Ready for Gen Z?

What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They ignore the law. They riot in the streets inflamed with wild
notions. Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them? 

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Plato of 4th Century BC Said it.

Cindy and I keep asking ourselves the hard question – are we reaching out well enough to our boys in this postmodern culture and as the men of Issachar in 1 Chronicles 12:32 understand the times and know what they should do?

This week we are thinking of our young ones or better known by the world as the Generation Z! These are the children born after 1996 and also known as iGEN or even Smartphone Generation!

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'Selfie' Moment!

Today our church (in general) see our Gen Z just like how plato described it above, the more we understand them, the more we are made aware that they want us to walk with them rather than preach at them.

Do you know this statistic? – based on our 2016 Sunday School statistics

Current Students 2017Irregular Attendance 2017Stopped Attending 2016 (Full year)Left to another SS 2016 (full year)
39293

As parents and leaders, are we able to reach out to our young ones effectively?

  • Recognizing their potential (even though we do not see it the first time!)
  • Get involved (play with them, especially with teens)
  • Involve them (they love to take responsibility)
  • Available for them (their fast paced changing life requires our time)
  • Adapt and compromise their needs (be flexible and adjust and mean what we say, they are very sensible!)
  • Love them (they can be reached through love)

Are we available for them and agree with the psalmist that we have done our part?

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
9 They are a garland to grace your head
and a chain to adorn your neck.

Proverbs 1:8-9

As we commit to pray for this generation and prepare each one of them for our mission program in April, let us also ask the Lord to help us to reach out to them and teach them to obey everything Jesus has commanded us as described in Matthew 28:19-20.

  • Pray that we adults will be responsible for our future generations
  • Pray for the young ones of our parish
  • Pray for the young ones that have left our Sunday School
  • Pray for parents who do not send their young ones to church
  • Pray for young ones who have little time with their parents

My Personal Testimony

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8

I was born into a Christian family and from childhood my parents exposed me to knowing and understanding who Christ was. My life was molded into being an ‘obedient’, ‘good’ son to my parents. I followed them to church, I went to Sunday School as they told me to, I obeyed and did what was told. From a very young age I was taught to participate in family prayers, taught that there was a living God and that He was supreme, He was the head, that He was looking over me and that I had to be honest and truthful  and if I was not, He would punish me! To some extent, there was fear, that my God was all powerful and He was watching over me, I walked in fear, maybe I was scared that if I did anything wrong, something bad will happen to me. This was my early years, not too naughty, very timid, never got into a fight with others, ran away from trouble and most often, lived in fear.

By the time I reached 17, it was time for me to be ‘confirmed’, an act of uniformity and service in the Anglican tradition (or Episcopal tradition) that I was growing up in. ‘Confirmation’ was a point in my Christian journey when I am to affirm my faith to which I was baptized, and to live a life of committed  discipleship. My parents wanted me to go through this process and I obeyed. Preparation meant that I had to attend a series of teachings for many weeks. It was on the day of my confirmation, when the Bishop was about to lay his hands to affirm my faith and pray over me did I really know something different was happening to me, I guess it was as if I was taking a hot water shower!

The Bishop asked me this – “Do you here, in the presence of God and this congregation, renew the solemn promise and vow that was made in your name at your Baptism: ratifying and confirming the same in your own persons, and acknowledging yourselves bound to believe, and to do, all those things, which you Godfathers and Godmothers then undertook for you?”

It was at that very moment when the Lord made his presence felt. The realization immediately came to me that I was making a commitment that was made on my behalf at birth, to serve a true living God and that my Lord was making His presence felt at this very moment. I knew at once that I was in the presence of a true living God who first loved me! My immediate response to the Bishop and all those present was “I Do”!

My life changed to the point that I was aware that I had to be different and lead a different life, and despite trying to live this life, I had not understood my true mandate at confirmation, which was to be committed to discipleship. I realized that I no longer had to live this ‘good boy’ life but try to be the ‘light that shines so that others can see something different’ and most of all ‘glorify the father in heaven’.

