Sri Lanka #8 (The End)

Actual Last Lankan Post- Summer 2005
It's over. Perhaps, I could say that the impact of this rite of passage will last past August, but that's not fitting. It's over, and I'm glad. Glad that comforts will be available, and glad that I have been engaged. I thank God for this summer- He never told, asked, or commisioned me to Sri lanka, however, I give Him credit for all the times "unhindered joy!" was an acceptable exclamation.
I see two possibilites upon my U.S.A arrival (I leave July 25th).
1. Satan will attack his darndest, heh, and I will fall.
2. Satan will attack his darndest, and I will fall...and suck some carpet (prayer with the Christian God).
Please pray. This summer is a catylyst for something important in my life. Pray that the energy is focused in the right direction, for much of the Sri Lankan bi-polar tendancies have been refined in me. Believe me, I am not afraid of losing my salvation, but I've always fallen the hardest after God moved deep in my life.
If you have any last words, or prayers, please comment. When you serial killers of the LORD fight on my behalf through prayer/encouragement on xanga, I know that something is absolutely rocked in the Spiritual, and above all, I feel popular. Don't take that away from me.
Either way, thanks for such high grade friendships. In Sri Lanka, the foreigners I've conversed with have been quite impressive- NGO, Volunteer, Ministry, Stinkin' rich, and impacting people. Yes, God has brought incredible, giving people to Sri Lanka.
I still believe that my friendships are with the highest calibur people around. You people are freaking sweet. Maybe it's because Captivating is one of the only books I took to Lanka, but I'm starting to feel deeply. One of the first areas impacted, is my appreciation for you all. Would you please give God some glory and realize how rare you are? All people are special- not to me. On July 17th, Newsweek actually declared that "Pradeepan has been blessed with the greatest of aquaintances." If you are reading this, don't get distracted by lies, and take it to heart that I desire to be with you, that I love you. Many of you have taught me about true love and revealed aspects of the Father I profaned. I think a "thank you" is appropriate right about now: Thank you. Now you may give yourselves a "God Bless You."

Sri Lanka #7 (The end is coming)

Potential Last Three Part Sri Lanka Post
“Exceedingly abundant” is a direct quote from a dear friend I received in an email. She might have stolen it from Ephesians 3:20m, but that can’t be proven. Right now, I am spending alone time with my ThaTha (grandpa). He’s asleep. Quality, quantity, it’s all the same to me. Okay, back to “exceedingly abundant.” For awhile, the tensions between my mother and I has been quite stressful, sinful even. I know what you’re thinking, however, Pradeepan wasn’t completely right in his attitude or interaction with his mother. I’m a man of God, yet I’ve given the devil a foothold in this area. My good friend Raja counseled me concerning this area the other day. “Raja, how do you honor someone you’ve lost respect for?” I asked him.
Raja’s father disowned him when he was 9- because he converted to Christianity. During the heat of the civil war, he was turned into the police. His father told the police that Raja was part of the LTTE (The rebel force in Sri Lanka). Mind you, this happened during the time –when my family left Sri Lanka- that supposed members of the LTTE often “disappeared.” He knew that the police would kill his son. The police didn’t believe him, thankfully, because of the boy’s youth. Praise God for ageism, or grace. Whatever. It doesn’t end there, Raja’s father didn’t speak to him for seven years. Raja still found ways and chose to live him anyways. Letters, service, anything. Though Raja was sent to live across the country, in horrible poverty, he still chose to love. Raja was a great person to be counseled b y. Even after all that testimony goodness, I kept telling myself that “I was border line hating my mother.” I prayed in the Spirit, proclaimed scriptures but the intense tension in my head remained. When I am frustrated, I am literally forced to chew on a mouthful of razorblades. Maybe that’s not true. Time and time I’ve tried to be the best Christian I can, but time and time again I’ve failed. Humility doesn’t often come naturally for me. Man, I hate apologizing to my mother. On this trip I’ve done it several times. Each time I lose a little more credibility and because of that, it gets harder every time.
Finally, I brought my thoughts to the father. You know, the whole bring it to the throne instead of the phone type of thing. “Father, I am border line hating my mother. If this keeps up, I think I’ll hate her.” The LORD told me that was a lie. “You do hate her.” Is what the LORD communicated after that.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance.
Thanks DC Talk for telling me that love is a verb. Truly, I am thankful. For some reason, I had never realized that hate was also a verb. Literally, I practiced the opposite of everything that love verse concerned. However, it happened only when with my mother. I profaned the love between a mother and a son- I didn’t value it, I made it common. I chose to hate. Now, I choose life. Praise God.
Sorry, sanguine personality, so back to the whole “exceedingly abundant” thing. Raja counseled me in a van on our way to some NGO medical conference. The conference is still going on in Vivuniya, Sri Lanka. Another heavily war torn area. On the way there, I repented and got in touch with my mother. Harder than ever to do, I apologized to her. So, we get to the conference and I am introduced to the head leader. The history of the conference is explained to me. In 2003, the foursquare church brought 60 born again doctors from America to provide free medicine and on one treatment. In 8 days, 22,000 people showed up. Lines stretched miles down the streets. Pastors “secretly” prayed fro the people in line and over 500 people fell out in the Spirit. The Hindus blamed it on the hot sun they’ve grown up with. Praise God. The way this ministry worked was crafty. The people wait in an auditorium before getting the medicine. The Gospel happens to be preached in that area. Messages. Music. Drama. Goodness. 22,000 people went in 2003! The crowds were so big that the ministers lost control, and the police stepped in. Praise God!

