Monday, October 12, 2015

October 11, 2015

Weddings, baptisms, and food, oh my!  A week full of new things, great times, and wonderful friends!  We are so blessed to be serving in Sri Lanka!  Actually, there was a few, not good things for me!  I got a giant sty on my eye, that spread to the bottom and it looked terrible!  I couldn't wear make up on that eye and it looked like I got hit or something.  The other thing...I swallowed a mosquito!  Yuk!  Plus, I have inherited a trait from my father.  I like being on time.  I like others to be on time.  And living in Sri Lanka.....that just is not the way it is.  I need to really work on that!?!  But the good stuff outweighed the bad for sure!!  We spent Monday talking to our fabulous children and grandchildren, of course!  We were able to go visiting with Inoka and Naveen to their family and friends.  They were inviting them to their wedding.  They put some beetle leaves on a plate and then would each touch the plate and give the people the leaves on the plate.  If they could come to the wedding, they would take the leaf.  It was pretty great!  An old, Sri Lanka tradition.  We also went over to Nilmani and her family restaurant to have dinner and taste the food that they would be serving for the wedding.  They are such a great family!  The kids are enjoying coming to church and really like the other kids and leaders.  Brother Lyle is such a great missionary and really pushes them to be baptized!!  Tuesday was our seminary classes.  And it was Sherene's birthday!  We had our first class over to her home.  We always take lunch or dinner to the person who has a birthday.  She chose Tuna Subs at Dinemore!  They were actually pretty good!  It was great visiting with her on her birthday!  She is a beautiful, great friend.  When we were just getting ready to begin the lesson, Steve got a call from Naveen and there was a problem.  He said the baptism was off and wanted us to come and visit them.  We decided we should go and see what was going on.  Naveen had been trying to get a visa to work in Korea.  He was supposed to leave the next week.  He found out that he did not get it.  They were counting on it and felt like it would help their financial burdens.  He didn't know how to tell Inoka and so he came in joking and happy as to not worry her.  She didn't understand that.....and then they had a big disagreement resulting in him saying he wasn't going to get baptized.  When we got there, we were able to talk to them, listen to them and try and help them.  Sister Sandimali came over also a little later and we think it all worked out ok!  Satan really works on people when they have made the decision to do what the Lord wants!  He was doing just that on them!  We went back on Wednesday to teach the English class and piano.  It seemed to be great then and we had a great time!  We then picked up Stephen Wijendran (not elder anymore!!) and went to see Shanika, Sheramy and Joel.  It was a wonderful lesson on Joseph Smith!  The spirit was really strong.  It was great listening to all of them talk about him and share their testimonies to Joel!  They fed us a wonderful dinner....because they spoil us so much everywhere we go!  We left there and headed to the airport!  The new elders were coming in from the Philippines!  It was so great to see them and they look great!  They were hungry so we stopped at McDonalds!  We took them to their apartment and showed them around and gave them their keys, etc, and let them settle down for the night.  So glad we have them!  They came by Thursday morning and we fed them waffles!  Rajan and Wijendran came over also and went over the investigator, convert, etc list.  They seem eager and excited to be working in their home country.  Elder Gunaratne had only been gone since May and Elder Wijetunge had been out since January when they got the call to come "home"!  We need them!!  Hopefully, we will get some more missionaries in the next months to come!  We had piano and English later that day and the elders came and saw how it all worked.  Friday, we took them to the bank and got their accounts all set up.  We did a lot of grocery shopping also as we haven't had time to do that lately!  Friday evening was the big day for the wedding of Inoka and Naveen!  The church was decorated with pink and white balloons and ribbons were hanging around the pulpit and around that area.  The church weddings here are really different...not bad...just different!  The women were all dressed up in their beautiful saris and they looked so pretty!  Inoka looked beautiful and Naveen looked great!  They came in and sat in front of the podium.  We had an opening prayer and opening song.  I was asked to give a talk on marriage!  I talked about "happily ever after"!  The relief society ladies sang LOVE AT HOME.  The branch president gave the ceremony and I actually carried up the rings for them to exchange.  Then Inoka and Naveen each gave their testimonies!  We had a closing prayer and a closing song....took lots of pictures...and then the party began!  We had a wonderful buffet dinner first!  Then there was disco lights and loud music and lots of dancing!  You don't see that every day in your church building!  (Actually, that is how these buildings are set up.  No carpet, no multipurpose you can use them as a regular room)!  It was so much fun and everyone was having such a great time!  Everyone dances....not together...but they all dance!  Even Steve was dancing!!  And they all enjoy having fun!  One of the million reasons I love these people!  My body was sure tired after the party though!  That Aleve never felt so good!!  Saturday, the church was transformed back into the "church"!!  We had the conference sessions shown on the big screen.  We watched the morning session, ran home for a quick bite, and then back for the afternoon session.  I love listening to the leaders of our wonderful church!  I feel very blessed to be a part of it and I felt the Spirit so much listening to the talks!  After it was over, we prepared for the baptism of Naveen and Steffaniya!  She was so excited and looked so darn cute!  Naveen was happy too!  Steve gave a wonderful talk during the baptism.  It was really a special baptism!  We love them so much!  We had ice cream cones after....yummy!!!  Another wonderful day!  Sunday brought the Sunday session of Conference!  Wow!  Again....such a spiritual feast!  We had a potluck in-between the sessions.  I made rolls to add to the Sri Lankan meal!  We had an inservice meeting with Sister Rowena for the Colombo seminary and then drove to Negombo to meet with Riyasha and Nishadi for the Negombo seminary!  There was a black out in Negombo so we met outside the church under the lights of our driver, Kumars, car!  The mosquitos were going crazy....and I ate one!  It choked me!  Ugh!!!  We drove the girls home and got home late!  What a wonderful week we have had!  The knowledge of families being together forever, that the Gospel is true, that we have such wonderful blessings when we live the things we know.....I am so thankful to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!

