Christ for her family.

“Jesus told us that choosing to follow Him means choosing to suffer for Him, too,” Rebecca shares. “But He also promised to sustain us through it. He promised that because of—not despite—our pain, we will experience His love and forgiveness for us and for the world.”

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Since the attacks, our local partners have walked with Rebecca and her family, visiting them on multiple occasions, bringing them needed supplies and praying. As time continued on, so did their healing. Although memories of the attack still live with Rebecca and her family, they are not crippled by them.

Instead, when asked about what happened that horrible day, Rebecca answers, “I know God does everything for our good because I have experienced it in my life. I have so much peace in my heart.”

And what a triumph over evil as Rebecca’s family watched as she joyfully married her husband, the son of a pastor.

As the worldwide body of Christ, we’ve been praying peace, healing and blessings for Rebecca and her family for three years now. Feeling and receiving those prayers, Rebecca says to the Open Doors community: “Thank you so much, dear friends, for your prayers and wishes. I hope your prayers make us stronger than before. Again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much. All glory be to God alone!”

In our prayers, let’s continue to remember Rebecca, her family, her husband and all those who lost so much in those attacks. Rebecca still has a few surgeries left, so continue to pray for her health. Let’s pray for miraculous healing through Christ, abundant and supernatural peace for those still dealing with the trauma of that day and for the courage of each survivor to continue to be living witnesses for Jesus Christ—no matter the cost.

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