Monday, March 16, 2015

March 15, 2015

Good morning from sunny Sri Lanka!  We have been out in the mission field now for an entire month.  It really has gone by so fast!  We are learning so much and enjoying this wonderful experience!  It has been a great week!  We seem to get busier as the weeks go by.  We started off the week with our first district activity with the young missionaries.  We were going to go bowling.  The missionaries picked us up at our apartment and they decided to take the bus.  That was a new experience for us.  It is really cheap to ride the bus.....and we found out why!  The buses are packed, there is no air, and they stop about every block!  It was quite the experience! But we made it to the bowling place....and it was closed!  As we were trying to figure out what else to do, we found out that it was Elder Rajah's birthday!  So we went to the Cinnamon Grande Hotel and bought him his favorite cake.  We then had Pizza Hut pizza....the spicy chicken....which was so very spicy!  We had a thai rice dish and an Indian dish also.  We then picked up the cake and brought it home to the apartment and had a little party for Elder Rajah.  He loved the cake!  Steve and I had an appt with a family that was quite aways away so we got ready and rode the trishaw out to their home!  It was Brother Franklin and his wife Katherine and their daughter, Nuwani.  Her husband, Tesan, is not a member, but was there also with their little girl.  We got to visit with them and find out their conversion stories and enjoy their family!  They have a nice place....but I forget that they keep their doors and windows open.....and I got quite a few crazy bites on my legs!  But they were wonderful.  Tesan was at church on Sunday and enjoyed Steves talk and wanted to get the book!  You can tell he is interested in the church but is trying to figure it all out right now.  The book might really help him! We stayed a few hours and then got a trishaw to come home.  I think I have figured out why I still have a cough.  The pollution from the buses and cars is quite terrible.  It really affected me on this ride because we were in rush hour traffic and the fumes were bad.  It makes us cough and makes our eyes burn a little.  Going to have to try and travel at better times of the day!!
Tuesday brought our district meeting at the church.  They really do such a great job!  We had a meeting after with Brother Lyle.  He is an older man who wanted to visit with us because he had an answer to prayer that we would help him.  He has bad health and is in need of a pacemaker.  He is trying to come up with funds for that.  He is also trying to get his Priesthood Line of Authority and wants us to help him with that.  It was great hearing his wonderful story and listening to all the things he has done in the church.  Such great faith!  We found the Welliwatta fruit market we had heard about.  This place has an open market with quite a few people showing their fruit and trying to get you to come to their place to buy.  The pineapple, the mangos and papayas, bananas, etc are amazing!  Steve was so happy to find this place!
Wednesday was early morning seminary so we walked to the church!  It was a great lesson.  Only 3 active boys come to that class.  We had to go to the American Embassy that day to find a notary for some forms.  Such a funny experience to me.  There are really no Americans working in the American least the ones we saw.  All the guards are Sri Lankan, the workers inside that we talked to were Sri Lankan......we did see an American soldier at one point.  That was just so funny to me.  It cost us 50.00 US dollars to have that done.  We ate at Burger King that day.  It was actually really good!  We had to mail these forms we had notorized to the US so we found a post office to do that.  But they don't sell envelopes so we had to find a place that did.  Plus we wanted to copy the forms we had notorized for our records.  That was so funny.  We finally got that all figured out and went back to the post office to mail them.  No one really spoke English that well so we aren't really sure if the letter will ever get there or not!  When we got the postage for it...I started licking the stamps, but some of them wouldn't stick, and the guy pointed to a room that had a big board and lots of glue!  OOHHH!!  Then I started worrying about licking those stamps....and what was on the back of them that I licked.....I can't go there!!  Hopefully, the letter gets there at some point!!
Thursday we went out to a members home with the missionaries.  We decided to hire a car since it was so far away.  That was really nice!!  Her name is Jayanthi.  She is a single mother who has 2 daughters.  One is downs syndrome.  Her home has been in the family for generations.  She was very nice and made us some lunch.  When you get to someones home, they bring you a drink on a tray.  They bring the tray back when you are done and you put it back on there.  Steve learned how to eat the Sri Lankan way.....with your hands!  All the years that you told your kids not to do that....but in Sri Lanka, they are teaching their kids to do it!  You mix all the things together and then you scoop it on your finger tips and push it into your mouth with your thumb.  Steve loved that!  There is always rice and usually some kind of chicken.  