Travelling in the wake of the tsunami

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Janet Keller, Nancy McPherson and Gregor Winton don't think they sacrificed anything when they gave up Christmas celebrations with family, packed their bags, and headed for Sri Lanka, a country still struggling with the aftermath of the tsunami which hit southeast Asia more than a year ago. The Flamborough trio didn't think twice when given the opportunity to do some mission work over the Christmas holiday in Sri Lanka.

"Our families don't lack for anything," Winton said, explaining why he didn't feel a need to be at home for Christmas. "It's more rewarding to give at Christmas," he added, while his fellow travelers nodded in agreement.

Keller and McPherson had been on a mission together before, travelling to an orphanage in Burkina Faso in Africa two years ago. They jumped at the chance to go on another. "Everyone should try this (mission work). The younger they are, the better," Keller said.

The Flamborough Centre area resident struck up a friendship with McPherson, of Waterdown, when they both attended Grindstone Valley Bible Church. McPherson now attends Crossfire Assembly in Hamilton, where her fianc, Winton, is a member.

It was through Winton that the recent trip to Sri Lanka was arranged. He knows Rev. Jack Hawkins, formerly with the missions departments of the Crossroads Centre in Burlington and now pastor of a mission ship called Doulos that sails the seven seas offering help and hope to people in need.

When Winton learned that the ship would be dry-docking in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, during the Christmas season, he suggested that McPherson and Keller join him on a mission that turned out to be an experience of a lifetime for all of them.

During their eight-day stay from December 21 to 29, they lived on board the Doulos, which was also home to 300 youths from 35 countries around the world. Like them, the young adults were also dedicating their time and talents to mission work.

Colombo, a city of 1.5 million people, was thankfully spared from the damaging waters of the tsunami that hit southeastern Asia on Boxing Day of 2004. It served as the home base for the three Flamborough visitors, who didn't have to travel far southward to find the devastating effects of the massive tidal wave.

In the city of Galle, about 100 kilometres south of the capital, the signs of the tsunami remain. People who lost their homes live in tents, many of the beaches are still black from the sediment left behind by receding water, and many homes lie open to the elements with walls and roofs having been swept away by rushing water.

While a lot of new buildings have sprung up to replace those lost to the tsunami, "there's still lots to do," Winton said.

Disaster relief is coming from many quarters. Red Cross and World Vision are on board, as are several mission groups from countries around the world. Keller, Winton and McPherson observed several work teams from The Netherlands helping to rebuild the community and, because they were there on the first anniversary of the tsunami, they had a chance meeting with a woman from Great Britain who had survived the disaster while on vacation in Galle. She had returned with 17 other surviving tourists and was planning to come back in March to do some mission work of her own.

While many images of their trip remain in the minds of the three Flamborough visitors, they won't soon forget the anniversary memorials that the Sri Lankans erected on Boxing Day, 2005. White markers hung from posts and overhead wires, bearing the names of those who drowned in the tsunami, and in the evening, tea lights in paper bags lined the ocean coast in memory of the perished.

The three mission workers were also impressed by the friendliness of the people and how smartly they dress. It wasn't unusual to see the women in stylish dresses and the men in white shirts and dress pants.

When they visited an orphanage for severely handicapped children in Colombo, they were surprised to be welcomed with open arms and no questions asked. They set about feeding, bathing, clothing and playing with the children. They also helped do the laundry and even cleaned the toilets. Before they left, they helped fill the cupboards with bags of rice and powdered milk that they bought at a nearby warehouse along with some candy treats for the children.

In Galle, they asked one woman what she needed most to get back on her feet again. She said she needed an industrial sewing machine so she could make purses and belts as a source of income. Her husband was a tailor and they needed the machine to get re-established. The Flamborough mission workers responded by buying the machine at a nearby store and presenting it to the surprised and delighted recipient.

While on the ship, they also helped package donations of books, clothing and hygiene products for Sri Lankan prisons and orphanages. In addition, they helped prepare meals in the ship's galley. Overall, their visit to Sri Lanka proved to be an eye-opening experience.

"To see all that vast destruction that had taken place in such a short period made me appreciate life so much more," McPherson said.

"Many have no idea how much you can grow by doing something for other people," Keller said, noting that she has been on vacation cruises but feels she gains so much more on missions by "meeting people and seeing how they live."

"We got to see Sri Lanka, but not through tourists' eyes," Winton remarked, adding that even though the Sri Lankans have lost so much, they remain a happy people. "They have things we have lost. They're dependent on each other. We've lost that neighbour to neighbour bond," he observed.

The recent trip has only served to whet Keller's and McPherson's appetites for more. They're already talking about another mission trip together in another couple of years. All they have to decide is what part of the globe to visit next.

