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Recording artist - latest, John Tesh: Worship at Red Rocks (Garden City Music, 2004)
Former co-host, Entertainment Tonight; Awarded Emmys, 2 Grammy nominations, AP award for investigative journalism; 3 hit PBS TV specials, two-time Olympic announcer (Atlanta and Barcelona)
Host, The John Tesh Radio Show - weekly audience of 8 million people
CBN.com Tesh Family Joins Hands With Operation Blessing in Sri Lanka
John Tesh, his wife, Connie Sellecca, their 23-year-old son, Gib, and their 10-year-old daughter, Prima, have spent the week working with Operation Blessing (OB) in tsunami-ravaged Sri Lanka. The government has assigned OB to help with the medical needs in nine refugee camps at Ampara, on the eastern coast of Sri Lanka. Kumar Periasamy, regional director of OB in India, has organized a medical team with ten doctors from Singapore to help these refugees as well as deliver food rations.
They are also working with an orphanage where the nuns had used all the mattresses as fuel when they had to burn the bodies of the dead because of fear of disease. Not only do the remaining children no longer have mattresses, neither do the many new orphans who are now at the orphanage. OB has adopted this orphanage and is working on getting new mattresses, linens, and clothing for the orphans.
John's son, Gib, has spent hours entertaining the kids with magic and sleight-of-hand tricks. It's the first time the adults have seen the kids smile and laugh. Connie spends time holding the devastated women and helping John in teaching the kids new songs.
Excerpts from the Tesh Family Journal
Read the Daily Postings on www.tesh.com.
Connie Sellecca - Monday, January 10
As I sit with my 10-year-old daughter in the airport at London's Heathrow airport, I wonder if I am prepared to handle her reaction to the devastation she is about to witness. I wonder if the math homework I am working on with her (prepared by the 5th grade teacher) will be anywhere as important as the life lesson she is about to learn.
Prima Tesh - Monday, January 10
We are in the London airport right now and getting ready to get on a plane to go to Colombo. We have been talking about what we might see in Sri Lanka. I have heard that it will be very rough to see the passed away bodies and the destroyed houses.
Prima Tesh - Tuesday, January 11
From Colombo to Ampara: Right now I'm on a seaplane and it's really freaky. I was not expecting to be on such a small plane. It feels really crowded and you can see everything below you. I don't see any damage yet, but I see a lot of coconut trees.
John Tesh - Tuesday, January 11
Today…our guests from Operation Blessing took us directly to "ground zero" in Ampara, Sri Lanka, and it was basically the remains of a town. Since the town is basically unlivable, Operation Blessing and other relief agencies have set up camps for the survivors with food and medical supplies. When we visited the first camp at Ampara, 50 kids jumped at my son Gib immediately, and he had to twirl them around for hours and do magic tricks for them. Connie found herself helping the medical team and putting her arms around moms who had lost their kids. Prima vanished in a sea of elementary school kids who demanded that she teach them English! The whole scene just melted our hearts, and for hours (thru a translator) we told the kids and the adults that the whole world was weeping for them, we hadn't forgotten, and not to worry because the whole world would help them rebuild their homes and their schools. We told them to hang on because the world is holding fundraisers and concerts, and sending medicine. It was an amazing day.
Connie Sellecca - Wednesday, January 12
I couldn't hold back the tears, but there were none in their eyes. A responsive smile…then the death mask stare following me. I asked Kumar Periasamy (Operation Blessing's heart in Sri Lanka) to translate. "Everything, the sea took everything from me -- three children, my boat (he as a fisherman), my house." He needed to tell his story. I needed to tell him that we are here because we care. Not enough. What could possibly be enough to rebuild the devastation we saw today? Lost lives, lost dreams, lost hope. But still smiles. Survival. And then the children in the refugee camp. Hungry for fun… for laughter… hungry to forget the waves… the missing parents… missing siblings… missing friends. Grateful that we are there.
John Tesh - Wednesday, January 12
While my family and I were in this refugee camp helping distribute food and supplies with the folks from Operation Blessing, we kept hearing the same stories over and over again. As the kids grew more comfortable with us, the word "kanawu" kept coming up, which I found out (translated from Tamil) means "nightmare." More specifically, these children, who lost brothers and sisters and moms and dads, were talking about the tsunami. Their "kanawu" was the tsunami. Well, my wife had this amazing (and what I thought at the time was risky) idea: Ask all 300 kids in the camp to draw a picture of their "kanawu." So we set out into town to buy paper and crayons, and the children showed us what was on their minds. The pictures were of people standing on top of houses. Pictures of fishing boats smashed to pieces, and of children running. But as they went about their task of creating these haunting pictures, they laughed and they giggled, and they competed with each other to see who could come up with a masterpiece. Of course, we all stood there with tears streaming down our cheeks, watching what only my wife (the mom) knew would happen. The children of Sri Lanka were facing their deepest fears. We have all the artwork and we're bringing it home so you can get a close look at the precious hearts of the children of Sri Lanka.
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