She made some Dhal, which is some kind of a legume, that was really good.  She also made some onions mixed with tomatoes and cucumbers that was really good.  It was a great visit.  The missionaries left a message and showed a video and then asked her for some names that might be interested in the gospel.  They committed her to have family home evening in her home on Monday night.  So we are going to go back and take part in that!  It is so fun to learn about the Sri Lanka culture!  Friday we made our way out to do some shopping at Arpico.  Still can't find molasses, pumpkin, shortening, sour cream.....!  I decided that when we got to peoples houses, I should take something.  I decided to try Dawna Drakes banana muffin recipe.  It was so yummy!  We had President Anton and Ann over for an American dinner.  She was going to cut Steve's hair!  We made chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn from a can, jello with bananas and even whipping cream, fruit, and veges that we copied from Jayanthi!  It was really yummy!  We had ice cream and banana muffins for dessert!  Always so fun to visit with them.  They have amazing faith promoting stories from their lives that are so inspiring!  Ann cut Steves hair and did a great job.  I am getting closer to the time that I need to have my hair nervous about that!!  Saturday was really busy because we had several appointments!  I made more banana muffins and some sugar cookies.  I went with Eashani to see our Relief Society president, Darshany!  She was a little discouraged so we went to see her.  She is a wonderful woman who lives in a humble home.  We had a great visit.  She seemed happier and that was really nice.  While I was there, Steve visited Sister Ru and her mother.  She is a college graduate and returned missionary.  Really great lady.  Then I met Steve at Umanda and Santhush home.  We met her grandmother in St George!  She moved there to live with her daughter and we got to know them before we left.  So that was really a treat!  They had just gotten married about 7 months ago in the Manilla temple.  They showed us all their wedding videos and photo books!  Their marriage was a "Love Marriage" as they call it.  That means it was not arranged.  They asked us if we had a love marriage.  Of course Steve had some crazy remark after that!!  They made us a nice dinner of a shrimp dish and a chicken dish with the rice.  They said they didn't put spice in it for me.......!  But the chicken dish was so darn hot.  I can't believe I am so darn wimpy!  But it was a great visit!  Her mother lives with her so we were able to visit with her as well.  They are a fun couple and full of life.  Sunday was another great day at church.  As we got there to start the meeting, the Relief Society president came up to me and said the teacher for RS was sick and asked if I would teach it!  SURE!!  It turned out fine.  The ladies are really great.  I just had to stop every once in awhile so others could translate for the older women!  We enjoy these people so much. They are so great!  There are some who are less active in the ward.  I think the main reason is they get offended very easily.  There is sometimes a feeling of "class" dividing....or so some think.  It is amazing the stories of miracles and faith...but then falling away.  Satan is so real and so scary!  He knows exactly what to do.  We went to visit a family in the evening with the missionaries.  They were once in the church.  They have 3 beautiful daughters...ages 28, 21 and 14.  They had a wonderful ( was spicy) treat for us to eat there too!  The dog was afraid of us....they said because he had never seen white people before!  The oldest daughter spoke very good English and it was fun visiting with her.  It was such a great evening.  We learned about Cricket!  And the world finals are coming up this week.  Sri Lanka is one of the teams in the finals so everyone is so excited about it!  March madness is happening here too!!  This morning we talked to all the kids!  Favorite part of the week!  It really makes a difference being able to talk to them on Skype or FaceTime.  It has made it so we have not had much culture shock or home sickness.  It also helps that you have your best friend as your companion!  We are happy and love our mission!
Elder Perera..First bus ride in Sri Lanka!

Going bowling!

Ooops!  It is closed!

Another option for the commute!

The ocean is out there somewhere!

Pday at the Cinnamon Grande Hotel!

Elder Rajah's Birthday!

The Sri Lanka Missionaries!

For Matt!  Didn't know Tennessee had famous chicken!!


Spicy Chicken Pizza


Happy Birthday lunch!

Sri Lanka treat!

Happy Birthday cake...chocolate mousse!

Dessert at the apartment!

They didn't get the ELDER part right!  haha

The Indian ocean!

Fun park!

Anyone can drive on the main roads!

Bike shop!

Brother Franklin, Katherine, Nuwani, Teshan

Welliwatta fruit market!

Burger King!

Traffic cop

Outside the American Embassy

School boys playing Cricket in the street


Eating like a Sri Lankan...with your fingers!

Banana tree

Some weird looking fruit!

Cinnamon grows as bark on these limbs

Sri Lanka country side

Rice fields

School kids and their uniforms

Crazy rain...hard to see in the picture!

Umanda, Santoosh and Umanda's mother

Fun night with this great couple!

First Sri Lanka dress!

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