The persecuted church of Sri Lanka rises up to help in the aftermath of tsunami devastation.

By December 31, 2004

Sri Lanka (MNN)–Sri Lanka is appealing for more aid as it struggles to cope with the tsunami aftermath. The death toll could go as high as 400-thousand, with disease and starvation now threatening the survivors.

In light of that, fresh tsunami warnings caused a scramble for higher ground. Other dangers are on the rise. There are news reports that indicate survivors picking through debris to recover corpses at Sri Lanka’s northern tip have also found floating landmines. It’s a grim reminder of an insurgnecy dividing the north between government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels.

In this country, believers have been horribly affected, with reports of whole churches and congregations washed away. And yet, in the midst of great sorrow, the Christians are mobilizing their relief response, too.

Years ago, FARMS International launched an outreach in Sri Lanka, only to find that it was better to cut ties because of oppression the church was experiencing.

FARMS’s Joseph Richter realizes that Sri Lankan Christians still face persistent discrimination, so assistance is much more low-key. “In Sri Lanka, even though FARMS is not a relief organization, we’re going to be sending relief aid in the form of money that can be used to help in the relief effort (that) FARMS Lanka is involved in.”
Richter says believers in an area church decided to build a refugee camp in their new building and help set up temporary sanitation.

Their actions are the strongest testimony to their faith. “I guess our approach is that every bit of help is necessary and every organization has its own sphere of influence and people that are in need.”

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