Sunday, April 10, 2016

April 10, 2016

Hello there!  Another week, more great experiences!!  We had a wonderful week full of new sights and sounds!  We began with our wonderful talks with the kids!  Love them so much!  I taught some piano classes.  Then Shanika picked us up at the church so that we could go to her aunties grave and dedicate the grave.  She also said she wanted to have the temple work done for her and her uncle!  That was really encouraging!  She is pretty sad still...of course, I can't blame her.  But it was nice being with them for a little while!  We had District meeting on Tuesday.  The Bedkes came from Negombo.  They gave the workshop on ingrown of the lessons Sister Berrett wants us to teach the missionaries.  It was so funny!  The Elders didn't know what a toenail was.  And had no idea about ingrown toenails!  So different teaching that lesson to them!  We went to lunch with the Bedkes and then I headed back to the church for piano classes.  In the evening, we visited Priyanka and her family.  She returned from her mission after only a few weeks.  She was having a hard time there...being homesick and making herself a little sick.  Her mother is so worried about her.  They tried to get her to stay but it didn't work.  Her mother said that she is sick mentally.  I think she is depressed maybe.  We went to tell her we love her and give her and her parents a hug!  It was a nice visit.  We met her older sister and her new baby.  They invited us back next week for her birthday and for her father to cook us a nice meal!  That will be nice!  Our new adventure this week was going to Kandy!  We decided that we are going to go help out the Kandy branch because they have not had missionaries there for over 8 years.  They are yearning for gospel knowledge and love!  So we are going to try going every other week until the end of our mission.  We boarded the morning train on Wednesday and got there about 10.  Brother Gamini was there to pick us of the recent baptisms in Kandy.  He took us to our hotel, the Hanthana House.  His trishaw had a rough time going up the hills....not much power.  We unloaded everything in our room.  It was a small room but nice.  We then went down to the church to meet the Branch President, President Kumara.  He took us to Sister Nimishi's home and her sister.  We had a great visit.  Her sister hasn't been coming to church.  Feeling offended I think.  Darn, that is so hard for these Sri Lankan people.  We then went to Sister Perera's home.  She was really great.  Been inactive for awhile but is coming back now.  We met her son, Cliff.  Nice looking young man!  Great visit.  We then went to the church and dropped Pres Kumara off and picked up Sister Seetha, the Relief Society president.  She took us to see Sister Soma and her son Jagath.  She has been an active member and has even been to the Hong Kong temple.  Her son is 53 and has had some mental issues but is a really great guy!  Great visit!  We then went and visited Sister Inoka and her daughter Rebecca.  Rebecca is working on her papers for her mission.  She is beautiful and her mother looks just like her.  They are also recently coming back to the church!  Sister Seetha has been visiting members and letting them know she loves them....and that has made such a difference!  Also, Pres Kumara has been doing the same thing!  Such a boost for Kandy!  We then went to visit Sulukshana and his family.  He is leaving for Abu Dhabi to start a new life I think!  He is a recently returned missionary and trying to find out what to do in his life!  Sister Seetha has lived in Abu Dhabi and loves it and has encouraged him to go there!  She said the church is really great there and he will love it.  So he is off!  Hope things work out for him!  Brother Gamini's trishaw quit and we couldn't go with him anymore.  Seetha found her friend to come and take us home!  Lots of visits that day!  Thursday was another visiting day!  We had Brother Shanta come with his trishaw today!  We picked up Sister Seetha and drove to Gampola.  We first visited a single little lady for a few minutes.  Then we visited Sister Hilda.  Her husband just passed away a week ago.  This was Kandy's first funeral in the church.  She was doing ok but struggling!  Great visit with her.  Just needed some love!  We went to Sister Carmalitas (from our Colombo branch) sister Rani and her husband Nandana!  She has been expressing some interest in the church!  We met her and her husband and granddaughter.  They were really great!  We then went to Brother Shanta's brothers home.  We met him and his wife and son and wife and grandson.  That was a great visit!  None of them are members but have a little bit of interest!  We then went to another ladies home (we need to remember these names better) who is a member with her daughter in law who is Buddhist.  They decided to make us food and everyone worked fast and furious to make it happen!  It was yummy!  The thing we do when we visit these families is ask them about their conversion stories.  They have amazing stories and such great faith!  Such an inspiration to us!  We took Seetha home after that and then back to our little bungalow!  Another very exhausting day!  But wonderful!  The next day, Sister Seetha was so exhausted that she didn't want to go with us again!!  We headed to the church and met the elders there.  They visited Sister Carmalita's sister and had a wonderful lesson with them!  (That is the issue here!  Not many speak English so we always need someone to go with us!)  We found out how to download General Conference in Sinhala.  But it took an hour for each session.  Took us all afternoon.  We did go to KFC for some lunch because we could walk from the church in just a few minutes.  Steve was waiting for some baptismal candidates to come and be interviewed but they never showed up.  So later, we went to visit a new convert, Brother Seneka.  It was really great!  We visited him and his wife and 2 kids!  He is the only member.  It was a great visit with them too!  Everyone has treated us so well.  Always wanting to feed us and make sure we are ok all the time.  They feel like it is a blessing for us to come there.  They are all so excited about it.  We decided later that evening to go and eat at Pizza Hut with Shanta.  YUM!  Saturday, we headed to the church to watch the Saturday session of Conference.  Not very many people came but it was great!  Gosh, this church is amazing!  It has the greatest programs for us but mostly provides so much strength and peace in the terrible world around us.  We had rice packets in between sessions.  Not very many stayed for the second session but it was in English.  The Sinhala translation wasn't there for that session.  We also tried to encourage one of the members who is struggling.  Bro Gamini has 3 children and his wife left them all.  They found the church and the kids smile now!  But he is a trishaw driver and they just don't make money.  So tough for him.  Later that night, we got caught in traffic and it took us almost 2 hours to get to our hotel.  It was awful!!!  It is festival time.  Everyone goes shopping and gets new clothes, etc for the New Years celebration next week.  So there were people everywhere!!!!  But we finally made it back!  Sunday was conference again.  Steve and I would read it in English on our devices while they listened in Sinhala. inspiring!  I loved it so much!  And the people were again so wonderful to us!  We are really going to love this!  We had to leave a little early to catch the train but we made it!  Its nice to be back and yet we are going to enjoy Kandy!  So this week is a big week!  The Sri Lanka New Year celebration!  Everything will be closed for a few days.  All the kids have school vacations for 2 weeks also.  So it will be great to visit our wonderful people in Colombo this week!

Hanthana House in Kandy

Gamini the trishaw driver...until it broke!

Hanthana house in the hills!  Beautiful!

View from the hills!

Sister Soma and her son, Jagath..with RS Pres, Seetha

Salukshana, night he is leaving for Abu Dhabi,with his father and sister

Visiting Carmilita's sister....she looks just like her!

Great visit with these great people!

Sister Seetha!

Sister Hilda

New trishaw driver, Shanta

We visit these lovely sisters and they start cooking lunch for us!

Beautiful Kandy at dusk!

Recent baptism, Brother Seneka with his daughter

Super bad traffic for the New Year

We passed this guy every day just laying or sitting there all the time

In between Conference sessions!

Cake for Seethas birthday

Sister Perera

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