Travelling in the wake of the tsunami

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Janet Keller, Nancy McPherson and Gregor Winton don't think they sacrificed anything when they gave up Christmas celebrations with family, packed their bags, and headed for Sri Lanka, a country still struggling with the aftermath of the tsunami which hit southeast Asia more than a year ago. The Flamborough trio didn't think twice when given the opportunity to do some mission work over the Christmas holiday in Sri Lanka.

"Our families don't lack for anything," Winton said, explaining why he didn't feel a need to be at home for Christmas. "It's more rewarding to give at Christmas," he added, while his fellow travelers nodded in agreement.

Keller and McPherson had been on a mission together before, travelling to an orphanage in Burkina Faso in Africa two years ago. They jumped at the chance to go on another. "Everyone should try this (mission work). The younger they are, the better," Keller said.

The Flamborough Centre area resident struck up a friendship with McPherson, of Waterdown, when they both attended Grindstone Valley Bible Church. McPherson now attends Crossfire Assembly in Hamilton, where her fianc, Winton, is a member.

It was through Winton that the recent trip to Sri Lanka was arranged. He knows Rev. Jack Hawkins, formerly with the missions departments of the Crossroads Centre in Burlington and now pastor of a mission ship called Doulos that sails the seven seas offering help and hope to people in need.

When Winton learned that the ship would be dry-docking in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, during the Christmas season, he suggested that McPherson and Keller join him on a mission that turned out to be an experience of a lifetime for all of them.

During their eight-day stay from December 21 to 29, they lived on board the Doulos, which was also home to 300 youths from 35 countries around the world. Like them, the young adults were also dedicating their time and talents to mission work.

Colombo, a city of 1.5 million people, was thankfully spared from the damaging waters of the tsunami that hit southeastern Asia on Boxing Day of 2004. It served as the home base for the three Flamborough visitors, who didn't have to travel far southward to find the devastating effects of the massive tidal wave.

In the city of Galle, about 100 kilometres south of the capital, the signs of the tsunami remain. People who lost their homes live in tents, many of the beaches are still black from the sediment left behind by receding water, and many homes lie open to the elements with walls and roofs having been swept away by rushing water.

While a lot of new buildings have sprung up to replace those lost to the tsunami, "there's still lots to do," Winton said.

Disaster relief is coming from many quarters. Red Cross and World Vision are on board, as are several mission groups from countries around the world. Keller, Winton and McPherson observed several work teams from The Netherlands helping to rebuild the community and, because they were there on the first anniversary of the tsunami, they had a chance meeting with a woman from Great Britain who had survived the disaster while on vacation in Galle. She had returned with 17 other surviving tourists and was planning to come back in March to do some mission work of her own.

While many images of their trip remain in the minds of the three Flamborough visitors, they won't soon forget the anniversary memorials that the Sri Lankans erected on Boxing Day, 2005. White markers hung from posts and overhead wires, bearing the names of those who drowned in the tsunami, and in the evening, tea lights in paper bags lined the ocean coast in memory of the perished.

The three mission workers were also impressed by the friendliness of the people and how smartly they dress. It wasn't unusual to see the women in stylish dresses and the men in white shirts and dress pants.

When they visited an orphanage for severely handicapped children in Colombo, they were surprised to be welcomed with open arms and no questions asked. They set about feeding, bathing, clothing and playing with the children. They also helped do the laundry and even cleaned the toilets. Before they left, they helped fill the cupboards with bags of rice and powdered milk that they bought at a nearby warehouse along with some candy treats for the children.

In Galle, they asked one woman what she needed most to get back on her feet again. She said she needed an industrial sewing machine so she could make purses and belts as a source of income. Her husband was a tailor and they needed the machine to get re-established. The Flamborough mission workers responded by buying the machine at a nearby store and presenting it to the surprised and delighted recipient.

While on the ship, they also helped package donations of books, clothing and hygiene products for Sri Lankan prisons and orphanages. In addition, they helped prepare meals in the ship's galley. Overall, their visit to Sri Lanka proved to be an eye-opening experience.

"To see all that vast destruction that had taken place in such a short period made me appreciate life so much more," McPherson said.

"Many have no idea how much you can grow by doing something for other people," Keller said, noting that she has been on vacation cruises but feels she gains so much more on missions by "meeting people and seeing how they live."

"We got to see Sri Lanka, but not through tourists' eyes," Winton remarked, adding that even though the Sri Lankans have lost so much, they remain a happy people. "They have things we have lost. They're dependent on each other. We've lost that neighbour to neighbour bond," he observed.

The recent trip has only served to whet Keller's and McPherson's appetites for more. They're already talking about another mission trip together in another couple of years. All they have to decide is what part of the globe to visit next.

