Sunday, December 13, 2015

December 13, 2015

The holidays are in full swing here in Sri Lanka.  The roads are so busy, the stores are so busy, and there are Christmas decorations in many of the buildings!  School is now out.....except the grade 10 kids are taking their O-level exams.......which are huge!  The have 9 subjects on 9 different days for their exams.  This is big stress for these kids....stress from parents and stress to be able to get into the university of their choice once they take their A-levels in a few years.  Monday for Family Home Evening, we traveled to Hagobians for dinner and a lesson!  It happened to be raining so so hard as we traveled to their it took nearly 1 1/2 hours to get there.  But, It was really great!  She made a dahl soup that was really yummy!  Steve shared a lesson with them.  She has a wonderful testimony and has for a long time.  Just waiting for her to say the word on her baptism!!  We had district meeting where we reviewed what was going on with our investigators, etc.  It is amazing how many we have right now.  It is such a blessing!  The people are just wonderful and we love them so much!  We took Darshini and her family, with Julia, out for dinner at Dinemore!  Had a really great time!  Deek is taking the o-level exams!  I am sure he will do great!  Taught piano earlier in the day also!  We had lunch on Wednesday with an investigator family from Pakistan.  They are refugees.  They are killing Christians there and many are leaving.  They are a wonderful family!  Their daughter is 17 and is really fitting in with the girls here.  The cute boy is really fun!  I played war and go fish with him while the elders taught the rest of the family!  She cooked us a genuine Pakistani meal!  It was Biriyani which was really good.  Some potato pancake things (pretty spicy) and a tomato salad.  It was really fun to be there.  They are going to the US soon as they are being placed in other countries due to the refugee status.  They are enjoying the gospel and are learning all about it every chance they get.  We got to visit with Shanika, Sheramy and Joel.  We had a great time with them and we enjoy them so much.  They came to church this week also!  They haven't been for so long!  It was wonderful!!!!  Thursday was a busy day with piano and our final English class for the year!  Steve took the elders and visited Richard.  After teaching some of my classes, I got to go hang out with the YW and enjoy them for a while!  Our last English class was great!  After it was over, we received a whole bunch of home made cards from some of the people!  They are really great and we enjoy them so much!  I don't know how much English they learn but they sure love coming and being with everyone!  We really have a good time with all of them.  Later that night, we had our apartment complex Christmas party on the 7th floor!  Our friends, Klaus and Chrysanthem saved us a place which was really nice!  There were about 55 people that attended.  There was a lot of visiting, lots of caroling, lots of drinking and finally the meal.  But the meal was worth the wait!  It was really yummy!  Long party though.  I think we ate around 10:00 pm at night!  Taught more piano on Friday and then took Gayani and Gamini and her kids...and Zeeniya to lunch.  It was Gamini's birthday!  We took them to Dolce Italia and they really enjoyed it!  The girls are adorable and we really have such a great time with all of them!  Fun fun time!  We went to the CSI (Colombo South Institute) school caroling evening to see Steffani sing!  She is such a sweetie!  She loves to sing! It is a Christian school.  They had a pastor give a message to everyone and also to close with a prayer.  Lots of music and scriptures!  Saturday was our YSA District activity for December!  We had about 20 show up so that was great....even 2 from Kandy!  We had a wonderful spiritual part put on by Frank Rajan!  He showed an old BYU speech by Jeffery R Holland.  Excellent.  It talked about what the kids should do...and how they should have faith to move forward and not stay in the past.  It got them all thinking!  We had lunch, saw a video that was made from our YSA activity in Kandy last month and then watched ELF, the movie!  I had forgotten how funny that show was.  Most of the kids had not seen it so they really enjoyed it.  I talked to many of them about the "assignment" I gave them at District Conference a few weeks back!  Trying to get them to get moving in the dating department!  It was fun visiting them and seeing how they are all doing!  Great young adults!  There was a Relief Society activity at the Hendriksens.  We were making decorations for the branch Christmas party.  It was fun to gather with some of the sisters and laugh and enjoy each other....and make some pretty things for the party!  The Hagobians came to our home later on to spend the night.  Radi made us some dinner....roti and dahl!  Yum!  They have 2 little ones age 3 and 2.  They live so far away and Armen needed to be to church early, so they stayed! Radi came in and said she had a Christmas present for me.  It was a beautiful white blouse!  She had bought 2 of for her and one for her mother.  But she decided it would look good on she gave it to me!  It is really beautiful and I just happened to have a skirt I needed a blouse for that I bought in Kandy last August!!  Perfect combination!  I had to give a talk in church today about the true meaning of Christmas!  There were quite a few people at church again today!  So many wonderful investigators!  It is the best!  After our classes, Gamini grabbed us and had us go upstairs to the kitchen.  He and Gayani presented us with a beautiful cake and a home made card!  These people here are so good to us!  They spoil us!  We had choir practice for the Christmas party and then ward council meeting.  We then had dinner for a gal and her mother and her 3 daughters that visited church today.  Amanda Phillips and her husband and girls live in Bangladesh.  He works for the embassy there.  They are limited right now on where they can go.  There is unrest there.  They can only go to school, to home and to the embassy.  They are going stir crazy she said.  Her mother, Shauna Lawrence Bevan, could not get a visa to enter Bangladesh so they decided to meet in Sri Lanka.  We started visiting with them and found out they were from Tooele and knew Aunt Joan and Uncle Roy.  Her husband is the stake president there....which Uncle Roy was several years ago.  What a small world!  So fun to visit with them and hear their stories.  They did not stay long...the girls were getting antsy and she wanted to get them to bed!  Had a nice dinner with them though.  Radi and Armen came back to get all their things to head home.  She told us she had something to tell us....and it was a secret.  I wanted to cry!  Couldn't be happier for their family !  We love Sri Lanka!  We love the people.  We continue to be blessed more than we could have imagined coming to the mission.

Darshini and her family, Julia and Benedict our nano driver!

Pakistan food!!

Mark, Rebecca, Jennifer, Roy and Samarna 

Potato type pancakes

Chicken Biriyani Pakastan food

Pakastan Biriyani....great stuff!

Last English class before the holidays!  They made us cards!

Home made cards....beautiful!

Park West Apts Christmas Party-Claus and Crysantham saved us a place!

Gamini's birthday!

Dolce Italia for the birthday and his family...and Zeeniya!

First slice to the wife of course!

Zeeniya and Gamini

Steffaniya's school concert...middle row, 6 from the left 

YSA activity

Relief Society activity

Gayani and Gamini got us a cake for taking them to lunch!

Big announcement from our wonderful friend, Radi!!!

Dressed like a Sri Lankan!  Radi gave me the blouse, skirt from Kandy!

Fun family on vacation...Amanda Phillips and her mom, Shauna Bevan and girls

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