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SRI LANKAN NEEDS UPDATE - In the aftermath of the tsunami, Lamplighters World Ministries is working to assist the Sri Lankan people as they rebuild their lives.

Great interview with Steve Bycroft by National Public Radio
"NPR : In Sri Lanka, Healing and Paranoia as Aid Flows"

Please click on the headline to the story using a RealAudio or WindowsMedia player.
For players or technical support, please visit NPR's Audio Help page. http://www.npr.org/help/audio/

*Order a text transcript of this story* http://www.npr.org/transcripts/story.html



Dear Fellow Laborer in Christ,

We were blessed to be able to spend time with our family that lives in the Joplin area for Thanksgiving and had a good time and of course ate too much. Several things that we eat here, especially at Thanksgiving time, are simply not available to us in Sri Lanka so it’s nice to eat turkey, ham, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and on the list goes. But most importantly we had time to give thanks to God for the many blessings we do enjoy and spend time with family!

It is always appropriate to thank you for your faithful support for us and for your prayers for the ministry! These are some of the blessings for which we thank our God daily. Without your continued support in prayer and finance we could not continue to do what we are in our ministry. We always pray that God will bless you for partnering with us in this ministry.

Yours because of Christ,

Steve and Shanthi


We have recently gone with high speed internet which will make the sending and receiving of pictures and letters from Sri Lanka much easier, at least that’s our hope.

Please begin using this new address immediately as very soon the old address will no longer work.




Last month we mentioned how we have 9 of our youth who want to study for and enter into the full time ministry with us. We asked for your prayers for this and for the young people who are planning to go.

We selected this school for several reasons which we will explain.

We know the people who oversee and operate the school personally.

Their program includes Bible teaching and also instilling in students the integrity and commitment to be faithful in ministry in spite of the difficulties they will face.

The students will be on campus for four months, and then return home for four months to work with their own pastor and church in ministry work, then return to the school for another four months. This gives them practical training for ministry and also allows them to see their families. Hopefully this will prevent drop outs due to homesickness.

This also keeps them involved with the social structure they have come from so hopefully they will return to their home area. Many times young people go off to Bible School and then don’t return to work with those who influenced them for Christ and sent them to school.

There is still no official word that the school will find the property needed in order for them to open the school this next January or February so we ask for your continued prayers.



We have always placed great importance on the Sunday school programs in the churches. This comes from our experience that the children are more easily reached. Once they are coming we can then try to influence their families and then through their families reach extended family and friends.

In our Onthachimadam and Mahiloor congregations we are seeing this working.

Both of these Sunday school programs are growing rapidly and along with that our preachers are also meeting new families in other areas.

One new village where we hope to start a new ministry soon is in Eruvil and another is Kirumanvely. Our preachers now have contacts there and have visited with families who are interested in knowing more about Christ and these families have already invited them to come and start Sunday school programs in their village.

This is why we are sending young people to Bible College and also why we continue to pray that God will bring other workers to join us in our area. There are so many villages where no work is being done or very limited work. The need is so great and time, we feel, is so short.

We’re praying that God will work in both of these situations and bring about new ministries through the efforts of our preachers and workers.


One of our preacher’s wives is not only an asset to her own husband and ministry but to our ministry as a whole.

Rani Simon is the wife of our preacher Sydney in Koddai Kallar. She oversees and teaches in the Sunday school program there and is involved in weekly prayer meetings, evangelism and disciple training.

One more area where she is invaluable is in training and teaching of all the Sunday school teachers.

We use flannel graph Sunday school material and lessons and the same lesson is taught in all the Sunday schools. The only problem is the lessons are written in English, this is where Rani comes in. She speaks, reads and writes English very well.

Every Monday afternoon she holds a training session where they go over the lesson for the next Sunday and then each one takes their turn presenting the lesson with the flannel graph so they are familiar with not only the story but also the pictures used.

Some of our preacher’s wives then take what they have learned to their home church and teach the others who are involved in the Sunday school ministry, if all of them came at one time the group would be too large.

We presently have over 25 teachers in the churches; some of these are young people who will be going to Bible College next year. Because of this our preachers are trying now to recruit people who will get involved in this ministry.


Sunday school Christmas programs to enthuse kids and parents about the true meaning of Christmas.

Bible college to find and purchase or rent property so they can open next Jan. or Feb.

Our kids at home to be obedient and study well in our absence.

Christmas time to be a peaceful time in our area, lots of killings, and kidnappings right now.

More workers to join in the harvest of souls.

If you would like for us to come to your church please contact us by email or phone as soon as possible so we can get our schedule put together.


Lamp Lighters World Ministries 

Dear fellow laborer in Christ,

          Well we are back in the States.  We arrived in Tulsa at midnight Thursday and were met at the airport by my sister Penny and her husband Ron.  The only problem was that our luggage didn’t arrive with us but it was delivered to our house on Saturday afternoon.  Regardless it is good to be home again for awhile!

          It was really difficult for us to leave as there are always things left undone, but leaving behind the kids in our home was the most difficult.  But God has provided a good Christian lady to help care for them in our absence which made it a little easier.

          While home we are planning to visit our supporting churches and also to spend some time with our family here and hopefully find a little time to rest as well.

          You have been a continual blessing to us by your faithful prayers and your support for the ministry and we continue to lift you up to God that he will bless you for your being a blessing to us!

                                                          Love in Christ,

                                                          Steve and Shanthi

Struggles in Mahiloor

           We just heard of some problems faced by the church at Mahiloor.  This church is really growing and is having a big impact on the community.  Of course Satan doesn’t like this and so will do all he can to prevent people from coming to Christ.

          It seems that during the night this past week some people came cut the electric lines leading to the preacher’s house and church and then proceeded to uproot all the flowers around the church and everything in their large vegetable garden.

          These are just another example of some of the things that we along with our preachers and church members endure by living among a majority Hindu population.

          Please pray for their steadfast witness and protection for them personally.


 Satanic charm found on our property

          We have been rearranging some of the plants and cleaning of our own property after all the remodeling and construction.  On removing a plant from under a papaya tree a small bottle was dug up inside it was some hair and paper.  We recognized this immediately as a charm which had been buried there by someone who wanted to put a curse on us or someone in our household.

          This is common in our village in fact the entire area and not the first time that something like this has been done to us.

