Sri Lanka Update

Date: Thursday, 07 March 2019
Author: Rev A James MacInnes

I didn’t return home to the expected rain and cold – but to find records being set with an unseasonal period of good weather. The relative cool is a welcome relief from the intensity of the Sri Lankan heat. It does mean, however, that I no longer have any justification for an afternoon siesta, and nor do I need sun cream each time I step outdoors. 

Not everyone in Sri Lanka takes a break in the afternoon. The men working at the church prefer to keep going through the day, finishing early enough to go home when it’s still light. Dusk comes quite suddenly, the district where the church is being built is renowned for its trees, and just as the light begins to dim the air is filled with the sound of birds returning to roost.

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Good progress has been made with the building where almost everything is done by hand, including mixing the concrete. With the foundation complete the external block walls are being constructed. These walls will not be full height – the remainder of the wall height will be steel work designed to promote maximum ventilation. Every draught in Sri Lanka is a sought after mercy, and with the same vigour that insulation is insisted upon in this country, architect’s drawings must show how the air can circulate. 

The next stage will be to instruct the metal workers who will construct the roof from metal sheeting. Internally there will be a suspended ceiling, which will improve the acoustics and help shield the congregation from the oven like effect when the sun beats upon the roof. A price has been negotiated for this work, but the cost of materials is subject to change as international steel prices and currency exchange rates vary – at present they are going up!

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Despite the encouraging progress by the builders, instructing the roofers has been set back by the planning department, who have decided, that in order to reach newly approved standards, work must halt until the plans are updated to include additional toilet facilities. This probably means a delay of about two weeks for the drawings to be resubmitted and endorsed by the local authority. On one level it is frustrating and feels unreasonable, and yet on another, it is possible to see the Lord’s hand. This enforced delay allows additional time to gather the required funds to complete the building project. 

Rev Partheepan is satisfied that the local congregation gives generously to the Lord’s cause week by week, but the cost of construction is significantly beyond them. For this, they need our help. 

Please continue to make this building project a matter of prayer, not only that the present building will soon be completed – but also that it will be a greatly used resource in the advance of the gospel in Sri Lanka.

All donations can be sent, either directly to Muriel Smith, Free Church (Continuing) Manse, Struan, Isle of Skye, IV56 8FB or through your local congregation, marking your gift clearly ‘Sri Lanka Building Fund’.

I send Christian greetings from Rev Partheepan and the Sri Lankan Church.