Instability in Sri Lanka makes waves

By February 26, 2010

Sri Lanka (MNN) — Sri Lanka hopes to hold together until
the April 8 parliamentary vote, but unrest from within threatens to tear the
country apart.

The latest tinder to the fire is the decision to have defeated Sri Lankan presidential candidate
Sarath Fonseka stand in April's
parliamentary polls, where sources say he will likely head up a new
opposition alliance.

David Rice with India Gospel League explains, "Everything right now is unstable.
There's a lot of fear, there's a lot of tension. It's created some very
difficult situations for believers."

Aside from contested elections, there are human rights
issues stemming from the civil war's messy end.  Rice says there are camps for the Internally
Displaced Persons, remnants from the war with the Tamil Tigers, that have been
delayed in the resettlement efforts. The
camps have been notorious for poor sanitation and food security problems.  

In an effort to maintain order, especially after Fonseka's
arrest, security has been beefed up.   

The restrictions aren't so different for Christians who are
already under close scrutiny. "In
spite of all the persecution," notes Rice, "the church continues to thrive. It almost
fuels the energy of the believers. I believe the Lord blesses them, but it does
hamper the work." 

Keep praying. While
the Constitution contains a statement guarding freedom of religion, many
Christian activities are seen to violate the special status awarded Buddhism.

Anti-conversion legislation is still in the works, and
instability flare-ups can make outreach difficult. "The government has identified itself as
basically being a Buddhist government, and so anybody that's different from them–be it Christian, Muslim or whatever–is going to have a very difficult time
operating in Sri Lanka." Pray that the Gospel message will continue to
grow and that many will come to Christ.

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