          On finding it we called over our preacher in Koddai Kallar, Sydney and had a short prayer service, thanking God for his protection of us and to bind the powers of Satan through this “charm” that had been placed there to bring harm to us and our kids.

          Please remember to pray for our household as we are away from them.


Last minute blessing

          There is the old saying, “God is seldom early but He is never late”.  This was quite true for us as we prepared to return to the States we had no one to care for the kids.           We had talked with several ladies and even a couple who came but, then changed their minds later.  This continued to weigh upon us as we were not comfortable leaving them under the care of the two oldest girls who are 23 and 21.  We needed someone more mature who could do the work and look at it as part of their own ministry.  We had even considered Shanthi remaining behind if no one came forward; I couldn’t stay as my visa expired and I had to leave the country.

          One week before our flight God provided a Christian lady, her name is Kallah, in her 40’s, no husband, and children grown who was willing to come and care for our kids. 

          She has very quickly fit in and according to what we are told is doing a very good job of caring for the kids for which we thank and praise God.


Youth to attend Bible College next year

          One of the areas in which we are truly rejoicing is that from our churches we have nine young people who are wanting to attend Bible College this next January and enter full time ministry with us.

          This is what we have been praying and working toward that God would raise up workers from within our own churches. 

          We already have one, Nona who lives with us at our home and works in Periya Kallar.

          God willing all things will work out so that these nine young people will enter this 2 year program and then work with us upon completion.

Unexpected Baptism 

          Most of the time we are aware of when people want to be baptized ahead of time, but we had one just before we left that came as a real surprise.

          We got a phone call on Friday afternoon from Jeeva who is our attorney, a good friend, and also serves as worship leader and coordinator for the churches, that her mother wanted to be baptized. 

          Her mother is Roman Catholic but, had been studying her Bible and one of our preachers had already shared with her about her need to be baptized in the way described in the scriptures.  She had been sprinkled as a young lady but only in order to get married.

          On Friday evening we stopped packing suitcases and drove to their home about 5 miles away and shared the scriptures with her in order to make sure she understood what she was doing and what was going to take place when she was baptized.  Then on Saturday afternoon they came to Koddai Kallar and we had a baptism service and I baptized her at her request.

          We, along with her and her daughter rejoiced at her decision!


Schedule a Speaking Engagement!

        We plan to be in the States for several months.  At this time we don’t have an exact return date for Sri Lanka.  Some of this depends on the number of speaking engagements we get. 

          If you would like for us to come and share what we have been doing over the last two years please contact the office as soon as possible, either by phone or email. 

          The more advance notice we get the easier it will be for us to schedule dates to visit your church.  Please give us alternative dates as well as preferences you have.


Prayer Requests


1.  God to continue to work in peoples hearts in the villages where we are working.


2.  More workers to join with us in the harvest and new villages to be reached with the Gospel.


3.  Protection for our preachers, their families, and our household from the attacks of Satan.


4.  Those who are wanting to go to Bible College in January. 



Lamplighters World Ministries

October 1, 2008


Dear Fellow laborer in Christ,

As we are scheduled at present to leave Sri Lanka late night of the 22nd this will most likely be the last newsletter that we write from here.

There always seems to be more to do than we have time to do it in, I’m sure you most likely feel the same way about your own life. There’s always one more project, one more family to meet and share Christ with, one more problem to be addressed, one more village we would like to begin a ministry in. Maybe it’s good we feel that way as that’s what helps keep us going knowing the time is short.

But as we think back over the last two years much has been done, by God’s grace, and for that we give Him praise and thanks!

We also can never say thank you enough to you our supporters either. You faithfully pray for us and send your gifts so that we are enabled by God’s power to accomplish Kingdom building here. We do pray that God will continue to bless and use you in your ministry where you are!

                                                                        In Christ,  Steve & Shanthi



We have found that by working to start new Sunday schools in different areas of the villages where we are already working that this gives even more possible contacts, not only with the children but also their parents and families.

Each church has multiple Sunday schools, not just one on Sunday morning at the church. This does make everyone busy but helps achieve the goal of reaching the village for Christ.  The aim is to reach into a new area of the village, get them coming regularly, meet the families, and then encourage them to come to the church building on Sundays for worship.  Along with the evangelism done it has helped more people get involved in the ministry of the churches, which is one of the goals of the disciple making programs, that each member uses their gifts and talents for the Lord.

As we have only been doing this for a few months there is yet to be a lot of response from families coming to church, but it does give the preachers and workers opportunities they didn’t have previously to share the Gospel with families in new areas of the village where they are working.  Presently in the 5 churches here we have 12 Sunday schools with 2 more to begin (probably after Christmas).



It doesn’t seem possible but it’s almost here. Christmas is recognized as “the” Christian holiday here in Sri Lanka. It’s also a great time to get the families of the Sunday school kids to come to the church building for the program.

As always we give gifts to the children (usually clothing, which is always needed), and some school supplies. This year though we are letting the churches provide some of the gifts themselves rather than all the financial responsibility falling on us.  But due to the number of new Sunday school programs and children coming we still need your help with funding this important project.

If you want to help with a special gift, please designate it “Sunday School Christmas”.



One of our greatest joys is watching the Mahiloor church grow in number and in faith. This was only a Sunday school program just 4 years ago.

Dene and Vino are working and praying very hard, and it shows. In July they broke the 100 barrier in attendance 2 Sundays and this month, unless something goes really wrong, they will have exceeded 100 every Sunday of the month.

We praise God for how he continues to work and bless in this church.



This month Vijay and Ananthy became proud parents of another baby girl, named Magdelin Jeevini. This name comes from Ananthy’s 2 sisters who died in the 2004 tsunami.

All are doing well and Vijay is beaming with joy (and Ananthy is happy this is over)!

Jeevini has to be the chubbiest newborn I’ve ever seen.



We wrote some time back about the need to replace the church building in Periyaneelavanai, and it still needs to be replaced. But the church has grown to the point that we couldn’t wait for funds, nor wait to build a new building.

We decided that the simplest thing was to remove the oven, which took up 1/3 of the building (remember this building was an old bakery) and replace the roof system, and this has been completed.  This had to be the quickest remodel in Sri Lanka history as the whole project was completed within one week.  No service was moved to a different location or disrupted in any way.  After church on the 14th the church members removed all the furnishings inside the building, taking them to a member’s house not far from the church, and then they removed all the roof tiles and rafters above the oven. The next 3 days were spent demolishing the oven and removing the balance of the tiles and rafters. 

