Servanthood in Sri Lanka
Asanga De Costa
It is with a great joy I write this testimony about what God has done through my life in Sri Lanka in the past two years since I returned here from Australia. After receiving my MA from Harvest Bible College in Melbourne, I returned to my home country with my lovely wife, Kumu, in 2015, believing that God had a plan for His Kingdom work through us. Our return to Sri Lanka was a surprise to many, including ourselves, because we had just started to settle into a comfortable life in Australia. Like many of my friends, we also felt doubtful and fearful that life was not going to be easy in Sri Lanka, either economically or spiritually. However, our faith and the strong sense of God’s call over our lives gave us the courage to return as missionaries to our own country and culture.
The last two years has been a great journey of faith and a wonderful testimony to God’s unfailing love and faithfulness. My wife and I started a church with a small group of believers in the Buddhist capital of the country, Kandy. We needed our own place of worship because of the cultural and legal demands to be a proper, recognised religious body. We began our church building project with the little money we had, and God began to miraculously provide in unlikely ways. It is a true testimony of how God can provide for modern, faith-based ministries. In the meantime, I began developing the few members of the church, and within a short period it started to grow, and we have about 50 members to date. We were also able to open the church building last November, and launch a number of geocentric ministries.
As a trainer for the National Church Planting Movement, I was also able to teach and train more than two thousand pastors and leaders all over the country, make disciples of them, and plant new house churches. To be able to work nationwide with different denominations, leaders, and in different contexts was a huge opportunity from the Lord. God miraculously provided finances and all the materials needed for this highly important teaching ministry. As a result of this, we saw thousands of people saved and discipled, and hundreds of house churches planted in Sri Lanka’s Buddhist villages.
We, as a church, are financially supporting 12 pastors, giving them monthly training to help start new 12 churches within 12 months in different parts of the country. We call this project ‘Village Harvest’, and run it as a main church planting ministry. These 12 pastors are mentored and supported by our Kingdom Heritage Church.
I was also invited to teach at several Bible colleges in Sri Lanka, where I mainly taught leadership and ministry skills. I consider this as a unique opportunity to make a lasting impact on pastors; to help them work beyond their capabilities, denominations, and limitations for the sake of extending the Kingdom of God in Sri Lanka.
I was also led to start a media ministry that can reach thousands of Sri Lankans all over the world. As a result, my teachings have impacted many lives with the eternal truths of the word of God.
Our church also promptly responded to the 2016 national flood and landslides crisis. We raised funds to support hundreds of families in the affected areas and led small teams to support them in that darkest hour of our country. We showed the love of Christ through our lives by sharing and lending a helping hand. We also support a number of flood-victimised families in a long-term project aimed to help them stand on their feet again.
I was also able to build relationships with national and international leaders during this short period in order to support and train Sri Lankan national leaders. This networking and collaborating has immensely helped me to materially support Pastors and leaders and spiritually train them. I have truly seen the power of God and the fruitfulness of team-based ministry by working with these leaders. In all these ministry endeavours, my sending church of Melbourne, Casey City Church, and Pastor Larry Sebastian have been tremendously supportive, and they continue to be on board with us.
In my personal life also, God has blessed me in many ways: Kumu, who is my strongest ally, is pregnant with our first child. She and I also launched a consulting company to provide business and leadership strategies to small- and medium-sized businesses. We are able to impact the marketplace while creating financial revenue to support ourselves. I was also able to earn a Master’s degree in Ministry after graduating from Harvest, and I am currently working on my Doctoral thesis in Ministry.
I clearly see the hand of God over our lives and am fully confident that God had called us to this country for this season because of the tremendous work that he has done in and through our lives. We thank God for using ordinary people like us for his extraordinary work here in Sri Lanka. I also want to encourage my fellow ministry servants: God can and will powerfully use you to make a huge impact on the lives of thousands of others if you are willing to humbly surrender yourself and allow Him to do His will through you. I also want to thank all my teachers and the staff members at Harvest Bible College for training, supporting, and believing in me for a great destiny in the Almighty. I received a world-class education and training from Harvest, one of the best ministry training schools in the world. Moreover, I met some of the best teachers there, who exemplify the character of Christ and who personally mentored me. They were kind, supportive, and wished the best for me during my darkest and hardest battles in Australia. God led me to Harvest to equip myself for such a time as this.
Asanga De Costa
Kingdom Heritage Church- Kandy, Sri Lanka