Monday, August 3, 2015

August 2, 2015

It's August?  Unbelievable!  Busy month ahead!  Great week behind!  Cole's birthday...4 years old!  Such a sweet, fun little guy!  We were so busy this week.  We began with a call from our branch president asking if we would go visit a sister and her daughter.  She was sick and needed some money to buy medicine, etc.  We were able to do a little shopping for her and visit her and that was very nice.  Bernard Pang was here visiting from Hong Kong.  We were able to meet with him for dinner at Tang Dynasty....a chinese restaurant right by the church.  He is always fun to visit with!  The elders went to India from Tuesday afternoon to Friday night.  We really missed them.  They had training in the mission home with 3 other zones and had a wonderful time!  We had district meeting with them first before they headed to the airport.  We picked up Katie and went to Sherines for seminary class.  It was really great!  Shanuka got us a the tree in their yard.  I love Sri Lankan papaya!  It is the best!  Our second class was cancelled and it was nice to be home a little earlier in the evening than normal!!  I met one of our sweet sister returned missionaries, Kanchana, on Wednesday morning to travel to a less active sister, Hemimali that has been ill for several months.  Brother Anura took us in his trishaw!  It was quite far away but glad we could go!  She is an artist and showed me a picture she made from banana leaves and then a water color picture!  Amazing!  She is very nice and the family was all there so we got to visit with them too!  I hope we can go back with the elders again!  They gave us a watermelon drink they had made from the watermelons growing in their yard.  Fun visit!  In the afternoon, we went to Inoka, Naveen and Stephanies home.  We have been teaching Naveen english when we go and also Stephanie piano.  Last week, the neighbor families teenagers came and joined.  Today, we had about 15 people there!  And many of them are interested in the church.  Naveen is a missionary and he isn't even a member.  It is so fun to see the change in him from the first time we went there.  He would always have to leave to smoke, or leave because he didn't want to sit there.  He loved his Buddhist religion and was very happy there.  Didn't understand any English, etc.  Now, he has quit his smoking and drinking, looks so much better, seems happy and loves the church.  He wants to get baptized and we have set a date for September.  Inoka is a jewel and so kind and loving and sweet.  It is good to see her back in church!  We had a great visit with them as well as teaching all the people an English lesson....and piano for Stephanie!  In the evening, we drove to the other side of town to visit Sister Shanika.  We ate there last week with Darshani and her kids.  They invited us back and we had a good visit.  Her daughter wants to go on a mission so badly but her mother doesn't want her to travel to church alone.  Negombo is closer but they don't speak English in that branch and Sheramie would rather go to the English branch.  She is taking a class on Sundays until the end of August.  We are going to try and see if some of the other members that live closer by could meet her and give her a ride.  She prays, she reads her scriptures and even Preach my Gospel.  She would be a wonderful missionary.  We asked Joel, who is 14, what he would like us to do.  He doesn't remember the Mormon church much and just knows his Anglican church but would like to learn about the church.  Right now, he said he would do half and half with his church and ours!  Shanika will let her kids be taught...and Sheramie will help us teach her brother!  We asked Shanika what it is that she doesn't like about the church.  It was mostly things about the members....she was offended years back.  When we asked what she likes about the was all the doctrines....all the things about Christ, about family, about the Holy Ghost....the things that give you a testimony....which she has.....but is having a hard time with the people part....and forgiveness.  She said if she goes back to church, she is only going to go to the Negombo branch.  Sure.....we would be great with that!!  We had a wonderful visit and I think they all feel at ease with us.  I hope we can keep going back and teach them and that the Spirit will touch her heart again!  And we really think it will!!!  Thursday we got to visit Zeeniya...our new the home of her friend.  It was a beautiful home.  Her friends came...2 of them...that were also at the baptism!  We had a nice visit and enjoyed them all very much.  They made a fantastic lunch of fish and prawns and even french fries!  Her one friend talked of all the places we could go and see here in Sri Lanka and she seemed to know someone at all of them that would take us in at night!  Fun visit!  Our English class was great....keep getting quite the crowd.  We decided to go Italian that night for some brushetta!  YUM!  Friday, Steve decided to call Naveen and invite their family to lunch at McDonalds.  We met them there.  They were very happy and gave us the story after.  They said it was inspired that Steve would call!  It was poya day.....the buddhist holiday every full moon....where no one works or goes to school or anything.  Most of the men buy alcohol the night before because it is not sold on poya day anywhere.  Then they get together and get drunk all day long.  He said his friends were all inviting him to go and he was tempted.  So when we called, he knew he shouldn't do it and came to meet us.  Steve is so good at that.  It was really a fun time.  Great visit...and Naveen is trying so hard to talk to us in English and do the right things.  We left for Negombo after that.  We were invited to their branch social up there.  They showed the Joseph Smith movie about the restoration that is so good.  After, they had a lip sync, karaoke evening!  It was fun!  And of course, they called us out of the audience to sing.  So we sang, Country Roads, by John Denver.  We invited them all to sing along and they all did!  Too fun!  We had some dinner after and headed home quite late again.  Fun day!  And then it is August!  We went early to surprise Brother Jeffry at seminary.  We gave him a cake and sang to him!  I taught piano lessons for awhile and then it was off to Chilaw with the elders!  They got back and it was really good!  For some reason, piano class was really good today!  They all really practiced....yes all the "old people"!  And they were so happy and excited about it!  Steve taught 2 english lessons and we enjoyed cake and cookies with them!  It is really great going there!  One of the gals asked if I would play the piano at her wedding!  I also heard another story from one of the returned missionaries who is married but husband doesn't like the church and doesn't want kids....a real struggle for her.  She is unhappy.  It just breaks my heart!  Like I said before....decision of staying strong in their testimony and being single for the rest of your life, or being married and either falling away from the church or having such a horrible struggle.  Tough.  Sunday, was fast Sunday.  A great meeting and lots of visiting with such wonderful people!  We had President Kolitha and his family over for dinner today.  Steve then invited another man and his daughter to join us.  Another gal from the branch heard they were coming and came up to us and asked if she could come to.  Then, the other gal called and asked if she could bring another friend.  So we had quite the crowd for the first part of dinner but a wonderful visit with wonderful people.  The elders came with their companions from their splits and we did phase 2 of dinner and fed 6 more.  We go through a lot of chicken and mashed potatoes!  It is so much fun!  They just love it.  I was exhausted after this day!  Went to sleep grateful for so many things!  Especially our mission in Sri Lanka!

Hemamali and her amazing artwork

Visiting with Kanchana and Brother Anura with Hemamali and her family

Shanuka got us a papaya off his tree!  Delicious! First time seeing a papaya tree!

Everyone wants to arm wrestle...even Naveen!

The other kids from English class at Naveens wanted to try too!

Zeeniya and her wonderful friends cooking lunch for us


Met Naveen, Inoka and Stephanie at McDonalds on Poya day

Karioke at the Negombo branch social

We even had a dancer!

Wasanthi came from Chilaw and was awesome!

More people joined in on the dancing!

More arm wrestling in Chilaw...with Nilucksha

Wrestling w/Wasanthi

Oh my goodness, she won!

We are going to miss our wonderful Primary president!  She is off to Hawaii!

Today we had our District President Kolitha and his wife Primali and their daughter Sonali.  We also had Timothy and his daughter Deandra.  Kanchana and Billye (from Austria)  came too!

President Nishan came by later so we fed him Rice Krispie treats!

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