Saturday, June 19, 2010

18 JUN 10 letter

Dear Family,

It is friday night and we are in Visak right now. We just finished zone conference and are about to head down to Rajahmundry on the train. I'm sorry my time is short, but I will do my best to deliver an accurate report of the work here and answer your questions.

This past week was so busy. We flew out to Hyderabad last friday and were there for a few days doing exchanges. I really love being able to get around the mission and see all of these elders. It is cool because my entire mission I have heard all these great things about different elders, but because our mission is so big, I never got to be around them. Now I am able to get to know these elders and I am so impressed with the quality of elders that are here. When we were in H-Town I went on exchange with Elder Walther, he is a really cool kid from Utah. We had an incredible day. Probably knocked 5 doors total and we found 3 families. So that was pretty incredible.

The past two days we've been in Visak and it is so cool to be back here. I got to go in my old area yesterday with my replacement, Elder Mackay. He is from Solana Beach, CA and also went to BYU in 07. It was sweet, we met a lot of the people that I was teaching and Pushpa is getting baptized tomorrow! So I was so pumped that I could see her. We had miracles in finding yesterday too. We met a sweet Hindu family, at first only one of the sons would sit down. I gently but persistently invited his other brother and sister to join us. Finally they came in and we taught them how to pray. We invited the brother to pray because he actually spoke english. He said a great prayer, but as he finished and I opened my eyes, they caught his sisters. She had this look on her face, I wish I could explain it to you. It was a concerned look, I knew that she wanted to pray. So I stayed on my knees and invited her to pray. It took some convincing, sometimes Indian women can be very shy, but she did it and it was so sincere. I could just feel a spirit of compassion as she spoke to Heavenly Father. I was so grateful that the spirit was with us and we could discern the fact that she needed to pray. It was really cool.

That's about all for this week. I love you and hope you are all doing well.

Elder Tuscano

Thursday, June 10, 2010

10 JUN 10 letter

Dear Family,

It is good to hear that everyone is doing well back home. It is interesting to receive these e-mails. Each one of you has so many different things to say. While I lived at home I did not get this kind of information, at least not at this level of detail. I like it. You all have so many wonderful things going on in your lives. I feel that though I'm on the other side of the world, I know what's going on in your lives. Over this period of time I am able to see what things are most important to you. So i am grateful for this opportunity to communicate in a different way. I almost feel that I know each one of you better than I did before I left, especially Mom and Dad. Now that's ironic.

So this past week was incredible. We flew in from Chennai this morning. We had been there for the past 5 days or so. I had an opportunity to go on exchange with my MTC companion Elder Shepherdson. He is a Zone Leader down there and he tears it up. We had a miracle that day. In the afternoon we had an appointment fall through and I suggested that we go and visit a former investigator, someone I had taught while I served there over a year ago. We went and tried to find his house, and that took much longer than I thought because I got us lost. Finally we found their house and he wasn't there so they called him. Five minutes later he shows up with his best friend who happens to be a recent convert to the church. The former's name is Sri Nivas, anyway we sat down with them and it was amazing. Sri Nivas had not been baptized before due to family problems, but his friend had gone through similar problems to join the church. That example gave him courage and he had made a promise in his heart that if the elders ever came back to his house he would be baptized. Well, we came and he is going to be baptized. That was an amazing experience I thought to share with you.

It was great to be back in Chennai, it was raining so that was a saving grace. Zone Conference was really good and I like being able to hear it multiple times. It is President's last one and he is really giving a good training. It was great to see the elders down there and be with them. I am doing my best to pick up everything, I am grateful for Elder Singh. He is so patient with me, and that's not always the easiest thing to be when you're around me. So I hope that everyone is enjoying their summer holidays. Let me know if you have any questions. I hope these reports are sufficient.

Elder Tuscano

Friday, June 4, 2010

03 JUN 10 letter

This week has been alot different than all of the other weeks on my mission. For the first time in 19 months I am spending my days sitting in an office. At first it felt very strange but I am slowly getting used to it. There is so much to learn and alot that goes into this new responsibilty. I am grateful thought that I have a chance to learn how to do all of these things.

