Hare Krishna (Merry Christmas)!

 skype with the family on Christmas morning
  skype with the family on Christmas morning
  skype with the family on Christmas morning
 Madame Nazarena and her class of schoolchildren with whom we shared the Light the World
three cute kids we showed the Light the World video this past week!
 this is a bunch of tractors in our area, it reminded me of Staheli Farm in Washington haha.
a typical scene in our area.  This specific area is where we found a new family to teach!

Merry day after Christmas everyone!  I think just generally speaking, the day after Christmas is usually pretty anticlimactic, or maybe that's just me haha.  Anyway.

This week was pretty jam-packed with Christmas festivities and activities and lighting the world and whatnot.  There were quite a few highlights, I will just mention a few:

In the month of December in India, Christian families will hang a colorful, lighted, paper star outside their home in anticipation for Christmas.  Elder Poleboina and I took advantage of this and used it as a finding opportunity.  So on Thursday night, we went to an area, knocked on people's doors, and asked them if we could share a short Christmas message.  In a space of 2 hours or so, we found four new families to teach.  Almost everyone we spoke to invited us in and absolutely everyone loved the Light the World video.  That was an unforgettable experience.

On Christmas Eve, in the afternoon, the missionaries in the Bangalore zone got together and had our Christmas devotional.  We watched part of the First Presidency Christmas devotional, had a small testimony meeting, exchanged white elephant gifts, and had homemade chocolate chip cookies and ice cream afterwards, it felt like a little slice of home.

Later that evening, we had our ward Christmas party--it was a crack-up.  The party was supposed to start at 6:00PM but as things go in India, it started at 8:00PM.  Ten minutes or so before the party started, the Relief Society president approached me and my companion and asked us to be in the Nativity play.  She asked yours truly to be Samuel the Lamanite.  Hahaha.  It was awesome, I got to stand on a chair and hold my hands above my head and read the prophecies of Christ's birth in a loud voice.  Everyone got a kick out of that.  My costume consisted of a baptism jumpsuit with the Relief Society president's shawl wrapped around me like a toga.  It was so funny.  I wish I'd taken pictures, I will have to find some and send them.  My companion was the angel Gabriel.

Sacrament meeting on Sunday was great.  Our ward had a special Christmas program where each quorum or auxiliary (i.e. Primary, Relief Society, Young Men, etc.) would sing a song, then the leader would speak.  Unfortunately, the Young Men AND the Elders' quorum had designated a chorister beforehand and, in the middle of the meeting, asked me to come be the chorister.  It was awesome, I loved everything about this weekend.

Important Christmas side notes:
  • Our Christmas dinner consisted of green chicken biryani and dhal, it was delicious.
  • Our mission had twenty-four baptisms on Christmas Sunday!!!
I hope everyone had an exciting, spiritual Christmas.  My prayer is that we will all Light the World in 365 ways over 365 days not only in this coming year but every year that follows.

Keep the faith,
Elder Tuscano  


wHO, wHO, wHO is that in the Santa suit and other holiday treats!

 The look that this kid is giving me is exactly how I felt to be Santa Claus
 sharing the Light the World message with everyone!
 Sister Bhargavi's baptism!
 Elder Poleboina and I with Brother Davidson at lunch!
young kids playing cricket.  We shared the Light the World message with them after the match!
 service project with elders' quorum

"Merry merry Christmas, happy happy Christmas!" everyone!  That is the chant you will hear as the members here go caroling, it's pretty funny.  And cool.  Fun traditions.

A lot of stuff happened this week and it went by pretty quickly.  There are a few highlights I will address just briefly so that this won't turn into a novel haha.

On Friday night, Elder Poleboina and I went on splits in an effort to share the Light the World message with as many people as we can.  I went with a young man who is preparing to go to the India New Delhi mission later this month, his name is Karthik.  We had a wonderful evening planned, but unfortunately, everything we had planned for fell through.  Even our back up for our back up for our back up plans.  We didn't know what to do.  By chance, we ran into some members who were doing a service project at a sister's home nearby.  We followed them and when we arrived there were quite a few people doing quite a few things and we thought, "Oh there's no way we'll be able to share the message with all of these people."  But we asked the leader of the project if we could share a quick message with everyone and within two minutes or so we had everyone gathered together in one home and shared the Light the World video and message and they loved it!  It also just so happened that a bunch of small children came to hear the message.  Afterwards, we asked one of the cute kids, Wilson, where his home was and he said, "Come!  I'll show you!"  Then he led us right to his home and his family with whom we then shared the same message and they loved it!  They invited us to come back and teach them again this week.  I will send pictures from the experience.

Bhargavi's baptism was yesterday and that was seriously awesome.  She loves Jesus so much and is just ecstatic about following Him.  I will send photos.

