Wednesday, November 26, 2008

11/26/08 letter from Josh

Dear Family,

How are you all doing? It was so good to hear from you, getting e-mails and being able to write to you all – I look forward to it all week. this week was a good one for sure. adjusting to life as a missionary is more difficult than i expected it to be. president nichols keeps telling me that adjusting to life as a missionary is much more difficult than adjusting to living in India. he is so right. but still, i am learning so much and beginning to find this work to be fun.

So, I’m not sure what i mentioned about christians in the last e-mail, but we can actually talk to everyone we want. my companion is kind of reserved and doesn’t really prompt me to make contact with people on the street. in fact sometimes he would kinda discourage me from opening my mouth in the first place. but i talked to my district leader about it and asked him if we really aren’t supposed to talk to people that much, like my companion made it seem. but he told me i could talk to whoever i want. so that’s what i started doing and we have been contacting a ton. you should see me. i just walk up to whoever now. we have met christians, but the majority are hindu. we have appointments with new investigators this week and they are all hindus. it seems like the roman catholics here are just very stubborn and want to bible bash. ha i never thought i would be bible bashing in india, but i was wrong. except i really try not to be contentious and drive the spirit away.

so, we had this lady, sister bagyamarry marked for baptism on dec 7th but she didn’t come to church on sunday and you have to come 3 weeks in a row to get baptized, so we have to postpone it a week...if she is able to make it to church the next three weeks. she is a great lady, she seems to have a strong testimony but there are a lot of things going on in her life at this time, and she doesn’t completely realize the importance of this step in her life. i am praying for her to be able to recognize how much this matters. if you can, you should pray for her to know really how important baptism is. she also has a daughter named rosie who is like a dancer in all these telegu movies and is gone a lot. she is 18, but when she is home she really enjoys meeting with us. I’m not sure if it’s the message she really cares about though...i hope that the example of her mother will help her. we are teaching other families, a boy of 17 named prisanth and he is ready to be baptized but his father won’t allow it. the father is kind of rude and his mother just wants to bible bash when we go over. so we are really praying for his father’s heart to be softened. that auntie from last week actually told us not to come back anymore, that was my first real taste of discouragement on the mission, cause i really felt that the spirit was there and they realized he was testifying to them. but like nephi says, the power of the holy ghost can carry the truth unto their hearts. not into them. too bad. otherwise we have a few new investigators, i met a guy named chandu on sunday night. sometimes we just ask people if they “are liking jesus christ” and when i asked him, he got so excited and was like "i love jesus christ!" he is hindu but we are meeting with him soon. i hope it goes well.

this week my companion has been sick. he woke up in the morning the past few days and then just went back to sleep for the rest of the day. so i get to stay home and extend my personal study. but it’s not too bad, i really had some good spiritual experiences while studying. i have been reading jesus the christ by james talmage. that book is so captivating. he is such a good writer. but, today i think my companion feels better. i hope so, because the past few days we had some appointments i was excited about and we had to postpone.

church is always a fun experience here. you should hear the hymns during sacrament. indians don’t usually have musical training i guess, right mom? needless to say, the congregation does not really sound much like the mormon tabernacle choir. It’s an experience, we went to PEC this week ha and its really just like a huge argument. not like people are mad at anything, but i guess that’s just how things are done here. like people will be yelling at your face but they are not mad at you, they are just talking -- surely, something to get used to.

(above is the family letter and below are general comments from letters that Josh wrote to each of us)

service does bring joy. little random things, like helping people out on the street and stuff. it makes me happy.

their english is very different than ours. It’s sometimes hard for us to have a conversation. i have to talk slowly. remember how you were teaching me tamil -- you were saying you have to like talk in different tones? you have to do that while you are speaking english to them or they won’t understand you at all. so i have been working on it, and also the head shake. that was the first thing to come, i can do that like a champ, but talking is a different story. I’m getting the hang of it though, like you have to leave out words and stuff. ya there are places to get American food, but they have like biscuits here and they are delicious, do you know what I’m talking about mom? i just get a rack of those when i shop, so ya you don’t need to worry about sending snacks. we are supposed to move by the end of the year. they want us to live in a flat with just our companionship. so we are looking for a nice one. It’s kinda hard to find a good one, but lucky my comp is indian so we don’t get ripped off by brokers. Ya, there are american restraunts here like kfc. my comp likes that so we eat there sometimes. mostly we eat at this bakery close to our apartment. they have samosa and cutlets that i like. we have biryani here cause its way good. we hardly cook. we don’t eat dinner in the mission cause that’s the best finding time. so we have like 10 minutes after 9:30 to eat something and there is no time to cook. i make breakfast and that’s always eggs and toast. elder siyyadri made dosa last night though and that was good. masala dosa is my favorite thing i decided. we have a thanksgiving feast tomorrow at the marriott hotel actually. they are hooking it up. only like 200 rupees ($5). it should be good.

i have learned this much lately, in the scriptures whenever jesus is talking, you need to analyze every word. he does not waste words, so every word is so important. being a missionary is tough. for some reason i thought it would be easy, but it’s not. I love it though. i work hard and at night I’m so tired, but i only have two years. when i get discouraged i just think of you guys and my other friends that are all around the world doing the same thing.

i have seen so many monkeys this week, there are stray dogs everywhere. also the other day there was a camel in the street! how crazy?!

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