Just Five More Minutes

This morning tiredness hit the group hard.

Emily and I got up very early to see Abi and Lily off as they were heading back home today. Emily was feeling unwell, and stayed in our accommodation in the morning hoping to feel a bit better later in the day. The group felt low in numbers and energy as we dragged our way down to the centre to carry on cleaning and painting, or in the case of and Lauren and I; we let the tuk tuk carry us down the step hill to the centre.

We were armed with strong sugary coffee, red bull and cupcakes to try and finish off some of the final jobs left to do there. As we commenced work energy levels increased, though stopping for lunch didn’t help. As we returned to our accommodation, Phil who has been fighting a bad cold the last few days felt too unwell to carry on working in the afternoon and slept the whole afternoon.

It was a joy to be back with the children who we haven’t seen for a few days, as we sang, taught and played games with them. The children brought energy back to the group.

Though we all still felt like an early night was in order, it was a joy to spend this evening thanking God for all that he has done and is doing while we worshiped and prayed.

There are mixed feelings about tomorrow being our last day working at Child Action Lanka, as it means that our time here has very nearly drawn to a close.

As we head to bed for our much needed sleep, please continue to pray to strength and health of those who feeling unwell. Please pray for protection over us as our mission trip draws to a close.

Miriam x

 

 

 

A day at the safe house

So, today has been a gud’un! We started the day with our usual ‘thought of the day’ which Emily led us in. This morning it was about using whatever we have to glorify God, whether like David, using stones to fight Goliath or Esther, using her position to save her people.

After this, we all clambered into two minibuses and, after a slight panic that we’d left someone behind, we cracked on with the two hour bus journey to the CAL safe house. To say the journey was a tad uncomfortable would be an understatement. Think long, winding country roads, add in a couple mountains, crazy tuk tuk drivers and far too little space for two vehicles to manoeuvre past each other and you’ll get some kind of idea. Aside from the travel sickness, the area we drove through was really beautiful. So much green everywhere!

We arrived at the safe house and all felt quite excited at the potential that the building had. In fact, the safe house was indeed so safe that it took two people to open the doors so we could get inside. The day was spent doing a whole lot of painting, sweeping, clearing leaves, dusting and various other bits and pieces. After a couple hours we breaked for lunch, where we enjoyed a lovely bbq that was cooked for us before getting back to work. By the end of the day, we all felt like we’d made quite a difference to the building. Even though we didn’t get to see it through to completion it’s amazing to know that in the future, vulnerable women will be taking refuge in the remote shelter that we helped to clean up and get ready. Whilst at the safe house the women will be producing organic spices and labelling them as products sold by Child Action Lanka.

Once we’d finished for the day we popped down the road to the creek and the few of us brave enough to go in embraced the cold water and the fish who like to nibble at your feet (such a strange feeling)! With heavy hearts, we boarded back onto the winding roads, with our minds on the ‘hopper’ party that was being put on for us in a restaurant for dinner. I’m not quite sure how to explain what a hopper is, but it’s a Sri Lankan speciality! It’s basically like a pancake mixture that’s made into a bowl-like shape so then you load it up with the filling and enjoy!

Once thoroughly full up, we headed back to our hostel to have our evening devotional. Today was on prophecy, so we split into groups of three and prayed for each other and prayed for words and pictures and shared these with each other.

Please continue to pray for health, strength and energy for us over the next couple of days.

Love,

Nadia

 

A Rollercoaster Day

Today was a great day as we stepped out in faith by evangelising to tuk tuk drivers, a shop owner and a selection of assorted Sri Lankans.

It was a real joy to attend CAL’s church this morning and worship across the language barrier, singing both in English and Singhala. God’s presence knows no barrier. To share communion and talk to parents and families illustrated that our God is about creating community and showing love to one another despite cultural differences.

After church, half of us went for a swim at a hotel pool which was over a stunning view from Kandy town. We discovered very quickly that it was going to be slightly more difficult than anticipated to barter our way into the hotel, so with our tails between our legs, we stumped up the full price for an hour by the pool. After playing volleyball, diving and sunbathing, we headed into town for lunch. Meanwhile, the other half of the crew went into town and went shopping. Someone bought a sari. Someone bought a watch. I’m not sure what else was bought but I feel like there were quite a few Jesus-conversations with locals along the way.

