Bro Lalith often advices us take a day off and spend time with the Lord, reading the Word, meditating and allowing the Lord to speak to us. This particular day, I decided to spend the day before the Blessed Sacrament and I asked the Lord “Where should I go today – Should I go to Fatima Church, Maradana or Philip Neri’s Church, Fort or St. Anthony’s Church at Kochchikade?” These churches were not too far from my home and the Blessed Sacrament is exposed throughout the day. I waited and waited, but I received no answer. A little while later I had a strong desire to visit the Good News Ashram (Supuwath Arana) at Seeduwa, a center for prayer run by Fr. Darrel Coonghe. Seeduwa is several kilometers outside Colombo.
The desire was very strong. So strong that even though I did not have my car with me that day, I left home and got into a bus to go to the Ashram. I had to change busses twice and it took me almost one and an half hours to reach the Ashram. All throughout the journey I was asking myself ‘Why am I going all the way to Seeduwa when there are so many churches in and around Colombo?” Yet I made it and went to this little church (which is a beautiful chapel built on a boat that is floating on the Dandugama Oya). I opened my Bible and settled down to pray. A little while later a young mother of about 32 with a child of about 5 years came and sat next to me. The mother opened a Holy Hour book and started reading.
Though I started to pray I was not at ease – I felt a deep disturbance within me and I just could not find the reason for it. However much I tried to concentrate the disturbance within me persisted. Then suddenly a strange thought came in to my mind. ‘Pray with that mother who is seated next to you… Pray with that mother who is seated next to you”. I discounted the thought, but the more I ignored it the stronger the disturbance I felt within me. Now that inner voice said “Pray with her the four steps…….. Pray with her the four steps’. I thought to myself ‘How can I do that – I have not even seen her face properly. I came here to spend the time with the Lord alone and not to pray with others".
I spent quite a while struggling within myself. Finally, I tapped her on her shoulder (not knowing what the outcome would be) and asked her ‘Would you like to pray with me?” She seemed disinterested but said ‘OK’, probably just not to be rude. Then I asked her ‘Shall I teach you to pray in a simple, yet very effective method which we call the 4-steps?” Her mannerism told me that I was making a nuisance of myself, but yet she said “OK”’. Then I asked the mother and daughter to close their eyes and to listen to what I say. I then walked them through the four steps. It was also strange that no one other than the three of us were in that church throughout this time. As I finished the 4th step, the young mother started crying loudly like a little baby. I was taken aback and I inquired why she was crying.
She told me that she had come that morning from a village a few kilometers off Negombo. She had come to the Ashram with a huge burden on her heart, not knowing what she is to do next. Her husband had died mysteriously two months ago. His body was found lying in a jungle off Hambanthota, a place very far (about a 9 to 10 hour journey) from where they lived. When they found his body, he had been dead for about three days and they also found a bottle of poison next to him.
She was not even allowed to see his body. As far as she knew, there was no reason for her husband to commit suicide. They were happily married with three daughters. Her in-laws, and her own relatives were blaming her for her husband’s death. The whole village had turned against her as they were convinced that she had driven her husband to suicide.
At school her daughters were subject to much embarrassment. She earned a living by running a nursery school. After her husband’s death, the townspeople had stopped sending their children to her school. Now all her sources of income had dried up. She was so very broken; she did not know what had happened to her husband and she could not think what she was to do next. The temptation to commit suicide and end it all weighed strongly on her mind. She thought that if she died, the nuns would take her children and bring them up in their orphanage. She assumed that her children would then have a better chance at life. That day she had come to the Ashram to ask the Lord what she should do next.
I could not believe what I was hearing. I could very well understand the trauma this mother was going through. Barely 17 years ago my husband fell off a precipice in a freak accident and died in the prime of his life. My world shattered and I was left having to care for a five year old child all by myself. It immediately dawned on me that the Lord had a definite purpose in sending me all the way from Colombo to Seeduwa. This lady was desperately in need of comfort and consolation.
I told her that Jesus loved her and her children very much and that Jesus would never abandon her. I shared with her how the Lord guided me throughout the past and invited her to anchor her life on Jesus as he would do the same for her. I will never forget the peace and the joy that flooded her face as I spoke to her and the sweet smile of her little daughter as they left the church.
Fr. Darrel later mentioned that this mother had come to meet him and related her side of the story. She said that she had come to his Ashram with every intention of committing suicide. Then, a lady who had arrived before her had turned around and prayed with her and given her hope when none existed. She says that she now knows that the Lord is alive and cares about her. She has decided to live for the Lord and persevere in order to support her children.
While one of the Lord’s precious daughters was suffering in small town outside Negombo, not knowing where to go or what to do, He was already talking to another daughter with a similar tragic background and preparing her to carry the balm that would heal. Had Aloma not decided to listen to the Lord that day or discounted the leading of the spirit, we would never know what the outcome of that fateful day would have been.
Our God is a living God. Our God is an awesome God. Our God cares about us. Praise the Lord!