My Village Guest House is a funky little place tucked away on the outskirts of Tissa overlooking the Bird Park. Its owner has designed something unique and very restful, and we had a nice breakfast on the patio outside our room and then I went out looking for a tuk. On the way I met a young Singhalese boy with who ran out from his yard and greeted me shyly hugging an English primer to his small chest. I asked him if he could read for me and traced the words with my fingers. It didn’t take me long to see that he was having trouble with his past tense endings. As any ESL teacher will tell you ‘ed’ only says ‘ed’ when it follows ‘d’ and ‘t’. For most other consonants it says ‘d’, except for ‘k’ and ‘p’ when it says ‘t’. A lot of English teachers over here don’t know that (and a host of other small hiccups) and improperly educate their students, who then end up in our program struggling with their English by the time they get to our program.

This young lad was a quick study and so had it right without much repeating. Of course his teacher will beat it out of him on Monday, but he will still remember the right way and use it someday. He gave me a wide happy grin for my efforts and I felt well paid. Those who do not teach and think that this profession has something to do with lording it over others must have met some nasty teachers on their way. Or maybe they were nasty students and never understood that others were trying to help them. There are some people who simply cannot humble themselves long enough to take something from someone else. It is much easier to paint all teachers black than admit their stubborn sense of god-given superiority has hindered their ability to learn. But for those of us who have been blessed with this gift, the learner’s gasp of delight in recognition of something they had struggled with and now understood, and their gift of a smile of appreciation is worth all the gold the rich man in his greed and ignorance strives to accumulate.

My next contact was with a tuk-tuk owner, or more specifically his wife. His tuk was parked outside his house, which also served as the local grocery store. I asked if the owner of the tuk could give us a ride to the bus depot and she said she would call him. Her daughter immediately protested – in voluble Singhalese! I don’t speak the language, but I did read the tone. She was dressed very nicely, obviously on her way out, and her father, who then showed up, had obviously promised her a ride. “Yes, yes, I will take you to the bus depot,” he said. “No, no, you will not,” I replied, “your daughter is waiting for you to take her to school, and that is more important.”

“It is not school she is going to, but church.” And then in case I didn’t understand he added Hallelujah! Correcting myself – it is hard to keep track of the days of the week when you are travelling – I replied, “Well that is even more reason for you to give her a ride, and I will not get in your tuk.” I shook his hand and waved a greeting at the woman and her daughter who were both giving me big smiles. A short walk down the road brought me to the dam where many tuks were being given their morning bath. I flagged one, caught a ride back to the guest house and loaded up the luggage. Then we were on our way to the bus depot.

The station was relatively clean and orderly, and there was a bus to Tangalla just loading. We got on, found an empty seat and settled in. The fare cost $1.50 for both of us and took just under three hours. The roads were pretty good for the most part, but there is a lot of road reconstruction going on in the country right now, so patches of it can be pretty rugged. We never felt hassled and we didn’t feel unsafe. The hardest thing we had to endure was three hours without a rest stop. At our age that is trial enough! We caught a tuk in Tangalla to the resort and got ourselves checked in and were on the beach by 1 pm.

Paradise Palms Cabanas is a nice little resort, with 15 to 20 little cabanas scattered over the property. Only one has an unimpeded view of the beach, but none are more than 100 paces away. As I am blogging this I can hear the sounds of the waves and the music of Bob Marley drifting in from the beach. We read and rode the waves all afternoon, ate some fresh lobster out of the sea – Pam’s first – and spent some part of the evening checking our email and uploading previous blogs.
Three of those emails are of special concern. Thomas Froese, a long time friend and missionary/journalist in Uganda has been ill with malaria. Although he is one the mend now, he would appreciate the prayers of those who know him. Joannie Wiley, wife of Terry, serving the Lord in Pakistan is also ill with malaria, but hers is cerebral and she has been delirious for many days now. With the ongoing relief work from the devastating floods that Terry has been spearheading in his area and the refusal to grant visa to much needed coworkers, Terry is feeling more than a little overwhelmed. He certainly could use your prayers at the moment, and Joannie too that there will not be any ongoing damage. Dave Wright is also facing some difficulty with the young church he has founded among the Mengen people in Papua New Guinea. There has been both illness and death among the believers who in their naïve faith thought that Christ would heal them of all those diseases. Dave is struggling to get Romans translated and ready for teaching, as his little flock are being attacked and need spiritual meat for their souls.

Pam and I are “wondering where the lions are.” We go on our merry little way, enjoying God’s rich blessing and others who like us are serving in foreign places seem to get nothing but challenge while we sit on the beach. Perhaps our challenge is ahead for us this year. If so, may the Lord find us ready to bear any burden, and do whatever it takes to see His love, truth and healing power bring comfort to those who have suffered for so long under war, poverty and disease in this part of the world. So then maybe you should pray for us as well, that we would be ready for the challenge when it comes. A holiday is nice, and even the Lord called His disciples aside to rest. But there is much work left to be done, and we want to stand with our friends who are putting much on the line to do their share of good while it is still day.