In the evening we went to the cultural show which everyone agreed to describe as ‘interesting’.  There was a mixture of traditional dancing, drumming, fire breathing and much much more.

After the cultural show we started the beautiful walk back into town by the lake. A few people wanted to enter the Temple of Tooth along the way.

Six of us entered the temple, as soon as I stepped into the temple grounds I felt the atmosphere change and immediately felt uneasy. As we joined the que into the temple, we were met by hundreds of people taking part in the evening ceremony brining sacrifices and offering money for blessings. As we were pushed and shoved past the monk guarding the window to the tooth there was a deep feel of confusion and uneasiness.

We made our way back down the stairs in a hurry passing schools of children with disabilities who had been dragged along to the temple. At this point a few of us felt so uncomfortable that we pretty much fled out the temple and out of the grounds as fast as we could until we reunited with the rest of the group.

Once the whole group were together again outside the temple grounds, we formed a circle and prayed for God’s spirit to break in and to reign over this country and for each person who had entered to be filled afresh the Holy Spirit.

Later in the evening when we returned to our accommodatin, we started our evening devotion; we prayed again for each other and worship God and declared his goodness and power.

Please continue to pray for our health as a number of the group have come down with colds and for us to know God’s presence with us as we travel about.

Tim, Matt and Miriam

 

 

The Day of The Elephants

 

Saturday began as every Saturday should; with a lie in and the wise words of Miriam Elliott. Filled with papaya, mango and the Holy Spirit, we boarded a minibus who’s air conditioning made us about as cool as the previous nights fake tattoos but this was of concern to no one, for today was the day of the elephants.

Somewhere en route to the eagerly anticipated elephant sanctuary we pulled over at embilmeegama tea factory. I’m sure that you’ve all been there before so I won’t bore you with the details but basically, there were some leaves and some machines and apparently you drink it. Anyway, on to more important matters. The elephants.

Other than a brief but well managed round of Lauren Goodall vs spider, the rest of the journey passed without incident and we had arrived. We flashed the dollar and made our way into the sanctuary. The sanctuary provides a place of respite and rehabilitation for elephants, most of which were previously in captivity. If, like me, you have never seen an elephant in the flesh before, you really would be taken by suprise by the shear size of them. Our first opportunity was to wash an injured elephant named Raj in the river that ran through the sanctuary. He seemed to enjoy his wash almost as much as Nadia Glover during her mid shower power ballad the night before so it was smiles all round.

Next up was show stopper. The elephant ride. Having been in a minibus from Colombo to Kandy, I was very confident that we had experienced the most terrifying ride that Sri Lanka had to offer. My confidence was well founded as the sactuary Mahouts (the guys that work there) knew exactly what they were doing, providing a safe but thrilling once in a life time ride on the majestic creatures. I could try to explain what it felt like to ride an elephant but I’m fully aware of how busy you all are and anyway, Miriam wants her iPad back I can’t be all night. So I’ll let the fruits of the budding photographers in our group do the talking. See pictures below.

on a personal note, I have to say what an absolute pleasure it has been to have spent the last few days worshiping, praying and growing with fourteen other guys who are so on fire for God and his kingdom. God has really moved through the devotions that we have had each day and there is a real sense of excitement and expectancy running through the group for what God is going to do through CAL both while we’re here and when we return home and continue to pray for the amazing guys that give so much to serve at CAL. So I would really like to ask that you would join us in prayer for the guys at CAL, that they would be equipped and encouraged in the way that they need in order to serve the children who they love so much. Thanks you so much for your continued prayer for our group, particularly our health as I believe that today was the first day without a single complaint of ill health

much love

Loukas

 

 

Sights, smells and sounds

 

