Sri Lanka (MNN) — Last week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a loan in Sri Lanka of almost 3 billion dollars. In theory, the loan will help alleviate Sri Lanka’s current financial crisis, one of the worst in the country’s history.
The crisis began in 2020 as Sri Lanka’s major tourism industry all but shut down. In recent years, growing economic stress has exacerbated other problems, including distrust of political leaders and persecution against Christians.
Greg Musselman from Voice of the Martyrs Canada had a discussion with Yamani Ravindran, a lawyer from National Evangelical Christian Alliance of Sri Lanka (CNEASL).
“Last year alone, we documented just over 70 incidents. Even this year, we have documented over 18 incidents or slightly more than that,” Ravindran reports. “The persecution of religious minorities in Sri Lanka is a very real thing.”
the most infamous, bombers attacked churches on Easter Sunday 2019. According to Ravindran, state investigations to date have been disappointing: “Two years later, we still have not seen justice in the situation. This is something that concerns us. »
In fact, violence against believers gives authorities an excuse to monitor and control churches under the guise of providing security. This can be doubly daunting for local Christians who now face the threat of extremist attacks and pressure from state officials.
If the government does not do justice now, what are Christians left with? The first step, says Ravindran, is to remember that followers of Christ have a unique hope.
“They live in hope that they too will meet their loved ones one day, because they know it’s not the end for them,” she says. “They know they will see them again one day.”
With help from Voice of the Martyrs Canada, NCEASL can also provide ground assistance. They alleviate immediate medical issues, address intermediate needs, and work to build a more resilient community for the future.
Part of this process is preparing for the persecution. The NCEASL teaches believers about their rights under the Sri Lankan constitution and helps them understand, legally, culturally and spiritually, how they can resist outside pressure.
By helping Christians respond to persecution, NCEASL helps them be more effective witnesses. They teach Christians not just how to withstand pressure, but how to love their neighbors and engage with them in culturally and emotionally relevant ways. It all comes down to showing God’s love in a way that resonates with others.
Learn more about Voice of the Martyrs Canada and their work in Sri Lanka here. In the meantime, pray that the financial pressure on Sri Lanka and the threat of violence against local Christians will disappear.
Header photo courtesy of Voice of the Martyrs Canada.