Monday, November 18, 2013

Love that Curry!

Since you mentioned tithing, I'll also say that I have been pleasantly surprised by how easily people accept the doctrine/commandment of paying tithing. To a large degree, I think that's because Indian society is run by churches, so people are used to paying big bucks to their pastors (pastor's homes tend to be... well above the standard Indian home). One elder even told me that he had an investigator say "10%? That's it?? Great! I was already paying 20% to my old church, so 10% should be easy!" haha :)

Yes, this month I passed the big 6 month mark! Huzzaw! :D To celebrate my 6 months completed, and my companion only having 6 months to go (he entered the MTC almost exactly one year before I did), we splurged a little bit and went to an AMAZING all you can eat buffet for lunch! I ate tons of rice, chicken curry (my favorite curry), egg curry, potato curry (another one of my favorites), this Hong Kong fried vegetable stuff (not really sure what it was), butter naan (delicious!), Indian style Chinese noodles, and then a few bananas and sweets for dessert. All this amazing food in a very classy looking restaurant, all for just $4.50. :)

Well, this week I have an interesting story to tell you. I'm not sure what you'll think of it, but I'll just tell you how I see it, and you can take it as you will.

About a year and a half ago, I received the Melchizedek Priesthood. During my time at BYU, I had a couple of times to use this priesthood, but each time I felt very intimidated, because I really had no idea what I was doing! Also, while I was at college, I remember very clearly one lesson we had on the priesthood in Elder's quorum, in which I thought to myself how I will ALWAYS be worthy enough to give someone a blessing. There should never be a time in my life when I had to tell someone that I can't give them a blessing, because I'm not worthy enough (wow, just the thought of having to do that makes me cringe...)

But, guess what I did this week. I denied giving someone a blessing.

What?! Crazy, huh? But, I'll explain the situation.

No, it's not because I'm not worthy (I'd say I'm more worthy than I've ever been before), and it wasn't because I was too scared to give the blessing (I've already given tons of blessings on my mission, so now I feel fairly confident in giving people blessings.) It's because I really want to help the people here in India, and sometimes that means not helping them directly, so that they can have the opportunity to help themselves.

You see, the church here in India is still very dependent on the missionaries. The church is very new here, so the Elders still play an integral role in making sure the church works properly. But, in my opinion, it's time for the church in India to begin standing on it's own two feet, and stop using missionaries as their crutch.

The tradition here in India is that whenever you are sick, you call the Elders. They will come give you a blessing. And at first, I was okay with this, because many people don't have a priesthood holder in the home, so I felt privileged to be the one that brings the blessings of the priesthood into their homes. However, I know that fathers, if they do have the priesthood, should be the one taking care of their family.

One night a couple of months ago, a man asked us to come give his son a blessing. We agreed to come over, and when we got there, I asked him if he had the priesthood. He said yes. In fact, he had served a mission from 2003-2005, so I knew this man knew very well how to use the priesthood. But, he refused to give his son a blessing. He only wanted us to give his son a blessing. So after much pleading, I agreed that I would give the blessing (believe me though, I was not happy about this. I knew he should be the one giving the blessing). After we left though, I made a resolve: never again would I give a blessing to someone IF they had a worthy Melchizedek priesthood holder already in their home.

Fast forward to this week, and a very similar situation came up again. A man asked us to come over and give his son a blessing. We came over, and then asked him if he had the Melchizedek Priesthood. He said yes. We told him he could give the blessing, and we would simply assist. He said he had forgotten how to give blessings, so we taught him again how to give them. Then we all agreed that my companion would do the anointing, and then this brother would do the sealing of the blessing.

But, after my companion anointed, this man wanted to back out. He started pleading for me to give the blessing instead of him. But, I told him I wouldn't. I told him it was his duty as the father of his home, and I was not going to take that duty away from him.

Sadly, after a couple of minutes of talking, the man just sat back down in his chair. He wouldn't give the blessing, and I would not give it either.

He told us "Sorry for wasting your time Elders." And then, after another minute of just casual conversation, we left. His son, as far as I know, was not blessed that evening.

I know it might sound harsh, but I'm pretty sick of people having faith in the elders, rather than faith in God.
But, there might be a happy ending to this story.

Yesterday, a different family called us and asked us to come give their daughter a blessing. We told them that they could have their home teachers come over, and they would give a blessing. So, we told them who their home teachers are, and they gave them a call instead. Their home teachers came over, and gave the daughter a blessing.

Guess who one of their home teachers is? The father of the son that I wouldn't bless.

There's no growing in the comfort zone, and there's no comfort in the growing zone. I think it's time to make the people of India a little uncomfortable, and help them get into the growing zone.

Well, I hope you enjoyed that long story of mine. haha :)

Have a wondrous week!

Elder Anderson

P.S. Also! This week India had a holiday that kids in America beg for every time we have Father's/Mother's Day: Children's day! :D But before you get too excited, let me tell you what a few of the highlights of Children's day are: the teachers at school give all the kids about 50 cents worth of candies, they get to play a few games, they don't get homework for the day, they don't have to wear school uniforms, and, best of all, the teachers don't beat them.
No uniforms, no beatings, a few games, and some candy. Sounds like every day in America, huh?

Enjoy your week long Children's day! ;)

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