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

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

"I'm eating rice almost everyday now."

July 6, 2011

My last letter to Elder Montgomery! So weird that he's already coming
I was visiting an investigator in St. John's Compound (all
Christians). We were coming back when I had the impression to visit a
member in that area. It turns out that she's been having some
difficult times, and we were able to comfort her to her satisfaction.
So that went well.
General statistics: I have gone on 4 exchanges, baptized 0 people,
seen 0 elephants, seen 70+ cows, given 6 blessings (including blessings of healing and of comfort) and eaten KFC twice. All in all, a good 3 weeks, wouldn't you say?
I'm eating rice almost everyday now. It's kind of weird. I'll eat
until I can't possibly eat any more. Then, suddenly, about 7 hours
later, I'll just be starving.
We celebrated American Independance Day here. Kind of. My companion
and I went to a mall on across the street from out apartment. We ate
Subway sandwiches. Yum! I'm hoping today that we can go back to the
mall and eat hot dogs with the other American elders. Maybe. We'll
see. Indian Independance Day is August 15. I don't know what the plan
I received your package. THANK YOU!!! I've been craving peanut butter
and jelly (as you guessed) for about a week now. I made sandwiches
for me and my 3 roommates this morning for breakfast. Can you beleive
that 1 of those 8 cups made 4 sandwiches' worth of peanut butter? It
was amazing! Lovin' the green stuff. I also received the oreos, hand
towels toothpaste, tic tacs, deodorant, Skittles (Thank you!) Fruit by
the Foot, and Pringles. One of the little Pringles opened. So I ate
that one. I gave the other little one to my companion. The package so
great! Thank you!
Congratulations to Lauryn! I'm very happy for her! She'll be a great mother!
It's getting cool. Raining every day. We're entering the rain season.
That'll last about 3 months. Then we'll have very cold weather until
February. Good thing that I brought that one humungous coat! They say
it gets to negative degrees Celsius. No idea what the equivalent is in
Farenheit. But it should be fun!
In other news, I found a chess board and pieces in a shelf this
morning. I'm playing an epic game with myself; black is winning. Big
time. I need to see if the other elders want to play. I haven't asked
them yet! Kind of forgot in my excitement!
I'm surprised that I'm not homesick. I thought that it would be a lot
worse. Sure, it's there (how can it not be, I've lived in the same
house for about 15 years!). But it doesn't play any signicant role in
my life. I don't dwell on it. I'm too busy. All of my spare time (not
including study time) is spent practicing piano. It equals to about
one song before bed and one song before we leave each morning. That's
cut way short compared to what I used to play; I see every moment of
spare time as precious and useful. I'm learning "If You Could Hie to
Kolob" by Aaron Waite. I've always loved that song.
I'm hoping to buy postcards soon. Maybe today. I don't know what the
plan is. Usually our P-Day plans flop, so I don't have any experience
as to what we're supposed to be doing. Usually we just sit around or
eat. hahaha. We've tried going to the zoo, but there wasn't enough
time. Maybe it'll be today. Or next week. I don't mind either way.
Last week, we saw "The Best Two Years." Very funny show! I know that
you wanted me to watch that before leaving for India, but I never
found the time. It was a great movie! Definitely a must-see for future
Good luck Tyler! You'll be a great missionary! South Carolina needs you!
That's about it. Love you all!
Elder Montgomery

"Hello from Lajput Nagar!"

June 29, 2011

Aren't these names just great? "LAJ-poot Nah-GAR" J makes the same sound as jar or Jarom. I have a good keyboard this time! But the power might still cut out. it does everywhere.

I went on two exchanges this week! My first one was with Elder Gollapelli "Go-LEHP-ahl-LEE" We visited here last Friday, Lajput Nagar. It was interesting. We met a few members and ate Macaroni and Curry. Then some kind of noodles with milk and cream. It was tasty. my second exchange was with his companion, Elder Podi "PO-dee". We went to my area, Malviyah Nagar "MAHL-vee-yah Nah-GAR". And Mehrauli "MEH-rol-LEE". and Lado Sarai "LAH-do SAYR-eye" That was yesterday. It was a mess. Everywhere in India looks the same to me, and so we got lost several times. It was fun though. We all knew that it was bound to happen. My companion Elder Varada "VAR-dah" or "Vah-RAH-dah" says that we will do that again next week. It should be fun.

