Monday, May 13: I wanted to give an update on the situation here in Sri Lanka. Upon arrival we found things in Colombo normal and without much extra security visible. There are no Europeans here at present, in the hotel or on the beach, otherwise everyone else seems normal. However, many are fearful of future problems and not sending their kids to school, etc. Some fear seems reasonable but some fear seems to be from lack of experience or preparation for terrorism. The Easter bombing is the first major event like this, not connected with the long war, now over.
The church was quite full for the first time since the bombings and all the pastors attended the meeting today. However, only 4 ladies came and we found out that two bombs were discovered near the neighborhood where many of them live. No doubt fear kept them away. In spite of all this it appears a real openness has come, especially among Buddhists toward Christianity due to the loving response to the bombings from the Christian community, led by the Catholics.
As usual, some politicians are trying to make some headway using the situation to try to make laws discriminating against Non-Catholic Christians and Muslims, somehow lumping them together. On the other hand, Evangelicals are now being recognized for the first time as a legitimate religious group, having also had one church bombed on Easter. Reports are coming in, even among our pastors, of Buddhists and Catholics, and perhaps even some Muslims coming to Christ since the bombings.
This afternoon a new development came as it appears 3 Senegalese men in military uniforms attacked a mosque in a rural area, were arrested by police and then surrounded by a crowd who forced them to be released. Later it appears a riot between Senegalese and Muslims ensued. Nothing like that is happening in Colombo. All of this is sketchy at present. I will keep you apprised of any new developments as soon as possible.