Here is the church before we began the project.                         


“Demolishing the Oven”


One of the church members was given the bricks from the oven and what tiles could be reused so he was there everyday working. This project benefited his family as well as the church family, and it got the church members involved!  On the 21st the people were much more comfortable in the extra space provided.

In all it cost about $750 to complete (except for additional electrical wiring which still needs to be done).  But this is only a stop-gap measure as the building must be replaced soon. We’re planning to begin construction on the first phase which will eventually be Sunday school rooms and home for Vijay and Ananthy, even though we won’t be here to oversee the project.  Here you can see the “after” photo of the completed project, with the new roof and extended space at the rear of the building.



1. Praise and pray for church growth to continue.

2. More faithful workers to join with us in the harvest of souls here.

3. Christmas programs to be a time of new growth in the churches.

4. Completion of our house remodel. Having to replace roof and ceiling in old section we were still using due to termite damage.

5. Praise that we are moved into the new section of the house and all the kids are once again sleeping in our home, they had been sleeping in the upstairs of the church building.


 September 1, 2008

Dear fellow laborers in Christ,

We continue to remember you in our prayers asking God to bless you and use you in your individual lives and ministry there.

We continue to have very hot weather which is somewhat unusual. By this time we generally have cooler temps with rains, but the rains have been lacking so temps have remained high (at least it has been cooling off some most evenings).

Kids have been on school break this month and so have had extra time to play although they do study every day for a few hours. And it has given them extra time to get on our nerves as well,  which I think is just in a kid’s nature. 

We thank you for your continued prayers for us and this ministry, and for your support as well. We thank God for you and ask for Him to bless you. It is a tremendous boost of strength to know that people back home are concerned and praying for us while we are here.

Thanks to all who sent cards and emails for my birthday this month!

                                                                        In Christ, 

                                                                        Steve & Shanthi


We always struggle with problems from people who don’t want us having Sunday school or kids programs of any kind as they don’t want the kids to hear the truth about Jesus. Actually we must constantly remind ourselves that it is not them, but our enemy Satan who doesn’t want the truth known.  Such was the case in Periyaneelavanai during the VBS program. While there was some shouting from people at the beginning who were upset over the program, there weren’t any problems, for which we gave thanks to God.

Some of our church believers live in the new apartment buildings put up after the tsunami. The program was held outdoors in front of one of the flats where Nilahini lives. She was one of our little Sunday school girls a few years ago and is now the Sunday school teacher in Periyaneelavanai doing an excellent job. Along with this she goes out visiting the kids and their families every week, sharing Christ with them.  We were even taken back by how bold she was, to stand there in front of a couple of hundred kids and adults and share the Bible lesson, considering how timid and shy she is normally. That is simply the power of the Holy Spirit at work.

The following Sunday we were at Periyaneelavanai for the church service and Nilahini gave a testimony: the night of the VBS program she was in the apartment with one of her friends, but her parents were gone. There was a knock at the door—it was the council members who are in charge of the apartments.  At her own admission she was very afraid to open the door but prayed that God would give her the words to share the Gospel with these people who were opposing the program.  She opened the door and they began immediately to scold her for not getting their permission to have the program, and especially that she was talking about Jesus. They insisted that she change her words and the songs they sang to talk about “god” (little “g” intended), and not Jesus.  She continued to pray while they continued to scold. Finally she was able to begin talking with them, and God gave her the words to share with them.

When everything was over they were all smiling and speaking kindly to her, and told her, “if you want to teach Jesus to all the children in the apartments that it was okay with them.”

How amazing our God is and how He works in people and situations for His glory!  He is still the God who closes the mouths of the lions, and quenches the flames!

Nilahini Teaching At VBS



This month has been good in that all the churches held VBS programs. As in most other programs of the last year or so we have intentionally taken a back seat and allowed them to do the programs on their own.  What was especially good to see was the number of youth and adults from the churches who helped with the programs, unlike in the past where we and the preachers did it all. This is where the discipleship program has really paid off.

I think it must be something like parents watching their child take its first steps. You’re filled with joy to see them do it, but afraid they might fall and hurt themselves at the same time.  While our preachers have experience in preaching and teaching, a VBS program is something still fairly new for them. Last year was the first time we had ever done this and everyone enjoyed it, even though it was a lot of work.

Some of the programs were held at the church buildings, others were held in outdoor locations, and some had 2 different programs in different places.

Please pray that the children that came will continue to come to Sunday school and that the preachers and workers will be able to reach the families with the Gospel.  Not all the programs are finished at this writing (one more day to go), but all had good attendance and good programs.






For several months Nona, John, and Thiananthy have been holding Sunday schools in Periya Kallar which is the next village just south of ours. This had grown to the point that they were holding 3 programs each weekend in different parts of the village. Along with the children there have been several youth who have been coming.

We continued to pray and God provided a location where they could meet and combine 2 of the Sunday schools, but what makes us happiest is that they held the first worship service on August 17th. There were 4 adults including our workers, 4 youth, and 10 Sunday school children. The number of kids was less mainly due to the new location and they have walk a little further than before, but we feel that most will return. We have been praying that God would work things out so a new church could be planted in another village, and He has answered those prayers.


1. For the preachers and workers to make the extra effort to visit the new families whose children came for VBS this past month.

2. God’s continued protection for us and our church believers and workers.

3. The Gospel to go forward and workers who will take it.

4. Completion of our house before we leave.

5. New church plant in Periya Kallar



Dear fellow laborer in Christ,

It seems that we just sent out the newsletter and yet another month has gone by.  As I write this we are at the end of the school term and our kids are taking exams. They will be out of school from the 1st of August until the 1st of September.  We’re not happy with the results they’ve gotten so far on their exams; they have simply not applied themselves this term as they are capable of doing. And our schedule has been such that we have not had the time to oversee their study times personally.

Construction has not gone as well as we wanted either and this has compounded our schedule problems, but we are making headway.

We thank God every day for you and your prayers for us and the ministry. And we also thank Him for placing it in your hearts to support us financially. From news back home we understand that costs of everything there have gone up dramatically and so we appreciate your support— God will bless you for your sacrifice by including our ministry in your budget. We pray that God will continue to bless you and your labor for His glory where you live.

