The body of Christ in action
By the time you are reading this edition of our monthly parish news, I should be winging my way back from Sri Lanka with my family after spending 2 weeks visiting our new Parish mission partners, Jeremie, Isabel, their daughter Kristen, their church in Kandy and the beautiful children’s home that they jointly run.
Sri Lanka, known from the beginning of British colonial rule until 1972 as Ceylon, is a beautiful island country in South Asia with maritime borders with India to the northwest and the Maldives to the southwest. A diverse and multicultural country, Sri Lanka is home to many faiths, ethnic groups, and languages. In 2008, a Gallup poll found that 99% of Sri Lankans considered religion an important aspect of their daily lives with the largest majority professing to be Buddhists.
Into this context, Jeremie’s father first felt called to plant a church in semi-rural Kandy (right in the centre of Sri Lanka) back in 1992. This church, like many in the nation, has experienced much growth as people have encountered the life transforming power of the Gospel.
Part of their mission, along with preaching and teaching, was a desire to reach out practically to the impoverished and particularly to street children. Their desire to make a difference, to physically show God’s love, led them to build a large children’s home on their land, financed entirely by church members, trusting God to meet their needs… The rest, as they say, is history.
Our hope in visiting the girls and local Christians in and around Kandy is to encourage them that they are not alone. Having visited before, I’m sure we shall all receive far more than we give, and in going we are trying to learn from them as much as we offer our support and help. They are part of our global family, we are with them and for them. Joey has been collecting soft toys to give to the girls when we arrive – they all have so little. And we hope to have been able to encourage them both in their faith journeys and also creatively as we spend some time with them making cards and playing.
Many of these girls have experienced horrors beyond our imagination, but they also now have wonderful stories of redemption, hope and healing. It’s so good to see the reality of the transformation that comes through the power of prayer, intervention, love and family – the church at its best being the true body of Christ in action.
Priest in Charge Loves church pioneering, family, guitars, Macs, jeeps and Jesus, not necessarily in that order...