Christians prepare for an onslaught of trouble from Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka.

By May 25, 2004

Sri Lanka (MNN)–In April, Buddhist monks vowed to push an anti-conversion bill through Sri Lanka’s government.

However, Voice of the Martyrs’ Todd Nettleton speculates the surprises in neighboring India may change that. “We have already seen that the election of a new government has affected some of the anti-conversion laws. Sri Lanka has considered an anti-conversion law very similar to what we have seen in India. Hopefully, they will watch and say, ‘Maybe we should hold off on that for awhile.”

Nettleton says their teams are training church leaders how to deal with persecution, adding it will intensify. He points to one of many recent incidents that are likely to continue.

The pastor of the Prayer Tower Church in Mahawewa, Sri Lanka, was building a new residence, but rumors that he was building a Bible School raised opposition from local Buddhists.

According to a report from the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka, a mob of around 400 people, including some from neighboring villages, surrounded the pastor’s house May 18, threatened him and destroyed his water well.

The pastor was warned to not report this incident to the police. Two days earlier, the home of an Assembly of God pastor in Yakkala was invaded by about fifty people, led by
a Buddhist monk.

After threatening him and demanding that he stop conducting worship services, they seized Christian literature and left.

Behavior like this necessitates prayer, Nettleton says, because, “In Sri Lanka, it is the Buddhists who see people who they had influence over now becoming Christians. That weakens their power base and as they see the church grow, they see their own influence shrink. That makes them feel threatened and angry, and so they strike out with violence.”

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