Sri Lankan bombing: two years later

Sometimes, grief can be so overwhelming that even prayer is difficult.

On April 21, 2019, Sri Lankan Christians were shaken by the news of a bombing outside Zion Church on Easter Sunday morning. Praba was a Sunday school teacher at that church, and she lost her eight year old son, Peter, in the attack.

Nothing can ever be the same when your child is taken from you, and Praba and her family still deal with grief. Two years after the attack, Open Doors was able to visit Praba and find out how they are coping.

“I honestly don’t know how I lived two years without my son,” she told us.

“For the past two years, we did not celebrate anything together or pray together. When all three of us try to pray together, it is very difficult because if one of us starts crying, the others do too. We could not pray together as a family.

“But I didn’t want this year to be like that. This year, on Peter’s birthday, we prayed together that morning. He is not with us anymore, but we cannot forget the gift Jesus gave us.”

Praba has been especially concerned about her 14-year-old daughter, Anne. Without her little brother, Anne frequently found herself feeling lonely. Whenever she missed her brother, Anne would ask her mother for permission to visit the baby boy next door.

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“Every day, she asks me, ‘Amma, can I go play with the baby for 15 minutes?’” Praba says. “She didn’t study very well last year either. Her grades were not good for some subjects, but I didn’t say anything about it to her.”

“I am putting God first now”

Not only is Praba determined to help her family navigate this time, but she has also been trying to get her walk with God back on track. “Before I got married, on 1 January 2001 I was baptized, and a pastor visited my house that day,” she recalled. “He told me that I will serve God someday, and I jokingly told him that I had no intention of getting involved in ministry.” She could not help but laugh at herself.

“This year, I remembered what that pastor told me. It was only after Peter died that I fully committed my life to Jesus. I used to go to church only on Sundays and spent most of my time caring for my family.” But Peter’s death had helped her realign her priorities.

“Now everything else comes second. I am putting God first now. That is what we were called to do. I have started my ministry again and am teaching Sunday school. My relationship with Jesus has grown deeper.”

 

"Thank you for upholding our family in prayer” 

Praba’s eyes filled up with tears as she thought back to April 2019. “The day after we buried Peter, I sat at home crying, thinking about him. Did he feel any pain? What if he had called out for me saying ‘Amma!’ I had many questions. But while I was crying, God showed me a vision, and in it, Jesus was holding Peter in his hands. That is where Peter is, and that is where I will go someday. That is my hope, and my hope is what keeps me going.”

Blinking away her tears, Praba smiled again. “We are okay now,” she said reassuringly. “We are happy, and we laugh, but we will never forget Peter. We can never replace him, not even with another child of our own. We remember him every day and we cry every day. But crying has become a part of our lives now.

“After we lost Peter, for about six months I could not pray. Whenever I sat down to pray, ‘Jesus’ was all I could manage to say. I could only cry. But people who had never even seen us were praying for us when we could not. It is because of their prayers that we have been able to stay strong in our faith. Thank you for upholding our family in prayer during this time.”

Pray

  • Please pray that God would ease the loneliness Anne is feeling. Pray that God would fill those moments of loneliness with His presence.
  • “Pray that Anne will grow up to be a God-fearing young lady,” Praba requests.
  • Praba’s husband is currently working at an NGO that ministers to children and he enjoys his work. But his salary is insufficient to meet the family’s needs. Pray for God’s provision for their family.

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