Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year 2010!

Happy New Year!

The past week has been very eventful. There are a lot of people we are working with, but each one seems to have problems that stand in the way of their baptism. One family is Shyam and Monica. They have 3 kids, Shyam is an auto driver. They all have a desire to be baptized, but Shaym knows NO english. Everyone else does though, even Monica. So we gave him a blessing and are working with him. He has already made improvement and is able to pray simply in english. We hope that all goes well with that.

Another investigator, Deepthi, has been having some ridiculous family problems. It has been fascinating to watch her grab hold of the gospel during this difficult time. Even though she is experiencing some very rough things, she still has a smile. I think it is in large part due to her faith and devotion to the gospel. She understands that the best thing for her to do is be baptized. It has been very cool to work with her and see that.

Christmas came and went rather uneventfully, the new year will most likely be the same. The holidays that are celebrated here are the hindu festivals. The other holidays receive little or no recognition.

Anyway I gotta get going. Sorry to be so short. The server messed up and I lost my entire e-mail. It was done, and so nice, but now I have no time to write it again.

Elder Tuscano

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas week...

Dear Family,

This past week has been fun. We just had Zone Conference yesterday. In Visak, we have conference with the Rajahmundry Zone, so it has been cool to see some of them. Zone Conference was on finding people and it was excellent. It has made a huge difference in some of the other Zones and I'm sure it will here. Although we usually find a lot of people here, the struggle is helping them progress. Oh yeah, President is showing us the BYU vs. Oregon State bowl game. It is on in the church, which is upstairs. We watched the first quarter and came down to e-mail. BYU looks pretty good.

A few weeks ago we found a brother named Uday. He is about 19 and comes from a hindu family. We taught him once and he was mildly interested. We committed him to daily prayer, and he kept the commitment. We were only able to meet him the second time this past friday, but as we met him we could see a change in his countenance. He had been praying daily and noted how much of a difference it made. We taught again the restoration and his understanding was perfect! At the end we started to talk about baptism and he asked us when he could take it! It was sweet. As he said the prayer he told Heavenly Father he wanted to be baptized, I remember looking at him after he said Amen. He had the biggest smile on his face. It was way cool to see the change in his life. He quickly gained a testimony, but he is going to need that because his Mom said there was no chance he could get baptized. I'll be sure to let you know what happens with him.

I gave a talk in zone conference about finding by the spirit. It was a great opportunity to reflect on my experiences and see just how often the spirit was guiding us. I really am so grateful to be a part of this work. At times I catch myself feeling inadequate, like I might be unable to do all the things that are required of me. But as soon as those thoughts begin, I just remember that I have no reason to think that way. I have the gift of the Holy Ghost all I need to do is trust that He will help me. It is so comforting to know that we don’t have to make this journey by ourselves.

Anyway I am very grateful, especially this christmas season. I am grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ and the hope it brings into my life. I am grateful for experiences that help us understand that sacrifice, and for my opportunity to help these people understand it. Merry Christmas and I will talk to you soon!

Elder Tuscano

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Andrah splits

Hello Family,

Last friday, Andhra Pradesh decided to split! We were so surprised. The district president called us friday morning and advised us not to go outside because the government announced that this state would split in half! The other state is called Telangana and I think it is the area surrounding Hyderabad. Maybe you can google it to learn more. President Nichols has been working with us and things seem to be cooling down. It was very interesting. I thought I would let you know about it.

We had a cool experience on sunday. On saturday night we counseled with President and he decided it would be ok to go finding on sunday. We called the Elders and let them know the good news. As a companionship we really needed to go because we had about half of the new investigators. We were excited, but sunday morning before church, President called and told us NOT to go. We were so sad because we planned the night before for a lot of finding. Anyway, after church we visited a family – our only appointment for the day and one of the little girl's friends came in. She spoke english and said she was christian so we were able to set up an appointment with her family for the evening. We visited a potential investigator who happened to actually be there! After the lesson he told us to go teach his neighbors and they were also interested. To end the night we visited that little girl’s family and they were way good, too! We ended up with more people to teach than we planned! It was just a witness to me that God helps us when we are committed to achieve our goals and even if you can’t "go finding," you can still find people to teach. That’s all for this week.

Love you all,
Elder Tuscano

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Visak beginnings

Dear Family,

This past week was very good. I left Bangalore on friday morning and arrived in Visak early that afternoon. I am finding Visak to be a very enjoyable place, wonderful people and atmosphere. I looked forward to serving here my entire mission and my hopes have not been let down. The work here is great.

We have been working with an incredible sister named Deepthi. Elder Ward met her about one week before I got to Visak. She comes from a Roman Catholic background and she is so good. She gained a witness of the Book of Mormon very quickly and has been keeping commitments like crazy. She even introduced us to her Hindu neighbors who are very interested as well. What impresses me most is her ability to keep commitments. I have noticed that when investigators actually gain a witness of the book of mormon, it is rare that they fail to keep the big commitments. There are always exceptions, but this is just an observation that I have made from my experience.

I was on an exchange last night with Elder Pritchett, the district leader in 2nd branch, and we met a sweet investigator. Her name was Manjusha and she was so prepared. She has a Hindu background, but when I was sharing about Joseph Smith she was finishing my sentences. As soon as we showed her the picture in the pamphlet she stated, "Oh, that’s Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ." I have not seen many people do that without hesitation. She was very impressive. Anyway I am having a great time here, and my testimony does not go a day without significant growth.

Elder Tuscano

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

zone council

Dear Family,

I am writing to you from Bangalore. We came here for a Zone Leader council and it has been so fun to see some of the missionaries I had served with. I am especially excited for tomorrow; we are going to set our goal for baptisms this next year. I am happy that I get to be a part of that.

This past week was great. Transfers are never easy. It was hard to say goodbye to Chennai. But I was very excited to arrive in Visak and start working with Elder Ward. We both couldn’t believe that we ended up as companions. We are excited for our area and the zone. The week before I arrived they had achieved their goal for the year, and we had to re-set it. We have high expectations.

Visak is a great city...Very small in comparison to Chennai and Hyderabad so it is something to get used to. There are 3 branches in Visak. The church has been there for almost 20 years. It is a great place for the church to be also, they just formed a branch in March called Gajuwaka. It is pretty far from Visak, but it is a beautiful place. We went out there for a baptismal interview yesterday and it was a cool experience. I interviewed this kid who is from one of the strongest member families in that branch. He was an Alma the younger of sorts. I was most impressed with his sincerity. He had truly repented and turned his life around.

Everything else is going well. My studies are excellent. Elder Ward and I are trying to improve our ability to follow the spirit.

Elder Tuscano