We were at St. Luke's church, Borella for morning worship. I also did a mini conference for The Diocesan Missionary Council on Revival and Renewal with about 60 participants. Praise God! All glory to HIM!
What a journey we've had these past couple of weeks. I've had the priviledge and opportunity to celebrate and preach at the 151st anniversary celebrations, Christ Church Horethuduwa, Sri Lanka as well as preaching at Christ Church, Dehiwala, Sri Lanka at the 7.15 am Eucharist. This church is never locked and that's why it's called the church of the open door. The church was packed for the service. Praise God! Thank you for your prayers and thoughts!
By Doug Eisele, COTHA Missions Coordinator
A calling to help
Why go to Uganda? Why go to Mexico? Why go downtown to Lord of the Streets? Or for that matter, why stop the car to give a care bag? God called, I had to say yes.
I use to worry, well actually still do sometimes, if the guy on the corner is in real need or a con man. Then a wise person reminded me that it is not my money but God’s. I am only a custodian of the money he provides. God will make sure that the dollar will go to use. God will make sure that mosquito net or medicine will be used to his glory! It is my job to be the person to say yes to our Lord.
God does not always call me to be on a mission, sometimes it is to pray, write a check, support others to make sure they can go or further their work. I need to remind myself it’s not about me it is about heeding God's call.
How does God call me? It has been through getting a feeling, people opening doors or “pieces of the puzzle” just falling into place. Here is how He has worked on me. I got invited to a mission conference about 7 years ago as part of a prayer team and was immediately dragged out of my comfort zone and exposed to what it meant to really answer God’s call. When we returned suddenly a Mission to Mexico mission was put in front of us. Turns out several other COTHA members were called to go and off we went to Nuevo Laredo. We have been supporting MtM with people and funds ever since. When the border violence got bad we were tempted to back away. I clearly remember a vision of the children lining up for food and no one being there. MtM still needs to exist ‘to do its work. So we still support. Whether you go or fund the effort depends on what God wants you to do. For Karen and I, He often closes the door on making the trip but He has made it possible for us to support His children. (Karen has her own MtM story)
Then came Katrina and New Orleans; Ike and Galveston and Uganda. God put people into our lives in a way that can in no way be construed as a coincidence. It almost became easy to get to Uganda. I think it is safe to say God put me and others at COTHA into a mission that was out of our comfort zone. The first year COTHA planted a new church then God wanted us to do something else. Many other U.S. Churches were planting new Uganda Churches but few were supporting the existing churches to help them reach out to the unchurched , hence medical missions and mosquito nets. Through this effort, thousands see a community Bible based Church help the community whether they are a member, a Christian or a Muslim. The event provides a forum to pray for people and to witness the hope of the Gospel to thousands. God has clearly called COTHA to do this work. It seems He wants us to do a little more. He has put on our hearts to provide measles vaccines. We will see where this goes. Perhaps you are called to help us?
God has sent us to Guatemala and now Honduras to drill water wells. He has given us the ability to have a spaghetti supper every Wednesday free to anyone who walks through the door. No strings attached!! There is a new effort called viaCOTHA that God is calling us to go out to help others in a more social way. Check with Mark to find out more as this mission finds where God is taking us. And this Wednesday another calling may have walked in the door, literally. A lady from Christ Clinic in Katy came to our Evangelism Meeting to start a conversation on how we can work together. Where is this one going? God knows.
I can’t believe where God has taken me, Karen and COTHA over the last seven years. I hope all of you reading this will listen for God to tell you what he wants you to do. If COTHA has its 500 plus members focused on what God wants us to do we will make a difference in a lot of peoples’ lives. Join me and the others at our Evangelism meeting on the 2nd Monday of each month. If you get the call, go on a mission with us.
34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. + 35For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. + 36I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ 37“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,* you were doing it to me!’
Matthew 25: 34-40
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Today we worshipped at St. Luke's church, Borella. This was my last parish I served as Rector in Sri Lanka before we left to the USA, twenty seven years ago. St. Luke's celebrated their harvest festival today, and I was invited to be the celebrant and preacher at the Eucharist. It was awesome sharing God's Word with those whom I have baptized, and married. We shared a lot of happy memories what God has done and is doing in our lives. This church was the launching pad for the Charismatic Movement in the Diocese of Colombo. For the first time in one hundred fifty years in it's history, the LORD brought together 437 people from all over the Diocese to have a Bible Camp and it's still happening in individual churches. Praise God! The Holy Spirit is alive and well, touching and transforming lives. We have two more weeks in Sri Lanka, and we are coming HOME!!!
Love & prayers
Pastor of Evangelism
I am way behind, but better late than never.
On Sep. 1 st we worshipped at St. George's church in Singapore. We spent three days with our friends and former parishioners from Houston. It was an Anglican Church. The church was packed with ex-pats and the president of the country was in attendance at the service. They are heavily involved in world mission and learned a little bit of what they do. There was a booth at the entrance (on the left) welcoming the newcomers. There was no Eucharist but a great teaching on the Sunday Gospel with music. They had a band like ours except they had a sax player (American) who had been there for thirty four years.
