Jayawardhana Christmas Letter 2017

“4 Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered— how fleeting my life is. 5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.”
Psalm 39:4-5 NLT

Dear Friends & Family,

There’s nothing quite like death to remind us that life is transient. We are but a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes (James 4:14). This year 2017 we have been reminded of the shortness of life and the importance of using the years God gives us to focus on living for the Lord in light of eternity and of being a blessing to others.

This year PJ’s (Giga’s) mum, Asoki, passed away unexpectedly on 5th December aged 80 years. She was an inspiration to many and showed us what it is to live a life fully devoted to God, family and others. Gwenda also lost her eldest cousin to stage 4 melanoma in November of this year.


PJ concluded his role as Chairman of the Grace Lutheran College P&F Association this year but will continue on next year in the position of Finance Officer. He maintains his role as Chairman of the COMPASS – finances God’s way board for 2018 and has enjoyed working closely with inaugural CEO for COMPASS, Andrew L’Almont, over this past year. God has also opened many doors for the COMPASS ministry to take root and flourish and we’re excited for what 2018 will bring in being able to teach people the biblical perspective of money and finance.


Gwenda’s new role as Aged Care Chaplain at Carinity’s Clifford House – Wooloowin, which she commenced in September after having graduated with a Master of Divinity in February, entails Gwenda ministering to both men and women during palliative care and at end-of-life. This again has brought home to both of us the fleetingness of life and the importance of what we set our hearts and minds on during this lifetime. It is however such a privilege to be able to minister to people on the cusp of death and to minister to their families during this sensitive, soul-searching time. Gwenda also provides ministry of the Word and pastoral care to the residents, all of whom have varying levels of dementia, during the week and at their Wednesday devotion. It’s amazing to see how music, the Holy Spirit and God’s Word can reignite memories and expose brief snippets of lucidity and full recognition in some of the residents.


PJ, Gwenda and family were also busy this year assisting Ps Jason and Leisa Krienke, as part of the Expansion launch team, to plant Expansion Church at Craigslea State High School. Launch Day was well attended with 140 people coming along to show their support. It has been an amazing year with God deepening and strengthening our faith as well as providing us with greater insight into the workings of the Holy Spirit, the broader church and, in particular, Pentecostalism in Australia. God continues to weave His tapestry for Expansion Church and draw people to be part of this fellowship whilst also pulling out threads He no longer requires there. This period has seen a number of launch team members heeding God’s call to ‘Go!’ to where He next wishes them to serve. We too have heeded God’s call and will be returning to the fellowship of Bridgeman Baptist Community Church commencing a Bible Study Connect Group for Married Couples in 2018 on a Monday Night commencing 7pm (let us know if you’re interested in being part of this group).


Taruna has had a successful first year in his Accounting degree at QUT. He is a quiet, thoughtful man who is conscientious in his studies. This year Taruna turned 18 years old and celebrated this milestone with a small group of friends from his GLC school days. Taruna is well on his way to getting his car Provisional Licence (‘P’s) and has 20 hours remaining before he can drive independently. He spent the week between Christmas and New Years holidaying on a friend’s property at Broadwater, NSW with three of his high school mates.


Rasika, 16 years old, has also started her journey towards getting her ‘P’s and has already amassed 27 hours of driving since getting her Learners in early September. She has made it her quest to gain her Provisional Licence before Taruna does! Rasika commences Year 12 at Grace Lutheran College in 2018 and will be Faith & Service Captain. She hopes to gain high enough grades to study psychology at university in 2019. Rasika was part of the My Fair Lady senior school musical this year and also has a flair for video editing winning her school’s Short Film 2017 award. She also went on a Father-Daughter Fathering Adventures 5-day adventure to Magnetic Island in June with her dad which they both enjoyed.


Prashan, 13 years old, did well in his studies this year gaining good results in the subjects that he enjoyed. He’s looking forward next year to doing Drama, Business & Economics, and iSteam (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics). He has hopes of following in his brother’s and mother’s footsteps and becoming an accountant. This year Prashan was diagnosed with an eating disorder called ARFID (Avoidant Resistant Food Intake Disorder). This diagnosis has somewhat been a relief after many years of knowing he has issues surrounding food way beyond that of ‘picky eating’ but not being able to pinpoint exactly what it is nor its root cause. The journey of helping a loved one with ARFID is long, arduous and filled with anguish often with little progress seeming to be made. We are hopeful that 2018 will see Prashan experience breakthrough in his eating habits with a resultant boost to his immune system and overall health so that his body is able to fight off infections and heal quickly. We would appreciate prayer for an ingrown toenail infection he has had since April which is not healing despite our best efforts.


Mid this year we travelled to Darwin to spend a week with PJ’s brothers Gehan and Nim, and their families, for a ‘Christmas in July’. Both Asoki and PJ’s brother, Maithri, joined us for this family holiday. It was to be in lieu of the Darwinian Jayawardhana’s joining us in Brisbane for Christmas this year. Later on though, plans changed and Asoki was scheduled to spend Christmas in Darwin. Therefore, we brought forward our Brisbane Jayawardhana family Christmas gathering to now be Saturday 16th December. Little did we know though that instead we would now gather on this day to spread Asoki’s ashes and to give thanks to God for her life. Asoki spent this past year celebrating her 80th birthday by travelling to Santa Fe, London, and Perth visiting her sisters and long-time friends which she enjoyed immensely. Hers was a life well-lived!

Someone recently asked Gwenda whether she had made any New Years Resolutions yet. She hadn’t even given it a thought. Instead, as a family, our collective prayer and hope for next year is that we would continue to be ambassadors for Christ in our spheres of influence and that we would continue to learn to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12).

Wishing you all joy, peace, love and hope throughout the new year.

Love from PJ (Giga), Gwenda, Taruna, Rasika and Prashan Jayawardhana