                                                                                    In Christ,

                                                                                                Steve and Shanthi



At the beginning of this year we sat down with our staff of preachers and helped them set goals for this next year. Some are on track to accomplish their goals, some have exceeded the goals they set, but some aren’t quite on track.

We wrote a couple months ago about the disciple making emphasis that we’ve begun in the churches. This continues and we are seeing more people come to know Christ, and also many of our youth are more committed in their faith in Jesus because of this. This month we had more baptisms in Mahiloor and Periyaneelavanai.  Overall we’re pleased with the progress in the churches but there seems to always be room for improvement in our view of things.

Please pray for these new believers here.



Our preacher Rennie in Trinidad has told us that prices of goods and services have risen sharply there also; I guess it must be world wide. He is planning to take a part-time job to supplement what we send them each month.

He writes that there are new people coming to the church and that they had 2 baptisms (for which we praise God)!  It’s been a long time since there have been any people accept Christ there.

The church in Penal has struggled form the beginning and we are praying that it is now turning a corner and will show some positive growth this year.



This past month one of the church believers in Koddai Kallar went to Colombo for extensive tests and the findings were not good. They found that he has ALS, better known to most as Lou Gehrig’s disease. From what we’ve read it is doubtful he will live, even with the expensive medication, for more than a few years at most.  Please remember Jeyasakaram and his wife Shiromi in your prayers. He is a dedicated husband, father, faithful church member, and has been included in the disciple making program.   As in all things God will bring good from even this! We may not see it right now but that’s His promise. ( Romans 8:28)


While in Colombo this past month we arranged our flight to return to the United States. At this point we will arrive very early Oct 24th but this could change as we booked early and the schedule might change somewhat. We scheduled it early in order to make sure we could get seats and hopefully beat any more price increases because of fuel prices.

My visa expires Oct. 25th so we’re staying just about as long as we can here before coming back home.  When we announced this in our staff meeting we did it with a little joke by saying that this was the day all the preachers had been looking forward to. But afterward they came to us and asked, “why did you say that—we don’t want you to go ever“! This made us feel good that they want us around.

It’s going to be more difficult than last time to leave the kids behind, but the law will not allow us to take them out of the country. Even though there are times we’d like to strangle them we do love them, and the youngest two don’t even remember their real parents at all and see us as their Mom and Dad.

Along this line we are needing a lady like we had last time whom we can trust and who will truly care for and love the kids. The lady who was here before returned to her home shortly after our return here and can’t come back.  Pray that God will lead someone here who can care for these kids.


Some time ago we wrote that the church building in Periyaneelavanai needed to be replaced.  The church is growing in number and the building is too small, not to mention in bad condition.

This building was a former bakery and the huge brick oven is still in the back 1/3 of the building.

Until we get funds to build a building we’ve decided on temporary measures to increase the size for the growing congregation. Our plan is remove the roof, which is supported by the oven, tear out the oven, and replace the roof with new cement sheets, as this is cheaper than clay tiles.

This will give them some much needed space right now, but we still must replace the building. Pray that God will provide the funds for this much needed building. 


1. More workers for the harvest here
2. Continued growth in the churches here and Trinidad
3. Funds to build a new building in Periyaneelavanai.
4. A lady who can care for the kids in our absence

5. Completion of our house remodel and expansion


Dear fellow laborer in Christ,

This has been a good month for us as we have seen God at work in several different situations. Actually God is always at work it’s only when we are able to step back and look and see how He has been working we are reminded of that fact. It’s also a reminder to us that’s not us, but His mighty hand we are simply doing our duty.

We’re seeing growth in the churches and enthusiasm is growing among the preachers and the congregations as well.

All are making preparations for their VBS programs which will be held in August during school term break.

We think of you our supporters often and thank God for you, your prayers and support for us while we are working here. We pray that God will continue to bless and use you to His glory as you also labor for Him.

                                                                        In Christ,

                                                                                    Steve  & Shanti


For the last few years we have been holding a Bible school at our Koddai Kallar church. Another preacher friend of ours had been helping us by teaching each week. He is a committed man of God and everyone who attended really looked forward to each week. But then there were some problems that arose.  His schedule was getting busier all the time as he has his own ministry as well and then he went to Belgium for a month so rather than cancel the program Shanthi and I took it over again and are enjoying doing the study as well.

The school is held every Monday morning and is attended by our preachers as well as several from each congregation.

We have been studying the “Purpose Driven Life”, for the last few months and we actually found copies of the book in Colombo in Tamil. We bought all we could find going to 3 different book stores, but still couldn’t find enough for everyone so they pass the books around so everyone has a chance to read before the Monday session.  Even though it is meant for a 40 day study we felt there could be benefit even taking several months to complete the study.

We are praying that through this study there will be a greater realization for them concerning their purpose in life especially for our workers, and how God wants and will work through them.




We were finally able to move into our new kitchen which seems enormous right now as we had such a small one before. During construction we used part of the garage as dining room and kitchen.  It’s great to have running water again after 8 months and also to eat sitting at a table instead holding the plate on your lap!

The boys are once again sleeping in the bedroom which is completed, and now we’re trying to complete the bedroom upstairs so the girls can move back in.

We were able to get the roof on the second story which is an added blessing as each time it rained the water ran down the steps and through the garage.

It’s difficult enough to keep all the construction going with everything else we have going on, and living in the mess has also been a real trial. But by God’s grace it’s coming together. He has protected us and all our belongings as for most of this time our house was wide open with no way to lock anything except our bedroom door.

We’re slowly getting things back together and praying we can complete most of it before we leave in October.



Our good friends, Bob and Sue Thatcher from Oregon, are here and invited us to their place for a couple days to relax.  Bob has been here for the last 2 years working under USAID contract to replace a bridge badly damaged by the 2004 tsunami. Sue comes and stays for a few months and then goes back to the States. 

They took us to Yala National Park which we have wanted to visit for years but just never had the time  We really enjoyed their company, and the sights too.  The park is actually untouched jungle with dirt roads crossing through certain areas that are highly regulated.  We went on 2 trips and saw many animals including 2 leopards which are rarely seen, some people go there several times for days at a time and never see one, We also saw a large wild tusker elephant, another rare sight!

Bob’s project is almost completed and they will both be back in the States by the time you read this newsletter.



