Missionary (noun): Someone who leaves their family for a short period of time so that others may be with their families for eternity.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Jarom's Mission in the Church News October 22, 2011

Church News
'Centers of strength' — Church flourishing in India
By Russell T. Osguthorpe

Sunday School general president

Published: Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011
We not only have missions in India, but we also have districts that are preparing to become stakes. The Church is being established in India in a deliberate and impressive way. And although North American members are contributing in important ways to the spread of the gospel in India, the Indian members themselves are the driving force as the truths of the Restoration spread across their land.

As I became acquainted with our Indian Church members, I kept thinking of President Gordon B. Hinckley's words: "The lives of our people must become the most meaningful symbol of our faith" (Ensign, April 2005). The power of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ can be found most easily not in the beauty of the buildings we construct but in the lives of individual members. I found such power as I became acquainted with those who have joined the Church in India.

Photo courtesy Russell T. OsguthorpeMissionaries from the India New Dehli Mission gather with Elder Anthony Perkins, left, Asia Area president, and Brother Russell T. Osguthorpe. New Dehli is one of the "centers of strength" in India from which the Church is branching out.

Upon my arrival in New Delhi, India's national capital with a population of approximately 20 million, Aneel drove us from the airport to the hotel. As I asked about his own pathway to conversion, he explained that he had been a member of the Church for several years and that when he decided to be baptized, his family members were not happy with him. He explained, "My brothers were angry with me, and they kept telling me that their [Hindu] gods were angry with me. Shortly after my baptism, I contracted an eye infection. They told me that it was a punishment from their gods and that I would go blind. I told them that if I went blind, that would be all right with me, because I wanted to follow Christ, and I knew that in this Church I was following Christ."

This is typical of the faith of the people. When they join the Church, as is the case with so many in the world, they are turning away from long-held family traditions and religious beliefs. Like so many Indians who join the Church, Aneel's heritage is Hindu, the dominant religion in India. About 15 percent of the population is Muslim and a much smaller percentage Christian.

Following my auxiliary training meeting in New Delhi, a minister from another Christian faith pleaded for the Church to teach in his town. He said, "I'm Christian, but the missionaries have been teaching me about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon, and now I can see that our beliefs are not complete. I want your Church to teach in my town." I later learned that his reaction is not uncommon but, as in all countries, the Church moves forward in a carefully planned way as it builds upon "centers of strength."

New Delhi is one of those centers of strength, and most members of the Church outside of India are familiar with this city. The Church is also well established in Bangalore and Hyderabad, other well-known names. But some may not have heard of Vishakhapatnam, another large city where the Church is established. These centers of strength are all located on the southeast side of India. Most have also heard of Mumbai (once called Bombay), a city of over 20 million on the west side of the country. Although there is a branch in this city, the Church has not yet sent missionaries there or to any other city on that side of India.

Elder Anthony Perkins, Asia Area president, and I visited members in each of the three districts in India: Hyderabad, Vishakhapatnam, and New Delhi. The Church currently has two missions in India, the India Bangalore Mission and the India New Delhi Mission. The Bangalore mission includes the cities of Hyderabad and Vishakhapatnam. A few missionaries from North America are serving in each mission, but the majority of the missionaries are Indian. Typical of these native missionaries is Sham. Sham lives in New Delhi and was called to serve in the Bangalore mission. He just returned from his mission a few months ago. I asked him to tell me about his experience as a missionary. He said, "I get emotional when I talk about my mission. I loved my mission. If I could go back right now and serve another mission, I would do it."

Sham's faith is like that of so many Indian members. You can feel their conviction even as they greet you. Solomon, a 13-year-old young man who is small in stature but large in spirit, looked up at me in the hallway and said, "You are the general Sunday School President." He later told me how he planned to serve a mission when he turned 18. To accommodate the higher education policies in India, young men are allowed to begin serving their missions at the age of 18.

Nora, a 14-year-old young woman bore her testimony in our fast meeting. With genuine excitement in her voice, she said, "I have been a member of the Church for only a year and a half, but already I'm an example for all of my friends. They see that I dress modestly, and they ask me about my beliefs. I don't have to wait until I'm older to serve a mission. I can be a missionary right now to all of my friends."

I asked several young people to tell me what the Church would be like in India 10 years from now. Without pausing for a second, each one said about the same thing: "In 10 years India will have many stakes. And the most important thing: India will have temples." The members in India are forward looking. Their faith in the future is not based upon a casual wish. Their faith is founded on their own actions. They see a growing Church because they themselves are helping it to grow right now. Missionaries told me that most of their converts come from member referrals. And the converts are coming at a very high rate with equally high retention.

India is evidence of the fulfillment of the words that came to the Prophet Joseph in 1842 when he penned the Standard of Truth as part of his letter to John Wentworth. The progress of the Church in India shows that nothing "can stop the work from progressing." Each time a new convert is baptized and each time a member increases his or her understanding of a principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ, "the truth of God [goes] forth boldly, nobly, and independent" as it sweeps across the country of India. Will stakes be formed in India? There is no question that they will. Will temples be built? No doubt that they will. The Standard of Truth has been erected in India and it will continue to spread until it "has sounded in every ear" until the "purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say, 'the work is done.'"

Transferred to Green Park

October 26, 2011

I have been transferred to a new apartment. It's in a place called Green Park (yes, that's an English name). My new companion is named Elder Bathula. He arrived in Delhi on Friday. I am his Trainer.

I am still serving in Malviyah Nagar. This is my second "Transfer." My first Transfer, I changed rooms. My second transfer, I changed apartments. Now I live in Green Park. I am still serving in 4th Branch. I take the Metro every morning to Malviyah Nagar to proselyte. I think that I'm actually in Lajpat Nagar's area. The reason why I live here is because I live with the Assistants. I live right next to the Mission Office. About 10 minutes' walking distance. It's not a big deal. Going on Metro costs 9 rupees one-way. It takes 15 minutes, max. So I don't worry about it much.

I don't know the area around here very well. From what the Assistants have said, it's very expensive area. So we'll probably eat while in our time in Malviyah Nagar. But I still need to check. I saw a Dominoes and a Pizza Hut nearby. I think that I might be enjoying my stay here. ;)

As a Trainer, I take an extra hour for a new training program that the Church starting three months ago during Companionship Study. So now it's one hour of Personal Study and 2 hours of Companionship Study. Non-English Language-Speaking Missions then take another hour for Language Study. It is so advanced! I have no idea what I would be teaching him now without it. We just follow the schedule. He arrived on Friday, a day after missionaries normally arrive, so we've been doing extra practices at night to catch up. It doesn't mix with our proselyting time. The training program lasts 3 months, so he and I will be companions next transfer, as well. So no worries! I'll be in Malviyah Nagar for Christmas!

Yesterday I took him to Kalka Ji. There are several members there that fell away months ago. Of those families, I became well acquainted with two of them; the Sushil Kumar family and Joana Melton. I had spent much time with them with Elder Varada, attempting to bring them back to church. We were, for the most part, unsuccessful. Brother Kumar’s son, Amit, had recently gotten married to a woman named Anundini. She is an investigator to the church, and he a member. So it gave us a good opportunity to try a new attempt at visiting them by introducing them to Elder Bathula. It worked rather well. Anundini discussed how she wasn’t “very religious” but wanted to know more about Jesus Christ. Elder Bathula spoke shortly about Jesus Christ and opened a discussion that led us to 2 Nephi 2. Anundini read from some verses and we explained them to her. She promised to read the rest of the chapter before our next visit.

Elder Bathula did very well in his teaching. He took the initiative, answered her preliminary questions to the best of his ability, and then directed the conversation to a point that we could discuss Plan of Salvation. Unfortunately, we were unable to complete the lesson due to time constraints, but we now have a topic for our next visit. We will be preparing ourselves over the next couple of days before we return to their home to finish the lesson. I feel that it was very instructive for Elder Bathula. I am thankful for the opportunity that I have of training him. I know that he will be a great, PMG missionary in no time!

We now have 6 Elders serving in Malviyah Nagar. Elder Varada is still training Elder Veeraraj. Elder Varada is back-to-back training. He will leave Malviyah Nagar in December (he's been here since March!). Elder Sade is also training one of the new Elders. He's still in Malviyah Nagar apartment. Elder Anthony (his Trainee) inherited my side of the room. We split our investigators on Friday during Weekly Planning. I took all of the English-speaking investigators. They kept the Hindi-speaking investigators. Elder Bathula can speak very good Hindi. But we felt that it was best that I should take the English-speaking investigators. It evened out very well.

The other two Trainers are Elder Podi and Elder Bradley. They're both in Vasant Vihar, 2nd Branch. Elder Green is in Munirka now and Elder Hornberger is in Dwarka. Neither of them are training. Although Elder Green is with a companion that came only 1 Transfer after us. Elder Gubala. Great guy.

The irony that I see is that every Elder in 4th Branch and 2nd Branch is either a Trainer or Trainee. hahaha.

It's difficult to say which recipes that I like best. Cream Cheese bars are by far my favorite - but they're also, I think, the most complicated. I don't think that sending the actual bars will work. They probably won't survive transit. So the recipes will do. I don't own an oven. I have a gas stove. I might be able to make an oven out of a pot. Elder Avans taught me how. But I don't know if I have a pot big enough. This is such a new apartment. This is the first transfer that any Elder is living in it. So, we're missing many basic resources (copies of the Book of Mormon, for instance). So we're still renovating it. I like the Reese Bars. No-Bake cookies would be excellent. Never liked lemon bars. You can send them to me anyway. 7-layer bars are okay. (I think that it's sad that I can list more Christmas goodies than members in the Quorum of the Twelve). just kidding! Um... I can't recall anything else. You'd be surprised at how Americanized India is. I can pretty much find anything. I just need to find it. There are some American stores. But they're more expensive for a missionary budget. It's a weird feeling that I left Yuma exactly 5 months ago. Of course, everyone will be celebrating it by celebrating Diwali. There'll be enough fireworks tonight to make 4th of July look like a match compared to a flamethrower. I will not be sleeping tonight. Hahaha.

