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My brother and friend 

Nihal Cyril Ignatius De Silva

It’s been three months since he left us!

My brother was an adoring husband to Priyanthie; loving father to Ayesha, Dedunie and Marisa; understanding father-in-law to Nalin and Anuruddha; doting grandfather to Liam; compassionate sibling and brother-in-law; and a kind and generous friend, whose home was always open to even the most unfortunate.

My mother used to always remind him of the adage, “cut your coat according to the cloth you have”, but he never listened!! He cut his coat the way he wanted it and always found a way to make it fit. Such was the way he enjoyed living his life. He also had an unfailing sense of humour, where he saw the funny side of any situation!

When he would come to my parents’ house, famously known to all as “No. 300”, the whole family would sit around the dining table and listen to him relating all the jokes about his plantation life and encounters he had with some of his former colleagues and managers. No get-together was complete without his mellifluous voice resounding through the air – “Oh! Danny Boy” and “O Sole Mio” being his favourites!

Very frequently he would take all the nieces and nephews, who used to attend school from my parents’ house for an ice cream treat to “Cream House” or for a hot dog to “Fountain Café” which was like a dream for the children. His kindness and generosity had no limit.

He had a rare characteristic; he didn’t have enemies. There were a few plantation managers who gave him a hard time at first, but he kept treating them with more respect and care, that in the end, they became close friends. Everyone he met even for the first time was treated like a long lost friend, and very often, he would extend an invitation to a weekend vacation in the plantation, and Priyanthie would find out quite casually about it.

These are some of the qualities he passed on to his three daughters and grandson Liam, who meant the world to him.

After he retired from planting and moved to Colombo, he became open-minded to the point that his three daughters could confide in him and get his advice and guidance about all their plans. Even though he may have not liked their plans, he never stood in their way!

He had a lot of faith in God and lived his life according to God’s plan.

May his gentle soul rest in peace with Jesus, as we celebrate his life!

Nimal De Silva aka George / “Baby” (youngest brother to Nihal)

He touched and ministered to a great number of communities

Rev. Dr. Verghese Chandy

Rev. Dr. Verghese Chandy passed away on January 2 and was laid to rest on January 13 in the presence of his loving family, faithful flock and loyal friends.

Pastor Chandy’s life-long mission was to give hope to people and help them find a personal relationship with God through Jesus. He knew he was anointed to preach the good news and did it to the best of his ability with all of heart until his last breath. During the course of his illustrious life he touched and ministered to a great many communities. He is considered as a true Apostle among the various Christian denominations and free churches in Sri Lanka and a legendary ambassador of Christ of our times.

His family was known to mine and I remember as a child climbing onto his father’s lap whenever he visited my grandpa, because he always had some toffees in his pockets. Pastor Chandy inherited many of his father’s gentle qualities, including his smile.

I heard Pastor Chandy give the matrimonial blessing at our niece’s wedding on December 23 – the last wedding that he attended, and it was such a beautiful blessing.

Pastor Chandy and his wife Hildegard were instrumental in launching a Protestant Bible seminary which has seen the graduation of many gifted young people in Sri Lanka. As a very caring pastor, he went in search of the poor, the oppressed, the downtrodden and shared with them the love and hope of God.  He was there for people when they needed him the most.

As a keen scholar of God’s Word, he spent time studying the Bible and his messages were studded with stories and anecdotes, crowned with his good sense of humour. Even in preparing his last sermon, which happened to be the Christmas message, I gather, he spent many hours in prayer and study. No wonder all of his messages left an indelible impact on the hearers.

With the passing away of Pastor Chandy, heaven has gained another saint. He was fully prepared to join eternity because he knew that he had fought the good fight and to him is kept a crown of much deserved rest and glory.

Timothy A. Edward