Evangelicals Present Pro Fide Award 2006 (For the Faith) to Sri Lanka

The International Pro Fide Award has been presented to the Rev. Godfrey Yogarajah of Sri Lanka, the General Secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of Asia, for his sacrificial service to the persecuted church, on Dec. 2, 2006.

The ceremony took place in conjunction with the World Evangelical Alliance International Leadership Team meeting in Jerusalem, Israel, and marked the 14th time the Finnish organisation "Friends of the Martyred Church" presented the award to Christian leaders who suffer daily for their faith.

"I feel very unworthy to accept this award, as this award belongs to those who are serving in the remote areas of the world unrecognized, unappreciated, persecuted and oppressed for their faith," said Rev. Yogarajah, who also serves as the General Secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of Sri Lanka. "Today I accept this award in behalf of all those voiceless people so that I can be their voice, and in a small way bring awareness and consciousness of the suffering church worldwide."

Last month, some members of Rev Yogarajah 's team were abducted amid the ensuing violence surrounding the civil war in Sri Lanka. 142 churches were also burned in the past few years and dozens of Christian workers beaten up for their faith. Despite the escalating threats, Rev. Yogarajah has continued to serve in his role, speaking out on behalf of the country's minority Christians and rallying for their cause to churches around the world.

"I commend a lot of my staff because many of them are working for a call. They work because they feel the call of God on their lives, and that's why they are serving in these very difficult situations," he said.

The Pro Fide Award recognises Rev. Yogarajah "for a courageous work, for a wholehearted commitment to Jesus Christ our Lord and to ministering to the suffering ministry not only in his own country but in all the world."

During the award ceremony, the chairman of the Friends of the Martyred Church, the Rev. Johan Candelin, expressed gratitude for Rev. Yogarajah's service to Christians around the world.

"The award was given for the effect Rev. Yogarajah's work has had on thousands of suffering people and also for him serving as an example worldwide of what a Christian leader can do to make a difference," said Rev. Candelin.

The Rev. Geoff Tunnicliffe, the International Director of the World Evangelical Alliance, who attended the ceremony, congratulated and commended Rev. Yogarajah.

"The World Evangelical Alliance is delighted and honored to see one of its key leaders recognized for his significant contribution to the persecuted church around the world," said Rev. Tunnicliffe. "Godfrey Yogarajah, through personal sacrifice, has demonstrated what it really means to advocate and care for our suffering brothers and sisters around the world."

Other people who have received the award include Sabina and Richard Wurmbrandt from the USA, Bishop Paride Jaban from Sudan, Archbishop Samuel Aktas from Turkey, and Dr. Menes Noor from Egypt.