Sunday, May 15, 2005

Primala and the boys in front of our house. Posted by Hello

Sana's beautiful home Posted by Hello

Celeste and Sana Posted by Hello

Our bedroom in Sri Lanka Posted by Hello

Our "First Class in Coach" flight on Emirates Posted by Hello

(Saturday ) April 2, 2005

Well, technically I wrote half of yesterday's entry today. Because we hadn't slept, just flying and driving all night, it still felt like Friday. Yesterday we got to the airport KLIA and checked in. Then we went to McDonald's, oh no, I mean Burger King. They were playing all Britney SPears music. The guys got their food before me and sat down. While I was waiting for mine, two young guys, one with a towel on his head(and yes I do mean an actual bright orange towel) approached me. I think the other one proposed! It was a little awkward. Matt hacked into a computer, it was pretty impressive. Thank You God that he didn't try it in Singapore, we'd probably all be executed or something! By the time the plane started taxiing, all three of us were out. We woke up when the plane was landing, but thought it was just taking off! We got off at Singapore, headed straight for our gate (no gum chewing!) and crashed out. The guys leaned against two sides of a big column next to the glass walls of the gate, I lay against the one marble post of the wall. The moving walkway went right past us and as a family went by a heard a little boy say in his British accent "Look Daddy, there's people sleeping, that's what we can do!" Then I was out. Next thing I knew, a lady was shaking me saying 'Excuse me" and a male airport security guard was staring at me and smiling. Apparently I was laying right in front of the lock to the gate, a small hole on the bottom of the post. None of the security screeners could get in to set up, and she'd been trying to wake me for a good 3 minutes! I jumped up and said, "I'm so sorry", and the man laughed and said "You very sleepy." We made a quick bathroom stop before going through gate security. The toilets were squatty potties! And there was a little hose that you can use instead of toilet paper! There were some kids in there freaking out. The plane we caught out of Singapore was Emirates Airline. Wow, my new favorite. I've never been on anything like it. It was a Boeing 777, big comfy seats, footrests, individual TV screen w/a remote to choose from hundreds of movies, TV, and video games in many language options. Dinner was 4 courses, a choice of lamb or seafood linguine. I went w/ the pasta and it had delicious fish and fat juicy shrimp and vegetables. I hope we get a meal on the way back. I chose to watch Alien vs Predator just because I felt I really needed to stay up to enjoy the plane and thought that would do it. I wanted to relish feeling like royalty! We of course got handiwipes and hot towels, and the coke came in little Arabic cans! I wish I could always fly Emirates.
At Sri Lanka, immigration whisked us through, and the customs man looked at our badges and was very curious. He asked what area we were going to , when we said Galle his eyes got a little bigger. He asked if we had come to Sri Lanka before as tourists and when we said no, he looked amazed and said "Then why are you coming now?" I just told him "We know there's a need, and we want to do what we can to help." He got choked up and said thank you several times. We met up with Mary and Celeste. I think our driver's name in Primala, he was so skillful. THere are lots of pedestrian deaths because people just walk out in the road with out looking and expect cars to stop. At the same time, drivers just pull out wherever and expect everyone lese to stop. I'm glad none of us had to drive. The roads were also very bumpy, lots of potholes, but Primala did a great job. At one point, around 3:30 am, we pulled over on a bridge to have some soda and crackers. As soon as I got out, a gang of about 10 teenage boys ran over shouting the only important English word "Money, money, money, money!!!!" Fortunately, Celeste chased them off. He spoke to them in rapid Sinhala and they looked frustrated, but moved on down the road. He said they roam the streets at night looking for a drink or cigarette. Thank You so much that he met us at the airport, I'm sure it was such a sacrifice but it meant a lot to us. Even though it was late (or early) we saw lots of people in the streets. Lots of wild dogs too. Oh, and cows! People turn them loose very often for some sort of vow. Althoug it was quite dark and the windows were tinted, we could see some of the devastation to buildings. It was like a war zone. I'll write more about that later.
We arrived at Pastor Sana's house (Celeste had him lead me straight to the bathroom, I was dying!) around 6 am. His wife Deepani had apple bananas and bread with butter and jam, very good coffe too. She kind of stayed out of the room other than to fix food, I hope to talk to her later. We talked with Celeste and Sana about all kinds of things. Celeste is so funny, he loves to laugh. Then they asked if we were ready to rest. We wanted to work! But they were in charge, not us, so we said okay. They took us to the house. Wow, thank You God, it's so much nicer than I expected. We are so blessed Lord! Thank You for providing it. Also, if we keep the doors closed, we should hardly have any mosquitos. We explored and then settle in for a 4 hour nap. I had trouble falling asleep (too excited) but finally did around 8:30 am. I stuffed a t-shirt with clothes to make a pillow for my knees. At 9:15 the phone rang, Mary and I both jumped up not sure what it was. It was a strange ring, almost like a fire alarm. I answered and someone began rapidly speaking Sinhala. I was still half asleep and just said hello again. I then asked if they were trying to reach Celeste or Sana. They hung up. I went back to sleep and the phone rang again at 10:30, Mary answered and took a message for Celeste. I woke up again at 11:15 and decided to just stay up until our 12:30 meeting before we headed to Sana's. I guess I'll stop there for now, since that's where I started journaling today. So much happened this afternoon that I'll fall asleep if I try to write it all. Please help me remember it all in the morning. Help us all to sleep soudly and multiply our sleep so we wake up on time and feel refreshed and well rested. Prepare us for our long day tomorrow. I love You Lord, thank You so much for everything You're doing here. Good night!
Psalm 24
1 The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;
2 for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.
3 Who may ascend the hill of the LORD ? Who may stand in his holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swearby
what is false.
5 He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob. Selah

