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!