Sunday, May 29, 2016

Happy Birthday 2016

Another year older and wiser too!  (I seriously doubt that!)  What a wonderful day it has been today!  Everyone has been so kind to me!  I feel so blessed to be among such wonderful friends here that have become my family away from home!  Our week was a busy one of course!  Steve had a nice lunch with Seeva...a guy from our English class!  He works in an Indian restaurant and so Steve went while I taught lessons.  Later that night, we headed to Harshi and Achulas home.  We had a wonderful lesson with him...going over the baptism questions.  At the end, he said he was ready to be baptized!  And he thought he would do it on June 5!  We were so excited...but knew we couldn't be there on that day because of the baptism in Kandy! is going to be this Sunday...the 29th!  I can't think of a better birthday present!!  They fed us like crazy again....he loves to cook and it is so yummy!  He made some kind of a prawn, cuttle fish dish that was amazing!  We are spoiled by food in Sri Lanka!  Steve had a nice lunch on Tuesday with Shehan from Kandy who is waiting for his mission call!  I was teaching piano!  We later headed to Darshani's and had such a great visit with her and the kids!  We will miss them so much when we leave!  Wednesday, we headed over to visit Sister Zeeniyas sister.  Her home was flooded and they needed some help.  We went over to see.  Oh My!!  The devastation in that neighborhood was terrible.  The water covered their homes.  They lost everything. It took a week for the water to go down enough for them to start cleaning up.  There is heaps of garbage from all the homes.  Nothing could be saved.  The smell was terrible.  The germs and mosquitos were really bad.  There were crocodiles and snakes around now also which didn't help the tragedy.  Our hearts just ached for these people.  In the evening, we had Pres Nihal and Eashani and his family over with a young couple they knew.  The man worked with him and his girlfriend was just diagnosed with cancer.  We had a lovely dinner and then had a lesson with them.  They were very impressed and said they would come to church on Sunday.  Wonderful night!  Thursday, we met the elders at Shanikas!  They taught Joel one of his final lessons!  He chose June 26 for his baptism!  So excited for him!  Such a wonderful young man.  Sheramy and Shanika have had terrible luck with the bites they got from their puppies.  The puppies died and they were told they needed to have rabies serum and injections.  Sheramy had a reaction and had to stay in the hospital .  She got really swollen.  She has felt so terrible as it was her graduation and she didn't want to be all swollen for that special day!  So great visiting them as always! We also got some great news that her visa that could have taken up to 8 months to get, looks like it will come through in July! Her graduation was the next day!  It was such an honor to be there with her family!  They thought she was supposed to have an escort to get her award and the parents always do that.  Her father decided that it should be us that did that for her...and he would not take no for an answer.  It ended up not being that way...but it was very special that they asked us.  Sheramy looked so pretty in her blue sari and her swelling had gone way down!!!  We were supposed to go to Negombo to Achalas home right after...but there were no cabs to be found!  We thought we had didn't show up.  So we jumped in a trishaw and headed north...until we found an uber.  But I put the pin down in the wrong place so it took the driver a while to find us!  But we finally made it....2 1/2 hours later!!  They had a wonderful dinner....of course....and we practiced for his baptism on Sunday!  He is ready!  Such a great guy!  Harshi is so excited that she can hardly contain herself!  So great to see this finally working out for her!  We got home extremely late!!!  Saturday brought our inservice meeting for the seminary teachers.  Kandy and Negombo showed up...but not Colombo.  But it went well!  They are great ladies giving so much time to the youth in Sri Lanka!  Steve later went with the elders delivering to the flood people from the branch.  I taught classes and then did a bunch of cooking for Sunday!  We got up really early on Sunday so we could get to Negombo by 8.  So excited for this baptism!  The branch really came out and supported him.  Pres Kolitha and his family and Ann, Elder Wijendran, Elder Rajan and Elders Wijetunge and Guneratne, all came with us!  Such a great meeting!  They were really happy....Harshi especially!  He has really changed his life...and is so happy about it!  They all even sang to me and wondered where the cake was!  (The person who's birthday it is...should always bring a cake!  I actually made cookies for the Colombo people!!!!)  Steve confirmed Achula and did a wonderful job!  We left right after the sacrament.  We made it back for most of Sunday school!  It was the 5th Sunday, and Emily Hendriksen and I were asked to team teach the lesson to the RS, Priesthood and YM/YW.....on gossip!  OH MY!!  The branch has really been struggling lately with this.  We came up with a plan a few days before and I kept praying that it would work and we would not offend anyone!  It turned out better than I thought it would!  I really felt the Spirit helping us with this!  We made it fun, we taught great lessons, and we had the attention of everyone in that room for the entire class!  When it was over, they all stood up and sang to me and then clapped!  I gave out the cookies and we had a great time!  Love, love these people!  I was spoiled after by love, hugs and gifts.  We had Pres Kolitha and his sister Indira, Primali and Sonali over for dinner!  PORK!  YUM!  We enjoy them very much.  Primali is such a great example to me of Christlike love and service.  She is a gem!  And Pres Kolitha is a very simple but powerful man who loves people and the Lord!  He is a great leader here in Sri Lanka.  Can't believe May is about over.  We got our release date too.   August 9.  It is just a few minutes away.  So many mixed emotions!  But just very grateful for our experiences here and the love we feel for beautiful Sri Lanka!

More Vesak pictures!

Achula and Harshi and her parents

This guy sure knows how to cook!

Flooding in Sri Lanka...these people lost everything.  The water level was 10 feet tall.

Sister Zeeniyas sister Sharana...have to guard against all the germs and the smell

Kim spoils me!  

Sheramy's graduation!

Practicing for the baptism!

Taking food to Sharana's family

Radi is going to a party and looks beautiful!!

Achala and Harshi!

"Elder" Wijendran did the baptism!

The elders that served with us....old and new!

Rumesh conducted the baptism

Singing for my birthday after the baptism in Negombo

Then singing for my birthday in Colombo!

Pres Kolitha and his sister Indira, Primali and Sonali