Happy Mothers Day! I am grateful for my mother today, my daughter Kim, my daughter in laws Sally, Erin and Jamie....who are all wonderful mothers and future mothers of my grandchildren! All of them are great examples to me!
Our week began by an invitation to lunch at the beautiful Cinnamon Grand Hotel. Brother Raju and his wife Renuka invited us. He has been visiting from Los Angeles. He was the first Sri Lankan baptized into the church. He has a jewelry store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California! So I think he does pretty good!!!!! He had a bunch of family around that he treated to lunch and we joined right in! It was a buffet lunch and very good! Bro Raju is a wonderful man and has a strong testimony. It was great getting to know him more and enjoy a little time with him. Later that evening, we visited the young mother who has been abused and has the 2 girls...I think I mentioned it back a week or two. She has decided to stay with her husband. They got kicked out of their apartment because he always comes home drunk and yells at his family as well as the neighbors. They want money. After a long discussion, we told them we would talk to the Branch President and see what we could do. It just breaks my heart to see that situation and those beautiful girls that have to suffer. We had a few days of teaching our seminary classes. We love going to the homes of these students. They know so much and are trying to do good things. I can't imagine how hard that would be knowing you are one of about 30 active youth in a country of 20 million. None of these kids go to the same school or even live very close. They are heroes to me! We had a wonderful District meeting with our favorite missionaries! Such a great meeting! We later went to Akash's home to visit! He has family here that are getting ready to send him off on his mission. His mother, Pooja, is wonderful. They are converts of about a year. She is trying so hard to keep it together but it has been very difficult for her. Her mother and brother joined us for the visit. Pooja wanted to sing, I Am A Child of God and have a spiritual thought and prayer. It was very nice. It is hard for these grandparents who don't understand what these young people are doing....leaving their families for 2 years. So proud of Akash and his mother. It was a great visit! The next day, we went with a member to see one of her long time family friend. His name is Kingsly. He is 77 years old and the cutest old guy you have ever seen! He has cancer and is dealing with health issues. He just quit teaching tennis a few months ago! He is very fit and so much fun. He wanted me to play the piano for him. He said his daughter plays but doesn't have time to play for him (he lives with her). He had such wonderful stories. At one time, he wanted the missionaries to sing some of the old Sri Lanka tunes so he could dance. Then he got me up there dancing with him! He was great! The Elders gave him a blessing and we gave him a Book of Mormon. We enjoyed that visit and Sister Myrna was thrilled! We taught our first English class. It went well. We will see what the weeks bring! Akash and his mother invited us over for dinner that night and to meet the rest of his family! They made us a feast! He was busy packing and getting everything ready to leave. His plane left late that night. The District President rented a van for their family to all go together to the airport. We came behind them (after taking the Elders home....it would have been past curfew!!). It was great being there and seeing him off on his mission to the Philippines! His mother had a rough time of course. His grandmother was having chest pains.....anxiety....from Akash leaving. She did not understand the mission thing like I said before. We watched him all the way through security before we headed home very late! Akash was going to Singapore first and had a lay over of about 5 hours before going to Manilla. They actually leave a few days earlier than the report date of their missions. When they get there, they get set apart and then they go through the temple! None of these missionaries will have the opportunity before hand because the temples are so far and the travel is expensive. There is a place for them to stay before they actually report on their missions. Our friend, Vanan, came from the far north of Sri Lanka to visit this week. We had him and the elders over for dinner. Fun to visit him and hear his story. He is looking forward to seeing his wife who has been away working. He has not seen her for 10 years. We hear stories like that a lot here. There are just not many jobs here to sustain a family. We had our first seminary inservice meeting at our home for the teachers from here and Negombo. It was a great meeting and the teachers are wonderful. Today was Fast Sunday even though it is the second Sunday. We had an Area Conference last week. I tell you, the testimony meetings here are incredible. They bring such a spirit to the room. I just love them! There have been a lot of great experiences for some of the members and it is great to see that they see how much the gospel helps them in their life! We had a meeting to plan the food for our big branch activity on Saturday. The cool thing is that there will be 2 baptisms right before the party! It will be a great day! We had invited the Seller family to come to church today and have dinner with us after. They haven't been for awhile. But just the 2 older kids came. But that was great too! We had our typical American meal of chicken and mashed potatoes. They had never had mashed potatoes before and were anxious to try them. They really liked them and asked if they could take the left overs to their sister for her to try! They are wonderful young people who are trying to come back to church and have great knowledge and testimonies of the gospel. The Elders came as well as 2 of the young Priests that were going on splits with them later in the day. (Mothers Day just isn't the same here.....not really the celebration that it is back home). We had a wonderful week! Looking forward to the next one...with the baptisms and party!!! We are so blessed.
|Still lots of Vesek decorations!|
|The Cinnamon Grand Hotel! Beautiful!|
|Brother Raju and Renuka|
|Steve loves seeing monkeys!!|
|They make a lot of noise as they run back and forth on top of your home!|
|Akash and Pooja|
|Our favorite guy, Kingsly and Myrna|
|Airport saying good bye!|
|Taking a picture of them taking a selfie!|
|Akash and his family!|
|The Elders and Brother Vanan|
|The primary kids on Mothers day!|
|Mothers Day lunch!|