My understanding changed, I began to see something becoming a lot more personal, that the love of my father was so great that He came for me, that He died for Me, so that my sins can be forgiven. Yes, I did see a big difference and did understand this to an extent but it was only when I saw the movie ‘Passion of Christ’ a few years later that the real meaning and the real understanding came to me that because of HIM, I surely have eternal life and that this was His ultimate gift for me!

Between the age of 17 and 27, for 10 years, I lived normally. I got involved in church activities, I was pretty involved with youth and young adults, I was busy with church until in 1995, a dear friend who was truly inspired by my friendship and faithfulness to the Lord, presented me with a NIV study bible. This was probably another turning point in my life when I began to really explore the word of God and understand deeper truths and meaning.

In the last 4 to 5 years, I began learning the bible in a more meaningful and methodical manner, thanks to the bible study group at our church and my mentor Wijith DeChikera and began to understand and realize what I had missed all these years despite reading the word. My passion began to grow for Jesus, the more I looked back at my life, the more I knew that even though I knew HIM, that even though I knew that HE loved me, my Love for him was really not EVERYTHING.

By March 2017, the Lord opened a door for me to learn about Him in a more detailed manner at the Haggai Institute, my understanding of the great commission in Mathew 28: 19-20 has become more and more relevant and made me to understand better that I had to be human to reach others, not just sit in my leadership role in the secular world and expect things to just happen. I also learned that if I wanted to be something for Him, I had to be nothing, that my ways had to certainly change, that my life had to be a lot more humble and simple.

27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James 1:27

My life journey has just got very exciting! I am looking forward to the exciting times. I know that He has a big plan, my coming to the Philippines and attending CCF is surely part of this huge plan that is unfolding. For me and my family, we are discovering the Lord in such a deep and wonderful way. The ‘Minefield’ experience could not have been better, the Dgroups and the interactions are teaching us daily to not make excuses but to assume responsibility and move forward for the Lord. I know that I am ‘work in progress’, I know that this is no accident, I know that there is a very big plan for me personally and also for my family. I am truly very blessed to know HIM in such a personal way!

CGST Parish Mission – April 28

Please join us on April 28th at 6.00 pm as we start a 3 day mission program that will give us all the opportunity to renew our faith and invite those who are close to us and do not know Jesus to experience His love, because HE first loved us!

My personal prayer is that we will use this tremendous opportunity to share Jesus with our friends. I seek your payers as we work towards this mission program, every week we have a specific prayer focus which are concerns I personally have for our parish.

PRAYER FOCUS SUMMARY:

  • Week of March 13 – LEADERSHIP
  • Week of March 20 – YOUNG ONES
  • Week of March 27 – LOST SHEEP
  • Week of April 3 – WILLING HEARTS
  • Week of April 10 – MIGHTY WOMEN AND MEN
  • Week of April 17 – THE GREAT COMMISSION
  • Week of April 24 – PERSUADING FOR THE TRUTH

Prayer Focus week  – PERSUADING FOR THE TRUTH

1 Timothy 2:3-4 “. . . God our Savior desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

It took mankind several years to accept the scientific truth that the sun does not go around the earth or that germs caused diseases. But Lord, it has taken far longer for the world and each of us to accept that all of us have sinned and come short of the glory of God, that the wages of sin is death, and that the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.

This congregation, all of us and, those whom we encounter and who are our dear friends of other faiths, need more persuasion to be convinced of the need to commit our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Mission requires helping each of us, those from our Christian circles and non-believers, to establish a relationship with you oh master based on our need for salvation. All our efforts must be to proclaim the Gospel or to persuade others to make a commitment to serve Christ. We pray oh Lord that your Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin and give us the faith to believe in the Lord through the upcoming Mission starting on Friday at 6pm.

We pray that your Holy Spirit will be upon Fr. Desmond, that you will use him to speak to us and, you will use us to bring more people to you, that we will be BOLD for your MISSION!

Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer

 Reflection for the week:

How do you fulfill your ‘COMMAND’ in presenting the Gospel to others?