I'm learning Hindi! I now know the letter "ra". Mera Dost "MEH-rah DOST [rhymes with gross, not lost] means "my friend." Donnuval "DOHN-oo-VAHL" means "thank you"

We gave Sister Minakshi's parents blessings last Saturday. Her knee has been hurting, and her husband is nervous about a new boss that he will be receiving. She got oil, he did not. Just a blessing of comfort.

I have seen 3 wild pigs. No elephants! I'm told Pitampura has elephants. I need to ask Elder Bradley about that.

I've got to go. I love you all!
Elder Montgomery

"India Lifestyle."

June 22, 2011

my companion's computer shut down on him earlier, so he is restarting his message. in the mean time, i will write what i have learned of india's lifestyle. another bad keyboard. preferably go to 'hello from munirka' first. it is just better.

indians eat rice with their hands. that's what they told me. what they didn't tell me is that the indians mix their rice with various sauces. they're adept at not making a mess of themselves. i am not so experienced. but i will be!

driving has to be the most amazing thing about india.i am not driving on my mission, and for good reason. imagine that no cop will ever pull anyone over. imagine if everyone knew that and abused that. that. is. india. the ratio of vehicles goes like this: 5 cars: 4 autos: 3 motorcycles: 2 buses: 1 bicycle. rickshaws and autos are not the same thing. autos are tricycles with covers on them with motors. they essentially taxis. they're green and yellow. rickshaws have no motor; they're a tricycle in a very real sense. i feel sorry for the drivers. have to ride people around for a living. riding a tricycle to do it. but yeah, people do whatever they want. motorcycles zoom past me down narrow alleyways with just an inch between us. and its normal. its so weird how much i accept the recklessness of driving in india.

it's 1 dollar:about 42 rupees. i got a haircut this morning. it cost me 40 rupees, or about a dollar. the same haircut would cost me 9 dollars in America, or about 360 rupees. i gave the barber a 10 rupee tip; the equivalent of about 25 cents. and he was happy! I was given 500 rupees last wednesday (10 dollars). It lasted until yesterday. 5 days! 2 dollars a day! and im full. im healthy. im good. we spend most of our money on transportation. the starting price of an auto is 19 rupees. a bus fare is either 5 rupees or 10 rupees, depending on the bus.

water is my biggest problem. i was never thirsty in yuma. now im thirsty all of the time. the water here isnt clean, and i do my best not to drink it. we have a purifier in our apartment, so i refill my water bottle every day. its 2 times as large as a normal american water bottle. its huge!!

food. they have a food here that they call roti. its actually a tortilla, but they call it a roti. theyve been deceiving themselves for years. parakta is a roti/tortilla with some kind of oil. ive had chole. ive had daal (which my companion told me has 'pulses' in it. no idea what that means). i eat so much rice. i usually cant finish my meals because im so full. most of the food is spicy, but i get by. im learning to enjoy the spiciness. slowly. oh so slowly.

beverages. rosemilk is soooooo good. it tastes like strawberry horchata. theres also fruit shakes everywhere. i just drank a mango drink shake. very tasty!

the power shuts down for a few seconds after every day or so. makes typing this very interesting. like its a bomb ready to go off. unfortunately it also shuts down air conditioing. which is never fun.

we're teaching a man named Godfirst. hes Nigerian. and amazing. he openly told us that he doesnt care what we say as long as he keeps his relationship with God. we're in the win/win scenario since God will testify of what we teach. he's nervous about baptism but we have set a date for next saturday.he has such amazing faith, it almost makes me cry for joy that he will soon find the true church of Jesus Christ.

love you all!
Elder Montgomery

"i am in india. malviya nagar. 4th branch of new delhi."

June 22, 2011

Hi Everyone!

