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The remote village of Kirimetimulla is typical of the Southern villages of Sri Lanka; firm in its commitment to a Buddhist heritage dating back two thousand years. Mrs. Indrani Abeysinghe (aged 49) is a native of Kirimetimulla. She accepted Jesus Christ as an adult, while living away from the village. During the mid 90's she returned to her home in the village with her four children. From 2001, her house was used for conducting worship services on Sundays. This house Church is attended by about 20 believers.

On the 17th of January 2002, Indrani received a threatening letter from a group claiming to be the youth of the village, giving her an ultimatum to stop holding services in her home. She chose to ignore the warning and the services continued. Soon after, her home was stoned one night. The only damage was a broken window. The house church continued to meet. On 8th May 2002, she received another letter threatening her and other inmates of her home with death and the demolition of her home if she continued to use her home for Christian worship or activities. Indrani ignored this letter too. There was no disturbance and the services continued as before.

On Christmas Day 2002, the Christmas service was attended by the believers. Indrani's four adult children who lived in Colombo were home for Christmas. Many of the villagers (Buddhists) visited her home during the day to enjoy a meal. It was almost mid night when the tired but happy family turned in for the night. Indrani was fast asleep when she was awoken by the sound of loud gruff voices and banging on her front door. She switched on the light in her room, but nothing happened. (It was later that they discovered that the electricity supply to their house had been cut off). The voices getting louder with murderous threats; Indrani could hear the sound of shattering glass as all the windows in her home were being broken down. Fearing for her daughter's safety, she ran in to her daughter's room and closed the door behind her. Even in the dark, she could make out the shattered windows and broken glass covering the floor. She could also hear the sound of her sons trying to hold the back door, which was being forced open. All that Indrani could do was pray to the Lord, calling on the name of Jesus.

There was chaos and confusion as Indrani's sons tried their best to hold the intruders back, groping in the dark. The eldest son was holding the back door shut preventing the mob from entering the house. A voice from outside called out to shoot the door down. In fear of being shot, he let go of the door. The mob pushed through wielding clubs and shining flashlights in their faces. Through the blinding lights all the sons could see were silluettes of hooded men. The attackers lost no time in assaulting the sons. They were particularly brutal to Indrani's second son, 28 year old Suranga. The force of the blows threw him across a bed. He was unable to get up or defend himself any further as the mob beat him up with clubs. A flashlight was shining in his face and he could just make out a gun trained on his head. Suranga's attention was on the gun - he expected it to go off any moment. He did not see the sharp edge of the mammoty (a spade used by Sri Lankan farmers) coming at his forehead until it was too late. Suranga must have lost consciousness... the mob decided to leave, assuming that he was dead.

Indrani could hear the sounds of violent blows and the cries of her sons. But she did not want to expose her daughter to danger. She held on to the door with all her might as someone tried to force open the door of her daughter's room. She knew that she was no match to the strength of several men. Suddenly the assault on the door ceased. A miracle that saved Indrani and her daughter.

After the mob left, a neighbour came to their aid. Until this time the house had been surrounded by some members of the gang, chasing away any of the neighbours who heard the family's cries for help and came to help or investigate. The mob had in total numbered 10-15. They wore masks to hide their identity. The neighbourhood streetlights too had been switched off during the attack and there are reports of three-wheeler taxies parked up the road for a quick get-a-way.

Suranga was taken to the Matara hospital in the morning (they were afraid to travel by night). He was hospitalized for treatment of a severe head injury, which required about 8 stitches. The other sons were treated for minor injuries. Indrani has lodged a complaint with the Akuressa police (entry number 217/329 of 26th December 2002). She and her family cannot identify any of the attackers and she is unable to name any suspects. The Police are conducting inquiries, but the lack of information on suspects is hampering investigations. It is probable that the attackers were hired goons from another village. The attack has all the marks of a well planned and organized attack.

Indrani has left her home and is now living with friends in a city close to Colombo. Although visibly shaken and traumatized, she is determined to continue her ministry, but her children fear for her life. Suranga, thank God, has recovered to some degree and has been discharged from the hospital.

Please pray for Indrani, her children and the believers of the area. Pray also for other workers who minister in similar difficult areas.

Current Ministry Projects

VOMC supports persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka as they witness for Christ in hostile environments through Biblical training, legal aid, and advocacy, as well as rehabilitation and emergency assistance.

Project Funds: Relief and Development, Legal Defense

Country Information

Population
22,576,592 (July 2018 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Sinhalese (74.9), Sri Lankan Tamil (11.2), Sri Lankan Moors (9.2), Indian Tamil (4.2), other (0.5)

Religion (%)
Buddhism (70.2), Hinduism (12.6), Islam (9.7), Roman Catholic (6.1), Evangelical Christianity (2.0)

Leader
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Government type
Presidential republic

Legal system
Mixed legal system of Roman-Dutch civil law, English common law, and Jaffna Tamil customary law

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Sri Lanka

Let's unite our hearts in prayer for those in Sri Lanka who are being persecuted for their faith, thanking God for what He is accomplishing despite the opposition. Ask that His people will be encouraged, strengthened and equipped by the promises of the Bible – the Sword of the Spirit – knowing that He is watching over His Word to perform it (Ephesians 6:17; Jeremiah 1:12). May they not only overcome the strategies of the enemy, but also serve as effective witnesses to those in need of eternal salvation and deliverance from spiritual captivity.

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