I received your package! Thank you! The list of what I received: Halloween Candy, Skittles, Disneyland Popcorn, Pringles, Toothfloss, Toothpaste, Toothbrush, Peanut Butter, and ... um...I think that that's it. I'm splitting up the Halloween candy between 8. I'm giving some to the Assistants (I'm such a nice guy), and the rest I'm sharing with the District. I'm still District Leader. So, next District Meeting, I'll wrap up some candy for each Elder and share it with them. Halloween status. I sent Elder Varada his Reeses. He greatly appreciates it! Thank you! I'm saving the Disneyland Popcorn. It's more than sacred to me at the moment. I'll eat it sometime next week. Thank you! I was not expecting it. So it was a great shock for me (and totally amazing!) Thank you!

Also thank you for the peanut butter. We've been in a sandwich-making mood for the last couple of days. So we'll be really making good use of it really really soon! We just need to finish our current peanut butter. Then we'll eat mine. Yay!

Happiest email ever!

Love you all,
Elder Montgomery

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"Being a productive missionary is so much better than being a busy missionary."

Transfers are next week. I'll find out tomorrow night. We're getting 4 new Elders from the South and they're coming in tomorrow night. Transfer meeting will be on Friday.

Baby tortoise? o.0

I celebrated Keaton's birthday by being invited to a BBQ of my own! It was from Sister Rita S. and her family (who have been such great missionaries for us). Brother Sunny invited Elder Sade and me over for a nice barbaque because it was his last night in that home. They're moving to Moti Bagh tonight. No idea where that is, but it's in Delhi. They know that I have a problem with spicy food, so they set aside some food for me. That food turned out to be beef! We all ate beef, mine was simple plain beef while theirs was mixed with some spices. It was delicious! They made shish kababs (as you would call it) also known as sheikh kababs (as they would call it). No idea what the difference is. But they stuck a piece of raw beef on a metal stick and held it over some burning coals. They also made chicken mixed with spices. I tried a few pieces of the chicken. So good! And not spicy at all! It was like heaven. hahaha. By the time that I was finished, I was as full as I've ever been in India. Then they gave us some Halva. Halva is basically crushed carrot mixed with some sugar sauce and other spices. A very nice delicacy in India! I'd have to say that that dinner was the best dinner in Delhi yet. Happy birthday Keaton!

I received a letter from Brother and Sister Christensen from your new Ward. They said that they are very excited that I am representing their Ward and that I am very blessed to be serving here. I agree with them! It was in a nice Hallmark card with a puppy on it. Very touching! Thank you!

When leaving a Cyber Café after doing emails, I was approached by a Nigerian man who introduced himself as Bellary. He told me that a friend of his had served a mission from Nigeria. I was pleased to hear this, and asked if he knew much about our church. He answered that his friend had taught him a little, but that was over 10 years ago. He had since forgotten. I asked for his number and offered to teach him more about our beliefs. He accepted and we scheduled an appointment on Saturday. We met on Saturday and taught him the Restoration. He seemed concerned since it was so new and different. He came from a Protestant family and was very comfortable where he was. We offered to clear up his questions in our next appointment. On Monday, we brought along with us Brother Obinna, a very strong Branch Missionary from Nigeria. He testified of how much the Book of Mormon and the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ had changed his life. We gave Bellary a copy of the Book of Mormon after clearing up some of his concerns; we also watched “The Restoration” with him to help him understand more about Joseph Smith. I am very thankful for the Missionary tools that are just waiting to be used. I know and appreciate that using these tools effectively is the key to becoming a PMG missionary. These tools bring the Spirit in such ways that I never could alone.

Being a productive missionary is so much better than being a busy missionary. Any missionary can be busy; whether it's street-contacting or going door to door, there's always work to do (and enough people to do it on!). But a productive missionary uses his/her tools. Pamphlets, Media, and members are essential to becoming 100% PMG Missionaries. That much is Paka. I am thankful for the focus on using tools that we have from President Jackson. Members truly carry the work beyond what missionaries can do alone.

I haven't received the package yet. I hadn't expected to. I'm guessing that it will arrive next week.

I received the pictures of the Bazua kids! They're growing up so fast (especially their hair!). I like how Austin is learning to play football. He'll make a great Bronco someday! ;)

I'll find some stuffed elephants or monkeys for the children. That'll be my main priority. I need 8, right? I'm sure that I can find some somewhere. Probably Select City Mall. It'll be no problem! I'll probably go shopping next P-Day. We'll see what my new companion thinks of that.

That's it for this week. Love you all!
Elder Montgomery

Sunday, October 16, 2011

"I am thankful for our Father’s plan that brings the hearts of the children to the fathers...."

October 12, 2011

Hello! (best Conference introduction ever)
General Conference was amazing! I loved every minute of it! Definitely my favorite speaker was Elder Ted R. Callister. "In the words of my grandfather, either this book is of the Devil or it's of God." So powerful! It reminds me of Elder Holland's talk a few years ago: "No wicked man COULD write a book such as this, and no righteous man WOULD write this book, unless he were so commanded by God." I love talks that testify of the Book of Mormon. Every missionary in the world gets fuzzy feelings whenever a talk like this comes up. (I hope that my investigator is paying attention!)

It was interesting watching General Conference in the chapel all 5 times. I still went out to eat an ice cream cone after priesthood session (1 down, 3 to go!). Only a few members came for the Saturday sessions. Priesthood session was popular. Sunday morning session was filled to the max. And then it died down again for the afternoon session. I'm excited for the Liahona to come out with the talks in them! I've heard that the October Liahona should be centered on the Book of Mormon. We should be receiving it soon. I'm so excited for these magazines! They are such powerful missionary tools!

Between the two sessions of Conference, we had two baptisms! Elder Sade baptized a woman named Uma, sister-in-law to Sister Rita, Brother Sunny's wife. Elder Varada baptized a sister named Santoshi. They will both be confirmed this Sunday.

On Saturday, Elder Sade and I went to visit a part-member family. The son, Jackson, has been a member for some time, but the rest of his family have not joined the church. They’ve taken the lessons on and off again, but they have not been truly interested in what the church teaches. We still feel that it is important to visit with them to strengthen the family and help Jackson become stronger in the church. We went to visit them and a friend of Jackson’s father was present. We introduced ourselves and he did the same. He said that his name is Naresh. His 18-year old daughter had recently died of Lupus, less than 2 months before. He was there grieving with his friend, Jackson’s father. We offered our condolences and offered to come to his home and share how his family could be together forever. He accepted and we visited them two days later. Present at his home was his wife, son, and two daughters.

We watched a small segment of “Together Forever” with them. We watched the segment where the husband and wife discuss the death of their 6-year old. It was a very touching, very powerful piece. They shared, in the movie, of how they both prayed to know if what the missionaries had taught them was the truth. They bore their testimony of a warm, calm, comforting feeling. We discussed this with Naresh and his family. We offered the same assurance to them of knowing that they can be with their family together forever. It was a very solemn, spiritual meeting for us. I am sorry that an experience such as losing a daughter would move brother Naresh and his family to learn more about the gospel, but at the same time, I cannot but think of what the deceased daughter feels now, knowing that her death led her family to the restored gospel, about which she is also learning in the spirit world. I am thankful for our Father’s plan that brings the hearts of the children to the fathers, especially when the children have moved on and the fathers remain. I want to help this family. I want them to feel at peace again.

I'm beginning to understand "Forget yourself and get to work." I've heard that phrase almost my entire life, but for me it has always just been a phrase. Now it truly applies to me! I am thankful for the opportunity to serve others. Being a missionary is amazing. For the majority of the time, like when I'm out on the street, or sitting on a rug in an investigator's home, I feel as if I'm in a dream. India is truly a magical place. The people are amazing. They're willing to give up on beliefs that they've held for a lifetime for their testimony of Jesus Christ. Many members and investigators are Hindu. I could not imagine giving up on my belief in Jesus Christ, yet these wonderful people are fully willing to hearken to the truth, even at the cost of their traditions that they've held for their entire lives. Some of the strongest members in Malviyah Nagar are older in age, but are converts from only a year or two ago. They were of Hindu belief. But now they have accepted the restored gospel and fully embraced it. Truly inspiring.

So, this last Thursday was Desshera. A Hindu holiday celebrating the victory of...um... Ramos over... somebody else. I forgot! All that I know is that everybody has been playing with firecrackers for the last week. Some guy tried to light me on fire with a cigarette lighter as I was walking through Mehrauli. Apparently, he wasn't mentally stable. But this is nothing in compared with Diwali! Diwali will happen on the 26th. It commemorates Ramos' return to his home. In the words of some members, "it sounds like World War 2." Apparently missionaries have to return to the apartment early on that day. Everybody who is anybody (except missionaries) will be throwing firecrackers and tiny bomb-things everywhere. It'll make the 4th of July look like a joke. Apparently. I'm excited! But I have no intention of touching a firecracker. I like my limbs just fine, thank you very much...

That's about it for this week. Next week is transfers. But I won't know where I'll be going until next Wednesday night. So you won't know until the Wednesday after that. Sorry! hahaha.

Love you all!

Elder Montgomery

"We found two new investigators..."

October 5, 2011

Keeping the Ice Cream tradition was one of my most important goals. Unfortunately, we don't have Dairy Queens here. Instead, we have what are called "Mother Dairy's".
hahaha. It's the same concept as a Dairy Queen, just with less choices.

I am in Munirka right now, getting some photos developed. I went to a birthday party for 4-year old Eddy. Amazing kid. I told the parents that I would develop the photos that I took of the party.

