1981—The Sri Lanka Connection
Meanwhile, and quite independently of the folks’ Sri Lanka connection, we formed a friendship with Father George Perera, a very amiable Catholic priest from Colombo, then pursuing a doctorate in communications at Boston University.1 We were experiencing some “interesting times” with Erik in these days, and George confessed from the start that he found us a useful case study. He attended Cyndi’s baptism in March, 1980. First baptism by immersion that he had witnessed, and he pronounced it fascinating.
George, at right, brought the couple with him for one of many dinners at Timbaloo.
Another of George’s friends. Wish I remembered her name.
The last time George came to Timbaloo for dinner, I had a home teaching appointment the same evening with the family of Tom Eagar, in Belmont, and I asked George if he’d like to see how we handled pastoral visits. He expressed enthusiasm; so I called Tom and inquired (knowing that he and Pam were both converts from Catholicism) whether they would mind if I brought a priest with me. “You usually do,” he replied, meaning Rick, who then held that office in our Aaronic Priesthood. “No, I mean a Catholic priest.” A silence. “Well, Andy, if it’s OK with you and with him, we don’t mind.”

On the way over, I explained to George that we were going to show a filmstrip with which we train our member families to be good missionaries. Wearing his Roman collar, George turned the filmstrip projector as we ran through “How Great Shall Be Your Joy.” A very sweet gathering, for all of us.

Later that evening, as I returned George to the rectory in Milton, where he was staying, we sat in the car and talked for a while before he said goodbye. I suggested that, back in Sri Lanka, he was going to find people who would tell him a lot of dumb, untrue things about “Mormons”. He replied, “Don’t worry, I know enough to set them straight.”

1He took his BU degree in support of his job back home, where he managed communications for the Catholic Church at the national level.
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