Dr Ajith and Nelun Fernando
25 Kassapa Road
Colombo 5 Sri Lanka
Mobile +94-777-698048 (Ajith);
Mobile +94-777-917861 (Nelun)
30th November 2010
I have known Aunty Niva from my childhood days as she was my mother’s good friend. But I got to know her better in my late teens and early twenties because she helped our ministry in Youth for Christ. Many official things can be said…: how she joined a group of over 100 youth as a chaperone on a gruelling trip by train and ferry to India during a really hot time of the year; how she opened her home to host a YFC club; and how she and Dr Arul lived next to our home during that terrible period surrounding the 1983 riots. But I have something far more personal to write about.
The place was St. Peter’s College Hall in Bambalapitiya. I had just finished giving my first talk ever at an evangelistic rally. How had I fared? I remember a young lady looking at her boy friend and smiling during my talk. Had I made some huge blunder? I cannot remember how many young people committed their lives to Christ that day. It was not a significant number. That was a bit humiliating to my naïve set of values. A few minutes after the close, I talked to Aunty Niva who was waiting to talk to me outside the hall. Though it was over forty years ago, I remember the scene very well. She told me that she was very happy, and that God has his hand on me. To a young aspiring preacher with absolutely no self-confidence those words were unbelievably encouraging.
Since that day, there have been many more instances of Aunty Niva’s encouragement over my ministry.
Godly encouragement—that sums up what I think most about when I think of Aunty Niva. She reflects the holy love of God in her demeanour. And from a Christ-like person, words of encouragement have special value. We know that they come from someone who is living close to God.
Aunty Niva belongs to the order of Barnabas:
When he came [to the new church in Antioch] and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. Acts 11:23-24.
That verse summarises the ministry of Aunty Niva. Happy 80th Birthday!
From a grateful friend,