Sunday, July 5, 2015

July 5, 2015

Elephants, Elephants everywhere!  What a wonderful week full of fun and elephants!  Did I mention elephants?  I will get to that in a minute!  We started out with a wonderful district activity with the elders!  Of course, they wanted to arm wrestle first!  It totally cracks me up!  Don't let the grey hair deceive you!  We love these guys so much!  They wanted to eat at McDonalds (yeah) before we went bowling!  Another cosmic bowling day.  The machines don't work all the time...sometimes there are only 9 pins, sometimes the pins just fall over, it will skip some frames....stuff like that!  But we still have fun.  Steve was the big winner today!  We went and bought a cake for Elder Pereras fake birthday. We decided to have a birthday party for the elders that will be gone on their actual birthdays and they get to choose what they do.  This was Elder Perera's day!  But we ran out of time to eat the birthday cake!  Steve was meeting with the branch president to get some food to some of the members so we had to get back.  But we had the party the next day at our district meeting!  We had cake and some fancy grape juice.  It was fun.  There were others passing by at the church so they all joined in on the party!!  We taught our classes and had a wonderful time.  One of the girls loves to touch Steves head because she can't believe how soft his hair is.  She is hilarious!  Our lessons went great! Wednesday was elephant day!  Oh Yes!  It was a branch activity!  Our branch President has a travel business and had one of his busses there for us to go in!  Talk about nice!  I have to admit I was very surprised.  Air conditioning and cushy seats!  We ended up with over 50 at the activity.  It was held on Poya day (every full moon...big buddist holiday where there is no school or work for most people)!  We had to be at the church at 6:30 am and headed out around 7.  As we traveled, we visited with our District President and our branch president about the Tsunami and when it hit here a few years back, killing many people.  After it hit Indonesia and Thailand, it made its way here.  Pres Kolitha was supposed to be there but something came up and wasn't.  He is sure they would have been in it.  We made it to Pinnawela in about 2 1/2 hours.  The ride was smooth and comfortable!  It was hot of course but such a great day!  We began by getting tickets to the Elephant Orphanage.  It cost 100 rupees for natives and about 3000 for us!  We all walked across the street and down to the river.  There were all the elephants down there enjoying the water and getting their baths!  There were quite a few of them down there!  It was interesting and fun to watch them.  Then they bring them up the road and right in front of you.  They are really big animals!  We then walked down to the zoo.  Well, they said it was a zoo!  And I think it will be a zoo....someday!  It was, however, beautiful!  They had a grassy area with bunnies, geese, chickens, and a few owls on a post!  They had some different kinds of deer in a large area that was fenced off.  They had a few donkeys roaming and about 3 horses.  The best part was the 2 leopards.  Really pretty.  There was an eagle in a cage and then some other kind of cat like animal in another cage.  That was it!  We went to a spot after for a lunch buffet.  They really wanted someone to play the guitar and no one said they could play.  Elder Condie knows one song and they all wanted to hear it!  No....he really can not play the guitar...but he knows a joke about playing the guitar.  He played JAILBREAK...where he scratches one of the guitar strings.  Some got the joke....but I am not sure they all did.  They all laughed anyway!  We went back to the orphanage where the elephants were eating and chilling.  Steve got a few of the people freaked out about elephantitis...because of course everyone knows you get it by touching an elephant!  He even read it straight from google ( well, it seemed as if he read it straight from google).  They were all running to wash their hands so fast!  So hilarious!  It really turned out to be a wonderful activity with many of the branch members.  We were really excited to be able to be there!  We got home about 8:30 pm so it was a long day...but very worth it!  We also found out that we get new furniture for the apartment!  Well, at least for the living area!  We were told to go look at one place which really doesn't have a huge selection...but that is cheap!  We found one we liked that came as a package with a corner sectional and another couch.  We don't have room for all of that so we are going to just order the sectional and a recliner.  Hopefully we will get that soon!  We ordered an office chair also.  We visited with Inoka and her family.  The lesson went really well...talking about faith.  Great feeling when we are there.  Our English class had quite a crowd this week and it was great.  They are all becoming friends because they come each week.  Sister Ann came and gave Steve a haircut later that night so we ordered out at the Chinese Dragon!  It is pretty good and pretty reasonably priced...and they deliver!  The Elders joined us too!  It is time to order all the new materials for the 2016 seminary year.  So the gal from Jakarta called and had to give me instruction, etc...and I was on Skype with her for over 2 hours.  Such crazy paperwork.   Way too much paperwork!!  But what do you do!  Taught lots of piano after that.  We found out that one of the sweet sisters in the branch passed away.  It just made my heart hurt.  She was only 65 years old and has been battling cancer.  Just a tiny little lady.  The sad thing is that she passed away on Tuesday and no one was notified until Thursday.  Such an interesting hospital set up in Sri Lanka.  She will be so missed.  She told me the last time we visited her in the hospital that she loved to go to church.  She would never miss.  Her family would ask her why she could never stay at a family outing over a Sunday, and she just said she had to be home for church.  She is a wonderful example and the sweetest lady.  Saturday began with a lot of Piano classes of course.  We then got Kumar to come and get us and also to pick up Brother Roy John Baptist!  He just returned from his mission on Thursday from the Philippines.  His brother is one of our missionaries here in Sri Lanka.  We traveled to Chilaw again with him.  He was our helper/translator!  We met at the little house that they meet in for church!  This time we had more of a crowd come for the English class.  And 10 of them wanted to take piano lessons!  I am not sure how we are going to handle that.  That is really 5 hours worth of lessons.  They were old, young, men and women.  They are so very grateful and would tell us that over and over.  It is tough going there because it is over 2 hours to get there....but then you get there and they are so humble and kind.  Really got to think on this one.  Sunday was Fast Sunday....our favorite Sunday!  And the meeting was so wonderful.  I just love all of the testimonies from these wonderful people.  It went a little over time because there were so many that wanted to get up.  So humbling!  I was teaching Relief Society and Steve was teaching young women.  I had made cookies to go with the lesson.  Everyone followed me around wanting one the entire block of church!  It wasn't such a great idea to bring treats on Fast Sunday!  I enjoyed the women and loved hearing their sweet comments.  There was a man from Virginia visiting who is here on business for a few weeks.  We had already invited a couple of families from the branch to come for dinner and invited him to join us.  We had a wonderful time with Brother Franklin, his wife Katherine, their daughter Nuwani and her husband Teshan and their little girl Madalena!  Plus Brother Tyler Kennedy.  The Elders came later for their dinner...and they bring their guys they go on splits with.  So we have quite the crowd....but we really love it.  So fun to hear their stories and enjoy their fun personalities.  I can't believe we are in July now.  We have now officially hit the 1/4 mark of our mission.  Truly, the time is going by fast.  We love Sri Lanka.  We also love our home and as the big 4th of July celebration went on there, we are grateful for the place we are from and the love we have for our country.  We are really blessed!

District activity:  Beat the Elder!

Can't be done!!

Cosmic bowling!

Elder Perera's Fake Birthday!

Elder Rajan popping the cork to our grape juice!

Branch activity in Pinnawela

Pinnawela Zoo


Back to the Orphanage!

Sandi and Spiderman/Batman!

Deek and Darshani

Teshan saw the plane that he flies!

Really nice cushy bus!

Sister Zeeniya

Fun shop!

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Rain hair!

Steve playing the only song he knows:  JAILBREAK!

Such a cool tree!

Bro Franklin, Katherine, Teshan, Nuwani, Magdelina, Tyler Kennedy

Newest pasta dish at Dolce Italian!!

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