‘News’ doesn’t always happen to ‘other people’ – sometimes it hits people we care about, and hits them hard. Several of our partners have experienced major challenges recently, due to events which made headlines around the world.
Please pray for our international partners. Recent months have given us a stark reminder that they not only face the daily difficulties of working in a context of poverty, but are also vulnerable to extreme weather, political or religious violence and other challenges.
We sent $5000 to help our partners in Chipinge, Zimbabwe, in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai. We also sent £1000 to our partners in Sri Lanka, who are helping to care for some of the children injured in the Easter Sunday bombings. Sriyani Tidball, of our partners Community Concern, reflects on recent weeks in Sri Lanka:
“This place is not safe but we are glad to be here…”
In Sri Lanka, the small Christian community has been devastated by the Easter Sunday bombings, killing or injuring up to 800 people.
One explosion took place in Dehiwela, the community which our Sri Lankan partners have served for over 20 years. No-one at our project was killed or injured, but our partners report a huge change in atmosphere, with rising political and religious tensions, great fear and civil unrest. There is also great sorrow, particularly within the small Christian community, as ‘everybody knows somebody’ killed or injured in the attacks.
Sriyani writes: “The past weeks have been just some of the toughest. The stories are never ending and some are horrific. Our family and our Community Concern family is safe. However, everyone knows someone who passed away.
“ISIS has taken full credit for this and I am sad they picked innocent Sri Lanka to take their revenge on. It seems they are very organized here and we did not know. Now our Muslim friends are scared because they are not safe from community members who have had their families blasted by Islamic Terrorism. And all of Sri Lanka is worried.
So, we are just looking to God for our safety. What else can we do? And help rebuild and restore what has been destroyed, some we can never, but some we can. Right now, the prayer we need is for the military to uncover the bombs and ammunition in safe houses all over the country, and to find the few hundred ISIS members waiting for their orders. This place is not safe but we are glad to be here.”
Sriyani has a personal link with the church attacked in Batticoloa, and Community Concern is supporting bomb victims from the church who are being sent to Colombo for medical care. These include a father with two injured sons, aged 6 and 8, who lost his wife and toddler daughter, and a six-year-old girl who was blinded and orphaned in the attack, who has been hospitalised with her aunt who has severe burns and a broken leg. “The injuries may heal after surgery, but how do you heal broken hearts?” asks Sriyani. “We are praying for a miracle.”
The team are also to run a psychosocial workshop for the Sunday School teachers at the church, who are severely traumatised. Two of the Sunday School teachers were killed, and many of the children.
Global Care has sent £1000 from our Children At Risk fund to support the care of these injured children.