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Learn About Sri Lanka

Sri LankaSri Lankan schoolchildren

February 4th is Independence Day in Sri Lanka. This year, Sri Lankans will celebrate 65 years of independence from Great Britain.

Schoolchildren in Sri Lanka
A Christian worker in Sri Lanka said, “A Christian child has a time of devotion at home, then goes to school. Buddhist and Hindu children worship statues depicting their gods, and they offer white flowers to the statues as an offering. In school the Buddhist child is encouraged to bring flowers and oil for a lamp placed before a Buddha statue. [Buddha was the founder of Buddhism]

“It is also common to see non-Christian children wearing a white or colored thread around their wrist. They believe this keeps away evil and sickness, and that it helps them in their studies. Hindu girls wear a ‘pottu’ (dot) on their forehead to ‘keep away evil.’”

A report from Sri Lanka said that a 14-year-old Catholic student at a Buddhist school was beaten by his teacher when he could not answer questions about Buddhist history. (Source: U.S. State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report)

Christians in Sri Lanka
In recent years, there has been more persecution of Christians in Sri Lanka. More than 250 churches have been destroyed in violence.

Game and Recipe to Share
Share the following game or recipe from Sri Lanka with a Sunday school class or other group. Then tell them about Christians in Sri Lanka and ask them to pray.

Kotta Pora
Kotta pora is a game played during spring celebrations in Sri Lanka. To play one version of kotta pora, players mark off a space about five feet and five feet. (Kotta pora is sometimes played on a low platform about that size.) Two players face each other with a pillow in one hand. Their other hand is held behind their back, and they stand on only one foot. The players bat at each other with the pillows until one player puts his raised foot down or hops out of the marked-off space. The other player is the winner.

Gingered Bananas
Combine ¼ cup sugar, ¼ cup water, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for about five minutes until thickened, stirring frequently. Sprinkle ground ginger over three bananas peeled and cut in half lengthwise. Pour hot mixture over bananas. Chill and serve.

Read more stories about Sri Lanka: A Camp That Heals, Part 1 and A Camp That Heals, Part 2.


Diwali 2013

A Hindu temple
A Hindu temple

Diwali is a Hindu festival that began on November 3rd this year. The celebration lasts for several days. Read more information below from the Kids of Courage archives.

An important Hindu festival is Diwali, the Festival of Lights (also spelled “Divali” or “Devali”). More than 900 million people in the world are Hindus. India has the largest number of Hindus.

Diwali is celebrated in many countries where Hindus live. In India and some other places, people of other religions also celebrate Diwali.

During the days of Diwali, people light lamps, set off fireworks, eat desserts, give gifts, and recall legends about gods and goddesses honored in Hinduism.

Hinduism
God has made us with a longing in our hearts to be close to him. (See Acts 17:26–27 and Ecclesiastes 3:11.) Many Hindus feel that longing, too. But they do not believe, or have not been told, that the way to be close to God is through his Son, Jesus. So they try to fill that longing with other gods, rituals, and works.

Some Hindus add Jesus to the list of gods they honor, but do not forsake other gods. The Bible tells us we must have no other gods.

Pray that Hindus will meet Christians who can tell them about Jesus, the light of the world, and that they will open their hearts to him. Pray especially for radical Hindus who oppose Christianity in India and other places.

Note: Main locations where Hindus live include India, Nepal, Malaysia, Guyana, Suriname, and Sri Lanka. More than 1 million Hindus live in the U.S. (Source: The World Almanac and Book of Facts) Do some research and find out if there is a Hindu temple in your state or region.

Photo credit: Shivakant Tripathi, Wikipedia


U.S. State Department’s Religious Freedom Report

US DOS Logo

This week the U.S. Department of State released their 2011 International Religious Freedom Report. The report covers 199 countries and territories. Go to the report here and use the “Go to a Country Report” drop-down box to begin searching reports from specific countries. The reports tell what religions people in the country follow, what the laws of the country say about religious freedom, and whether or not there are abuses of religious freedom in that country.

See the “Countries” section on this site or the “Restricted Nations” section at Persecution.com for further information about selected countries.


A Camp That Heals, Part 2


Sri Lankan children

In Sri Lanka, where many churches have been attacked, Christians invite children to a camp where they can meet other kids whose families have been persecuted. Read about two children who attended the camp in the post “Sri Lanka: A Camp That Heals, Part 1.”

John and Andrew are brothers who also attended the camp. John is 16 and Andrew is 13. Before they went to the camp, they had visited relatives with their parents, then headed home. But they found they no longer had a home! Their house and the attached church were completely burned down. A mob had burned it because John and Andrew’s father was the pastor of the church. Some non-Christians in Sri Lanka do not want churches to grow.

John and Andrew were shocked when they saw their burned home and church. John found the drums and guitar he had used to lead worship at the church. The instruments were ruined. His schoolbooks and notes were also burned.

Christians invited John and Andrew to the camp, where they found comfort in the Bible teachings and friendships with other persecuted kids.

Thank God for providing comfort for his children are in difficult situations.

(Source: The Voice of the Martyrs-Canada)


A Camp That Heals, Part 1

Sri Lanka flag

In recent years, more than 250 churches in Sri Lanka have been damaged or destroyed, and Christians and their homes have been attacked. Nimal, age 6, and his sister, Nirmala, age 12, were two of the Christians whose home was attacked.

A mob threw a fire bomb through their window one night, catching the curtains on fire. Thankfully, the children’s father put out the flames and no one was hurt. But sometimes the children felt worried and fearful after the attack.

Christians in Sri Lanka invited Nimal and Nirmala to come to a camp for children whose families have been persecuted for their Christian work. At the camp, they made friends with other children who had been through similar experiences. They learned more about the Bible and about how to overcome their fear. Their family is grateful for the camp.

(Sources: VOM-Canada, Operation World)

To learn more about Christians in Sri Lanka, download Bold Believers in Sri Lanka from the Downloads section, or go to its Country page.