a google search that changed a life...

Hello hello y'all!!

This week was solid and it flew by.

What made this week so solid?  Mayur was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Sunday.  The service was fantastic.  We tried something new, we held the service before sacrament meeting.  Sacrament starts at 9:30AM, which is early enough already for many Indians, so an 8:45AM service may not have been so appealing. Attendance was sparse, though what may have lacked in attendance was made up for by an abundance of the Spirit.  How did Mayur find the Church?  He literally googled "churches near me," and less than a month later he's a member.  God even uses Google to lead people to the truth!  Mayur even came on exchange with us AS AN INVESTIGATOR because he wanted to help us share the truth that has changed his life.  

The change that occurs in people because of the Gospel is incredible.  It is especially evident here in the Whitefield Road ward.  Another example: President Mortensen's driver, Vishnu, is a member here in our ward.  His wife and children are not members.  In months past, when we asked Vishnu if we could come share a message with his family and he was hesitant and uneasy.  But something happened recently--Vishnu went into missionary mode.  His sister-in-law moved in with them a less than a couple weeks ago, looking for a job, and ever since then he has been HOUNDING us to come share messages with his family haha.  Amazing.  It has been a lot of fun teaching their family, we will keep you posted on their progress.

I hope everyone has a great week.

Keep the faith,
Elder Tuscano
pic 1 - Mayur with Bro. Hemanth, our ward mission leader, who baptized Mayur!  Side note: Bro. Hemanth served with Josh a few years ago.  They were never companions but they were missionary contemporaries.
pic 2 - Mayur and Sunil Kumar Singh (the north Indian brotherhood)
pic 3 - us with Mayur and Bishop, in front of the font, just before Mayur's baptism service

pic 4 - us with Mayur, Bishop, and Venkat, who is on track to be baptized this coming Sunday!



reasons for celebration in Bengaluru

 Elder Alaguretnam and I with the Sri Lankan elders at our favorite pizza eatery in India
 myself, Elder Madda, and Elder Barry after a zone meeting this week
 Elder Madda baptizing his family
at a birthday party with some of the young men in our ward

Happy belated Saint Patrick's Day everyone!!

This week was swift and solid here in Bengaluru.  This past week one of the two Sri Lankan elders in our mission completed his service, so he and his companion came here to Bengaluru for his release devotional and whatnot.  Why is this significant?  The Sri Lankan elders NEVER get to come to India haha, it's near impossible for Sri Lankan citizens to get visas to India and it really was a miracle that they were able to come.  To send this elder off, we celebrated at none other than--you guessed it: California Pizza Kitchen!!  Haha, we took some pictures, I'll send 'em your way.

Cool experience of the week: one of my very good friends in the mission is Elder Madda, from Rajahmundry.  I made friends with him when we stayed in the same apartment and worked in the same ward in Hyderabad last year.  Elder Madda is one of the most humble, soft-spoken, understanding, shy, faithful, good-spirited people I have ever met.  Add to that hardworking.  Despite his hard work, he approached me a few weeks ago and expressed his sadness and frustration that he has not had as much success on his mission as he would have liked--up until this weekend.  Elder Madda had the privilege, honor, and miracle of baptizing his father, his grandmother, and grandfather on Saturday and confirming them on Sunday.  Elder Madda told me in Hyderabad that he did not believe his family would be baptized, at least in the near future.  He said they were reluctant enough to send him on a mission, because of their family circumstances, there was no way they would join the Church.  But due to the efforts of some diligent missionaries and the Almighty hand of the Lord, Elder Madda's family's hearts were softened and they accepted the Gospel.  I think this is one of the most wonderful things I've ever been a part of: witnessing and assisting in the work of uniting families not only for time, but eternity.  God truly knows and loves us.  He knows and loves Elder Madda.  I am proud to call Elder Madda my friend.  I do not yet have pictures from the baptism, but I do, however, have some photos from my time with Elder Madda in Hyderabad.

Also, Venkat and Mayur are on track to be baptized on Sunday!!!  Woohoo!!!  We are excited.  They are excited.  All is well.

Have a great week!!

Elder Tuscano


Happy Holi!

Wassup everybody?

Happy Holi!!!  The festival of colors is here!!!  Everywhere we go we see people COVERED in color powder haha it's crazy.  Some people don't even look like humans because of how colored they are.  It's crazy but a lot of fun.  We are just hoping for the best every time we go out haha (missionaries are sort of a walking target with our white shirts and ties and everything, we're sort of an enticing spectacle in the midst of this chaos of color).

