Bear the Mark!
An IGL church south of Colombo, Sri Lanka was burned to the ground. A group of local Buddhists accused the pastor of forced conversions and reported him to the police. While Pastor J (name withheld) was at the court resolving the issues, the extremists came and burned his church and his home to the ground. Only the concrete block walls were left standing. On that day, while the smoke was still rising from the rubble, Pastor J, without any hesitation, firmly stated that he would stay in the community and continue the Lord’s work.
August 2010 – I was with Pastor J at his home and church a little more than a week ago. He not only remained in this Sri Lankan village with his provokers, he rebuilt. The church and the connected residence look just wonderful. Rev. Samuel Stephens and I had the privilege of praying for the newly rebuilt church. We also prayed for Pastor J and his family.
As we talked, I will never forget his words to me: “Pastor, we bear the mark!”
Raising his pant leg, he showed me his knee. It was calloused. “This is the mark. We stay on our knees praying for God’s grace and strength and He answers our prayers!” Pastor J explained.
After the attack, his church congregation scattered, but Pastor J individually visited and encouraged each member. They have all returned, along with 40 new baptized believers! The church is stronger than before and remains vibrant and alive, bringing the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ to its community.
May we all follow the example of our brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka and “bear the mark!”
written by: Dr. David Rice, IGL-NA