In March of last year, Open Doors hosted a letter writing campaign for Shiromi, the widow of Sri Lankan Pastor Neil Edirisinghe, who was martyred four years ago. Over the past year, Shiromi and her son Seradh have been encouraged by the hundreds of written messages and Bible passages sent to them by Christians worldwide who have been praying for them.
Though it was risky to stay in the area after her pastor Neil’s death, Shiromi chose to continue the church that her husband started in Ampara, East Sri Lanka. “At first, I wanted to serve [the church] for about six months only,” Shiromi said. “Then, I would hand over the ministry to another. But as I started doing so, I realized that Ampara was my home-everything I love and cherish is here.”
In 2000, Pastor Neil moved his family to Ampara district. He started a ministry among youth in the war-torn area, teaching them nonviolence through Jesus’ life. Shiromi counseled women who were victims of domestic violence.
Unfortunately, thriving Christian ministries like this in Sri Lanka have come to expect opposition from Buddhist clergies. Monks provoke villagers to assault pastors and believers, disrupt Sunday gatherings and ransack church buildings. “I had problems with a Buddhist clergy last year, but it was resolved. Still, I am cautious and sensitive in carrying out the ministry,” Shiromi told Open Doors.
Shiromi and her son Seradh still live in Ampara, in the very house where they both witnessed the fatal shooting of Pastor Neil on Feb. 17, 2008. Seradh, now six years old, has shown signs of recovery from his trauma. “He still finds it difficult to get up each morning for school, but he enjoys being with other kids. I see his love for God… and he wants to be a pastor someday,” Shiromi said.
Shiromi admitted that the demands of Juggling home and ministry responsibilities is taking a toll on her. She is also beginning to feel the social stigma and suspicion of her community towards single mothers-and a Christian one at that.
If you would like to write a letter of encouragement to Shiromi and Seradh please “Write” section for a link to additional information.
Father, we join Shiromi in praying for a church worker to help her in regular visitations to believers as she attends to duties at home as well. Thank You for her faithfulness in serving Your church in Ampara. Protect her and multiply her effort in strengthening and growing the church there. Provide for her daily necessities, for the rebuilding of their house, and for Seradh’s education. Heal his painful memories, and encourage him in his desire to serve You with his life. Pour out Your blessing upon them. In the name of Jesus their protector, Amen.