Tuesday, June 28, 2016

E-mail June 27, 2016: "Elder What?"

This week my companion Elder Bandi completed his missionary service. Tuesday morning a cab picked him up and by Wednesday evening he was back home in Vizak. We had a good time together and I'm missing him already. He taught me a lot and I'm grateful for the opportunity I had to serve with him. It was crazy watching him pack his things and realizing that I'll be doing the same in a little more than a month. As my time winds down I can't help but think about everything we still need to do here and I hope and pray that God will help us to do everything we can.

My new companion is Elder Rahul. He was born in Calcutta but was raised in Utah. He's a brilliant, fun loving guy who's pumped to preach the gospel and build up the church here. I hope I can keep up with him. Elder Rahul's actual surname is Lechtenberg and when he arrived in the field about 5 months ago that's what he went by. He quickly realized though that not many people here can pronounce "Lechtenberg" so he shortened it to Elder "Berg." I guess he really had a beef when everyone started calling him "Elder Burger" so he switched to Elder Rahul. We're already having a great time together and I can't wait to see how much work we can do these next 5 weeks. :)

Things area finally cooling down here in Hyderabad which makes it much easier to stay busy outside during the day. We're hoping and praying that some of our investigators will accept the invitation to be baptized this next week. At first I couldn't understand why anyone would say no to joining the true church but now I can understand a little bit why it's so difficult for some people. Looking through other's eyes a little more has helped me to realize how life changing a decision like baptism really is, especially in a country where less than 6% of the population is Christian. I've met people out here who have been persecuted, threatened, and disowned by their families for joining the church. While that's definitely not the majority of situations it has shown me what it means to "suffer shame for Christ's name." It's helped me to act with more love, patience, and faith as we try to help people accept baptism and I've seen miracles as the Spirit has helped some of them to overcome their fears. It's also strengthened my commitment to stand as a witness for the Savior all the time. The members here in India are nothing less than valiant, fearless pioneers and I hope that I can be a faithful as they are. my invitation for each of us is to always have the courage to stand strong for the things we believe in.


​The Meruga family, and awesome family from our ward.

Another one of our friends. I love Indian reptiles

From right to left: Me, our investigator Sister Radhika, her sister Deepika, Elder Bandi, and- ...I forgot her name.

On the back is me, brother Stephen, and our investigator Flamy. On the front is Bro Krupa Rao and his wife- ...I also forgot her name. 

My new companion Elder Rahul, AKA the goat whisperer.

"Crikey mate, be careful!"

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

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