Sorry to my family for the late email today. We just got back to Dwarka after having another zone activity in Vasant Vihar near the mission office. We played volleyball on the tiny dirt field that the church has bought for the building site of the temple, so that was really cool. I hope the temple can be here within the next ten years, but there is still a lot of work to do. It will be a happy day for me when they announce the India New Delhi Temple in General Conference, actually a happy day for everyone.
This week I am starting my OctoBulk month early and have been getting ready to put on some serious muscle. I go to the gym every morning and we even wake up a little earlier and go to bed earlier just to get more time to work out so we can still be back in time for studies. Working out is the only time I get to be selfish and worry about myself, and I get to do something that I love and that is familiar to me. So I take it pretty serious, and then after that it's all about the people and the mission. But with the gym and working out, I thought it would be cool to tell you my meal plan, or what I usually eat here in India.
I love to eat of course, and I still haven't grown out of my teen eating stage I don't think. Each day I eat six eggs, two peanut butter and honey sandwiches, a pack of maggi (top ramen), three bananas, and a liter of unpasteurized water buffalo milk..still haven't gotten sick from the last one ;) I also eat whatever members or investigators feed me, but we have to be considerate when we know food is in short supply. We only get fed about once a week by members anyways, it's just not a common thing here, which I'm okay with. Members are really good at giving us water though, and it is usually clean and safe, and they always give us biscuits (cookies), but they are basically crackers here, so that is appreciated. I love Indian food and have never been disappointed by the taste of the Indian food, it's amazing. I do however, hate their desserts. I don't know who invented their sweets, but they are evil. Indian sweets are gross! Ha-ha.
Anyways this week was really good. We got super high numbers and did really well in our lessons and people are starting to progress. We picked up two new investigators finally and are working with them. One is a fourteen year old boy named Anchul, who we found through our English classes. He is great and loves to come to church and English class and has even accepted baptism and wants to keep learning more, but we are waiting right now for his father to give him permission, we'll see how that goes. I will be praying. Also we picked up an investigator named Amrita. We met Amrita Friday night at a Dosa stand, I love street food. It's worth the sickness. Anyways, we started talking to her and she was really interested, especially when we told her she can find peace and happiness through our message and through Jesus Christ's teachings. She immediately wrote down her name and address for us and told us to be at her house the next morning, we were pumped up. So we went to her sister’s home the next morning and...I have never been in a home yet, that has had as many Hindu gods and Idols and all manner of ridiculous items. It was crazy. I was immediately worried, and whispered to Elder Huskey, "This is going to be a lot harder than we thought". Well, as soon as we discovered that the sister and her husband were hardcore Hindu's, but didn't mind us teaching Amrita and was cool with us being there, we were relieved. So we continued to teach and the lesson was so powerful. She has had such a rough life, and she needs that peace and happiness that we promised her. I know she can get it if she truly is prayerful and wants that change. I will be praying for her as well. She is awesome and I just was so amazed at how strong the Spirit was, in a room with Hindu gods and Idols everywhere. It just builds my testimony of the Restored Gospel so much more. I love the message I am sharing.
This week I have been noticing how humbled I have been since being in India. I seriously needed this place, to put me in my place. I took for granted so many things, and nothing makes you more grateful for home and family than walking, no crouching, into a home that is made of cement, bricks, cardboard, and tarps, and sitting on a solid wood bed with no mattress and sharing a lesson to a family that has been basically through every challenge I thought existed. It's just unreal. And the scripture we share is in Hindi, Tamil, and English and we need the kids who actually know English to translate and help us teach the lesson. That's about how most of our less active member lessons go.
I just can't believe how little some of these people have. I hope you all know that I am not struggling here in India, it's a change and it's different, but I am not in survival mode. But there are millions here who are. I was just in a home yesterday where the little kids literally had no clothes. It really is humbling. The reason so many of these people are so kind even when they have so little, is because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the gospel we don't need money and nice clothes, or as the scriptures say, riches and fine twined linens and apparel. Those things lift people up in the Pride of their Hearts, and that is very apparent here in India. The people who have money and cars and a good education and a good job, are almost always too good for anyone, especially missionaries. I have seen some really wealthy people acting like idiots and I have seen people who put the gospel first, and who pay their tithing when they have almost nothing to give. Guess who is happy? Guess who is the one who is nice and kind, helpful and loving? We can even set the money aside and ask the same question. It's the person who has their heart and mind focused on the Savior and His Gospel. You want true happiness? Live the Gospel. It's the only way. Take it from a kid who put all His heart and mind into sports and girls and then chose to serve a mission. I'm a lot happier now than I was. I go to bed every night after a long prayer with my Father in Heaven, with a smile on my face, excited to wake up the next day. Excited to drink my unpasteurized water buffalo milk and walk in the hot sun and dirty streets. It's not about me though, test it yourself. Live the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and see how your life and your mindset changes. Have Faith. Repent. Be Baptized, or Renew and Keep your Covenants, and Endure to the End. This is the way. He is the Way. I promise with all of my Heart.
Matthew 6:21 "For where your treasure is, there will your Heart be also."
I turn 19 this week and that is crazy. Thanks for your prayers and your birthday wishes. I'll celebrate my 21st with you all.
To my dad, keep it up. You're a great coach, things will come along. Just look at the JV team. Never give up hope and make them do pushups in the sprinklers like you used to make us do. Those were great times. It makes you tougher, that’s for sure. We were born with Marsh Valley in our blood and it will never go away. I still pray for the team every Saturday morning at kickoff. You're the best coach I ever had.
Love you all, Go Eagles..BYU..and Dallas!