Jayawardhana Christmas Letter 2021

Dear Family & Friends,

In many ways 2021 has felt like a repeat of 2020 what with the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdowns, restrictions, face masks and the uncertainty about when this pandemic is ever going to end. Thank goodness we have an eternal hope and future to look forward to in Christ with a new heaven and a new earth that will be perfect in every way!

Some people ask us why we send out a Christmas letter each year. Well, there’s a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s a great opportunity to look back and reflect upon all that has happened over the past year (the good, bad and the ugly), secondly, it enables our family and friends who don’t live close by to keep in touch with what’s happening with our family and thirdly, these letters end up becoming a great keepsake of our family’s memories. This year’s Christmas letter happens to be the eighteenth (18th) one we’ve written! If you’re interested to read further, below is a short summary of our family’s year in review.

Giga (PJ) completed his eleventh (11th) and final year on the Grace Lutheran College P&F Association this year. It has been a bittersweet time for both PJ and Gwenda to say farewell to the teachers, staff and volunteers who have been part of our lives over the many years we have had children at this fantastic High School. Giga also continued in his role as Chairperson for Compass – finances God’s way Australia. It has been a good year for Compass with quite a few courses being run and the not-for-profit ministry seeing God raise up various key people to take on more active roles in the ministry. At the NEB Church AGM in November Giga was also elected as a Deacon. He is looking forward to how God will use him to serve the church leadership and congregation in the years to come. In terms of the finalisation of Giga’s parents’ estate, this pretty much ground to a halt in 2021 due to the pandemic affecting Sri Lanka but we are hopeful things will start to progress again in 2022. Giga’s much-loved friend, and former bowling partner, Thora also passed away early in 2021 aged 99 years.

Gwenda is enjoying her role at North-East Baptist Church (NEB Church) having nearly finished her second year in pastoral ministry. She is looking forward to further implementing a discipleship pathway for new, and not-so-new, Christians next year that will help them to grow and develop deep roots in the Christian faith. Gwenda also commenced a connect group towards the end of the year and joined a KYB group as a way of growing her own faith and expanding her friendship circle. She continues to be greatly encouraged to hear how being part of a connect group can make such a massive difference to a person’s wellbeing and outlook in life especially when times get tough and valleys run deep. Earlier in the year Gwenda stepped back from her role as Chairperson of the Malyon Theological College Alumni Committee but later on this year she became a Board member of Compass – finances God’s way Australia due to the sudden passing of our much-loved friend and fellow Compass board member Cam Bennett.

Taruna continued in his role as an accountant at Good Life Accounting in Redcliffe this year which he is enjoying. He also continued his CPA studies part-time plus commenced a Diploma of Business. Taruna also started doing cryptocurrency trading (it’s a bit like share trading). His travel plans had to be postponed again for another year but he’s hopeful of fulfilling them next year. Currently Taruna is without a car as the one he had needed fixing and was too costly to repair. Instead he’s been borrowing one of his parents cars whilst he waits for them to buy another car so that he can buy their old one (a wise decision moneywise considering how difficult it is to get a reasonably priced second hand car in today’s market).

Rasika completed the 3rd year of her Psychology Degree this year whilst Nic completed the 3rd year of his Civil Engineering degree. They both continue to be actively involved in Youth Ministry at NEB Church, lead a Young Adults Connect Group and were assistant directors at SU Qld’s Splashout camp this year. They are both looking forward to becoming the directors of this camp next year as this camp holds a special place in their heart having been the place where they first met. Both Nic & Ras have settled into married life very well and they have laid a great foundation in their first year of marriage for the years ahead whilst also juggling a super busy year of study, work, ministry, and friendship commitments. Rasika has also enjoyed expanding her cookery skills this year.

Prashan completed Year 12 at Grace Lutheran College Rothwell this year. He has always had a passion for Cyber Security so he will be enrolling in a Cert IV in Cyber Security at the local TAFE next year. We are also hopeful that he will receive a Uni placement which he can defer for a year whilst completing his Cert IV. In October Prashan and PJ were able to go on a 3-night Fathering Adventure together. This was a special weekend for both of them and signalled Prashan’s transition from boyhood to manhood.

Prashan now also has his driver’s licence but doesn’t currently have anything to drive until his brother gets another car. Prashan and Enaya’s relationship continues to burgeon and we have enjoyed some lovely family outings together. Enaya has also completed her Cert III in Hairdressing at Brisbane School of Hairdressing and has commenced as a Junior Stylist at a hair salon in Sandgate.

As a family we re-commenced playing Badminton this year at a local club. It has been great to find a sport which we all enjoy playing plus find out that we as parents still have enough physical fitness to be able to play such a fast-paced sport!

This year also saw us renovate our family home’s bathrooms (one main, one ensuite, one downstairs) which had remained untouched for over forty years. Our bathroom renovator Glenn, and his offsider Daniel, took six (6) months to complete them all commencing in March and finishing in September (they generally only worked a couple of hours a day) but the results were worth it in the end!

We have just recently returned from our week-long holiday down at Coolangatta (which also happened to coincide with the QLD/NSW border opening up!). As we reflect on this year just gone by we are thankful in some ways that the year is nearly over (two years of pandemic seems more than enough!) but also expectant that 2022 will bring new opportunities as we continue to adjust to the world’s ‘new normal’. What hasn’t changed though, ever since the Apostle Peter spoke these words nearly 2000 years ago, is that “salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Christmas is the time of year when we reflect on the birth of Jesus Christ and the forgiveness for sin, and freedom from sin, that He offers each one of us through believing and living ‘in Christ’.

We are so thankful to know you and have you as part of our life and we hope and pray that you have a joy-filled and blessed Christmas and New Year.

Love and God Bless from The Jayawardhana’s

Giga (PJ), Gwenda, Taruna, Rasika & Nicholas (Grice), Prashan & Enaya