Sunday, July 10, 2016

E-mail July 4, 2016: "Brownies!"

This last week on P-Day my companion and I went to Pizza Hut for the first time in months. The food was delicious but after the meal I started having a craving for brownies. Brownies are not a very common treat here in India and although Pizza Hut offered them, they were very expensive and I'm on a budget. Normally I would just bake brownies in our apartment but unfortunately ours is not equipped with a conventional oven. The closest thing we have is a microwave and I wondered to myself "could that work?" I know, those are dangerous words coming from Elder Cloward. Regardless though,  we stopped by the store to pick up things like cocoa powder and butter and then we went to work. We followed the recipe and mixed the ingredients in a mug and then nuked it on high with our fingers crossed. It worked perfectly. The brownie was amazing and for a second I felt like I was back home.

Although my doubled recipe put me in a mild sugar coma, it was so good that I tried it again later in the week. The second time however I forgot to thaw the butter and it was hard as a rock. I thought I would be clever and substitute the butter with cooking oil. After all, they're almost the same thing, aren't they? I excitedly mixed the batter and stuck it in the microwave but to my dismay when it was finished instead of a delicious brownie I got a thick, disgusting brown brick. it was difficult to eat even after a generous topping of vanilla ice cream.

I wondered why it turned out so different this time when I only changed one ingredient. The cocoa, the sugar, the flour; all the main ingredients were the same but because of one small substitution it ruined the whole thing. I think that's a lot like life. One day recently, my companion and I were working and although we were doing our very best, things just weren't working out. I wondered what went wrong and I realized that because we were so busy we had missed our studies that morning. Even though we had been working hard that day because we missed that vital ingredient theSpirit wasn't as strong as it should have been. I've learned that in life with the commandments there are no such things as "satisfactory substitutes." When God commands, or invites, or suggests, He expects us to follow. I've learned that any justification for breaking, bending, or trying to get around the commandments by saying "it's only one small thing" or "I do everything else right" is simply a recipe for disaster. My invitation this week is to look at your life, like I've started looking at mine, and see if there are any missing ingredients. It's my testimony that if we fill our lives with the proper and best quality ingredients, the commandments in their fullness, we will have a sweet and satisfying experience. :)


The original microwave brownie in all it's glory.

There are a lot of these guys around right now.

Other American dishes we made this week. These are my multi-cultural pancakes.

Elder Cloward about to indulge (don't mind the messy kitchen).

Another recipe we tried: Microwave Snickerdoodle cake. Yes, it is as amazing as it sounds.

A dirt road at the edge of our area. Truly scenic.

My companion's new best friend, Sweetie.

Homemade mac and cheese, courtesy of Elder Rahul.

Until next week everyone, stay strong and rock on. :)
-Elder Cloward

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