Tuesday, April 28, 2009
This morning the army of Sri Lanka promised to stop using heavy artillery. Hurray for the U. N. and world pressure. NO MORE SHOCK AND AWE!
Monday, April 27, 2009
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Thursday, April 23, 2009
You find yourself at the edge of a huge and inviting swimming pool. We saw this beautiful spot earlier in the week but just one of us had gone over for a swim.
Weeks before when this conference had been announced we had been told that there would be an opportunity to swim. We had not expected this and neither of us had brought swim suits when we came to India. The first night in Sri Lanka we went to a recommended outlet department store. Look at the labels in some of your clothes and you will see "Made In Sri Lanka." This store was nice, but when you looked at an item everything available was in the same size. Definitely an outlet store with mostly overstock items. I did locate pants in the right size so I could ride an elephant.
We found a subdued pair of gray men's swim trucks but they were trimmed around the bottom with orange flames. We didn't care. We bought them. There were no women's suits in the whole store. We were about to leave when we ran into a pair of black shorts. That gave us hope and twenty more minutes of looking unearthed a black over blouse with spaghetti straps. Voila! A woman's swim suit.
That was a Monday and now Friday arrived and we had not yet taken time to go for a swim together. At noon a stop at the hotel gift shop to borrow their scissors, two quick cuts and then five minutes upstairs with the little complimentary sewing kit and the makeshift, black swim suit was ready for use.
Now late Friday night after dinner we debated on running down for a swim. The decision was yes. Gathering our gear we were off. At the last minute at home in India I had thrown in a large wrap of cotton batik fabric. As I walked out of the hotel room I grabbed it from the suitcase and we headed down to the pool.
At the pool the attendant sent us right into the locker room. I had just changed and was turning the key in my locker when there was a power outage. I wished I had taken more time to notice all the angles of the room and how many doors I had passed through coming in. My memory wasn't bad and I did not trip over any stationary benches as I made it to the last doorway before I had a stupor of thought and could not remember the last turn. At that moment the young woman sitting on a bench in the locker room remembered that she had a light on her cell phone. In one moment of flash I saw the last door and was out. It was dark outside too. General power outage. Very familiar, we got those everyday in India.
It wasn't hard to follow the edge of the pool in the dark and I found my companion already swimming. At the close end of the pool was an Italian restaurant and we could hear voices of patrons. As we swam we noticed the shape of one man back by the trees - probably security. The pool was large and as we traversed back and forth we got a lot of exercise quickly. By now the waiters in the restaurant were placing candles on each table. The scene was perfect but the next day was a travel day and long so we made for the far end of the long pool and the large steps.
As we finished our stokes the sky was full of sweeping search lights and as I reached the steps the night lit up with red streaks. At the top step gun fire began. I took a few more steps and then it seemed expedient to crouch down. In this position I watched as my companion still in the pool, stood looking into the sky. He had spotted an airplane. As the gunfire was going on and on I yelled for him to get out of the pool. He came to me and we sat for a few more minutes together then I thought that we should get under the wooden table near by. We shoved chairs aside and climbed in.
(Later a member of our group who was former Secret Service said with a chuckle that the table would not have saved us. Instinctively I knew this. I was hoping just not to get a bad burn on a bare leg from a stray spark. THE MOVE UNDER THE TABLE WAS SYMBOLIC TO LET HEAVENLY FATHER KNOW THAT THIS WAS NOT THE DAY THAT WE PLANNED TO DIE.)
Has everyone tried to visualize the horror of being safe one moment then hearing guns coming closer and closer? War must be horrendous! These guns did not come closer they were up close from the beginning. The red in the sky came from just over the back wall near the far end of the pool AND leaped from the other end of the pool too. too. We were in a war zone and the only thing that was missing was Wolf Biltzer. The red lights in the sky were accompanied by rapid fire of antiaircraft guns. Did we have fear? Maybe but it was not conscious, just awe and hope that it would end soon.
There was a deafening explosion but still the swooping lights and guns were in action. Bad things can often seem longer than they are, but the shooting went on for over twenty minutes. Long to us. It stopped but we waited and it started again. The next time it stopped we waited a minute then decided to run for a better spot. Dashing along the pool we found another group huddled under a roof connecting two buildings. "Stay with us," they called and we did.
The people there were mostly employees. We didn't know if they had a leader or just a take charge guy, but a firm male voice told us to lie flat and we did that too. We stayed there for another ten minutes. People were tense but calm. One woman was pregnant and two people kept wanting to take her to the hospital. she kept saying that she was fine.
A car drove from the hotel and discovered us in their head lights. We were instructed to go to the hotel and enter by a back door which would put us in the basement. We started out at which point the man from the car called out softly but urgently, "Go quickly." We moved rapidly now and the only panic seemed to be the lady behind me calling out,"We are going to die. We are all going to die." This continued until we entered the basement of the hotel and her voiced was lost in the chatter of hundreds of hotel guest as they visited and drank soda.
