Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Week of Visits

This past week saw many visitors and visits. First, the most important visitor was President Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. Accompanying him was President Gong, Asia Area President, and both of their wives. They were in Delhi for just two days, having many meetings with government officials, one with the missionaries and one evening devotional with the members. I absolutely loved the couple of hours he spent with us missionaries! Here is the picture from that meeting.

As you can see, we are a very small mission in terms of number of missionaries (with 41 in this picture, one in the hospital with active TB and 4 skyping in from Mumbai), but the AP’s told us that we are the world’s largest mission in terms of number of people within our mission’s boundaries! We include the top 2/3 of India, all of Pakistan (where there are 10 Elders, 3 Districts and 3500 members), all of Nepal (where there is 1 humanitarian couple and one branch), and all of Bangladesh and Bhutan. President Nelson even referred to President Gong as President of the Church over more than half of the people in the world! Of course since he was called into the Presidency of the Seventy in October, President Funk will take over as Asia Area President in January.

Our meeting with President Nelson was pretty intimate, with all of us having the opportunity of shaking his hand and talking to him. At the beginning of the meeting, there was a special musical number by six of the missionaries which President Nelson wanted to be able to fully enjoy, so he and his wife, followed by everyone else on the stand, came down and sat in the audience. President and Sister Hodge, our mission president and his wife, both spoke, followed by the Gongs and then the Nelsons, with President Nelson last. They were all inspiring talks, and many very participative.

President Nelson opened his up to answering questions from the missionaries. Among my learnings:

1.  All Heavenly Father wants is for all of His children (us!) to come home to Him—but we must choose to do so. That is why we invite all to come unto Christ!     
2. ‘Perfect’ means that our bodies are changed so we can live/dwell in the presence of God. Both physical and spiritual changes are necessary.
3.  As we love God first, our capacity to love one another is increased.

Later that evening in the member devotional, President Nelson talked about:      

1.   Teaching children that they are a child of God
2.    Teach that prayer is wireless communication with God without any fees
3.   During the Sacrament each week, we are making covenants again, not just renewing them
4.    Persist in our FHE, family prayers and scripture study even if there are times there is more howling than success

President Nelson’s vitality and mental acuity was amazing considering he is 91 years young.

The next visitor I want to mention wasn’t quite so welcome! One night on the way to bed, my glassless eyes noticed some dark matter on the wall above the bedroom door. “What is that?” I asked Elder A, reading in bed. “Where?” he asked. “Oh my! It’s a lizard!”

And so it was! Thankfully, it held perfectly still while I took its picture, then googled how to get rid of it. All in all, it was about 6 or 7 inches long and very cooperative as we captured it between a strainer and a magazine and took it outside to release it into a tree. We hope it likes its new home and wondered how long it had been in our flat.

The last visitors were us as we have started visiting both active and less active members in both of the branches we are working in. Most of the visits have been down narrow roads and up narrow, steep stairs.
I’ve been impressed with how neat and orderly their homes have been, but also how modest. One family lives on the roof with part of their home being outside and just a couple of individual rooms enclosed. We’ve had a couple of visits where extended family living close by have stopped by as well, allowing us to meet many family members. They are always so generous and welcoming, offering us something to eat and or drink. The Indian people are by far the best part of this mission!


  1. Love hearing of your adventures!!! Especially the lizard!! : D

  2. What neat meetings! And a lizard as an unwelcome visitor isn't the worst kind of visitor--it doesn't sting or bite!

  3. I agree that the people are the best part of the mission -- grateful for your comments and love following your blog.