Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sri Lanka Branch Builders

Last week was Thanksgiving. Sister Berrett sent a letter to our siblings and children. I am posting it here as it may have wider interest.

27 Nov 2014
Dear Family,

We will be thinking of each of you this Thanksgiving and will feel grateful for each of you.  Hope you have a wonderful day.

We let ourselves get so crazy busy and so today my goal is to send an update to let you know that we are still alive.

It has been a busy time.  We spent last week in Sri Lanka welcoming young branch builders again after 6 years.  We view them as "branch builders" as their assignment is to work with people already members of our Church, but perhaps not attending, with relatives of our members and with good friends of our members. Four Elders (native Sri Lankan) were brought back to work in their home country after each had served a year or more in the Philippines.   

Our flight arrived in Sri Lanka around 10:30 pm on 18 Nov 2014, and then we waited at the airport until 1:30 am when we were joined by the District Pres and his wife.  A short time later the Elders arrived.  Dad looks pretty good for that early in the morning. 
Branch builders return to Sri Lanka for first time in 6 years
Sri Lanka has 3 branches, 2 of which are good sized.  The Elders were so excited to be back to work in their native country.  Dad/Dave says that to whitewash an area (opening an area that has not had missionaries, so no current contacts or familiarity with the area or members) is a challenge. These elders have to whitewash a country!  They are very hard working and dedicated and we feel they will do a great job. 
l-r Elders Wijendran, Rajan, Nugara, and Perera
 The weekend was district conference and our area president, Elder Gong, and his wife came to Sri Lanka to attend.  After the Saturday meetings were over, we went with a small group to a park in Colombo, where in Sept of 1978, Elder Faust dedicated the country of Sri Lanka for missionary work.  It was a very meaningful and sacred feeling as the former District President explained the details of the event.  He was a young man of 25 years at that time, and serving as the district clerk.  
l-r: Pres. Anton (district president), Sister Ann (his wife), Sister Gong, Elder Gong, Bro. Sunil (former district president), Sister Lilani (his wife), Sister Berrett, Pres. Berrett
 Sri Lanka is a beautiful country and it is always nice to spend time there.  We also have a senior couple serving there.  Sister Woodruff was telling us about the district girls camp she organized.  Even though she has lived the last 25-30 years on a ranch in Alberta, Canada, she could not face the tropical wilds of Sri Lanka, so they held camp in the church.  They sang songs, cooked in the kitchen and held classes on first aid, etc,.  Apparently, it was a big success and not one girl got a snake bite.

We will imagine you all having turkey, potatoes, rolls and pumpkin pie and look forward to spending it with our family in a couple of years.

We love you all and hope the coming of this Christmas season brings happiness to each of you.

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