Sunday, May 22, 2016

May 22, 2016

Rain, rain, go away...........Wow!  It has been such a tragic week for Sri Lanka.  It has rained and rained this week...causing major flooding and landslides, where many people were displaced out of their homes and even lost their lives.  The rivers were over flowing and the damage has been incredible .  The week started out good though!  We were able to go visit Priyanka before she headed back to the mission field.  She seemed very happy and excited.  Tuesday brought more piano classes!  Inoka and Mali wanted to come by the house after piano because they had some gifts for Steve.  They were really excited to come by and visit him.  They gave him a Sri Lanka picture and a key holder.  They wanted him to have something to remember them by.  Then they started to cry thinking about us leaving!  Such great people here.  It is going to be tough when we leave!  Later,  we were supposed to have Michael over and his family but he called at the last minute and they had a family emergency.  We had all this wonderful we decided to invite Hansani and her family and Ajantha and her celebrate Hansani's 14th birthday!  It turned out really great!  The elders had been teaching Hansani's father and brother so after the lesson, they all headed over...and Ajantha's family was close behind.  Hansani is such a sweetheart!  She is loved by everyone and brings a special spirit when she is around.  She is positive her mother is going to let her come home with me!  We were supposed to go to Kandy on Wednesday morning.  Many of the branch members called and told us we should not go that the weather was so terrible in that direction.  We started hearing about the landslides and flooding.  Ajantha showed us a picture of the place they are building their home and where we had our April New Years activity.  It was all under water.  We couldn't believe it!  Towards the end of the night, we got a text from the train people telling us the trains had all been cancelled due to derailments and problems from the weather.  We started seeing pictures on Facebook all in the direction we were going.  So, we decided we better not go. For me, it was really good.  I was able to get caught up with so much paper work and reports.  I am still not done with the S & I budget for next year....!!  Steve did a bunch of errands which was really great!  We decided to invite Shanika and her family over for dinner.  Sheramy had gotten word that day that getting a visa to the US could possibly take up to 8 months.  They were really quite sad about that.  Plus, their puppies had to be put down because of sickness.  They were scheduled to come on Monday, but then Shanika wasn't feeling very good.  So we had them and Joel come for dinner!  They had been in Singapore the week before and so they had bought us gifts while they were there!  Oh my goodness!  I got a purse, wallet and some cute pants!  Steve got shoes, a fishing lure, watch, a Sri Lanka card holder....we are so spoiled!  They had such a great time and we got to see pictures and hear their stories.  Thursday we were trying to visit she is having surgery on Saturday.  We tried to get there but got stuck in terrible traffic and rain!  So we turned around and went back.  She was going to a near by hospital with Yolanti and her mother so we decided to go meet her there that evening.  We were also trying to figure out what to do about getting to Kandy.  The trains were still not running.  We were able to get to Durdins hospital in the evening pretty fast.  We met Yolantis mother and family and then got to visit with Zeeniya!  She is having eye surgery and wanted a blessing.  We found a room where Steve was able to do that for her.  How grateful I am to have a worthy Priesthood holder as my husband.  It is such a blessing to hear his special words for her.  She is such a wonderful lady and has loved being a new member of the church!  She is talented and helps everyone!  We decided that night to hire Kumar and take his taxi to Kandy on Friday morning.  This was really the first time we had ventured out after the flooding.  It was amazing to me how much flooding was around our city.  The water was still very high in many streets and fields.  It was incredible.  There were many people living in shanteys near the river that had to hurry and get out.  They were living on the bridge above their "homes".  It was unbelievable.  As we travelled to Kandy, we could see the path the water took as it came down from the hill country.  It got very high.  I have to say that I was a little afraid to travel but we didn't have any problems.  We met Pres Kumara and Bro Shanta at the church so we could begin our visits!  We began by traveling to Gampola to visit Nandana and Rani.  They are getting baptized in a few weeks.  They are so happy to have the gospel in their lives.  They feel it has made such a difference in everything they do and feel.  So wonderful to see them.  They are not in great health but you can feel their excitement to join the church!  We headed to Shanta's brothers home next!  It was really great to see them again.  We had bought, 100 FOOT JOURNEY, for their son!  He is a chef in the Maldives!  He had gone back but we gave it to his wife!  They were very happy we stopped by!  We visited Angela who is living with a friend that has been coming to church off and on but has never been baptized.  They live in a very small 2 room space.  They were so happy for the visit.  We invited the non member to church and she said she would come!  We then went to Calianie's home to see her and her family!  She wanted to cook for us but Pres Kumara said we could only stay a short she had a drink and some treats for us!  She is really sweet!  Her family was visiting for the holiday and they all just wanted to look at us.  We get that so much here!  We returned to the church and dropped Pres Kumara off and then went back to the hotel for dinner.  Saturday was Vesak Poya....the day the Buddhists believe was the day he was born and the day he died and the day he received his enlightenment.  The stores are decorated with lanterns and Christmas type lights all over.  Beautiful!  There is free food for everyone all across each village.  People are lined up in long, long lines to get it!  People go together with their families in their villages so we didn't think many people would be around.  But one of the older sisters wanted to go see some people she wanted to bring into the church.  We went all around the jungles that day!  It amazes me that you think you are going into a jungle area but then opens up to many homes.  And it keeps doing that!  This home was at the top of a major climb up the mountain!  So hard to see how these people live.  No electricity....teeny little place.  She has a spot on the side of the house where she cooks.  She just lines up all the firewood and cooks there.  So tough.  We wanted to have a prayer with her.  She asked the other little lady to give it.  They want to stand up and then they one lady talks and chants while the other one prays.  I think it is old habits from their previous religions!  We could also hear the Buddhist monks chanting from a nearby temple.  Lots of commotion!  We visited Anapuma and her sister.  I hope they come back to church sometime soon!  We visited Sulukshina and his family.  They need some support right now!!  It was another great day in Kandy!  Sunday, we went to church before heading back to Colombo.  Steve got asked the evening before to give a talk in sacrament meeting!  He did a wonderful job!  We don't have to prepare much because it takes so long to translate!  I was asked to teach RS the night before too!  It turned out great!  Sis Seetha translated for me!  But before we began, they asked Sis Angelas friend to give the prayer.  It was another funny prayer!  She began chanting a little and raising her arms high in the air and going on and on....Seetha had to get the person next to her to tell her to stop!  I don't know what they say of course, but it is so interesting to watch!  At the same time, the other lady that was kind of chanting from the day before, was doing that the same time as the prayer!  They just don't know I think!  Kumar came after church to bring us home.  The trains were not going again.  We thought we should beat the crowd on the roads after the holiday.  However, we heard that the President gave another holiday for the kids from school due to the flooding.  So, maybe people will stay with their families longer!  Great week!  Another big one ahead!

Priyankas nephew and Steve

and her Dad!

Presents for the birthday boy!

These guys spoil us!

Celebrating Hansani's birthday!

Traditional feeding of the cake!

Singapore surprises!!

Kandy trekking in the jungle!

Jack fruit

Sister Kumari's home

This is her stove...firewood!

Anupama's home where they made the Vesak lanterns.

Vesak decorating and lunch at the Royal Mall

Shanta's missionary trishaw!

People in truck giving out clothes to flood victims

Peoples "homes" after the flood

That was once a cricket field

Vesak lanterns lining the streets

Steve was so excited about his birthday present!!

His new Sri Lanka fishing buddy!

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