Message from Sri Lanka

Here's an update I recieved last week from a mission in Sri Lanka (the same one I mentioned here).
Greetings from Sri Lanka,

All is well here on this one month anniversary of the tsunami -- can't believe that much time has passed. We have developed a nice routine -- our Sri Lankan brothers and sisters in Christ have been hosting a men's Bible study and children's "VBS" in the late afternoon as the clinic is winding down. JC has been overseeing the public health teaching for the camp, and over 100 people showed up. We are trying to prepare the camp for our departure next week. Each evening we all -- Sri Lankans and Americans-- have supper together followed by devotions and prayer.

We are planning some home visits in the camp during the remainder of our time here. We saw quite a few people from the camp on Monday and Tuesday, but today most of the patients were from neighboring towns, which so far is not presenting problems but has the potential to be a sticky situation. Word has gotten out that the Americans are here. Our priority is to see the persons living in this camp and neighboring refugee camps, most of whom are Hindu. The villagers who are coming are predominantly muslim. We (the Americans) don't want to be the ones policing who we do and don't see, and the GS of the camp doesn't mind if the towns people come. Pray for this as it is a fine balance-- fortunately one that is working so far.

The grenade attack to which I referred in my last e-mail occurred either on 1/8 or 1/9 -- I remember seeing it on CNN at either the Minneapolis or Amsterdam airport. It happened somewhere near here, but nothing like that has happened since. So far we have seen no direct or even distant threats to our safety.

The Sri Lankan Red Cross brought more tents yesterday for the camp. From the latrines I can count at least 30 new tents from that viewpoint alone. They are haphazardly placed right next to the UNHCR tarp-on-stick tents and are definitely a few notches up the ladder of refugee housing. A gal from the UNHCR came by today -- their first site visit since early January -- and she told me that she was really dismayed by the lack of organization and site planning in this camp. Land was cleared to the east of our site today -- I assume for additional tents. The tents that went up were not for new families but to offer space for the multiple families that were huddled together under one tarp.

Mr. E left Monday evening and is still not able to return. We look forward to his return by the weekend. Tomorrow afternoon the whole team is going to the coast to see the affected areas.

Each team member sends love to his/her family and loved ones.

Blessings,
--spf

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