The other highlights may not be as exciting but they are still fun.  For example, on Saturday, we went to lunch at the Marriott with Brother Davidson, a good family friend here in India.  He is an amazing person and also a pioneer here in India!  It was so cool to chat with him about his experience of seeing how the Church has grown since he joined.

Also, this is interesting, in the middle of our elders' quorum class yesterday, the Young Women's president called me out and asked me to be Santa Claus for a gift giving activity they were doing as a last part of their class, so that was pretty funny.  I will send a funny picture.

Lastly, I made eggnog this week!  Miraculously, we found all the necessary ingredients to make eggnog so it's been nice to have a little piece of home.  Unfortunately we couldn't find nutmeg, but we did, however, find nutmeg in it's true nut form; so we had to grind it into our own powder haha, that was cool.  I will send pictures.  Lot of pictures from this week.

But I hope everyone has a very merry Christmas and finds time to reflect on the true reason for this wonderful season.  Christ truly is the Light of the World, how blessed we are to know that.  I know that He lives and I can't express how privileged I feel to bear witness of His divine reality to the beautiful people of India.

Happy Holi-days (get it?  Because Holi is the festival of colors?).  Keep the faith.

Elder Tuscano


sweet (and busy) is the work...

 Us, the wonderful schoolchildrens, and a new missionary that came on exchange with us.
 This is the sister whose home we helped paint!  She is awesome and speaks Tamil only.
Elder Poleboina, myself, and our boy Elder Navaneethan!
He just came back from the MTC, we went to pick him up at the airport!
Vannakam, everybody, what is up?

This week flew by, there was a lot going on this week: missionaries departing, new missionaries arriving, ward festivities, etc.  But this week was a good one.

The highlight of this week happened on Thursday we went to a recent convert's home, Sister Babitha.  Sister Babitha teaches a nightly homework-help class for children ages four to fourteen or so; there are about twenty or so children in her class.  So on Thursday evening we went to her class and showed all the kids the Light the World video and they LOVED it.  They asked us to show it again so we did haha.  But the discussion afterward was probably one of the coolest experiences on my mission so far.  We asked them simple questions like, "Who has the light within them?  Who wants to have more light?  Who likes serving their friends and family?  Who wants to be like Jesus?" and they would all respond in unison with hands raised high and loud voices, "MEEEEEE!"  It was incredible.  I guess what made it so incredible for me was that a room full of children from diverse religious backgrounds--Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians--all made a commitment to be like the Savior and serve others as He did.  Many of them didn't know much about Jesus before, but as they watched scenes from His life they saw the light in Him, they recognized the light within themselves and wanted to be like Him.  That's how powerful and loving the Savior is.  I can't express how blessed I feel to be in His service.  I took some pictures of us with these incredible schoolchildren so I will send them your way.

Also, this past week, one of the Light the World days was "Jesus Visited the Lonely and So Can You." So, our elders quorum did just that by visiting with and re-painting the home of an elderly widowed sister who hadn't been to church in some time.  She just has a small home but was IMMENSELY grateful for the service and even came to church on Sunday.  I got a picture with her as well, so that's comin' your way!

Here are a couple of classic, one-liners from our favorite north Indian, Sunil:
  • Once a week, we play badminton or volleyball with Sunil because he loves sports.  After we finished our match this past week, E. Poleboina was, naturally, sweating profusely.  Sunil came up to him and said, "You look so sweet."  We later came to know that what he meant to say was, "You're so sweaty!"
  • Sunil was helping me teach a new investigator we found this week.  At one point in the lesson, Sunil said, "The Bible says there should be no terrorists."  I had to try as hard as I could to hold in my laughter.
I hope everyone has an awesome week and keep lighting the world!

Keep the faith.
Elder Tuscano


rainy, biryani and light the world

 Madinaguda chapel in Hyderabad.
this is me with a good family friend of ours, Brother Davidson!  His home ward is
Whitefield Road.  He is the one in the beige vest.  On the far left is a recent convert Raj Kumar,
and in the center is Brother Fisher, a counselor in our bishopric.

Hello hello, everyone!  How goes it?

It goes well out here in Bengaluru.  It was pretty overcast and rainy all week which is interesting because monsoon season is supposed to have left with the month of November.  It's been nice though, the rain has made it even cooler than it has been lately.  Bangalore's climate is pretty awesome, it gets down into the 60s (I believe in the evenings).  At night we don't sleep with the fan or the A/C we just open the windows.

This week started with an exchange to Hyderabad.  Hyderabad is also Elder Poleboina's hometown.  When Indian missionaries go on exchange to their "native place," which is rare, they are not allowed to visit with family.  Fortunately, however, the zone leaders serve in Elder Poleboina's home ward and were able to coordinate with his mother so that we could eat the food she'd prepared!  It was delicious.  I also had some of the most incredible beef biryani while there haha.

