Tonight is a big night for you and I felt that you needed some advice as you grow up. Not advice on how to be rich, famous, and successful in todays world. Nope that comes by luck, and who you know..which you will know many who will know you. Instead his letter of advice is how to stay strong in the gospel..because as you grow up there will be many challenges, hardships, adversity, temptations and other ways of the temporal life that will catch your eye but you must with all your might "stay to the Iron Rod."
8 years old is an important age and you know that..you've known that for a while now. Being raised by good parents will do that to you. Moments ago, you completed and passed your baptismal interview with your bishop. Now just sit there in the foyer as you read this and and as they come out of the office you will hear your father tell the Bishop how proud he is of you and that you are a good kid. He's going to be very proud of you that day on September 4th. I want you to know how much your Dad loves you. Sure you two have and will continue to have your disagreements and arguments every so often..but Ajay he sure does love you.
You will be a valiant primary child, and the best part is having your mom in the Primary Presidency. Warning though: You will need a box of tissues for one of her lessons. It will be about not judging others..something you have been and will be the victim of for years to come..because you're different, and though it's okay to be different, it's something that your peers were not ready to deal with yet. That lesson will help you know that you are created by God and that he does NOT make mistakes. You will see the love in your mothers eyes as she teaches those around you that very same principle. I have to be honest, talking about it now almost makes me cry again. You may even start liking country music that day too..a guy named Gary Allen and a song called "Don't laugh at me" will do it to you.
I know your dad is not an emotional guy. But his first day in the Bishopric of a student ward, you will have the opportunity to pass the sacrament to him while he is on the stand. I didn't notice it then but maybe you will, if you look closely, you will see a tear shed down his face. Don't believe me? He will admit it to the congregation in his testimony that day and once again you'll hear him say how proud of you he is.
Now you are being raised in two great ways. A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and an obsessed sports fan. Yeah I know, you want to be a professional baseball player and if I remember right a week later you want to be a sports broadcaster, then 10 years down the road you want to be an equipment manager for professional sports team. Listen, those are great goals, and I'm a bigger sports fan now, than you are at that age. But there is an unwelcome but necessary change that will approach your life whether you ready or not. It's your mission. I say "unwelcome" because of the opportunities that will arise outside of the gospel in your life at such an important age. A girlfriend, a scholarship in sports, big social circle and the list goes on. Ajay, my younger you, I'm sure your eyes are big right now reading those opportunities but I beg you to listen to me..it doesn't matter. None of it matters. Mom is going to ask you to pray about it, she will tell you that Heavenly Father will answer your prayer by doing what makes you happy. Remember that. He will do what makes you happy. But at the same time, finding out the hard way might be for the best. Getting your patriarchal blessing, with your mother sitting across from you crying because of this boy being born from India, snatched away from the jaws of death through adoption, and now learning Heavenly Father's plan for you, young man you are going to be a GREAT missionary and you will be blessed for your service. When you come come from your mission, you will greet your family, and the last person you greet is your father. You'll make eye contact with him and he'll tell you how prou...on second thought..I'll let him say it. You will use those two years to bless many lives in your mission and many years after as well. That is a promise.
Ajay I must go, my life continues and so will yours. But I want you to understand, that our life is not easy. There will be hills to climb, bumpy roads to ride over, cracks on the path to walk on. You will make mistakes, say things and do things that aren't good, make a fool of yourself at times, find yourself alone when in desperate need of strength and help from others, not listen when you should have, stayed when you should leave and leave when you should stay. My young friend, I want you to know that in the end..it will be okay. You will learn and learn quickly, apply and do so humbly, follow with courage, and because of this..you will be an example to many. So start now, after you read this letter, go out and be a leader in a righteous and loving way. Be one Christs disciples and put on the armor of God, you will need it in the forthcoming days. But most importantly, Heavenly Father loves you so, so, so much. You will be reminded of this in the coming years of your life. Take that message as many times as it comes to you in whatever way it does and do not, whatever you do, don't ever let go of it. I love you Ajay.
Sincerely, Your older (28 years) self.