This year, the same team, the same ministry came to Vivuniya. So did I.
The leader and I continued to talk until one of my friends mentioned that I play guitar. Soon, he asked me to play bass with the Sri Lankan music group. Holy Jesus!
But, this is where the exceedingly abundant thing comes in…

He asks me to sing and play guitar by myself. Lead worship.
I went from repenting to this. Only God. More than I could imagine.
I love you guys. This will be my last post while in Sri Lanka. I look forward to tackling you all with kisses or awkward small talk about our summers.

Love, Pradeepan
Pictures.

Sri Lanka #6 (Mindset of a Man)

The Mindset of a Man
July 10, the first day of my non teenage years since the humble age of
twelve.
July 9, my birthday was amazing. Somehow the day summarized much of my teenage life. I was going to post a Xanga entry on one of the adventures (I got taken to an all girl school to hang out), but I have a more important message, and I don’t want you all to think I’m a freakin horn dog. Three posts in a row about girly adventures. Not in my house.
Here are some birthday pictures.
Today was the first day I asserted the mindset of a man into my head. At 5am Mohan Uncle’s arrangements to take a long walk on the beach commenced. A great start to this new era in my life. The warm wind, one of my favorite things, blew across our faces while uncle exotically exercised. Once you watch a Sri Lankan move like that, there’s no going back to boyhood. Dr. Hoover of ORU’s Aerobics center told me those movements are not affective. I have to disagree. While they might not be efficient, something took place. I fear the day I find out what. In any case, this start was a nice, strangely romantic, start to the year. We didn’t hold hands or anything, but once the sun rises over a Sri Lankan beach, it’s over.
6 am was the time we got back, and I headed back to bed. 8:30 am was the time I started preparing for church, even though I didn’t know where it was. Just as I started walking out the door, as mom’s always do, mummy asked me to wait. She insisted on accompanying me to the church, since I didn’t know how to get there. A little annoyed, I waited for her to take a “quick shower.” In Lanka, taxis are not the method of travel, the three wheeler “auto” is. Eventually, my mother and I summoned an auto to take us to church. We could not find it.
Many of you know that I am not the best with details. I am the kid who forgot about college after all.
That annoyed my mom, though she would have agreed that it was nice to see every single Pentecostal church in the region. My memory told me the service started at 9:30. At 9:45 we arrived. The service started at 8:30. Thankfully, the church was so packed that I sat outside, and hardly anybody knew I was there. I found myself without a translator, but when that happens, God usually starts a conversation with me.
Then something happened. “Are those fireworks” I asked my friend with the same birthday. Something didn’t feel right, though they sounded just like Blackcats. He said no. The church service started, and everyone who was outside with me, started running in the church. They realized that those seemingly fireworks were actually machine guns.
I simply stood outside. A bit startled, I just stood. The women and children were crying fairly loud. The men were surprisingly strong, including me. This rude awakening to manhood caught me off guard, but I wasn’t afraid. The gunshots went on for about 15 minutes. By that time, a friend led me into the kitchen. The kitchen is located right behind the pulpit, so I was directly behind the pastor. All these scared people looked to the pastor for strength, and indirectly made eye contact with me. That’s when I felt my first grenade vibrations. It was pretty intense for even a Sri Lankan church service. The Pastor summoned the body to pray, and that’s what they did. Since I was situated in the direction of their prayers, I got to see people crying out of true desperation.
In those moments, I saw 23 years of war memories, lost children and parents, broken spirits, pain, hopelessness all in the eyes of those praying. Then what I saw was accompanied with the yells of resurfaced Tsunami nightmares. These people go through so much. Those eyes. They’ve gone through so much, and though I couldn’t relate, I was a part of it.
I tried to be strong for one girl. She was maybe 10 years, and after trying to convey strength through our exchanges of eye contact, she gave me a smile. Right after everything had happened. Man, this was crazy.
The shots were connected to the LTTE, a rebel force in Sri Lanka. Four people died within 15 meters of where I was. One person escaped from the authorities, and the army, navy, and police were searching through the towns. My friend with the same birthday insisted that I see my mother, so she wouldn’t fear (she dropped me off at the church). So, while one of the killers was being pursued, I was on a motorcycle driving through the same streets.
Readers, please know that you’re blessed. When you’re complaining about food, heat or an argument, try to keep perspective.
This was my first day in manhood, and I have a feeling that this won’t be the last time I’ll go through such intensity. Pray for this nation will you? God bless you all.
Here are some pictures of people leaving to their homes.

