Sunday, June 19, 2016

Week 105 - June 19th - Last Week in India

Well everyone it is pretty crazy to think that my service is coming to a close.  What a ride it has been from the start to the finish.  As I look back, I see just how much the Lord has blessed me in my life.  All the amazing people we have been able to find and teach and help them come closer to Heavenly Father have all been because of Him. I was especially grateful that I had the opportunity to go back to Gajuwaka and see a lot of the people that we taught over a year ago.   I know without a doubt that I did nothing to soften their hearts or help them to where they are now, it was all the Lord. 

I know that without a doubt this is the true Gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth today.  I know that today God has given His authority to man to perform the saving ordinances for all of us.  I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live today and that they still answer our honest prayers.  I'm so grateful for the chance that I've been given to serve the people of south india in just a small way.  I know that the Book of Mormon is really the word of God and that whoever will read and pray about its message, they will receive an answer through the Holy Ghost. 

I know that my family has been blessed like anything by following the commandments and these same blessings are available to all.  I am grateful for all that I have in my life and I hope to continue to bring more souls unto Christ for the rest of my life.  I know all these things to be true and I leave them with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Elder Wakefield

PS Sunil, Gowthams younger brother, got baptized yesterday

Monday, June 13, 2016

Week 104 - June 13, 2016 - Back to Visag for the last week of My Mission

Whats up everyone!  Trying not to get too trunky out here but it is kind of hard knowing I'll be home about halfway through next week.

Well I got the news on Wednesday night that I was actually going to go back to Vizag for the last week of my mission so here I am.  (Editor Note:  Elder Wakefield told us in a separate e-mail that another Elder who had been in Visag had his visa expire and thus had to leave the country and since Elder Wakefield was in a tri-companionship, he got the call fill that spot)  This morning, I got to the Bangalore airport and I had forgotten how hot it was here so when they opened the doors to the airplane, I was like oh nooooo!  Then i get my bag and head out and I'm looking for the driver and no body.  I had to borrow a couple of peoples phones and I called the Gajuwaka Elders because I still remembered their number (Elder Wakefield served in nearby Gajuwaka about 12 months prior) but no answer and I eventually walked out to main road and caught a share auto to their apartment which is just nearby.  So eventually, I made it to their apartment and here I am. 

My new companion is elder Touthang from Bangalore.  We are the zone leaders for the next week and I guess we are just going to do as much as we can this week.

I just want to say thanks for all of the support and encouragement that everyone has given me for the last 2 years and that I really know this is the work of the Lord.  Before I came out out, I used to think that no one was willing to change their lives for the Gospel but I have seen so many lives blessed from following the commandments.  I know without a doubt that there is a God and that He knows each one of us.  I now that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only true church on the earth because it has the priesthood authority of the Lord.  I know that there is a prophet of God and his name is Thomas S. Monson.  

Love you guys and can't wait to see/ talk to you guys next week.  

Elder Wakefield

Editor Note:
Pulled a couple of pictures off Elder Tuscano's Blog since no picture this week - I also pulled the picture of Visag below off the internet.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Week 103 - June 5, 2016 - Bengaluru, India

Welcome to June everyone!  For some reason the weather hasn't been all that hot here so I think we are just getting spoiled.  So many cool things happened this week.

Yesterday our man Gregory got baptized and it was awesome.  We just roll up to church and he is wearing a white shirt and some slacks and he was like, "What took you guys so long to get to church".  I have no doubt that this brother will stay true to the gospel.

We also went to this huge rose garden in Bangalore during the week and there were some mango festival going on and I guess there were like over 10 different varieties.  Who knew that mangoes were so diverse?  But they just had as many mangoes as you could imagine and every booth that we went to were just giving us 1 for free so probably by the time we got out of there we had like 3kgs without even spending a single rupee.  

We had a funny fast and testimony meeting yesterday.  There were a bunch of primary children that got up to bear their testimony and it was almost like a battle to see who could get up to the stand the fastest.  I think 95% of the testimonies went like this: "I knew that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ lives.  I know Book of Mormon is true.  I know Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet.  In the name of Jesus Christ Amen."  I thought that it was really simple but really awesome to see how much these kids are learning in church and in their homes.  This will definitely help them to prepare for the future when they have to share their testimonies with everyone that they meet.  

Also I got to ride an elephant today so I think I can say that my mission is definitely the coolest one in the whole world.  

P.S. if you guys are interested you can see a link to my last 2 years here

Love you all,

Elder Wakefield

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Week 102 - May 29th, 2016 - Bengaluru, India

I swear every week I am doing good and then I come to mailing and realize how soon my service is coming to an end.  India is a really an awesome place and I can't believe the time is almost ready to come to a close.  

We had Gowtham's Baptism yesterday and his mom and dad came to the service which was really cool.  His uncle performed the baptism and it was cool because they are already talking about his brother, Sunil, getting baptized soon and Gowtham's plan to serve a mission in like 4 years when he turns 18.  Then Gregory also stayed after church to watch and he was pumped about his baptism this coming Sunday.  I don't think I could even ask for a better way to finish up the mission.  

What I noticed about Bangalore:  There are way more North Indians and people that are not from Karnataka living here.  We can find a lot more traffic because of the increased amount of cars and signals.  There are malls everywhere as well as foreigners.  People are a lot more westernized here when it comes to clothing, media and speaking. 