Parish Mission Program 2

 

Our Mission at CGST:

To reach out to all Sri Lankan’s for Jesus,
confirm their faith in the Trinity,
and nurture them to achieve
Christ-like maturity.

 

Jaffna Peninsular Family trip – Final day!

Guess its winding down time as we have to deal with different age groups and we decided that we will slow things down. So far we have been enjoying nice Jaffna food, breakfast was a good Iddly feed from a nearby eating house! Once all were stretched up, we headed to Fort Hammenhiel which is also in Karainagar. As we drove past the ruins and abandoned houses, we reached a naval check-point and then, all of a sudden, we are confronted with an awesome scene of serenity!

One cannot imagine that there is such beauty in the North!

Fort Hammenhiel in the distance and towards the left is Nagadeepa and further beyond (not captured) is Delft
Fort Hammenhiel in the distance and towards the left is Nagadeepa and further beyond (not captured) is Delft

We drifted around the beautiful scenery and the young ones decided to try their skill on Kayaking, which turned out to be a tough experience with the wind blowing towards us! But many of us, including Angela were bold enough!

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With Athaiah

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Cindy was kind enough to give me a break!

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And Angela did it too!!!

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It was a good decision to come here, everyone was able to relax and sip beer prior to lunch just enjoying the lovely scene!

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We enjoyed a nice lunch with Lagoon Crab and deviled Pork! This was the only place we were served pork, so for you pork lovers, you still have hope!

My most disappointing moment was when I missed Flamingos flying over us, I had wrapped my camera in a plastic bag with the idea of taking it with me on the kayak and by the time i unpacked it again, they were gone! I wanted and waited in hope but none. The migrants are probably a little early.

More pictures to share..

The group at the entrance to the Fort Hammenhiel resort
The group at the entrance to the Fort Hammenhiel resort

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A few members of the Navy Band talking a stroll
A few members of the Navy Band talking a stroll Have no idea what they were up to!

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It sure was a beautiful day!

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Fort Hammenhiel
Fort Hammenhiel

Our next stop was Keerimalle hot springs which turned out to be rather disappointing due to the information available. Its really not a hot spring but a pond beside the sea. It is a sacred pond due to various beliefs and there are temples surrounding the place. There is a sign for fresh water showers at Rs 20.00 per person indicating the pond is not fresh water. Looking into the pond does not give you a good feel about even getting into it, rather dirty and whilst there are signs to say not to use soap and shampoo, by the looks of the water, it seems to be full of it.

Note the English at Keerimale!
Note the English.

Keerimale Sacred Pond
Keerimale Sacred Pond

Unless one has a very good reason to go and dip yourself in the sacred pool, its not worth the trip.

Last minute shopping and discovering the ‘palaharams’ of the north, took us to the Jaffna market where all the nice things were available. One needs a good couple of hours to taste the Palmyrah jaggery, roots, sweets, whatever! They have grade A and B, so there is a need to understand this but clearly this is good marketing for a higher price!

Jaffna Market full of goodies!
Jaffna Market full of goodies!

Sisters who helped us choose 'palaharums' at the Jaffna Market
Sisters who helped us choose ‘palaharums’ at the Jaffna Market

And its important that we go back to the place we liked most, Rio Ice Cream! Its amazing to see how many people patronize this parlor. It sure will be a good case study to see whats is the real success and how does one retain customers as most people who come in are the locals. Believe me, the place was packed!

Rio Ice cream has the best Chinese Rolls that's packed and ready to go for dinner!
Rio Ice cream has the best Chinese Rolls that’s packed and ready to go for dinner!

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This guy works really hard, for that matter all the people there, they are on their toes!
This guy works really hard, for that matter all the people there, they are on their toes!

We were able to toast Champagne for Aunty Shereen and Michael who celebrate their birthdays on the 21st!

And so, all are tired and ready to get back home! Managing a group of 11 aged 12 to 91 is surely a lot of fun and we all had a great time. The train journey back will give us additional rest that will prepare some of us….oh, its just me going back to work… and the rest as they head back to OK and Kandy tomorrow!

