Sunday, August 28, 2011

{ The Church in India }

Disclaimer: I am LDS (yes, a Mormon). I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. So, I will be discussing some religious observances in this post; however, I am very open-minded and I think just about anyone will enjoy my simple thoughts on religion. But I do share some of my beliefs and my love of the gospel of Christ, tikh hai? Acha! 

The Indian Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 

The gospel is true - everywhere you go! I love it. 
Going to church in various places is one of my favorite things about traveling.
I went for my first time last Sunday :) Sarah was sick, so I went alone.
Our good friend, Ravi, arranged to have one of his good friends pick me up and go with me by auto to the church.
It's about 10 min away by auto in Vasant Vihar.
New Delhi II Branch.
40 Poorvi Marg
Right across from the Saint Domique Catholic Church.
Everyone was sooo incredibly kind. All of the sisters introduced themselves,
sometimes in stuttered English and thick Hindi accents,
and some of the guys smiled shyly. 
The little kids were the cutest.
I met an Elder Green from Salt Lake - refreshing!
{anyone know him???}
It is the cleanest place I have been in Delhi...yet
{except for the bathroom...}
The Branch President and his family are from Nebraska.
{but the President and his wife grew up in SLC - small world!}
They're white and very comfortable.
He is an FBI agent working at the US Embassy - sweet people.
These are the most faithful, humble people I have ever encountered.
Each member of the branch reminds me of the father (Helam) and the young women who fancies Jacob (Laneah) from The Testaments: Of One Fold and One Shepherd. 

Most of the meetings were in English, which surprised me. 
Sacrament meeting (1st hour), all of the talks were in English, and we sang very familiar hymns.
Sunday school (2nd hour) and Relief Society (3rd hour) were mostly english...part hinglish, and then part hindi. haha - it was delightful! I had to balance my attention between the english sentences and the hindi sentences (which ran together to be once sentence so my mind was easily confused!) and try to figure out what they were talking about when they spoke in hinglish (part english, part hindi). 
It was an adventure!

My first Sunday (08/21), I learned about the Holy Ghost and the law of Chastity (Indian style!). One inspiring thought from our beautiful Sunday School teacher, Caroline, she says, 
"The Holy Ghost can give you strength to conquer the world and do what you want to do." 
That was exactly what I needed to hear. Caroline shared her experience with faith vs. fear and how even though she grew up here, she is so afraid to ride the bus. But the other day she didn't have enough for an auto (as a poor college student - haha - lots of poor students here too!) and her dad couldn't take her so she had to take the bus. She talked about how she was so frightened at the thought, but she used faith to overcome fear and the spirit helped to comfort her in her journey. She's still scared but has more faith it will be tikh hai (okay) :) Our lesson on the Law of Chastity was very...interesting. The ladies were so sweet. Our Relief Society President taught the lesson and tried to carefully explain the sanctity of procreative powers in very conservative terms. My favorite part was when the sweet sister explained how to show your children inappropriate touching:

You can draw a figure and use a green color to color in where people can touch and a red color to show where people should not touch them. Then, if people touch the red parts, they need to tell their parents. 

She proceeded to explain how to encourage children to feel comfortable talking to their parents about curious questions. I loved the conservative manner in which we were taught. 

Auto ride to church! Namaste with the Book of Mormon!

This is my beautiful friend, Ms. Sarah :)

My second Sunday (08/28), I learned about keeping our bodies clean and in Relief Society, we shared our love for family in the church - we are all sisters in Zion and naturally, when you are baptized and come into the fold, you have a family and acceptance in the gospel - EVERYONE! It was the sweetest, most sincere lesson. She shared with us Ephesians 2:19-20 and this sums up well the attitude of the saints in our Church.

 19 Now therefore ye are no more astrangers and foreigners, butbfellowcitizens with the csaints, and of the dhousehold of God;
 20 And are built upon the foundation of the aapostles andbprophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief ccorner stone;

The gospel is so simple. I love relearning some of the basic principles of the gospel here in India - the lessons are so simple because many of these members are new to the church and need it to be simple. The doctrine is true. In the Book of Mormon, Alma talks about the "virtue of the word." President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (like the church in ancient times) says, "True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior." And as I have studied and relearned these basic doctrines, my behavior has changed. I have become more selfless and charitable. India kind of does that to you, too.

Missionary work in Delhi works something like this - a young single adult or young man/young woman meets with the missionaries, chooses to be baptize, begins to attend church and activities regularly {meanwhile setting an example for their family}, they invite their family to church, their family comes for a few weeks to a few months, to sometimes a few years and decides to meet the missionaries, begin discussions, and are eventually baptized. Please note: this process can take several years. But, this is generally how missionary work proceeds here in India! It's a beautiful cycle! 

Remember my new bff and soul sista, Riya? She is famous! She played the role of the main character in the Book of Mormon Pageant last Summer 2010 here in Delhi :) Check out this article about the pageant and at the end of the article, you can see a quote from Riya. You can also read about the pageant in this article Planting a seed in India with a Book of Mormon pageant by the Deseret News. In this article, the girl on the left in the picture is Caroline and she is in our branch here in Delhi - she's my Sunday School teacher and a total sweetheart! I love the girls in our branch and all of the young single adults here in Delhi! The examples of the young members of the church help the work to move on! As Riya said, “People will think, ‘Yeah, they are Mormons. Mormons are great.’ Maybe Heavenly Father was watching, saw us working hard and feeling the spirit and had fun also.” The church is growing! A seed has been planting and there is an energy and excitement among the members here that I have not seen in many other members of the Church - I love being a part of it!

If you're interested in knowing more about what I believe, check out my profile on at :)

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