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Worship service
Photo: VOMC

On March 6th, a large mob forced their way into the Mercy Gate Chapel in Amalgama, Sri Lanka, demanding that all religious activities cease immediately. Thankfully, police were able to disperse the crowd without further incident, though Buddhist monks continued to declare that the place of worship was not a legitimate church. (See this page for more details.)

A few days later, the pastor of the church received a letter from state officials demanding that he stop all worship services or face arrest. The letter, which was received on March 11th, stated that the church was an illegal institution and considered disruptive to "religious harmony" in the area. The letter further demanded that the pastor, along with three other church members, attend a meeting on March 15th.

On the date of the meeting, approximately 20 Buddhist monks and governing officials had gathered to repeat the demands of the letter to the church representatives. In response, the pastor requested that a written report outlining the objections to the church be provided, along with references to any relevant legal regulations. The officials agreed to provide this documentation but, at last report, it has not yet been received by the pastor.

On March 24th, while the pastor was visiting his sister's house, several police officers arrived at the premises and began questioning what he was doing. After informing them that he was simply visiting his sister to pray for his nephew, the police left. Later that night, as he was returning home, he saw two police officers stationed near the church building. When he spoke with them, the officers claimed they were providing security to the church.

The pastor has stated that his movements are being closely monitored by neighbours and local monks. The investigative action taken at his sister's home was the result of a monk reporting his movements to the police. To read about further incidents of persecution against churches in Sri Lanka, go to our country report.

Prayerfully uphold this pastor, his family and the members of Mercy Gate Chapel, asking God to provide them wisdom and protection. May He also give these believers Holy Spirit-empowered boldness and compassion as they deal with their opposing neighbours and other community members who are greatly in need of Christ. Pray that governing officials will act fairly towards believers throughout the country. Considering that Sri Lanka is in the midst of political upheaval at this time, additionally pray that the Lord's ministry of peace and love will be demonstrated among all citizens, using the faithful witness of His followers as "salt" and "light" in this spiritually needy world (Matthew 5:13-16).

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
23,044,123 (July 2021 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 (2019)

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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