We went to this grocery store and I saw a box of Honey Bunches of Oats and I couldn't believe my mind.  We also bought some salami, so now we are making sandwiches in the afternoon.  Also they don't have the Book of Mormon translated into Kannada, so we have to hand out tamil or hindi language copies.  We have another investigator named Ayshawarya and she doesn't speak much English, so we use her recent convert brother to translate and he doesn't know how to read much because he only studied until 3rd class but he learned all of his English from playing tennis.  

Can't wait to see you all soon,

Elder Wakefield

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Week 101 - May 22nd, 2016 - Bengaluru, India

Hey everyone!  Cant believe that I only have one month left in India but it has been a great privilege to be serving in the Convent Road area.  So we are still in a tri-companionship and no word about any changes so we have just been enjoying it like anything.  

This week was really awesome because we saw 6 individuals accept an invitation to be baptized and it is weird because basically none of them have any sort of concern  but they just really like this Gospel.  So we have this guy named Gowtham and he has been coming to church with his Uncle and Cousins the last few months continuously and we found out that his mom was the one that was not giving him permission.  So we decided to just got to his home and talk to her directly.  It turns out that she had never met missionaries before and she is from a non christian background and when we told her how this church would help her son, she came to understand.  She was really nice and invited us back over to her home the next day for her other son's birthday who she said we can also start teaching.  Definitely a huge miracle because so many people had tried but I know that Heavenly Father opened her heart to receive us.  

We had some really good food this week including: Taco Bell, butter chicken curry, seekh rolls and rajma.  

It was also kind of weird at Church yesterday because there were like 3 separate foreign families there and I told the local members that these foreign families were my relatives!

All is well - Miss you all and see you soon,
Elder Wakefield

Monday, May 16, 2016

Week 100 - May 15th, 2016 - Bengaluru (Bangalore), India

What an awesome week in Bengaluru!!  I've only been here like a week but I love this place.  The weather is so cool, so many people speak English, it's really clean and there are so many restaurants to eat good food at.  Our apartment is really nice too.  It's a duplex just like 1 km from the church and only 3 km from our main area.  We have cycles and usually travel by bus to our area.  

Yesterday, we had stake conference at the Whitefield Building and it was crazy to see how many people I already knew even though I haven't officially served here before.  It was the first stake conference they had since they created the new Stake so members and leaders were really happy to see how much they have improved.  It was also President Berrett's last Stake Conference here so he gave like a goodbye sort of talk.  

Now we have this investigator named Gregory.  I would call this guy a golden investigator but that is kind of down grading him.  He's like a goldmine that you find at the end of the rainbow sort of thing.  I guess he had been coming to church for the last 3 weeks and no one had taught him yet so on Tuesday, the day after I came, we called him and he came to meet us at church.  It turns out that his sister, brother-in-law, mom and dad are all living in (our home town of) San Jose, CA.  I couldn't believe it!  Then he started talking about how he works for this company that recently joined with this company based in Salt Lake City. And that some of his colleagues came to Banglaore like a month or 2 ago and shared with him their beliefs.  He said that he was shocked because he had a totally different perception of Americans but when he met these guys, he was totally impressed.  So we start teaching him and he starts telling us about the restoration.  This guy already knows everything! Then he says he's already on 1 Nephi 11, I couldn't believe it.  So we invited him to pray and ask God if this church was true.  

      Then on Thursday, we meet him again, we followed up and asked him if he prayed he not only says yes but he says that he fasted and prayed to know if this church was true and that God answered his prayers for sure.  I don't think that I have ever heard these words out of anyone's mouth before in my whole life.  Then, he starts asking how he can prepare to enter the temple when he goes to the US in a few months and I was shocked haha.

Just goes to show that you can share the Gospel with anyone, anywhere you go.  Other than that everything else is awesome.  I dont think I can even feel trunky because I'm going to miss these people so much and right now there's a lot of work so its really awesome.  And one of the elders in our ward got transferred so now its me Elder Sunny, and Elder Tuscano rolling around as a tri-companionship basically covering half of Bangalore.  Here goes nothing.

Love you guys,
Elder Wakefield

Monday, May 9, 2016

Week 99 - May 8, 2016 - Bangalore (Bengaluru), India

You guys won't believe this but I'm now officially in Bangalore!  I got a call on Saturday Night that I would be serving in Convent Road Ward with Elder Sunny.  I guess these are my last 6 weeks, so we need to go out strong.

So on Sunday, we raced around and tried to say bye to as many members as possible.  It was sad to leave everyone because I felt like that is the Ward I've been apart of my whole life.  They let me give a short talk on Sunday and I really hope that this ward continues to grow into the future.  

This morning we woke up early and took a cab to the airport and arrived in Bangalore and got dropped off at our apartment.  Elder Sunny is about 9 months into his mission and is from New Delhi.  He served in Hyderabad when I was their and our companionships used to hangout on Mondays.  It sounds like our area is huge and the Ward has a large majority of sign language speakers (see what i did:).  The weather in Bangalore is a little more humid here but the sun is definitely way less powerful than Hyderabad.

I dont know a whole lot else but Elders Madda and Larson are staying In Hyderabad so hopefully they can put in more good work there.  Once again Happy Belated Mothers Day.  Calling home on Sunday helped me realized that my communication skills are totally junk.  All is well!

Elder Wakefield
1.,2. Seven Tombs in Towli Chowki