Local Missionaries in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, a teardrop-shaped island country off the southern coast of India is famous for its natural beauty, cultural diversity, and tea production.
The Sinhalese people, who comprise around three-fourths of Sri Lanka’s population, are Buddhists who follow the Hindu caste system. Half of the Sinhalese belong to the farming caste, raising animals or crops using primitive farming methods. A three-decade long civil war between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil separatists, who wanted an independent state on the north side of the island, ended in 2009. An estimated 60,000 to 100,000 people were killed in conflict.
Nearly 45 percent of Sri Lankans live on less than $5 a day, and the country suffers from high rates of undernourishment, stunted growth and malnourishment, especially in children, according to the non-profit Borgen Project.
Many children in Sri Lanka, considered a major center of pedophilia, are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Several indigenous ministries are protecting such children, sheltering them and providing them with food, clothing, medical treatment, and discipleship in God’s Word. One of these ministries runs a rescue home for marginalized and exploited children, providing them with education, spiritual guidance, the saving knowledge of the Lord, and involvement with the local church where they get to attend Sunday school, Bible study, and prayer groups. Many of these children have grown up to serve in the ministry.
“Children, dirty and hungry, began arriving on our doorstep,” wrote the ministry leader. “Many of the children who came to our center had been abused by alcoholic and drug-addicted parents.”
With help from Christian Aid Mission, the ministry built a girls’ shelter and, later, a separate shelter for boys. Their literacy center provides children from four slums with an education. They also have a women’s shelter, where they provide a safe, caring environment for young women who have been raped or otherwise abused.
Other indigenous ministries in Sri Lanka share the gospel with unreached Hindus and Buddhists, helping poor families send their children to school and providing for their basic needs. Another ministry is bringing the gospel to remote villages and the Free Trade Zone where over 100,000 young men and women labor in 180 factories.
Sources: Joshua Project, CIA World Factbook, Borgen Project
How to Pray for
- Pray that God would open the eyes of the people of Sri Lanka to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Pray for God’s protection on Sri Lanka’s vulnerable children, that many would come to know Him and grow up to serve Him.
- Pray for the indigenous ministries working in Sri Lanka, that God would grant them every provision to continue sharing Christ’s love and truth with people in need of a Savior.
More stories from Sri Lanka
A woman who sensed the Lord’s call to evangelism attended a native ministry’s seminary, where she became confident in how to present the gospel and also sharpened her mind as she engaged with other students. The friendships she made with colleagues from other denominations helped break down barriers, unifying churches to serve together.
A native Christian worker making home visits prayed for a sick family member, and then invited her to a Friday prayer meeting. Christians prayed for her there and at a Sunday morning worship service that she attended. “She said she felt a little better, and she contentedly came on Sundays for three months,” the ministry leader said.
When three families recently received Christ and began attending a native ministry’s church, the transformation that villagers saw in their lives led six others and their children to begin attending worship services as well. Residents noticed a changed atmosphere in the community, which helped win more people to Christ.
A native ministry that provides shelter, food and education to orphans and other poor children is doing much to raise future generations of biblically grounded Christians. A teacher at the ministry’s school recently told children about the importance of doing what is right, explaining that Christ would help as she shared the gospel with them.
The number of children arriving hungry at a native Christian ministry’s primary school grew amid economic and social unrest, and workers provided them with lunches of nutritious rice and curry. “The mid-day meal is the most important one in Sri Lanka, and we are glad that we are able to feed these children,” the ministry leader said.
Besides offering instruction at a Bible school within its church, a native ministry trains young people for missionary outreach every Saturday. Ministry personnel share Christ in youth meetings among neighborhood children, in conversations with people in public places, in hospital visits and while distributing tracts to people at their homes.