Monday, January 11, 2016

January 10, 2015

One of the best weeks ever!  We were blessed to be able to go to Kandy and witness the baptisms of 8 people into the church!  The love we felt for all those wonderful people who made this great decision in their lives was overwhelming!  The Spirit we felt was the most special feeling ever!  But I will start at the first of the week and finish up with the baptism!  We began the week with a visit to Darshini and Deyan, Deek and Cas!  We love visiting with them each week.  Steve gave a great lesson and they treated us to dinner.  They spoil us!  Steve went to Kandy all day Tuesday.  He took the elders and they went and interviewed all the baptism people for Sunday!  Steve said it was wonderful.  He said that these were the best interviews he had had....that they all knew the Gospel and loved it and were truly ready for this great step!  Pres Kolitha met them in Kandy at the end of he day and gave them a ride home.  I spent the day catching up on book work for Seminary and Institute.  I also went back to Darshini's so she could cut my hair!  I really like the way she does it.  They don't ever want to have me pay....but I payed them and literally ran out the door!  They sent a note after saying thank you.....that they didn't know how they were going to make the rent that day...but had prayed and knew that God would take care of them.  What wonderful faith they all have!  Love them all so much!  Finished all the book work on Wednesday as Steve did a little visiting with the Elders.  In the evening, we went to a celebration of life for our dear friend, Kingsley.  After 1 week from the passing day, they do this celebration.  Kingsley's children had requested that we come.  It was held at St Mary's church, close by our place.  The church was nice.  Kingsleys children, Kevin and Kumarini were so happy that we came.  Kumarini even said they were thinking of having Kinglseys service in the Mormon we had been so kind to him his last months....but said that Kingsleys sisters would have just died!  The service had a priest who chanted a long with the people here and there.  There was singing and a few talks....a lot of standing and sitting...but very nice.  After the service, there was a big buffet at the back.  We were not going to stay but Kumarini said her father would haunt her if she didn't make us stay!  The food was very nice.  She was worried because she thought we were vegetarians....and knew we didn't drink coffee.....but we thanked her and let her know that the food was really great!  Thursday was the wedding of Akeela's sister!  We had never met her...but he is one of our investigators and they had invited us several weeks before.  Our first authentic Sri Lanka wedding (that was not in the church!).  It was in a nice hotel on the beach in Mount Lavinia!  We walked down to the beach before it started.  It was a very nice sandy beach!  We waited in the hotel for the festivities to begin!  The groom came first!  The Kandian dancers were there to bring him in and down to the place to start the ceremony.  The bride came later.  The dancers were there again to take her down.  There were a lot of cultural and Buddhist traditions.  The women wore their beautiful, colorful sari's and the men were dressed up nice in suits.  It was really fun to watch!  We all got our pictures taken with the bride and groom.  Lots of visiting....lots of eating.....and of course, lots of dancing!  We were able to talk to a lot of possible investigators and that was great!!  It was a fun day.  We had to leave a little bit early so I could teach piano and then have our English class.  Had quite a few show up after being gone for the holidays the past weeks!  Friday was very busy!  We went with the missionaries to visit Gayani!  She is the sweetest gal!  She and her family are doing so well and we are really excited for them!  We stopped at Myrnas to wish her a belated birthday!  That was really good!  She is such a special lady with such a powerful testimony!  74 years old!  I taught a piano class too!  The Bedke's came to spend the night so we could leave early for Kandy.  Steve and the elders left a little early to pick up Armen Hagobien and go and teach Radi.  The Bedkes and I came after my piano class!  It was great visiting with them on the long journey to the Hagobien home!  Radi had made some wonderful food....roasted chicken, dhal, home made bread and a special kind of roti!  We helped her roll the balls!  Divine food!  I love eating there as she is such a wonderful cook!  She is still on for her baptism date of Jan 30!  So excited for her family!  We brought the Bedke's back to the apartment so they didn't have to come from Negombo so early the next morning! We left at 6:00 am to catch the train to Kandy!  It was kind of a choppy ride....but so much better than the long drive!  