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"Thank you": Sri Lankan Christians grateful for your support as they grieve

The attacks on churches in Sri Lanka at Easter 2019 shocked the world. The attackers killed 259 people, including many children, and injured hundreds of others. Open Doors supporters quickly rallied around their worldwide family – and that support continue s. Recently our field team delivered care boxes and letters to 24 families whose loved ones were killed. They wanted to say thank you.

Care boxes

Care boxes being delivered

“Thank you for the box – I brought it home this morning and my daughter opened it and took it,” says Pastor Kumaran, laughing. His daughter, eight-year-old Shemida interrupted: “Thank you for the gift!” Pastor Kumaran lost his 12-year-old son Malkiya – and Shemida lost her older brother – in the attack.

Pastor Kumaran says, “I still tell people about you coming to be with us during that time of grief. I remember you. You came here to just spend time with us. You comforted us. I’m a pastor and I can’t break down, you know? But you let us tell our stories and you comfort us.”

Kumaran

Kumaran and his family

Pastor Kumaran’s wife, Saratha, also tells an Open Doors fieldworker, “You came and rubbed my back and prayed for me on such a bitter day. I will never forget that. Thank you. We weep, but the presence of the Lord wipes away our tears.”

As well as practical support in the aftermath of the attack, Open Doors workers have continued to stand with affected families and communities. These letters show that Open Doors supporters haven’t forgotten their family – and many supporters translated part of their letters into Tamil, which touched the recipients.

Chrishanti

Chrishanti

Chrishanti, who was widowed when her husband, Ramesh, died preventing the bomber from getting into the Zion church sanctuary: "Thank you so much, we felt so much love! We see that throughout the world, God is sending us support. Your presence is telling me that we are not orphans.”

Premini

Premini and Meshach

Premini lost her nine-year-old son Jebisanth in the attack, and one of her other sons, Meshach, was badly burned. Praise God that Meshach has now fully healed from plastic surgery for his burns!

After Premini brought home the care box, she tells us: “We are overjoyed! My boys are really happy to see the coloring materials. My 17-year-old son Thishon studies art – he and my other sons took everything as theirs and they were so happy about the letters. The boys told me to tell you that they love drawing, and thank you. We could also understand the Google-translated Tamil,” she laughs. “Thank you for encouraging us to not to stop reading our Bibles and to not stop praying.”

Praba

Praba and her family

Praba’s young son, Peter, was killed in the attack. She wanted to share a letter she’d written to all the supporters who have stood with her family in prayer:

Dear beloved servant of God,

We were in and through great distress with pain after losing our beloved son, Anayah Peter, in the devastating bomb blast that occurred on April 21, 2019. Since then, you were there with us to hold, to comfort, to heal, and to help us with all your blessings and scripture. Moreover, you passionately took part in all our grief with love and care. Thus, we express our heartfelt gratitude to you all and pray unto Jesus to bless you in all your ministries with full of fruits and miracles.

May God be with you and bless you all. Amen.

Thank you for standing with our persecuted family in Sri Lanka. Please keep praying for grieving families, as they celebrate Christmas for the first time with missing family members.

Lord, please give solace and peace to our brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka who are grieving for their loved ones. Sustain them and give them a true knowledge of Your kindness, goodness and love. Please protect Christians across Sri Lanka and foil any future attacks. Thank You that You are 'a father of the fatherless, a defender of widows' (Psalm 68:5). Amen.