Monday, February 16, 2015

Should I?

We are currently teaching a 14 year old girl named Anju. No one in her family are members, but the house right next to her is filled with members, so they are helping to support her. It's been interesting teaching someone so young, because she will easily accept to things, but then struggle to keep the commitments... She is a really kind girl though, and I hope with her neighbors support she will progress. 

Also, a fun side note about Anju, one evening her family gave us some bananas to snack on as we were about to go, and when we were finished I was looking for a place to throw away my banana peel but couldn't find any place to stick it. Well, Anju quickly said she would throw it away for me, and she went and chucked it in a little plastic bucket outside their home. When the banana peel hit the bucket a rat went scurrying away from it, but Anju came back as though nothing had happened. I asked her, "Was that a rat...?" She replied "Ya Elder, there are lots of rats." Haha I would have freaked out if that had happened to me, but I was impressed that a cute little 14 year old girl is completely unfazed by rats.

Also, a note about people giving us stuff, I've come to see more and more on my mission one simple truth: poor people will give us food, but rich people rarely will. I used to think that was just because poor people are more humble and Christ-like, but now I think I have a new theory on the matter. The problem with rich people isn't that they are always prideful (although they often are), but the fact that they feel embarrassed if all they give us is, for example, a banana. They feel that if they are to give something to the elders, it better be something big and good, and that intimidates them and discourages them from giving anything at all. In contrast, poor people consistently show their love in small and simple ways. A banana one time you visit, some crackers the next time, and maybe a glass of milk the time after that. I think the poor people have mastered showing love much better than rich people have. 

As I train Elder Peter, and when I have been a leader in the mission, I will consistently get asked "Can I ______?" kind of questions. Generally, my response is the same. Of course you can! God gave us agency. You can do whatever you want. You don't even HAVE to be on a mission if you don't want to; you can go home any time you want. The question you ought to ask is "SHOULD I ______?" And the answer to that is usually no. No you shouldn't. But thanks for asking. :-)

One day we cycled 12 miles out to a media referrals house, and 12 miles back. 24 miles of cycling in one day, and with no idea how to get where we were going so we had to ask for directions every half mile or so. Oh wow, I hadn't had so much fun in a long time! I love doing crazy things like that. Cycling miles and miles into the middle of no where, just to give someone a Restoration pamphlet. Well, I shouldn't say JUST a Restoration pamphlet, because inside that little book contains one of the most important messages the world could ever hear. Well worth the effort!

The elders in my apartment are impressed by how well I know Preach My Gospel and the Missionary Handbook (I can pretty much quote any part of the handbook...) I guess it shows I've been on a mission for a while! 

As we searched for an inactive's house one evening, we asked a Muslim woman on her way home from work if she could help point us in the right direction. She then spent the next 15-20 minutes helping us to find the address! Just one example of my firm belief that Muslims are among the best people on the planet.
Zone Training

Saturday, February 14, 2015

CTR - choose the right

February 9, 2015

Today (and probably on a few more P-Days) me and my companion are going to Apostate Road to go shopping. Well, that's what elders have nicknamed the place, it's actually called Brigade Road, but there is quite a bit of apostasy there as well... We just want to check out what cool stuff there is to buy! Any souvenirs you guys want from India? I'll try to find some cool Indian stuff to bring all of you. 

My new area is SWEET! The reason for that is because there are sooooo many Muslims in our area! I absolutely love love love Muslims! Definitely the classiest people on the planet. And all that garbage they feed us in the American media that says Muslims are terrorists is about as true as the websites that say I'm supposed to have multiple moms because I'm Mormon... A bunch of rubbish. 

I was thinking last night though, that to an average American my area would actually be super sketchy... I walk down narrow, not so well maintained streets, with oodles of Muslims staring at me from every side, with Muslims flags hanging across all the houses... But as the scriptures say, "Perfect love casteth out all fear"! 

I don't know if I told you this already, but due to the political shenanigans that are happening in India, we are not allowed to do any street contacting or door knocking. Which in some ways takes a HUGE burden off of my shoulders (the commandment to open you mouth and share the Gospel with everyone would get pretty overwhelming at times...) But still at times I have to catch myself from inviting someone to learn about the gospel, because it has become so natural for me to do so. 

This week we went searching for an inactive, and after an hour or so of searching around for a seemingly un-existent address, some lady helped to show us where it was (down a secret alley way...) When we got to the house we met a super old grandma that spoke zero English...Is this the right house?? We were a little confused if she was the person we were looking for until she flashed us a CTR ring she was wearing. Whoa. Totally unexpected to see her wearing that! It's like a secret symbol that shows you are a part of the club...

This week we also had a great success with getting a less active family to come to church! The Lawrence family is super awesome, but never comes to church... Well, we visited them this last week, and instead of telling them "We know you are less active, just come to church already!" we simply acted as if they were a totally active family, and gave them a commitment to bring a different inactive to church that they are friends with. Well, to our great delight, it worked! The Lawrence family came to church this week, AND the friend we asked them to bring! Nothing like a responsibility to get people active again.

Faith of a new missionary

February 2, 2015

As for being out of the office... I couldn't be happier! Really and truly, not being AP anymore has made me more happy then anything else for a quite some time. I ceremonially transferred the phone of power to the new Assistant, Elder Willis, and it was like a huge dark cloud was taken off of me. And due to Elder Cloward being made the district leader, and not myself, I have NO more follow up calls for the rest of my mission! Yaaaaaay! Freedom! People will still sometimes ask me for permission for things, but then I tell them "I'm just a trainer, not an Assistant, go call Elder Willis." A very nice change indeed.

Now I am training a brand new Elder from Delhi. His name is Elder Peter. He is very westernized, so he fits in pretty well with our apartment (which has me and two other american elders in it, Elder Cloward and Elder Thompson). Being a trainer is definitely the most rewarding position in the mission. Without a doubt. 

My new companion - Elder Peter

It was nice meeting with all of the new missionaries because they have such a bright hope and faith for their mission. They expect so many good things to happen. I don't think they realize how difficult it will be, but I'm grateful to see their enthusiasm because it re-pumps me up. 

Also, I am back in Convent Road, but this time on the North side, not the south side. So it been kinda fun, and difficult, to find different people to teach and visit than I did last year. It's also cool seeing how the branch has changed in a year. Some people have gone off to America, other people were newly baptized, some Less Actives are now active, but also some actives have become less active... It's also cool seeing how physically much people have grown in one year! The primary kids have gotten so much bigger! 

Really really sad news for the week though... Sister X just completed her mission. She has become one of my good friends on the mission, and I love her family a lot as well (they live in the south side of Convent Road branch, so I used to visit them quite a bit). Well, 2 days after she got back from her mission, her dad died.... I tried to imagine how hard that must be, but I can't really understand it. Unbelievable... I was also shocked by how some people talked to her at the funeral. I don't claim to know how to be sensitive people that just experienced a death, but I was appalled by what some people told her. As Sister X was telling me about how her dad died she started crying, and then while she is mid-tears one the branch members practically starts to scold her! "Why are you feeling so sad? Come on, you just back from your mission! You know the plan of salvation! You know you're gonna be with him again some day, so you shouldn't be so sad about it." I understand that knowing the plan of salvation must help, but that doesn't mean the rest of your mortal life is going to be easy without a father! I feel really bad for their family. I think we are going to visit them tonight. 

I don't think I'm getting trunky. Having a trainee really helps, because it forces me to show him exactly the way missionary work is supposed to be done. In fact, I'd say I am being more obedient than I have for months! I hope to do a lot of good here in Convent Road before I fly off to America.