Thursday, April 4, 2024

Pinch Me Moments - Sri Lanka

The amazing tropical island that is Sri Lanka overwhelms my senses as it fascinates my mind. From Moratuwa, our base on the Western coast, we drive inland and upward to an elevation of 5,700 feet.  The relatively new road winds around rich green hills, through tea and rubber estates, terraced gardens and roadside stands displaying brightly hued fresh vegetables.

An hour into our journey we stopped at our 'usual' roadside cafe for milk tea and a sausage roll. Our next stop was Kandy (famous for the Buddhist Temple of the Tooth) for shopping and lunch of 'lump rice': a Sri Lankan specialty of fried rice, chicken, egg, seeni sambol (sweet onion relish) all steamed inside a banana leaf. (very tasty and filling)

We revisited Labookellie Tea Estate for their famous chocolate cake accompanied by free tea (pure, delicious, perfectly brewed Ceylon black tea). It’s great marketing – once you taste the tea you’ll be more inclined to buy some to take home.

During the entire trip, we were amazed at the beautiful scenery and awed by the thought that we were 'revisiting' and recognizing so many beautiful, exotic places far removed from 'normal' life in America.

I call these 'pinch-me moments' (and yes Gary is always happy to oblige). This amazing ‘Journey with God’ has taken us around the world as we follow the call to show the love of Jesus to 'the least of these'.   Neither of us ever imagined that we would experience such beautiful places, gracious people, fascinating cultures and customs. (Did I mention delicious food?)

Ephesians 3:20-21 in the Amplified Bible explains it best: “Now to Him Who, by the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]—To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (so be it).”   

Adara Sevana is the school Deepthi and Layasing have in Moratuwa for 'differently-abled' young people. Until recently, there was nothing available for them in the regular schools, so without Adara Sevana, which means 'Love Shelter' in Sinhala, they would just sit at home and not learn and develop at all. Some public schools now have limited classes for younger children with special needs. 

Each morning we joined the students at Adara Sevana for daily chapel which included a short Bible story narrated and acted out by - you guessed it - Gary and I! They enjoyed our amateur dramatics. It was a blessing to pray and speak a blessing over them. 

Deepthi and Layasing are wonderful hosts, graciously making sure we had all that was needed to make our stay in Sri Lanka a joy. Not to mention the delicious Sri Lankan food!

Our third weekend in Sri Lanka was truly a God-appointment. A pastor in the hill town of Nurawa Elyia was crying out to God for someone to come alongside to encourage and pray with him.  In answer to his prayers, God changed our plans and sent us to his church for the weekend.   The eye clinic was a blessing: eighty-five (85) people had their eyes checked, and seventy-nine (79) received glasses.  Pastor Paul and his family were encouraged and strengthened as we spent time together in prayer. God gave prophetic words of encouragement that brought great hope.  All of us were blessed to worship together Palm Sunday service as Gary shared on “Another Touch.”

Outreaches to villages are very rewarding and fill our hearts with joy.  Because few people venture to remote rural villages or small churches to minister and help, the people are very appreciative and receptive.  We're expecting to hear good reports of as God continues to work and move through the local pastors and leaders.

Our prayer is that your journey with God fills your heart with joy and wonder.  Spend time with our amazing God – daily.  He’s as close as your breath. He longs to be part of every moment of your day.  

Thank you for your ongoing love and prayerful support as we are back in India.  April finds us ministering at a couple of different churches. Let’s see what God will do.

The Journey Continues ~ Pat