The Squatty Potty Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The boys with our driver Gopal Posted by Hello

see what I mean? It's so cool! Posted by Hello

No hotel in America could have a fountain with a tiger killing an antelope! Posted by Hello

I know there's coconut in there somewhere! Posted by Hello

my first time seeing wild monkeys! Posted by Hello

The mountain the Batu Caves are in Posted by Hello

Almost 300 steps! The construction on the right is a huge idol as tall as the mountain. Posted by Hello

I climbed the crazy steps Posted by Hello

tallest flagpole in the world! Posted by Hello

city view from the Buddhist temple Posted by Hello

the "Chinese not Buddhist" temple Posted by Hello

Why can't our courthouses look like this? Posted by Hello

(Friday night) April 1, 2005

God You are so amazing!!! First of all, we got a free breakfast, which You know was a huge help. Then, we had no problem exchanging our money. Our original plan was to take the KLIA Express train to Kuala Lumpur and to the Patronas towers. It seemed like a good idea, but Your plan was much better. I know You brought Gopal to us. He was very convincing. At first when we got in his cab, it seemed like we had made a mistake because he was trying to convince us to hire him for the day for 420 Malaysian Ringitt (over $100). But eventually we worked out a great deal that for 300 MR he would take us around to all the places we wanted to see. Thank You so much for that Lord. If we had gone with our original plan, we would have seen the towers but not be able to go to the top, and not much else. We probably would have realized we needed a taxi and spent more money! We saw and learned so much about the country God!
First, he took us to a Chinese temple. When we asked, he said it was "Chinese, not Buddhist." But we think it must have been Buddhist. It was a beautiful building, the designs were so intricate. But even though it was very clean and well kept, there was something dark and sad there, it didn't feel like we should have been there. Please remind me to pray fervently for the Malaysian people. Then, we went and saw the palace. The guard's horse tried to eat my and Dyron's arms! There was also a guy on a motorbike parked by our taxi. Gopal said he was an undercover cop, but he didn't look more than 16! Apparently he was really at least 25. After that, we went to a Chinese restaurant for lunch. I don't think white people have ever gone in there before, everyone's head turned when we walked in and it got quiet for a second. Totally like in a movie! We got an amazing meal for about $5 each. Next we went to the Patronas towers, they're so crazy tall! I hope we get to go to the top on our way back. Then was the Batu Caves. I think those were my favorites. The mountains were so incredible, I've never seen anything like them, my pictures will never do them justice. What a beautiful example of Your power and creativity. Then of course there were the monkeys. They were so cute, especially the babies. It was really fun to watch them and try to get pictures and videos. I pray for all the people who go there to worship their gods and idols, especially Gopal and his family. I think it's incredible that they go up almost 300 stairs to worship, could You imagine if a church in America made its members climb 300 steps? There would be a revolt! After the caves we went to the Sunway Lagoon. It was the nicest hotel I've ever seen, for only $100 a night!!! Amazing, I'd love to stay there someday.
There were so many different religions in Malaysia. Lots of Moslems going to Mosques to pray. Lord, they are so incredibly faithful in their religion. I just wish they could understand what it was like to serve a God who loves them like children, not one they're afraid of. It made me so sad to watch thousands of them walking down the streets to the Mosques. Thank You for the love You've given me for Muslim people, help me to reach them. Use me and teach me Lord.
There were lots of other interesting things to learn in Malaysia. When the men greet each other, they will often grasp right hands then let go and put that hand over their chest. I only saw Muslim men do it so I think it's an Islamic custom but I'm not sure. By the way, thank You so much for having me bring long sleeved shirts too. I knew I didn't need them and wondered why I packed them, but it was much more modest, and safer having long pants and long sleeves in such a heavily Muslim population. Oh, and the traffic! Insane! It's like a giant game of "Chicken" in cars! There may be only 3 lanes painted on the road, but there's 6 or 7 lanes of traffic and motorbikers with a deathwish weaving in and out of traffic. In fact we drove by an accident where at least 2 had been killed. Gopal also said a lot of road rage fights break out, with people getting out of their cars and pulling knives! He thought I must own a lambourghini because I make around $11 and hour. He make 100MR a day for 16 hours work, that's about $30 a day! Help me be better with my money and more grateful for what I have. Well, I should try to get a few hours sleep before we have to get to work. I'll write about the way to Sri Lanka when I wake up. Thanks Lord, I love You.

