Thursday, July 8, 2010

Week #3 So Far...

So we have been updated on Dr. Gary and apparently he is no longer in a coma but he hasn't regained consciousness yet. He is in pretty bad shape because from what we have heard, he broke almost every bone in his body so it is a miracle that he is alive. His wife and daughter (who is 19) flew to Korea to be with him at the hospital but he has a lot of brain damage and they are estimating that he will be in the hospital in Korea doing physical month for at least 4-6 months. But praise the Lord that he is alive. Keep him in your prayers!

One of the things God has showed me through this trip is how big he is. This seems so simple and obvious but i have realized that they serve the same God here in Sri Lanka that we do back home. It just reminds me how amazing he really is.

I have been learning a lot of Sinhala. Thilini says that if we stay here a couple more weeks we would totally be able to speak the language, but unfortunately we only have a week and a half left to learn it. I ordered bread today for dinner... this is what i said "paan raathal tuna denna" (it literally means "give me 3 loaves of bread" haha). I enjoy the language. It is very different from anything i have ever heard before! Matt has learned so much already! He knows at least 100 words, because Thilini's friend made a huge list for him and he studies it pretty much every night haha.

This week the boys on our team went back to Madampe (to the farm) to work with the boys and girls again and us girls stayed at the teenage girls center. We have been leading a mini conference and each day one of us gives our testimony and leads a bible study. Our overall theme has been "identity" and we spoke about how important it is to maintain a daily walk with God, self-worth, relationships (which is when i gave my testimony), suffering, and tomorrow we are doing forgiveness. It has been a good week. These girls have been through so much suffering and haven't dealt with it or learned to forgive those who hurt them. It is important for them to realize why we suffer and how God uses it, and also for them to trust in God and place their identity and self worth in Him.

Tomorrow is our last day here at the teenage girls center, and on saturday we are having a single day for sight seeing. We will possibly be riding elephants and we are going to sigiriya, a huge fortress from about 500 BC that is in ruins but it is supposed to be really cool. We are going to hike up it! After that, we are going back to the farm for next week. We will be back at the girls home next friday, saturday, sunday, and monday, and then monday night we head for the airport to go home. I can't believe how fast the time has flown, but i am starting to be ready to come home. I don't have a lot of energy anymore and i think i might be relapsing in my cold, but God will sustain me! Please continue to pray for our team! Thank you!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Week #2

Since i last updated you, we have had a lot of sickness amongst our team... Caroline has been to the doctors twice because she has blisters/bumps all over her hands, feet, tongue, lips, thighs, and butt, and it keeps spreading. The first doctor said she had a virus but when it didn't go away she went to a second doctor who says she is having an allergic reaction... hopefully this is the case and the medicine he gave her will do the trick. Matt has been really lethargic and has had no appetite... today he also had trouble breathing when we went swimming. The doctor said that he is having mild asthma issues, due to the climate change. This is weird for him because he has never had asthma before. Almost everyone on the trip has had digestion problems (diarrhea or vomitting) at least once and most of us has felt symptoms of the common cold. Chauntae also got hives the other night due to an allergic reaction to something. But we know we are in the safest hands and that God is protecting us from any worse attacks from the enemy... we consider ourselves blessed to only have these sicknesses and nothing worse so far. Apparently many girls on the team last year contracted bacterial meningitis, which is the lesser serious meningitis but is still deadly. They all survived, but so far we have been fortunate not to have anything that serious. But we are all physically exhausted and don't have a lot of energy to work with.

In case you were wondering, yes, the swelling of my ankles and feet did eventually go down. They are completely back to normal but it took about a week for them to get that way.

In the past 2 nights we have killed 8 cockroaches in our room! The first night we slept in the rooms here (we relocated to the Teenage Girls Center, which is in Welisara, on friday), i woke up about 7 times sitting up and freaking out thinking cockroaches were crawling all over me... my roommates told stories of that night all day the next day haha. For some reason, i just cannot stand cockroaches. They are probably the most disgusting insects alive. (sidenote: write after i wrote this, Chauntae warned me that a cockroach was crawling towards me under the table i was using.... ewwwwww)

Ok, now on to the update:
Last week we repainted the boys and girls homes at the farm (where we were staying) and just got to play with them a lot more and go to their nightly pray meetings. It was really cool to see the older kids lead the prayer meetings and all the children honestly seeking God and worshiping him in song. It is really awesome to see what these children have been rescued from and how bright their future is because of this ministry and the new hope they have. One kid came to the Farm when he was 12, never having gone to school before then because he had no family. Now he is #1 in his class, he is 17, and he speaks really good english. He takes care of all the younger boys in the home and leads the prayer meetings. He has such a passion for the Lord and wants to be a pastor.

On Friday we relocated to the Teenage Girls Center, which is attached to the church we are working with. We haven't worked with them yet, because on saturday we drove 3 hours down south to go to the vocational school graduation (the ministry started a vocational school, teaching young adult girls to make clothes and pottery and paintings and things like that to make a living. Most of these girls are buddhist--actually all but 2 are--and it is a more subtle ministry to sew seeds of the Gospel in a very indirect way). This school was located right where the Tsunami took place, and we saw a lot of the damage that was done, as many of the buildings have yet to be repaired or rebuilt. The first wave was about 20 feet high and the second wave was about 50 feet high. It was hard to imagine a "huge black wall" (as surviving onlookers described it) coming toward us, but where we were driving was right along the coast, and that is exactly what we would have seen had we been there. We saw Buddhist temples everywhere on our drive down here, and there was even a HUGE (probably around 75 feet tall) that was built after the tsunami, because the people believe it is going to protect them in the future. It is really sad and the need for the Gospel is so great here.

Today was a 3 hour church service on missions. Our Biola team got to sing "Jesus Paid it All" during the communion and it went really well... we got a lot of compliments on it. But on a different note, the man who was supposed to speak, Dr. Gary, who is a close friend of one of the church's pastors and was his son's mentor for years, was supposed to fly in last night but he never showed up. This morning we found out that he was in a bus accident in Korea yesterday, in which the bus fell over the guard rail of a bridge and crashed 30 feet below. 12 out of the 24 passengers died instantly, including Dr. Gary's traveling companion. Dr. Gary broke many bones, including his hip, and has a lot of brain damage and is currently in a coma. Keep him in your prayers. He is a close friend of Biola's president and is a great man of God... he even has the entire Bible memorized! Anyways, everyone is grieving here, but we trust and hope that God will work a miracle in this situation and extend his life for God's Kingdom work.

The rest of this week we will be working with the teenage girls here. They are really struggling and have a lot of issues. From what i hear, they are really stubborn and set in their ways, so it is hard to get across to them. Every time progress is seen in their lives, the Devil attacks and brings them down, so they definitely need a lot of prayer. I hope our time here is very beneficial for them!

Keep praying for us. Spiritual warfare is very powerful but God is All-Powerful, and we trust him to protect us and to conquer in the end!