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"A Picture in the Park" - - by Rev. Weldon Bares

Sri Lanka is such a beautiful country. It is an island nation off the coast of India, with a population of 22 million.

On a recent visit to Sri Lanka, my brother and I walked through the Royal Botanical Gardens in the city of Kandy. The history of the gardens can be traced back to 1750. It comprises 147 acres and is truly magnificent to see.

On this particular day, the park had many visitors. As far as the eye could see, my brother and I were the only westerners. We certainly stood out in the crowd.

As we were walking down a pathway, a young boy came up to us, smiling from ear to ear. He extended his hand and, practicing his English, said, “Hello sir. Hello sir.” He vigorously shook our hands, then ran to his family and brought them over. His mother, father, brother and 2 sisters all smiled and shook hands. In spite of the language barrier, we were able to visit for a little while. They smiled as I took their picture.

As we walked away, I couldn’t help but smile. A little boy and his family went out of their way to be friendly to strangers and to make us feel welcome.

More than likely, they were Buddhists. But they were living out a Biblical principle. The Old Testament book of Deuteronomy declares, “And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.” (10:19)

A lesson that was re-enforced to me on the other side of the world.

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