Putting Words to Pictures

by - November 14, 2014

Good morning jet lag.  Life is really quiet at 3AM. After sitting in that quiet for a bit and drinking some coffee I've spent a little time putting words to pictures. I didn't have much opportunity to journal while I was in Istanbul for one training and Albania for two training meetings.  My time in Istanbul was fairly short, and my down time in Albania was spent in pj's on the couch visiting with our partners there whose home I stayed in. Once I arrived in Sri Lanka where my co-worker and I spent a week and a half doing three 2-day trainings in three different cities, I found a couple of opportunities to capture a few moments.  

I landed at the airport where my friend was waiting.  We took a taxi to the ferry then walked through parts of the city to my hotel.  


Gypsies in Istanbul.




The rains fell most of the day here in Sri Lanka. It's familiar to me now. The smell, the breeze, the way chai tastes a little more wonderful when drinking it to rain. Like drinking coffee on the porch when its raining at home. I arrived in Sri Lanka after a couple of weeks of already being gone from home. A little tired, and out of routine. But, this morning the Lord is bringing back to my mind His presence and why I'm here...because I love him, and I love sharing His hope.

I probably haven't changed much since childhood in one main way: when I'm tired, I can get a little cranky or be a little more prone to tears. And being away from home like this can create a deep tired...even when I'm sleeping pretty well and my hosts are wonderful. So this morning tears and cranky were on high alert. Slowly, but surely, he has begun whispering His love to me though. Through the rain. Through the hugs of those who say "welcome sister" with sweet smiles and open arms. Some of them have traveled four hours in difficult public transportation to be here this morning, and will sleep on a concrete floor tonight to be here tomorrow. They melt my tired selfish heart, and as we began a time of worship to begin our first training day in Sri Lanka I hear the words "Oh Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder..." My favorite hymn.  It's the hymn I like to sing to Him when my soul is singing. It was appropriate to sing it today in Colombo.

Then the rains fell again. In buckets. While we were driving up very curvy mountain roads. We stopped again at the Pinnawella Elephant Orphanage. No elephants tried to kill me this time. Then on up the mountain, more rain. I wanted to e-mail and ask for prayer, but it was the middle of the night at home. We are 11 and a half hours ahead of Oklahoma. But, the Lord heard my prayers (I may have been the only one nervous), and we arrived in Kandy safe and sound. Kandy is an ancient city in Sri Lanka. It was the capital of the Kandyan Empire. It is a holiday today for Buddhists and this is an important place for them as one of Buddha's teeth was brought to this place after his cremation and they have built a very large temple for it making this a sacred place for them. We were not allowed to see the tooth. 

This guy thought we were all there to see him.

After an overnight stay with friends in Kandy we were driven to Nuwara Eliya. The word beautiful just doesn't work to describe this area where the tea plantations cover the mountains here in Sri Lanka. We visited a tea factory and sipped tea where King Charles sipped tea once last year. It is called Mackwoods. I have a very important friend, whose middle name is Mack, that I have collected a new Christmas ornament from here to add others I have begun collecting for her. I bet Prince Charles picked one up for his tree, too. We stayed at a Swedish Mission House built many many years ago. It's one of those places that my memories of it will make me grow in fondness for it. Creaky old wood and smell, a wonderful cook, and mosquitoes that stung (bit?) my face 4 times. It was very cold, but with 5 blankets I was able to stay warm through our nights there. The drive into the little town where our next training was held was scary at times, but our drivers were very compassionate toward our occasional quiet scream or gasp. The trainings there were wonderful. Our Hope Center is working hard to offer hope and help to their community. They invited me to share the Sunday morning message. To a crowd of about 300 I was able to share about having a transformed life through applying God's Word to our life. Putting on the new self and practicing. The words "not by might, not by power, but by His Spirit" went through my mind and heart constantly. God is faithful, He will do what He promises through us. Right before I stepped up to share the message another familiar (to me) song of worship began to play...Give Thanks. You may or may not have heard of this song, but I have. And of all the songs in the whole wide world they would sing in this little community high in the mountains of Sri Lanka tea country they picked that one...God was reminding me of his presence through this song. I laughed out loud when they began to play it. When I was a freshman at East Jr. High, Mrs. Green assigned this song to me to sing at our state competition. I would play the piano and sing this song over and over to practice. I maybe can carry a tune, but I am not a singer...I got a low score for my performance at the state comp...but the song is forever ingrained in my memory. I remember how nervous I was for that competition, because I knew I was not a technical singer. I was nervous Sunday morning, too.  Nervous to stand before these people and speak His name.  He gave me a little gift of getting out of my own head and reminding me how big he is. That song. 24 years later standing there listening to our Sri Lanka friends sing it. Either that was "what a coincidence," or that was "our God is a mighty God." I know what I have chosen to believe. So I stepped up and shared the message He sent me to share. He was my confidence. I love how He does that.

Give Thanks

After church we drove nearly 4 hours on probably the most uncomfortable drive of my life. :) I was hanging on to the van through the open window for most of the trip. I was fascinated by the sights and sounds and smells as we drove through a cloud in the mountains, I was tossed around like a rag doll with no seat belt in the back of a van, and we only saw one rescue operation happening for a truck that had gone over the side. No big deal. They told us that doesn't happen very often. OK. Don't look to the right or to the left...just keep my eyes on Him. We made it. I sit right now in a fairly large city in Sri Lanka. When we first walked in last night and we met the director again, whom I met last January at an earlier training and she began to immediately cry. She is so thankful for this ministry. Through her tears she told us stories of how God has begun changing lives through the ministry of this Hope Center, and she asked us to tell June Hunt how much she loves her and prays for her everyday. She is so thankful for how helpful this ministry has been as she is loving her community and giving Hope to those around her. Me, too. She was worth the drive. 

One more sleep, and we start the 7 hour drive, 4 hour wait in the airport, 4 hour fight, 1 hour layover, 16 hour flight, 3 hour layover, 2 hour flight then 20 minute drive home with one of my best friends who will be at the airport waiting for me. Thanks Tiff. You are always worth the drive, too.

You May Also Like