Inoka's brothers home with a pond and fish inside the house!

Inoka's brother

Their family!

The invitation!

The pond from the 4th floor of their home!

The porch on top of the house!

Sherene's birthday!!

Eating birthday cake and subs!

Happy Birthday dear friend!

Taking a bite from the first piece!!

Enjoying the new recliner !!


One of the beautiful dogs around...we want her to marry Bo!

Great Enlish class at Inokas!

The new elders!  Wijethunge and Gunarathne

Inoka and Naveens wedding

President Nishan before the wedding!

Sister Visaka and Sandimali

Sister Lalani and Wimala 

Taniya, her mother in law and grandmother in law

Steffaniya and Rylynn

Inokas sister in law and sister and father!

Waiting for the wedding!

Beautiful Sister Radi

Sister Inoka and Naveen wedding

Relief Society sisters sang at the wedding!

Naveen bearing his testimony

Inoka bearing her testimony

Music lady

Pres Nishan after the ceremony

I was the ring bearer!

President Nishan and his family with the new elders

Regno, Haran, Abishek

Brother Hagobien and Radi and kids

Anushka and her family

One of the best gals in the branch-Katie

Taniya and her family

Beautiful Sheramy and Shanika

Devin and Emily Hendrickson

Hagobians with the bride and groom

Sister Mallie and her family 

Wang Ying and Hansani

Beautiful Nuwani and Teshan and Madalina

Inoka's relatives

Mallie and her kids

Sheramy and Shanika

Inoka's father, Pres Sunil and his family

Another of the best Sri Lanka People-Cassie, Darshini, Deek, Deyan, Julia

President Nihal and Eashani

Namal and Visaka

Darshini and her boys

President Kolitha, Primali and Sonali

Not elders anymore-Rucshan and Stephen!

The guys!  Harsha, Rucshan and John

The Wijendrans!

The gorgeous Nuwani

Pres Nishan photo bomb


Nuwani and Deandra

Anushka and her family


Nilukshan and his mother

Wedding program!

Baptism day for Steffaniya and Naveen

Can you believe it?  President Nelson is coming!!!!!!!!

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