Wednesday, January 20, 2010

faith and blessings...

Dear Family,

The weather is beginning to heat up here in Viask, but it’s still very cool compared to the Chennai heat.

Elder Ward and I are very grateful this week. We learned a lot over the past few days. I think the lesson we learned was best stated by my mission prep teacher at BYU. He said "Heavenly Father does not bestow superior blessings without significant trials to prove them." So this week we learned that was true.

Last calendar week was rough. All aspects of the work were looking a little down. Finding, teaching, and just about everything was not working out for us. We were, at times, a little frustrated. But we did our best to keep the faith and work hard. By doing our best to be patient in tribulation we were able to receive some of those superior blessings President Bott was talking about.

Jyothi the hindu girl we have been working with had some incredible progress with her situation. She is 17 and her dad was opposed to her joining the church. But fasted for her this month and all of a sudden he started asking about us and our church. We were able to meet with him, and it looks like he is really warming up to the church – that was a miracle.

We have been meeting with this kid named Bhargav. He is about 16 and probably one of the most intelligent kids I've ever met. I think I mentioned him a few weeks ago. Anyway he has an aunt named Bharati who is about 28 and we started teaching her on monday. As we taught the restoration it became very apparent that she was a prepared individual. She asked great questions and really wanted to know the truth. We committed her to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. We called her last night to follow up. I remember being a little nervous because I knew that she would have actually kept the commitment. Sure enough she did, and she received an answer! Every time I discover that one of our investigators has received a witness of the book of mormon I am so grateful. I consider each experience to be a miracle.

Many more wonderful things happened this week and we are very excited for the future. Visak is a special place.

I love you all and hope you have a good week.

Elder Tuscano

Saturday, January 16, 2010

gospel bonds

Dear Family,

Hello to all from Bangalore. We just now finished ZL council and it was edifying to say the least. I love hearing the trainings prepared by President Nichols. Sister Nichols made beef stew for lunch and it was incredible, she takes good care of us. I have got to say that this ZLC was incredible. Probably one of the most edifying experiences I have had in awhile. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve in this assignment. There are times when I feel like I am not doing a very good job. I make a lot of mistakes because I have never been a zone leader before. But I am grateful for my mistakes because they teach me a ton. I have learned to take that attitude. Just take the good and leave the bad from them. This experience has also provided me with an excellent opportunity to rely on the Lord.

This past week has been so fun. Elder Ward and I are working hard and doing our best to help the people in Visak. We have this one area called Kancharapalem and it is about the only place we ever go to proselyte. It is a relatively small area, but the population is so dense here that it would never be fair to run through the streets once and move on to another area. Our church moved to 2 in the afternoon, so on sunday morning we were able to visit everyone of our investigators and invite them personally. That helped a lot.

I think I mentioned that family named Kishore Kumar last week. They came to church again and they got such good fellowship. They really enjoy the church; we have high hopes for them. We challenged them for baptism on sunday, the mom and daughters seem willing. Kishore is a bit skeptical but hopefully we will be able to help him resolve that concern.

The biggest highlight of the week was yesterday. Our journey from Visak to Bangalore was through Chennai. We had a 3 hour layover, we decided to go eat lunch and at the last second we decided to catch an auto out to Priya's house. Ha we just walked right up and they were SO surprised to see us. We only had like 20 minutes, but everyone was there and they are all doing so well. Soloman was telling us how he had just finished the book of mormon. I remember that I was sitting on the couch in their home I felt ecstatic. I tried to recall other moments in my life where I had felt that good. I don't recall being able to.

There is such an interesting bond that is created when you help someone come unto christ. It is a relationship and feeling that is very difficult to describe. I can confidently say that if that visit we had with them yesterday would have been the only good experience on my entire mission, the two years would have been worth it. Luckily that is not the case and there have been many more and hopefully more to come. But it was pretty cool. And by the grace of God we were able to return to the airport before our flight left...

Love you all,
Elder Tuscano

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

finding treasures...

Dear Family,

Our week was pretty cool. Sunday was a huge day for us; we had a lot of people come to church that we had been waiting on. Also some new people decided to show up. One family was this guy named Kishore Kumar. Elder Ward and Elder Mehan had actually met them 2 weeks ago when they were on exchange. It was just after zone conference and they didn’t have much time so they went caroling! They ended up caroling at this guy’s home. The family was very surprised to see two americans singing Christmas songs on their doorstep, but they did welcome them in. He is a hospital administrator for all the hospitals in the Visak district. Everyone in the family is well educated and they all speak perfect english! We were so pumped. Elder Ward and I returned to teach them. The lesson went OK, we weren’t sure how interested they were. But on sunday all 4 showed up at church. Elder Ward and I were a little surprised, but so happy. It just showed me that sometimes people are more interested than they let on. So we will see what happens with them.

Last wednesday we met this kid named Bhargav. He is a neighbor of one of the recent converts in our area, who happens to spit out referrals like every other day. They are sweet. Anyway, he is about 16 and loves Jesus Christ. His family is Hindu but they are way chill. We taught him the first lesson and he was just so prepared. At the end of the lesson he said, "So if the book of mormon is true, then everything else is true?" His understanding is perhaps the best I have encountered thus far on my mission. Anyway he came to church and we set a date for his baptism him last night. The only concern his parents had was that they wanted to see some changes in him before he does it. We basically committed him to do everything his parents ask. I remember when I was sixteen and how I would have reacted to that kind of commitment. But he gladly accepted it and I think that speaks volumes of the kind of kid he is.

Another Family is Uma Maheshwar Rao and his wife Kalpana. They are so sweet, they are both "christian" but have never been baptized. Kalpana just decided to start liking Jesus Christ about two months ago. Her english is less, but she has a desire to learn. His is enough to communicate properly. Anyway, as we taught about baptism, Kalpana was a little apprehensive and it was because she didn’t know what baptism was. I thought that was very impressive. The reason being, most hindu's simply view baptism as "conversion," or, changing from Hindu to Christian and giving up your social status and all that is related to it. But she was different, so we made her a nice colorful poster and put Jesus’ baptism photo on it. We wrote simply about what baptism was and she was so happy because she could understand what it really was. I think we might make a few more baptism posters...

Love to all,
Elder Tuscano