This keyboard is old and doesnt work well. we just
spontaneously lost power so ill type super fast. i am in india.
malviya nagar. 4th branch of new delhi. theres 120 members of our
branch. only 60 are active. reactivating members is our top priority
atm. khirki extension, r-block is where im living. its a bunch of
alleys and stuff. the authentic india. not the flashy castles taht you
see on tv. im typing from munirka with some other elders in a cyber
cafe. i serve in lado sarai, devily road, and mehrauli. we have a
christian compound called st. john's. heavy oppiosition there from
other ministers. my first doorstop was me and elder varada stumbling
upon an investigator talking to a pastor. other elders had offended
him somehow and he didnt like us anymore. indian eople are very
sensitive. i have to be very careful.
india is amazing! its not so hot, but im sweating by the time i get
out the front door- and then it only gets more humid. again, its not
hot. so weird. i reckon that ive seen 40 cows, 3 goats, numberless
dogs, and 4 cats. not sure about the cats. maybe indians just dont
like them. in that case, i agree with them.
food is delicious. spicy. ive had delhi belly since monday morning.
people are amazing. i gave a blessing to sister meenakshi on saturday.
no oil. left it at home. wont make that mistake again. she was up and
about in about 15 minutes.
not sure what else to say. president jackson is amazing. the mission
is growing. he started mini missions. can you imagine keaton spending
6 weeks as a missionary with a missionary companion? living in an
apartment and everything? they're here. ive met a few. theyre like 16
or 17. spending 6 weeks, a transfer, with a real missionary! I might
get 1 as a companion. so inspirational.
mission is growing fast. we have about 20 elders in new delhi. me and
5 others are only foreigners. all others are from south india. the
indians are growing the church in india!! might seem racist at first
glance, but its true. for too long, american elders have been
converting indians. now the indians are learning slowly to convert
themselves. there is not a sunday without a baptism in at least one
branch in new delhi. on july 17 we plan on having 1 baptism in each of
5(?) branches in new delhi.
i will probably not be leaving the city. ill be staying in new delhi.
no mountains in sight either. sad days. i think thats it.
proverbs 10:5. Jesus is the way.
love you all!
Elder montgomery

"I'm here!"

June 15, 2011

I'm here! Oh, where to start? I almost missed all three of my flights, a huge storm almost stopped us from landing, The drivers are crazier than I thought. And I. Am. Loving it! But seriously, we almost missed all of our flights (each indivdually) due to various reasons. In one, they had told us the wrong Gate and Terminal, so we had to walk briskly across the airport to arrive on time! How frustrating, right? It was all good. Did you notice to loop-de-loops that we made on the plane about 100 miles northwest of Delhi? There was a huge thunderstorm at Delhi then, so we had to wait for it to clean up first. I'm shocked that it stopped at all! We had to turn around in a circle about 3 times I think. But it went well. And here I am!
Driving is something of a joke here. There are no rules. Whatsoever. Drivers can do anything that they want, but they need three things: "A good horn, good brakes, and good luck." But beyond that, it's no different from driving in Yuma. Just imagine that every single other driver is a Snowbird and you get the idea.
And the rickshaws! They're called autos here. They're everywhere! I drove in one getting to my new apartment. A few wouldn't take us because of my luggage. One did come, and my companion, Elder Varada, had to haggle with him in Hindi. It was quite entertaining to watch; I so want to learn it!
Elder Varada is from South India; I don't know exactly where, though. He spoke Telugu and English when he arrived here, and has since learned Hindi, He says that it might be necessary for me to learn some Hindi in order to communicate properly (generally, Rickshaw drivers only speak Hindi, for the most part).
Apparently, we can't preach to Muslims in India. How sad. We're not in Bhutan at all. We have service missionaries in Bangladesh and Nepal. The church in Pakistan is bigger than the church in India! There are more Pakistani members, but only missionaries of Pakistani descent are allowed there. I think.
The culture shock hasn't competely hit yet. It's still the "deep breathe before the lunge." I ate KFC today. What's up with that? The popcorn chicken tasted better them America's, in my opinion. But it was spicier. Rough trade.
I am so happy to be here! The good the bad, and the ugly (and there's a lot of ugly) all mingle perfectly. There is truly no words than can fully explain my emotions. I know that this is where God wants me to be. I know that the Soirit of the Lord is with me. If you have any quesions, please do not hesitate to ask!
Love you all!
Elder Montgomery