We just had zone conference here in Bangalore. The zone conference tour always starts here and then moves around the mission. We are flying to Chennai tommorow and I am so excited to be back there and see some of the people I was so close with. Zone conference today went really well, we ran a practice on how to help memebrs participate on exchanges and i think it went well. We learned alot about how to improve it though.

On monday we went down to this place called KGF, it is about 3 hours outside of Bangalore and used to be a huge gold mine town. Today the gold mines are closed, but there are still quite a few people down there. Anyway, we've only got one companionship out there and they're basically marooned. I have been waiting to see that place my entire mission and I was excited to get down there. It was a really cool place, a small town but most of the people speak english because it was settled by the British when they had struck the gold. But that night when we were getting ready to head back it started PORUING! It was raining like I have never seen rain before...I am really starting to understand what the monsoon is. It is dumping here in Bangalore also.

Oh yeah I forgot. On saturday night we sent off Elder Mehan, Elder Ward, Elder Brown, and Elder Bartlett. It was very strange, not as strange as I thought but interesting to be a part of. We got to go to the departure devotional and be with them for their last night in India. We saw them out at about 3;30 Am to go and catch their flights. They all seemed to handle it very well. It is just strange to me that when Luke gets here and I tell him about these Elders he will have no idea what I am talking about or who they are.

So one more thing. At chruch on sunday, we attend Bangalore 1st branch, a brother pulled me aside and asked if i was Sister Arunachulam's grandson. I was taken back, but then I realized that this was the guy Mom was talking about. He is a member of 1st branch! He invited us over after church and we went. His wife and daughter made a wonderful lunch for us and it was so cool to get to know him. We came to find out that he is a huge pioneer for the church in India. Espcially in chennai, he told me that he was the first member there and he knew all of the old members that I had met while serving there. He was an incredible man and it was a miracle that we were able to meet him so easily and unexpectedly. Cool huh?

Elder Tuscano

25 MAY 10 letter

I am very happy to hear the wonderful news! What a miracle that you are going to be able to make it out here! Surely something for each one of you to look forward to. India is a wonderful place. I am sure Luke is wondering about that right now...Ha I remember for my entire stay at the MTC I was just so eager to get over here. I was brim with anticipation, but I really had no idea what to anticipate. What I found was incredible country with truly incredible people. I love this place.

We are seeing miracles often here. This past week at church we had alot of new people come to church, it was pretty cool. Elder Cranney and I have been going real hard and things are really changing around. There is a renewed sense of excitement in the zone and the mission. I am excited because I think June is going to be a record month here, both for the zone and the mission.

On sunday there was a new brother that came to church with our recent convert Padma, who is just about the most active missionary I have ever seen. She can hardly speak english, but she just loves bringing new people to the church. So on sunday she brought one of her relatives named Vijay Paul. He seemed to enjoy church so we set up an appointment with him that evening at Padma's house. We went to go teach him and it was incredible. I have met alot of prepared people on my mission, but I think he might be the most so. He is a convert from Hindusm about 5 years back, he was baptized into the Lutheran church in Rajahmundry. But for some reason about 3 months ago he stopped going to that church. He had alot of questions about God and he could not find the answers. When he came to church on sunday he said that he had 3 main questions he wanted answers to, he told us that he felt God spoke to him and that all of his questions were answered. We procedeed to set him for baptism and he is so solid. He just says that he really feels different when he is around us and really likes it. There are alot of ways to do missionary work and help people progress, but it is always refreshing to meet people who are golden.

There are so many wonderful things happening here. I am sad to leave yet excited for my new assignment. I hope all of you are doing well. A big congrats to Mary for making it through SCHS, I know it was rough ha. But I am glad she survived. I am sorry, all my personal e-mails will be very short this week as time is less. I did not manage it properly becuase of few of the elders wanted to look at all the pictures that were sent this week. SORRY! Love you all!

18 MAY 10 letter

This past week was pretty cool. Right now I am in Bangalore and we just finished our last Zone Leaders Council with President Nichols. It was incredible. I honestly cannot express my gratitude for my opportunity to serve a mission and to serve under President Nichols. We talked today about stewardship and accountability. It was an inredible day and I hope that I can apply the things that I am learning now and will continue to learn.

