Now that Elder Riley went home, I have a new native companion named Elder Prabhakar.
He's really good actually, great guy, very funny, people person and hard worker. He's new on his mission -- he's only been in the field for a month -- so I still have to gently poke him at 6:35 in the morning to make sure he gets up. He'll get used to it, I'm sure.
He's a very people-oriented person and has already developed a lot of the skills that I had to work hard to develop on my mission. On Saturday we were visiting a church member named W. at his shop when his childhood friend R., who is also the neighborhood rowdy, walked in to say hi to W. After 10 minutes of conversation somehow Elder Prabhakar had made this guy into his best friend by showing a kind of love for R. that is difficult to describe in words. And as a result, we have the potential to help this guy reform his ways...
In a lot of good ways, he reminds me of Elder Gervais. Though we're very different people, we should be able to blend our talents well. Right now he's teaching me how to cook Indian food and I'm teaching him to cook American food. This morning I made french toast and he took the cap off of the maple syrup and started pouring it out because he'd never seen a pop-and-squeeze cap before. The small things you take for granted..
We've been able to have a ton of good things happen in the lives of people we're teaching. 12 people we're teaching came to church today which was really wonderful but also completely crazy.
Today in the leadership meeting before church the branch president made a special plea for everyone to befriend M., the orphan kid I was telling you about. As a result, three or four different people put their arm around him; went and sit next to him, and so forth. It was wonderful.
The question, of course, is: shouldn't this happen spontaneously?
Of course, and believe me I would be very happy about that also. But something I've come to understand is that this requires the correct culture. And culture isn't spontaneous; it must be carefully cultivated.
Moveover, a while back I would have been too frustrated that "this should happen spontaneously!" to do anything to make it happen.
I have some goals for the rest of my mission and am trying my best to complete them as my time window gradually closes....I hope it works...