Things are more peaceful right now but still not what you would call “at ease.”  Tension between Tamils and Muslims is still very high along with the continuing war in the country.  More military camps and check points have opened in the last month in some of the villages close to us making travel of any kind extremely difficult.


1. More workers to enter into the work.
2. A Bible college program where we can send workers for training. Several of our youth want to study and work in ministry.
3. Continued growth in the churches and evangelism in the villages
4. Good health, I’ve been battling recurrent sinus and ear infections for over a month.
5. Real peace here in Sri Lanka.


January -  June 2008


                        Office Expenses                   $2,501.00

                             Car Expenses                            175.00

                             Overseas Projects               32,500.00


                             Payroll:  Personnel               15,000.00

                             National Evan                          5,140.00


                             Total Expenses                    55,316.00 

                             Total Support Rec.              55,040.00 


Lamp Lighters World Ministries

June 1, 2008

Dear Fellow Laborer in Christ,

            Each month as we write we are always reminded of things back home in the States and how things change so quickly and how it seems change takes place so slowly here. Everything here is at a slower pace than in the States which sometimes is rather nerve wracking to say the least.
            One of those areas is in the construction business. We seem to be so close to completing our first floor and yet so far from being done and is mostly due to tradesmen not coming on time to do the work necessary. But construction is coming along.
            I wonder sometimes maybe God looks at us and says I thought they would be further along than this by now. How patient our Father is with us to grow into maturity to be the people He wants us to be, to think the way He wants us to think, and act the way He wants us to act.
            We are so grateful to God for you, your faithful prayers for us and financial support. We think of this not only when we write the newsletter but throughout the days our thoughts are of how God supplies all we need through you our supporters. We pray that God will continue to bless you as you labor for him in your part of the vineyard.

                                                In Christ, Steve & Shanthi


            A couple of months ago we made some changes to help, we hope to disciple people within our churches to be workers not just members. One of the areas has been with the youth groups. We have made the last Sunday of every month Youth Sunday. The youth are responsible for the entire service. Some were already involved in playing musical instruments but we wanted them to develop even more.

            One of the things we have seen in most churches here is that they remain relatively small, mainly due to the fact that the preacher does it all, and that's not good for lots of reasons.

            To be honest this was kind of scary for our preachers too. There has always been the pastor/lay person mentality here that only the preacher can do these things. But it creates a healthier body when ever part does its work. They are finding that it's easier "to do it all myself", as they actually spend more time teaching and training the young people to lead in the services, but are beginning to see positive things happen by involving the youth!

            Now the young people are not only leading, preaching, Sunday school teaching, but also evangelism, pastoral visiting, hospital visiting and follow up of new contacts. Already we have several who are saying they want to go to Bible College to train to become full time workers! This is what we have hoped and prayed about and now see it coming to pass!

            And this also encourages the adults to be more involved as well. We hear lots of positive comments from the preachers and church members over this program so we are praising God for how He is working in their hearts and lives.



                                  MORE  BAPTISMS

            We had 5 more baptisms this month in Koddai Kallar and rejoice over these new babes in Christ. One was our nephew Shadrach which was a real joy to see and 3 others were from one family a mother and 2 of her daughters.
            She has 2 other daughters one who is member of our church and another who is a member of another church in another village close by. Through their constant witness and encouragement their mother and 2 younger sisters accepted Christ.
            We can see a visible, physical change in the mothers face now that she has accepted Christ. And we continue to pray for the father to accept Christ as well.
            During our staff meetings it is always a joy to hear the words; we're doing baptism classes with some of the new people. We have always done this to make sure that the people understand before baptism that this is the beginning of a new life completely changed from their old life. And most that go through these classes are stronger and more faithful because of these classes.


            A few months ago you may remember we wrote of the van that we purchased.  This continues to be a great blessing not only to us but to the entire ministry! It serves as taxi after church services many times, an ambulance on occasion, and building materials transport vehicle too. So far even with higher fuel and maintenance costs we are not spending much more than when we hired the three wheel taxi's, vans, and trucks to haul things.
            Soon after we purchased the van we had our name and logo put on it. This has been an unforeseen blessing. Now with Lamp Lighters printed on the side at most check points, which there are more than ever, even if we are stopped they only ask a couple of questions and then let us go. Some of the ones close by don't even bother to stop us anymore. Also we have learned that they are not to inspect the baggage carried in an NGO (non government organization) vehicle. So this speeds things up as well, especially when we travel to Colombo.
            How God uses even some of the small what we think of as insignificant
things, like lettering on the van, as a way to bless us.



                                                PRAYER REQUESTS

1.  More faithful workers to join with us and God to raise up more workers within our churches.
2.  Finances to build a new building in Periyaneelavanai and also property and a building in Onthachimadam.
3.  More people to come to Christ

4.  God's continued blessing and protection as things are very unstable politically right now in our area.
5.  Completion of our house so we can better care for the children we keep with us.


                                 SAD DAY FOR US

            This month we received an email from Melanie. In it were words we hoped we would never hear, but she informed us she was resigning as our secretary /office manager. She has been with us in this position from the time we formed Lamp Lighters eight years ago, a lot of work for little pay and has always done an excellent job.
            Whenever we were abroad we really didn't worry about things being done properly and in a timely way. She has always been there for us when things weren't going right and did her best from that end to make sure things went right.
            We will miss her being in this position but know God will continue to use
her in all she does.
              My sister Penny and her husband Ron will be handling things in the office for now. They have taken care of the "personal" things for us and now will do the ministry work too.

    I have been truly blessed working with Steve & Shanthi and all the supporters!  Thank you for the opportunity to get to know some of you in person and others through your mail!  May God Bless each of  you as well as Lamp Lighters!          Melanie.  



Lamp Lighters World Ministries

May 1, 2008


Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,

            As I sit and write and count the months we only have 6 months left of
our stay here before we return to the States. It doesn't seem possible that a year and a half have gone by. We had made plans before we came as to what we would like to accomplish during our stay this time but things haven't worked exactly as we had planned. We simply ask for you to continue to remember us in your prayers and pray that we will accomplish all God wants done!
We've gone from very cool and wet to very hot. The heat is normal for
this time of year, but never seen rain like this before. It rained hard again               2 days ago so our humidity is pretty high too.
We do thank God for you and ask for his blessing on you for your faithful support and prayers for us. We pray that God is using you for his glory and honor where you are serving him there as well.