Sunday Sep. 8th I was invited to preach at a Baptist church (grey Church) in Moratuwa, which is very rare for an Anglican Priest. The small church was packed and it was like a prayer and praise service.
On Sep. 14th I had the privilege of solemnizing the marriage of my cousins daughter at Holy Emmanuel church, the church with the tall bell tower. I married her parents 30 years ago and now their child. It was an awesome moment. It was great meeting family and joining in some fun.
Sunday Sep. 15th we worshipped at St. Peter's Church, in Moratuwa to celebrate our 42 nd wedding anniversary. The priest took us to the altar, said a prayer and blessed us. This is where my spiritual journey began as a choir boy, and as an altar server (acolyte). Ewena and I attended this church and Sunday school as kids, and we got married on Sep. 11th, 1971. It was awesome worshipping together with my wife after a long time and to celebrate our wedding anniversary.
Sep. 21st we had an ecumenical small group meeting and went and ministered to a cancer patient with some of the group.
Today, Sep 22nd we were at St. Paul's Kandy, where I was celebrant and preacher. Tomorrow morning we are going to Hill Wood College, a leading Christian girl's school in Kandy. I'll be doing chapel at 7.30 am.
People are hungry to know the LORD, His WORD, and they have questions. God has been so good and merciful in using us frail human beings for HIS glory! He is opening door after door for ministry which we never dreamed or imagined, and we just follow HIS lead.
It is not easy to be away from home. Ewena and I miss our children and our grand children. We miss COTHA our church family. Sometimes we feel home sick, lonely, and want to return home. But Jesus keeps reminding us that, Disciples of Jesus follow HIM, and go where he leads you to go. HE leads you to places where you have never been before, and HE gives you the strength, the grace and the power to do things you have never done before.
We ask for your prayers for health, for safety on the roads, for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to do HIS work.
God bless you!
With love & prayers,
Desmond & Ewena
An Update from Desmond Goonesekera, Pastor of Evangelism
This picture was taken at the clergy spouse conference in Kadalana, Moratuwa which was held from August 21 - 23rd. The retreat was called "God's Little Acre."
It was well organized, well received and they were very grateful for the opportunity to meet as a group. They call themselves The Mary & Martha guild.
A Methodist lay worker did one session on "Balancing family life" and I did the two main sessions on "The calling of a clergy spouse" and "How to build lasting relationships." We had a panel discussion and it was very productive with many participating with very interesting questions. This is a first in the history of the Anglican Church in Sri Lanka.
On Sunday Aug. 25 th, I was back at St. James Egodauyana at the request of the Rector. It was a very uplifting worship experience. If you just put hand out you could have touched Jesus who was walking amidst the congregation during worship time. It was so simple yet so profound and powerful. All glory to God!
Right now Ewena and I are taking a break. Ewena developed a cough and we have been to the doctor twice already. They say it's a bacterial infection due to dust. It's still lingering and we are very concerned. Please pray for God's healing hand upon us both. We luv u and miss u.
Desmond & Ewena
I had the privilege of celebrating and preaching in this historic church in Kandy, established in 1843. The church sits right next to the most sacred/highest Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka,which is called the Dalada Maligawa. This church is situated in the hill country, while we went to the most northern part Sunday before.
Our worship experience at St. Paul's was very different. It was very traditional, marbec setting with chanting, pipe organ and choir. I had to mount the pulpit to preach. My friend, Bishop Kumara and his wife sat in the congregation and worshipped with us. It is amazing to receive invitations and
opportunities to share the message and the words of Jesus.
This week Wednesday through Friday I'll be doing the clergy spouse/lay workers conference with about 70 -100 people. I ask for your prayers for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to fall upon us all and in all we do, we may bring glory to HIS name! Love and blessings to all. We miss you.
This church is situated in the northern part of the country, in Chundukkuli, Jaffna. We had to travel about ten hours to get here. This is where there was unrest, war and bloodshed for twenty seven long years. The war has ended and peace prevails. Yet, there's a lot of rehabilitation to be done. One can see the aftermath of war, with so much destruction, loss of life, broken down structures, roads, etc. Amidst all this chaos, brokenness and pain in human hearts, it is very touching and inspiring to notice and witness the faith of the Christian people. For the hope they have amidst hopelessness and the never failing faith in Jesus Christ. Ewena and I had the great privilege of worshipping with them this morning. I had the privilege of preaching and celebrating the Eucharist, and the sermon was about FAITH. This is the altar of the church. Prayers please as we minister in a predominately Hindu population!
God bless u!
We love u and miss u
Desmond & Ewena.
Father Desmond, Pastor of Evangelism
Yesterday Ewena and I experienced the anointing of the Holy Spirit in a new and fresh way. It was a very young congregation. The first part of the service was prayer and praise. It was very simple but very powerful worship. I had the privilege of preaching and celebrating the Eucharist. What an awesome God we have. All glory to HIM!
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