Archive for September, 2011

Break Forth In Singing, Ye Mountains

September 21, 2011

Dear Everyone!
I realized a few weeks ago that although I enjoy writing this letter to all of you, I enjoy writing to my individual family members a lot more. And writing this general letter takes time, and time is in fact a finite commodity, at least in this period of mortal toil.

As a result, I am discontinuing my weekly letter, so you will be hearing from me much less often during the next year. I promise to meet you in person and talk to you at length about all the wonderful things that happen in my life during this time, and I may still check in occasionally, but certainly infrequently.

I feel very happy about this decision, and it’s been guided by thought, prayer, and the glorious gospel.

Still feel very free to write to me at any time. I’ll do my best to respond in a timely manner.

The last weekly scripture passage is Isaiah 12 (See also 2 Nephi 22). http://lds.org/scriptures/ot/isa/12?lang=eng The last hymn is “How Great Thou Art.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Q8ESzK5pCw

Love,
Elder Westwood

p.s. from Matt’s mom – that email is mattathias.westwood@myldsmail.net – and you can always contact me to get an update though it won’t be as beautifully written!

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Fill the World with Love

September 5, 2011

Sorry for the radio silence these last two weeks. I’ve been even busier than usual, but life is really, really good. I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot of changes in myself and a few changes in the world in the past year, and I’m feeling very excited for the year (and years) to come.

The hymn for this week is “We’ll Bring the World His Truth”, perhaps more often known as “Army of Helaman” because of it’s reference to those young men whose faith and diligence brought about great miracles. http://lds.org/churchmusic/detailmusicPlayer/index.html?searchlanguage=1&searchcollect ion=2&searchseqstart=172&searchsubseqstart=%20&searchseqend=172&searchsubs eqend=ZZZ It’s a powerful song, which I’ve always loved singing. But, as I recently noted to one of my fellow-missionaries here in Hyderabad when we started spontaneously singing it during the time before a recent training meeting, I wish I’d listened more to the words before I became a full time missionary. I frequently wish I’d done more to “Increase [my] knowledge through study and prayer. Daily [to] learn until [I was] called to take the gospel to all the world.”

But there are some realities that just don’t sink in until they’re put in practice, which is why we serve missions at age 19 so we can spend the rest of our lives learning from the experiences and expectations we set in two years consecrated to the Lord.

And oh, how much is there, still left to learn!

From the whirlwind of events this week, there are three I’ll take time to talk about.

The first is the moment rainy season descended, Wednesday morning. Elder B and I had gone to the local outdoor stadium to help conduct a district sports activity. We were walking from the volleyball court to the cricket field when the heavens opened. Everyone rushed to the stands to hide under the sheet metal roof. And stayed there for half an hour as the torrent continued to descend. It was spectacular.

The second is Thursday, which marked the beginning of Ganesh Festival, and also President O of the Sunday School’s visit to Hyderabad. His training with us focused on “everlasting skills”, and gave me enough material to spend the rest of my life thinking about. How is that accomplished in 2 hours? The man is a spectacular teacher.

The third is the wonderful Punjabi lunch I had on Friday, prepared by the only senior couple in the India Bangalore Mission. They’re from New Delii, and in my good fortune, were assigned to provide family history support in my branch. Elder and Sister S have an interesting story– she was baptized four years ago after hearing about the church from their daughter in Belgium, he was baptized 18 months back, after finally deciding that the benefits of the gospel far outweighed the risks of the changes required to his life and the magnitude of such a decision on his Hindu social contacts. Both are very excited to be missionaries. Both are lifelong vegetarians. Sister S’s aloo ghobi is just like my grandfather’s.

God bless you all,
Elder Westwood