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Sri Lanka is a county in great darkness. But in January we always remember the Epiphany of our Lord, His revelation, His shining forth into the darkness. “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light … .” (Isaiah 9:2)

In the new year, I have continued to travel into the mountain country to teach church music to youth. We go to the mountains often because that’s where the majority of our partner church people are. Having a church partner means that we missionaries have an open door to proclaiming the gospel. It’s an invitation to build on a pre-existing foundation of Christian communities and relationships without needing to start from scratch. I am grateful, therefore, for the invitation I have from our Tamil brothers to teach Christian church music in their homes and communities, to shine the light of Jesus into the darkness.

In one of the homes where I’ve been invited to teach music, I noticed an icon of a Hindu goddess hanging on the wall. In that home, I was introducing a musical setting of the Beatitudes from Matthew 5. As I introduced it, I taught them about the Kingdom of God. The Beatitudes begin Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus is proclaiming the “good news of the kingdom.”

In that home which still appears captivated by Hinduism, in which darkness still appears to cling, I taught several youth about Jesus in broken Tamil. I said, there are many kings and kingdoms in this world. There are many presidents and prime ministers and governments. But there is only one king of heaven and earth. There is only one Lord of all: Jesus Christ. And He’s a good king; His kingdom is a good kingdom.

There is great darkness in this country. But we thank God for giving us His word. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5) God has put that light in us, so we can press on without fear. “Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea” (Psalm 46:2).

Vicar Benjamin and Grace Vanderhyde serve the Lord through The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) as missionaries in Sri Lanka. In his role as vicar, Benjamin trains up musicians to serve the Ceylon Evangelical Lutheran Church while assisting the other LCMS missionaries serving in Sri Lanka with their work and learning from them. You can read more about the Vanderhydes at