Friday, March 25, 2016

E-mail March 21, 2016: "Didn't see this one coming"

Wow, just when you start to get settled into a nice area with a zone that you love and the work finally starts to pick up God sends a curve ball at you.

Due to some problems in the city because of the ongoing elections most of the missionaries are being transferred away to different areas for a few months. The sister missionaries along with My companion and one other native Elder will be the only ones staying in Coimbatore for now to keep the work going as much as possible. I'm extremely sad to leave my companion and the people here so unexpectedly and after only serving here a short time. It's been difficult saying goodbye these last few days but although it's painful and it's hard I know that this is part of God's plan and I trust Him.

I'll be leaving back to the city of my missionary birth tomorrow to serve in the Hyderabad AS Rao Nagar ward. My new companions will be Elder Bandi and Elder Sunny. I'm excited to work with them. :)

It's interesting, it seems that my entire mission has been one long flow of unexpected changes. As soon as I get comfortable with how things are going like clockwork God moves me on to a new mountain to conquer. I've come to realize recently though how much of a blessing that's been. I look back on the person I was when I stepped into the MTC and notice all the changes, some small and some more significant, that have shaped me into a much better, more capable individual and realize it's been a result of the many trials and challenges I've faced these last 19 months.

I've learned that much like the beautiful diamonds that start out as lumps of coal we, as God's mortal children, can't become the beautiful beings He desires us to be without a̶ ̶l̶i̶t̶t̶l̶e̶ a lot of heat and pressure. I've learned that avoiding trials and changes only hinder our growth and prevent us from gaining much of the experience we were sent here to acquire. As I've tried to view challenges as necessary and helpful and have sought God's help whenever one comes along it's always worked out to my advantage.

I testify that no matter what trials we have or where they come from God has a plan for each of our lives. If we put our trust in Him and move forward with faith our stumbling blocks truly can become our stepping stones to a better life. :)


This is called Dosa, a rice batter cross between a pancake and a tortilla that's served for breakfast. It's delicious and after 19 months of practise I think I've finally perfected them. 

These are many of the members from our branch gathered for lunch after church yesterday. I'm going to miss all of these people a lot.

Our amazing sister missionaries. From left to right, Sister Raman from Chennai, Sister Padmakumar from Kerala, and Sister Gantimi from Rajamundry.

This is Nagaraj, one of our recent converts and a good friend of mine.

This is Akash, one of the young men. This photo basically describes our relationship.

Brother Raja, our Branch Mission Leader who's always ready to help us out.

Brother Suresh Jaising and his family.

From left to right: my companion, sister Jacinta, Bitun, Brother Satish, and Rihanna. A truly unforgettable family with lots of energy and a love for the missionaries. 

There are so many other people that I've grown so close to here in Coimbatore that I also wanted to get pictures with but didn't have the time. Regardless though I'll always remember them and they'll always have a place in my heart. :)

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

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