The Story So Far
Kethees, his full name is Ketheeswaran, is the pastor and founder of our fellowship. He grew up in the south of Batticaloa District in eastern Sri Lanka.
As a young man Kethees was forced to leave Sri Lanka to live in India., While there events left him rejected by his friends, with no income and with no way to return to Sri Lanka. Hunger and loneliness led to depression and he sank to the point where he planned to take his own life. It was then that God brought him into contact with a Christian believer who brought him to his home, cared for him and gave him work. After about three months, searching for guidance for the future, Kethees picked up a Bible and began to read at random. The words he read directly addressed his situation at the time so he continued to read the scriptures and within a matter of weeks yielded his life to the Lord.
The believers he had come to know in India provided training for him as a builder and enabled him to return to his family in Sri Lanka but, when they heard of his conversion to Christianity, his family and former neighbours spurned him.
It was whilst working in Trincomalee, overseeing building projects with LEADS, that he met his wife, Ruba. She was a Sunday School teacher and treasurer in the church he attended there. Together they came to believe that the Lord was calling them to establish an evangelical church in Batticaloa. They moved there in 1997. Kethees took up a new job with Habitat for Humanity and they both set about telling people they met about the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The first meeting of the church on 18th November 1997 was attended by Kethees and Ruba. They sang a hymn, prayed and Kethees preached. The following week two others came along and the church began to grow. In 2002 it became necessary for Kethees to give up his job with Habitat and he is now full-time pastor of the church.
In the first seven years of the church’s history growth was slow. The people of Batticaloa were resistant to the gospel and many were opposed to Christianity. By 2004 only 30 people were meeting each week for worship but following the tsunami of December that year there was a new openness to the gospel and the church grew considerably. Today more than 60 assemble for worship each Sunday morning.
It was also in 2004 that the church erected their first meeting place. The building has since been extended to cope with the increased numbers.
The work is led by Kethees and four others – Naghalingham, Prabahar, Keruppa and Dheivindran. As well as meeting for worship on the Lord’s day the church has a weekly Bible study in Batticaloa and a number of Bible studies are held at various locations outside the town. In recent months an additional meeting has been held each Sunday evening at Thannamunai.
Follow the links above to learn more about how the Lord has been working in Batticaloa.