Speaking of biryani, for the Church's worldwide day of service this past Thursday, our ward got together and made a TON of biryani for a local orphanage here in Bangalore.  It was awesome, seriously such a sweet experience.  The children were adorable and so appreciative.  I'm working on getting pictures from the event, unfortunately my camera is having trouble focusing again so I did not take any photos.

A cool spiritual experience: we are teaching a sister named Bhargavi, she's cool.  This past week we were teaching her about the plan of salvation and God's purpose for her: to live with Him forever with her family.  As soon as we said that she teared up and expressed how wonderful that would be.  That was such a powerful experience, I hope that we all appreciate God's purpose and plan for us as much as Bhargavi does.

Sunil experience of the week: we were about to start teaching him when he stood up, extended his pinky finger from his hand, and said, "I have to sing the song." He then left the room and came back a couple minutes later, we asked where he went, he said he went to the bathroom.  It seems that, for Sunil, singing the song is code word for going to the bathroom.  We thought that was pretty funny haha.

Hope everyone has a great week!  Don't forget to light the world this week!
Elder Tuscano


coimbatore trip, tremendous tiffins but no turkey ($9 per pound)!

interesting lawn more 

Sunil Kumar
Sunil Kumar baptism

Coimbatore district leader and wife

Hello everyone!

It was a pretty busy week for us, but a solid one.  We had an awesome week.

Our week started with an exchange to Coimbatore.  Coimbatore is kind of a crazy place right now, the missionaries there were not allowed to proselyte the majority of this past week due to protests against Christians, instigated by a pro-Hindu political party.  What a unique situation, eh?  The exchange went well though, we were able to help the Coimbatore zone leaders make an action plan to help them put the Church's amazing Christmas initivative to good use.  On a tasty note, I had some of the best Indian breakfast (aka "tiffins") I've ever had.  It seems Tamil Nadu is famous for their breakfast and I now see why.

Our Thanksgiving dinner this past week consisted of a tasty beef roast and some chicken (slightly dry though, almost like turkey haha).  Unfortunately, the only turkey we were able to find was something like $15-$20 per kilogram.  We decided to forego the turkey this year haha.  It's interesting, the turkey shop (if you will) we found was in a densely populated Muslim area.  I thought that was funny haha.

The highlight of this week was undoubtedly the baptism of our dear brother, Sunil Kumar Singh.  His baptism service was unique because it was held before sacrament meeting at 8:30 in the morning, while most baptismal services are conducted immediately after church.  He said the water was cold, but afterwards, he felt the warmth and peace that comes from the remission of sins.  Brother Sunil Kumar has great faith, we are so happy for him.  He is already so excited to receive a calling in the Church, I know that he will be a might instrument in the hands of the Lord.

I hope everyone has a great week!

Keep the faith.
Elder Tuscano


plenty of indians but no turkeys or pilgrims for thanksgiving; and more comic quotes from Sunil...

 the very road on which we found that cute family!  Or, rather, they found us
 this is us with Elder Navaneethan and his father at his setting apart
from Sister Cheng who visited us from Taiwan last week

What is up everybody?

This week was a solid one.  Pretty busy, that's for sure.  We had a joint zone conference with the Chennai zone, that was fun.  President Funk, who was in town for stake conference, joined us and gave us some solid training about finding effectively.  He also introduced us to the concept of helping members learn about the Church through social media, which is (somehow) a new idea to our mission--in a country that is rapidly advancing in terms of technology.

Stake conference was also really good, it was centered on strengthening faith in Christ and the blessings and importance of the temple.  It made me miss the temple a lot, that's for sure.

One cool miracle that happened this week.  On Wednesday afternoon, President Mortensen asked us to take Elder Navaneethan, a soon-to-be missionary, on exchange with us for a couple hours before his setting apart later that evening.  We were excited to take him with us, we had an appointment with a cute new family that we'd started teaching earlier in the week.  While traveling to the appointment, we got a call from the family saying that they were going out for the evening and wouldn't be able to meet with us.  We were pretty sad, but Elder Navaneethan suggested that we'd better do something productive in that area as we had traveled a long time to get there.  So we went door-knocking for some time, with little success.  When the time came for us to travel back to the mission office for Elder Navaneethan's setting apart, we felt impressed to keep at it just a few more minutes.  We turned to Elder Navaneethan and asked him what direction he felt we should walk in.  He started walking down the road and we followed.  No more than a minute later, we heard a voice call "Elders!" from across the street.  We looked up and who did we find?  The family we had planned to meet with!  It was awesome.  We talked with them about prayer and Christmas for a few minutes, it was awesome.  The Lord truly is directing this work. He not only works in mysterious ways but in marvelous ways and He's watching over every one of us.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, I hope no one has trouble finding a turkey because we most certainly will haha.  Have a great week!

Keep the faith,

Elder Tuscano

p.s. - more from Sunil Kumar regarding the visit of the Father and the Son to Joseph Smith: "Jesus said, 'Don't change your hairstyle.  Don't change your clothes.  Don't change the hat on your head.  Change your heart."


