Sri Lanka Update 3: Visiting a Temple

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The view from our hotel is amazing. We are right on the beach. It’s a fisherman community so at every hour of the day, we can see Sri Lankans loading and unloading their boats. Many animals roam the beaches as well. I have seen cows, chickens, goats and very big lizards. The sand is free space for all.
On our first day here, the team went to visit a Buddhist temple and obverse the practices of Buddhism. The temple area is similar to a small community. Many different buildings are set up for specific purposes. The room in the middle housed a very large statue of the Buddha. Another room had multiple Buddhas displayed with name plates, which represented a specific problem or need of the Sri Lankan people. When the Sri Lankans deal with that specific issue, this is the Buddha they would pray to.
What struck me most as we read through scriptures and prayed for the monks at the temple was that these Buddhas, their idols, were made by human hands. They are the creators of their gods. They build an idol and expect it to do something for them. In contrast, we believe in the God, who created the heavens and the earth and everything in it. He created us! Our God is powerful.
The Buddhist monks were all ages. They wore brightly color robes (much like you would see in the movie Seven Years in Tibet). A young monk approached me while I was reading my Bible. He wanted to know what I was doing. I was able to share with him about my studies and also learn what he is studying at the temple. He is required to learn very much. After our conversation, the translator was able to present the Gospel to him. He was slightly interested, but explained he had chosen a life of a monk on his own and held to that decision.
We were served tea and a sweet treat by some of the older monks. Everyone in Sri Lanka is very hospitable. After the tea, a bell was rang and it was time for the monk’s prayer. We listened as they bowed before the large statue and chanted, repeating phrases over and over. They moved to the next building to gather and pray through more chants. During the Buddhist prayer, we heard the Islam call to prayer.
So many religions fill this small country, and yet, that is all they are…religions. No hope for the future, no relationship with a personal God, no knowledge of where one comes from, just existence hoping to live a life that is pleasing to their idols. For us this seems so empty, but so many of the Sri Lankans are very devout in their beliefs and very content with their religions. They like hearing the message of Jesus, but have no desire to accept. Please pray that the Sri Lankans would see the one true God through His creation, through His Word that we share, and through our love towards them. And that He would place within their hearts a desire for Him.

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