Sunday, September 27, 2015

September 27, 2015

Where did September go?  Can't believe how fast time flies!  We have been so excited over little Jack that was born to Curt and Erin.  I even added a picture this week!  Sure love my family!  They are the best!  For Family Home Evening this week, we decided to have the elders over and all the young men  who went on splits with them or helped them out!  So we had quite the crew of guys over for dinner!  It was really a fun night!  Such wonderful missionaries and future missionaries!  We taught 3 more lessons to the elders from THE PLAN this week....the new missionary program to help the elders adjust to life at home.  They are great lessons.  We will give the final one on Tuesday at their last district meeting.  It is about dating and marriage.  They are both scared and giddy about that lesson!  So funny to watch them!  We had wonderful seminary classes with our favorite seminary kids!  We had pizza for Julia to celebrate her 18th birthday!  She is getting baptized on October 24th!  So excited for her!  We teach this class in Sister Darshini's salon!  While we were there, Darshini decided to wash my hair and try some new shampoo.  She gave me a great massage too!  She is going to cut my hair this week!  We celebrated Sheramy's birthday again...but this time from Steve and I and the elders!  We brought them McDonalds because she loves it!  Once again, Steve was thrilled to eat the "rubber chicken"!  The rest of us loved our Big Macs!  The elders taught Joel and he is really attentive and asks questions!  Shanika treats us so nice...we just love them all!  Hopefully, she will want to come back to church soon!  Visited Inoka's family and Pooja this week too!  Our English class was great!  It was Jinuka's of our students.  His parents own a catering business so they brought Biriyani for everyone....and a chocolate cake!  What a treat that was! Steve spent a day with the elders while I taught piano and got caught up with the finances!  They visited 3 families who are enjoying the lessons and feeling the Spirit!  They all want to get baptized!  Wow!  Such wonderful families here in Sri Lanka!  Saturday was our missionary fireside.  The problem was that it rained all night long and all morning long and their was flooding everywhere!  So the turnout they expected didn't happen....and yet we still had about 50 people so we felt really good about that.  The branch mission leader and the 4 elders planned it!  They showed mormon ads while people were coming and then talked to the people about coming up with names of people they could teach.  They first asked Steve to give a prayer asking for the people to be able to know of some people that we could contact.  It was really a special thing.  One member said she wasn't going to put anything on the paper because she already told everyone she knew....until after the prayer was given....and she thought of someone!  We were going to go out to the Air Force Museum with President Nihal and his family.  We started towards the museum when he called and said it had flooded and we would not be able to get there!  So we turned around and came back!  They had already prepared dinner so they came to our house!  There was a separate entrance for the Air Force people so they could get out and go around the flooding!  We had a really nice evening with Pres Nihal, Eashani, Andrew and Joel!  The food was great and then I had made brownies with frosting!  Visited and laughed and had fun with them!  Sunday was great of course!  Great talks in sacrament as well as final testimonies from the elders.  The other classes were great and we are getting such a wonderful turn out to the meetings!  We were supposed to have dinner for Hansani, her brother and parents who are investigating...and Brother Lyle who is a member...but he got sick so they all went home!  Sad about that!  So after branch council, we headed over to the Hendricksons....the new American couple and their 4 kids....who work at the Embassy and had some soup and visited.  She home schools her children.  It was a nice visit!  Hurried home for the elders to come for our "last supper"!  Doesn't seem real!  We heard that there are 2 elders coming on Friday or Saturday that have been serving in the Philippines, who are native Sri Lankans!  2 is better than nothing!  Hopefully that will all come together soon!  It is going to be a sad see these great young men go "home".   Excited for Conference this weekend....although we won't get it until the week after!  Love our mission!

Random photos at Sherines!



Pizza for Julia's birthday!  Me, Cassie, Julia and Deyan

Loving the head massage!

Then they got silly!!

So lets wash your hair!!!

Happy Birthday Jinuka!!

The dinner was fabulous!

Now this is the way to cut onions!  Stephanie and Inoka

Elder Wijendran teaching Naveen

Missionary fireside

Sweet little Jack!  Love him already!!

