We don’t often hear a lot of world news. So it is likely you are not aware of the ongoing situation in Sri Lanka. However, a quick internet research alerted me to problems beyond the pandemic they’ve been facing this spring and summer. Sri Lanka is one of our Partner in Mission territories, so it’s important that we know what is going on so we can best pray for them.
A few months ago, protests and riots caused their president and prime minister to resign. The long-term effects of the pandemic have caused a lot of economic problems. Sri Lanka is experiencing shortages of fuel and cooking gas, as well as some medicines and essential food items. Protests over the economic situation and long lines at gas stations, grocery stores, and some pharmacies have been occurring recently throughout the country. In some instances, police have used water cannons and tear gas to disperse protesters. There have also been daily planned power outages across the island, as well as some unplanned power outages. Fuel for backup generators is increasingly scarce. Public transportation in some instances has been limited or curtailed.
And amid all this chaos, our Salvationist brothers and sisters are faithfully serving their communities. On June 15, The first WOW (Women of Worth) Bargain Shop (or Thrift Store) opened its doors with great celebration and prayer. Months of planning and weeks of unpacking, washing / ironing, sorting, and pricing, culminated with cutting the ribbon and allowing the first customers in. The dream is that this part of the WOW project in Sri Lanka, would see income generated that would help to assist struggling women in the communities. Future dreams include some vocational classes (sewing, computers, etc.), small gardening training, a small ‘café’ to provide some light refreshments and possibly expanding the shop and the WOW brand to other areas where income generation and ministry can join hands.
The Salvation Army in Sri Lanka continues to distribute coffee, tea and cookies to the people waiting on gas lines (fuel queues) and the police officers on duty. Day and night, soldiers, employees, cadets and officers are taking turns going out to serve those who are waiting for hours to buy their rationed portion of gas for their vehicles and generators. And despite all the unrest and uncertainty, our brothers and sisters are finding opportunities to share the gospel of hope through open air meetings and church services online.
Knowing this little bit about the current situation helps me to pray, it gives me a sense of urgency in my prayers for the country of Sri Lanka and for our Salvationist family as they manage with the crisis for themselves and in how they are serving the needs of their communities. Join me in prayer for our Partner in Mission…