Monday, September 30, 2013

Count Your Many Blessings

Hi family!
Haha I love that picture of Abbey! It definitely looks pretty cold there! We've had some pretty big rain here too, but for the most part you are wet from sweat each day, not rain. The saying in the mission is that for every drop of sweat you have, your wife gets one degree hotter. So by this point, I think I will already have the most attractive wife in the family! haha ;) 
Noah, I know that Mr. Fabricious (wow, I already forgot how to spell his name...) would say SPSCC's accounting class was harder than his, so I wish you the best of luck in it! I'm sure you'll do great! And getting a job at Pizza Hut would be awesome! I'll come order some pizza from you someday. :) 
Sorry to hear about your test though, Mumzy. I'm sure you'll nail it next time! 
And sounds like you are gettin' some great ward activities goin' Bishop Anderson! I LOVE The Testament! I think that was the last movie I watched in America (I saw it in the MTC). Good times! Oh, and I'm glad you finally got my letter! It only took 2 months! haha :)
Life is still great here in India! I'll share with you just a couple of thoughts that I've been having this week.
Yesterday I got to attend my first funeral in India. It was the funeral for the first Patriarch that India has ever had (he was even about to give his first blessing this week... very sad.) It was fairly similar to a funeral in America. Me and my companion even sang for like an hour at the beginning of the funeral as people were still coming in and taking their seats. And because we were singing at a funeral, we were singing many hymns that are meant for people in distress (Abide With Me, How Firm a Foundation, Come Come Ye Saints, etc.) 
As we were singing, I realized something: these songs don't have the same meaning for me as they used to have. Just a few months back, when I would sing similar songs at BYU's tunnel singing, and they would always touch me very deeply. That was because I felt like I was going through difficult trials, and these songs were exactly the words I needed to hear.
But now on my mission, I don't really have trials anymore! In Matthew chapter 11, it talks about how we should take Christ's cross upon us, because it is easy and light. I've definitely seen the truthfulness of that on my mission. All my days now are spent carrying Jesus's cross, and my days really are easy! If instead of getting discouraged or anxious or sad for mow than 5-10 minutes, I start to wonder what's wrong! "I've been feeling down for 7 whole minutes! I gotta get out of this funk!" 99% of the time life is easy and fun! :) 
I don't know if that's because my life really doesn't have as many stresses as it did back home, or if it's because I now see life through an eternal perspective, but either way, my life is pretty easy now! 
Speaking of having an easy life, that reminds me of another one of the thoughts I've been having... When I was set apart of a missionary, one of the blessings that I received was that I would be able to see past the poverty people have, and simply see them as sons and daughters of God. I've definitely seen the power of this blessing. For the vast majority of the time, I am not bothered at all by the poverty I see. It doesn't really matter to me if someone has a house that costs $30 rent per month, or $300. They all need the Gospel, and their social position doesn't make a difference for how badly they need to hear this great message.
However, this week I did have an experience that did affect me. After the funeral, some of the men took me and my companion out to lunch. These guys had just driven in from Hyderabad for the funeral, and they were quite well off. They drove us in their AIR CONDITIONED CAR to lunch, and then bought us an all you can eat lunch of delicious rice and curries. By the time we were driving back, I felt like a true upper class person! This was the first time I had ridden a car in Kakinada, because only the very wealthy own cars, so this was a pretty special experience. But as were driving back into town, we had to stop because one of the men needed to go to an ATM. 
While he was at the ATM, the rest of us just sat in the car. While we were sitting in there, a 5 year old boy came and started knocking on our car window, giving us the hand signals for money/food. As missionaries, we aren't allowed to give money, so I knew I couldn't give him anything. And one of the other men in the car just kept pointing for the boy to go somewhere else.
But the boy didn't leave. 
He kept knocking and knocking on our window, signaling again and again for money. I tried not to look at him, because when I did look at him I would see that he was starting to tear up from desperation... After 5 minutes of knocking on our car window, the man came back from the ATM. He then gave the boy 4 cents, and the boy wandered off, and we continued on with our journey. 
Four. Cents. That's all that little boy was given. After the men had just bought us all you can eat buffets, and we drove away in a car worth thousands of dollars. I felt ashamed at the realization of just how good my life is, and how bad life can be for other people. 
Oh man... I'm tearing up just remembering the look on that boy's face! :(
In America, we live lives that are beyond rich. You really can't understand how rich us Americans are until you see what it's like when you're NOT living in a Utopian country. Don't take your life style for granted, because there are billions of people that can only dream of living the life that you have. 
Haha sorry, I wasn't expecting this letter to be so depressing, but that was definitely an experience that touched me, so I wanted to share it with you all. 
Have a great week, and truly enjoy the many blessings you have. 
Love, Elder Anderson 

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