19-27 Nov 2016: SRI 02
Our team of 7 members, began our mission adventure to Sri Lanka on 19th Nov 2016. For this trip, we were heading back to visit Shalom Home, in Maskeilya, where 5 of our fellow members had the opportunity to visit the year before. Hearing stories and anecdotes from these 5 members who had been to the girls’ home stirred up a sense of excitement and expectation in our spirits.
After a 4-hour journey from Colombo, we reached Shalom Home, nestled among the tea plantations. We were greeted by the girls who were eagerly anticipating our arrival – they presented us with fresh flowers, warm hugs and their brightest smiles. Later, they treated us to a performance of Sunday School Songs with actions that they had learned a year ago. It was a heartwarming feeling to know that they remembered what was previously taught! It reminded us of the verse in Matthew 21:16 – “Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise”. The praises that came out of these children’s mouths was indeed of joy and praise to our heavenly Father!
During this time, we also had the opportunity to witness the love of Christ to a woman who was seeking refuge and shelter for her 3 sons due to family circumstances. Our team leader, Christopher, and Adrena ministered to her about the love of Christ and led her to Christ through the sinner’s prayer. As we had brought bags and clothing from Singapore to bless the girls, we offered some of these for her and her children. She was overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude, and mentioned later that she had never felt such love before. It reminded us of the command in the bible to take care of the fatherless, orphans and widows as in Psalm 83:3 – to defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Before she left the home, we reminded her to always fix her eyes on Christ and that God was her Jehovah Jireh, who will always protect and provide for all of her family’s needs. With the help of the supervisor of Shalom Home, we arranged 2 weeks’ provisions for her family from a nearby grocery store.
Projects at the home included painting a room that had been converted into a study room, teaching the older girls how to use the computer, and to sew with the new sewing machine from our project fund. We were also tasked with the opportunity to teach the older girls life skills such as budgeting. After the lesson, we brought them on a trip to the grocery store where we divided them into groups and accompanied them to purchase items from a shopping list. Through this experience, we hope to have helped instill the value of money to the girls which will be beneficial to them in future. The shopkeeper even treated us to free drinks when they found out that the girls were from the home!
We ministered to the kids through activities such as bible stories, games and craft. It was a joy to see the girls’ faces light up with delight as we engaged with them. One takeaway that we had learnt as a team was the beauty of simplicity – it didn’t take much for the girls to express their joy. On a particular night during the trip, we pumped balloons to entertain the little ones, and soon they were laughing and running around with one another in excitement and popping all the balloons! It was very reassuring and a joy for us to hear from the matron of the home, that after every bible lesson, the girls would share with her what they had learnt. What a great comfort this was as Proverbs 4:21 reminds us not to let the commandments of God escape from our sight and to keep them within our hearts.
Throughout the trip, we were blessed by the girls at Shalom Home, and we could see how they were ever passionate for Jesus. From our conversations with them, we found out that some of these girls wanted to be pastors in their future vocation. During one of the sharing sessions, we gave them the task of praying for one another and it was evident that they were prayer warriors as we witnessed them interceding for each other through the prayer list that they had made. Their zeal for Christ stirred within our hearts.
Being part of missions is indeed a joy and privilege as we are the salt and light of the earth and the world for Christ. This trip has indeed reminded us to continue to show the immeasurable love of Christ to his beloved children, and in return, we were blessed by the simple faith and actions of the girls from the home. We are indeed blessed to be a blessing to these girls and to others!
Vera Tan, Kandy, Sri Lanka