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Vassula in Sri Lanka, May 2002
Not long ago (October and November 2001) Vassula was invited to Sri-Lanka, Bangladesh and India to evangelize when God asked her once again (in May of 2002) to go back to Asia and visit the same countries and through His guidance and wisdom reveal to her and to His children His plans.
On May 16th I arrived in Rome from Athens, Greece, to accompany Vassula to this evangelizing trip in Asia. These countries she was invited again to speak to, are in their majority, other than Christian: Sri Lanka is Buddhist, Bangladesh is Muslim and India is Hindu. So, it is interesting to see how God works also in other religions through the same message of TLIG, proving constantly there is only One God and everyone on earth is the work of His Hands and when He speaks it’s for everyone!
When I arrived at her house, Vassula acquainted me to the guestroom and made sure that I felt comfortable and relaxed. Even though she had to answer to her e-mails, to make necessary phone calls and to check the last details of the journey, this did not prevent her from offering me a unique hospitality.
The next day, May 17th, we departed from Rome for our first stop, Colombo, Sri-Lanka. We traveled for many hours, in the night, changing airplanes. What amazed me was that Vassula had the energy of a teenager! Even though I am some years younger to her, I caught myself running after her to catch up with her speed!
On May 18th we arrived at the airport of Colombo early in the morning. Duleep, Catarina, Fr. Gregory Leonidas and other True Life In God friends where waiting for us with flowers and a lot of joy. Vassula’s first meeting would take place in Kandy. So, we immediately departed Colombo and by using a mini-bus we had a three hours journey to Kandy. During this journey I had the opportunity to see the beauty of the tropic plantation in this country. One could see God’s presence, since without this rich plantation and production of fruits and local vegetables, people would have definitely starved to death. On our way to the hotel Catarina showed us posters indicating the time and place of Vassula’s meeting, in English, Sinhala and Tamil, the 2 local languages.
When we arrived at our hotel, the True Life In God friends where waiting for us there as well. Once again we were offered a beautiful bouquet with exotic flowers. The hotel we stayed at was on the bank of a river. I have to mention that this was a gift from God. When the owner of the 5-star Mahaveli Hotel (who is a Buddhist) was told by Mrs. Therese Pieris that Vassula - who receives messages from God - is visiting Kandy, he generously offered the Presidential suite free of charge and he asked also for the books of TLIG for him to read. We thank God for that generosity - since we know that our fellow brothers in Sri-Lanka do not have financial resources to afford such luxury for our prophet - but also for touching this man’s heart!
In the afternoon the organizers had arranged for Vassula to have a press conference at the residence of Mr. Stanley Peiris. Unfortunately, only one Buddhist reporter came. For a long period of time he was informing Vassula of the difficulties that his country is facing (financial and political). Vassula patiently listened to him, without interrupting him, only asking him some questions. That made the atmosphere even more pleasant and as he started feeling comfortable being around Vassula, he started asking questions about the messages and her mission. At the end of their conversation, he said that he could see in Vassula a divine touch that can help his country and that he acknowledges that Vassula did not come to proselytize, but to reveal a message, which is based on peace.
In the afternoon, we had lunch with Catarina, Duleep, Fr. Gregory and the other organizers. To our disappointment, we were informed that the Archbishop in Kandy had forbidden all the priests in Kandy to attend Vassula’s meeting the next day. Moreover, some priests who were against Vassula, informed other Christian denominations not to attend the meeting either. Only Fr. Gregory stood up to his belief in the divine origin of the messages. May God bless him! It was also a good opportunity for Vassula to remind the organizers that it is very important, before they meet any Archbishop or Church authority, to be well prepared and have all the necessary documents that prove that the True Life In God messages are a divine call.
The next day Vassula’s itinerary was quite difficult. Fr. Gregory had arranged for Vassula to visit the Bagambara Prison in Kandy, the 2nd largest in Sri-Lanka, and speak to the prisoners, quite early in the morning. The enthusiasm for her arrival was very obvious from both the prisoners and the authorities. A group of prisoners dressed in colorful local outfits, welcomed Vassula with songs and Kandyan dancing. The joy on their face was so obvious. Never in my life had I seen something like this. I was tremendously moved by their kindness and amazed by the way they danced. Vassula gave a speech to around 100 prisoners, indicating to them that God loves them and cares for them. He is not approaching them to reprimand them, but to remind them of His Fatherly love for them all. She also indicated to them that in some prisons in other countries people have been touched so much by the messages and have changed their lives in such a degree that live as if they were monks. Fr. Gregory told us that some prisoners in this prison have already read the messages in English and have been profoundly touched and the rest were waiting for the Sinhalese translation.