a roof on the Buddhist temple Posted by Hello

This is the Sultan's Palace, the horse tried to eat me! Posted by Hello

In front of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur Posted by Hello

(Friday) April 1, 2005 12:30am (Malaysian time)

Wow, I'm in Malaysia right now. I haven't really seen much of Kuala Lumpur yet, hopefully I'll see more this afternoon. Right now the only thing that seems really different from Hawaii is the heat and the humidity. It's gross and sticky out there. But You've prepared me, and I know You'll help me to handle the weather. No passing out! It was fun to fly to Korea and try the few words in Korean that I know. It was weird how Korean men working in the airport would come to talk and when I would say something they ignored me. I also didn't like how the male flight attendant grabbed my arm as we were getting on the plane. He had just seen the woman check what seat I was in and tell me where to go, but he grabbed my arm and made me show him my ticket too. It's weird how different value is placed on me in different places. Thanks for constantly reminding me how valuable I am in Your eyes. It can be hard being an American woman where our rights are so plenty. Help me to be aware of my behavior in these countries and not attract attention to myself or do anything that would be considered inappropriate. Please send Your angels around me to guard me and protect me. Let no harm fall on me or any member of my team. Give me Your wisdom and guidance so I can be most effective for Your glory. Thank You so much for all You have done to bring me on this trip. Thank You for getting us through Malaysian customs so quickly. The man who stamped my passport didn't even say a word. Then at customs they didn't even x-ray our bags! I'm sure Your hand was in that. I love You so much and can't wait to see what You have in store for me. Please help Dyron as he leads our team to have wisdom, courage and discernment. Help him to know exactly what You want us to do and follow You. I pray for Celeste, and the Pastor, and their families. I can't wait to meet them tomorrow. Please prepare them for our coming. Help us to not be a burden to them in any way, but to be an encouragement. Thank You Jesus.

(Wednesday) March 30, 2005

Wow Lord, I'm on a plane on my way to Sri Lanka right now. How incredible is that? You never cease to amaze me. Part of me feels like my whole life has been in preparation for this trip and where it will lead me. I don't know what to expect, and I have no idea what's going to happen, but I'm not afraid. I've really seen Your hand in all of this, and You've confirmed so many times that this was Your plan. I have a list of 38 things that worked out just to get me to this day! Things like the incredible people who chipped in for me to go to the Big Island disaster relief training. Or the fact that it seemed impossible for me to go with a broken foot and not even being able to work to support myself, let alone save $3000 for the trip. The people who took care of me and encouraged me. Putting it on the hearts of the church and friends and relatives to help provide the money. Probably the one that sticks out the most in my mind was when I took $50 from the bank to buy my malaria medicine thinking it wouldn't be more than that. Then the lady at Longs told me it was $148.95! I panicked but I dug through my pockets and bag and had exactly $150 on me! That was so You! Thanks God. Please prepare me for what we will be seeing and doing.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Are you ready?

God can do amazing things. Sometimes it's easy to chalk it up to coincidence, or luck. But when you lay the impossible before Him, and He gives abundantly more than you can even imagine, you can't deny where the credit is due. So I hope you're ready to hear some amazing stories, because my trip was full of them. As I begin putting my journal entries into this site, and relive the adventure, I hope you can gain a glimpse of what it was like for us over there. Thanks for reading and God Bless!
Love Always,
P.S. My journal entries were both a description of the events of the day, and a diary to God. I'll be typing them just as I wrote them while I was there. Anything additional will be in red italics and since I do not know the spelling of most of the words or names I learned, they will be in red bold.