Monday, April 18, 2016

E-mail April 18, 2016: "Oh no, Americans..."

This last week at our stake conference I saw many American church members who are living here in Hyderabad for various reasons. I thought it would be nice to socialize with someone from back home a little bit but as I walked up to one tall white man my mind went blank, my throat went dry, and I completely forgot how to speak.

I was terrified.

It was the same sensation I felt the first time I tried talking to an Indian when I first got here. Now that I've been surrounded by Indians for almost two years, I have no problem talking to total strangers about their job, family, or religious beliefs; but unfortunately I've lost my ability to talk to white people. Brothers and Sisters, forgive me if I get home and don't know how to talk to you, it looks like I may have some adjusting to do...

Someone once asked me if my mission is always great all the time. The short answer for that would be no, in fact most of the time it's extremely difficult. This week, for example, was very hard and left me tired, frustrated and discouraged. As several of the people whom we had high hopes for told us they refuse to accept the Book of Mormon, I started to feel a little discouraged. And then when several others we've been working with asked us not to come to their homes anymore because they're not interested, it crushed my spirits even more. There were a few other disappointments and finally to top things off we had a heat stroke these last few days and although it didn't cause any serious problems, it drained every last bit of energy I had left. You'd think that by this time in my mission I'd be accustomed to setbacks like this, but after everything that happened to us this week it was almost more than I could bear.

It amazes me though, that even though I was frustrated and frankly unworthy of receiving help, Heavenly Father still blessed me with the strength and comfort I needed to keep going. Yesterday we had our stake conference and President Funk of the Asia Area presidency spoke to us. His and the other inspiring talks that were given brought the Spirit and began to chip away at my negative feelings. Afterwards I had a happy reunion with most of the members from my first area including two individuals whom we baptized more than a year ago. As I talked and laughed with them the pain and frustration I'd felt was washed away and I was filled with joy and peace. I testify that sometimes God lets us weather the storm before He interferes or sends blessings. Although I'm not particularly fond of trials or hardships and I know there are plenty more coming before I'm through here, I'm grateful for the opportunities for growth that they bring. Most of all though, I'm grateful for a Father in Heaven who always helps me when I need it the most.


I want to start including photos of some of the foods we have here. These are Chinese noodles and meatless meatballs.

I love India.

View of our area.

This is called Bonda and it's delicious. #Friedfoodforbreakfast

This is Puri. #Morefriedfoodforbreakfast

How many people can we fit in a selfie? so far we're up to 7. In the blue is a member named Calvin who works with often, the rest are our neighborhood buddies.
at the Hyderabad Stake Conference

Stay strong and rock on everyone. :)
-Elder Cloward

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