This week has been a fun week! Brother Sunny and his family has been amazing! Brother Douglas just gave us two new investigators who are interested in learning more about the gospel (they want to know which of all of the churches are true). We found two new investigators through our own efforts. We were looking for the Anthony P. family, who live near our apartment. They’re lost sheep. We went to the address on our Teaching Record but we didn’t know which floor on which they lived. So we knocked on all of the doors on our way up. Eventually we met with a man named Sudheev. He informed us that the Anthony family had moved to another house nearby a couple of months earlier. We got to talking and he seemed interested in our message. He invited us inside. We shared with him more about the gospel of Jesus Christ. He’s Hindu, and so his knowledge of Jesus Christ is limited. We gave him a pamphlet and asked him to read it before the next time that we would come back. It was a very powerful lesson! I’m looking forward to continuing working with him to help him better understand the purpose of life. It just goes to show that even lost sheep can be used as tools to help find the elect!

I finally found one of my stories that I gave to President Jackson! I haven't been too careful in looking before, but you asked if you spotted on of my stories a couple of weeks ago. So it was on my mind to look this time. It concerns the Family Home Evening with the 4 families. There's even a picture there in the picture section! Just thought that I might throw that out there.

It's great to hear that the family is doing well! You're all in my prayers. I'll find some magnets for you all.

Oh, by the way, Aunt Diane's advice about Indians looking at me like I'm a ghost proved prophetic. I was at a member's house a couple of weeks ago, and the 4 year old daughter was talking to my companion in Hindi. Suddenly he started laughing. He explained that she had just called me a "Bhoot" with means "ghost." She then called my companion something else, which means "monster." I forgot the word, though. So yeah. I am apparently a ghost. Now I know what my Halloween costume is going to be!
I hope the Elder-to-be will do well! I think that he's going to Bangalore. We just got two new Americans. So I'm not so sure if he's coming here. Still, it'd be nice!

I can't wait for General Conference! I plan on staying awake this Conference. I always enjoy them.

That's it for this week. Love you all!
Elder Montgomery

Questions and Answers about the water

October 5, 2011

Are you only using bottled water?
As much as possible. I have no control over what kind of water members give to me. But apparently there's a taste difference. In the apartment, only bottled water.

Would an infiltration bottle be helpful for you on your mission?
All of our apartments have filters. I have been inside 3 apartments in Delhi. All of those have filters

Have you gotten sick from the water?
I am 100% certain that some members/investigators have given me tap water. And from that tap water, I am 100% that I have gotten sick. Sometimes I'll carry my own water around with me. But I don't want to offend them either. So I switch off every so often.

Do you ever drink the water or do you only drink bottled water? Bottled water, 99% of the time. Again, I can't control what members give to me. I use tap water for showers though.

How do you wash your fruit and vegetables when you prepare a meal?
Bottled water. With rice, we wash it out first with tap water. Then we empty out that water into the sink and fill it with clean, filtered water. We use that water for steaming the rice.

Do you brush your teeth with bottled water?

Are you taking the antibiotic pill every day?
No. The water in Delhi is too dirty for Malaria to exist. Ironic, right?

"It is truly families like these that make my time in India well worth it!"

September 28, 2011

The internet cafe ran out of computers on which I could type, so I am typing this on a laptop. Feels so good!

I will stay District Leader until the end of the Transfer (October 20-something). Then it's up in the air. I could be District Leader again. But personally I think that I'm going to get transferred out of Malviyah Nagar. Elder Varada will be transferred out in December (That is paka [Hindi:true]). Elder Sade will finish His mission here in January, so he'll be here in the long run as well. Elder Veeraraj will probably stay here until February to help the Elders that will replace my companions. Two of the other American Elders have already left their home branch. each of them were replaced by even newer South Indian elders.

Which reminds me, we have two new American Elders! Yay. Their names are Elders Hess and Chambers. Both from Utah. Just briefly met them at a Specialized Training (held monthly) on Friday. They seem nice enough. Right now they're serving in Lajpat Nagar. In two weeks we're going to lose Elder Parisutham; His mission is over. He's currently serving there. Not sure what is going to happen to his companion, Elder Avans. He'll probably finish out the transfer with a Stripling Warrior. We shall soon see!

On Thursday, we went over to teach the Vijay M. family. There, we met with Neelu and his wife, Kusum. Neelu is Sister Rita’s brother, and an investigator of the church. He had previously attended our 4-family Family Home Evening. So, we sat down, and we had to improvise the lesson that we would teach them. We were going to teach the M. family about temples, but that didn’t seem appropriate with such new investigators in the room. So, we changed our plan to teach them the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This gave us a great opportunity to reteach the M. family (who were set to be confirmed the next Sunday) on Faith and Repentance, and what it means for them post-baptism. It also gave us a good excuse to further elaborate on the covenants of baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost – all while we had investigators in the room! Of course, the investigators were our main focus in the lesson; we tried to balance each time that we took teaching everything, from giving the definition of faith to explaining on how we can better remember our Savior in our everyday lives. All in all, it helped both families tremendously!

The M. family was confirmed this previous Sunday, and Neelu and his wife are set to be baptized on the 9th of October! I have never met such investigators as these, where I can teach members, recent converts, and investigators (who also just happen to be part-member family) at the same time! I couldn’t ask for better lessons – and everything outside of the lessons is amazing too. The children, Sam and Karen, have fun trying to teach me Hindi. Elder Sade gets along with everyone greatly. They’ve had us over for dinner a few times. And we have the best games together! I think that this will be one of my fondest memories in His mission – my time in watching these families grow!

It is truly families like these that make my time in India well worth it! I couldn't ask for better lessons!

My Hindi is getting better. In my spare time, I am regularly reading some old "Teach Yourself Hindi" books that the previous American Elders had left behind. Very helpful! I can read several words; there are only a few letters that I don't know yet. After I master the writing of it, I'll work on vocabulary and sentence structure! Right now I'm kind of combining them all. It's fun. I'll be fluent in no time!

We just celebrated a birthday of a member there. We all got to choose a dessert for a special at TGIFridays that they had. I got the Peanut Butter Brownie Ice Cream Bowl. Wow. Talk about sugar overdose! It was good, though. I greatly enjoyed it!
Unfortunately, I have to wait a week for General Conference. You will all see it on the first weekend of October. We won't. We'll need to wait until the Sunday after that (October 9, I believe) before we will receive the DVD's from Salt Lake City. So we'll wait a week. I don't know how that will affect our baptisms. But I'm not worried. Elder Sade's done this before. I'll follow his lead.

The weather is never hot here. Ever. It's always cool. Everyone thinks that I'm crazy when I say that, but they've never been to Yuma. They're never experienced REAL heat. It's supposed to be the rainy season right now. I haven't seen it rain in almost a week. I think that we might be in drought, actually. It's hot and dry. A rare combination in India. Don't quite know how to explain it. I'm not complaining though! For me, this is picture perfect weather!
That's it for this week.
Love you all!
Elder Montgomery

Sunday, September 25, 2011

"I love working with the members!"

September 21, 2011

Today for P-Day I bought a new backpack. The shoulder bag that we bought has outlived its usefulness. It's been leaving giant brown splotches on my clothes. Not too noticeable, but it still needs to go. I'll keep it in one of my bags until further notice.

This week has been amazing! But definitely the highlight was our family home evening on Monday! We had baptized the Vijay Massey family on Sunday, and we wanted to do something special for them to celebrate. So, we asked the Douglas family (another recent convert family) and the Sunny family (long-time members, friends of the Massey family) to get together at the Sunny family’s home for a nice get-together! It was amazing! Elder Sade cooked up some chicken sandwiches, I cut vegetables, and we brought them with us. We started with a short video about the Savior’s ministry in America, played a nice game that involved the children, and then served dinner. Some relatives of the Sunny family were also present; nonmembers that had their first taste of LDS lifestyle. We’re going to arrange a visit to their home soon, if possible. Monday was an amazing day! It took a lot of planning, but it all paid off in the end! I love working with the members!

I baptized the daughter, while Elder Sade baptized the son. Elder Bunga, who had taught them for the first three months before getting transferred, baptized the father and mother. They are a wonderful family! The children are persistently trying to teach me Hindi, but it's a slow process. It's fun though! I enjoy our "conversations."

Being District Leader is interesting. I am Leader over 3 other Missionaries (one of whom is Zone Leader, who is in charge of my and 2 other Districts). The Zone Leader is Elder Varada, my former trainer. Basically I set the agenda for District Meetings for this Transfer. I ask one of the Elders to give a training, and then I also give a training. i.e. A missionary that has been in the field for 4 months is training Elders that have been in the field for almost 24 months. More than 20, anyway. I also do follow-ups, which means that I gather Elder Varada's number of lessons, baptismal dates, and status of investigators. I add those numbers to mine and then give it to my Zone Leader (i.e. back to him). hahaha. All in all, I don't let it get to me head. I'm not better than any of them. More often than not, I'm asking for their help - especially concerning follow-ups. Since Elder Varada was Zone Leader and District Leader for my first two transfers, I've been having a lot of trouble figuring out how it all works. I'm getting better, though. And that's what matters.

We're planning a karaoke night next Saturday. We're gathering members that are interested in singing. It's going to be tons of fun!

Disneyland stuff? Not interested in any candy (unless you REALLY want to send me some). If you do find any pennies that I haven't found yet, I'd prefer that they stay in America until I return. Unfortunately, it's kind of almost impossible for you to know which pennies I do or don't have. I have a list on the compute under "Jarom's Stuff". You can check that. But, I suggest that you look around the exit of Pirates. There's usually a Quarter crusher with a Nightmare Before Christmas theme. Should be close enough to Halloween that they'll have it there. If not, it's fine. Disneyland pennies just don't seem as important on this side of the world.

I'm sorry to hear about the Broncos' loss. Interestingly enough, I found a shirt in the apartment. It is a "Glendale High School Broncos" T-Shirt. And it's orange and blue. It looks as if someone had used bleach on it and it got ruined. So they left it here. I'll send it to one of you for Christmas or something. ;D

Happy birthday Brittni! I hope that your children are doing well! It's great to hear the Matthew is enjoying Kindergarten!

