Recently, Open Doors, a persecution watchdog, shared the plight of the Sri Lankan church. The country has found Itself in unprecedented economic and political turmoil, and the Sri Lankan church is caught right in the middle. Even as believers are struggling to attend church during the fuel shortage, churches are stepping up to provide for their communities.
Here are five brief stories we’ve heard from Sri Lanka. The Church is still active, even as the country shuts down.
A local church in the district of Kegalle, located northeast of Colombo, offered refreshments to the residents in their village. Most of these villagers are unbelievers, but they were happy to receive this simple gesture of kindness. Kids were eagerly waiting for drinks to be served to them.
These drinks were a treat for many. The U.N. has reported that 60% of Sri Lankans are food-insecure, meaning they are reducing the amount of food they eat and are lacking nutritious meals. As many Sri Lankans cut costs, simple treats like these go a long way.
Open Doors partners have been on the frontlines of practical relief as the Sri Lanka crisis continues. They have helped pastors, widows and many believers in low-income households.
Public service workers in Sri Lanka continue to work to maintain a few basic services. Like everyone else, however, they are suffering from high inflation and economic turmoil. In Colombo, churches came together to distribute dry rations and other groceries to these workers. Praise the Lord, the police department expressed their gratitude toward the local church and was moved by this act of generosity. The crisis is allowing the Church to take on a visible role as peacemakers.
A local church in Nugegoda distributed cooked meals to over 50 unbelievers. Most meal recipients were low-income earners and were mainly Buddhists. These meals paved the way for new connections between Christians and Buddhists, laying the seeds for ongoing relationships and understanding. Many recipients are still in touch with the church.
Because of the crisis, Pastor Hasika finds herself in a new season of ministry of sorts. She’s having difficulty getting around to the people in her church due the fuel shortage and lack of transportation. Her husband has resorted to taking their daughter’s small bicycle to work. Nonetheless, Hasika regularly walks miles and miles every day to ensure her congregation is surviving this time of great need.
“It is hard to come to church in the midst of this crisis, but I sense that the Lord is doing a new thing among us,” Pastor Hasika says. “There is a sacrifice to make, and I am willing to pay the price.” With a believing heart and a confident smile, Pastor Hasika continues to make her way to church every Sunday.
This story originally appeared at Mission Network News and is republished here with permission.