Monday, January 11, 2016

E-mail Jan 11, 2016: "Don't touch the Geezer!"

 Oh boy, I kinda messed up, and my companion may be permanently scarred now. Let me explain: When I arrived in the Philippines I was dismayed when I found out that none of the apartments in the mission had hot showers, in fact most of the apartments didn't have any working showers at all. I spent 6 months showering out of a cold bucket of water, and so naturally when I arrived here in Coimbatore I was overjoyed at the prospect of waking up to a steaming shower again. Usually in our apartments here, every bathroom has it's own water heater, called a geezer. In our current apartment we have a really fancy one where you can even control the temperature of the water, and I admit I may have been a little overexcited and turned it up all the way. In my bathroom I can add cold water to what comes out of the geezer to get the temperature just right, but what I didn't realize is that the other bathroom, my companion's bathroom, also gets water from that heater, but he can't add cold water to his.


When I came out of the shower my first day here I found my companion rubbing his blazing red scalp in front of the mirror. He turned to me and asked,

"Elder Cloward, did you touch the geezer?"
"Yeah why?"
*points to his scalded scalp*
...Oh, was that bad?"

Although I felt bad I had to suppress a chuckle at his predicament. He's already worried about losing his hair and now he's convinced that his steaming shower just sealed his fate. He's doesn't like me talking about his hair loss so I won't mention it more, but suffice it to say that Alma 40:23 is his favorite scripture. ;)

I forgot to mention that right before we left back to India we had the opportunity to attend the Manila temple. It was a great experience and the temple is beautiful. It made me realize how much I miss going to the temple and made me even more grateful for the many opportunities I've had and will have again to attend. Brothers and sisters, make time for the temple. Don't take for granted the amazing blessing it is to be able to frequent the house of the Lord. It's amazing to me how so many people in India and the Philippines will sacrifice for years just for the opportunity to go once, and it's strengthened my testimony of how truly important it is. :)

Pictures! (leftovers from the Philippines)

That's called a kalig-lig. It's a crossover between a tractor and a Star Wars Pod Racer and had they let me get one on the plane I'd have taken it with me.

That's a homemade basketball hoop. Yeah for creativity. :)

Rice patties, they grow and eat a lot of rice here. 

Bro. Go and his family, more of my favorites.

"No, look at the camera!"

Bro. Galam and his family. He always helps the missionaries and His mother (far left) is scheduled to be baptized this month.

San Jose ward, some of my favorite people. :)

Manila Temple


Manila temple at night.

Glad I had the chance to go here, it was awesome. 
Until next week everyone, stay strong and rock on. :)
-Elder Clouds

Monday, January 4, 2016

E-mail Jan 4, 2016: "CURRY!!!"

Yeah man!!! Guess who's back in India? After a long van ride, three flights, and then a cab to my apartment, I'm ready to hit the pavement running here in the land of bobbing heads and curry.

Speaking of curry I've almost had more than I can handle during my first three days here. Every home we walk into someone wants to feed us.

"Elders you'll have some food?"
"Thanks sister but we just finished lunch and we don't have much time."
"No elder, you must have."
"...Okay sister, but just a little bit."
"okay okay okay."
*comes back with two plates stacked sky high*

Although she literally stuffed us, I really can't complain, the food was soooo good.

I'm serving in the small town of Coimbatore, just south of Bengaluru. My companion is the one and only Elder Samson, my good friend and former Zone Leader from Bangalore.These last few days he's been doing a great job at showing me the area, and I can't help but note the differences between the work in the Philippines and India. My last zone in the Philippines consisted of 20 missionaries, in this zone there's only 8. I got used to being able to walk to most of our appointments, here it takes 30+ minutes by bus just to get to anyone's house. I loved being able to go up and talk to anyone about the church; in this zone we're not allowed to talk to anyone outside. In the Philippines most people knew who we are when we walked down the street; here we often have to take off our name tags in parts of our area to ensure that people don't figure out who we are. In short, the difference is night and day, but I'm glad I've been able to experience missionary work in both of these wonderful places.

The love I've had for this place and these people was instantly rekindled the moment we walked into the Malaysia airport and saw several Indians getting ready to board their flight to Bangalore. It's an interesting contrast; the first time I came to India I was overwhelmed by the almost suffocating culture shock, but as I stepped of the plane a few days ago and once again walked the streets of this beautiful country, it literally felt like I was coming home.

Although I loved the Philippines and I'm still missing the country and the people there, I'm excited to be back in the place where I began and I'm ready to give it everything I've got. :)

Until next time everyone, Stay Strong and Rock On. :)
-Elder Clouds

From mom: "He makes me laugh. He said where he is serving is "just south of Bengalaru (Bangalore)". Ha ha... it's 225 miles. I guess in India that is "just south". And his "small town" has over a million people."