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Evangelism in Srilanka (by A. Amarasekera)

Evangelism in Srilanka (by A. Amarasekera)

Date: December 3, 2001
From: vikramsenkaushik@yahoo.com

Buddhism and Evangelism in Srilanka

Dear Friends,

While every one focusing their minds at the LTTE problem, we  Sinhalese Buddhists are pitted against another force as dangerous as  the LTTE but only a few realize the dangers that the Sinhalese  Buddhist way of life will have to face in the near future. Perhaps it  would be correct if I said that we are in the first phase of  manipulative Christian evangelism. If we do not counter these moves  there will be mass conversions of Sinhalese Buddhist to Christians  within a decade or two once the foundations are prepared for this  purpose during the first phase that has now begun. What happened in  South Korea will be repeated here where the 80% Buddhist population  was reduced to 12% in two decades. Here is this country they have  only to reduce 69% Buddhist by another 20% and we will no longer be  living in a Sinhalese Buddhist country. Just as much as a tree would  die if its bark were destroyed, the Sinhalese race will surely die if  Buddhism is destroyed. Have you ever thought of this reality?

After George Bush JR became the President of the United States he  made a speech in which he said that he would no longer support the  developing third world countries through their respective governments  but would channel American aid through the American Christian Relief  Organizations in these countries. World Vision is one such  organization. Based on the evidence led at the Presidential  Commission of inquiry on Non Governmental Organizations it was proved  beyond reasonable doubt that World Vision was an American funded  manipulative Christian evangelical organization, which was  surreptitiously trying to convert Sinhalese Buddhists to Christians  through a program of work that was identified as "The Mustard Seed  Project". After they were thus exposed they wound up the project and  remained dormant for several years and have now recommenced  activities with renewed vigor. They have more funds at their disposal  than what is allocated to Divisional Secretariats for poverty  alleviation from the central government. Their new projects are  fifteen-year programs of work that they commence from the pre- schools.

They first visit the pre-schools at village level give attractive  gifts to the children take photographs of the children on the pretext  of finding sponsors for them. On their second visit they meet the  parents of the children and inform them that sponsors have been found  from America for all the children and that these sponsors will not  only pay the preschool teachers but will also help the families of  these children. They next form World Vision Societies for the parents  of children in every village and a coordinator from World Vision  commences regular visits to every village to discuss with these  societies what poverty alleviation projects they should implement at  village level.

I have done a comprehensive study of their activities in the  Divisional Secretariat areas of Kebitigollewa and Horowupotana. They  are trying to make use of the innocent pre-school teachers for their  surreptitious and manipulative Christian evangelical activity. World  Vision has already conducted training courses for these preschool  teachers where they have been told that World Vision respects all  religions and as such would prefer for classes to commence with two  minutes silence respecting all religions without giving pride of  place to one religion only. This is a surreptitious method of not  only preventing the teachers but also the children from respecting  the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha. That World Vision is a  Christian relief organization they have hidden from the innocent pre- school teachers.

Through the World Vision societies at village level they are at  present implementing numerous poverty alleviation programs that  include the restoration of tanks and irrigation canals, repair of  roads, construction of community centers drinking water wells and  toilets etc running into millions of rupees. Their intentions are  obvious. This is a hearts and minds operation to win the confidence  of all the village communities and to bring them to a point that they  would sincerely believe that World Vision could do no wrong. It is at  this stage that the cross will be introduced. This is similar to  their Mustard Seed project where the cross was introduced in the  ninth year after much poverty alleviation work in villages of the  Ratnapura district. The long-term intention is to convert the  community as a whole so that any objection from the village temple  could be overridden without opposition.

In one village the parents have been requested to find suitable land  for the construction a community center for which World Vision is  willing to invest Rs. One Million. The parents have been told that  once the building is completed World Vision intends to appoint the  preschool teacher to whom they are paying a monthly salary as the  caretaker of the community center. Since it would be more convenient  for the caretaker of the community center who is also the preschool  teacher to conduct preschool sessions at the community center the  parents have been requested to shift the preschool from the temple to  the proposed community center once it is constructed. This is a  surreptitious method of weaning the children from the village temple.  Once the community center is completed the preschool teacher has also  been requested to form a youth society in the village. World Vision  has promised to organize English education classes for the benefit of  the village youth free of charge on Sundays. This is a surreptitious  method of weaning the youth from the Dhaham Pasala.

We have therefore to organize ourselves to counter their moves. We do  not have the financial resources available to World Vision but we are  self- motivated and have the will power to fight their surreptitious  methods. All we got to do is to educate firstly the preschool  teachers and secondly the villager on what the ultimate aim of World  Vision is. There is still a tremendous will among the people in  Sinhalese Buddhist villages to protect and preserve their Sinhalese  Buddhist way of life. We must exploit this spirit of the Sinhalese  Buddhist villager to establish a strong defensive mechanism at  village level   against foreign funded manipulative Christian  evangelical organizations.

We must never tell the Sinhalese villagers not to accept the poverty  alleviation assistance given by World Vision but must teach them ways  and means of getting more from World Vision without falling pray to  their bait. We must educate the Sinhalese villager on how to exploit  the white man who exploited our ancestors during the colonial period.  Without doing this if we allow their program to continue for fifteen  years the preschool children whom they intend to commence influencing  now will be nineteen years when the project reaches completion. They  will then be of an age that could influence the decision making  process in the village.

As a first step in this direction of exposing the true intentions of  World Vision we conducted a successful seminar at the Kebitigollewa  Divisional Secretariat conference hall on Saturday the 3rd of  November 2001 for preschool teachers. 122 of the 150 preschool  teachers invited from Horowupotana and Kebitigollewa Divisional  Secretariat areas attended this seminar. They were educated on how to  deal with World Vision that is trying to make use of them for  proselytizing activity. We advised them to eat the bait without  swallowing the hook. They established a pre-school teacher  association at the end of the seminar whose main objective is to  preserve the Sinhalese Buddhist way of life in their villages for  posterity. We hope to make this preschool teacher association one of  our arms to beat World Vision at their own game. We have now to make  this preschool teacher association financially strong with adequate  welfare facilities to negate the influence World Vision is trying to  bring upon them by paying their salaries.

At the seminar for Buddhist Monks of Horowupotana and Kebitigollewa  held after the preschool teacher seminar that very evening, they were  informed of the type of evangelical activity that has commenced of  late in their respective areas in the name of poverty alleviation and  of the threat such activity would pose to Buddhism. We intend to  mobilize the Buddhist Monks in the village temples to educate the  Sinhalese Buddhist villagers on the true intentions of manipulative  Christian evangelical organizations such as World Vision. Some of the  poorer village temples need to be assisted as they lack the necessary  resources to participate in our efforts.

In the famous legendary story David was able to beat Goliath. We can  do the same.

Yours sincerely,

A. Amarasekera.

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