Hi everyone! This is Carson again. Faith and I have said goodbye to our friends in India, and have arrived back home safe and sound. These past few months in India have been perfect. Now, from an outsider’s perspective, all the changed plans, food poisoning, worms, visa problems, and threats of arrest may not sound like the perfect summer, so please let me explain:
When I say this summer has been perfect, I mean that it has been exactly what we needed. Our faith has been tried again and again, our prayers have been answered in every way, and the people we’ve met have changed our lives forever. If I were to draw up on paper what a perfect summer would look like, I could not have done it any better than how it turned out.
Not everything went as we expected, but it just goes to show that God knows far better than we do what we need. How could we have ever guessed that we would meet some of the most amazing people on the planet, or that the government would conveniently threaten our arrest due to a visa violation right before our family reunion, and right after I had enough hours for my BYU internship? We were blessed and protected and provided for beyond the best I could have imagined.
Time, and time, and time again I have been astounded at how these leprosy-stricken individuals can forget themselves and still focus on serving and uplifting others. From our friend Raja who cleaned our water basins with his finger-less hands, to an amazing man named Appu (pictured below), whose face was so deformed by leprosy that he could no longer speak, but that didn’t stop him from smiling and laughing all the time. His quick and enduring smile taught me more about happiness than any amount of words ever could.
Gordon B. Hinckley once said that “Generally speaking, the most miserable people I know are those obsessed with themselves; the happiest people I know are those who lose themselves in the service of others.” By combining our service with faith, we can be happy, and also make a difference, wherever we are in the world. “Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings” (Mosiah 8:18).
It is so easy to forget about how deeply God loves and wants to bless those we hardly notice. We don’t have to travel across the world to become a great benefit to our fellow beings. In order to become that great benefit in someone’s life, we need only show them how special and important they are. As Hilary Weeks sings, “There’s a shortage in this world of ‘I believe in you’s, and there’s somebody somewhere who needs one.”
I came to India with many fears, worries, and uncertainties. Through every test, trial, and unexpected turn of events, God has always shown me that He is there, and that He loves His children more than I could ever comprehend. No child of His is ever forgotten. Seeing and serving the poorest of the poor lets me catch a tiny glimpse of the love God has for these people. I pray that my eyes will always notice the lonely, the sick, the destitute, and that I may also notice how I can help them in some way.
There are countless lessons to be learned from this part of the world, and Faith and I will be reflecting on this time of our life for the rest of our lives. Thank you everyone for your never-ending love and prayers. We have been safe, protected, and sustained in every way. We have felt His spirit and His peace as we have served His beloved children. I know that God loves and helps us more than we will ever know. He hears and answers prayers.
This summer in India has not been easy, but it has been life-changing, humbling, inspiring… perfect.