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Namalpura 2The Mission partners (sisters and lay) of the Good Shepherd congregation of Sri Lanka decided to celebrate Christmas of 2015 different to the traditional structured and monotonous way. The new blood was pumped in by our Provincial Sr Francine with the association of the core team of the partnership for mission. It was decided toselect a village in the wilderness close to the borders of the previous war zone with poor infrastructure.
The name of the village is Namalpura. That village was the fourth stage of Kalyanipura new settlements. The village was established in the year 2012. The government at that time has promised them with many things including housing systems and infrastructure facilities which has not materialized. 270 families established their homes in this village expecting it to flow with milk and honey.. They were given two acresof paddy land and half an acres to build a house. Majority have left the place because of the numerous difficulties they had to go through. Namely
1. They have no means of generating income.
2. The villages are unable to cultivate due to scarcity of water and scarcity and destructions of wild animals (Elephants were abundant  And wild elephant attacks were common
3. Power supply was not established yet. Being a fundamental requirement of survival
4. The road network was in shambles
5. There is hardly any means of transportation
6. Children have to travel nearly 7kms to the nearest school. (The bus service is not very regularly.Often the bus doesn’t reach the school on time
7. There are no proper sanitary facilities
8. Nearest hospital and other government offices are at SampathNuwara( 8kms away from the village0
9. The hospital is poorly equipped and there is only one doctor. Invariably he is on leave.
10. Mid wives avoid coming to the village due to the poor transport.
So with all these difficulties only 48 families remained in the village.

All the communities integrated so that this was the major Christmas project for the province. All the partners in mission experienced the mutuality, trust, co-responsibility, and the commitment together in doing this project. This was the best practical introduction of the elements of the partnership for mission.
The Partners for mission in the Good shepherd community organized a medical camp with the help of the OMI Priest Father Kalum Dias. MrYogendrakumar of A. Baurs and company helped us in obtaining medicines. Some of our mission partners who were doctors helped in the fine organization of selecting medicines, organizing lab tests, organizing technicians, optometrists, Spectacles, doctors, pharmacists, and the other supporting staff. We managed to reach the village early in the morning on the 2nd day of our journey. This journey for mission with sisters and the lay hand in hand showed us that we need both for our sustainability. Good shepherd values, its spirituality and the charisma was experienced deeply and highlighted in this journey. We had no hierarchy. We all worked for the mission. At the end of the day all of us including the villages shared a locally cooked meal celebrating our “commitment together”
In addition to this all the communities in the province contributed to prepare dry ration packs. Some communities contributed in kind and others contributed monitory. Remaining funds were used to give raincoats and umbrellas to the children who had to travel far to school.
We hope to continue in our journey and to adopt this village and follow up the progress of the development of the village as we mature in our own journey towards partnership for mission.

Esposure Prog 1On the 19th February 2016 we set off to a rural area in Sinnapaduwa Akkarapaha for our exposure programme.We spent three days there. In the morning we visited the families in the area. They shared their life experiences with us. In the evening we organized a programme for the children in the village. We gathered them together and divided them into groups according to their ages. They were given time to express themselves and then we did some exercises with them.  
The Following day we organized many activities, such as meditation, hand work, letters, how to pray the Rosary and sing songs. We instructed parents how to handle their children and how to save money. We explained how to clean their houses and also stressed the importance of children’s studies, for we heard that the children don’t study much.

However they willingly listened to us and continually came for our programmes and spent their time with us. As we see these people are facing many difficulties; especially the lack of drinking water, schools being far away, having only temporary houses etc.They are married to their own relatives. These people have no proper roads and no hospital. Even so, with what they have, they are satisfied with their life.

First Profession 1After the completion of the Novitiate period of Formation, including the last two months of the Intensification Preparatory Programme, Srs. Julian Pakianathan, Muditha Fernando, Samudra Perera, Saima Preetum, Premi Kulas and Romaine Peiris of the Province of Sri Lanka/Pakistan joyfully and eagerly offered their lives to God by their First Commitment of Religious Profession on 5th March 2016.

The Eucharistic Celebration during which our six energetic sisters pledged their lives to God and His Kingdom was indeed a source of New Life and Hope for our Province, as we experienced the vibrancy and zeal the whole Celebration offered us. Surely the wealth of our Congregation too was replenished. Praise the Lord!

The parents of the sisters were present at the Celebration as they witnessed with overwhelming joy the earnest and challenging offering of their daughters, who dared to commit themselves to the God of their heart, as humble disciples of Jesus the Good Shepherd, ready to lay down their lives for others in loving witness to the Merciful Love of Our Heavenly father.

May the Master of the Harvest be glorified, and may our six sisters bear abundant fruit in His Vineyard. SO be it!

 

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