Tag Archives: sri lanka


Kurunegala Sri Lanka

One year ago I took a trip to Sri Lanka with World Vision on a mission to find sponsorship for children in desperate poverty. But while I expected to learn about the challenges and triumphs of programs in a foreign country, what I didn’t expect were the things that I learned about myself in the process. I went there as a stranger to a strange land but I returned as no less of a stranger to the place that I now call “home.”

You see, I grew up in a place not that unlike Sri Lanka, a beautiful tropical place full of people who live simple lives with few possessions. These are people who work hard and laugh hard and love big. In Sri Lanka I was again reminded of the lessons I had somehow forgotten of the value of community and the pure joys of sharing meals and stories with others. Being there awakened an old homesickness for an island paradise that I haven’t seen in over a decade and uncovered an unhealed grief for the loss of the friends and neighbors that were my world.

But when I returned and began to process all these things, I realized something else: this sense of loss is also shared by so many people that I know. This disquiet and grief also follow the souls of many people who have left the tribe of their church, their school, or their family in search of spiritual freedom. We who have left our homes and kinfolk sometimes have to grieve them. So many friends are now are wandering from place to place like spiritual and cultural nomads, trying to find a place that they can call home and a family that will put its arms around them and tell them that they are safe and loved — if such a thing can even dare to be imagined. So few seem to be finding it.

I don’t know if I’ll ever make it back to my island and movement of time can be so unkind to those of us who treasure our past. As places and people have changed “home” has now perhaps become just another word for an empty place in my heart. But through that pain I seem to also hear a voice calling gently, reminding me of a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Perhaps there will be home at last some other day.

Sri Lanka: Closing The Gap

It’s hard to believe that it has been almost a month since I arrived home from Sri Lanka. In some ways it seems like just yesterday I was rolling out of bed and eating curry for breakfast. In other ways, being on that beautiful island nation seems like a distant dream. Our lives go on but the needs continue.

The good news is that in the project area that we visited, many kids have been sponsored over the last month thanks to both our writing and the combined efforts of other promotional programs. At SFL I’ve been given an opportunity to show you a few specific Sri Lankan kids who are not being featured on any other blog. These children all live in the recently started project area that I wrote about.

If you’ve been thinking about sponsoring a child but just aren’t sure exactly who to sponsor or when to start here is yet another golden opportunity to consider it. Just click on any of the pictures to learn more.

Rujithson – Age 9

Jeneeza – Age 4

Mohommad – Age 9

Ahda – Age 3

Sri Lanka: Acknowledgments

The last ten days have been inspiring and life-altering for me but none of the things I have written about would have happened without the love and help of so many people that I felt it appropriate to list a few of them here.

First of all I’d like to thank Matthew Paul Turner for considering me to go on this trip at all. We had never met in person and I know he took a risk asking me to come sight-unseen.  He may still well live to regret this decision when he finds the snake I cleverly hid in his luggage. (Just checking to see if you’re reading this, Matthew)

I also have to thank World Vision for investing in this trip by paying our traveling, lodging, and meal expenses. I only hope that the return on their investment in a lifetime of kids sponsored is an astounding success.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also thank Lindsey Minerva and Carla Gawthrop from World Vision for their leadership on this trip. Together they presented the perfect mix of cool confidence and amusing weirdness that was just what we needed to get us through the rough patches. Lindsey and Carla, I’d travel with either of you again pretty much anywhere.

From the World Vision team in Sri Lanka I have to thank our interpreter and communications specialist Hasanthi. I’ve never met a person who has been more patient and kind to a bunch of silly Americans than she is. She is a rare and beautiful shining light in Sri Lanka. Along with her I also have to mention our drivers Nixon and Manjula who (for all Matthew’s screaming) got us where we needed to be safely every time through some pretty harrowing traffic situations. They even provided an oldies soundtrack for some of it.

While mentioning the support team in country, I’d also like to thank the staffs of the Carolina Beach Hotel and Amagi Lagoon Resort for their amazing customer service and and attention to our needs during the few precious hours we had each day to write about our experiences. They made our live as easy as was physically possible. If I ever start a hotel chain I’m staffing it completely with Sri Lankans.

Many thanks to Joy, Allison, Roxy, Tony, Shawn, and Laura, my fellow bloggers on this trip who put up with my wise cracks and constant reminiscing about my childhood without (as would be understandable) leaving me stranded on the side of the road. They have the patience of Job and great shall be their reward in heaven. (Except for Tony because he doesn’t go in for that sort of thing.)

And last I need to acknowledge so many of you.  Our own RobM lent me the laptop that I’ve been using all week. Others of you sent gifts of money to help with my passport, immunizations, travel supplies, and other expenses. And most of all so many of you have offered words of encouragement, prayers for safety, and advice on dealing with charging cows. (Actually you didn’t do that last one but it would have come in handy if you had.)  You all share in the success of every child that is sponsored as a result of this trip.

I offer you all my weary, jet lagged thanks. It has been an amazing week.

Oh, and I’m taking tomorrow off.

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