Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving from India!

We had District Conference in this auditorium towards downtown from here. Here is a picture of 3 sisters we know with the building in the background. It was a great meeting—both colorful and edifying!

Newly called Apostle Ronald A. Rasband spoke to his first gathering of Young Single Adults here in New Delhi the next evening. The first thing he did was move his chair down from the podium, joining the audience for a more intimate meeting. After a short introduction by President Randy Funk, Sister Rasband gave a quick overview of their 42 years together. She knew Elder Rasband was strong and faithful in the Gospel when she married him and the Lord has since taken him step by step to prepare him for his latest call.

Elder Rasband spoke of his humble upbringing, son of a truck driver, but he remembers always being happy and always having a testimony of Christ. He then opened the meeting for questions from the audience. He used the five questions posed to teach many of the truths of the gospel—prophets both latter-day and in the scriptures; the importance of family first and teaching our children the truths of the gospel; to never give up, never stop trying, both with our children and the less actives; that love is the most important thing so always show love first and then teach, invite; the importance of marrying the right person in the right place at the right time; the perspective the Plan of Happiness can provide in understanding the death of a loved one and other trials in our lives; and the importance of missionary work, both full time and member, in building up the Church here in India for future stakes and temples.

Elder Rasband closed by expressing the love and gratitude President Monson and other leaders of the church have for the YSA, and bearing his testimony that Jesus is the living Christ and presides at the head of the Church. He then expressed his desire to shake everyone’s hand, which everyone was happy about. Following the handshakes came lots of photo shots, culminating with this one large group shot of about half the audience. Since Elder A and I were the photographers, we aren’t in any of the pictures, but we do have the good memory of being there.

A couple of days later we were able to meet with President Funk and his wife as they visited with a couple who served their mission when he was mission president. They were the first native couple from Delhi to serve a mission but have since gone inactive. We have visited them several times, and are hopeful we will see them back at church soon. President Funk insisted on taking some photos of the visit.

President and Sister Hodges went to Mumbai and then on to Pakistan with Elder and Sister Rasband. While they were gone, we got to go to the airport to welcome three new missionaries to our mission,
visit Old Delhi looking for supplies for a Thanksgiving missionary service project,
trace the nativity figures on plywood and get them cut out,
and attend a planning meeting for a big humanitarian project to save 100,000 babies next year here in northern India that the church is supporting.
We even attended our first Missionary District Meeting with our Dwarka partners.
Now the Hodges are back, bringing President and Sister Gong (who had joined them in Pakistan) with them and we are having Zone Conferences, Thanksgiving Dinner and a missionary service project of painting the nativity figures, building a stable, and putting up lights in some trees and bushes all in front of the Mission Home and Office. The hope is that members will come and enjoy it sometime this Christmas Season. Luckily, a YSA who just happens to be a branch clerk, came by last night while we were priming the figures and offered his assistance. He is a portrait artist so he is painting the faces onto our figures and outlining the clothes for the missionaries to paint. I’m excited for the end result!

Well Thanksgiving Dinner, complete with turkey, is in 45 minutes so I’m going to sign off by wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving! We hope you feel as blessed as we do!


  1. Happy Thanksgiving! We hope your dinner was wonderful.

  2. Happy Thanksgiving! You've had a busy couple of weeks! The nativity looks great--can't wait to see it finished.

  3. Love your stories! Love seeing the youth of the church - such a good looking group. Thank you!

  4. I love hearing about what you're doing. Happy Thanksgiving!!

  5. Happy Thanksgiving! What a blessing you are there and what blessing they are to you! We send our love! Mark and Lisa

  6. Good to see you're keeping busy and enjoying everything new. Thanks for sharing! I really enjoy reading about your experiences. Watch out for those monkeys.