Grace for a broken nation.
What is God’s vision for Sri Lanka? Of course, we cannot say with any certainty. However, the country’s name translates literally as ‘resplendent island’, and it is not hard to find beauty here. Golden beaches, tea plantations and stunning mountains all paint a picture of the glory and majesty of the Creator.
However, there is much about the country which remains far from resplendent. The nation is famed for its brutal civil war which saw 25 years of conflict between the Sinhalese–dominated government and the Tamil Tigers, each side representing one of the island’s two main people groups. In the midst of the fighting, the Asian tsunami of 2004 killed 30,000 people, only adding to the country’s woes.
The war only ended in 2009, with the Sri Lankan military defeating the Tamil Tigers and bringing the illusion of peace. Beneath the surface, tensions and division remain, and the economic crisis of 2022 saw power cuts and fuel shortages bring the country to a standstill. Whilst the fighting may have ceased, can we really say that this is God’s best for the ‘resplendent island’?
Resplendence seems a long way off, but what we are seeing in Sri Lanka is the first green shoots of change. By God’s grace, the church is growing and the gospel is being proclaimed. Our partners are producing teaching materials in both the Sinhala and Tamil languages, proclaiming Jesus through printed resources alongside radio and TV broadcasts. Meanwhile, an exciting movement among young people is seeing the church grow a missionary focus for the very first time, sending willing servants out across the nation and beyond.
Sri Lanka is a nation awaiting true resplendence, and the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only means by which it will know perfect beauty, glory and peace.