Sri Lanka

Spring 2023
Written by Jack Hay - Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is located off the southeast coast of India, "the tear-drop at the end of India". Since the tsunami of Boxing Day 2004, I have visited the island twenty seven times, the latest being in company with Eric Baijal in early October 2022.

The Pandemic

As in many other nations, the authorities tried to curb the spread of the virus by imposing lockdown conditions, and these were strictly monitored by policemen and soldiers patrolling the streets. When assemblies were eventually allowed to gather, the police were in attendance to ensure that a register of attendees was being kept, and that temperatures were being checked. The police are still present, but are less intrusive now.

Jack & Lillian Hay
Fifty years in the Lord's work, 54th Wedding Anniversary

Food distributions to the assemblies

The Economy

The nation is virtually bankrupt, and a lack of foreign currency has dried up essential imports. Lengthy power cuts and rocketing food prices add to the people's misery, so there is a great need.

In recent months there have been many food distributions to the assemblies, made possible by the generosity of saints from the West. The believers in Colombo make a massive effort to source the food delivered to the hall. It is then divided up to be transported to the various provinces of the island. On arrival, sacks are filled for distribution to needy families.


Eric and I visited the island over two weekends at the beginning of October. Colombo is the capital of Sri Lanka, and an assembly of around 90 gathers at Bethesda Gospel Hall. As usual, on this visit, both weekends were spent in Colombo. We started on Friday with a ministry meeting in the yard of some sisters. It was in the dark because of a power cut, but around 80/100 believers were present, an encouraging start. The Saturday morning children's meeting in the Dematagoda area of the city brought over 150 young people, three times the pre-Covid numbers. A highlight of our visit was when around 175 of their parents came to Bethesda for the Gospel meeting the next day, most hearing the Gospel for the first time. Both weekends and the Saturday afternoon children's meeting at Bethesda brought around 120 young people, again, a considerable increase from pre-pandemic levels. The youth Gospel Meeting saw 50/60 gathered, many of them unsaved. On the Lord's Day, the Word was ministered to the three language groups. On the second Lord's Day, we had a mini-conference with believers from Buderiliya and Kurunegala present, with 240 in attendance.

Speaking with interpreter

Baptisms in a jungle stream

The East

On a Monday morning, we set off early for the east of the island, breaking our journey in the Central Province with meetings at two rubber plantations and outreaches of the Yatiyanthota assembly, with 40 and 50 attending at the two venues. Late in the afternoon, we had a Gospel meeting in Hatton with around 100 present, mostly Hindus. In the early part of the next day, after witnessing three baptisms in a jungle stream, we had two small meetings on tea plantations.

We arrived in the east late that afternoon and had a meeting under the palm trees at a believer's home, with around 90 present. The Gospel was preached, and teaching was given. The next day was a full day of the conference at Valaichchenai when around 550 gathered, greatly exceeding expectations in the current crisis. God was gracious.

Continue to pray for Sri Lanka. The economic crisis continues, but the believers keep busy, and the work continues. In the will of God, I hope to return in September accompanied by Paul McCauley of Belfast.

Spring 2023
Written by Jack Hay - Sri Lanka