Rachel’s testimony of her experiences at the orphanages in Sri Lanka during her Couriers trip in Sep 2012..
We give glory to God and thank Him for all His grace, favour, protection and faithfulness that has seen us through despite the many challenges we faced.
Our team of 4 headed by Renee set off for Sri Lanka on the 2nd of September. Though apprehensive, we were nothing less than excited to see God do His work in Sri Lanka.
After we touched down at Sri Lanka, we met up with Risley, the representative from Kidznet. The first two days we spent in Colombo was essential in building up our team dynamics. Prior to the trip, there were many unforeseen changes to our team that we only managed to meet up as a finalised team three days before the trip itself. Yet in that mere two days, we managed to catch up on all the lost time. There was such an accelerated work of bonding amongst us, and also an allowance to tied down any ideas we had. Furthermore, we also bought the necessary items we wanted to give to the kids as well as liaise with the people from Kidznet.
Upon arriving at the orphanage, we were greeted warmly by Father Isaiah (pastor), Sister Daphne (wife), Joshua (son), Sudha and the kids who prepared this short welcome note for us. With the assistance of the pastor and his family, we settled down in no time. The kids were most receptive and quick to open up to us. One of our very first activities was teaching them English action-praise songs. Being young and full of zeal, they were keen on learning, and picked up the songs almost immediately. Not only were they great to teach, they were unbelievably enjoyable to be around. They always had beautiful smiles plastered to their faces, and were always grabbing on to us and following us wherever we went.
Our team stayed in a guest house that was a five-minute walk away for the orphanage. One of key disciplines of the orphanage was that the kids were required to get up at 530am every morning to pray. Our team decided that we would want to join them for their morning prayer every day. However, on one of the nights as we were going to bed, we heard the shattering of glass. We dismissed the initial noise as a careless act of one of the employees but more shattering noise ensued. The following morning as we prepared to leave the guest house to walk to the orphanage, we realised the doors of the guest house were shattered. In that instant, fear gripped our hearts and we felt really apprehensive, but yet we unanimously agreed to lay down our fears and go ahead to join the kids for their prayers. As we stepped out of the guest house in faith, there was such a presence of God that enveloped us. Once again, we stand to testify of His favour and grace upon our team.
Over the span of the next few days, we engaged them in several activities which was centered around our core message of instilling hope and dreams in them. One of which included paper stars we bought for the kids prior to the trip that we subsequently painted with glow-in-the-dark paint. The stars were then given out to the kids and they were told to write their dreams on the stars.
We collected the stars back with the intention of secretly pasting the stars on the walls of their rooms as a surprise for them then. When the plan was executed, what struck us most wasn’t how beautiful the stars were nor how smoothly the plan was carried out – it was the touched expressions on the kids’ faces. There was such a genuine gratitude that flowed from them that so unexpectedly moved us. There was such a simplicity of heart in these kids and they were most appreciative and happy.
In the following days, we got the kids to decorate and design their own pillow cases – we meant to give each kid a pillow and prayed that every night as they laid their heads on these pillows, they would receive dreams from God and be reminded of the dreams that God has given them. Also, we felt led to bless the caretakers of the orphanage and so we decorated and gave them each a pillow too. The kids were pleasantly surprised and thankful for the gift. In fact, they were so afraid to dirty the pillows that they took the plastic wrappers, wrapped the pillows and hid the pillows in their cupboards (so cute T.T). Hence we had to convince them that the pillow cases could be washed and that the pillows were meant to be used. But seeing the way the kids treasured the pillows really touched our hearts and left us feeling so blessed by their simplicity once again.
Taking the chance during devotion, our team reinforced the message of hope through a short sharing. We were most privileged to have Joshua, the son of the pastor, as our translator. In the subsequent nights, our team took turns to share the messages on our hearts. The kids were really opened to whatever we had to say and we thank God for such fertile and good hearts.
God’s hand was really upon the children and there was such a desire in His heart to pour out His Spirit upon Sri Lanka. We were really blessed and impacted by the children and the work of the leaders of the orphanage. Their faith, hospitality and discipline was most inspiring. As we departed from the orphanage, the one prayer on our hearts was that there would be such a continuation of God’s work in that land. Though we are no longer physically with them, we stand with them in prayer today and believe that Sri Lanka is His inheritance.