            In Christ, Steve & Shanthi


          Each month the youth from our 4 churches get together for a full day program of worship, teaching, fellowship and some fun.  This is coordinated by a young man in our Koddai Kallar church, Niranjan.
         He came to us as a Hindu to help with book work and such after the tsunami and within a few months became a Christian. He truly has a heart for Jesus Christ and has taken the youth program on as his way of serving God, and doing a very good job I might add.                                                                                                            

       In March we helped him with a wiener roast. Now this is nothing new to most of you but they had never seen or heard of anything like this before. We had tried a couple times before but always had to cancel it for one reason or another.
We had hot dogs of course, ours here are slightly different than in the States, potato salad and cole slaw thanks to recipes emailed by my sister Penny. With a few adjustments to the recipes, since some things are just not available here, we got everything pretty tasty, and marshmallows.
There were over 70 youth several new youth along with preachers and wives that came and several who showed up just to see what we were doing so we invited them to join in.
Everyone loved it especially roasting the marshmallows afterwards.   They kept asking for more long after they were all gone. It was a lot of work but a lot of fun too. Before we left that evening they were all asking when we would do it again.
We wanted the kids to have a good time but also a chance for them to reach out to others inviting new kids, which they did as well. Please pray that these new comers will see Jesus Christ lived out in the lives of our youth.



Of course in March we celebrated Easter Sunday just as you did. In all our churches they had good crowds and most had new people who came for that  service.
All four churches have had an increase in attendance through this first quarter by God's grace and blessing. And there have been baptisms in all the churches as well.
One of the reasons for this we believe is that all our preachers set goals for this year in evangelism, discipleship, and challenging people, youth especially, to enter the ministry.
Every church now has more people involved in the labor of ministry than ever before and we are seeing the fruits of that. One preacher is even saying and praying that they on their own want to plant a new church in another village within the next year.   We praise God for the enthusiasm and for the new people who are coming and those who have accepted Christ.
I have always said I didn't want to just be an American preaching in a foreign country but to instill in the hearts of our preachers the need for evangelism and discipling. This is something sorely lacking in most churches in Sri Lanka. By God's grace we are seeing this begin to happen in our churches.


We've mentioned before that our prices have really gone up in the last few months and they continue to rise. This is really taking a bite out of our budget caring for the kids in our home. I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining just the facts as they are. We just got an email from our preacher Rennie in Trinidad saying that food and everything else there is much higher as well. From what we hear things are like that in the States too, global inflation I guess. But God is faithful and He will continue to provide all we need.


                  NO SHORTAGE OF WORKERS

We've found over the years there is no shortage of workers who want to join with us. We've had several in the last few months in fact. Most times it's a matter of they want a monthly check, sorry to say, or someone who will support what they want to do where they want to do it.
I'm not saying that all are greedy or that they are unwilling to accept instruction or work where we want them to. God has given us co-workers here that are truly a blessing and are working hard for the sake of the Gospel.
One of the requests we frequently make from you is that you will pray for more workers to join with us in ministry here. We ask for God to do this everyday in our prayer time. There is such a need here in our area for churches to be planted and workers who will do the work of an evangelist!
Sometimes as we drive through our area we pray for and discuss villages where there is no church or only one small church for literally thousands of people. We just were in an area like this a few days ago. Hundreds of new homes built after the tsunami, literally thousands of people living in that area and not one church. Oh how we need to take Jesus' instruction seriously, to pray for workers to enter the harvest fields which are ripe and ready.
We think of this quite often even in the villages where we are presently working and even though our churches are growing there are tens of thousands in these villages who have not yet heard of the love of Jesus Christ. Please pray with us for faithful workers!


    CONSTRUCTION ON HOUSE CONTINUES                                             

We're can finally see the light at the end of the first tunnel, completion of the downstairs section of our house. It will be so nice to have an actual kitchen again, to be able to move some of the kids back into the house and regain use of our living room which has become food storage/ bedroom/construction material staging area.
It has taken it seems a long time but actually has progressed well in spite of all the rain, pray that God will provide the necessary funds to complete the upstairs portion as well.


1. Faithful workers to join with us in our area.
2.Funds to build a new building in Periyaneelavanai.
3.Property and for a church building in Onthachimadam.
4. Completion of our house

5.More people to accept Jesus Christ as Lord



Happy Easter!

Lamp Lighters World Ministries
 Joplin, Missouri

March & April 2008

Dear Fellow Laborer in Christ,

February seems to have slipped past before we even realized it!

Our weather here has been fickle to say the least. We’ve been having usually heavy rain for this time of year and then we’ll have days when it is hotter than usual. Then we’ll have nights when it gets as cool as it usually does during monsoon season and we reduce the fan speed and sometimes sleep without it. Because of all this many people are having lots of trouble with sinuses, colds, fevers, flu etc. We’ve had our share in our household as well.

I had 2 days when I had fever along with violent chills like I’ve never had before. The doctor gave me some antibiotics as he said I had a viral fever. Anyway they seemed to work and after a couple of days I was back to my normal self.

I don’t mean to sound as if I’m complaining as these things happen to everyone everywhere we just had a lot of it all this month.

We do thank you for your faithful prayers and support for us. God is blessing us through you and we pray that he will bless you as well. We pray for you frequently that God will use you where you are to his glory as well.

                                                In Christ,    Steve & Shanthi



We hope that you will remember when you pray for safety for us and all our workers and families here because of the war going on.

Things have really taken a turn for the worse within the last few months especially. More police and military checkpoints have opened up making travel more difficult and time consuming. All buses now must unload and show identification and the bus and any bags or packages searched.

There have been numerous shootings, bombings etc. from both sides in our area more than I ever have seen and much closer than before as well.

This past Sunday I had just stood up to preach in the Mahiloor church with Shanthi translating when we heard a large explosion not far away. Later we found out it was a suicide bomber headed down the main road about 1 ½ miles from us.

He was carrying a bomb to detonate at the nearby military camp. Before he got there some men of the Karuna group, the split off from the LTTE which are now allied with the government strange I know, they saw him and became suspicious and stopped him. As he could not escape he set off the bomb killing a few of them right in front of a small Hindu temple and close to a government building.

