Apr 28, 2019 | by Nancy Newbrough
On Easter Sunday morning, my wife, Jennifer, and I headed bright and early to set up for church at the Katy Main Street campus. When we were finished, I happened to see an email and much to my surprise, it was from my cousin, Larry, who is like a brother. He was asking for prayer for his son, Jamison, and wife, Kat, who were trying to get to the airport in Sri Lanka for a flight they had already booked to Nepal.
Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, is a densely populated island country of 21 million that lies off the coast of India. It is one of the most scenic countries in the world and is home to a variety of cultures. Jamison and Kat have served there as missionaries since January 2017. I immediately submitted a request to the Prayer Team for their safety and protection and especially success in leaving the country. Jamison wrote this account of their ordeal:
“On a morning to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, suicide bombers invaded three churches and three hotels, targeting Christians and foreigners in three different cities of Sri Lanka. Two more explosions followed in the afternoon at a small guesthouse near the zoo and one at the terrorist group's headquarters. Sunday evening a pipe bomb was defused near the airport while we were trying to pass through. On Monday 87 detonators were found at the main bus stand in the capital, and a van near a church was bombed.
“In the attacks on Easter Sunday, at least 321 people were murdered and over 500 were injured. Among the dead were 36 foreigners. The police have made 40 arrests. However, three police officers were murdered in a blast while they were trying to take in a suicide bomber to their headquarters. Terribly real pictures as well as videos display the aftermath of the attacks. Blessedly, all our friends are safe.
“We first heard about the attacks from a friend. He called Easter morning to ask if we were out of harm's way and to beg us not to travel. We had already planned a trip to Nepal on a plane leaving the airport that night. Before departing, we went downstairs to pay our landlady and watched the news as it developed. Our driver, who is a friend, bravely kept his word and drove us through police checkpoints even though it was past curfew. Several hours later, we arrived at one of the two roads leading to the airport.
“Officials would not let us past the first entrance to the airport, explaining there was a ‘security concern.’ So we went to the other entrance and waited in line for each car, person, and bag to be searched by police.
“While waiting, we heard an explosion and found out later, it was the Air Force safely diffusing a pipe bomb that had been found along the previous road (the aforementioned ‘security concern’). With no explanation as to the mysterious explosion, we safely walked to the airport and got through the airport past triple security and sniper groups.
“Due to Kat's stitches in a toe, we had decided against our usual routine of heading near the airport a day before by bus. Should that have happened, we likely would have been in three different danger locations that had bombing attacks or evidence of attacks that did not occur. We also would have had much confusion on trying to get to the airport while breaking curfew rules and without a television on how to proceed. Thankfully, we had access to all the information we needed to arrive safely at the airport on time for our flight.
“We are doing fine, although a bit upset at what ‘could have been!’ Part of us grieves that we are not there to help volunteer in the recovery process! But we also know that as foreigners, we may be an additional incentive for the crazies to target us and whoever we are around for additional violence.
“We had already planned to be gone the next few months on exploratory vision trips for a safer home base (mainly so Kat can feel safe going out as a woman). Now we realize that our current country, which we thought was safe for foreigners in general, is not safe at all! Our plans to leave are not because we are afraid, but to find a place that is sustainable for our family's emotional health in the future.
“We admired the Himalayas as we flew into Kathmandu, Nepal. Our arrival found us stirred, but not shaken – yet overwhelmingly thankful for the Father’s grace after all the emotional stress and sleep deprivation from the last 24 hours.
“We are so grateful for all those who remembered us and reached out to make sure we are okay. Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka.”
I thank everyone at The Fellowship who lifted Jamison and Kat before the Lord! ISIS is taking credit for the attacks. All glory to God for His hand of protection over our loved ones!
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens,
and let your glory be over all the earth.
Save us and help us with your right hand,
that those you love may be delivered.