Sri Lanka #5 (Brothel Adventure)

Pradeepan’s Big City Bordello Adventure!

Preface:

In the last 36 hours, 24 have been spent on a train. For 12 of those 24, 2 options were given: stand or sit on the cockroach infested floor. Xanga friends, if a Sri Lankan heard me saying this, he would say, “poy!” (Poy:lie). Those last statements were only true a couple days ago.

The trains here are crazier than the buses. When I saw my first road here, the traffic’s pure chaos caught my attention, and I thought “Americans could never drive here.” However, God has taken me to the deeper revelation. American’s could not even walk here. Yes, I have a hard time walking in Sri Lanka. For some reason I feel guilty pushing old ladies off trains in order to walk like everyone else. That probably clears up my reason for standing in the train all those hours. I refused to push my way to the front.

Sri Lankans are of the bi-polar sect, especially when it comes to being aggressive. I will use my train experience to begin this thought. Before the train arrives, everyone waiting is considered family. Sharing food, conversations, and laughs all add to the feeling of family. Heck, I even spent some time with a stranger’s baby. Trust. Then the train comes. And, like Eliza, when I use quality as an adjective to describe someone, the family snaps. The people gird their loins like men and run the race to win. As people literally jump on the moving train, others literally try to push them off. Mothers betray their sons, and daughters forsake their grandparents. My train companions actually scolded me for not pushing my way through.

Becoming all things to all people nothing. This is one thing I refuse to mimic. I guess I’m learning something from Scott’s revelation on keeping the core, but changing.

Old ladies do not deserve to die on train tracks. Case closed.

I only said I would use my train experience to begin my thought on the bi-polar actions of Sri Lankans.

This thought applies to greater things than transportation, or walking to that transportation.

Girls. Yes, they’re still on my mind.

Sri Lankan girls have demonstrated intriguing extremes for me. When around Lankan boys, or perceived born and raised Lankan boys, they tend to be an almost timid type of shy, as oppose to the prideful type of shy. The girls act that way with me also. Then they hear me speak. Then, like not-Maus when hearing the first clap of thunder, they snap. They realize I’m different, and gird their loins…uh…they get aggressive. Somehow, I become free game. Perhaps a little green card happy, but that doesn’t matter to me. The motivation of a girl giving me attention has hardly ever mattered. Oh what a fun life I live. I’m not going to “poy,” it feels good to be called a beautiful man. Ask a friend to call you one sometime, seriously.

Needless to say, not a lot of ministry has been going on. Don’t forget, that was never the intention for this trip. The intention has been to develop relationships with my family. It feels so good to be with family, like my dad’s mother. Mind you, I had never even seen a picture of her.

Believe it or not, all this has been an intro to a story Zimm and Keesh suggested I share. Maybe it wasn’t an intro. Preface. I like that word. One day, perhaps I can be known for writing amazing prefaces. Moving on…

Pradeepan’s Big City Bordello Adventure!

The boy’s name was Gavtiago. The sun was rising as the boy arrived with his herd to an abandoned bathroom in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Oh, Coelho. My mother allowed me to travel to Colombo, the nation’s capital, by train with two young men, Gav and Nesh. Little did Gav, Nesh or I know what horrors we would encounter. Well, maybe Gav, since he’s a hilarious dirty man of a Sri Lankan. Initially, Gav was a shy and polite young man, but outside the presence of mothers, and with us boys, he was a hilarious dirty man of a Sri Lankan. Again, the two extremes were at work.

“You want massage?” while demonstrating on my shoulder, was one of the first ideas communicated to me when finally arriving in Colombo. My first month in Sri Lanka, I experienced the typical tourists ideas of fun. That included a massage.

