Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"holi" day

Dear Family,

Today is the day before Holi (click here for info about this festival). Mom, it seems that Hyderabad is far enough north to be celebrating the holiday in full force. Today we had to stay in til 1, luckily there is a Reliance close to our apartment out here. We were able to sneak our way over here and I've got no paint or chalk on my person. Let's hope it stays that way...

Last thursday our zone leaders were confronted by some members of the RSS, which is a radical fundamentalist group out here in India. They despise all forms of western culture and specifically christianity. Our zone leaders were simply contacting in their area and they came across a few RSS brothers. Basically, there were friends called and a large group surrounded the companionship. They beat them a little and one of the zone leaders was able to get away. The other was taken by the mob to prison. We all caught wind of this quickly because of the other zone leader’s escape. Thanks to that we were all able to promptly return to the safety of our apartments.

I have seen mighty miracles this week. Our district kneeled together in prayer on behalf of our ZL. Elder Tolefaoa offered the prayer and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. He pleaded with Heavenly Father to keep Elder Moses safe. He begged Him to work a miracle for our brother. During the prayer I literally felt embraced. Comforted and assured that everything would go smoothly. Later that night our district presidency went to the jail, and was able to recover Elder Moses. A miracle in itself, because in order to release someone immediately like that there needs to be all the respective authorities present to sign for it. That never happens. But, that night everyone was there. Moses was released and taken back.

Missionary work in this city is changed and probably will be for quite some time now. We can’t contact or virtually talk to anyone on the street. I wear a colored shirt outside. No tie or tag. We have to be super careful and take autos everywhere. The RSS seem to be making a concerted effort to target us missionaries. But, among all this turmoil, I must admit that I have never felt more safe. This is our Father's work and it must roll forward. I know I will be ok. So please don't worry about me.

Mahender was baptized on sunday. Wow, that was an incredible experience. I was able to perform the baptism and that was such a blessing. I was so humbled to see how the Lord has brought another one of his children back into the fold. It is awe-inspiring to know that I was an instrument in that process. What I am doing out here now does not even compare with what I was doing back at home. This is exhilarating.

Ultimately I want you as a family to know how much I love and appreciate you. I want to thank each of you for the example you have set for me. The blessings of having a sealed family are so apparent to me now. Hope this week goes well for you, just know that amidst all the different things going on out here, I am having the time of my life.

Elder Tuscano

(below are excerpts from letters to individual family members)

I don’t know if times have changed or what, but it seems that this holiday is celebrated all over the country now. Even in Chennai there are huge celebrations. And everyone is throwing chalk. This mission is different… There are a lot of occurrences that we cannot predict. Our situation is constantly changing. As if learning how to be a missionary wasn’t hard enough. Now we need to learn how to do work under these special circumstances. No problem, I trust that everything will be taken care of and we will still have success out here.

Mom, the baptism I had was so awesome. Thank you for joining the church. Your courage is going to bless so many lives. I promise.

I am learning patience that is for sure. We can only go to appointments that we have set up. It’s hard to find new investigators at this point. I am hoping that the members of our branch come out big for us with some referrals…

I recalled the other day that you and Mom had met mother teresa and I did actually share it with one of our investigators so it is interesting that you mentioned that this week.

When I go down to chennai I will be learning as much Tamil as possible. But as for now I am learning Hindi and Telegu. Those are the major languages up here. In telegu to say how are you it is "Bagunara?" and in Hindi it is "K see oo?"

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