What is up?

I hope everyone's week was considerably less hectic than this past week in India haha.  On Monday evening, the prime minister of India hit the nation with the most random economic surprise.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that 500 and 1000 rupee notes are no longer accepted as legal tender.  He referred to them as "worthless pieces of paper" from now on.  Apparently this is in an effort to fight the "black money" market and eradicate fraud.  The Reserve Bank of India is now printing new 500 and 2000 rupee notes.  But it will take some time to get those in regular circulation, so where does that leave the rest of us?  It leaves us standing in line for three or more hours at banks in hopes to get our "old money" exchanged for smaller notes (i.e. fifty and hundred rupee notes) haha.  In short, the country is in economic distress right now haha.

But one cool thing that happened this week: we were teaching an investigator named Sunil, he is from north India.  He speaks just okay English, so it's been kind of a struggle to determine whether or not he is retaining what he's learning.  This week were talking with him about prophets, and as soon as we mentioned the name Joseph Smith, it was like a light turned on and he went on to tell us, basically, the Joseph Smith story.  We were in awe.  It was kind of funny, when he was describing the miraculous event of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appearing to Joseph Smith, he said, "They said to him, 'Joseph.  Hello.  How are you?'" Though it was in broken English, the Spirit was very much present as he rehearsed Joseph's experience to us.  Moral of the story is: people are a lot brighter than we often give them credit for.  Have faith in people, because they really can change.

Keep the faith!
Elder Tuscano

P.S.  Sorry for no pictures this week, I forgot to charge my camera.  All week.  But it's charged now, so I'll take some this week and send 'em!        


pizza, egg drop, grinding rice and opportunities hidden in plain sight!

  Haha this is me making a pizza at a SUPER good Mediterranean/Asian buffet we went to
 this is me at a member's home grinding some rice into powder
 in preparation to make some Indian breakfast
 Here are our boys from the Nagaland!
 Elder Poleboina likes to have fun so he picked me up and put me in a closet in our apartment haha

Namaste from B-town, everybody!

This week was a good one for Elder Poleboina and I.  We had mission leadership council with the zone leaders and sister training leaders.  This MLC was focused on seeing opportunities that are "hidden in plain sight," and being inspired and creative in our proselyting efforts--especially in our effort to find and teach more families.  We also did an "egg drop" activity where we were given miscellaneous items (i.e. cardboard, newspaper, tape) and an egg, and were instructed to create a protective case for the egg using the materials given that could withstand a three story drop from the top of our mission office--in ten minutes.  We were divided into a few groups, and after ten minutes was up, each group dropped their egg and "housing" off the top of the mission office.  Much to our surprise, not one egg broke in anyone's group.  It was crazy haha.  We learned a lot from this activity but one thing I learned was that our spirits are a lot like the egg and the protective casing is our faith.  I would elaborate but I don't have a whole lot of time.  But I would love to hear any insights others may have had from reading about our "egg drop."

We found a cool family this week.  How many members in their family?  NINE.  Haha.  They are all brothers from a state in northeast India called Nagaland.  People from Nagaland kinda throw you for a loop: they sound like they're from Cambodia or Vietnam or China, but really they're from India haha.  But anyway, we found them as we were walking one day when we heard some angelic voices singing along to the playing of a guitar.  We started walking toward the voices and happened upon a small home where these nine guys were jammin' out.  We started talking to them, they told us they were singing "gospel songs."  We were like, "No way!  We LOVE the gospel!"  They invited us in, we shared the message of the plan of salvation and they loved it!  We hope to continue meeting with them this week. Sounds too good to be true, right? I will send some pictures your way if there are any unbelievers haha.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a solid week.  All the best.

Keep the faith!
Elder Tuscano


Diwali and Halloween = Diwalloween and this transfer = assistant to mission president.

What's up everyone?  Happy Deepawali (or Diwali for short).  I think I mentioned something about Diwali in my last week's email, but I don't quite recall.  For those of you who may not know, Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights.  They seriously go all out here haha, it's awesome.  It's kind of a combination of Christmas and New Year because there are lights of all colors everywhere and everyone gives gifts to each other and there are a TON of fireworks.  When I say a ton, I mean, we were on lockdown yesterday from 6PM through the rest of the night because it was that crazy haha.  We woke up this morning and there were still some fireworks going off.  Crazy.  I am very sorry to inform everyone that I was unable to take pictures of all the fun festivities that went on because my camera is having trouble focusing/taking pictures in general.  I'll work on getting that fixed this week if I can haha.  Diwali really is a rad festival.