As soon as we touched down in this beautiful country a sense of excitement washed over me, excited for what Sri Lanka had in store for us and how we could help. As we walked out of the airport to get on our bus we were hit with a wave of pure heat, our driver laughed at us and said it was only 33 degrees. Sometimes in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, it can get up into the 40s. We were all glad when we stepped onto our bus to find it was air conditioned. What followed was an introduction to many of the traffic in Sri Lanka which lets just say is rather interesting, at one point there was a lorry going up a hill, a van decided to overtake it at which point another van tried to overtake that all in the space of a rather small road, with honking galore and indicators that do not mean the same as they do in the uk you’d not be far off if you said there were not traffic rules. Traveling along the roads to Kandy there were sightings of elephants, spice shops, fruit sellers, rice paddies, more people than you should be able to fit in a tuk tuk and different trees and wildlife. After a 4 hour journey, we arrived at our simple but comfortable accommodation with a breath taking view across Kandy. We arrived later than we thought we would so didn’t have a chance to visit the Child Action Lanka office. After a quick freshen up we headed into Kandy to find food. We came across an area that had two food stalls one with western food and one with traditional Sri Lankan food. The smell of Sri Lankan food as it cooks is amazing. By this time we were all exhausted so made the journey up the VERY steep hill back to our beds.
We have had an amazing few days here so far getting involved with teaching, singing, cleaning, painting, playing games and lots more. I am so proud of the team for throwing themselves into jobs that they did not know they were going to be doing and ending the day with smiles on their faces. It is such a privilege to be here in Sri Lanka working with Child Action Lanka. As we approach the end of the week I am excited to see what happens after the weekend when we get to visit another of Child Action Lanka’s projects.
But I am sure someone else will tell you more about that in an up and coming blog.
Please keep praying for us and also for the children and staff at CAL.

Love Emily xx

Welcome to Kandy

After a really long journey we arrived, some slept and some didn’t but we made it safely, over the last few days we have settled into the weather and how random it is; rain one minute and sunny the next.

When we arrived at the Child Action Lanka offices we hadn’t really got any idea what we would be getting involved with, we were each given a plan of the areas that we would be helping in. One of the main things everybody is getting involved in is cleaning the new centre and getting ready for everything to move at the end of this month. Their lease is up on the old building, and they have managed to buy there own centre which is amazing. Being able to help them in the move is such a privilege.

In the afternoon everyone has been working in different areas from babies to 16 year olds and also creative things for the centre. Today it was great to be working with the children, however it was very interesting when we turned up to a group of children and they were expecting us to teach them English or new songs and we didn’t know that we were meant to be leading the lesson.

As a team it has been great to see us pull together as we have worked hard cleaning and making lesson plans up on the spot. Though the most bonding experience a team can have is looking after one another when half the group come down with a dodgy stomach! Thank goodness for Imodium!!

Please pray for continued recovery and for creativity in teaching .

Thank you for all you support.

Lauren x

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Why?

why-1

There have been a number of questions floating around; ‘Why Sri Lanka?’, ‘Why Kandy?’, ‘Why Child Action Lanka?’, ‘Why are we going?’ and many many more.

Considering this time next week we will be there, hopefully after a good night’s sleep, we will be beginning to get to know some of the workers, volunteer and children at Child Action Lanka’s centre in Kandy. I thought I might try and explain why we are going to Sri Lanka before we go and that long awaited blog about our exciting time in an airport waiting to board the plane.

Back in October when all the New Wine Disciple Year Interns went on their annual retreat, the hub leaders had a meeting about encouraging interns to go on mission trips, Chris (head of the NWDY) said that there were currently 4 mission trips running, one to South Africa, One to Kenya, One to Keiv and one to Lapland but they would love one more mission trips to be running. Emily turned to me and said how did I feel about running one to Sri Lanka, I of course thought that sounded like a great idea, it was somewhere different to the other trips and who wouldn’t want to go to Sri Lanka.

Of course at this point it was just an idea. Later that day we mentioned to Chris that we were thinking of running a mission trip to Sri Lanka. A minute later he stood up in the dining hall and announced to everyone that there were number of mission trips happening; one to South Africa, One to Kenya, One to Keiv, one to Lapland…and one to Sri Lanka.

In that moment it went from being an idea to actually happening. We had no idea where we would go, what we would do or even if people wanted to come with us!

When we got back home we did some research and discovered this Charity, Child Action Lanka.  The work that they do; educating and looking after children, teaching mothers new skills to earn a living and support their families sounded great and something we really wanted to be a part of.

