Randy and I still abide in the land of the living and are now drawing our breath on the island of Sri Lanka. Thank you for your kind prayers for our long day of travel. When we planted our feet on the turf outside Parthee’s home last night (Monday) we were exhausted, having been up since Sabbath morning. We hope that a couple nights of rest will revive our energy.
Parthee’s cheerful disposition and spiritual conversation, coupled with the scenes outside the window of the vehicle, increased the delight of an otherwise grueling six hour trek from the capital city of Colombo to the north-central city of Vavanyu. I bombarded poor Parthee with a myriad of questions about life and ministry in Sri Lanka, which furnished me with enough material for many more posts, though the sand is now falling quickly through the hour glass that marks our return home. The Lord has bequeathed to this nation a fascinating history and rich culture. Over the next few days I will attempt to convey to you some of the treasurers I uncovered.
Our first impression coming off the plane had to do with the humidity, a substantial difference from arid Ahmedabad. Think sticky, very sticky. I am drenched even now as I write. The thermometer indicates temperatures slightly lower than we experienced in India, but I can hardly believe it. What do you call the opposite of a wind chill — you know how the wind chill makes it feel colder than the thermometer reads? I am clueless about the mathematical and scientific explanations, but the combined factors of closer proximity to the Equator, lower elevation, nearness to the sea and significantly higher humidity must magnify the heat index, but the net result feels like 50 degrees above the thermometer. We will happily acclimate over the next few days. Besides, consider the bright side: we guzzle gallons of water and sweat gallons back out our skin, thereby creating an internal washing machine that will leave us squeaky clean and healthy. Parthee’s house does not have air-conditioning, making it warmer inside than outside, but they also do not have hot water, which is a great boon in light of the former. We welcome a cool shower, and taking two or three a day is not uncommon for those who live here. But if my posts seem to degrade with time — remember that my brain is cooked. We may be hot, but we are happy. Randy and I are thrilled with the opportunity to support Christ’s kingdom in Sri Lanka. And I am sure that you will rejoice to hear about the Lord’s wonderful work and Parthee’s vision and labors.
My second impression had to do with the lush vegetation. Picture palm trees yielding enough coconuts to feed untold numbers of people. Parthee insists that they could not survive without coconuts, but they are only the tip of the ice berg (an misplaced metaphor, if there ever was one). Sri Lanka boasts of its status as a fruit paradise. All of the food found on Sri Lankan tables is harvested from with their own country. So they rotate what they eat based on what is in season, guaranteeing that every morsel is fresh from the fields. And they have a ton of variety from which to choose, much of which is new to me. Breakfast included wood apple jelly, a fruit that doctors here say is especially healthy. You can probably investigate wood apple on Wikipedia. They also have eight different varieties of bananas, including a red one. We know about mangos and papaya, but Parthee is capable of dazzling you with the names of fruit you have never heard.
The purpose of this brief post was to report that we arrived safe and sound, thanks to the Lord’s kind upholding. More details about the ministry will be forthcoming over the next couple of days, Lord willing. One final prayer request: Given all that I said about the weather, you can imagine the impact on the mosquito count. So please to continue to pray for protection against the diseases borne by that acrobatic menace. As our catechism teaches, God’s providence is over “all his creatures and all their actions”, including every flying insect and where they go and who they bite.
When you look at Sri Lanka on the map, it bears the resemblance of a giant tear drop. Their history, even the recent past, testifies to much hardship and many tears. But our hearts long for tears bearing the fruit of repentance joined with tears of joy over the sight of the Savior. You can join us in using the mental image of the tear drop as a prompt to pray Psalm 126 for this island nation and for Pastor Parthee’s ministry.
“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, brearing precious seed shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”
The next post, which is already written, will include details of our last day in India.
Pastor Rob McCurley