Sunday, December 27, 2015

December 27, 2015

Merry Christmas!  Wow!  What a wonderful week we have had!  I was a little worried about how I would feel being away from home at Christmas.....and I did miss our family so much....but we were blessed enough to have a "White Christmas" here in Sri Lanka!  Not in the snow sense, but in the white clothes sense!  2 Baptisms!  Such a wonderful blessing it was!  We started off the week with our Christmas activity and program with the elders!  The mission had a program all written up for us to use.  The elders came over to the house and we watched the First Presidency Christmas devotional.  After, we had a written script of the Nativity with songs being sung in between.  Funny with just the 4 of us, but it was still nice!  We then headed down to the Cinnamon Grand for dinner at the London Grill!  It was so nice and so yummy!  The hotel was decorated really nice and it felt like Christmas there!  We were supposed to get a package delivered from the mission but it didn't arrive.  It also had a mission call in it for Priyanka from our branch.  She has been patiently waiting for so long to get her call!  The package finally came Tuesday morning.  It also had a gift from the mission for the elders and some things for us.  We headed over to Priyankas with the call and met the elders there.  She was so excited and her mother was so emotional.  She kept turning away and cry just thinking about it all!  Manilla Philippines!!  Leaving on March 11.  She was very excited!  They fixed us a nice lunch too!  We visited the Hendriksens that night and had a nice visit!  Wednesday was a long traveling day!  Brother Lyle asked us to go with him to visit some villages....because he wants to convert them all!  He thinks big...but actually has really great results!  He has been very instrumental in introducing  many people to the gospel!  We just didn't realize how far we would be going.  We got Kumar to drive us and left about 8:30.  Our first stop was about 3 1/2 hours away.  We met with David....who was the spiritual leader of their village.  We met in his humble home.  We met his family...children and grandchildren and some of his "followers"!  They had prepared a very nice pork meal for us also!  It was a wonderful visit!  They were very kind and the kids were darling.  They were all dressed up so nice and pretty!  We enjoyed them very much!  We gave them Books of Mormon and a King James version of the Bible.  We gave the kids candy bars and some other candies!  They were very kind and humble people.  We then headed further another couple of hours to Digina where we met with 2 more religious leaders of the village there.  Another very humble home in a beautiful, tropical area!  We gave them Books of Mormon and some pamphlets and had a nice visit with them as well.  Everyone is so nice to us!  I don't think they have seen many white people!  Everyone comes and stares at us and gets embarrassed when you catch their gaze!  We had terrible traffic on the way back but made it home about 11:00 at night!  Thursday was Poya day so it was a nice long 4 day weekend for a lot of people!  I made a whole lot of rolls this weekend for different parties and gatherings!  We had a nice Christmas Eve dinner at the Hendriksens....the American couple that works at the embassy.  They invited some families over....and had about 25 people!  They fixed turkey and ham!  Most everyone had never had that before.  It was really good!  We sang songs, visited, ate, gifts.....lots of fun!  We came home and watched our favorite Christmas movie...It's a Wonderful Life!  Then it was Christmas morning!!!  Steve and I got up and opened presents that Mom and Dad sent, Dicksie and Annie!  Such fun!  Steve brought me out a gift.....a beautiful blue sapphire ring and earrings!  Sri Lanka is known for their gems!  They mine them right here!  I loved beautiful!  Earlier, he had Shanika go with him to know where to go!  Such a surprise!  It was really wonderful!  The package that Rob sent us, with Christmas stuff in it to give here, did not did arrive, but has not cleared customs yet.  In fact, it arrived in Sri Lanka on Dec 18.  I was very disappointed that they didn't get it all figured out at the post office so we could get it!  But we were so excited for our special day!  The elders came by early to Skype their families!  But then, The baptism!  We got there thinking we would not have many attend but we had over 40 people come that Christmas morning!  We took lots of pictures and then started the baptism.  Hansani is the sweetest little thing!  She is 14 and melts the hearts of everyone she meets!  She keeps telling me she is coming to America with us when we leave and that her mother said it would be fine!!  She gave us a little mug that had a picture of her and I on it from months back!  So sweet!  Her mother and father and brother will be getting baptized next month!  Mali was also baptized!  She has 2 teenage kids.  She was so happy and is such a wonderful gal!  So thrilled for her too!  I gave the Holy Ghost talk.  So wonderful being with all the members and enjoying this special time!  We left right after to go to the Wijendrans.  They fixed us a wonderful meal and had gifts for us.  Steve got a fancy sarong and Sri Lanka shirt.  They gave me a skirt and blouse.  So nice.  We went back home to regroup for a minute and then went out to Shanikas house! She had asked us to come to their home several months back....making sure we didn't do anything else.  They really worked hard!  They invited Inoka and her family and Darshini and her family.  They had a wonderful meal, fun music, moving lights on the walls.......they even had fireworks and sparklers!  We danced and sang and had a really nice time.  They gave us a nice gift also.  We left pretty late!  Such great people here in Sri Lanka!  Bernard, from Hong Kong, was here this week to do year end audits!  He took us to the Cinnamon Grand for lunch....The Lagoon!  Seafood!  So so good!  We got him all of our records so that he could go through them!  We then went to a party at Harolds home for his birthday.  They had a nice dinner.  For some reason, the mosquitos were out in force and I was eaten alive.  Huge, bug bites all over.  We had to leave a little early so we could go to the airport!  WE GOT A NEW SENIOR COUPLE!!!!  Their names are the Bedkes, from Sandy, Utah. They will be in Negombo!  We went to the store and got them some food, sheets, towels, etc. to help in their apartment.  We then went and picked them up at the airport with Pres Anton and Ann.  They seem to be excited to be here!  Negombo needs them so much.  It will really be wonderful.  We got home very late again but our week was the best!  Sunday was a great day in church.  We brought Frank home after church so he could Skype a girl in Tasmania!  She was in the Philippines part of his mission and they kept in touch.  I felt like his Mom making sure she was good enough for him!  He was so nervous!  It was really fun to be a part of that.  The elders and their split companions came later!  Great day! Great week!  Great mission!  Great life!
Christmas party with the Elders at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel

London Grill for dinner!


Removing the covers at the same time!

Priyanka got her mission call!!

Manilla Philippines!!!  Leaving March 11, 2016

Mom has to leave...very emotional!!

Lyle wants us to convert 2 villages!

Brother David and the kids


Passing through Kandy on the way home!

Christmas Eve at the Hendriksens!

Christmas morning!


White Christmas for Sister Mali!

White Christmas for Hansani too!

Beautiful mother and daughter!

Hansani bearing her testimony !

And then Mali!

She is coming to America with me to live.  Her mom said it was ok!!


The Wijendrans spoiled us too!

Christmas night!




Harold's birthday party 

Pretty new blouse!

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