“Virrapum Illay” I responded. In Tamil that means I don’t like. But, I sometimes use it to say I don’t want (I don’t want: Vernom). A little later, Gav and Nesh took me on a tour through the city. Nesh held my hand (Sri Lankan boys hold hands, fingers interlocked and all. It’s actually quite beautiful when done in purity), and translated Gav’s questions about American women for the majority of the time. Gav “virrapum” the American ladies. He wants one that smokes and wears a bikini. When I say smoke, I mean cigarettes. Colombo is the probably the trendiest city in Sri Lanka, and it was nice to see everything in it. Though, the experience was lessened because “you want massage” kept on popping up in our conversations.

By the 7

th

time, I stopped getting annoyed and started getting curious,

and he probably wanted the massage anyways.

I checked my backpack in, and followed Gavtiago up the stairs. I figured if I just looked, he’d stop bugging me about the massage. “Wanga” (come) said the lady at the desk as she get led me to another room. Gav simply smiled. The empty room gradually filled with Sri Lankan women. Innocent in thinking, I thought “how strange.” Then, I noticed that these women weren’t clothed like normal Sri Lankan women, and wore a lot more makeup than the normal women.

I engaged in a conversation with my heart.

Probably not the best time, for to everyone else it looks I’ve gone brain dead.

“What the crap are you doing in this Bordello” Heart said.

“Bordello” Wait…those are prostitutes?” the innocents/Godly boy inquired.

“Yeah. Just look at them.”

“Eww.”

Heart related and said, “Tell me about it. Guard your carnal treasure Pradeepan.”

“Guard my carnal treasure? Heart, you know me better than that. This is disgusting”

“Pradeepan, get outta there!”

“Lighten up, we are in a bordello after all” I jested.

Not amused, Heart replied, “don’t make me get the Holy Spirit.”

All of that took place in about five seconds. A long time, when so many people are staring at you.

I didn’t know what to do. I talked to the sun, the wind and dessert and still didn’t know how to turn into the wind, so that wasn’t an option for escape. In Tamil, I had to take action. “Virrapum Illay! Virrapum Illay!” I proclaimed. Remember, that means I don’t like, but I used it to say I don’t want. When 10 plus girls are waiting for you to choose one of them for a “massage,” saying I don’t like is not the best thing. They went from seducing me, to a sort of offended anger, as oppose to the irritated type of anger. Those girls got real scary.

I can relate to Joseph the Dreamer. He ran from Pottifer’s wife, and while still proclaiming “virrapum illay,” that’s exactly what I did.

Nesh never went inside. Somehow, he knew. Take this advice, if someone takes you to get a massage, and you have to walk through a bar to get to it, don’t go. Maybe that’s how Nesh knew.

I scolded Gav, and explained to him “naan Pastor” (I am a pastor). He already knew that though.

We had a good laugh about it, and everytime Nesh and I see the shy and polite boy that Gav is,

in the presence of mothers, we laugh.

Oh, what a hilarious dirty Sri Lankan of a man.

The End.

This has got to be my longest Xanga entry. Before I leave, I want to affirm you all that I’m still a man of God. The reason Gav, Nesh and I were able to have a good laugh is because nothing happened. Praise God. I never want to go in a place like that again. Eww.

Anyways, I also want to thank you all for the encouragements. I re-read all your comments, prayers, and words of affirmation so many times. Words of affirmation is

definitely one of my better ways of hearing love. If I’m not commenting on your site a lot, don’t worry. When I see you in real life, you’re probably going to get a lot of kisses fro me.

Scattered thoughts:

This post might look weird. It doesn't look right on Sri lankan comps.

I might meet the prime minister today.

Made friends with a good English speaking born again Sri Lankan (his father didn’t talk to him for seven years, starting at the age of 9, because of his conversion to Christianity). His name is Raja.

Raja’s best friend has the same birthday as me. July 9

th

.

God is still transforming me.

I love you, in ways I never knew how to before this trip.

Here are more pictures. Besides one, I’ll just post the links. With the slow internet, it's easier for me.

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y32/pradeepan/P7230756.jpg

(Everyone has a photo like this, so why not)

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y32/pradeepan/P7270979.jpg

(The mom and I)

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y32/pradeepan/P7270928.jpg

(Temple area)

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y32/pradeepan/P7270917.jpg

(One of my favorite pictures of those I've taken)

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y32/pradeepan/P7260913.jpg

(Random people we hung out with in Jaffna. Look at my face.)