Monday, September 21, 2015

September 20, 2015

We have now hit our 7 month mark.  What?  How did that happen?  Time is flying by.  We pretty much have a schedule that we follow now for some of our days!  We visit certain families each week and then see new ones in between!  It is wonderful watching the gospel in action.  Watching testimonies develop and grow.  Watching members care and love each other.  What a blessing to be on a mission!  Our week was full of wonderful people...finished off with a wonderful Sunday with the members and friends!  We taught seminary, taught our English and piano classes, had our district meeting and talked to the kids.  But we also visited favorite little man who is suffering with throat cancer...and trying to be brave!  He loves to hear the piano and I enjoy being able to play! He told me he wishes he could dance with me again!  He is getting more frail but always smiles and has a wonderful sense of humor.  We visited Sister Gnana and had a great breakfast she prepared.  We visited Gayani...where she and her husband are anxious to learn the gospel.  We visited Naveen and watched as he yearns to learn more about the gospel....and applies all that he learns to his every day life....and then shares his testimony and love for the gospel with everyone he knows....and he isn't even a member.  We watched Sister Katherine and her sisters....and the great example she is of being a member missionary.  We were able to visit Chilaw after not being there for the last 4 weeks.  They are so grateful when we come.  It is quite far but we enjoy being with them.  We were able to visit a family in Negombo on the way home with the Negombo elders.  She fixed a nice dinner and we played her sons favorite game, Skipbo....which I came out victorious in!  Sunday was amazing!  Our talks in church were really good!  The Gospel Principles class was so big they had to teach it in the chapel.  They had a great lesson that Harsha (one of our recent baptisms) taught and had people enjoying being in our church!  Gospel Doctrine, taught by Brother Jeffry, was a great lesson on marriage and the sacrament.  Sister Eashani gave a fabulous lesson in Relief Society!  Lots of people stayed after church just to visit!  We found out that our second counselor in the branch presidencies, wife, wants to be baptized!  She is the funnest gal!  So exciting!  In the evening, we went to Wattala to celebrate Sheramy's birthday!  She turned 20 and they wanted us to come and celebrate.  Great dinner and fun people!  Sharing the first piece of cake is something that touches my heart....that she would want Steve and I to be the ones....with her share with her.  As we came home that night, we had the news that Erin was in labor and in the hospital to have her baby!  We got to face time them as they were getting her all situated!  The baby had been that he wasn't breach anymore....but he was stubborn....and was also facing the wrong way...face up!  Erin tried to push but he would not they did a csection.  But she is a trooper and little Jack was born at 11:38 pm!  He is beautiful and sweet and perfect....right straight from Heavenly Father!  A miracle for sure!  We love him already.

The Sri Lanka police in the city!

Our favorite...Kingsley!

English class at Inoka's!

Some of our English students in Colombo!

Don't take a picture of the guards at the Presidents home!

Sheramy's birthday!

Mom gets the first bite!

Dad gets the next!

Messing around with all the guys!

Where is Elder Condie?

Found Elder Condie in the blurry picture!

The Sri Lanka birthday spread!

