Faith communities have been at the frontline working without seeking any glory or validation but a rather humane world carrying out acts of kindness and solidarity towards the vulnerable. Pastor Lakmal Wijeratne (40) of the Christian Reformed Church states, “This experience wasn’t similar to the tsunami, floods and landslides that we have helped out before. It is a pandemic affecting millions of people globally and relief work proved to be extremely difficult. However, it is our duty to look after the needs of people, the broken-hearted, the sick and those who are worried and troubled.”
The pastors of his church put up a united front, helping to mobilise funds, collect supplies, packaging and delivering to people in need. Pastor Wijeratne has also been attending to many people suffering from various problems during the lockdown, from counselling people going through an emotional crisis, visiting families to resolve domestic issues to assisting in ministering the dead and comforting the bereaved. Faith communities have been at the frontline as a beacon of light.
Pastor Wijeratne reflects on a particular heartwarming incident that made all his efforts worthwhile. “When we delivered reheatable meals to an elderly lady who lives by herself, she was moved to tears”. She had felt abandoned and isolated during this time and thanked the church profusely for being there for her. “But what took me by surprise was when she contacted me the next day offering Rs 3000 for the next round of relief saying it was her turn to help out someone and bring happiness and relief to them. She was willing to contribute with whatever savings she had at a time when many were reduced to hoarding”, he reflects. “Even in the midst of this suffering, there are many signs of hope and lessons we can learn from to live a better life,” concludes Pastor Wijeratne.