27 June 2024

Surprised by love – how Sister Muthu from Sri Lanka is reaching out to her persecutors

The love of God is powerfully revealed when our persecuted family respond to their persecutors by not just forgiving them, but also by reaching out to them in love. That’s what Sister Muthu and her niece have done in Sri Lanka – and it’s having quite the impact.

Children praying in Sri Lanka (image is illustrative)

For years, Sister Muthu* has faced opposition for leading Christian activities in her Buddhist-majority village in Sri Lanka. Locals have gathered to stone her, and police officers have interrupted and surrounded prayer meetings and services. But attitudes are softening and some are even attending church – and that’s because Sister Muthu has chosen to forgive her persecutors and reach out to them in love.

Surprising locals

Sri Lanka is just outside the top 50 of the World Watch List. Although Christians don’t experience the levels of persecution seen elsewhere, many believers do encounter hostility for their faith. Sister Muthu knows this all too well – as does her niece, Mihiri*, who was bullied at school for her faith and left with an injured leg after being beaten (Open Doors local partners helped provide treatment for her to recover).

“The programme became a blessing to many villagers”

Sister Muthu

But across Sri Lanka, believers like Sister Muthu are surprising people by their response to persecution. Last year, helped by local partners, she conducted a Children’s Day programme for villagers, which included giving books to the more than 75 children who attended. “The programme became a blessing to many villagers,” says Sister Muthu.

The event’s success gave Sister Muthu’s niece an idea. “Mihiri initiated a prayer group with children who attended our Children’s Day programme last year,” she says. “All the children are from a Buddhist background.” The prayer group continues to meet weekly.

Two families start attending church

At Christmas, Sister Muthu put on another event – and, to her surprise, many villagers came along! Sister Muthu shared the gospel and children from the prayer group sang carols. “It is great to see the children’s progress in just a few months,” said Sister Muthu. Amazingly, two families have since started attending church!

Open Doors local partners in the region have been inspired by Sister Muthu and Mihiri’s forgiveness and perseverance, and the way they are courageously living out the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:43-45: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

Sister Muthu is extremely grateful for the materials she has received from local partners, as it’s helped bring about the wonderful fruit she is now seeing. Thank you for your role in this! 

*Names changed for security reasons

Please pray


  • Praise God for Sister Muthu’s and Mihiri’s courageous faith, and the impact of these programmes
  • That the outreach will continue to be immensely fruitful amongst children and families, leading more people to Jesus
  • That the two families now going to church will keep attending and will grow in faith.
Counting the Cost

Would you like to be inspired by more courageous believers? Our new Counting the Cost devotional features the inspirational stories of seven Christians who, like Sister Muthu and Mihiri, are bravely following Jesus, despite opposition. The free resource is ideal for individual or small group use.

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