Training multiplies efforts in war-torn Sri Lanka
Training center that was falling apart before CAM´s help
Open wounds from a war-torn land thirst for the healing presence of Jesus Christ. Despite the quarter-century conflict ending in 2009, villages on this island off the southern tip of India continue to struggle for economic recovery. Yet native missionaries find this the perfect opening for reaching their country with the gospel. The land is weary. The people are looking for something, someone, greater than their silent idols.
Abraham knows well the healing of the Lord that can turn a man, or nation, around. When he was 7, his parents gave their lives to the Lord Jesus and turned from their Hindu idol worship. It took him another 15 years to surrender his own life. Through a deathly illness, Abraham had reached a dead-end.
“When I was sick, my situation became hopeless and I realized there was nothing else to do except pray,” Abraham said of crossroads in his life. “I did not know how to pray and all I said was, 'If You can heal me, I will believe in You.' Within one week I was healed – without an operation and not even medication. With the help of my parents, I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and gave Him my life.”
Abraham attended seminary and returned in the power of the Lord to call, train and send missionaries to reach the unreached villages in Sri Lanka. With much prayer, Lanka Mission was born. Abraham and his wife, Susi, are training and releasing missionaries all across the island and have 10 church-planting partners working with them.
“By the grace of God our ministry is growing,” Abraham reported to Christian Aid, which sends financial help. “I want to thank you for your continued support. We need side-by-side prayer and financial support.”
The ministry is bursting at the seams.
Pastor´s training in restored center
In one area, 26 non-believers showed up at a worship gathering, heard the preached gospel, believed in the Lord Jesus and received water baptism. At the Sunday service, the simple church structure overflowed with believers and attenders.
“There was not enough room for all the people,” Abraham said. “The church building was full and people were standing outside.”
This is happening throughout the villages. While training is the ministry´s primary goal, gospel workers go village to village sharing the Good News, distributing tracts and leading open air meetings among the poor tea plantation workers. They follow up by organizing cell groups that meet regularly in homes for Bible study, prayer meetings, and worship.
In one tea plantation, a gathering of Christians made a makeshift sanctuary out of a tent to shield them from the sun or rain as they met to worship the Lord on Sundays. However, plantation owners confronted the believers, saying this was a day full of people visiting the plantation, and they would have to meet someplace else. The believers walked out of their canvas meeting room and stepped through the door of the pastor´s house where they lifted their voices in song and kept on worshiping the Savior, studying His Word and being filled with the power of His presence.
And they need Him to survive.
“Most of the places I visit are very remote areas where the severe civil war took place,” Abraham said. “I have preached to many hundreds of people. They are suffering and finding it difficult to live. They are fighting for their lives.”
Though the ministry is growing, opposition presses. One worker reported visiting a Buddhist family where there was a man unable to walk. Nothing had helped him. The man came to a church service and the pastor prayed for him.
“He experienced God´s healing power and now he is walking,” Abraham wrote to Christian Aid.
But the plot thickened when the man returned home. On the way, an angry mob of village Buddhists assaulted him badly. Then Buddhist monks visited the home of the man who was healed by God.
“They told him that he joined Christianity because the Christians were helping him and giving him things. But that man said that God healed him, that´s why he was going to church.”
The Buddhist monks called a meeting against the pastor–the one who prayed for healing–and against the one who was healed. The believers gathered and prayed and waited for the outcome. And God broke in! No one showed up at the meeting. What was about to become a desperate situation for that pastor and family, with angry mobs all around, was stopped by the outstretched arm of the Lord.
Training held in the North
“Our God is great and a miraculous God,” Abraham said. “I prayed for two days, 'Lord, people shouldn´t respond to that meeting.' Thank God, Who did it as I prayed.”
With Christian Aid´s help, the mission built a training center to disciple and train more missionaries for the work in Sri Lanka. He also has a heart to help the pastors with housing, as well as raising the funds for church houses in the villages.
“Thank you for your continued prayers, financial support, love and concern towards God´s work in Sri Lanka,” he wrote to Christian Aid. “The harvest is plentiful. After you started to support our pastors, who worked hard without thinking about their financial problems, many non-Christians (Buddhists and Hindus) heard the gospel and received Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. You play a great part among the unreached people in Sri Lanka.”