Monday, February 2, 2015

E-mail: Feb. 2, 2015 "We're not in Hyderabad anymore, Toto..."

Wow. I arrived in Bangalore this week and I've had a couple of days now to get around and see what it's like, and all I can say is holy flip, it's like I'm back in America. My first day we got real beef steak burgers for lunch and we went to Krispe Kreme in the afternoon and I began to wonder if I had actually been taken straight up to heaven for being such a good missionary, but then I saw a bunch of white tourists in short shorts and I realized I was still here. The weather here is fantastic! I got off my plane and it must have been as low as 65 degrees! I almost started shivering. I asked my cab driver why it's so cool here and he said it's because Bangaluru is on the top of a hill and it's close to a lot of water, which is also why it's so much greener and healthier. Hyderabad had a bunch of small, low reaching plants and trees, but here the trees are taller than most of the 4-5 story buildings and they have an equal share along the streets and throughout the city. It literally looks like someone took a bustling American metropolis, added a little extra dirt and bright colors, and dropped it in the middle of the Indian jungle. I know I said I dreaded going to serve in Bangalore, but this place just keeps getting better and better; and to top it all of I get to use a cycle in my area as well.
Happy day, all is well.

My new companion's name is Elder Thompson; a very tall, fast, and fun loving missionary. He's from Kaysville Utah, about 10 minutes from where I used to live and the chances are we bumped into each other at least once or twice without knowing before the mission. He's showing me how to use our cycles in a city where there are more cars than room on the road, and I'm slowly but surely learning how to navigate through a moving gridlock without crashing. He used to mountain bike before his mission and so whenever the road is less crowded he picks up his speed and turns and ordinary rock or speed bump into a jump. I'm not brave enough right now to try any of those kinds of stunts, but I think he's determined to help me overcome my fear and become just as tricky as him. ...Pray for me.

I've been told that the work here is much more difficult than my previous area, and during these last few days I think that's been confirmed. In Hyderabad the members almost gave us more referrals than we had time to contact, and it wasn't unusual to walk into sacrament meeting and see 3-4 new people that we were able to start teaching because one of their friends encouraged them to come to church. One such example is of a man who got up at 4:00 in the morning to take a bus almost 200 kms to attend our church. As we talked with him after sacrament meeting I kept asking him about his job and his family to figure out why he had come all the way to Hyderabad. I didn't believe him the first time when he said he came all the way down just to visit our church because one of his friends told him to come and see, and I had to pick my jaw up off the floor when he told us that he felt so good during the meetings that he was going to try and make the trip every week. That's an example of a modern day pioneer. That's also an example of member missionary work. Here in Bangalore most of the members don't seem to have caught on to that spirit yet and so the work is very hard. The support and help from the ward or branch in any area is one of the key factors in how well the work goes in there, and I'm petitioning the Lord for help as we try to help the members here catch on to the spirit of this work and turn this area around.

Oh and I'm sorry I don't have any new pictures this week, I'll take some more and get them out soon.

Anyways until next time, rock on everyone. :)
-Elder Cloward

Elders Cloward and Thompson in Bangalore.

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