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Pastor Kethees has just returned from a trip to Holland where he visited friends and had opportunities to preach and teach in Tamil speaking churches in Holland and Germany.
Last year he travelled to the United Kingdom where he enjoyed fellowship with our friends in Killicomaine Evangelical Church in Northern Ireland and visited churches in London.
He was there as the guest of our brothers and sisters in Killicomaine who we got to know at the end of 2004 when they sent gifts to help victims of the tsunami. Since then the pastor from Killicomaine has visited Batticaloa on three occasions and we have been in regular contact with the church.
The purpose of Pastor Kethees visit was to strengthen the relationship between our two churches which have much in common. During his time in Ireland he had opportunities to preach the word of God and teach in the church in Killicomaine. He also had opportunities to address Tamil speaking churches in London.
There was time to meet with believers from different backgrounds, visit places of interest, learn about the Northern Ireland culture and witness first-hand how churches function in the UK.
The exchange of information and ideas that has taken place through these visits has already been bearing fruit in all the churches involved and, God willing, will continue to do so in the future.
Visitor From Ireland
Dr Stephen McAuley, pastor of Killicomaine Evangelical Church, will be coming to Batticaloa. He will be with us from 18th August until 4th September and will be conducting some special teaching meetings for the church.
He will be accompanied on this trip by his wife Janet. It is her first time to come to Sri Lanka.
No Place To Rest
We continue to have what must be an unusual problem for a church. We need somewhere to bury our members — after they die.
For some time we have been refused permission to use local cemeteries which are controlled by Hindu and Buddhist community leaders. Space in the burial grounds of the non-evangelical churches is in short supply and is reserved for their own members.
This problem has become known in the town and people are saying they could not join our church because there would be nowhere for them to be buried.
With the Lord's help, we have been able to buy a plot of land on the outskirts of the town. It has been fenced off and is already being used for regular outreach meetings — perhaps the beginning of a new church — but we are having difficulty getting permission to use it as a burial ground.
Please pray with us that the local authorities would grant our request.