A couple of weeks ago there had been some information given that the Foursquare Gospel church in our village was hiding weapons on their property. The military rolled in one evening with about 100 soldiers. The literally dug up the entire church property and arrested the preacher, his wife, and children. Later they released his wife and children but continued to question him throughout the night. He and the church were NOT involved, but this is just another problem no one is beyond suspicion.

Because of all these things everyone is noticeably on edge. Peace seems further from a possibility than ever before. Please pray for this country and it’s leaders.




We celebrated one of our kids birthdays this past week, Sowmia turned 12 years old. We had celebrated her birthday in past years but this year we did it on the correct day!

Up until just a few months ago we never had her birth certificate and no one knew her date of birth. They had always said she and Darshini, her youngest sister, were born on the same day but that turned out to be incorrect. She was thrilled of course as now she didn’t have to “share” her birthday with her sister.

All of the kids are doing well, but to be honest they are a handful, well more like a houseful!

We love them and do all we can to try and help them in their studies. Each goes for special tutoring classes which are necessary here due to the poor quality of the school systems. Most of all we try to instill in them a love for Jesus and it is a joy to hear them singing Christian songs on their own while they are washing dishes or their clothes or whatever.

Vijay the oldest, whom we were having some problems with a few months ago, seems to have turned a corner in his growing up and is much happier than a few months ago.

Please continue to pray for all these kids in our home.


Every year we encourage our preachers here to set goals for what they want to see happen in their respective churches.

I was always taught if you aim at nothing you’re sure to hit it.               

We have always told them to set God sized goals, those things they can say God must be involved in it for this to happen.

This year we have finally gotten through to them I guess and we were very happy to hear all their plans during one staff meeting, especially for reaching the lost.

They also set goals in discipling other workers and leaders in their churches.

They have indeed set some high goals and God will have to be in them for it to become a reality. Everyone has hit the ground running and with God’s help and blessing we look forward to seeing many souls brought to Christ this year.

PRAYER REQUESTS                    

1. Peace for this nation and God’s protection for us our family and workers.
2. For more workers to join us in the ministry here.
3. Growth in the churches, God’s blessing on the goals and plans set by our preachers.
4. For God to open the eyes of the spiritually blind to his truth.
5. Funds to complete our house remodel
6. Funds to begin the church building and quarters in Periyaneelavanai

February Newsletter


 Dear Fellow Laborer in Christ,

     This month I am reminded of my Grandma Beard for something I heard her say many times, "the hurrier I go the behinder I get". I know it's not correct
English, it was never one of my strong subjects anyway, but that is how we
feel right now I guess. We've had so much happening this month at the end
of each day we wonder where it went!
     This past month we've had 3 young men we had shared Christ with that are
no longer living all leaving wives and families. One committed suicide,
one was shot by the Army here in our village as being part of the LTTE (we
don't know), and one was shot by the police simply by being in the wrong
place at the wrong time, they were trying to shoot someone else who
actually escaped.
      Each one had shared that they wanted to come to church and would start but not right now. How quickly our time here on earth disappears and then we
must stand before God to give an account.
      I'm also reminded of Paul's statement of "redeem the time for the days are
evil". We all have so much to do and so much we need to be doing in
service to our Lord and Savior Jesus but seems we run out of time before
we get it done. We all have our "reasons" but the simple fact is sometimes
we lose sight of eternity and get caught up in the here and now.
     Please pray with us and for us that when we all stand before Him we will
all be able to say, we redeemed the time.
     We do thank you form our hearts for your faithful prayers and support for
this ministry. We continually thank God for you and your love for Him and
His kingdom and sharing with us!

                                                In Christ, Steve & Shanthi

                 HOME REMODEL TAKES A TURN

         I had mentioned last month that we had begun the remodeling of our house in order to better accommodate the kids in our home and have an adequate kitchen. This has turned into a bigger project than we had planned. Mainly due to the fact we found termites in our ceilings. They had eaten almost every ceiling joist of the   2 bedrooms, dining room and kitchen. They were literally hanging by paper thin pieces of wood and held up by the trim boards. On removing the trim around one   4 x 4 ceiling sheet it fell on my head. Needless to say I saw stars not to mention that it broke the sheet.
        Then we found they had been going through the cement and brick walls to get to the ceiling only recently had we seen any evidence of what was happening but didn't realize it was this bad. In order to get rid of them
we've had to entirely demolish the East half of our house and found the
area of the main nest under the cement floor. So we've had to take extra
measures to try and get rid of them and prevent them from coming up
through the new foundations and walls.
        I guess Murphy's Law has hit us in this project. In addition to this we've had huge downpours which we usually don't have this time of year. This has caused several days of delay for the work to continue. The good part is the water soaking through the floors made most of the termites swarm so hopefully the extra work, materials, and spray will be enough to keep them from coming back.

NEW MEMBERS IN PERIYANEELAVANAI                                               

       This past month there were 7 baptisms in the Periyaneelavanai church one of these was an older gentleman who has been coming to church for several months now. The original contact with him was through a hospital visit.
      Some were new youth that have been coming to church. And there is one more young girl who wants to be baptized.  We are rejoicing to see the new growth in this church and know that God and his angels are rejoicing too!
      Vijay and Ananthy are busy working and making new contacts almost every week. This growth emphasizes the great need we have for a new worship building and preachers quarters in Periyaneelavanai.


     We are happy to announce the upcoming marriage of one of our workers, John.
     Our first contact with John was several years ago when we had gone to Trincomalee for a visit. His mother was a member in our Koddai Kallar congregation. By God's providence we met her at the bus station. She told us she was there because her son was in the hospital.
      He'd had a lot of problems in his life and had decided to drink poison to kill himself. But for God's reasons the poison didn't kill him.
      When we met John he was lying in the hospital bed unable to speak and  barely able to move. But he could understand what we said. We shared with him that God loved him and cared about him and that God had a plan for his life. We prayed with them and left. The doctors didn't expect him to live but God indeed had other plans.
      John did survive and when he was able to leave the hospital immediately began going to church which he had never done before, and soon was baptized.
      He then moved to Koddai Kallar to live with his parents due to physical problems from the poison he drank. He was having frequent seizures and other health problems but his love for Christ and desire to serve him remained steadfast through it all.
       He attended the Gospel for Asia Bible School until it was destroyed in December 2004 by the tsunami, and then spoke with us concerning how he could be helpful in the ministry work.
        Because of his limited ability we wondered how to best use him and finally decided that he could do hospital visitation and prayer. This he began to do with great zeal.
        We have people in 3 of our churches now directly because of John's visiting and sharing Christ with them in the hospital.
        He will marry February 9th to a girl who is also involved in ministry and they will soon after move to Periya Kallar to continue the hospital ministry and assist with the Sunday school program there.


