Impact
29 May 2020

Sri Lanka and Covid-19: Christians help the neighbours who attacked them

Thanks to Open Doors supporters, a church in Sri Lanka that was attacked last September has provided food for its neighbours, including the attackers.


Thanks to Open Doors supporters, a church in Sri Lanka that was attacked last September has provided food for its neighbours, including the attackers.

Sri Lanka

Pastor Shiyanth shares essential aid with his community, including those who recently attacked Christians

The attack

In a village in Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province, a small Christian community led by Pastor Shiyanth* have, for several years, faced strong opposition from its neighbours and relatives. Repeated attempts were made by the villagers, who are majority devout Hindus, to shut down the church. The police, however, reminded them of the freedom of religion granted by the country’s constitution, which allows the Christian minority to gather for worship. Enraged, the villagers decided to take the matter into their own hands. “If you don’t give us a solution, we will solve this problem our way,” they shouted as they stormed out of the police station. 

“The church could have just helped their own believers. They didn’t have to help us, but they did." A Sri Lankan who had previously attacked the church

The villagers chose their moment just as Kumar* was on his way to church. First, two of his cousins began to attack him. Soon, the rest of the mob joined in. Kumar’s wife and three other women from the local church rushed to his aid, only to be beaten up themselves. They were beaten, stoned, and pelted with garbage. One of them later explained to an Open Doors partner, “What hurt the most was that even though Jesus suffered so much for us, we can’t even serve Him freely.”

The lockdown

Seven months after this incident, Sri Lanka was put under an island-wide lockdown for over a month. With most of the villagers in this community being from low-income households, and the curfew forcing everyone indoors, they had no means of providing for their families. The church, seeing this great need, stepped in to help: Pastor Shiyanth requested support to provide dry rations for the entire village.

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With the assistance of Open Doors, Pastor Shiyanth’s church was able to provide dry rations for 100 families through the local government representative in the village. Even the people who had attacked believers from the church, last September, received packs of essential goods and were deeply moved by the gesture. They later discussed this amongst themselves. Why did we do so much against them?” they asked. 

The love

This act of love has opened new doors to reach out to that community. Pastor Shiyanth shared, “Doing this gave us more opportunities to share the gospel and show the love of Christ to people. More people are eager to know the Lord. 

“I see a great renewal within the church. Even the local government representative in the village has changed in his attitude towards the Christian community. We are building better relationships with the people now. Thank you so much for your partnership.”

*Names changed for security reasons.


Please pray
  • That people will come to know the Lord through the forgiveness of these believers
  • For God to supply the needs of Christian families and pastors in rural areas who are unable to support themselves
  • Ask God’s healing for the victims of this attack; one of the women still needs medical attention, having suffered several blows to her spine. 
Please give

Every £56 could mean a Rapid Response team can courageously bring emergency aid to a family of persecuted believers.

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