It took a while to locate our conference group but through the long hall and then on to the very back of the grand ballroom we found them gathered with a circle of chairs. Their first action was not to greet us with gladness for our safety but to whip out cameras for the photo op. I was so glad that I was swathed in the batik wrap and later one of the group handed me his extra shirt. Love that man!
We soon got moved out of the ball room. I noticed windows there all the way up at the ceiling. (Not to mention huge crystal chandeliers.) We all crowded into the long hallways which were under the lobby. The concern to get us from the pool and into the hotel fast had been reasonable because it turned out that the loud explosion had been an enemy plane crashing into a high rise but there were two planes.
We waited in the hall another half hour and then the call came that the second plane had been shot down at the airport. We were all sent back to our hotel rooms. A simple ending? Maybe, but even though the two pilots were the enemy rebels they were some mother's child. Nuts to war!
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Those so familiar with blogging know that when you read a blog there could be more on the same subject down below. The first time I blogged I had something I wanted in a different order. I worked hard to get it that way but it probably wasn't really worth it. This trip to Sri Lanka definitely has a grand finale so dear readers go over the information on Sri Lanka and in a day or two I'll post the end. The story that we have only up until now told our children. Until then . . .
soldiers during the week we were here and every time we rode into our hotel driveway our car was checked for bombs . . .
bought a Sri Lanka elephant print skirt.
Sri Lanka was very warm so the weather was not a big difference but as we flew over the island it was green, green, green. Our part of India is a little dry. Like Southern California without the imported water. Acres and acres of palm trees. And as we drove in from the airport we enjoyed a marked difference in the orderliness of the city of Colombo. Why there is so much trash in India we have not learned, but there is a lot all over the cities that we have seen. Sometimes you can ignore it and sometimes it makes you a little weary of the disregard of the fact that cleanliness is next to Godliness.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Now notice how this man sits. There is a natural place for one person. His knee fits perfectly between bony shoulder and bony back. Most of us rode double so the second guy is up on that sloping back bone. Easy to slide off even when you don't want to.
Everytime I tried to take a picture the elephant handler got excited and jumped up and down until I had my fingers laced together.
recommend a Land rover. An elephant has a side to side motion that you are not prepared to experience. Think a giant land ship. Even after only a short ride when you hit ground again you have a bit of the wobble knees like you get after being on a small boat at sea. Do we
recommend ridding an elephant? If you ever get a chance, go for it ! ! !
This dear lady knew the importance of "good" ingredients in everything you do to have the right outcome. She was always an example to us of patience and kindness. We loved being with her and we liked the compliments that came when people tasted her candy. "This is as good as See's."
At Easter the dipped chocolates took the form of eggs and our baskets were full. When grandmother was gone on our only choice was to buy our eggs at See's candy and we have ever since.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
We peaked into the just opened box and saw that one of our children had gifted us with See's Candy. What memories of childhood flooded through our minds when we saw those sweet treats. Thank you , thank you. First we thought of being young and then we remembered blending two sets of traditions as we made a happy family Easter celebration for our children.
Not only did we remember the tastiness of the treats, but the sweetness of blessings. One particular event came to mind as I remembered being young in St. George, Utah on Easter morning. Our father was working in California at the time and would join us later to drive us to our home in California. We all got dressed in typical Sunday Easter outfits and our mother drove us across the desert and down a steep, winding, mountain road to a small town, La Verkin, to attend Easter services. I had lived in this town for awhile as a small child. We had a home there still but had now rented it to a young family. After Church we came out of the building to see that one of the tires on our car was flat. There was lots of help for us and the tire was soon changed. That was nice, but in our hearts we knew that the blessing of that day was that the tire did not blow out as we traveled down the mountain that morning.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
We were in conference at Church and then came here to this special ministry. Their meeting had been going for a half hour when we arrived. There was singing as we came in and then three woman stood one at a time and bore their testimony of how God had blessed their lives. One man translated so we could know the details. Amazing faith!!!!!!!!!! Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is lifting people from despair and helping them to move ahead through difficult lives.
We were presented with beautiful silk wraps as the meeting ended. It is hard to receive a gift when there is so much poverty, but we knew that we had to receive their love. Even harder was to have a woman knee at my feet and ask for a blessing. I took her in my arms and told her I would pray for her and love her like a mother and the Lord would bless her.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
We are only allowed to preach and teach in English so no time to practice a new language. Look closely at the rest of the letter and you will see that we probably couldn't "get" Tamil even if we had time.
On top of other exciting things this week special friends from home sent us Easter "baskets". Very exciting!
We feel the love that came all the way across the ocean and of course nothing tastes as good as the familiar.