Renewed hostilities in Sri Lanka pose difficulties for ministries.

By August 9, 2006

Sri Lanka (MNN)–The execution-styled slayings of humanitarian aid workers in Sri Lanka appear to be heralding a discouraging turn of events.

Voice of the Martyrs-Canada’s Glenn Penner says they just talked with their partner. “For all intents and purposes, the ceasefire is dead. There is intense fighting going on now between the government and the Tamil Tigers. The international peace keepers have pretty much pulled out of the area, which is a real tragedy, because the country had had an opportunity over the last three years to really rebuild.”

While the Tigers’ recently ended a water blockade that spurred hopes the fighting would end, the hostilities have re-awakened. Over 440 have died with the outbreak of violence.

It’s the worst it has been since 2002. Then, a peace accord was settled, but the truce has been repeatedly broken, sparking fears that the conflict might re-ignite as an all-out war.

Penner says the effect on outreach could be long-lasting. “We were looking at doing a camp ministry with pastors’ families up in the northern part of Sri Lanka here in the later part of the year, and we’re just not sure if we’re going to be able to do it now. It’s just not safe for families to be able to travel. They just don’t know what’s going to be happening.”

The National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka says two churches and several schools where people were taking refuge got caught in the shelling and were badly damaged, resulting in considerable loss to life and property.

Geoff Tunnicliffe, international director of the evangelical network of churches, urges, “Please pray for this country and for the Christians who risk their lives to reach and care for those caught in this civil conflict.”

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