Farewell, with our caretaker Mr. Gnanagopal and driver Thinesh on the right. They surely made it all meaningful!
Farewell, with our caretaker Mr. Gnanagopal and driver Thinesh on the right. They surely made it all meaningful!

Bags all packed and ready to return back home!
Bags all packed and ready to return back home!

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Smiling faces bidding us farewell!
Smiling faces bidding us farewell!

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Ps. 107:1

Jaffna Peninsular Day 3

Sunday morning and with Uncle Sam around, no messing up with timings, so its a 6.30am departure to St Johns for service! The 211 year church in located at St Johns Chundukuli, a few miles out of the city. Meetting up with Fr Jayan was great and he dedicated his sermon to the family, making specific emphasis on the love extended to him.

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Alter and stain glass, St Johns
Alter and stain glass, St Johns

Fr Jayan with Dad
Fr Jayan with Dad

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Must mention that most of our breakfast and dinners were at home, we did take away from Vishnu Bhavan, superb Veg South indian food! Excellent service and great quality.

Great food!
Great food!

We then visited Point Pedro, unlike at Dondra Head where the lighthouse is functional and one could ascend to to top, the lighthouse here is abandoned and closed to the public. The Navy guard on duty was kind enough to allow us to walk around!

Inside the Lighthouse
Inside the Lighthouse

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The abandoned lighthouse

Idling around at Point Pedro
Idling around at Point Pedro

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Abandoned light house and new communication tower that replaces the lighthouse!
Abandoned light house and new communication tower that replaces the lighthouse!

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Next stop, birthplace and home of Prabakaran, now destroyed leaving no trace or sign that this was where he lived.

This cow stands on the land that was the birthplace and home of Vellupillai Prabakaran. There is no sign to indicate this, only the people in the area can direct you to this spot.
This cow stands on the land that was the birthplace and home of Vellupillai Prabakaran. There is no sign to indicate this, only the people in the area can direct you to this spot.

One clear observation in the area where Prabakaran lived is that even until now, there are many many abandoned homes, quite a sad sight.

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Highlight of the day of course was lunch at Green Grass! Their crab curry and Mutton curry was out of this world and their open air bar is under the shade of the trees giving it a cool atmosphere.

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Our plan for the evening was a sea bath and we headed for almost 21 km looking for Casuarina beach, which turned out to be very disappointing! One piece of advice, if you want a sea bath, the beaches in the south,east and even west are much better! There is too much hype and they even have a entry fee to the beach!

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The dark border is the moss formation that gives you a yukky feeling! Athaiah went past it and said that the water was fine and the sand was smooth too but, getting past the moss is a challenge for many!!

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Karainagar causeway was interesting, my imagination was a little causeway but it sure was not!

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Karainagar Causeway, a good 3-4 km.

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Jaffna Peninsular Family Trip – Day 2

Relaxed morning after a typical English breakfast of Bacon and Eggs, we set off around 10am to the market place to taste the real ‘Maam Palam’! En-route, we also stopped by to see one of my ex-employees, who moved back to be with her parents. Bhairavi was great help in selecting the right fruits and bargaining on our behalf!

Our BB, Batticaloe Burger!
Our BB, Batticaloe Burger!

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At the home of Bhairavi, with her parents.

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Father and daughter moments all the time!
Father and daughter moments all the time!

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Bhairavi was helping is with the bargaining and taking us to her regular suppliers.
Bhairavi was helping is with the bargaining and taking us to her regular suppliers.

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Our fruit taster, never missed an opportunity!
Our fruit taster, never missed an opportunity!

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This lady was so thrilled that Angela purchased mangoes from her that she received a bonus!
This lady was so thrilled that Angela purchased mangoes from her that she received a bonus!

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And the bold Evangelist, in the midst of all HIndu's, he was courageous to fix a mic and speaker to his little bicycle and share the good news, I was touched.
And the bold Evangelist, in the midst of all HIndu’s, he was courageous to fix a mic and speaker to his little bicycle and share the good news, I was touched.

After having filled our bags with our loot, we visited the Jaffna Fort, built in 1680. The fort was restored after 2009. The fort is inside a 22 acre property, taking the shape of a Pentagon.

