On Easter morning, tragedy struck the Christian community in Sri Lanka as terrorist bombers attacked churches as they celebrated the resurrection of our Lord. As the reports of the attacks reached the news media, many of our friends and partners with Teach All Nations called and emailed us to find out if we were in the country during the attacks and if we were affected by the hostilities. Peggy and a team of students had just returned home safely a few weeks prior to the attacks, and in this report you’ll read that they were able to minister as long as they were cautious about their approach. We are grateful for your concern and prayers. We have reached out to all our friends and contacts in the country and were relieved to hear that none of them were directly involved although many were associated with those who were in the direct line of fire. With at least one hundred dead (even though some estimates list the toll much higher), hundreds injured and hospitalized, and extensive property damage, the Christians in Sri Lanka are certainly in need of our prayer support. – Delron Shirley
This was just one of the miracles that Peggy’s team of students from Charis Bible College witnessed during their twelve days in Sri Lanka – a small island nation just off the southern tip of India. At a small church for the tea pickers who have become Christians, the team did lively skits, shared their testimonies, ministered through teaching and preaching, and prayed for the sick. Many of the women wanted prayer for pain in their shoulders, backs, and hands from spending long hours each day bent over with huge bags of tea leaves on their backs. Although they only get a few dollars for a week’s labor and come home in excruciating pain, they have no other way of eking out a living. Many of these women felt an immediate release of the pain as soon as they were prayed for, and they asked the team to agree with them God would strengthen their weary and worn out muscles so that that the injuries would not return. On the team’s second visit to this little church, one of the ladies that Peggy had prayed for during the first visit grabbed someone to translate to tell Peggy that her whole body that was full of pain was now made completely pain free. They were both so happy and began to celebrate over the healing.
There was one occasion when the team was able to do an open-air outreach in a non-Christian village. At first, the villagers looked at their visitors as outsiders and stood a little distance away, however, after the Lord started to move through the team’s teachings and on-on-one prayers, the entire atmosphere changed. They were very eager to come up and receive prayer. Because of their expectancy, God showed up in power. The students were so amazed and excited when their translators told them the villagers were being healed and wanted to know this Jesus. The team inspired the local pastor who had taken them to the village to start a team from his church to follow up and hopefully open a church in the village.
Since Christianity is a minority religion in Sri Lanka, the students had to be very careful about sharing the gospel in open evangelism such as distributing tracts; however, the team – many of them in their twenties – demonstrated their boldness, compassion, and faith by quietly asking people they met if they could pray for them. God always answered these one-on-one prayers with powerful manifestations. After people realized that they had experienced miraculous healings, they immediately began recruiting others to come up for prayer. In addition, they visited orphanages, children’s outreaches, centers for the elderly, and local churches where they distributed gifts, performed skits, ministered, and prayed for the people. It was really special to see the elderly ladies begin to dance in thanksgiving for the many healings they experienced.