INDIA HAS SKITTLES!!! Unfortunately, they cost 70 rupees for a small bag- about 2/3 of one of the bags that you sent me. 70 rupees can buy me an okay lunch. It's too expensive for a missionary budget. I want to buy one bag, though, because it has Hindi writing on it. Just to have the bag. I may send you one (eye for an eye status). But I've seen worse deals. Today we went to the DLF Mall in Vasant Kunj. After getting my backpack, we decided to eat lunch. I saw that one store was selling pancakes. I went over and saw that it was 120 rupees for one pancake. With butter and maple syrup added, of course. I went over to the Subway. I bought 160-rupee foot long. Ham with cheese, lettuce, and tomato (the ham is made of chicken, not pork). Which do you think is the better deal? That's why I choose Subway! hahaha.

We just got two new American missionaries! They should have arrived last night. They'd be in Lajpat Nagar right now. I'm going to get to meet them on Friday for a Specialized Training under President Jackson to the Missionaries (Pakistani Elders excluded). At the end of this transfer, when we receive 5 more South Indian Missionaries, 1 out of every 3 missionaries will be less than 6 months old. Can you imagine how powerful we will become in 2 years' time? That's all that I hear President Jackson say anymore. "We're on the upswing! We are only going up from here!" Speaking of which, this last Sunday, Malviyah Nagar made a new record in total Sacrament Attendance: 96! We are so close to 100! It is an amazing time to be in Delhi right now!
Love you all!
Elder Montgomery

"There is not any other place in the whole world that I would rather be!"

September 14, 2011

This week has been interesting, with Elder Sade and I taking over Elder Bunga’s area for him. Our main priority so far has been to make contact with all of his investigators over the past week. One such family is the Massey family (Father, Mother, Son, Daughter). They are amazing. The first time that we met them, we went over what Elder Bunga had already taught them. That went over quickly. Over the past week, we’ve just been touching up on the last few things that they’ve needed. They received baptismal interviews and are prepared to be baptized this Sunday. We gave the father, Vijay Massey, a Priesthood blessing for what seems to be a disease that he has recently contracted. The entire family has been present at every single one of our lessons with them, except one. Elder Bunga spoke very highly of this family-for good reason. They live next to a family that just moved in from 2nd Branch, where Elder Sade has just been serving. They are very close families. They greatly support each other. I am sure that this baptismal service this Sunday will be great. I am excited for the opportunity to continue serving this family!

Being District Leader is interesting. For the last two transfers, my companion was both District Leader and Zone Leader. So I never saw much of Follow-Ups. He just kind of did them on the side. I conducted my first District Meeting on Monday. I asked the newest Elder, Elder Veeraraj, Elder Varada's new companion, to speak on "Listening" from the Preach My Gospel. Because teaching is the best learning tool, and this is an essential thing that he needs to learn. So, I asked him to teach it. He did very well.

Elder Veeraraj is from Chennai. One the other 2 Elders that came with him from South India is named Elder Aruldas (unsure about spelling). He is from Chennai also. But, according to Elder Veeraraj, Elder Aruldas also lived in Phoenix, Arizona. Shocking, right? So now I want to talk to this Elder. But I won't be able to until a Missionary Conference or a Specialized Training. Maybe Zone Conference. Not sure. I'll fill you in on the details when I find them out.

That story of the French people is amazing. I wonder why they chose to migrate to Northern Italy? "The closer we are to danger, the farther we are from harm" Maybe? Oh well. I'm glad that they found out about the truth eventually.

I have heard of the bomb blast, but just a glancing mention of it. I don't receive news much. Most news places are not English Speaking. But they always-and I mean always-have the caption "BREAKING NEWS" in English. All of the time. I don't get it. So usually I just ignore those words. And then when I learn that they're speaking Hindi, I ignore the TV completely. Mostly it's just about Indian politics anyway. International News is very limited, if present at all. I don't mind, though. The news rarely concerns what I do now, anyway.

So yeah. I'm staying in the same apartment. Elder Varada is staying in my old room (his old room, also). I moved over to Elder Bunga's old room. Really really weird. I've gotten used to it though. It's different, but for me I think that it's the best-case scenario. I'm enjoying the new families that I am teaching.

Halloween box? You know those big bags that have like Dots, Tootsie Pops, Tootsie Rolls, etc? One of those. and Candy Corn. That would be enough. No idea about Christmas though. Not sure what would be useful. Maybe some Music CDs. I'll think about it.

I haven't sent the SD Card yet. Elder Varada told me that it would likely get stolen by the mail workers. I can pictures from here; I saw a picture of Madyson from a few months ago. I'll figure it out. Somehow. Hopefully.

D+C 84:89-91. My new favorite missionary scripture. Acts 2:46 is also good. Dinner appointments in the primitive church! hahaha.

I am truly blessed to be in India. I'm blessed to have the opportunity to serve the Lord. There is not any other place in the whole world that I would rather be! I am thankful that the family is doing well.

Love you all!

Elder Montgomery

"I am District Leader of the Malviyah Nagar District!"

September 8, 2011

I can't remember if the Fireside that we just had was last Saturday or
the Saturday before. I think that it was last Saturday. Anyway, we had
an amazing Fireside on Saturday. The other Elders (Varada and Bunga)
and I helped put up a skit. Elder Bunga's Companion, Balwant, is a
Stripling Warrior on a mini-mission. He helped with the projector and
the food; he had no interest in acting. We had several members join in
our skit, which included a crazy scientist taking a bunch of other
crazy people on a crazy "Journey to the Moon." We loved it. I played a
Tourist, a farmer from America. I wore a cool Indian hat and wore my
India Flag T-Shirt. I looked ridiculous. hahaha. The crowd burst out
laughing when they saw my costume. It was so much fun.

We also asked several of the members to do a Karaoke show before the
Skit. They did really well, and we'll be following-up with that with
another, similar show. Maybe with a movie or something. It's going to
be awesome!

We’ve been working really well with two of our members, Brother Obinna
and Brother Steven. They have been very missionary-minded as of late.
They have brought in several of their neighbors and friends. Two of
these neighbors in particular are George and Michael (reminds me of a
certain Arrested Development). They have been coming to church
consecutively for the last 3 weeks. After every church service is
over, we make very careful efforts to pull them aside and explain
things in detail.

For example, I was asked to give a lesson in Elder’s Quorum Meeting
this last Sunday. I was given about 5 minutes to prepare a lesson. I
decided on Lesson 2: “The Plan of Salvation” from the Preach My
Gospel. So, I gave a discussion on it for my lesson. It went very
well. Many of the members participated in the discussion. I listened
to their comments and shifted my lesson to meet their feedback. As a
result of my lesson, George had several questions about the Nature of
the Godhead, as we have not had the opportunity to teach him that
lesson yet. Elder Bunga volunteered to inform him that we could meet
with him after the meeting to meet his direct needs, as the lesson
that I had prepared was given in a much more general sense. He agreed,
and I sat down with him afterwards with a member, Brother Mark, to
answer his questions. He seemed satisfied with the answers that we

I felt the Spirit guide me on Sunday. Listening to it had two rewards;
I was able meet the needs of the members, giving a lesson that became
more than a one-sided lecture. I also had the opportunity to meet the
needs of my investigator; I found a concern that I probably would not
have found (for quite some time) otherwise. Brother George and
Michael are due to be baptized on the 18th. I am looking forward to
that time!

Also on Sunday, we had a visit from the General Sunday School
Presidency, President Ozgulthorpe! Wow! What an experience!
Accompanying him was President Perkins, President of the Area
Presidency. They met with the missionaries at 3:30, after all of the
Sacrament Meetings. Then they met with the District at about 6.
President Ozgulthorpe gave a wonderful discussion! He invited some of
the members up to answer questions. He called me up and asked me,
"What is the best way that you can bring the Spirit in a lesson?"
Nerve-racking experience. I gave a weak answer. "Well, we, um, start
and end with prayer." And then the Spirit was like: "Bad answer.
Here's a better answer: Listening. Listening gives the Spirit!" And
then I remembered our Training that we had had just a week prior.
President Jackson had taught about how listening to the investigator
opens the door to the Spirit. It shows that we are willing to put the
Spirit before our own personal opinion. So that's what I said.
President Ozgulthorpe agreed and let me go.

It turns out that listening to the Spirit was an important part of his
talk. A quote by either Elder Bednar or Elder Scott showed the value
of listening to the Spirit. It was an amazing experience for me! And
an ironic one. Either way, I am thankful that I had been paying

I recognized Braden's handwriting on the package. Thanks Braden! We
have been enjoying the Skittles and Reeses most graciously so far. I'm
not craving anything at the moment. I am satisfied. Thank you so much!
Yeah, peanut butter is regular peanut butter here. Which is excellent.
I don't know about the grape jelly though. I haven't looked for it.
All food items from your first package have long since disappeared.
They served the District very well!

Sorry to hear about the Broncos' loss. I actually saw a Broncos jersey
at a Reebok store (We had gone there to visit with an investigator).
If I find a Broncos jersey that says "Made in India" on the tag, I
know that at least somebody will be receiving a jersey! Or a t-shirt.
Or whatever it may be.

Today was Transfers. Rumors are closed, here are the facts: We will be
receiving 3 new Elders from South India tomorrow night [tonight now].
Elder Varada (my former companion), Varsala, and Bommaji will be
training them. In two weeks, two American Elders will be arriving.
Word is that their names are Elders Hess and Chambers. The
Companionship in Noida, Elders Paul and Penumuru, will stay together
until that time. Then they will split and both become Trainers. Okay.
Confused yet? Moving on. Next Transfer, we will be sending 8 to
Bangalore Mission. October 22. On October 21 or 20, this Transfer will
end. We will receive 5 more Elders from South India.

We have a new Training program that just released across the world: A
new manual for Missionary Trainers. Every Trainer will now train,
without exception, for two Transfers straight. Elder Varada already
knows where he will be next Transfer. He will still be in Malviyah
Nagar Training his new companion. He will inevitably leave in December
to another part of Delhi. He's been in Malviyah Nagar since about
February. Or something. District Leaders should also be receiving some
kind of manual. But I'm confused. Because I haven't received mine yet.
Which leads me to my jaw dropping announcement: I am District Leader
of the Malviyah Nagar District!

