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BTS on Mission Fall 2017

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BTS on mission A Publication of Biblical Seminary www.biblical.edu Fall Edition 2016 BUILDING A BODY: GOD'S KINGDOM & ARCHITECTURE By Thomas R. Cauley The Sri Lankan Civil War waged for twenty-six years, ending in May 2009. The brutal conflict originated with a rebel group known as the Tamil Tigers. This militant band of liberation fighters began attacking the Sri Lankan government with the goal of creating an independent Tamil state in the northern and eastern parts of the country. Colombo, the largest city in Sri Lanka, was often a warzone filled with suicide bombings – a reality Dan Ameresekere faced since childhood. Although raised as a devout Buddhist, Dan heard the gospel message through a mission school early in life. But Jesus was merely a historical figure to him. Growing up, Dan was a great student and was routinely seen studying at the local library in Colombo. On a providential day in 1993, though, Dan accidentally took a different route to the library. He soon discovered that the road he normally took had fallen victim to a suicide bombing. Dan missed the explosion by only minutes. Realizing how fragile life was, he began to wonder why he went down a different road that day. This led him on a spiritual journey searching for the purpose of life. In his words: As I examined different religions and gods I would soon come to realize that what separated Jesus Christ from every other god is the fact that he claims to be personal and living. For the rest of the summer he devoted himself to seeking Christ. By the time he was set to leave for college he surrendered his life to God and was baptized. Dan entered Yale University at the end of that eventful summer to study architecture and economics. Despite objection and opposition from fellow "Yalies," his faith grew. "Campus Crusade helped my faith grow stronger, and I found that the trials I experienced from my classmates only deepened my roots in Christ," said Dan. After graduating from Yale with a BA in Economics and Architecture he would earn a masters degree in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. Dan soon began full-time work as an architect in Philadelphia and started serving at a local church plant called Grace Covenant Church. It was at this time of his life that he felt God asking him to consider what it meant to be a Christian architect who ministers in the workplace. After a conversation with his pastor, who is also a BTS grad, he decided to enroll at Biblical. Dan remarked on how difficult this time of his life was: It wasn't easy living and working full time in Philadelphia and trying to study for a second masters degree. I didn't have a car so commuting was often difficult. The blessing I discovered was seeing God provide for me no matter how difficult the call to seminary was. While Dan began his degree in the U.S., he wouldn't finish it here. A series of events led Dan to Singapore and eventually back to his home of Sri Lanka. The flexibility of Biblical's programs allowed him to finish his degree in Sri Lanka, and in 2015 he graduated from BTS. Dan and his wife currently live in Colombo with their two children. Dan serves as the leader of the cell ministry at his local church, overseeing 30 cell group leaders. In addition to that responsibility he also works as an architect. Most recently God has been challenging him to consider how his career and faith work together. During our interview he remarked: The structures I build in this life, no matter how tremendous or impressive, are temporary and will eventually fall down, but building disciples is eternal and their lives will last forever. In the future Dan plans to continue integrating the creative field of architecture with his faith to build disciples for God's Kingdom. "The structures I build in this life, no matter how tremendous or impressive, are temporary and will eventually fall down, but building disciples is eternal and their lives will last forever."

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