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20 April 2020

“Thank you for standing with us”: a Sri Lankan pastor’s message to Open Doors supporters

One year on from the devastating church bombings in Sri Lanka, Pastor Roshan of Zion Church, Batticaloa, shares his memories of the day and his message to Open Doors supporters.

21 April 2020

Pastor Roshan Mahesan is a senior minister of Zion Church, Batticaloa – one of the churches that was attacked in the Easter church bombings in Sri Lanka on 21 April 2019. In this article, he describes that day and how God has supported him since, in his own words.

Pastor Rohan, Sri Lanka

Pastor Roshan of Zion Church, Baticaloa, Sri Lanka

Remembering the attacks

Last year, on Resurrection Sunday, 21 April 2019, was the bomb blast in our church. On the day, we lost 31 of our beloved brothers and sisters who died as martyrs for the kingdom of God. And also 86 others who got injured - who also shed their blood, lost their organs in their bodies, whose flesh was torn - we count them also as sacrificing their lives for the Lord.

We are grateful to each and every one of you who have been upholding us in your prayers. Because – though we lost our loved ones, though some people lost their mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, their children – one thing they didn't lose was their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And I believe that is because of the faith and the prayers that you all prayed for all of us - not just once, twice, but even after this day, you keep on praying for us. We are very grateful to you.

It's going to take a long time for our people to get back to normalcy because there are still few who are receiving medical treatment. One or two have become paralyzed. Some have to go to physiotherapy, some surgical operations also. Some have lost their father and mother. Some have lost their husbands. So, the void that has been caused by this, it's going to take some time to heal.

On 24 February 2019, I was speaking on the subject on the death of a righteous man. At the end of this sermon, the Lord showed a vision which I shared with the congregation. And in that vision, I saw a catastrophic motor accident. And in that accident, I saw one of our families in the church being involved. As I was telling that to the church and we were praying, then I saw, the Lord showed me, the spirit of a catastrophic fire which consumed even the vehicle. So, on 17 April, three of our families from our church, they went on a trip and met an accident. Ten people died on the spot. And out of the 10, nine people were from our church. That incident already shook the whole church and also the Batticaloa community, because one of them was very well-known to the community.

Four days later, the bomb blast. In the bomb blast, the fire broke out and 27 motorbikes and vans got burned. And no one could stop the fire - the fire was burning for 45 minutes. As a result, there were a few bodies that really got burned in the fire.

“We have lovely brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers. We are not alone.”

I want to take this opportunity to thank Open Doors and all those who are behind them, supporting us in various ways. Thank you for coming as a team, visiting all 83 families – those who were directly affected by this bomb blast – and counselling, spending time with them. Not just once or twice, but you all came so many times and encouraged them, and prayed for them. I really want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Also thank you for the motorbikes that you all bought and distributed to those who lost their motorbikes in the bomb blast. Also, a three-wheeler and a generator, and also financially helping people with their livelihoods - opening shops, helping the bakery to get back to their normal life. Thank you so much once again for standing with us. And we know, in all this, we are not alone. We have lovely brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers. We are not alone.

Please pray 

I want you to pray for those who are still receiving medical treatment - for speedy recovery, some of them who got burned, they are still undergoing plastic surgery - that the skin will heal and that they will be healed very soon. And also, broken bones, pins and plates that they will remove that and they will get back to their normal life.

We don't have a church still to worship the Lord. We are having our services in our rented hall. We have seen a big mass - a lot of people are coming to the services now. We can see the harvest just starting to take place after the bomb blast. But because we are still meeting in rented halls, we are finding it so difficult to hold all these people. So we are on a building project and we still need 45 million Sri Lankan rupees [about £190,000] to complete it. Please pray that the Lord will meet our needs. That we will be able to finish the church as soon as possible and start our services.

Also, pray for the harvest of souls. Our vision is 20,000 souls. We know the Lord has started this good and great work. We have sown 31 lives in the soil of Batticaloa for the Kingdom, and it will not go to waste. The Lord is not going to bless only the Zion Church Ministries, but He is going to bless every ministry that is in Sri Lanka. And we know Sri Lanka is going to be saved. Please continue to pray for us and may God bless you. Amen.

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