This is, according to President Jackson, unprecedented. He said, "you
are the youngest District Leader in Delhi. Ever." That can be applied
two ways, as I see it. One, I am District Leader in my 3rd Transfer.
There've been a few that have become District Leader in their 4th
Transfer, but never 3rd. And two, I am fairly certain that I am the
youngest missionary in Delhi right now. Soon, though, we will be
receiving more missionaries from the South. So that might not be true
after some time. But for now, no other missionary is 19 that has a
birthday after early May. So yeah. I am the youngest District Leader
to ever serve in Delhi. Yeah. Wow. um... yeah. Shocking.

There are two companionships in our District. Elder Varada will be
with his new companion. They are in my old room with my old
investigators. He is Zone Leader. I am District Leader. My new
companion is Elder Sade. He leaves the field in January. He was Elder
Green's Trainer. I have inherited all of Elder Bunga's old
investigators. He moved to Munirka. Elder Varada's new companion will
be arriving tonight.

That's it! I want to cut this short so that you can actually receive
my email this time. I only had to write this previous paragraph. I was
given this opportunity to write to you with permission from the
Assistants, but I am using valuable proselyting time. But this is too
exciting for me to wait a whole other week to emaiI you.

I am very excited for this privilege of becoming District Leader! It's
so amazing! Everyone in the Mission is excited for me! I'm nervous,
but excited at the same time! Wonderful time to be in Delhi right now!

Love you all!
Elder Montgomery

"The other Elders in Malviyah Nagar and I put up a skit for the Branch..."

August 30, 2011

Package received! THANK YOU! I was told that the package was received on about Monday and that it was very big and very heavy. With your previous comment that it only contained Skittles and Reeses and Grandpa's tie, I was confused. I opened it this morning and realized what it meant! It WAS big and it WAS heavy! And I enjoyed it very much. We still have about 30 packs of Reeses Cups sitting in the fridge right now. The Skittles are sitting in the box on my desk. These things may last me... a day? Maybe two? Nah. I'll be enjoying these for a couple of weeks, at least. I only wish that my camera was working - the batteries have been dead for almost two weeks now. And I have already run out of spare batteries. No big deal. Batteries are popular and cheap. I might as well get a battery charger here. I just need to find an electronics shop; they're very popular around here. The only thing stopping me is laziness.

This is my second attempt at writing to you. I was cut off last time by a power outage. We also lost power at our apartment this morning - the longest one I've seen so far. We wanted to go teach a quick lesson, but we can't iron our clothes! So we had to drop the lesson. They understood. Not a big deal. I'm just worried about another power outage here (finger is on the "Save Now" button). hahaha.

Recipes are difficult to come by. Everything is done by sight, and we only eat home-cooked food rarely. Mostly we just eat "daal + rice" or "some kind of curry + rice." We've been fed every night by one family that just moved in from Lajpat Nagar. Very nice people. Their names are Rahul and Deepa. They are a wonderful family!

This Sunday I had my first baptism! His name is Rudra. He’s a great guy and he loves the church! His family is very strong; the same family that has fed us every night for almost two weeks now. It makes teaching Rudra very easy and convenient. He was baptized alongside another sister that Elder Bunga has been teaching. I conducted the actual baptism for Rudra; it was quite an experience! We planned everything very carefully. Although we had a few hiccups, everything went smoothly. We watched “Finding Faith in Christ” in Hindi to bring the Spirit, and it persisted through the rest of the service.

Beforehand, we had made two loaves’ worth of peanut butter and mango jam sandwiches. We cut them in half and distributed them after the service was completed. Somehow some of the children had found the sandwiches and were seen eating them during the service. Not sure how that happened. I feared the worst (a child uprising for the sake of snacks). But nothing came of it. We gave the children sandwiches at their request and pressed forward with the service. The turnout was very well; we had enough sandwiches for those that came. None went home hungry. But other than the children finding our stash, it went off without a hitch. I am very thankful for the opportunity for Rudra’s choice in coming closer to Christ. I am looking forward to his being confirmed this Sunday.

I don't remember writing anything about exact obedience, but I could be mistaken. Generally those letters are a few weeks old, and I may have forgotten what that I wrote it. "Teaching River" is a common term in the New Delhi Mission now. In an address by President Jackson in a Specialized Training, he explained that we should have "Teaching Rivers" and not "Teaching Pools." In the ideal missionary service, missionaries teach and they baptize. That's it. Members supply the investigators and provide support when needed. So, those investigators that are ready to hear the Word go down the River to the waters of Baptism. Those that aren't ready stay where they are in the Pool. When one group finishes, the members (or hopefully, the Recent Converts) bring in the next group. We drop those that want to stay in the Pool and move on to this new group; we discover their hearts and repeat the process. That is why it is so essential for Missionaries to fellowship with the members. And we've been working at that.

That's the ideal missionary service. We're not at that level yet, but we are VERY close. I am coming to India at a wonderful time. if the rumors are true, we will be receiving 5 new missionaries from the Bangalore Mission next week. We are sending out 8 in October to the same place (members becoming missionaries). So we're essentially trading missionaries! Then, also in October, we will be receiving either 2 or 4 more missionaries! AMERICAN missionaries! This means that the number of Missionaries in Delhi will increase from about 24 to at least 30! And, if more missionaries come, we can easily double in size in less than six months! We have one elder leaving in the middle of September, two weeks after transfers. But then we're not losing anyone else until January! We can easily reach 40 missionaries at that time, depending on what rumors are true and which ones aren't. Very exciting times in the India New Delhi Mission!

We had a Missionary Fireside two Fridays ago (totally forgot about it in my last letter). It was a blast. The other Elders in Malviyah Nagar and I put up a skit for the Branch. It was about two missionaries who are discouraged. They eventually decide to visit a place by randomly pointing at it on a map. When they go tracting, they run into several crazy people, one after another. I, the greenie missionary, am obsessed with helping everyone (including a drunken guy and a guy that forgets everything in 15 minutes). The latter's name is Gajini. He's apparently famous in India. So, after a day of tracting, we go home fruitless and frustrated. The next day, we go with one of our members to go teach someone, and we get a baptismal commitment in less than 30 seconds. Although we don't point that out to the members of the branch. We just get the baptismal commitment and are happy.

We're holding another one this Saturday. This skit is about a "Journey to the Moon." Not sure much about it. We've just started planning. I will play a farmer, but we're going to improvise a lot of it. It's fun! Much of it is in Hindi this time; the other elders received complaints from members of the branch concerning lack of Hindi last time, so we'll be sure to include more this time. We're learning through experience and getting the most out of it that we can. It's a very exciting time for the Malviyah Nagar branch!

That picture was my first P-Day, I believe. We had gone to visit the zoo. It was very fun! And yes, India is beautiful. Elder Varada was confused about why I think so. I showed him the picture of Jesus Christ's Second Coming. He's surrounded by angels with trumpets. Beneath the clouds is a desert. So I showed him the desert and said, "This is what Yuma looks like." He understands now. India truly is beautiful. hahaha.

Hindi is coming very slowly. I'm more focused on understanding it and reading it. Those are my two main goals. I've picked up a few words and phrases, but nothing extravagent. "Coy Badinay" means "No Problem." "Paca" is "True." "Tikay" is "Okay." "Tera Dimak Karab Hai" is "Your brain is broken." That was my only line in Hindi during the Fireside. I told it to an auto driver. Best line in the play! (TEH-raw Dee-MAWK kah-RAWB hey)

Next week is transfers. I hope that I stay here. I probably will. I don't know about Elder Varada though. With the 5 new missionaries coming in, we may face really big changes, or President Jackson may decide to make minimal changes. think that transfers are on Wednesday next week. So we'll see!

GB2! Love you all!
Elder Montgomery

Two emails in one day!

August 24, 2011

Okay, so my first mass email attempt ended in failure. I think. I'm not sure if it got sent. I received a return message saying that my message has been truncated. I don't know what that means. Oh well.

Things are going well here. Neither of my companions that were supposed to be baptized next Sunday came to church last Sunday. So I don't know exactly what's going to happen. One of them (Adithiya) won't be available to be baptized until the 18th of September. The other (Rudhra)... I'm not sure. They're both doing really well, and they both will be baptized. It's just executing the ordinance that is the problem here. hahaha.

Last Friday we had a Missionary Fireside. Me and three other elders and a member put together a skit. It was a message about the value of missionary work. I played a greenie missionary. It was fun.

Other than that, not much. We just began teaching a couple of Nigerians. They're friends with one of our Nigerian members. He's very active. Very nice guy.
I ate a hot dog yesterday! Two, actually. I was out in the mall looking for something to take home to eat (getting late, and so most stores are closed). Looking for the Subway and I couldn't find it. So, I went to the first place that I could see in the food court. it was a hot dog stand! Except that the hot dogs are made of chicken! bumb bum BUM! They were still good though. Tasty. Expensive. One hot dog cost 90 rupees - that's a lot for a missionary's budget. Still good, though. I had been craving a hot dog.

For the last week, we’ve been regularly visiting an investigator named Adithiya. He is from the state of Goa, a stunningly beautiful place, or so he says. His grandparents are American (Indian by descent) and so he is very patriotic and outspoken about America. He has been taught the majority of the lessons in his time in Bangalore by some other elders. So we’ve just been reviewing what he has learned so far and teaching him what he doesn’t know yet. We’ve had some really powerful lessons. He’s explained to us how the he has been guided by the Spirit to safety. He has committed to follow all of the Commandments that we have given him so far. Unfortunately, he was unable to come to church last week and so his baptismal date (this Sunday) will have to be postponed until the 18th. He has some work in Bangalore. We’ll continue to teach him until he leaves and then figure out what to do next when he returns. Most likely he’ll be baptized at that time without an issue.
Because of the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he is facing his life in a much more dignified manner. He has always known that God exists but has never known what God wants from him. Now Adithiya knows the Plan of Salvation. He understands that he must keep his body clean. He has, for example, accepted the Word of Wisdom without restraint. He has no doubt that it is what God wants for him. I am grateful for his faith in Jesus Christ. It’s unflinching in the face of changing his life around for the better. It inspires me.

