The Church Goes On In Sri Lanka
Thousands of lives were changed in an instant this Easter when eight bombs exploded across Sri Lanka. Three churches were targeted and hundreds of believers were killed or injured as they gathered for Easter services. But the church continues to gather.
On the morning of 21 April, Zion Church lost 29 of its members. Out of those killed in the blast, 14 of them were children. They were sitting and having their snacks after Sunday school.
Image: Outside Zion Church after the attack.
Verl lost his 13-year-old son, Jackson, in the attack.
“Jackson was team captain of his basketball team. He’s the best in everything. He’s my only son,” Verl said.
“My son was mine for 13 years, but he is His forever.”
Jackson died on the spot, along with Verl’s 36-year-old sister. She was one of the Sunday School teachers.
“She made sure the children confessed their sins and accepted Jesus in the lesson. After that, she and the children went down for breakfast and the explosion went off.”
Verl’s sister left behind a six-year-old daughter, Eliza, and an eight-year-old son, Rufus.
Image: Verl's son Jackson (pictured centred), and sister (left).
Eliza spent her birthday in intensive care, waiting to be transferred to another hospital. Because of the shrapnel, Eliza had to have a hysterectomy. She was also blinded by the blast in one eye, and doctors are trying to save the other.
Despite the heartache and grief, Verl is still committed to dedicating his life to the Lord.
“God is good,” he said. “God is great. My foundation is Jesus Christ. I’m zero. Jesus is everything.”
The Church Goes On
Two weeks after the attack, Zion Church gathered for a Sunday service again. They met at the local community centre, their temporary home. Security guards stood outside, and a military van parked at the front to protect believers from another attack.
No one was allowed to bring anything into the church, except their Bibles and IDs.
“No photos and videos,” said one church member. “Especially, no bags.”
Inside the community centre, hundreds of worshippers gathered, despite the risk and the trauma. They praised God singing, “Amen!” and “Hallelujah!”
Image: The community centre where Zion Church is now meeting.
Rev. Roshan Mahesan took a moment during the service to honour the dead.
“They are martyrs,” he said. “Now they are home with Jesus.”
You Can Make A Difference
The bombings in Sri Lanka claimed over 250 lives and thousands more were changed in an instant. Persecution is increasing around the world, and so too are the needs of persecuted Christians.
Will you give today to support life-changing projects that help Christians stand strong in the face of persecution?