This Sunday a grim anniversary for Sri Lankan believers

By April 19, 2024
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Sri Lanka (MNN) — Five years ago this Sunday, suicide bombers linked to Islamic terrorists carried out a deadly series of attacks in Sri Lanka. Bombings at three churches and three hotels killed 269 people and wounded more than 500 others. 

It also happened to be Easter, making it an especially pointed attack. Christians are a minority in Sri Lanka, making up 1.7 million, or 7.7%, of the population (source: Joshua Project).


In the years since then, the government has largely met calls for thorough investigation with inaction and silence. A trial of suspects in the bombing began in late 2021 but to date no one has been convicted or punished for the killings. Many people gather each year to protest this silence.

Greg Yoder with Christian World Outreach (CWO) says, “It is a time to remember. Being a believer is not not necessarily a safe thing. It’s a battle, and I think that’s part of what was going on (in Sri Lanka).”

The gospel continues to be opposed in Sri Lanka, but Christians are resilient.

“There’s been physical attacks on Christians, (people) attacking them if they do open a church, if they do any kind of evangelism,” Yoder says.

“But what’s impressed me is the desire (of) those who know the Lord to not let any of that deter them from sharing the gospel, and especially discipling others — helping them grow in their faith so that they can share the gospel with others.”

Since 2021, the CWO team serve kids and families by offering education programs and meeting tangible needs. (Learn more here.) They do their work with sensitivity to the culture, in order to build relationships where they can then share the gospel. 

“We’ve had parents of some of our children in the after-school program (whose) concern was, ‘You’re going to make our children believe the way you do.’ We’ve reassured them, ‘No, but we use Bible stories to help the kids learn to read,’” Yoder says. 

Ministry in Sri Lanka. (Photo courtesy of Christian World Outreach)

“So they’re relieved by that, but then that opens the door because they want to hear, ‘Why do you want to love us? Why do you want to help our kids, if you’re not going to push the gospel on it?’ It just opens that door, and so people are willing to listen in the ministries that we do there.”

Now that you know more, will you pray? 

“Pray for the believers in Sri Lanka as they openly share the Gospel, as our staff there disciple others to grow in their faith so that they can share the gospel with others, share the love of Christ,” Yoder says.

Pray also for those still grieving for the people who were killed in 2019. Ask God to bring His perfect justice to those responsible for the attacks. 





Header photo of Sri Lanka is a representative stock photo courtesy of Vinnath Satharasinghe via Unsplash.

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