That's about it. The work continues. Life goes on. I got to eat some hot dogs. Pretty good week overall.
Love you all!
Elder Montgomery

"The work is going great in Delhi!"

August 24, 2011

Hello from India! This is my first attempted mass email! My brother just gave me the instructions on how to do it. So if it doesn't reach you, then I am truly sorry. If there are any changes in email addresses, feel free to email them to me so that I can add them to my list!

The work is going great in Delhi! We have 7 branches thoughout the city. 12 Companionships needing to teach a total of a couple million people. The odds are in our favor! The church has almost 2000 members in Delhi. My branch is called Malviyah Nagar. We have about 150 members in our branch. The other branches are called Lajpat Nagar, Noida, Dwarka, Pitampura, Munirka, and Visant Vihar. All very good people. My companion's name is Elder Varada. He's a great trainer. Very patient.

Learning Hindi is a slow process for me. My Mission is not a Hindi-speaking mission, so I don't take any official time to learn it. Just in my spare time, which is fine for me. I'm in no hurry to learn it. My main focus is to read and write in Hindi first. Understand it. I have little interest in actually speaking it. Except to auto drivers and shop keepers.

The people here are very humble. Very hospitable. In one case, an investigator had moved from one branch to ours. We had never met him before, but he had been referred to us by the other elders. We picked up the investigator at the metro station and walked a short distance to his house. He insisted on buying us some mango juice from a small shop before starting the lesson! Very nice people.

Pork and beef are rare, but not as rare as I had thought. I have had pork and beef once each during my time here. Vegetables are more commonplace since many Indians are vegetarian. It's not uncommon for hosts to ask me if I cannot eat chicken due to diet restrictions.

The national currency is the rupee. One dollar is worth about 40-45 rupees. That makes the dollar very valuable here. I once received a haircut for 40 rupees, when the same haircut would have cost me the equivalent to 360 rupees in America. That's 1 dollar versus 9. I've noticed that America has very high inflation.

For the last week, we’ve been regularly visiting an investigator named Adithiya. He is from the state of Goa, a stunningly beautiful place, or so he says. His grandparents are American (Indian by descent) and so he is very patriotic and outspoken about America. He has been taught the majority of the lessons in his time in Bangalore by some other elders. So we’ve just been reviewing what he has learned so far and teaching him what he doesn’t know yet. We’ve had some really powerful lessons. He’s explained to us how the he has been guided by the Spirit to safety. He has committed to follow all of the Commandments that we have given him so far. Unfortunately, he was unable to come to church last week and so his baptismal date (this Sunday) will have to be postponed until the 18th. He has some work in Bangalore. We’ll continue to teach him until he leaves and then figure out what to do next when he returns. Most likely he’ll be baptized at that time without an issue.
Because of the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he is facing his life in a much more dignified manner. He has always known that God exists but has never known what God wants from him. Now Adithiya knows the Plan of Salvation. He understands that he must keep his body clean. He has, for example, accepted the Word of Wisdom without restraint. He has no doubt that it is what God wants for him. I am grateful for his faith in Jesus Christ. It’s unflinching in the face of changing his life around for the better. It inspires me.

I am thankful for the opportunity to serve here. I am thankful to be called to serve. It is a great blessing for me and for those that I teach.

For previous emails, since not all of them were mass emails, you can go to "elderjarommontgomery.blogspot.com". My family will continue to update that website throughout my time in India.

Love you all!
Elder Montgomery

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"Such is the blessing of the gospel. That is why I am here. To help others understand that this life is but a moment in our eternal experience."

August 17, 2011

Life is good here in the Old World!
Today, we had planned to go to the Tughlakabad Fort. That idea got dropped. Then we decided to go and visit some members in Dwarka. That also dropped. So we went around the local mart to find some stuff to buy. Found nothing. Now we have another three hours to spend in the Munirka apartment. Most likely the residents will be out and we'll have to saunter back to Malviyah Nagar.It's not that there's nothing to do - we just can't ever make up our minds. I think that it's funny,
My favorite food... that is difficult... There's so much. But I'd have to say Chicken curry and rice. It's like: garam masala mixed with water, tomatoes, onion, and mirch. Add raw chicken and set it to boil. Steam the rice and then eat. (instructions vary. I was not present when it was made; one of my flatmates cooked it up). It was so good!
Elder Avans also made some delicious barbecue chicken curry last night. Take one kilogram of raw chicken (to feed two people).Cut some slices into it. Take a pint of dhara (it's like sour cream). drain out all of the water until it becomes like play-doh. Add that to the chicken. Add salt and garam masala (cover the chicken with both excessively). Add a few drops of ginger garlic paste. Mix well in a plate or bowl. Add mirch. Mix more. It should be covered in a thick pink paste. marinate overnight. In the morning, you make an oven by placing clean rocks on the bottom of a pot. Wash off the rocks first. Place the rocks on the bottom. Place a smaller pot over the rocks to catch grease and paste droppings. Take a rack and put half of the chicken pieces on it. Cook in the oven for about thirty minutes. Take out the pieces and add the other half (they won't all fit). While it's cooking, dice up an onion or two and fry them in a pan. Add rice enough for two people. Add a few drops of barbecue sauce to it. Elder Avans got his at the Malviyah Nagar Mall last week. When it's all said and done, sit down on the floor in your bedroom and enjoy. Best. Meal. In India. Ever.
President Jackson doesn't want us teaching in Hindi; it splits apart the branches. Creates cliques. So my interest in Hindi hasn't lessened, but it is no longer a high priority. Right now my aim is the alphabet. The local buses only write in Hindi, so I need to be able to read them to know where they are going. I also need to eventually need to learn to speak to shopkeepers and auto drivers. The American elders from a year left behind some Hindi learning books. So I've been reading those in my spare time. Very difficult. Very different from English.
I see Elder Bradley and the other American Elders all of the time. We see each other for Transfer meetings. Elder Bradley and I both go to Lajpat Nagar for P-Days. Elder Hornberger and I are in the same Zone. I see Elder Green occasionally. Not as much as the other two, though. Transfers were three weeks ago. I and all of the other American Elders are in the same areas with the same companions.
My camera has died 3 times already. Battery life is so short. I have about 250 pictures. Most of them good pictures. I am going to buy a battery recharger hopefully. They're popular around here.
I don't need a better compass, hahaha. I still haven't used my current one. I never get "lost" per se. I just can't find members' homes as easily. Addresses here are a mess. Even the Indian Elders struggle with it. hahaha.
We have a cell phone. It works perfectly. and I can write piano songs on it! It's very difficult to use and very limited, but I managed to make it play "Called to Serve" and "River Flows in You." Next up: He's a Pirate. ;D
I still think a lot, but am not caught up emotionally on Grandpa Montgomery. I was expecting it, and it did catch me by surprise. I'm okay and I want you to know that I don't come to the computer fearing that someone else has died. It doesn't affect my teaching. I don't dwell on it. He's in a better place now. And I know that he wants me to keep my mind focused. He now knows that this work is true. He probably spends the majority of his time switching between watching me (bring others unto Christ) and watching the rest of the family (growing families and all). It's a long distance between here and America! I am happy that Grandma Montgomery is taking it well. I pray that they will reunite in the Spirit World and there rejoice together.
Such is the blessing of the gospel. That is why I am here. To help others understand that this life is but a moment in our eternal experience. I have studied the Plan of Salvation since my Seminary years and only now is it truly making sense to me. Everything about it makes sense like nothing else in this life. I am truly blessed to have this knowledge, and thankful for the privilege of sharing it with others. I know that it is true. We are here to gain experiences that will prepare us for eternal salvation.
I am reminded of a thought that I read in the Liahona. Paraphrasing: "Every time that we face hardships, it is actually God telling us that we're ready to grow some more. Not every trial comes because of sin or iniquity. Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect and sinless life, suffered more than any mortal shall ever experience while in mortality.These trials come for our benefit." DC 122 is an excellent example of this. It's where God comforts Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail. I face trials here in India through culture and communication issues.
What am I to learn from this? That not every missionary experiences the same trials in their time on His mission. We are all where we are supposed to be to gain the amount of experience that God believes that we should receive. Others envy me because I get to go foreign. To India. To a place as mysterious and beautiful and desirable as you can get. I envy others because they go stateside. I've prepared my life to face the trials that I thought that I would face: keeping my faith in the face of adversity. Storing up knowledge so that the Spirit could guide me according to my memory of the scriptures. To say exactly what I need to say when the Spirit wants me to say it because I have prepared myself for that specific moment.
And then God threw me a curve-ball. I had never expected to go to India. I had never expected to go foreign. I had never thought about specifically where God would send me; I just trusted that He would be right. And I think that He is. I feel at home here. Completely and utterly comfortable right where I am.
Which is why God will soon be sending me another curve-ball. He already has. Small ones, to keep me on my toes. But this is my refiner's fire. This is where I will blossom into the servant that God has prepared for me to be since before I was born. Now it's just up to me to face those trials. I knew that it would be difficult. Even before I knew where I was going. I knew that God wouldn't give me an "easy mission." And trust me - there are plenty of "hard missions" that are stateside. I have no doubt about that. And I am thankful that God has decided that I am worthy and capable to have those trials in my life.
Thank you all for being examples to me. Thank you for placing me on the path that leads to eternal life. Now I can spend my time helping others come into this path until we will all eventually go down together.
Love you all!
Elder Montgomery
P.S. One of the cables on a monitor on the opposite side of the room just caught fire. Spontaneously. They fixed it and I was able to finish my email. I love India! =D

"...the most difficult part about life in India is not getting lost."