Speaking of holidays, happy Halloween!  Nothing too spooky going on over here in Bangalore.  I did, however, get transferred to the Whitefield ward this week--so I'm still in Bangalore, I'm just on the east side now.  It's funny: I started in west Bangalore, then was transferred to central Bangalore, now I'm in east Bangalore.  Call me a trail blazer. (;  Anyway, I'm STOKED to be serving in this ward!  Our building is right next to the mission office and it's considerably bigger and more noticeable than other Church buildings in India so, naturally, people get curious.  So on Sundays, people literally walk into sacrament meeting and ask us to teach them the gospel after church.  Hahaha it's awesome.  My new companion is Elder Poleboina from Hyderabad.  He is an awesome, charitable guy, a hard worker, and a great teacher.  All around a great missionary, I'm excited to serve with him.  The work here is awesome and I'm excited to help keep it moving.

One thought I had this week was pertinent to Diwali.  Culturally speaking, Diwali is the one day a year that light overcomes darkness.  When I learned that, I thought, "No way, only one day a year?" How blessed are we to know that when we have faith in Christ, we can overcome darkness through His marvelous light every day of our lives.  Christ truly is the light of the world and what an immense blessing it is for me to help these amazing people come to know that for themselves.

Happy Halloween and Happy Diwali (depending on what culture you identify with) and have a great week!

Keep the faith.
Elder Tuscano


can't judge a book by it's cover and happy diwali (festival of lights)!

 a family friend of the Blanchards shared this with us.
he was at church in Bangalore and heard Jonathan give a talk
 Jacob's Automobiles!
An area called New Baiyapanahalli, we found a cute new family to teach there this past week

Happy Diwali week, everyone!  I hope your lives are as bright as India is right now with all of these lights (Diwali is the festival of lights).

This week was pretty solid, again, quite productive for Elder Shrestha and I.  Not many outstanding highlights, per se, however, we found a couple new investigators and we both gave talks in sacrament meeting yesterday haha.  Elder Shrestha spoke about the Plan of Salvation and I spoke on the Doctrine of Christ.

One cool experience we had this week was learning the valuable lesson of not judging a book by its cover.  Earlier this week, we were walking around a bit of a rundown, not-very-well-kept area, searching for people who speak English that we might teach.  As we were searching, we came across a really old automobile shop called "Jacob's Automobiles."  It seemed pretty rundown and as though maybe the shop had been abandoned.  But in a small shack near the entry gate, I saw an older, hefty, dark man, with a pretty awesome but scraggly beard.  The first thought that came into my mind was, "No way this guy speaks English," and as we were about to turn around, I felt prompted to go ask him if he was Jacob of Jacob's Automobiles.  So I did, he responded yes, and we proceeded to talk for the next hour or so about his life and accomplishments, his interests and desires (both fulfilled and yet to be), and it turns out he is one of THE coolest people I've met.  He speaks seven or so languages (including some of the best English I've heard spoken in India) and it seems he was a former engineer in the auto industry, he's worked for some of the biggest companies in the world.  He is a Christian from birth, which is not common here, and he's also and avid soccer fan.  We haven't taught Jacob yet, but we sure hope to.  Moral of the story is: don't judge a book by its cover!  I wish I'd taken a picture with him, but I do have a picture of his shop that I'll send.  I'll also send a couple pictures of the areas in which we frequently work.

Transfer calls are tonight, I really hope to stay here in Indiranagar but I'll go wherever the Lord needs me!  Hope everyone has a good week and happy Diwali!

Keep the faith,

Elder Tuscano


Jono teaching piano(?), and Happy Vijaya Dasham!

Happy Vijaya Dashami, everyone!  Or Happy Dasara.  Depending on what religion you are and what language you speak.  Either way, happy Hindu holidays!  Elder Shrestha and I had a pretty solid week because everyone had a week of holidays.  Or at least the students did, haha.  Dasara is a pretty cool festival, I don't really know what it's all about, but I do know that Bangalore was covered in bright colors and rad designs, I'll send some pictures!

One cool experience from this week: so Elder Shrestha and I have been trying to meet with this one investigator, Prathap (age 17), since we arrived, so for nearly three months now.  Previously, he'd schedule an appointment with us whenever we would call--but unfortunately he'd cancel on us at the last minute. However, this past Thursday morning, we called him in hopes to meet with him later that day.  He told us "Yeah sure, I'm actually going to the church later to practice piano."  I was surprised, I had no idea he was learning how to play the piano!  I told him that was awesome and, if he was interested, I'd love to teach him how to play some hymns.  HE WAS STOKED!  He was like "YEAH!  That would be awesome, elder!  I'll meet you at the church at 2."  So we met with him and it went really well--AND we were able to share a message with him afterward.  We concurred to make this a regular thing: piano practice coupled with a spiritual thought.  It's been awesome, we met with him again on Saturday and we're planning to meet him again tomorrow!  Right now we're learning "Nearer My God to Thee," hymn no. 100.  We're praying that it continues to go well!

