Saturday, July 17, 2010

appreciating both ministration and administration

Dear Family,

I am sorry that it has taken me so long to e-mail this week. Sometimes things get crazy and we just don't have any time. I am in Visak right now, we came up here yesterday. It was President's first trip out of Bangalore, so it was fun to be with him for that. Things have been going well. This past week was a blast. We got to see a few missionaries leave and had one come in to get set apart. Missionaries leaving is the trend right now in this mission. We are going to lose 11 missionaries when Elder Singh goes home in 2 weeks. Three weeks after that we lose 10 more. No replacements. So I have been constantly thinking about what we are going to do. It is an interesting experience. I am confident that things will work out, but it will be a unique situation for some time. Even with so many missionaries going, the morale is very high. The elders are baptizing all over the mission, it is just an evidence that we have quality missionaries. They are working hard until the last minute.

I am learning and experiencing so much. One of the things I love to see is how the church really works. I never saw that much when I was in the field. But now I am really learning about how it works. It is an incredible organization. President Funk has spent a lot of time with and around the Brethren, so I am learning a lot about them too. What a cool organization we belong to.

I am learning a lot about ministering, I never really understood that principle until now. I have many opportunities to minister to my Zone Leaders especially in our nightly follow-ups. Though I cannot see them very much, I feel that through our phone conversations I am able to counsel and uplift them. I am grateful for that. They do the same for me.

Recently I have been thinking about the trips we would make to see all of your family member in New Castle. As a kid I did not like to do it so much, but now I realize how important it was. That was a cultural experience, thank you for sharing those people with us. I want to go back someday soon and see everyone. I think it would be a great experience.

Things are going really well. I am really enjoying every minute. Being with President Funk is a wonderful opportunity. The spirit I feel while serving in this responsibility is incredible. That's good too, because I couldn't see myself fulfilling this calling without the sustaining influence of the Spirit. I am grateful for my time to serve, and for your prayers and support. I love you all and look forward to hearing from you in a few days... I'll try to get back earlier next week, but I cant make any guarantees.

Elder Tuscano

Sunday, July 11, 2010

08 JUL 10 letter

Dear Family,

Alright then, it is hard to believe that another week has come and gone. The past few weeks have been especially fun. It is a blast having a new mission president and showing him around the mission here in India. We have been in Bangalore for the past two weeks. President is finally getting settled in and we will be getting on the road next week. It will be fun to take him around the country on Kingfisher airlines.

So I’ll take a second and tell you about our new mission president. He is a great leader, and very different than President Nichols. It is a wonderful opportunity to see him and how he works. He has this humility about him. Perhaps it stems from his terribly green roots, but it really seems like he trusts and listens to our counsel. He is a man who likes to ponder and think about things before making decisions. He has a very warm spirit about him, many of the elders commented on the fact that he is very approachable. Though he has only been here over a week, I can clearly the mantle that has been placed upon him. We planned transfers with him these past couple days, but it’s important to recognize that he has only met about 20% of the missionaries. With that limited knowledge we counseled together and he was able to make some truly inspired decisions about where an Elder needs to go. In all that he does he depends on the Lord. One of his biggest principles for decision making can be found in Doctrine and Covenants 107:30-31. If you get a second, read that scripture and apply it as you prepare to make your next big decision.
We had a zone leader council yesterday and it was one of the best on my mission. He spoke about the purpose of meetings and why we hold a council. Much of the time was spent talking between the Zone Leaders and what we could do to improve the state of the mission. There was a unique feeling in that room as all of the zone leaders were engaged in discussion. The passionate discussion led to revelation. There were wonderful new ideas, goals, and plans that came into play. I really appreciated President and how he encouraged us to counsel. There is power in that kind of meeting.

My time in the office is really making me appreciate the opportunities I have to go out and teach. I was able to go on exchange last week with Elder Briggs. He goes home this coming Monday, but they invited us to go on a split with them. I remember when he was my district leader back in Chennai. I was so impressed with his ability to love these people. I am becoming more and more interested in the principle of love. I have seen on my mission that people begin to change when they can feel your love. The gospel is true and certainly the most powerful instrument to change lives. But that power can never be unlocked until we love the people we work with. I hope that I can someday understand love and charity. I have no idea what it really means, but I would like to have more of it in my heart.

Thank you all for your support and prayers. I really need them. I love you all!

Elder Tuscano

24 JUN 10 letter

Dear Family,

This past week was a fast and furious. So I'll clear this up at the outset. We e-mail whenever we find time. It might be wednesday, thursday, friday, or anyday. I can't say because it will change according to our schedule. So it is best if we don't change anything and you follow the same procedure that you've been following. If I get them on wednesday it is best. So don't worry if it takes me a few days to get back to you, I will. If you have any other doubts feel free to ask me.

So we spent the weekend in a place called Rajahmundry. I had been looking forward to seeing that city from the beginning. It is one of the closest areas we have to a village in the mission. It is a green and open land, lots of farmers and rural areas. The city has the kind of enchanting indian feeling about it. It just is the place you picture when you think of India. So close your eyes, if you can see the dirt roads, palm trees, and thatch roofed houses- you're there. I really enjoyed the experience. My favorite part was riding the bicycle. As I had spent my entire mission in big cities I never had the chance to ride one. But I finally got the go, it was great. As I sat back on the seat of this Indian beach cruiser I really felt that I had the complete mission experience. The roads were crazy and I was more concerned about hitting cows than cars, but somehow I made it through the days alright.

On monday we finally arrived in Bangalore. I really love travelling the mission, but it is nice to have a pillow to sleep on at night. Late tuesday night we were able to go to the airport and pick up our new missionary. We waited for quite some time, but I didn't mind. We had a great chance to talk with President about some things. One of the most incredible things we spoke about was his service here as the mission president. He shared with us the goals he had set when he began his service, they were pretty big goals. It was a tender moment while he shared a bit of an accountability if you will. I could feel his satisfaction as he put his arm around me and reported on the magnificent progress the church has made here in the past 3 years. He spoke about how he exceeded his goals, and how he did much more than he thought he could at the start. It was a special experience for us, and it taught me a lot about the importance of setting goals. The new missionary finally arrived and he brought back the memories of my first night in India. What an experience he has in front of him. We sent him off the next day to his area, which is Chennai! So we're just setting him up for greatness.

Everything is going just fine over here. I am really loving life and enjoying this service. If you would have told me 2 years ago about the things I would be doing here and now, I would been very skeptical. But I have learned that while we hardly realize it, the Lord is always guiding our lives. He guided me here, and I am eternally grateful for that. I love each one of you and hope that you feel the same about your lives. Have a good week!

Elder Tuscano