August 10, 2011

The baptisms did not happen. They've been rescheduled for the end of this month. The reason: we had District Conference on Sunday. District Conference is like Stake Conference, but with branches instead of wards.
On Sunday we attended the District Conference. Elder Varada and I went to Mehrauli to pick up two families. We visited the Chauhans first. They weren’t entirely ready yet, so we told them to hurry and get ready and we would come back for them. We went a little ways off to wait for another investigator. The investigator that we were waiting for was about 14; her mother was also an investigator (a referral) but she was busy and was unable to attend the Conference. She was, however, able to drop off her daughter, Shivani, into our care. We went with Shivani the short way to the Chauhans’ home. Elder Varada went inside to help motivate them into going while I stayed outside with Shivani. Eventually Brother Chauhan, his niece (Chaya) and two of his daughters came out. Chaya and Shivani met and started talking to each other in Hindi. I couldn’t understand them, but they both seemed excited to meet eachother. We got on a bus with another family, who were also on their way to the church to rendezvous with the branch.
There, we met several of our other investigators; Nirjar and his wife had driven there on motorcycles, and Rhudra had been brought by his cousin. I left the Chauhan family alone to mingle with the rest of the branch and met with each of the investigators, along with the rest of the members of the branch.
I spent most of my remaining time with Rhudra, helping him feel comfortable there. After the Conference, he had the opportunity to meet Elder Adhikari, and they got along very well; they’re both from Nepal. I took a picture of the two of them with Elder Adhikari’s camera. So, from what I learned, having the right member (or missionary!) at the right time can be essential to fellowshipping! Shivani and Chaya will continue to strengthen each other as they progress to the waters of baptism. We’ll still invite other members to meet with the Chauhan family and ensure their return to the fold!
Jenkin leaves soon. So, goodbye Jenkin! Have fun in Guatemala! Two years fly by. Trust me. I'm already three months in! Time on His mission goes by WAY too quickly, in my opinion.
I'd say that the most difficult part about life in India is not getting lost. From what I've observed, New Delhi is made up of several small village-like communities. So I stay in Malviyah Nagar. I go on a bus and travel to Mehrauli. I go by auto to Munirka. All of it is still in New Delhi. And because, for me, that is a new experience, I have trouble figuring out where I am, most of the time. I've looked at maps. They don't help much. I've tried to find my bearings using the sun. But I go out about noon and stay inside most of the time until sundown, so using the sun is very difficult. I'll try that whistle with the compass that you gave me. I may look stupid at first, staring at it in a bus, but it's important for me to find my bearings, which I have no experience in doing.
BRADEN IS GOING TO BE SO JEALOUS! Yesterday, we, and all of the other 52,000+ missionaries in the entire world, received a free DVD Player! That's 26,000 DVD Players sent throughout the world - one for each companionship. We have already used ours to great effectiveness. Yesterday we watched "Together Forever" with a young couple named Amit and Anundini. They're engaged to be married. Today we used it to watch "On the Lord's Errand" in Companionship Study. Truly inspirational story. Especially about the children in Samoa. The DVD Player can also play USB Thumb Drives (like the one that Dad gave to me) and CDs. I had forgotten about the pictures on there! it is truly an inspirational tool if we remember to use and treat it properly. It comes with a carrying case, so that we can carry it with us to investigators' and members' homes.
My favorite scripture is Doctrine and Covenants 123:17. "Dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power, that we may stand still with the utmost assurance, and see the salvation of God, and for His arm to be revealed." I'm paraphrasing slightly, but it's the general idea. Basically, whenever we have work for us to do, we need to do our best. That's it. If we do our best, if we earn the 99 rupees needed to buy a chocolate bar (a REALLY expensive chocolate bar), but don't have quite the 100th rupee that we need, God will fill in for us. He'll supply the last rupee.
From what I have learned in the MTC, Faith=hope+action. DC 130: 18-19 states, "There is a law, (some word that I can't spell) decreed in heaven, before the foundation of the world, upon which all blessings are predicated. And when we receive any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law, upon which it is predicated." I memorized that scripture when I was 14. I had no idea what it meant. Now, 5 years later, I do. God will not bless us for free. The windows of heaven will not be opened unless WE OPEN THEM. We need to do our part to push them open. If we push hard enough, God will pull them apart from the other side. But we need to knock. We need to open the door to let the Savior in. God wants to give us these blessings, but He knows that doing so (without our efforts) will harm us spiritually. And God most certainly doesn't want that.
That's why commitments are so important. They urge the investigator to try out the doctrine for themselves. If they're unwilling to put forth effort, then we have no choice but to drop them; if they can't help themselves, then we can't help them. And that's how we maintain teaching rivers, not teaching pools. Our investigators are always traveling down the river to the waters of baptism. Not sitting in a pool. If they want to sit there, we leave them be, and then help the next group reach the teaching river. And then, ideally, we always have more investigators ready and willing to make the trip. That's what President Jackson wants for us.
The India New Delhi Mission is truly a great blessing for me. I would not be called anywhere else. We are few in number against multitudes of children of God waiting to hear our message, but with revolutionary ideas and technology, we can become better - more efficient - missionaries. A change is coming in the mission field, one that will prepare us for the 21st century: I was one of the first guinea pigs in June in the Provo MTC. Elder Masson just barely missed it; He was probably a final-stage prototype. Elder Williams will receive the real deal; the fully functional MTC-thingy. I don't know what it's called. I don't know much about it. But it looks amazing. I'm excited for him!
Love you all!
Elder Montgomery

"So we had a small opportunity to teach about the history of Elijah..."

August 3, 2011

My first transfer is officially over! Wow! Two months in already! When they say that the time on your mission flies by, they weren't kidding!
Speaking of holidays, Indian Independence Day is on August 15. There's another holiday two days earlier, but it has a weird name and I don't know anything about it. The only holiday that I'm looking forward to is Holi. It looks amazing! Basically it's a holiday that allows you to throw paint at each other. Not sure how it applies to missionaries. Apparently we get to join in on our P-Day and have some fun with paint. You should see the pictures that they have here!
Everything's the same here. Elder Varada's still my companion. Still in Malviyah Nagar. Still haven't sent out post cards. Still...um...working hard. hahaha.
Yesterday I went on exchange with Elder Avans. One of our visits was with the Reetu family. Elder Avans had worked with them when he had served in Malviyah Nagar. They’re still investigating the church. We stopped by because Elder Varada and I believed that they would like to see a familiar face. We gave them an invitation to the District Conference (this Saunday). The daughter, Nidhi (10 years old), had a question about the picture in the front; a picture of Elijah visiting Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple. So we had a small opportunity to teach about the history of Elijah; the famine that lasted for two years, and his eventual Translation. I explained about the prophecy in Malachi, where it said that Elijah would return “to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.” And now, because of Elijah’s return, everybody around the world wants to know their family history and is doing genealogy work. She seemed really interested in our lesson. She had to translate for her mother, who wasn’t very comfortable with English. Overall , it was a good lesson. Nidhi said that she wanted to know more about the Ten Commandments, so Elder Avans showed her where they are in the Book of Mormon (Mosiah chapters 12 and 13).
As it turns out, Elder Avans is American. Elder Randall, another Elder, is also American. They have grandparents that are Indian, and so they get to come here under what is called a P.I.O. No idea what that means. But apparently they get to come to India all of their life; I guess it's like dual citizenship. So, there are 6 American missionaries, and not just the four that we had thought! He goes back next April. I don't know when Elder Randall leaves. We talked about his life in Delhi a lot. He still misses hamburgers. His mom sent him homemade beef jerky today for his package. And some other stuff, but he mainly stuck with the beef jerky. He gave me a few pieces. It was very good! I'm not a huge fan of beef jerky. But beef has its own unique flavor to it. Or so I've noticed, anyway.
Elder Bunga is now our solo Assistant. With Elder Chelladurai gone, the mantle now falls on him. His companion is a Stripling Warrior; a member that acts as a missionary companion for some time (usually a full transfer) in order to gain experience in the work before going on their own mission. His new companion is named Brother Balwant. He is the Elders Quorum President of Pitampura Branch. Every Sunday he goes back to Pitampura while Elder Bunga comes to Malviyah Nagar with a member. Balwant has been a member since December. He goes on his mission in October. That means that he won't even be a member for a full year before leaving! Truly inspirational. I'm fairly certain that he'll be serving in the Bangalore Mission. If I remember correctly.
I went to the local mall this morning with Elder Avans before going to reunite with Elder Varada. he wanted Barbacue Sauce, and so I tagged along. We arrived at a store that was predominantly American. As he was looking for his barbacue sauce, I looked at some of the prices on the products.
2 Reeses package: 125 rupees
8 Reeses package: 725 rupees
Poptarts box: I think 700 rupees.
Twix: 40 rupees (thank goodness!)
Reeses pieces (very small bag): 75 rupees
That's all that I can remember. I can also buy 6 Oreo cookies for about 20 rupees, a Gatorade for about 60 rupees, and a Sprite for about 35 rupees. Those come from a small store near our apartment. We go there sometimes for bread and stuff. A good meal of chicken and rice doesn't cost more than 100 rupees at any time. Roti and Chole costs about 20 rupees for 3 rotis and a small bowl of chole. So the candy in that store is fairly expensive. I may go back for some Twix, but I think that the Reeses are outside of my price range. Skittles are nowhere to be found.
Thanks for the tip on the Ibuprofen. It says that it works on stomach problems, so I took one on Saturday and Sunday nights. After that, I got better and haven't worried about it since.
India is a truly beautiful place. As soon as I find an SD Card Reader, I'll email you a few pictures.
Love you all!
Elder Montgomery

"Hello from Malviyah Nagar!"

July 27, 2011

Hello family and friends! For once, I am actually typing my letter from my own area. hahaha. There's not much to do here (except a huge mall) so we generally go elsewhere for P-Days. The mall is too expensive for regular usage, but I know where to go Christmas shopping now!

