Thursday, August 18, 2016

July 31, 2016

It is the end of July!  What an amazing week!  Curt left early in the morning but we still got to visit with everyone else!  So strange how things are all coming to an end.  We spent some time cleaning out and catching up!  We had a dinner appointment with Kumar, our taxi driver, and his family.  They live quite far.  We took the elders with us also!  Kumar's kids are wanting to get baptized!  Kumar said they have made so many good changes in their lives.  He is very happy that they have decided to continue coming to church and be baptized.  He made a wonderful meal for us!  We had a great visit with his family.  Kumar said that he has never, in his 12 years of driving, met anyone like Steve.  He said he has listened during conversations and learned so much by driving him around.  He said he is the best man he has ever known.  Such a great compliment.  I was freaked out with their dalmation dog.....who just bit their sister on her arm which needed stitches!!  Hard for me to relax!  But we made it through!  Tuesday morning, we skyped with the Lee's...the people who are replacing December!  So much to tell, so many questions!  We don't want to say too much but want to tell them about some things!!  They are going to be great!  Wish they were here as we left!  Steve went with the elders to do some baptismal Jinuka and Chandana!  They even got lunch there!  I worked on finishing all the seminary records and getting them up to date!  Yeah!!  We went to visit Darshani and her family in the evening!  Had such a great visit with them...and good food!  We will miss them so!!  We took the train to Kandy on Wednesday for the branch social they were having.  We didn't realize it was a celebration for us!  It was so wonderful and touching.  It was a very traditional celebration that brought me to tears!  It started out with the young women doing a traditional welcome dance.  I was given a basket of flowers and Steve a lei type flower thing.  Then we were to follow the dancers up the stairs.  There, we found the rest of the Kandy branch!  It was so wonderful to see them all!  Pres Moligoda gave a speech, we were asked to share some words too.  Then we had more dances by the young women and the primary girls.  The Relief Society did a drama...from the Book of Mormon.  Pres Moligoda came out a little later in costume dancing!  That was the invitation for the rest of the people to come and dance....and most everyone does that!!  Including us!  Steve says he has danced more on this mission than he has his whole life combined.  So so funny!  They also had gifts for us.  A statue of elephants and some Kandy tapestries to take home and frame.  They were beautiful.  They had cake and dinner for everyone also.  There were about 75 people who showed up to this party!  Many were some that don't come to church much but that we have visited.  So wonderful!  We had a great, great time with our Kandy friends!  Love them so much!  We came home on the early train the next morning.  We had a surprise visit from Jasmin and Matthew.  She brought us a flower thing that she made.  We then went to Esthers for a nice lunch.  She is such a sweet lady and her son is a really great guy!  They all just want us to be with them one last time!  We love her so much.  We then went to Rukmans home.  Steve had to give baptism interviews to the entire family!  So proud of them!  They are the greatest family!  Had a wonderful evening with them.  The new Mission President and his wife came to Sri Lanka for the weekend!  Steve picked up Pres Mortensen and left on the train for Kandy.  I stayed back with Sister Mortensen!  Steve had a great day with the people in Kandy and the President.  They visited some members and also had a meeting where everyone came to meet the new President.  Steve loves him!  Says he is really approachable and down to earth.  I felt the same way about his sweet wife!  We went to Waters Edge, went and visited Tania at Odel...where Sister Mortensen bought some clothes.  We had a nice dinner at the Cinnamon Grand.  I also showed her our apartment and visited with her about a lot of things!  She is really great!  The men stayed in Kandy and came back early the next day.  We had Ru and Myrna over for lunch.  Ru is having a hard time right now.  But we had a great visit..and she visited with the Mission President too!  She is really great and her mom is a saint!  Love them!  We fed Pres/Sister Mortensen and then headed to Negombo with them!  Many of the members came to meet him there also.  We then left with Pres Kolitha and his family for the party for Sheramy's 21st birthday....which really isn't for another month....but her family wanted her to have that special party with all of her friends.  There was a dj, laser lights, a picture booth, full course dinner, birthday cake....big, big party!!  So much fun!  But the frosting on the cake, came on Sunday morning where we had 7 baptisms!!  And the mission president was here!  It was the best morning ever!  These families are so wonderful!  I was asked to give a talk about the Holy Ghost.  I talked about how Hansani first came to our English class and then to church...but never wanted to get baptized.  And how she was baptized on Christmas day of last year....and talked about how she triggered her mother, then their best friends, then the rest of the families who were getting baptized that day!  I had them all come forward as I told the story.  It turned out great.  The confirmations took most of the time in sacrament meeting.  Steve did Sujith and Chandana.  Pres and Sister Mortensen said a few words before the meeting ended.  They are great!  We said goodbye to them later and then headed home to make some dinner for our favorite elders!!  Steve Nugara, Steve Wijendran and Frank Rajan!!  John Wijendran came because Rukshan Perera could not come.  We had a great time!  We called Franks friend Amanda in Austrailia!  He was so nervous!  But it was great!  We love those guys so much!  Can't believe we have a week left in Sri Lanka.  Busy busy week ahead!  Going by so darn fast!

Madu and her dalmation who bites!

Dinner at Kumar's!

Madu as a baby!

Hansani's wall!

Baptism interview with a bonus of LUNCH!

Chandana passed!

Dinner with Darshani and kids!

Special gift from this special family

Cute DAD!

Old/New Mission President India Bangaluru mission

Pres Kumara's wife in Kandy

Traditional party/celebration for us in Kandy

The Kandy Young Women

Look at their beautiful hair!

Sister Seetha

The celebration begins with a traditional dance to welcome us

I got a basket of flowers!

Sister Preethi

And Brother Athula

Steve gets the flowers too!

Follow the girls to the party!

The whole branch is there!!

DIG and Gamini

More traditional dancing

The Relief Society did a drama

Primary girls danced

Young Women did another dance

President Moligoda began the dance with Ilani joining in


Sister Perera brought a gift

Sister Sisula

Sister Wasanthi

Sister Hilda 

Sister Kumari

Inoka, Rebecca, and Shanta

Sister Carmelina

Gamini and his kids and Osmont

Sister Shirani and Osmont and Gamini

Brother Sansoni and his family

Sister Shiranthi

Brother Athula and Preethi and Sulakshina

And Kasun!

Pres Kumara and Padma

Esthers son Andrew

Esther and Andrew

Esthers sister

Jasmin and Matthew

Rukman and Thenuja

Shot put master

Tharushi, Preethi, Thenuja, Savithna and Rukman

New Mission President Mortensen

Gamini and his family

Kandy members to visit the Mission President

Ru and Myrna

Myrna and Ru with Pres and Sister Mortensen

Pres Mortensen met the Negombo branch

Sheramy's 21st birthday celebration

The beautiful birthday girl!

My lovely friend, Deyan


Michael Jackson impersonators 

Sugith baptism with Kavishka, Ajantha and Thilakshi

The whole family!!

Savithna, Preethi, Thenuja, Rukman and Tharushi

Hansani, Jinuka, Chandana, Nilmini

Sister Mortensen helping with the music

Once upon a time....

Hansani started it all...baptized Christmas day

Then came her mother

followed by their best friends, Ajantha, Thilakshi and Kavishka

now add the fathers and their uncles whole family

Hansani closing song!

Beautiful testimonies

Welcome to the branch

Our favorite elders for dinner-minus Rukshan

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