Monday, June 28, 2010
Recap of Week #1
Wow this week has been so crazy! It feels like we have been in Sri Lanka forever, but at the same time this week has gone by so quickly!
At the beginning of this week, we met the kids and the widows and have gotten to spend a lot of time with them. There are a couple kids here who have really grabbed onto my heart strings and i already don't know how i am going to say goodbye to these kids in a few weeks. I have learned a lot about letting myself be vulnerable this week because these kids need us to show them so much love because they have been through so much and have really been hurt. It is cool because the little girl that i was praying for prior to coming on this trip has apparently changed so much since last year and has really opened up to us. Her name is rajakumari and she used to be really aggressive but shy, but now she is super open and friendly and (despite her being sick) she decided she wanted to give me a kiss on the lips last night haha. There is another little girl name Sawandi who is about 2 years old and she is the most beautiful baby i have ever seen. She blows me kisses when i leave and has the cutest little laugh you could ever imagine. Then there is Dilshan. He is 8 (i think) and has the best smile and is so cute. The first day i met him he just grabbed onto my hand and wouldn't let go. He held it all day. I love these kids so much and i don't want to have to say goodbye to them, but i am trying not to think about it too much so that i can just let myself be vulnerable and love these children like they need to be loved.
Starting thursday of this last week, the ministry we are working with hosted a youth camp for boys and girls ages 15-23. About 200 people from all over the country came and stayed at "The Farm" with us and most of these children came from non-Christian backgrounds. The camp addressed the innate desire in all of us to feel loved and accepted, yet most of us go about finding that love in the wrong places, such as addictions or unhealthy relationships. They also addressed the importance of youth and their individual importance as well, because in Sri Lankan culture the youth is seen as less important and there is no encouragement here so children grow up thinking they can't do anything because that is exactly what they have been told from the time they were little. They think they are failures and have big self-identity issues. This camp addressed that and yesterday, Sunday, we had the alter call. Of the 200 kids here, i would say about 95% of them responded to the alter call (which was way more than i was expecting, especially because less than 1% of the Sri Lankan population is Christian so many people wouldn't be open to Christianity). During this time, they all went up to the front to pray and it was cool because the pastor prayed over each and every one of them individually and many of them fainted in front of us when he laid hands on them. It was almost a visual representation of the chains of their bondage being stripped away from them and the power of the Holy Spirit overtaking them. We also witnessed him cast out a demon--one of the boys who wanted to respond to the alter call was being oppressed by a demon and although he went forward for prayer, the demon inside him was fighting him and wouldn't let the pastor touch him. He was crying out in weird noises and 4 people had to hold him down as the pastor commanded the demon to come out by the power of the Holy Spirit. Eventually it did and the young man committed his life over to Christ. It was a very emotional experience but I am so glad i got to witness it, and i know that my perspective on a lot of things has changed because of this youth camp.
I also learned a lot about God's sovereignty this week as i have seen it unfold in front of me. The testimony that God has given me--the things i have been through and learned--seemed to all be leading up to this trip and, if for no other reason than this, i know that God brought me to Sri Lanka to share my testimony with a couple people... one girl in particular though. She has been through a lot in the past year and when i told her my testimony, she told me that the stories are identical and it helped her out a lot. She told Thilini that our team helped her feel a lot better, even though she is still hurting, and that she misses us already and is very thankful for all we have done for her. I am glad that my story was able to comfort a girl who was in deep pain, so much so that she tried to commit suicide about a month ago.
So far our team hasn't had any major health issues, although a lot of us has felt sick for a brief period of time but then soon felt better. Please continue to pray against the enemy's attacks on our health and our team unity. We haven't seen much spiritual warfare as of yet, but we know that the enemy is relentless but the Lord is all-powerful and wants to do a great work in us while we are here.
In all, this past week has been a huge eye-opening experience for our team. We have learned so much about the Sri Lankan culture, about the hurt many people go through, and about the nature of God. I can only begin to imagine what God has yet to show us while we are here but I am excited to find out! Please continue to keep us in your prayers!