Last week we found a sweet Hindu family. We had just waltzed into their apartment complex and this brother was sitting there with his wife. He had on this traditional swamy lungee(spelling?) but he immediately invited us in. I was a little apprehensive at his welcoming nature becuase I thought he was paka hindu. But it turns out that he was down and really thirsting for knowledge. As we shared the message of the restoration it seemed like we were just reminding him about it rather than teaching. I have only felt that way a few times on my mission. We went back for the return appointment and he had torn apart the pamphlet, he was telling us about the need for the restoration to end the great apostasy. Ha and his family is sweet too. His son has been going to churches for while. Check this out, his daughter has skipped about 5 grades! She is 19 and just about to finish her masters degree...Uh, I felt pretty dumb when I told her that I've only completed one year of school.

Great things are happening here in Visak. Transfers were postponed for a few reasons but they will happen next week, calls come this week though.

That is about all I have to say for now. Hope you all have a nice week!

Love you,
Elder Tuscano

11 MAY 10 letter

Hello there! It was so nice to talk with each of you on the phone. You all sound like you are doing very well, it is a great source of strength to actually hear from you. I spend all my time trying to help other families come closer together, but it is always so pleasant to remember that I have a family of my own and we are growing together, even now, through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

This past week was full of excitement. We had some opportunities for service, that is especially exciting because we rarely get a chance to serve. Our investigators Sudhaker, Sharon, and Asyu were shifting their house. So we had to resist their attempts to prevent us from helping them and we were able to make the work go smoothly. As we set up their bed and couches and other household items I remembered Dad's words "many hands make light work." We told them that this type of service is what we promise God we will do when we are baptized, and even more when we receive the priesthood. The even really brought us closer together and I think now that they have seen the gospel in action they are beginning to take it more seriously.

Yesterday was an excellent day. We met a brother in the morning that was so prepared. I am really starting to understand what it means to "find them that will receive you." As we came to his door he immediately got up and welcomed us in. I believe that recognized us as servants of the Lord. I mean there have been many people who welcome us in immediately becuase we are American...Ha and that is not what we're looking for. This brother wanted the truth, and as he listened sincerely to the message I am sure that he realized he'd found it. Again, I am learning that there is great power in prayer. I am meeting with people who have never even heard the concept of a Heavenly Father. When they begin to understand that, and speak with him for the FIRST time ever it is literally a miracle. I feel so priveldged to witness it. It might be hot and I might be getting weary, but I do not think that I could ever become tired of bringing God's children to a knowledge of truth. The heat may be intense, but it is not enough to weaken my desire to carry these glad tidings forward.

Things are going well over here on my side. I am looking forward to welcoming Luke to the mission. He is going to do a great job. I love you all, have a good week!

Elder Tuscano

04 MAY 10 letter

How are you all doing this week? I am pleased to announce that Elder Cranney is feeling much better and we are going at it full boar once again. The heat is still on the rise, yesterday marked the start of the infamous "Kathri" or the time when heat stroke is a killer. The time period is two weeks, I spent the last one in Chennai so I am fairly certain I'll make it through this one. Ha.
The past week was refreshing. After a few less productive days, due to illness, we were able to get out and go. We have been trying to meet all the people we're working with, but right now our focus is finding. We are getting on the streets and looking for the right people. India is a great country to serve in. There are streets that I have walked down hundreds of times and I have probably contacted 5% of the people who live there. Ha and I know what you're thinking but its not because I am lazy. There are just so many people in this country. There is always another door to knock or person to talk to. I am so grateful for that.

Antony and his family ran into some problems and are probably not going to be able to get baptized anytime soon. Family problems got to be too much for his mother, so she is refusing to allow them to be baptized. We spoke with their aunt on the phone the other morning and she was quite angry. Very sad for Antony because he had such a strong testimony, but I am sure that his time will come. Anyway, like I said, there are a TON of people here and we're on our way to finding the next prepared families. That is about all for this week. I hope you are doing well. I'll keep you in my prayers.