This article has been long overdue! Ever since i returned from Sri Lanka, I've been up to my eyeballs in work! I guess those are the blessings that I'm enjoying as a result of sowing into 'good works'.
Exactly three years ago Dilrukshi (Sister Dilu) had expressed a desire to have an orphanage of her own in Sri Lanka. She belongs to our prayer group in Dubai and has been instrumental in taking Bro. Johnson to Colombo. It has been three years now since JCILM was established there and today, hundreds have offered their lives to Jesus!
Ever since God instilled the desire in Dilu's heart, land for the orphanage has been gifted to her free of cost. She is already looking after about 30 children from the slums, providing them free meals every day. She continues to work in Dubai but supports her friends who have dedicated their lives to this service in Sri Lanka.
Just a couple of months ago, i recommitted my services to designing the orphanage. At that time, Dilu told us by faith to get ready to go there around the 10th of Jan 2013. Of course i said yes not knowing what was in store for me regarding my job!Even though i lost my job, I offered this trip up to the Lord and before i left for Sri Lanka on the 14th, i had the license of our firm DIASQUARE JLT in my hand! By this time, my brother Antonio had also consented to come along with me to Sri Lanka.
Ever since we landed at Bandarinaike International Airport in Colombo to now, the blessings have never stopped pouring into our lives! Before we left Dubai, the Lord had given me the following message through Psalm 3: 5,6:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Just a few things worth mentioning:
- When we visited the various government authorities in Sri Lanka to get the project going, we saw the mighty hand of the Lord as we were accorded a rare welcome, with government servants actually rising from their seats and running around doing all the paperwork for us. They even helped fill our application forms! (Believe me ... if it was in Goa, what we achieved in 2 days would have taken us a month!)
- Antonio and i wanted to visit the survey department but for some strange reason, the 'Trishaw ( Rickshaw, in India :-) took us to Child Protection Authority! Nevertheless, trusting in God that it was not a mistake, we decided to go in and meet the Chairperson. We had no appointment with her but we sat in the waiting hall and prayed. I told the others to get ready to go in any moment and it actually happened! The Chairperson saw us and asked several questions regarding the orphanage. I was silently praying in the spirit. Dilu was heartbroken to hear that the government had stopped giving licenses to orphanages due to the abuses happening there! But God turned her despair into great joy the very next moment when the Chairperson suggested that the building be called a SAFE HOME for abused children. She even said that it would be the first of many such homes in the country and that she had absolutely no issues with the home being run on Christian principles! She even agreed to keep young pregnant girls until their delivery, in the same home and said that Dilu could raise those children as a foster parent! All assistance to get the plans approved would be granted by the ministry. They even volunteered to provide operational assistance for the home!
- Fr. Sanjeeva Vas, a professor in the seminary (Ampitiya) teaching 'Christology' said mass in Dilu's house. People from the ward were also invited and the service turned out to be an amazing one. The sermon was absolutely soul stirring and the young priest's passion to unite the people of his parish through weekly masses celebrated in people's houses was a great way of building the 'body of Christ'. It also happened to be the feast of Blessed Joseph Vaz (Missionary from Goa to Ceylon) who the Sri Lankans revere to this day!
- We visited Pastor Roshan's church and were touched to hear the story of a growing church. His prayers were also answered through our visit to Sri Lanka as he needed Architects to advise how he could extend the hall and other facilities.
-During a dinner invitation from Bro. Paul, who leads worship at Bro. Johnson's meetings, we came to know that he too was praying for Christian architects to help him in realising a long standing dream to own his own apartment block in an opulent zone in Colombo. We were introduced to several such buildings just to have an idea of the type of apartments which were on offer so that we could design accordingly. It appears that God has great plans for us in Sri Lanka!
- The tour of Pollonnarwa, Dambulla, Kandy, Srigiriya, Kelany Temple, Colombo and Negombo broadened our thinking as we were transported 2000 years back into history into the very lives of the early Kings and Monks who lived there. We couldn't stop marvelling at their art, engineering and Architectural genius!
- We were also blessed to hear Bro. Trewin's testimony of how the Lord had delivered him from Cancer! It is a long story and i will leave it for another time!
Friends, if you ever wanted to go someplace real nice for a vacation, consider Sri Lanka. And please do not book a hotel in one place but rather do a 'point-to-point' stay along the entire site seeing circuit of Anuradhapura (Ancient City and first capital), Pollonarua (2nd Capital), Dambulla and Kandy etc. It is an affordable place (1 Indian Rupee = 2.3 Sri Lankan Rupees). The people are friendly and the food is excellent!