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y32/pradeepan/P7260893.jpg

(Rebel force, LTTE, Leader's house)

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y32/pradeepan/P7260841.jpg

(Father's childhood neighbor)

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y32/pradeepan/P7260822.jpg

(Actual classroom my father used)

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y32/pradeepan/P7240775.jpg

(First meeting with my Grandma)

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y32/pradeepan/P7270927.jpg

(Free food!)

Sri Lanka #4 (Celebrity)

One month in Sri lanka, two more to go.

I just brought my cousin Danesh to the doctor.On the way there, I recognized some people and was acknowledged by others. I am writing this email in my journal before I take an hour long drive that will only being after walking fifteen minutes through the mountain to a bus. As I am writing this, the husband of the house brought in a piece of wood with a hole in it to put over the squatty potty. Well...there's more to this but I have to leave because the internet cafe is closing for lunch. It's a constant adventure. Joel Watson, for some reason I keep on thinking of you-- know that I'm praying for you and wish you were adventuring with me. God bless.

One month in Sri lanka, two more to go (part II).

A lot of the stores were shut down due to prayer, and lunchtime, but I'm back.
As that husband brought in the piece of wood, my tha-tha (grandpa) was falling alseep in the middle of the room with seven people around him. The TV is on. The last commercial started off with a baby in the womb holding his elbellical cord, and suddenly it transforms into a tire swing. I have seen that commercial almost twenty times and I still have no idea what it is advertising. Everybody around me can seak English, but choose to speak Tamil or Singhalese. That leaves me trying to learn two languages with two months left. Though, I'm trying to learn two languages, I spend most of my time in silence. The family is used to it and I'm getting used to it. I journal, read, play guitar and engage in other activities. It's a unique experience I'm living because around the house I can't really speak any of the languages. So, the 12 and 13 year olds take advantage of this and I end up as the butt of jokes. This is funny because at the church I've been attending, a lot of the members have been holding me in reverence as the man of God with the gift to pray for the sick. It's an awesome contrast because it feeds my ego while keeping me humbles. I am discovering that examples like that are what I want balance to be in my life. Not that I'm average at several things...average at being crazy and seroius. Rather that I'm so crazy that it's only balanced out by me beeing very serious. It's a good lesson to learn--being what you are 100% wherever you are.

Just know that good things are happening in Sri Lanka, and when I get back to America I will be a different person. If you liked the old Pradeepan, you'll probably be able to find remnants of him. Don't worry, the new one is much better.

God bless.

Sri Lanka #3 (One month in)

One month in Sri lanka, two more to go.

I just brought my cousin Danesh to the doctor.On the way there, I recognized some people and was acknowledged by others. I am writing this email in my journal before I take an hour long drive that will only being after walking fifteen minutes through the mountain to a bus. As I am writing this, the husband of the house brought in a piece of wood with a hole in it to put over the squatty potty. Well...there's more to this but I have to leave because the internet cafe is closing for lunch. It's a constant adventure. Joel Watson, for some reason I keep on thinking of you-- know that I'm praying for you and wish you were adventuring with me. God bless.

One month in Sri lanka, two more to go (part II).

A lot of the stores were shut down due to prayer, and lunchtime, but I'm back.
As that husband brought in the piece of wood, my tha-tha (grandpa) was falling alseep in the middle of the room with seven people around him. The TV is on. The last commercial started off with a baby in the womb holding his elbellical cord, and suddenly it transforms into a tire swing. I have seen that commercial almost twenty times and I still have no idea what it is advertising. Everybody around me can seak English, but choose to speak Tamil or Singhalese. That leaves me trying to learn two languages with two months left. Though, I'm trying to learn two languages, I spend most of my time in silence. The family is used to it and I'm getting used to it. I journal, read, play guitar and engage in other activities. It's a unique experience I'm living because around the house I can't really speak any of the languages. So, the 12 and 13 year olds take advantage of this and I end up as the butt of jokes. This is funny because at the church I've been attending, a lot of the members have been holding me in reverence as the man of God with the gift to pray for the sick. It's an awesome contrast because it feeds my ego while keeping me humbles. I am discovering that examples like that are what I want balance to be in my life. Not that I'm average at several things...average at being crazy and seroius. Rather that I'm so crazy that it's only balanced out by me beeing very serious. It's a good lesson to learn--being what you are 100% wherever you are.

Just know that good things are happening in Sri Lanka, and when I get back to America I will be a different person. If you liked the old Pradeepan, you'll probably be able to find remnants of him. Don't worry, the new one is much better.

God bless.