Date: January 16, 2014
Sources: National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka, BBC
Our Christian brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka were targeted in several attacks in recent weeks. Around the midnight hour on December 21st, two petrol bombs were thrown into a pastor's premises in Ahangama, Galle District. Thankfully, the pastor and his family were not injured.
On Christmas Eve, three congregations in the south of the country were attacked. The pastor of one church in Angunukolapalassa, Hambanthota District, was surrounded by over 300 villagers and Buddhist monks who demanded that he stop all worship services planned for Christmas Day. The same night, unidentified assailants threw firecrackers into a church compound and the adjoining pastor's residence in Hikkaduwa, Galle District. Another church was targeted in the same village by attackers who hurled stones at the building, shattering several windows.
Several days later, on December 27th, approximately 200 protesters demanded that construction halt on a church building in Buttala, Monaragala District. Although the police and some authorities intervened, the situation remained tense and, at last report, the construction had been temporarily suspended.
On January 12th, two churches were attacked in Hikkaduwa (the same location as two of the three Christmas Eve attacks). A mob of approximately 300 people stormed the two churches, throwing stones at the buildings. Christian literature, musical instruments and other goods were also set on fire or destroyed. Among the protestors were Buddhist monks who claimed that the Christian presence in the area was illegal. The same day, in Pitipana, Colombo District, a home where believers gathered for prayer was set ablaze during the early hours of the morning, and a threatening note was hung on the church's gate. The fire was fortunately doused before serious damage took place.
As attacks increase in Sri Lanka, pray that God's peace, which surpasses all understanding, will guard the hearts and minds of our brothers and sisters in Christ (Philippians 4:7). May Christians in this nation not resort to violence, but rather exemplify Christ's love and forgiveness to their attackers. Thank God for shielding His children from serious harm, asking for His continued protection from the advances of the enemy. Pray, too, that He will grant wisdom to the police and other authorities in this country so that they may work for justice and peace for all citizens.
To learn more about the trials our Christian family faces in Sri Lanka, please visit our Sri Lanka Country Report at www.persecution.net/srilanka.htm.