Monday, September 14, 2015

September 13, 2015

We love Sri Lanka!!  As much as we enjoyed our trip to India, we are sure glad we live in Sri Lanka!  Here are a few of my observations:
  India has less trishaws
  India has more motorcycles
  In India, most of the women wear sari’s
  There are huge buildings in India and many are very nice
  The majority of people in India are Hindu.  We didn’t see and Buddhist statues around
  The traffic is similar
  No one is selling lottery tickets in india…it is against the law.
  There are more highways in India
  There are more Suzukis in India, more Toyotas in Sri lanka
  There are big fancy malls in India…lots of Americanized stores
  There are many American factories and offices in India….HP, Honeywell, Apple, Adobe
  The homes in India are very colorful
  Many people speak Tamil in India…some in Sri Lanka
  The weather is cooler in India…not much humidity
But our few days with the new senior couples and Pres and Sister Berrett was wonderful!  We had a fun Pday planned for us on Monday.  It looked like it could rain but we went anyway.  We split up in the 2 mission vehicles and headed on our 2 hour trip to the Zoo!  It had a zoo and a safari part of the zoo….which is what we went on!  We went in 2 different jeeps to see the  animals!  We would enter big areas where the animals were roaming free!  We first saw the fancy deer, followed by the elephants.  We saw bears….where one actually jumped up beside the door I was seated by.  We had the window open a bit and it kind of scared me a little.  Closed it fast!  Pretty cool though!  It reminds me of the old days in Yellowstone Park!  We saw Lions, White Tigers and Bengal Tigers!  We then went into a Butterfly Pavillion.  There were tons of butterflies and beautiful flowers and shrubbery!  It was quite a warm day but really fun.  We had packed lunches that morning and ate them before heading back to the mission home.  When we got there, Steve and I went around and took pictures of the church and the surrounding area.  We found one of the doors open on the side of the church so we decided to go in and use the restrooms.  Steve went in the mens and as I went into the womens….I found a man laying under the sink area.  It totally freaked me out so I hurried and ran into the mens!  We got out of there and tried to tell the guards outside the church…who are guarding the church….but they had no idea what we were saying!  CRAZY!  We got all changed and then had a wonderful session with Pres and Sister Berrett.  Pres Berrett is such a great teacher and Sister Berrett has such a loving, kind way about her!  Their housekeeper made us a traditional Indian dinner that night.  The AP’s came and ate with us and showed us how to eat with our hands…Indian style!  It was a fun evening!  Tuesday morning, Pres Berrett made waffles for everyone!  They were really great!  We had another teaching session with Pres and Sister Berrett!  We then got a tour of the service center and met all the employees that work for the church there.  After lunch, the other couples began their duties and figuring out what they were going to do.  We went to the distribution center and picked up things that some of the members in the branch had ordered.  Before long, it was time to pack and head out to the airport.  Pres Berrett suggested we wear our civilian clothes home.  That was sure a lot more comfortable!!  We got home pretty late but it was sure a wonderful trip!  I also forgot to say that I have this huge rash on my face!  I really think I got bit by something in the night!  It got me quite a few times on my forehead and into my hairline.  It itched like crazy.  But as the days went on, I think I had a reaction and got some infection.  I got big sores down the sides of my face and neck and it is not pretty!  Everyone that would see me would go…Oh My gosh…what happened to you??!!  Pres Anton looked at it and gave me some cream and an antibiotic.  It doesn’t seem to be helping the itch or making it go away very fast.  It is almost as if it has to get ugly and huge before it starts healing.  So I look pretty scary!!  We talked to the kids on Wednesday this time!  We then headed to our appointments with Inoka and Shanika’s families.  We went to Negombo after to visit the elders there!  I think they needed a little pick me up and we had cookies that Sister Berrett had made for them!  It was fun to see them!  Thursday was the start of Matts big opening weekend for Kneaders.  We were able to facetime Kim who was able to go to Arizona for the big Friends and Family free food night!  It was packed!  There were people lined up clear around the building!  It was so wonderful to see!  Jamie was busy cleaning tables to help out and Matt was busy managing!  So proud of them!  Jana and Nick were there as well as my cousin, Nancy!  Jamies family was also there!  We had a great surprise when we finally had our furniture delivered!  We love it!  Looks and feels great!  Doesn’t quite match the curtains anymore…..but….oh well!!  The elders came to help us get the old stuff out and bring the new stuff in…so we took them to lunch.  Steve then went on splits with the elders.  I taught piano and had our English class.  Steve and the elders went to Pres Nishans to help him with some things and then to bed with another late night!  Friday, I was able to go with Eashani and Inoka to visit Sister Rosemary!  It was a fun visit!  I had piano lessons in the afternoon.  We got a call from the American couple, The Cordells, and they asked us to come by their home.  Their 4 year old daughter, Claire, was getting ready for school and her Dad noticed that one of her eyes was kind of stuck in one place and wasn’t moving around like normal.  He took her to some doctors here and none of them could figure it out.  So the Embassy was flying them out to Singapore so they could get an MRI and see a “better” doctor.  Kim and her younger daughter stayed behind.  Steve was able to help Don give Claire a blessing.  They were very worried and anxious.  Felt so bad for them.  Saturday brought a wonderful day with the branch young men and young women.  We had 13 of the youth go and 6 adults.  We went to Habarana….a village about 5 ½ hours away!  We were able to bring clothes and food to some of the underpriviledged kids that live there.  Then we had a fun day reliving Sri Lanka of old!  We rode in jeeps, we rode in boats, we rode in a bullock cart with huge ox type animals and then had a Sri Lanka meal cooked over fire…and things that were grown in the grounds around this little hut.  I really liked the pumpkin dish.  We had fish and rice and other things I am not sure of but they were good.  They were served on lotus leaves!  It was good!  We were able to go to a hotel after and let the kids swim for a bit before heading home…and after having ice cream!  Then the long journey back home!  Fun day….long day!!  Sunday brought church and wonderful meetings there!  We found out that the Cordells daughter, Claire, had some preliminary results from the MRI.  They found a tumor behind her eye in a very hard to reach spot.  They are going to have to do a biopsy in a few days and see what they are dealing with.  Most likely, they will have to return to the U.S. for treatment.  If it is serious, they may not be returning at all because each of them and their children have to have a medical clearance to take on these foreign assignments.  Kim was having a hard time of course.  She and Elyse were flying out later in the evening.  She asked for a blessing so we went over to her home.  I feel so bad for her and their family.  We just pray that things will turn out ok.  The elders came over in the evening and we made them a huge meal of fish curry and chicken!  Not many days left with them!  

"Horror World" in India!

Amusement park by Horror World

Zoo safari in India

Venders outside zoo

First stop, THE BEARS!!!

This one came up to the the old days of Yellowstone!!


The white tiger!

Bengal tigers!!

Our ride through the safari!

The butterfly place!

Love the flowers in here!

Huge butterfly!



Lunch after the safari

The back of the Bangalore church

India Bangalore Mission Home, Offices and Distribution center

Senior couple housing


Looking out our window from the mission home towards the church

Authentic Indian dinner

The Bangalore India elders

Brother Sohil runs the service center

The Bedkes in the service center...Sister Berrett too!

Pres Berrett in the distribution center.

Putting green on top of the mission home!

India airport

Fancy deer in the safari

Then the elephants!

The Grundy's from Seattle

Common Mormon butterfly

Habarana YW/YM activity

Our safari vans

Bringing food and clothes to the village

Now the boat ride!

Making hats out of lilly pads

Bullock ride to lunch

They grow their own pumpkins, watermelon, onions, etc

Making cinderblocks

Tree house

Hotel swimming pool

Ice cream!

Our A/C bus!

Lunch made in the fire.  Yum

Served on lotus leaves

The cooks!

We got new couches!!!!!

Helping Pres Nishan

Dinner in Negombo with Kumar, our taxi driver.