Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Missionary's Memory

Recently, Sister Berrett (that is how we know her here in the mission) asked one of our returned missionaries for a recollection of his service. Here is his response, with only minor editing:

You asked for some memories of my time in India and I will endeavor to share with you my feelings of that wonderful place.

I remember getting to India expecting the worst, and I was so excited about it. I was expecting it to be sweltering hot, that we would be living in stick huts with dirt floors with no plumbing or electricity. I thought that I wouldn't understand a word anyone spoke. I had no idea of whether or not the people would accept the gospel there or not.

As I arrived and made it through the next few months my expectations were all blown out of the water. I was amazed by the people there and the love of the members.

One memory I feel like I should share with you is how I met one good friend named K___. When I was being transferred from Madinaguda to White Field Branch we had to take a bus from Madinaguda to [near the] Ganesh Temple then another bus to the Registration office where I would transfer my registration to Bangalore. The bus ride toward Ganesh Temple was an hour long ride in a bus that was very much crowded. After maybe 15 minutes I was fortunate enough to secure a seat next to a man who was very interested in what was outside his window. I felt prompted to speak to this man but wasn't sure how to go about it.

As I was pondering how to start a conversation, the man turned to me and asked me "Why are you here?"

I replied, "I'm a missionary here. I help families to be strong and learn about Jesus Christ."

This sparked our conversation and we spoke up to the last second that I was on the bus. I learned this man's name was K___, and he worked in medical coding. He said that he was Hindu but he had a strong belief in Jesus Christ. As it turns out he had not always been so keen on Christianity but he suffered a terrible motorcycle accident. As a result of the accident he was in a coma with multiple organ failure. The miracle, as brother K___ put it, was that his Christian friends reached out in their churches to pray and fast for him to recover. Brother K___ came out of his coma and soon made a complete recovery shocking all of doctors. After recovering and learning of what his friends had done for him, he started to attend meetings and read the Bible. He found a young woman that he married. As he and his wife tried to find the right church they were confused and ultimately decided they should not follow any church. They realized the differences in the doctrine and practices.

As Bro. K___ opened up to me and asked me questions, the principles contained in "The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ" flowed naturally out of me as if they weren't even my words. I could see the understanding in the eyes of Bro. K___, I knew he was feeling the spirit, and wanted to know more.

In the last few minutes of the bus ride, I told Bro. K___ about Joseph Smith's first vision and the Book of Mormon. I promised him that the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was once again on this earth. I promised him that if he would pray and ask Heavenly Father, he would know just as I know. I told him that when he knew that this was true, he would desire to follow it. I told him that the way to follow it would be by being baptized by someone holding proper priesthood authority. He accepted! The next minute I was on the sidewalk wondering how all that had happened. I asked my companion if he had overheard the conversation. He said "I think the whole bus heard the lesson."

I have never ever seen Brother K___ again but the rest of the story has been told to me by my companion. The next day, after my encounter with Bro. K___, I flew to Bangalore. After some difficulty with the phone number and appointments to meet Bro. K___, the elders in that area were able to meet him. The elders taught him and his wife the Restoration and at the end asked him if he would be baptized. Brother K___ replied that he would indeed be baptized because he had prayed about the Book of Mormon and knew it to be true. He asked the elders to help his wife to know about the Gospel.
Last time I heard, Bro. K___ had received the Aaronic Priesthood and was preparing for the Melchizedek Priesthood. He was a councilor in the Sunday School Presidency. His wife, who they thought could not bear children, was two months pregnant.

I feel my testimony strengthened for having been a small part of this man's path to Heavenly Father. I know that this is the fullness of the Gospel. I have many many memories like this. It was a privilege to serve in the Greatest Mission in the World. I can't wait to come back to visit the people there. 

 We are grateful to work with missionaries who are having experiences such as this. Heavenly Father's children in India are being gathered. We love it.