Five Foursquare pastors and one non-Foursquare pastor who had been arrested for suspected terrorism in Sri Lanka have been released. The members of Foursquare Sri Lanka are relieved and overjoyed.
The Foursquare Church announced the arrest in early February and called on the church to pray for those incarcerated.
On Feb. 28, 2008, the national leader of Sri Lanka, Leslie Keegel, contacted Foursquare Missions informing the department that the situation was deteriorating. The arrests had led to the interrogation of other Foursquare church members as well as inaccuracies in the media that communicated false information about the church in Sri Lanka.
“I feel overwhelmed and unsafe,” said Keegel at the time. “But I don’t want to give in to fear. Masses are badgering the church in response to the diabolism spewed by the corrupt and militant media against the brethren.”
During the week of March 3, 2008, Keegel and U.S. Foursquare pastor Amos Dodge—who pastors a congregation outside of Washington, D.C., and has had the opportunity to network with various U.S. government officials—met with senior officers, pleading for the release of the pastors.
“The tide is moving positively to our benefit, we certainly have had favor,” reported Keegel earlier this month.
In a matter of days, Keegel and Dodge met with a number of high officials. One of the officials moved to assist these pastors, and as a result the six pastors were released.
Keegel expressed deep thanks to Foursquare President Jack Hayford, newly appointed Director of Foursquare Missions Jonathan Hall and the entire Foursquare global family who fervently prayed for the release of these pastors. Keegel has asked that the following prayers be offered for Foursquare Sri Lanka:
- Continued prayer for the end of persecution of Christians in Sri Lanka;
- Foursquare pastors would be encouraged to preach and serve without fear;
- The Foursquare name will be restored;
- The media would discontinue all negative press against the church;
- Church building permits would not be denied.