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Sri Lanka Curfews Called ‘Direct Attack’ on Christians

5/27/08 Sri Lanka (ANS) – The latest restrictions on the people of Sri Lanka ’s freedom has been called a “direct attack” on Christians’ ability to hold prayer meetings.

“We are desperately praying for peace in our country,” wrote Lal Vanderwall, head of Gospel for Asia’s ministry in Sri Lanka . “The country’s situation is going from bad to worse.”

On May 6, several GFA Bible college students were returning from a school break when railway officials openly harassed and humiliated them. The students can no longer share the Gospel publicly because of frequent similar incidents.

Sri Lanka ’s unstable political situation has also affected much of daily life. Inflation is a big problem, and Lal says the cost of living is going up “day by day.”

Now, the police are restricting citizens’ abilities to move around.

“Even if a person is coming to a place for one day, the police have to be informed of the plans,” Lal said. In fact, the day after a GFA lady missionary came to Lal’s office on May 3, police came and arrested him because they had not been informed of the woman’s plans to visit. Lal was released a short time later.

Now, a law has been implemented that restricts noise levels after 10 p.m.

“There should be no noise coming from a premise, either a religious place or a private place,” Lal explained. “The law was introduced by a politician extremist who is responsible for violence against Christians.

“This law is a direct attack on late-night prayer meetings.”

Lal also wrote that the Tamil people, a minority in the country, have especially faced intimidation. The rebel Tamil Tigers are fighting for an ethnic independent homeland in the northeast part of Sri Lanka , so many non-rebel Tamils face violence because of their association. Much of Sri Lanka ’s strife comes from the conflict between the government and the rebels.

However, Lal writes, the Lord’s work is going forward.

“In spite of all odds, the ministry is progressing. Day by day, people are coming to Christ,” Lal wrote. “People are responding to the Gospel very much, including the security forces.”

Lal asks for prayer for himself and the GFA missionaries working in Sri Lanka . Pray that they will be able to help many people find hope in the Lord.