Celebrating 85 years
Celebrating in Troubled Times
By: Meashed Liyanage, BCM Sri Lanka Country Director
Hope is one thing the BCM Sri Lanka family has been holding on during the turbulent times of these past three years. The current crisis began with the April 2019 Easter Sunday bomb attacks on Christian churches. This was followed by two years of the Covid pandemic (see Life for a New Season, BCM World July 2020).
Then in July 2022, the worst economic crisis since Sri Lankan independence in 1948 led to widespread protests and the resignation of the president, prime minister, and several cabinet members, all members of the same powerful political dynasty, under a cloud of corruption charges. Urban poverty levels have tripled in months while daily life remains impacted by power blackouts as well as shortages of fuel, cooking oil, and food. Many who can have fled the country. Those who remain often feel hopeless, especially as they see their families going hungry.
In the midst of these calamities, the BCM Sri Lanka ministry team gives thanks to God that we’ve been able to weather these storms and continue advancing the gospel of Jesus Christ across our nation. We are also thankful for a lifting of Covid restrictions that has permitted a return to in-person ministry. Below is a summary of what God is doing through BCM in Sri Lanka.
BCM 85th Celebration: While finding cause for celebration may seem difficult in this tragic situation, we are reminded how the ship’s band on the Titanic played Christian hymns to keep passengers calm and focused on God as the ship sank. So we chose the annual Children’s Day, October 1st, 2022, to celebrate eighty-five years of BCM global ministry and all God has done through BCM to reach children, plant churches, and raise up godly Christian leaders here in Sri Lanka. Children from our BCM church network and Bible clubs gathered in various regions of the country to celebrate. Among the day’s highlights for each group was a Bible lesson that included memorizing the Ten Commandments as well as games, songs, crafts, and food. Later in the day, one particular game involved taking the Ten Commandments they’d memorized and placing them in the right order and correct wording.
BCM Sri Lanka - Bible club
Reaching the Next Generation: Bible clubs and other children’s ministry continues to expand with more than four thousand children participating annually in Bible clubs, Sunday school, and regional children’s gatherings. Many of these children come from very poor, vulnerable communities. Through local Bible clubs, we have also had opportunity to provide educational aid, tutoring, and free classes, covering topics such as English and mathematics as well as discipline and good values with a goal of raising up these children to be good citizens within their country.
BCM missionary Pastor Prem carries out one such ministry in the central hill area where there are many tea estates. Many in his congregation are laborers on the tea estates, Due to extreme poverty, they have minimal resources or access to schooling. Pastor Prem’s ministry has been able to educate and help many of their children.
Training leaders for children’s ministry is another priority. BCM regional director Pastor Sumith has a great vision for raising up a godly next generation. Workshops he organizes in his central BCM church of Warakapola have provided skilled children’s ministry leaders to many locations around the Warakapola region.
BCM Sri Lanka - food distribution
Church Ministry: Each Sunday, over thirty-five BCM churches gather for worship in different regions of Sri Lanka. On a grass roots level, numerous additional groups of believers not yet organized into full churches gather in homes or other facilities for Bible study, prayer, and worship. It is our great joy to see many people accepting Christ as their personal Savior and following His command to be baptized.
Food and medical aid: The severe economic crisis has also greatly affected BCM missionaries around Sri Lanka as well as their congregations and villages. Almost three thousand families for a total of over ten thousand individuals have received aid through the BCM church network, including urgent medical assistance at a time when the country is facing a major shortage of essential medical supplies and pharmaceuticals.
How You Can Get Involved
The BCM Sri Lanka deeply appreciates your ongoing prayers and support toward this ministry amidst the current crisis. Our ministry team comprises of twenty-plus full-time missionaries, most of these church planters, along with fifty-plus lay leader volunteers. All are significantly under-supported, making day to day survival for their families a challenge. A day laborer earns approximately $280USD a month, and many of our missionary families are subsisting on less than that. At this moment, a shortfall of $5500USD monthly support is needed to provide basic support for the entire team.
Most BCM church facilities are also too small to hold their current congregations, much less accommodate continued growth. But no new construction has been possible for the past five years due to lack of funds, the pandemic, and current economic crisis. An additional goal is to raise funds to expand inadequate meeting halls as well as build church facilities for congregations who don’t yet have their own. Likewise for pastoral and children’s ministry training seminars in rural areas too distant to attend current training events.
Beyond financial assistance, there are openings for on-the-ground volunteers as well as participating in or sponsoring specific building or training projects. If you would like to learn more about how you could get involved, please contact BCM International (www.bcmintl.org) or contact BCM Sri Lanka directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Distributing school supplies
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