Monday, July 20, 2015

July 19, 2015

Here we are at the end of another week. Unbelievable! We have been on our mission for 5 months now. It really is going by pretty fast! We had a great week! We had a fabulous family home evening with Tyler Kennedy, who was here from the US. It was nice visiting with him and enjoying a wonderful dinner at the Cinnamon Grand! Steve had taken the elders to buy some tennis shoes earlier. They were all so excited! We love those young men! Tuesday was a crazy, busy day! We had a wonderful district meeting with the elders. We were celebrating Shanuka's birthday at our seminary class today. He is 19! He loves McDonalds so we stopped there and picked up food to bring with us to class. It was yummy! We then drove to the other side of Colombo to our other seminary classes. Here, we ordered Pizza Hut! We love our seminary classes so much! Sister Darshini invited Shanika to come over and meet us. She is a less active member that was offended some years back. She has a beautiful 18 year old daughter that would love to go on a mission. She also has a 14 year old son! We had a nice visit with all of them and enjoyed our pizza dinner! Darshini always spoils us every week with dinner. They order such nice things and then watch us eat...which is the Sri Lanka way. She just loves doing it for us. Each week she thinks of what to get us the next week really early and orders it and can't wait to give it to us! They spoil us so much. We had come in a nano taxi that night so we gave Shanuka and her kids a ride home to Ja'Ella. She invited us in to see her home...which was very nice. (Steve had helped her move a few months back and had already met her). She invited us all to come to dinner at her house next week. I hope we can become great friends with her as well. She did wonderful things for the branch when she was there. Wednesday was our day with Inoka, Naveen and Stephanie. Naveen had invited his neighbors to come over too! We taught them English with Naveen and I taught Stephanie piano. We had a fun lesson with them. We went with the Elders to Zeeniya's house to teach her. She told us that she has decided to go to the Maldives for 3 months with her friend and work. She would be leaving on the 26th of July. I said, Well then, we will have to get you baptized fast then! She said, Really? I was hoping for that so much! Wow! We are so excited! She is thrilled and so happy! She is the most wonderful lady! We had our English class and had about 33 there! It is really fun I keep saying. They are all our friends. It is fun watching them come into the church and look around at the pictures and posters and everything we have on the walls. They ask questions sometimes! You never know! We went to Zeeniya's again the next day! She was still so excited. We will be doing the baptism on the 25th. The day before she leaves. We are going to Skype her with the Elders and keep teaching her. Steve interviewed her for her baptism and things went so well. I left them early and went back to the church to teach all my piano classes. Some are really doing great! We will have wonderful accompanists for church in no time! While I was teaching, Steve was with the elders teaching another sister. Sister Ester. She is anxious to be baptized next month. Steve also went with a Pres Nishan and Namal to give a blessing. Saturday was a long day but always good. I taught piano and then we headed for Negombo. Brother Nishanta (the pot guy) mother died. We couldn't make it to the funeral but we went over to the house before the funeral. Such an interesting thing. When someone dies, they put white flags outside of the home of the person that passed away. People send banners of sympathy...big banners.....that they hang up outside of the house. I think they were a more wealthy family so things were done up big. There were white tents outside with lots of white chairs around where people gathered. They also had food for everyone to eat. They keep the body in the home for 3 of so days. It is like she is laying on a bed (but we found out it is a fold up casket. Thee sides fold up and then you put the lid on. There were flowers all around her with big high flowers at each corner. There was a statue of Mary above her. There were candles lit all through the house. We talked to Nishanta for awhile and of course there were so many people that wanted to talk to him. We entered the house and met his sister who was very nice...who lives in Sweden. We talked to Nishanta's kids and wife too. Then the Priest walked in followed by a nun and others. He proceeded to give prayers and sing and everyone joined in with him. After he left, we walked outside for a minute. Some relative said it was now our turn (us and the elders) to go in and offer our prayers...or whatever we do. We told him that we didn't need to do that! There were major political people there from the country...big wigs in Parliament. Nishanta felt that he needed to talk to them which we of course wanted him to do and we left. I am glad we went there. I think it was good to show the support. He is investigating the church still and says he wants to get baptized. We hope so! We then headed to Chilaw again for our English and piano classes. We got there a little early and went to the bakery that was in the back behind the church. This bakery was so so old. They had a big brick oven. They would put the wood inside and light it until it got the oven hot. Then they would get all that out...but the oven would stay warm. Then they would cook their breads. They opened up the oven for us and it was amazing how much heat was coming out of it. We tasted some of it. It was good. They wash the pans out in the back with the hose and start over! So interesting. Our classes were great. They are such great people and very grateful. I am teaching about 10 people. The elders and even Steve have to help me because I can't stay there 5 hours to teach them all. So we double up! We teach no one under the age of 25. My older students are in their 50's, 60', and even a 70 year old man. Steve has nicknamed him Liberace which he loves and so does his family! Harder for them to learn the counting!! But they are sweet and want to learn so much! We really enjoy them. I took cookies that night. They made treats and had drinks for us. It was wood apple juice. A wood apple is a unique fruit here that grows on trees and has a very hard outside shell.It must be broken to get into the fruit. It tastes ok but the smell is pretty bad to me. It was pretty thick too! The elders really help us a lot with our classes and translation. We didn't get home until after 9. Long day but really good! But the best part of the week was on Sunday! It began with a baptism of Sister Weronika! She is about 20 and adorable! She asked me if I would give a talk for the baptism also. I ran off the programs the night before so we had them in the morning. They fill the font the day before.....yes.....chilly! We had such a great turnout of support for her. It was an amazing meeting. She bore her testimony (we could not understand it) but made the District President cry. WE could feel that she gave a great testimony! Our sacrament meeting was amazing. One of our young seminary boys gave a talk and it was wonderful. We had a talk from a recent sister rm and a talk from a gal from Austria that has been working here. Our district counselor also gave a talk because we had a special fast this weekend for Sri Lanka to get a stake. For all of the members to really try and push for that and to encourage them to do missionary work. I had to teach Sunday School gospel doctrine again. No one will do it! We had Sherine and her kids, Shanuka and Shamindri over for lunch. We also had Weronika (our recent baptism!) and the lady she stays with as well as Shehara, their cousin. It was really fun with them. They are so funny and enjoyable to be around. The elders came later and ate everything that was left (plus more!!)! We love it! We are so blessed. So so so so blessed!  
Shanuka's birthday celebration!

Piano lessons with Stephanie!

English with everyone else!

One of our wonderful English class students!

Nishanta's mothers viewing service.

Bakery behind the church!

Wonderful Chilaw group! 

Baptism !

Sister Weronika is getting baptized!

Lunch with some of the best here in Sri Lanka!

Elder Perera found my glasses and took a selfie with Indika!

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