So beautiful in Kandy.  We got there and took a trishaw to our hotel and unloaded everything!  We then went to the Temple of the Tooth.  The Bedke's really wanted to see that.  We met Suluckshina for lunch at a place he suggested.  It was really good!  Suluckshina is one of our YSA guys....who has been helping in all the teaching of the people getting baptized.  He has only been home off his mission a few months and has doing great member missionary work!  We walked around a little and then found a funny little store to do some shopping in.  The Bedke's found it online on Trip Advisor.  It was someones home that they had filled with stuff to sale wholesale.  But it was wonderful!  We found such fun things....and vowed to bring the kids back there when they come!  Primali had invited us, the Bedkes and the Thomas's to dinner in the hotel that night for her birthday! It was really good!  I had brought a Pecan Log from Condie Candy to be the "birthday cake"!  I brought some candles....but they wouldn't go into the candy or the I put a piece of toast on the box and put the HAPPY BIRTHDAY candles in it!  We lit that and sang to her!  She was very surprised.  It was also Elder Bedke's birthday a few days before!  We gave them gifts and had a great time!  Primali is one of my most favorite people in Sri Lanka!  She has a heart of gold...and is so kind and thoughtful....and has such a strong testimony.  She is a great example to me!  Fun night!  Sunday finally came and we were at the church by 8:00 am!  8 baptisms!  It was so special!  It shows you the power of member missionary that is how these people were introduced to the Gospel.  There are no missionaries in couples....just the few members that have remained active no matter what.  They were getting about 15 out to church....but had a change in the branch presidency recently....and now had 64 members the week before.  What wonderful members of this branch!  The baptisms included a family....a single father with his 3 children.  That was the best of all!  He was humble and kind....and he and Steve really hit it off together at the interview.  One of our YSA's from the YSA conference was also one of the baptisms!  Then there were 3 others....2 young women aged and a young man.  They all bore their testimonies!  We didn't understand but could feel the Spirit there so strong!  The font is in the garage of the church...and we all went in there to see the baptisms! Lots of happy people!  Church started a little bit late so we could all go upstairs and have a little something to eat!  It took some time to confirm all 8 of these people too!  Steve was able to stand in the circle for all of them.  What a great blessing for him.  We then had the sacrament...and then there was only 1 1/2 hours left of the block!  Steve gave a talk....and Suluckshina translated.  It was really good!  He talked about...Remember Lot's Wife.....from Pres Holland!  He has used that a lot in the past month as it has such a wonderful message for so many things at the first of the year.....having faith in the future...and not to look back at the past.  Sooooo good!  We had shortened Relief Society and Priesthood lessons.  Steve and I collected all the baptism clothes and tried to get all the baptism forms all filled out and signed.  It was wonderful visiting with the Saints in Kandy!  Such great people.  They all get excited when you are there and want to hug you and be by you.  Such a blessing to know these people....and get to love them so quickly!  Very special day!  We had to go to the train station by 2:30 so we said goodbye and headed out!  The Bedke's and us are ready to be transferred and finish our missions there in Kandy!  It is beautiful and the weather is a little cooler!  Not cold enough to wear a sweater cool....but cooler than Colombo!!  The train ride was a lot smoother and nice on the way home!  The Bedkes headed to Negombo and we came home!  Happy and thoughtful of the wonderful day that we had had!  The Church is so true and we are so amazed at the strength and courage these people have to be baptized....when there is so much family opposition because of religion that has been in their families for generations.  We love Sri Lanka!  We love missionary work!

Baptism interviews in Kandy

Kim's Christmas package!!!!

Catholic church for Kingsley's memorial

Gifts from Inoka and Naveen

Cute English class friends!

Pre wedding at Mt Lavinia beach

Let the wedding begin!

Here comes the groom!

Here comes the Bride!

Change clothes for the going away part!

Making roti with Radi!!

Off to Kandy with the Bedkes!

Lunch with Sulukshana!
Found a great souvenir shop!!

Dinner with Primali and Pres Kolitha

Primali's birthday!!

Baptism in Kandy!

The 8 people getting baptized!!

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