Monday, March 16, 2015

E-mail: March 16, 2015 "No brother, I said business cut... not rock star cut!"

My companion and I started to get a little shaggy this week so we decided it was time for haircuts again. It's really easy to get haircuts over here. All you have to do is walk down the street until you find a small shop with a picture of Zac Efron or Keith Urban on the front, go inside, tell the barber what kind of style you want, pay him about $2, and bam, you've got a great haircut. The one drawback though is that you have to check that you're barber speaks English so he can understand what kind of haircut you want or he'll give you the style he likes best. I forgot that one important step this week. After getting settled in my chair and explaining the cut I wanted he pulled out his buzzer and before I could even tell what was going on he buzzed all the hair off the sides of my head and styled the top to his taste.

In short, I looked like a skinny Macklemore.

After admiring my stylish new do and considering it for a little longer than I should have a brushed off the temptation and asked him to make it all short. Because of how much he took off the sides he almost had to give me a buzz cut to make it uniform again. But despite looking like I just came from basic training I'm grateful that I won't have to get it cut again for a while.

Two saturdays ago I woke up with an intense pain in my stomach that lasted all day and into the night. We went to the nearest clinic to figure out what was wrong and after a few tests and being fed an entire bottle of who knows what through a tube in my arm they couldn't figure it out and sent me to the hospital for further investigation. In the E.R. I went through more tests and again drank my fill through my arm. I was told that I had food poisoning and it was nothing to worry about. By this time the pain had subsided (due to all the mysterious fluids in my bloodstream) and we traveled back to our apartment at about 1:00 am. The next day however, despite the medications the doctor had sent me home with the pain intensified and once again we made the long journey back to the E.R. After about an hour of waiting on the same bed as the previous night and being pumped full of the same clear fluids I'd become so familiar with the doctor informed me that the pain was coming from my appendix and that they'd have to remove it the next day.

"Well gee doc, you know I'm kinda frustrated with my appendix right now but isn't that a little extreme?"

Unfortunately though when your guts decide to throw a tantrum some of them don't get a second chance. The next day after wheeling me into the operating room they set me on a tiny green table and hooked me up to a funny looking mask and I was out cold. The next thing I remember I was slowly blinking back into consciousness and taking in my surroundings. The first thing I noticed was a small, clear tube still protruding from my abdomen draining what was left of my infection into a plastic bag. I find it ironic how for the previous three days they kept me hooked up to countless IV tubes pumping fluids into me, and now I was lying in a hospital bed with a tube pumping liquids out of me. Sheesh. However, more painful than discovering a tube stitched to my stomach was realizing that I was the awkward third wheel in between a young nurse and a doctor's assistant who wouldn't stop flirting as they wheeled me back to my room. I was a rare occasion when the hospital attendants ended up increasing my nausea instead of reducing it.

I know there were a lot of prayers sent my way this week, and I want to thank each and every one for that. I can't express my gratitude for the love and faith which I felt this week. I know I joke about my experience at the hospital but overall everything was great. the surgery went flawlessly, I was taken very good care of, and I'm making a very speedy recovery. Thanks again for all your prayers everyone, they made all the difference. :)

Anyways until next time everyone remember to hold on to you innards, because you never know when you might loose one. ;)

-Elder Clouds

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

E-mail March 2, 2015: "Push start a bus? Isn't that a little extreme?!"

But one thing that I'm learning is that in India- nothing is too extreme.

I've push started cars before, even a truck or two, but I never thought I'd find myself behind a 2 ton passenger bus that's stalled in the middle of a busy street. 

We were walking back from lunch on Saturday with the other elders from our apartment when we saw a bus sitting on the side of the road. Normally a bus on the side of the road wouldn't attract our attention, in fact that's normally where the drivers park them when they get out to have lunch, but when we noticed that the bus was inching along because of one lone Indian pushing from behind we knew we had to do something. We rushed over to him and as the five of us started to push it started moving a little faster, but unfortunately we realized that it would require a lot more elbow grease than we had on hand to get it going fast enough to start up. To my surprise though all of the sudden the bus started to roll faster and faster until it felt like it was almost moving on it's own, and as a glanced around to see what the cause was I saw a huge crowd of Indians who had rushed to our aid. I was mildly disappointed when I realized that it wasn't the push-ups I've been doing every morning that got the bus going that fast, but at the same time I was filled with love and gratitude for those people who dropped what they were doing to come and help us. Almost everyone here in India is like that. They all believe that even if you don't know someone you're still his brother and it's your responsibility to help him when he needs it. I see it time and time again when we're searching for someone's home and we can't decipher the code of an address that we're given and anyone we ask will drop what they're doing to show us, and often come with us, to navigate the Bangalore spiderweb until we find the right house. I love these people, and I feel honored to be able to serve them. 

To finish the story though we were able to get the bus rolling again and as we continued on our way we were a little more sore than when we started, but we were happy nonetheless. This experience also taught me a powerful lesson about teamwork and unity. On our own we could barely get the bus moving, but after everyone stared pushing it took less than 30 seconds to get it revving again. It's the same principle in work, in a sports team, in a family, and in the church. One reason the church gives so many callings is so that we can all get behind this work and together move it forward with speed and power. That's called Synergy, when the combined efforts of many is greater than the sum of the individual efforts. That's a principle by which God works, and it's a power that if we can learn to harness in our own lives with those around us we can truly do great things. 

Oh, and I heard that the Layton East Stake is going on trek this year. To all of those youth who don't want to go because they're lazy and don't think that pulling a handcart will help them later in life let me tell you that I sure was grateful when I was behind that bus for the handcart-pulling muscles I developed on my trek. Rarely do we know how these simple activities will bless our lives until after the fact. I testify of that. ;)

Aaaaaaaaaand pictures!

No it's not a dress. It's called a Lungie, and they're all the rage over here.
Sujatha's baptism

Fun with some members. From left to right: Forgot his name, yours truly, Madhu, and Prabhu. (The hat was my idea)

Gulab Jamun- Elder Cloward Style.

No I'm not disobedient, it only says you can't move while you're on it.

Revathi's Baptism. (No, look at MY camera)

Cake Fight! And once again Elder Cloward is the winner!

​And last but not least, this pretty much illustrates what I feel like every day here. Lovin' it. :)