Emily was able to meet with the head of Child Action Lanka a couple weeks later who happened to be over in England near where we live. Emily came away from that lunch totally inspired, knowing this was the right place for us to go.

It has been amazing to see how God has breathed life into this idea. Even before we have gone we have seen God’s provision and hand on this mission trip. Especially in booking flights and sorting out accommodation. It might not have been the feeding of the 5000, but it felt similar, 4 remaining plane tickets into 15…the last 8 remaining rooms in accommodation that is within walking distance of the centre and uses their profits to teach and educate local people.

I’m so excited and I know the team are as well, just to go and love those children, to play, teach and encourage them, to meet and share with the mothers and families despite the language barrier (I have only managed to learn two words in Sinhala, thankfully hello and goodbye is the same word! Languages were never really my strong point). There may be some nervous, but an overwhelming sense that God has gone before us and he is with us in this.

Please do continue to pray for us as we prepare to go. For our hearts to be open to God, for protection and for us to love like Jesus loves us.

Miriam

Take a Moment

Today I am Thankful

With just over a week until our departure date, I can’t believe that it is so nearly here. This date has been fixed in my mind for such a long time, that whenever I think of Sri Lanka I now also think of Monday 6 June and don’t forget your passport! How simple that all seems, a country, a date and a passport.

If only things really were that simple. There has been a lot of planning to make this trip become a reality, long email exchanges between us and Child Action Lanka, booking flights, arranging accommodation, transfers here and in Sri Lanka, visas, balancing the books, training days and much, much more. It’s incredible to realise all that goes into making a mission trip happen. It is safe to say that we could not have done this on our own.

As we prepare to go, I think we would all like to take a moment and say a massive thank you to everyone who has helped and supported us get to this point. From lending us a credit card to book the flights, helping us arrange fundraising events, prayer support, to everyone who has given to us financially, to name but a few.

When we first started thinking about this mission trip back in October and working out how much it would all cost, we knew we had a massive target to reach. We have truly been staggered by the generosity of so many people. All across the country, various churches have been fundraising and collecting donations to make this mission trip happen. Meaning, we have smashed our target and are going to be able to donate well over £2,000 to Child Action Lanka which will make a huge difference to them and their work all across Sri Lanka. So thank you all for your generosity and support.

If you would like to find out more about Child Action Lanka and the work they do in Sri Lanka, please visit their website http://www.childactionlanka.org/ or if you would still like to donate to the work of Child Action Lanka it is not too late, just contact SML church office via admin@smlpoole.org.uk to find out how to donate.

We are so aware that prayer support is vital to making this mission trip a success, we would value your continued prayers, for good relationships within the team, for each member to be filled excitement and peace as we prepare to go and for good health while we are out there.

Do keep an eye on this blog for more updates. I think the next update will be truly thrilling to read! What can interns get up to when you give them 6 hours in an airport?

Miriam

Preparing to Go

17days

Our date of departure is fast approaching with only 17 days to go before we head off to Sri Lanka. I can’t believe we are almost there, in my mind it feels as if we still have months to wait, not days! This of course brings fresh feelings of excitement and nervousness.

As all trips seem to go, this week has been fraught with unexpected problems and last minute panics. Thankfully, things seems to be coming together once again. It was good to spend time re-committing this trip to God, seeking him first and foremost, remembering why we are going and placing the problems in his hands. This trip is all about us continuing to learn what it means to be a disciple, to go where ever he sends us. To experience God out of our comfort zone, in a new and different culture.

Reading the news yesterday it was a great reminder that we are not going there to have a nice holiday, we are going there to meet and interact with people whose lives are not always easy. They don’t have the luxury or the security that we so easily take for granted. There have been large landslides in the last couple of days affecting over 350,000 people with at least 37 people killed. Thankfully Kandy seems to be relatively unaffected, though it may have damaged some of the roads. I’m sure we will see some of the devastation caused by these landslides.

We would greatly value your continued prayer support, that we would know God’s provision and protection. In particular for safety while we are out there and in sorting out all the last minute things.

Keep reading over the coming weeks to find out what we are up to, and where you can offer your prayer support. The blog will be updated by all the interns while we are out in Kandy sharing their own personal experiences.

Miriam