Wednesday, March 25, 2009

missionary-minded members

Dearest Family,

This week was different than most I've experienced on my mission. We are spending more time with the members. They are so great here. There is a family we love to visit, Elizabeth her husband Rajan and her sister Prema. They are so great and they always feed us the best food. They are from Kerala which is the little state on the southwest coast of India. That state is mostly christian, the legend goes that Thomas the Apostle came to India to preach the gospel. Everyone in India seems to agree that he spent his time in Chennai and the surrounding areas in Tamil Nadu...except for Keralas, if you suggest that Thomas came to Chennai in front of them, a prompt reproof and correction follow. Elizabeth claims the Thomas himself converted her pagan ancestors.

Anyway they are so funny and she and her sister are both principals of schools out here. They have been members of the church for 19 years. Essentially the oldest members of the church in Hyderabad. They have seen it grow from a small home group to the four branches that now exist. It must be quite a sweet experience for them to watch the church grow here. Between her family and Rajesh we have more than enough spectacular meals each week.

It has been so rewarding to watch brother Mahender grow in the church, he is so good. Every week he is seated for sacrament a half hour early. That kind of behavior in India is unheard of. He received the priesthood this week. Rajesh continues to grow. Every week he works us in ping pong and then we teach him. His daughters(12 and 13) go to a christian school and he loves to have them pray for us. They recite the Lord’s prayer (the Our Father) every time. Last night we tried to teach them how we pray. We even wrote the steps on the board for them to follow. They began with dear heavenly father and started to express their feelings like we explained. They got tongue tied halfway through and recited the Lord’s prayer to finish it off. It was quite the combination.

We have been in a threesome companionship for the past few days with another Elder named Morrison. He is from the first branch and we got a chance to do some work over in his area yesterday. There are some wonderful families. There is one brother who is our age and joined the church a year ago with his sister. Their mother used to hate the elders. But two months ago she was baptized too. They are inviting their extended family to learn from the elders and another one of their cousins is getting baptized in a few weeks. They are a great family and a wonderful example of spreading the gospel. It’s incredible to observe the desire within recent converts to spread the gospel. I hope I can keep my desire up to their level. Anyway I think that'll do it for this week.

Elder Tuscano

(below are excerpts from individual letters to family)

I am stoked to hear that you wore your cricket jersey to school. You play with a wicket. There is a bowler, who is like a pitcher. He runs and throws the ball that has to hit the ground first. The wicket is three sticks in the ground. The batsman protects the wicket. He tries to hit the ball away from it. He does this until finally the bowler hits the wicket. In a normal game there are ten outs for each team. Sometimes games last for days because batsman are good. They get points by hitting the ball, you get a certain number of points depending on how far you hit the ball. It is a pretty cool game and it is huge in India.

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