The following report is from Mohan Jayasekara, GCI director in Sri Lanka.
I am amazed at what God has done through the work of GCI in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is a tiny island with a population as large as that of Australia. It has seen the end of a bitter separatist terrorist war that plagued the island for over 25 years only two years ago. It is not an easy place to be a Christian and engage in Christian ministry. Here, GCI is registered both as a church (WCG, being changed to GCI) and as a school (Worldwide Educational Institute).
GCI has been serving Sri Lanka over the years in many meaningful ways. Though we are small, God has been with us and has graciously led and enabled us to live out our trinitarian, incarnational theology. A key moment was our response to the Boxing Day tsunami that devastated Sri Lanka in 2004. We did not simply hand out money but actively participated alongside other Christian and non-religious organizations to deliver relief and participate in reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts.
I recently returned from a challenging, yet fruitful trip to Sri Lanka. Some months ago we became aware that the Registrar of Companies was holding up our certificate to re-register as a church. Our bank account was frozen toward the middle of August because of this delay. So my first order of business was to make a visit to the Registrar with my brother Ajit who happened to know him personally. On our first visit he told us the re-registration had been approved but could not be released due to “instructions from above.” We learned that re-registration certificates for churches are released only on instruction from the Minister for Religious Affairs. That evening Ajit and I spoke to the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce (we had both played cricket with him for St. Thomas). To cut a long story short, we had our certificate in short order! During the time I was there, we filled preliminary forms to change our name to “Grace Communion International (Pvt) Limited.”
The Calvary Church Seminary began operations in our building this month. Tissa Weerasinghe invited me to help. I shared teaching resources with them for graduate classes. They asked to put our Tamil and Sinhala translation of the “Discipleship” book and the English, Sinhala and Tamil translations of “God revealed in Jesus Christ” booklet in their bookshop at their Colombo headquarters. Also, I was invited to speak at their Colombo headquarters church with about 750 in attendance. Later that day I had an inspiring gathering with 12 GCI members in Nugegoda (a suburb of Colombo) in my daughter Niranga’s home. This group meets once in two weeks for study, prayer and fellowship.
Also on this trip we visited 11 refugees from Pakistan being cared for by the Foursquare Gospel Church Pastor in Moratuwa (south of Colombo). We spent time praying with them and encouraging them. I also spent time at the Colombo Theological Seminary on the invitation of Professor Vinodh Gunasekera lecturing to the class “Foundations for Faith” and “Introduction to Doctrine.” These two classes are the ones for which the GCI book on discipleship is a required text.
I am humbled and amazed at the favor shown our denomination, including these invitations to participate in meaningful ways in what God is doing in Sri Lanka through the greater body of Christ. Thanks and glory be to God for the calling to this ministry and the gift of participating in his work.