Wednesday, June 10, 2009

companion change...

Dear Family,

This past week was transfers and we got a surprise. Elder Bhagwat got the call to Visak and another Elder named Cunningham also. Till now we had 4 companionships here in Chennai 1st. But they just reduced the number to 3. So... my new companion is Elder Schmidt. He is my batch mate. I was so surprised to hear that I would be serving with him. We both have to combine our areas now, so it should be an interesting experience. Needless to say, I am pumped to be serving with my boy from the MTC. We have been around each other so far in our missions, but I never thought we'd be companions. His grandparents live in St. George.

The work in our area continues to explode. We had a baptism this past week. I had the opportunity to perform it. Jeremiah was one of the most prepared individuals I have ever met. While his life has been very difficult for him and his family, it was incredible to see the peace the gospel has brought into his life. Teaching him was, and is a treat. Hopefully someday in the future, he will open a branch up there in Nagaland.

We also have been working with Kevin and his family. They are incredible! Basically, this past week Kevin asked when he could be baptized a member of this church. The only problem is they have strong loyalty ties to another church and they don’t see the importance of going to our church every week. Other than that they are ready to go…

We met with Prakash and his wife Annie. I think I told you about them, he has been a smoker for 20 plus years. We have been working with him, but not too much progress over the past three months. He is a great man and my companion loves that family so much. It was nice to be there with my companion before he was transferred. We planned to watch a DVD about temples, but it didn’t work, so I had the “reflections of Christ” DVD also. I don’t know if there was divine intervention involved but the lesson we had was incredible. We just bore our sincere testimonies of the savior. My goal in the lesson was to put a smile on Annie’s face. She always seems so down. And we did! So I was pumped, and I think it gave them a little more encouragement to have faith in the atonement.

I spent the past week studying the last few chapters in the book of Matthew. It has been quite the ride – especially chapters 26 and 27. I never really took much time and studied them. The story itself is a miracle. But I was so impressed with the strength of the savior throughout the experience. As I think about my trials and worries compared to His I really get a new perspective. Elder Holland was right when he mentioned in his recent conference talk that the surrounding circle he had got smaller and smaller. But he stayed strong. That example means everything to me.

Elder Tuscano

(below are excerpts from individual letters to family)

I’m excited to get started on a new transfer but I’m just a little worried because of area splits. My area may be given almost completely to two new elders. Now my companion and I are trying to work out a compromise so that we can keep some of my area. It would be tough to just hand over all our good investigators. But whatever happens will happen. I'll be happy no matter what.

I have not tried the brownies yet. In fact, the reason I asked was because there are some members in our area who wanted brownies but did not have an oven. Actually his name is ruskin and he is a returned missionary. His father had been sick for a long time. This past Sunday, we went there and gave him a blessing. I said that he would have peace and gain joy in knowing where he would go. He is not a member. I told Ruskin to talk to him immediately about the plan of salvation. He was sick and basically incoherent. He died two days later. We went to see ruskin and he told us how after we left on sunday he explained the plan to his dad. His felt that his dad understood and felt peace, and started to act normal. I have seen the spirit do things through me that I had no idea were possible. I am out here counseling all kinds of people and, in reality I have no experience or any idea what they are going through. But I always know what to tell them. Crazy, huh?

I have been thinking a lot about my mission lately. I have been trying to give it my all. Be obedient and work hard. I have seen success, but I want to be better. Are there any suggestions or insights you have from your mission experiences about improving yourself as a missionary?

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