Travelling in the wake of the tsunami

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Janet Keller, Nancy McPherson and Gregor Winton don't think they sacrificed anything when they gave up Christmas celebrations with family, packed their bags, and headed for Sri Lanka, a country still struggling with the aftermath of the tsunami which hit southeast Asia more than a year ago. The Flamborough trio didn't think twice when given the opportunity to do some mission work over the Christmas holiday in Sri Lanka.

"Our families don't lack for anything," Winton said, explaining why he didn't feel a need to be at home for Christmas. "It's more rewarding to give at Christmas," he added, while his fellow travelers nodded in agreement.

Keller and McPherson had been on a mission together before, travelling to an orphanage in Burkina Faso in Africa two years ago. They jumped at the chance to go on another. "Everyone should try this (mission work). The younger they are, the better," Keller said.

The Flamborough Centre area resident struck up a friendship with McPherson, of Waterdown, when they both attended Grindstone Valley Bible Church. McPherson now attends Crossfire Assembly in Hamilton, where her fianc, Winton, is a member.

It was through Winton that the recent trip to Sri Lanka was arranged. He knows Rev. Jack Hawkins, formerly with the missions departments of the Crossroads Centre in Burlington and now pastor of a mission ship called Doulos that sails the seven seas offering help and hope to people in need.

When Winton learned that the ship would be dry-docking in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, during the Christmas season, he suggested that McPherson and Keller join him on a mission that turned out to be an experience of a lifetime for all of them.

During their eight-day stay from December 21 to 29, they lived on board the Doulos, which was also home to 300 youths from 35 countries around the world. Like them, the young adults were also dedicating their time and talents to mission work.

Colombo, a city of 1.5 million people, was thankfully spared from the damaging waters of the tsunami that hit southeastern Asia on Boxing Day of 2004. It served as the home base for the three Flamborough visitors, who didn't have to travel far southward to find the devastating effects of the massive tidal wave.

In the city of Galle, about 100 kilometres south of the capital, the signs of the tsunami remain. People who lost their homes live in tents, many of the beaches are still black from the sediment left behind by receding water, and many homes lie open to the elements with walls and roofs having been swept away by rushing water.

While a lot of new buildings have sprung up to replace those lost to the tsunami, "there's still lots to do," Winton said.

Disaster relief is coming from many quarters. Red Cross and World Vision are on board, as are several mission groups from countries around the world. Keller, Winton and McPherson observed several work teams from The Netherlands helping to rebuild the community and, because they were there on the first anniversary of the tsunami, they had a chance meeting with a woman from Great Britain who had survived the disaster while on vacation in Galle. She had returned with 17 other surviving tourists and was planning to come back in March to do some mission work of her own.

While many images of their trip remain in the minds of the three Flamborough visitors, they won't soon forget the anniversary memorials that the Sri Lankans erected on Boxing Day, 2005. White markers hung from posts and overhead wires, bearing the names of those who drowned in the tsunami, and in the evening, tea lights in paper bags lined the ocean coast in memory of the perished.

The three mission workers were also impressed by the friendliness of the people and how smartly they dress. It wasn't unusual to see the women in stylish dresses and the men in white shirts and dress pants.

When they visited an orphanage for severely handicapped children in Colombo, they were surprised to be welcomed with open arms and no questions asked. They set about feeding, bathing, clothing and playing with the children. They also helped do the laundry and even cleaned the toilets. Before they left, they helped fill the cupboards with bags of rice and powdered milk that they bought at a nearby warehouse along with some candy treats for the children.

In Galle, they asked one woman what she needed most to get back on her feet again. She said she needed an industrial sewing machine so she could make purses and belts as a source of income. Her husband was a tailor and they needed the machine to get re-established. The Flamborough mission workers responded by buying the machine at a nearby store and presenting it to the surprised and delighted recipient.

While on the ship, they also helped package donations of books, clothing and hygiene products for Sri Lankan prisons and orphanages. In addition, they helped prepare meals in the ship's galley. Overall, their visit to Sri Lanka proved to be an eye-opening experience.

"To see all that vast destruction that had taken place in such a short period made me appreciate life so much more," McPherson said.

"Many have no idea how much you can grow by doing something for other people," Keller said, noting that she has been on vacation cruises but feels she gains so much more on missions by "meeting people and seeing how they live."

"We got to see Sri Lanka, but not through tourists' eyes," Winton remarked, adding that even though the Sri Lankans have lost so much, they remain a happy people. "They have things we have lost. They're dependent on each other. We've lost that neighbour to neighbour bond," he observed.

The recent trip has only served to whet Keller's and McPherson's appetites for more. They're already talking about another mission trip together in another couple of years. All they have to decide is what part of the globe to visit next.