Hope everyone has a solid week!  Share your talents and the gospel: both are gifts from God!

Keep the faith.
Elder Tuscano

pic 1 - rad, colorful, bright, intricate design displayed on the floor inside of the metro station!
pic 2 - a SUPER cool mural that was being painted on a previously blank and boring canvas that was the outer walls of the Mahatma Gandhi Road metro station


exchange and conference!

 Bangalore sunset view from the apartment balcony
 2.5 Indians

Greetings from the Garden City, y'all!  It's funny: a little over a year ago, I was in Garden City, Idaho.  Now I'm in the "Garden City" of Bengaluru.  Haha I thought that was funny.

This week was solid.  I had the wonderful opportunity of going on exchange with an elder in our zone.  When he came to our area, his spirits were pretty low, but by time he left he was soaring.  He is an awesome elder, I learned a lot from him.  I will send a picture!

Conference was seriously awesome the time around.  I feel like conference keeps getting better, more and more relevant to me especially.  Perhaps that's because, through the Atonement of Christ, I'm beginning to develop "eyes to see" and "ears to hear."  Speaking of the Atonement, I feel that was a central theme this conference.  There were a few overarching themes this conference, I will name but three I noticed: 
  • Suffering is inevitable in mortality, however, we can turn suffering into joy through faith in Jesus Christ.
  •  God's love is always there for us, however, He will not save us in our sins.
  • As members of Christ's church, we have no excuses, no loopholes no right to rationalize: we are so greatly blessed with an abundance of knowledge, revelation, and beautiful promises from the Lord.
There were a few speakers this conference where I could not take notes quickly enough.  Some of those speakers include: Elder Christofferson, Elder Bassett, President Nelson, President Robbins, Sister Reeves, Bishop Davies, Elder Renlund, the list goes on.  It's very difficult for me to pick a favorite, but I believe my favorite address was from Elder J. Devin Cornish of the Seventy!  He said that there's no such thing as being "good enough," and that we should stop comparing ourselves to others!  What God thinks of us should occupy our attention not what others think of us.  He said that if we repent sincerely, we'll always be forgiven--even if we may struggle with a particular sin over and over again.  He said that we cannot be saved without trying and that's the balance between grace and works--but must sincerely try!

What a great conference, I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did!  Have a good week, everyone, keep the faith!

Elder Tuscano

P.S.  It seems I will send the pictures in the near future, this computer at this random net cafe doesn't have available USB ports...sorry.


Sweet is the Work (and sweet is zone volleyball in southern India)!

 Bangalore Zone volleyball crew, it was seriously a blast 
 Elder Jensen, myself, "President" Gnanamani, and Elder Shrestha.  We call our good friend Gnanamani (pronounced Yanamani) "President" because he always is dressed like a mission president.  Gnanamani is a returning member, he is awesome.
Elder Thompson and I.  He goes home at the end of this transfer, he's become a good friend of mine.

Hello hello everybody, how goes it?

This week wasn't terribly exciting for us, but it was still a good one.  We traveled all over Bangalore this week, that's for sure haha. 

Mission Leadership Council was this week and it was awesome.  The theme was, "Sweet is the Work," and there were a good many experiences shared that were as inspiring as they were uplifting.  Truly, the work is sweet and I can't explain how blessed I feel to be a part of it.  Thank you all for all your prayers, support, and love, I wish you all could see the miracles they work out here in India.  

Unfortunately, our mission is short one elder: after a lot of thought and prayer, Elder Jensen returned home yesterday.  These past few months have been a challenge for him and I admire him for having stayed out this long.  I have learned a lot from Elder Jensen and hope to see him back out here at some point.  Please keep him in your prayers.

In other news, we played volleyball as a zone this morning for our zone activity, it was seriously so much fun.  Imagine this: two American elders, one Canadian elder, one Nepali elder, one elder from Delhi, and eight elders from various parts of southern India (Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu) getting together to play volleyball.  It was as diverse as it was fun, I will send some photos!  President Mortensen joined us as well, he is a boss and certainly added to the great time we had.

Hope everyone has a good week, stay safe and keep the faith!

Elder Tuscano


celebrated one-year mark with an ethnic rollercoaster party at chili's indiranagar!

Call it an ethnic rollercoaster party at Chili's Indiranagar!
with our littlest (and by far cutest) investigators: Krithik is on the right and Joshua is on the left

Hello hello everyone, I hope you had as awesome a week as we had!

This week was, I believe, one of the most productive weeks that Indiranagar has had this year.  We found quite a few new solid investigators and identified even more potential investigators, of whom we have made plans to meet with this week.

All is well out here in Indiranagar, and this past week I passed my year mark!  Officially over the hump now, I guess.  Pretty bittersweet.  BUT, to celebrate, where did we have lunch that day?  You guessed it: CHILI'S!!!  Hahaha.  I'm telling you guys, Indian Tex-Mex will be a hit back home soon enough, just wait (;  I will send some pictures to prove it.