The original shape
The original shape

The Main entrance prior to 2009, taken from the museum.
The Main entrance prior to 2009, taken from the museum.

This picture is from the museum, showing the state of the entrance prior to 2009.
This picture is from the museum, showing the state of the entrance prior to 2009.

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After the restoration began in 2009, work still in progress at a slow pace.

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Sections still in ruines

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Pending restoration

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Tip of each pentagon

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Underground Prison, where the roof has collapsed

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A prison cell

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Air and light intake for the prison cell

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We then stopped by at the restored Jaffna Library. It was really lovely to see it looking so good and well maintained, after the trauma this library, the learning hub of the people of Jaffna had undergone.

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Flowers in bloom at the gardens of the Library
Flowers in bloom at the gardens of the Library

Famished by the heat and sweat, we explored Jaffna food options for lunch and ended at Tilko. Try their Crab curry and Mutton with their usual Veg rice and curry and you will not be disappointed. Its on the expensive side though!

Just a few doors next to the Library
Just a few doors next to the Library

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Hungry signs?

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I want only fried mutton, nothing else!

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Dessert was at Rio Ice Cream, the place everyone talks about! Yes, their ice cream texture is very good and they truly make a real ice cream, compared to the rest in the country who make Ice Cream desserts! Ok OK, I say this as we are into Ice Cream plants and have now studied a little on this subject!!

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A stroll in the main city of Jaffna.

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Late capture of the cow that walked through the shops and exited to the main road...
Late capture of the cow that walked through the shops and exited to the main road…

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Doggy ride!
Doggy ride!

Back home, it was time to enjoy the fruit loot!

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And finally, highlight of the evening was to visit the Archdeacon of Jaffna and dear family friend, Fr Jayaweerasingham.

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Family trip to Jaffna Peninsula – July 2015

Day 1 – Our journey

We left Colombo at 5.45am, we had heard about the Intercity express train so we decided that it was best to check it out!

So its our family of 11, parents and children!

Very impressed, Virgin Trains Standard!
Very impressed, Virgin Trains Standard!

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All teched up with gadgets!

Cannot be happier!
Cannot be happier!

The journey was about 6 hours but the best part was it does not stop at every station! First stop Anuradhapura! Passing Elephant Pass was probably the best feeling, having heard and read so much of the past war and the many stories.

Train just out of Elephant Pass. Opening the door was a big mistake as we did not realize at what speed the train was moving (despite the warning signs not to open the door!).

Elephant Pass

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Special mention that the moment we left Vavuniya, there was a significant difference in the smoothness of the journey, the newly laid rail tracks! The journey from there onward was a real pleasure!

Jaffna Railway station has seen transformation, lost its old charm, for that matter all the stations from Vavuniya onward are newly built. Brand New!

We were met at the station and packed into a van, its going to be rough for 11 of us but that’s the arrangement and the best available! We were fortunate to be introduced to a lovely house, in the middle of a quiet neighborhood in Thaddar Theru.

Interesting name for a home! Has 6 bedrooms and a nice living area with cooking facilities.
Interesting name for a home! Has 6 bedrooms and a nice living area with cooking facilities.

Prior to departing for dinner, its always nice to have a chat over a couple of drinks!
Prior to departing for dinner, its always nice to have a chat over a couple of drinks!

We were recommended to try the Cosy Resturant on Stanley Road. They serve Indian food and they have an Indian Chef from Kolkata who makes nice Thandoori (Not bad for him coming from the east!) Food rating for me is a 3 Star. Nice place, look out for the open dining that is situated in a nice courtyard at the back.

Hungry Smiles
The hungry Family!

Courtyard Welcome
Welcome to the courtyard!

Courtyard

Family Time
Family Time!

Highlight of the evening was that our driver needed to leave by 9pm, leaving us to find our own transport back and after 10pm, the city of Jaffna is pretty dead. We were fortunate to find one three wheeler who did a shuttle service with a couple of trips up and down!

p.s. Special thanks to Ron Yeoh for introducing me to the WordPress posts! Its different, thanks Ron!