I'm adjusting remarkably well. I just got sick for the first time on Saturday. Nothing special. I still managed to get to the work. I've been taking Ibuprofen every night, just in case.
On Saturday, Elder Varada and I went to R.G. Road to give a blessing to a family of nonmembers. We met with a sister named Sister Sarala (SAR-la) outside of the local mall, and made our way to the home by auto. We gave a blessing to the mother and one of her daughters; the first an anointing and the second a blessing of comfort. We then sat down and explained about our church. We taught about our Heavenly Father and His love for us, about Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon. Sister Sarala bore her testimony better than I did! The family seemed especially interested in the missionary work itself; we spent about 10 minutes explaining how we are called of God to go to the world and teach, and to help others improve the qualities of their lives. It was a very spiritual meeting for us. We gave them two copies of the Book of Mormon (one in Hindi and one in English) and went on our way. We will definitely be bringing Sister Sarala with us next time (as her time with her family permits)! She was an excellent Branch Missionary!

We have two Elders leaving us. Today, Elder Chelladurai returned to his home of Chennai. He left really early this morning. He was one of my roommates, so I got to know him very well. Elder Gollapelli will be leaving tomorrow morning. We've gone on a few exchanges, and he serves in Lajput Nagar. We played cricket today to celebrate him on his departure. Cricket is...interesting. Very much like baseball but at the same time very different. There's only one base, for example, other than home plate. We played with a tennis ball.

Braden's still a missionary? hahaha. I'll send him one of the M squared pins that the Mission has. I'll send everyone some. They're really cool. M squared is "Member Missionary."

So. I heard about the budget plan that isn't happening. Congress had better get their heads together pretty quickly! Otherwise we'll all suffer for it. Not a fun plan.

It's been raining pretty heavily here. Almost everyday now. Getting to the thought of carrying my umbrella with me every day, just in case.

Happy birthday Rylie! I hope that you eat lots of cake! Let Noah have some too! He needs to grow to be super strong like his daddy!

We have, so far, failed to find an SD Card Reader. I've seen them here, but they're owned by people who develop photos for my companion. So, next week, I will be able to attach photos (a few, as a taste). I will still send the SD Card when it's full; as soon as I figure out the Indian Postal System. I still haven't sent (or bought) those postcards. Maybe today. (I'm beginning to see a pattern here; hahaha)

Jenkin should be leaving August.... um... 8th. And his birthday was last week. I know that much. Either the 20th (first guess) or 21st (second guess). I always get it mixed up with Harry Potter's birthday (June 21). So. Happy Birthday Jenkin! Hope that you enjoy your time on His mission in Guatemala! I know that you will enjoy your time there. Going on a mission is the greatest choice that I've made so far. I know that you'll feel the same!

Next package? Skittles, Reeses, and maybe one of Grandpa's ties. And whatever else you want to throw in there. As long as I get those three things, even if I ONLY get those three things, I will be happy. I don't like to keep lists of what "America has and India doesn't." India has some pretty nice stuff here too. I've adjusted to Indian lifestyle; it's mostly just American food that I miss. Speaking of which: I ate beef on Monday! After a zone conference, we all went to some place called the "Mizoram House." We ate beef and rice. It was soooooo good!!!! I had forgotten how much I liked beef. It was just shredded beef and potatoes but it was so GOOD!

That's about it. I am one transfer closer to Mission Accomplished! I can't believe that it's already been two months! But who's counting, right?
Love you all!
Elder Montgomery

"Hello from...um...Munirka...I think."

July 20, 2011

In all honesty, I'm not sure where we are right now! I don't usually visit Munirka (Myoo-NEAR-kah). But I think that that is where we are. I'm fairly certain. We go to a separate cyber cafe each time that we write emails.
I'm sorry to hear about Grandpa. It was expected, but still sad. But he's in a better place now. My prayers go out to Grandma. I'm happy that she's taking it well.
So. Dad's birthday, huh? Happy birthday, dad! I haven't had time to buy an SD Card reader yet. But when I do, I'll be sending some pictures via email as a taste until I can send the Card itself! I have some good pictures. 250 now!
Last P-DAY we went to the zoo.That was fun. We saw several animals. With the humidity and the birds and monkeys flying everywhere, I really felt like I was in a jungle! Pictures soon.
Today was the 2nd Annual Amazing Race. Basically we get in groups of three (making 8 teams) and go around Delhi looking for clues to out next destination. My team got in 4th, which was really good. Us, 2nd and 3rd place teams each got within three minutes of each other! We had to take pictures of certain objects to lose time. 1st place beat us by 19 minutes! So they definitely deserved to win. It was a lot of fun. We had to follow our envelopes to the next destination, where we would receive another envelope. So we would see each other a lot and laugh at them when we got an envelope and they were still looking for the one that we had just found (and vice versa).
On Monday I went on exchange with Elder Podi. We visited a few members in Lado Sarai , made several street contacts, and made our way to Mehrauli. There, we visited Sister Selena and met her brother-in-law. A simple “hello” meeting turned into a deep spiritual experience. The brother-in-law, named Sechin, had fallen on hard times with his family. So Sister Selena brought him over to her home while we were still there and we taught him the Plan of Salvation. We then gave him a blessing of comfort, for which I think that he was really thankful. It was getting late, so we bid them goodbye and decided to visit one more family before returning home for the evening. The Chauhans lived nearby, so we visited them. We wanted to visit Sonita and Chaya, but Sonita was sick in bed in her home (And I didn’t know where her home was). They're cousins to the Chauhans and we can usually find them there. We talked with Punam and her father. Punam Chauhan is planning on serving a mission. She still needs to fill out her papers. After a short prayer, I opened with the scripture Ether 12:6, which talks about receiving a witness AFTER the trial of our faith. I explained that faith is like a fire; and it can go out very easily. Punam was translating for her father. He seemed really touched by the message. The Spirit was definitely there. I’m just hoping that a chain reaction will come that will get the Chauhan family back into activity.

We gave Sonita a blessing and a lesson yesterday. She says that she feels much better. Sonita and Chaya are marked to be baptized on August 7.

One more week until my first transfer! Scary how fast it's going. But I still have a long way to go! So Braden is having culture shock? I've never been to Australia, but I'm fairly certain my culture shock in returning to America will be much worse. I dunno. I love India. I'm already thinking how much I'm going to miss it when I'm gone. The only thing that I'm having serious trouble with is spiciness in food. I don't like spiciness, but i don't refuse to eat it either. Oh well. I'll be converted in no time!

That's it for this week. Love you all!

Elder Montgomery

"We have 7 baptism dates set for August 7."

July 13, 2011

Answering your questions... It's not just rice. We never eat "just rice." There are always vegetables and sometimes meat in them. And then we get to mix it with gravy. And then eat it with our hands. Very fun!
Next package? Well, we have oreos, pringles, deodorant, and toothpaste here. I appreciate the things that you sent - I rarely have the opportunity to get them. But other things like Reeses and Skittles are nonexistant. So I'd prefer those. And yes, the Skittles were most welcome here. Thank you for the package!
My apartment is the smallest apartment of them all. it has 4 rooms; 2 bedrooms, a family room, and a kitchen. Other elders basically have houses. One apartment, Munirka, has 2 floors! And the other elders are telling me that an evil spirit lives up there. Which makes perfect sense. 4 elders can't cast out an evil spirit from their own home. Very likely.
Elder Varada and I visited Sister Renu on Monday. She had just recently moved to a new home. elder Varada had been teaching her for months, but due to opposition, she was never interested in progressing. So Elder Varada put his attention of her daughter, Meenakshi and her family. Meenakshi was baptized the Sunday before I arrived. After teaching Sister Renu a small lesson, we committed her to baptism, along with her other two daughters. We still need to help the husband, Francis. We値l be patient in bringing this family to the fold of God. Their baptism date is August 7.
Elder Varada is Zone Leader, so whenever any other elder has a baptism date, he needs to go over and interview them. I go on exchanges or splits about twice a week. Which is good. I now have experience in some part of almost every branch now.
Hard to imagine that I've been in India for exactly 1 month. Feels like yesterday that I just came here. And now Braden's going back home. That is so weird! Feels like a week ago he just left. I am sending this letter to Braden's account also.I think that he can just read the one I'm sending to you, mom. Keep it simple. That's always best.
We have 7 baptism dates set for Ausust 7. 3 Different families. We're hopeful about them, but we've had dates postponed and other dates postponed indefinitely. We're working as best we can.
We went to the zoo today! Very exciting. We saw lions and tigers and no bears. So close! I'm taking lots of pictures; I have almost 250. But I need to delete some of those becuase they're blurry. Or I missed. Or something. Still it's 250 pictures. Almost 100 are of the zoo. Everything else is of India. India is soooo beautiful. I love being here. I have almost completely transitioned to living an Indian lifestyle. If that makes sense. It's not as difficult as I had thought it would be. Food is still spicy, but I'm getting better at that.
They just came out a new flavor of chip a couple of weeks ago: "American Style Cream and Onion." I can safely say that God has truly prepared India for me.
Indian food is so good. Today I ate Pao Bhaji and drank a mango shake. I don't even know what Pao Bhaji is. But I liked it. I visited President Winter, first counselor in the Branch Presidency. He showed us some Inian sweets. Ladoos, which are refigerated round balls. Joojoops, which is basically jelly candy. And Bolesugar, which I think is caramel. It's a very hard cylinder, like a sucker without a stick. It was sticky, anyway.
It's 4:05 PM right now here. For you, mom, it's probably about 3:30 in the morning. I can only type from cyber cafes. The power goes out every couple of hours. and when someone gets off, another person gets on.I only have one hour, maximum.
In the latest newsletter, there's a picture of us eating pizza (my third time. We like pizza). The person whose shoulder my hand is apparently on is my companion, Elder Varada. Elder Chelladurai and Elder Gollepelli leave at the end of this transfer; in just two weeks!
I'm loving the work! If it's not difficult, I'm not doing it right! (You can write that down). We have our hard times (we at one point dropped three invesitgators who were no longer progressing). Other times are joyful (Committing Sister Renu and her family to baptism). Now is a happy time! We go in cycles, and this cycle will bring forth great fruit!
Alma 34:32. Now is the time for men to perform their labors! Now is the time for men to prepare to meet God! it is by our works that we shall be judged. And my works will grant me eternal life at the last day. They will also give my brothers and sisters that same oppportunity; what could be more joyful?
Love you all!
Elder Montgomery