One cool experience we had this week was with one of our little investigators, Yuven.  He is nine years old and seriously a genius--and he speaks better English than I do!  This week we were talking to him about the Book of Mormon.  He said that he's had some trouble reading because of how difficult the words are, but he's doing his best to read every single day.  He told us that even though it's been difficult, he's been blessed for his efforts: last week, in school, his class had an English spelling exam.  He said there were a number of difficult words, one of which was the word: transgression.  He said he was SO happy that he'd read the Book of Mormon because he remembered reading it recently--and he spelled it correctly!  He got one of the highest scores in his class and was one of the only students who spelled "transgression" correctly!  I thought that was a neat little experience.

I hope everyone has a solid week this week and enjoy conference weekend!!  They don't broadcast general conference here until the following week because they have to translate the messages into Tamil, Telugu, and other native languages here.  Pretty cool, but no spoilers please! (;

Keep the faith.
Elder Tuscano


Pizza and Prabhu and Transfers

 our trio along with a couple of our members, as well as one of our investigators,
and a new missionary we hosted for just a day that came on exchange with us that day

one of our members "Kevin" in the red shirt with Elder Jensen and
one of our smallest investigators.  I don't know how to spell his name haha.

What's up what's up all?  Hope all is well back in the US of A.

This week was awesome for us, the work is picking up out here in Indiranagar.  We are finding investigators and potential investigators left and right (sort of), it's crazy!  God is good, that's for sure.

This week was transfer week for us and not a whole lot of change, haha.  Elder Shrestha is back from his "vacation" in Lingarajpuram (a different area in Bangalore) and he is with Elder Jensen and I: we're staying in Indiranagar!  I'm excited about that, I really like this area.  But now our once spacioius apartment isn't so spacious haha.  But it'll be good, I'm pumped.

We had a cool experience with Prabhu this week.  A few weeks ago, Prabhu told us that his favorite food was pizza.  We were kinda surprised, but we rolled with it.  It's important to note here that one of our favorite restaurants in Bangalore is California Pizza Kitchen--yup.  The very same chain back home, complete with the BBQ chicken pizza and all.  It's hilarious because there's not just like one branch here, there's like three of four CPK's spread out across Bangalore alone.  It's hilarious. Indians LOVE CPK haha.  And so do we.  But anyway, we set up a dinner appointment with Prabhu at CPK and he LOVED it haha, it was awesome.  He seriously couldn't get enough, he was even talking to the servers about how much better CPK is than Domino's.  Anyway, afterwards we taught Prabhu one of the most powerful lessons I have as yet taught on my mission.  Prabhu has had a kinda of rough year and is earnestly seeking peace in his life.  If there's anything that can bring peace to our lives, it's faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  So that's what we taught about!  We shared scriptures like Hebrews 11:1 and passages from Alma 32, and it was like a light switched on behind his eyes.  Prabhu loves swimming, espeically Olympic swimming, so we helped him make a connection between faith and becoming like Michael Phelps (that example was pretty effective haha).  We could readily observe the Spirit working within him and teaching him things that we could only hope to teach.  Near the end of the lesson, we felt inspired to ask him what he felt his next step was.  He paused, then responded with something along the lines of, "I need to pray with faith so that I can find peace in my life."  How rad is that?  It's important to note that up until this point in our meetings with him, Prabhu had been apprehensive about praying in front us and would usually shy away from our requests.  So at the close of our lesson, I offered to say the closing prayer and at first he agreed, then a split second later, he said, "Actually, can I pray?"  We mutually responded, "OF COURSE!"  He then offered one of the most sincere and heartfelt prayers I've ever heard.  It's experiences like these that make it all worth it.

Man, I totally forgot to take a picture of us with Prabhu at CPK, I'm sorry ):  But I hope y'all will enjoy these other pictures!

Have a solid week, and keep the faith!
Elder Tuscano


The Book of Mormon: Plain and Precious

What is up!

This week was solid, though a lot of it was spent inside.  We were on lockdown for three consecutive evenings this week and again for some sort of statewide strike that was happened on Friday.  It was kind of like fall break for our zone haha (;  Just kidding, our zone had one of the most productive weeks thus far this transfer despite all the set backs haha.  But Ganesh festival was crazy!  There were parades, and drums, and all kinds of celebrations (and noise) going on late into the night this past week.  I saw Ganesh statues that were something like fifty feet tall.  I wish I could send pictures, but unfortunately I don't have any as we weren't supposed to take any haha.