                    PRAYER REQUESTS

1. God's blessing on John and his new wife and the ministry they will be

2. God's provision of funds for the new building we want to start in

3. More faithful workers to enter into the ministry with us in this area.

4. Quick completion of our house remodel despite all the   problems so far.

5. God to be glorified in our ministry here

July - December 2007 

Office Expenses                                  $  1,680.00

Payroll:           Personnel                       15,598.00

                        National Evangelist         5,420.00

                        Overseas Projects          6,625.00

                                                        Van Purchase              35,000.00

Total Expenses                                   $64,323.00

Total Support Received                     $51,025.00



                                              January 1, 2008 

Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,

            By the time you receive this newsletter, the new year will have already come, but even so we want to wish all of you a very Happy New Year! We pray that God will
bless and use you even more this year than last.

            Our Christmas season was very busy as I'm sure yours was. We had 7 Christmas programs the week before Christmas and one more today which should finish all of them. Our youth from all 4 churches went caroling on 3 different night's usually arriving back home well after midnight each night 2 of which it was raining the entire time they were out. In spite of this they had a great time and we pray that people will have had seeds planted in their hearts and some watered as well for the Gospel and that the church believers will have been encouraged.

            We're looking forward to how God is going to work in our ministry this new year. We've seen some growth and many changes this past year for which we give God the praise and thanks.

            We always remember you in our prayers and thank God for your faithfulness in prayer and finance for this ministry. He has provided for all our needs through you all year long and we praise Him for what he has done.

                                                               In Christ, Steve & Shanthi




     This is kind of an expanded prayer list with which we usually have in the newsletter. These are some of our concerns and what we would like to do depending upon God to provide everything  necessary.

1. Of course our top concern and priority is to continue in the work ourselves along with our preachers and other workers to establish more churches and see more people accept Christ in our present churches.

2. More faithful workers to reach other villages with the Gospel.

3. We are praying and searching for a single young man who will serve God with us here and be a mate for Nona. In this culture she is somewhat limited by being a single young lady. In spite of this she continues to reach out to adults older than herself with the Gospel along with teaching 2 Sunday schools in Periya Kallar. But it is not easy or safe for her to go out by herself.

4. A lady who can come to help us with the kids in our home and look after them when we return to the States later in the year.

5. Remodeling of our home with more very much needed bedroom and kitchen space along with a garage to keep the van. We've already begun this but it will stretch out awhile as God supplies the finances.

6. A church building and preachers house in Periyaneelavanai where Vijay and Ananthy minister. We have a property already which has an old building which was a bakery on it. We've been using this since the tsunami of 2004 which destroyed our previous building. The building is literally falling down; it is beyond repair and must be replaced. Also in this culture people look for a "church building" both Christian and non Christian alike.

7. A property and church building in Onthachimadam where Asirvatham and Grace minister. We are using a property and have built a temporary building on it but it is too small and the property is not a good location for a church in that people have to walk too far and in monsoon season, which is right now, walk through standing water mid calf deep to get to the building for services.

8. A property in Periya Kallar for future church building and preachers housing.

9. God's direction as far as a children's home. This has always been one of our concerns over the years. The government has just instituted even more regulations which will make it even more difficult for us to operate a home. We've found this out from homes which are currently in operation in our area. Even though there is a great need for homes the government doesn't have finances to build and maintain them but at the same time they don't want church sponsored homes either.

10. Most of all God's leading and direction in everything we want to accomplish that it will be according to his will and that He alone will be glorified through what we do.                                                                                                                                         


                             POWER OF PRAYER

      We have a young lady in our Onthachimadam church whom we baptized a few years ago. She has truly grown strong in her faith and has even begun occasionally leading the worship time on Sunday mornings. She does visiting and witnessing to her family and neighbors and is a real encouragement to the church.

      Her brother in law, Sasi, who was our carpenter for the Koddai Kallar church, had a falling out with his parents, brother and sisters which is a very long story.

       Sasi came to our home one evening and was sharing the things which had been happening to him or not happening is a better description. His story was that his family had a "contract" put on him with the Karuna party, the split off group of the LTTE, but they could never find him when they came looking for him. So when this didn't work they went to a Muslim witch doctor, the only way I know to describe him, to have a charm put on him so that it would kill him or destroy his life.

       The witch doctor finally told the family that he couldn't get any of his charms to work against Sasi. When the family asked why nothing worked he told them it is because of some woman named Thialini is praying for his protection. This is the lady in our church.

       The witch doctor didn't know who she was, had never met her, that she was a relative or anything except her name which he said a demon had told him, that she was a Christian and that her prayers kept all his charms from working.

         I relate this story for a couple of reasons. We are all in a desperate struggle against the forces of evil and Satan and his demons whether we realize it or not. When we pray in faith and truly believe that God will act, He will! And no power of Satan can overcome the power of our God!



                             REJOICING ANGELS

       One night in our family devotion time I asked the kids which character in the Christmas story besides Jesus they liked most of all, most of them said the angels. We talked about the messages the angels gave to several different people and then shared what makes them rejoice today is when someone gives their life to Jesus.

     We had 5 more people who were baptized in the Nagapuram Mahiloor church during December. One of these was the husband of one of our faithful ladies who had received one of the tsunami houses we built. Throughout most of his life had been a drinker, smoker etc. and even though we had shared Christ with him, he was simply not interested.

       At 76 years of age, it was with great rejoicing of the angels and us; we saw him finally accept Christ and baptized.


Lamplighters World Ministries primary goal is to go to countries where the gospel has not been preached, or limited work has been done to establish Churches in those countries.  Founders Steve and Shanthi Bycroft work with the people of Sri Lanka.

Lamplighters World Ministries, 2641 East 6th Street, Joplin, MO 64801-1636, USA 
Email: lamplightersworld@att.net     Ph. 417-624-7078    Fax: 417-624-7085
Copyright 2009 Lamplighters World Ministries