Sunday, October 4, 2015

October 4, 2015

Such an emotional week!  Having to say good bye to all our elders at the same time!  We have grown to love them so our own children...and this was their last week as full time missionaries!
We began our week visiting with the kids and grandkids.  Oh how I love them all!  We were able to see the blood moon and eclipse that Rob was able to show us!  That was cool!!  I was able to listen to the Womens session of Conference.  How inspiring!  I really enjoyed that so very much!  Steve and I went to Negombo for a Missionary Family Home Evening!  There was a pretty good turn out from the branch!  The elders did a great job...and even we gave a part of it as well!  They then had the elders come up front and they honored them and said many thanks to them.  We then had a pot luck dinner...where they always make us a plate and make sure we are well taken care of.  Fun night in Negombo!  We had our final district meeting with the elders!  We taught the final lesson of THE PLAN.  It was on girls and dating and temple marriage!  They were excited and totally freaked out at the same time!  It was a fun lesson and I feel that they will do ok!  We taught seminary...well Steve I had a haircut in the salon!  They were in awe of my blond it was the same color as my face!  It was a fun night as they pampered me and made us laugh!  We headed to Sister Anns to wish her a Happy Birthday!  She made US dinner!  We left later with her to go pick up Pres Anton from the airport.  He had been in India for Mission Presidency meetings.  Late night!  Wednesday brought our English and piano classes at Naveens and then to Shanika's to teach Joel.  I had also found out some information on BYU that Sheramy wanted.  They are really great to us!  Shanika even admitted to Steve that she might be interested in coming back to church!  Unfortunately, Sheramy has a class on Sunday for a few more months.  Joel has also said he would like to come to church!  Such wonderful people!  It is amazing how easily we love these Sri Lankan people!  Steve went with the elders for the day visiting with many investigators!  They are all really progressing and feeling the Spirit.  I was supposed to go Visiting teaching with a sister but that fell through.  I did a bunch of month end computer work as well as a lot of book work.  I also taught piano and then we had our English class.  The elders have helped us at our English classes and we will miss them again for another thing. Friday was the big release day.  The elders came by early to have a self reliance talk with Brother Kumar from India.  We fed them waffles part way through!  They enjoyed that!  We stole away to see Naveen and Inoka and try to help them plan things for their reception and baptism.  We couldn't stay long as we were meeting the Mission President and Sister Berrett and the elders for their lunch at the Cinnamon Grand hotel.  Pres Anton came also.  Amazing buffet!  Really nice!  The elders had their final interviews with President Berrett back at the church.  We then all met together for the final devotional...where the families of the elders were also invited.  Pres & Sister Berrett talked and then all 4 elders bore their testimonies.  It was very powerful.  Very emotional for us!  We took lots of pictures, gave lots of hugs and finally had to say good bye to them.  We will miss them!  Yes, yes I know!  They live here!!!  But it is not the same.  They still want to help...and we will let them!  Saturday brought a fun day with the Berretts!  We went to Udawalawe...a national park where we went on a safari!  It took us about 5 hours to get there!  We had a nice lunch first at a little restaurant outside the park...that I actually liked!  And it was Sri Lanka food!  But it was for foreigners...not as spicy as usual.  The park was really nice!  We saw elephants, water buffalo, monitors, birds, beautiful scenery, etc!!  It was really cool and nice too!  We had a great time with our Mission President!  We got home late but it was worth it!  Fun day!  Sunday was another wonderful fast and testimony meeting!  Naveen actually got up and bore his testimony and was very emotional.  He talked about how he tried to bring his wife to the Buddhist religion for so long but it didn't seem to work.  So he went with her to the Mormon church.  He talked about the things that happened to change his heart.  It was powerful....and we didn't even know what he said as he said it in Sinhala!  You could just feel the Spirit coming from him.  We are so grateful for the things he has learned and for his decision to be baptized on Saturday with his step daughter Steffanie!  We also found out that he and Inoka got married on Saturday!  They went in to get things together and the person said that he would not be available next week so why not do it right they did!  Lots of great testimonies were given.  Pres Berrett also gave his testimony and it was very powerful!  We had 120 people to church today!  It is such a blessing!  So grateful for the missionary spirit of the branch members!  We met with Pres and Sister Berrett right before they left to go back to India.  They are really great people!  Sister Berrett is so kind and spiritual and loving.  Pres Berrett is strong and smart and knows the right things to say and do.  We then had a baptism for Shaneese Matthew!  She is 10 so she is considered a convert baptism.  She has waited a long time!  Her father came...but caused many problems.  He decided to leave...and missed the baptism.  He came back drunk and there was much commotion and trouble.  Poor little girl!  But the baptism was great.  People stayed in the hall and kept the order out there.  He needs to get help and will not do it.  Really tough for the rest of us to watch his 2 darling daughters....and have to deal with him and his issues.  So tough for me.  We had a few meetings after and then came home...bringing our District Presidents family home with us for dinner on the spur of the moment!  They were very patient as we cooked Pork chops and potatoes and other yummy stuff!  Great company and fun with them!  Tonight we are listening to Conference!  So grateful to be members of the only true church and feel so much love for the Prophet and all our leaders!  We are so very blessed.  We will see how we will do this week!   No elders until Wednesday night....and then we will get 2!  That will be great and we will use them a lot!  We are blessed and happy here in Sri Lanka!!!

MY PLAN training

Negombo Branch Family Home Evening Missionary night

Farewell tribute to the elders

Deek is famous (far left)!

Lunch with Klaus and Crysanthem

English students in Dehivala

Helping President Nishan

Naveen passed his baptism interview!

The whole family riding together!

Final District Meeting with our favorite guys!

Took the elders to TGIF!  YUM!

Waffles on elders final morning

Training via Skype from India on the final morning!

Love these young men!

Cinnamon Grand Lunch with Mission President

Release devotional-Elder Rajan and his father and brother

The Wijendrans-all together again!

The Nugara's and Pres Anton and Ann

Elder Perera and his parents and sister!

Elder Perera and some of his family!

The Wijendrans

The Nugara family

The guys

Gem mines

Mom and child-

Pond of water buffalo!

Pretty bird!

Monitor looking for food


Big birds fishing!

Croc ready to eat

Cool looking surroundings

Elephant in the distance!

Condies and President and Sister Berrett

Eagle hawk!

Jungle cat

Shaneese baptism with Stephen Wijendran

Pres Nishan and Rylynn with Sheneese

The family with Stephen Wijendran

Udawalawe National Park Entrance

Pres & Sister Berrett and our safari ride!

Elephant and baby!

Chameleon in the tree

Water buffalo

Back side of a beautiful peacock

Front side!

Pretty bird!

Jungle cat

Pile of water buffalo

Yummy lunch of Sri Lanka food!

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