Next week is the ‘Thanksgiving week’. Nashua Hanmaum Church gathers the special thanksgiving offering around this time of the year and use them for the missionary work and as a relief fund for those in need. This year we will send the thanksgiving offering to HANDS (Help All Nations Development Society), the Christian relief service. We will especially support Sri Lanka, one of the HANDs service areas. It was founded by the missionary who visited our church some years ago with the Gospel singer Na-mu-en. Below are two missionary letters from them. Please pray and put your hearts together.
news 1) Sri Lanka, the Jewel of the Indian Ocean, ended 30 years of civil war between Sinhalese and Tamil in 2008. The war broke out shortly after they gained the independence from the British rule, from 1815 to 1948. Tamil defeated by military superiority of Sinhalese and had to pay a dire price. As the nation trying to heal its wound, a group of Muslim Jihadists engaged in terrible and inhumane acts against Christians, a religious minority in Sri Lanka, on Easter Sunday morning when people gathered to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Many Churches and worship places were bombed simultaneously around the country which claimed several hundred lives and many more injured. The government arrested more than 200 suspects and the people of Sri Lanka want retaliation against the Muslim community for their heinous terroristic acts. If the bombings were on Buddhist or Hindu communities it surely has started another civil war. However, Christians who were directly affected have shown a great restraints in dealing with this incident. If it was not dealt in God’s way the nation surely would have engaged in another tragic war which could destroy the already staggering country. I pray that the excising restraint and the peaceful approaches of Christians would not appear as weakness to Muslims who could engage in Jihad again if given a chance. Christians, a minority group in the country, are now extremely cautious in attending worship services because fear has gripped the hearts of many which is exactly what the terrorists wanted to accomplish from the beginning. Unlike the well organized and funded catholic churches, the indigenous protestant church is politically and financially marginalized and having a difficult time to recover from the attack. In Sri Lanka, being a Tamil and a Christian is a worst combination that can easily preyed upon. Zion church in Batticaloa not only suffered a great lost but is still struggling to put all the pieces together. This congregation lost 31 lives of which 14 were children who were just coming out of Sunday school when the suicide bomber blow up a 35 kilos of explosives full of small metal balls that was designed to maximize casualties. Many parents lost their children and others husbands, wives and loved ones. It is easy to say that ‘Love casts out Fear’ but living among these hostile religions that constantly come against the Truth of Jesus Christ needs more than mere words. This is why our Bethel church, largely a Tamil congregation, is putting fence around its premise. We would appreciate your prayers for Sri Lanka, especially for Christians who strive to know Christ and make Him known amidst of this difficult time.
I have decided not to post any pictures that are too sensitive and personal. Any questions regarding the suffering Sri Lankan Christians, please, let us know.
news 2) In Kotagala, Sri Lanka, most of the residents are employees of tea plantations. They make a living by plucking tea leaves. In tour brochures, you see peaceful and beautiful sceneries of ladies plucking tea leaves; However, in reality, plucking tea leaves is hard, backbreaking labor under the scorching sunlight and pouring rain. Most of the residents who work at the tea planation are not indigenous. They were forcefully moved to this area from India hundreds of years ago by the British colonial rulers who owned the plantation. Most of them are low-class caste Hindus by birth. They have been deprived of proper education and lived through the social injustice and alienation. Sadly, they are not compensated properly despite their hard work nor they have the strength to demand better living conditions. A part of the wages is collected as a tax for a Hindu temple built inside the plantation as well. There is almost no private land in Kotagala except little pieces of the land near the driving roads because the planation owns most of the land. As a result, the price of the land is unimaginably expensive, and the prices of vegetables and fruits are much higher compared to other regions. For this reason, many plantation workers make a day to day living in the common facilities deep inside the plantation. In a way, they are modern day slaves. Their daily struggle with hard labor and poor living condition leave little-to-no hope for their future, but it is not like they have other alternatives. For them life is like a shackle that they cannot escape from. Many plantation workers rely on alcohol to bear the empty yet heavy weight of life. In such an environment, children suffer most. These neglected children without love and care inherit the same shackle that their parents are burdened with. Thankfully however, there are missionaries who obeyed the God’s calling for them and have faithfully spread the good news. Their hard work is gradually bearing fruits. The church of Bethel had great difficulties because they could no longer use the facilities they have been renting as a church for long time. But thanks to your prayer and support, the church could afford a small piece of land. Although small, a new church was built on this land, and it’s been used as a place of worship and Sunday school. On Sunday, the church gets filled with many people. For those without the transportation to the church, the pastor Mohan and his wife Bawani visit the common living facilities inside the plantation for worship service on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. The kindergarten Bawani operates is the only Christian kindergarten in Kotagala where most residents are Hindus.
From pastor Choi, Jin-Won