Violence hits Bible College in Sri Lanka

By March 18, 2008

Sri Lanka (MNN) — The volatile situation at Gospel for Asia's Sri Lanka Bible College is escalating as a local elected official and a small group of Buddhist monks are falsely accusing the school of being a front for a Sri Lankan terrorist group, the Tamil Tigers. The Tigers are fighting to divide Sri Lanka along ethnic lines.

Founder and President of Gospel for Asia KP Yohannan describes what happened over the weekend. "One of the elected political officials who is very much anti-Christian came (to our campus) with a loaded gun, and a whole bunch of people with him threatened to kill our students and rape our female students, and they demanded our school be closed down."

Yohannan says GFA workers contacted authorities, and police intervened.

Earlier in the day, this man and the monks staged a protest at the school carrying banners and placards. The Sri Lankan media covered the protest.

After the midnight attack, the elected official filed a police complaint against the security guard, but the police arrested the official instead. The politician told police that he was acting out of patriotic concern for his country.

On March 2, a group of students from the Bible college were attacked while on their way to worship at a nearby GFA-related church. The militants responsible for that attack say their ultimate goal is to close down the Bible college.

Yohannan says the Gospel message that Christ is the only way to salvation is what's triggering these attacks. "They simply see this as a threat to their community. It's a threat to their religion, and they rise up to oppose the Gospel and those who do it."

He says while many of their pastors, evangelists and missionaries have been attacked and churches destroyed, "this kind of attack on a Bible College is a first for us in Sri Lanka."

Yohannan says this continues to be a dangerous situation, but believers aren't losing heart. "We are taking all the precautions to make sure that our students are protected. But our leaders are believing that in the midst of difficulties they should not run away but continue the ministry and teach our students, trusting the Lord to overrule the situation."

Gospel for Asia leaders in Sri Lanka asks for prayer for the safety of the students and staff at the Bible College. They also request prayer that God would intervene in this injustice and stop this kind of violence against His children.

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