One cool experience from this week: one of our investigators is a twelve year old young man named Akash, he is awesome.  He is SUPER inquisitive and eager to learn more about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and our relationship with them.  Anyway, we met with Akash a couple times this week and after our first meeting, we challenged him to read 2 Nephi 31 to learn more about the doctrine of Christ, he accepted.  A couple days later, in our follow-up visit, he told us he hadn't read it--we were DEVASTATED (as Elder Holland suggests we should be when investigators fail to read the Book of Mormon)!  He told us he didn't read because he hadn't found time (you'd be surprised to witness how backed up a twelve year old in India can get with all the homework they're assigned).  We then felt prompted to depart from our initial lesson plan and read the chapter with him.  As we read, Akash lit up, we could see the Spirit working within him.  He exclaimed to us something along the lines of, "This is awesome, elder!  I can actually understand!"  He then revealed to us that he had had time to read, but he avoided doing so for fear that he wouldn't understand what he was reading!!  Akash came to know, as do all who read the Book of Mormon, that it is written in plainness and the beauty of the Book of Mormon lies in its simplicity.  The Book of Mormon testifies of Christ in a way that everyone can understand, especially when aided by the power of the Holy Ghost.  This experience was simple yet significant to me.  Cool things happenin' out here in Indiranagar.

Hope everyone has a good week, keep the faith!

Elder Tuscano


Bye Bye Dengue, Hello Ganesh Festival; Basketball and more...

Elder Jensen and I ballin' it up with Prabhu!
 The amazing lady from KGF (and her family) whose baptism interview I had the privilege of conducting! She is awesome and super ready to be baptized.  Fun side note: she only
speaks Kannada so I had to interview her via translator!  Incredible experience
funny photo of our crazy zone from zone training this past week!

HAPPY GANESH CHATURATHI, Y'ALL!  As missionaries, we will be celebrating this huge Hindu holiday by being on lockdown after 6PM for the next three days or so haha.  We aren't allowed to take pictures of all the happenings, unfortunately, but it's NUTS, I have seen some of the BIGGEST Ganesh statues I've ever seen in my life in the past week, and those were just the preparations for this festival.  It's crazy!  But a crazy cool time to be in India right now and I couldn't accurately express my gratitude for this amazing opportunity.

This past week we have been working with one of our SOLID investigators, his name is Prabhu.  Prabhu is something like twenty four years young and fresh out of business school.  He is pretty cool because his grandfather was a pioneer in Bangalore, as in baptized back in the 80's, I believe.  However, Prabhu and his family remained Hindu!  It has been really cool working with him and seeing where he's coming from.  He has a lot of questions that have been answered by the Lord's beautiful Plan of Salvation and he lights up as he learns things, it's awesome.  Something funny is that Prabhu asked Elder Jensen and I to teach him how to play basketball.  Prabhu is pretty tall and once we made a passing comment, and asked if he'd ever played before.  He said no but that he really wanted to learn how!  So we've been teaching him (whilst simultaneously teaching him the gospel)!  I will send a picture, it's pretty funny.

Also this week I had the opportunity to travel to Kolar Gold Fields, or what we call KGF for short, this week for a baptism interview.  KGF is about a three hour bus ride outside of Bangalore so that was quite the experience for me and Elder Jensen.  It was cool to see rural India at its finest.  Funny experience though: the bus we took out to KGF was PACKED, as in I couldn't even move, and I was sitting down!  But in my immobile state, somehow I felt a tap on my shoulder.  I swiveled my head around (to the extent that I could) to see what was up.  A man was trying to ask me something in Tamil.  I responded that I didn't understand (though I certainly tried) and turned my head back around, just minding my own business.  Then, no more than a few seconds later, a young boy (anywhere from five to seven years old) came and sat himself right on my lap, and stayed there!  For an hour!  I guess the man was trying to ask me if it was alright for his young son to sit on my lap!  I thought that was pretty funny, I hope I explained it well enough for you guys to get a laugh out of it as well.

Well, everyone have a happy Ganesh Festival and keep the faith (in Christ of course, not Ganesh.....unless you're Hindu I guess)!

Elder Tuscano


on the mend from dengue fever

 (not) joint director of horticulture
Hello hello all!

This week was a pretty crazy one.  Not really haha, just kind of.  Not too eventful because Elder Jensen and I were directed to stay inside and on bed rest.  Why?  Well, in short, I've had Dengue fever this past week.  It hasn't been fun, no not one bit, but I've had a lot of time for study and sleeping, that's for sure.  

We were, however, still able to have President Funk and President Mortensen come to our weekly planning session, which was awesome.  They both truly are inspired men and we were able to learn a lot that we can and will apply in our area (as soon as I'm 100% healthy haha).  One thing I liked that they said is that the point of a council is not necessarily to reach a consensus, but to receive revelation.  That made a lot of sense to me.  

That's really all from this week, folks, I'm sorry to say.  I'll do my best to get healthy again so I can finally get back to work and witness some miracles out here in Indiranagar.  God is great, look for miracles in your lives!  I promise you, you'll see them.

Keep the faith and stay away from mosquitoes!

Elder Tuscano