After her speech, Vassula was invited by the Director of the Prison – who had arrived that same morning from Colombo only to meet with her and was present at her speech! - to talk about her worldwide mission and to sign into the guest book. He asked also when will the translation of the messages be ready to distribute to the prison! When we entered his office I saw a picture of Buddha. It was then that I realized that Vassula was not talking to Christians in a Christian country, but to people that the big majority of them where Buddhists! I left the office tremendously moved and I gave praise to God for all the wonders that He does!
At 11:00 we arrived at the Police Grounds in Kandy where the meeting addressing the public would take place. The organizers in Kandy led by Cedric Foster, had worked very hard to put together everything for Vassula’s meeting. As they told us, they were putting up posters late at night, covering the whole city, distributing flyers, having 1-2 presentations of the messages per week for the last month, besides the weekly TLIG prayer meeting. Unfortunately, only 600 people attended the meeting. Due to the notification of 1995, which the Bishop distributed to all the parish churches a week before and personally visited many of the priests on Saturday night to make sure that the notification will be read out at Sunday Mass, a lot of people did not come. Vinnette, one of the organizers, also told us that they had invited and informed personally about the meeting the representatives of about 20 different Christian denominations. However, the harm from the Bishop was done. The action of the bishop did affect negatively the attendance of people. Only Fr. Gregory with another priest and a Presbyterian Reverent, Mr. George Stephen, where present.
Once again, the Kandyan dancing group welcomed Vassula at the Police Grounds, and while dancing, escorted her onto the stage. The welcoming traditional oil lamp was lit to open the meeting. Vassula talked about unity, peace and reconciliation. That we have to come closer to God, get to know Him in order to recognize His Voice, love Him and repent for our sins. She talked about the importance of having peace with God and our neighbour. Mrs. Therese Pieris proudly presented to Vassula the first volume of the messages translated in Sinhala. At the end of the meeting Rev. Stephen (a Presbyterian pastor) said a few words about the importance of unity and thanked Vassula for her mission. The meeting ended with a prayer from Vassula and hymns to the Lord.
In the afternoon Fr. Gregory invited Vassula to the Lawrence Hyde Boy’s Home, an orphanage in which he is the director in the premises of St. Anthony’s Church and where we also had Mass. Vassula had a brief discussion with the young children and asked them some questions about God. They enthusiastically answered to her questions and eagerly listened to what she had to say.
We then left the orphanage and directly went to another meeting which was organized at the Presbyterian Church in Kandy. Rev. Stephen proudly said a few words about Vassula’s mission. The audience were happy to listen to Vassula and were taken by her fire and zeal. However, to our disappointment, very few bought the books.
The next morning we departed for our trip to Colombo. Once again I enjoyed the tropical nature, the colors and the plantation of this country. The three hours trip seemed much less to me this time. I was trying during our journey to absorb as much as I could by observing the people, the simplicity of their life and the peacefulness and the harmony, which surrounded me. When we arrived in Colombo, the True Life In God organizers welcomed us with flowers. Once we settled in our hotel, we had the time to relax since the scheduled meeting in Colombo was at 6pm. The meeting took place at the: "Cathedral of Christ the Living Saviour" of the Anglican Church. Around 300 people attended the meeting. Vassula talked about unity and reconciliation. Even though it was very hot and humid, people listened to her speech with increased interest. At the end Vassula blessed the crowd and we all sang hymns to the glory of our Lord.
Our trip to Sri-Lanka ended with a farewell dinner with all of the organizers from Kandy and Colombo, which was planned by Duleep and Catarina, as they too would be leaving with us for Bangladesh. The next day we continued our journey to Dhaka, stopping for a few hours in Singapore. We left Sri-Lanka having in our hearts wonderful moments.
TLIG group in Athens, Greece