Cool experience of the week: so last week I mentioned Mayur, right? He's the investigator that found the church through the internet, walked into fast and testimony meeting, and bore his testimony that he strongly feels he's found the truth.  I may have failed to mention, however, brother Venkat from Hyderabad--another first-timer that walked in along with Mayur.  So on Tuesday we met with these two brothers and taught them the Restoration.  They loved it.  At the end of the lesson they both said, "This church is true."  We met with them again on Saturday and they both agreed to prepare for baptism later this month!!  Then came Sunday.  Sacrament meeting started--no sign of Venkat or Mayur.  We were pretty discouraged because the day prior they had committed to be baptized!  We prayed that somehow these brothers would make it to church.  Sacrament is passed, the doors
open, and BOOM!  Mayur and Venkat walk in and what else?  Venkat brought his friend with him!!  So rad.  The gospel changes people. Some rapidly, some not so rapidly, but whatever the speed, the gospel changes us.  I'm a witness.

 I hope everyone has a good week and happy Holi!!!

 Elder Tuscano


Tamilian Bengaluru

companions Elder Alaguretnam on the left, Elder Raju on the right

Hello y'all, how is everyone doing?

This week, again, just flew by.  A lot of things happened, a few of which I will elaborate on:

ELEVEN new missionaries came to our mission this past week.  ELEVEN. This NEVER happens haha, at least this many missionaries have not collectively come to the field since my group nearly eighteen months ago.  Among the eleven are four American elders, three Indian elders, and four Indian sisters.  The Lord's work is definitely hastening in south India.

Speaking of hastening the work, this past Sunday, the Bengaluru stake fasted for the purpose of bringing those who "know not God" to a knowledge of the truth--simply put: they fasted for missionary work to increase.  It worked.  Yesterday we had two brothers come in and tell us very plainly that they want to join our church.  One of the brothers was so moved by the Spirit he felt in fast and testimony meeting that he got up and bore his testimony about how he's been searching for the truth and he strongly feels he's found it.  Isn't that so cool?  God really does know each of His children--and fasting brings blessings fast.

In other news, I now have not just one new companion, but two!  My companion that is the new assistant is Elder Raju from Coimbatore.  He is an athlete through and through and his specialty is a not-so-common sport, kabbadi.  It's like tag combined with rugby?  It's hard to explain but it's cool.  Our other companion is Elder Alaguretnam from Sri Lanka/Thailand/Salt Lake City.  I say Sri Lanka/Thailand/Salt Lake City because he was born in and lived in Sri Lanka for a few years, then moved with his family to Thailand (where his family found the Church and was baptized), then moved to south Salt Lake and has been there for a while.  He is with us temporarily because once he gets proof of his Sri Lankan citizenship he will be off to Sri Lanka to serve there!  Side note: currently, you can only serve in Sri Lanka if you have citizenship there.  Both of my companions speak Tamil so that's been a nice addition to our teaching.  So my goal is to pick up on Tamil while I serve with these elders.

I hope everyone has a great week, happy Holi next week!!  The festival of colors!!

Keep the faith,
Elder Tuscano


Happy Mahashivaratri!

 us with an  investigator family, the Charles family
 "All India Parmit."  (They mean to say permit.  E. Poleboina and I had a good laugh about that haha, there's a good number of funny spelling errors here in India, but they do their best)
 OH MY GOSH.  I don't know if I've mentioned this but there's been this mega-rat living in our apartment and we had a guy come destroy his kingdom in our kitchen (he lives under/behind the cabinets in our kitchen).  The guy removed the baseboards and there was a pile of trash built up over the years so this is the pile of trash that was the make-up of the mega-rat's nest
 we stopped and played cricket with some cute little kids the other day, it was a lot of fun.
  one of my favorite things about India: the beautiful, brightly colored buildings!
 one of our primary children LOVES Spiderman.  He wanted to take a selfie so we did haha.
a cricket ground in our area

HAPPY MAHASHIVARATRI EVERYONE (pronounced: maha-sheeva-rah-tree)!  Shivaratri was this past weekend and it was pretty crazy.  There were drums and dancing and people marching all day and through the night.  I took some videos so I will try to send those.

We had some good experiences this past week, I will just talk about a couple:

You may recall a couple weeks ago I shared an experience about helping a sister in a situation where we had no idea what to say or do.  We met with her again this past week and, she's been doing so much better.  As we were discussing faith in Jesus Christ, she cuts us off and says, "I really want to be baptized, I just want my two children to be baptized with me."  We were stoked.  So later in the week we met with her and her two sons, ages fourteen and sixteen, and they are just as faithful as their mother.  Updates on this family's progress will come shortly!

To determine the progress of our investigators, we often ask, "What is the evidence that their faith in Christ is increasing?" and "What is the evidence the investigator is repenting?"  So, again, you may recall that last week or the week before, I mentioned a story about a mother who was very concerned about her son's spiritual welfare and future, who came running when she heard the missionaries were helping her son.  This past week we met with this family and what do we see when we arrive at the appointment?  Sachin, the young man, was washing the dishes outside his home.  For a teenage boy, that was a pretty big sign to us that his faith in Christ is increasing: he's helping his mom around the house!  We were so happy.

That's really all for this week but I will attach some photos and videos I took!  I'm getting better at this documenting my mission through photos thing.

I hope you all have a great week!  Don't do anything too crazy for Shivaratri.

Keep the faith,
Elder Tuscano