Here's an update from my current visiting tour in Colombo, where I am now writing this from beside the Indian ocean.
It's Tuesday morning now, after our first Monday night Good News meeting at the Galadari Hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka. It was a great success thanks to God's blessing.
Interestingly enough, Mr. Herbert Armstrong stayed in this Galadari Hotel when he visited the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka in 1983.
Last night we had 96 people from our Good News readership (including 17 of our UCG members) in attendance, and our audience kept asking questions after my 50-minute address, until 9:00 p.m. After the meeting I was surrounded by individuals thanking us for the seminar and asking many biblical questions until after 10:00 p.m.
So many of them told me and our other Sri Lankan brethren that they can hardly wait to come again "tomorrow night" to hear more information about the end-time prophecies and how to personally prepare for Jesus Christ's return to establish God's government on this earth.
Quite a few of the attendees are leading people in Sri Lanka, and a few of them want me to go to their churches and groups to teach their people about the "true God" of the Bible and God's plan of salvation for all of mankind.
We had a cross-section mixture of Sri Lankan society, with attendees from Buddhist, Catholic, Hindu, Muslim and Evangelical Christian viewpoints, who moved from the back to the edge of their chairs, being so intent on hearing our message as it progressed.
Soon we will be having our second session, building upon the foundation of our previous meeting. We will be covering in more depth the major end-time prophecies leading up to Jesus Christ's return and the establishment of God's government on this earth...and what we can do to be ready.
The brethren and myself feel that God is beginning to move the minds of our readership here in Sri Lanka and open amazing doors of calling them.
Because I was prevented from going into India, I have been able to spend over a week here continually visiting our Good News readers and our fellow brethren, especially those who said they would love to come to our two meetings but couldn't come because of distance or lack of resources.
Hence I have been able to travel with some of our accompanying brethren to cities such as Mannar (seven hours north), Kandy (three hours east), Kalutura (two hours south), Negombo and other places, visiting many people who are keen to learn God's truth.
I went to St. Lawrence Catholic Church here in Colombo to visit one of our GN readers, and he introduced me to his priest, Bob Rodrigo, who is the main priest in that major church in Colombo. As I entered Mr. Rodrigo's office I noticed a small stack of well-worn Good News magazines on his desk. He smiled at me and said that he was so pleased to meet me. In our discussion he said that he loves the Good News magazine and uses our biblical in-depth information in his sermons. Also, he gives our GN to other priests who also value and use the information in their messages as well.
Three hours from Colombo, Jerome Pereira (member in UCG) and I visit a young married couple at Kandy, who serve and teach in the Kandy City Mission. They told us how they use our booklet on marriage and family in counselling people to have happier marriages. They are so keen to learn more and stimulated me to answer in-depth Bible questions.
Seven hours north of Colombo, at Mannar on the Northwest coast, we visited an elderly couple who had told me they could not make our meetings. They also invited a leading town council leader, their daughter, who is a much loved doctor in Mannar, and other notable people. There were six in all, along with four of my fellow travelling brethren, Frank, Tina, Jerome and Annette. We had a really lively talk with them as they sat on the edge of their seats listening to the scriptures about the coming of Jesus and God's plan of salvation for them and all mankind. I was able to annoint his wife for a serious avian virus that had left her disabled in a wheel chair.
Two months previously, Mr. Jesuthason had e-mailed me to tell me he wasn't getting his Good News magazines, so I contacted Mr. Alec Surratt in our correspondence department, and he personally made sure that Mr. Jesuthason was on the mailing list. However, when we first arrived to Mr. Jesuthason's home in Mannar, I asked him if he had received his GN in the mail yet, and I was surprised to hear that he hadn't. Anyway, just as we had finished our visit and were having warm hugs with them all, who should turn up to the house but the postman!
And guess what? The postman handed to me Mr. Jesuthason's envelope with the GN as mailed to him from our Belgium UCG office. What a pleasure it was to be able to hand Mr. Jesuthason his GN personally, in front of his wife and daughter and other invited friends. Needless to say, they said they were all going to request their own subscription to the GN.
Throughout my stay I have been able to begin counselling four people for baptism. At Sabbath services we had an attendance of 21 members, including myself, at our new meeting room at Sasakawa Hall, Colombo.
On Sunday a small evangelical chuch pastor near Kalutura (two hours south), who is a GN subscriber, invited me and Frank to come and speak about God's plan of salvation for all mankind to his 30+ members. They received the message very keenly as it was translated by two interpreters standing beside me, into the Singhala and Tamil languages. At the end of the 45-minute message they asked me to pray for them, so we all kneeled together in a big huddle as I asked God's blessing upon them to call them and guide them through the gift of repentance and baptism to receive God's Holy Spirit and to begin their spiritual journey of conversion to the mind and conduct of Jesus Christ. Their pastor has since travelled all the way up to Colombo to hear last night's Good News meeting message, as well as telling me after our meeting that he is keen to come again.
Way too many other amazing and wonderful things that God is doing here for me to be able to effectively tell you about. I feel overwhelmed by how God is opening the minds of people and removing the veil of philosophical confusion.
I will try to keep you informed.
In the meantime...keep pumpin'!