Monday, June 29, 2015

29 June 2015

This has been the second craziest week of my life, the first being last week. Everything is so different, especially the streets here. Here's what your average street will look like: Inline image 1

Actually, that's one of the nicer ones. The pavement is mostly intact, and you can't see the sewers that run down most of the streets. Those are pretty nasty. Here's a breakdown of your average street pests. These are some of the rats, if you can see them. 

These are actually some of the more common animals that wander the streets. The cows do a good job of keeping the grass clipped, though.

Then there are the dogs. Strays are all over, but I've only seen one or two tame dogs. I guess it's like keeping rats as pets in the US: after you see a few thousand plague-ridden, parasite-infested examples that run the streets and eat garbage, it kind of kills your enthusiasm for them. 

There are massive black birds all over too, and they make the ugliest sounds.

Also, there are chickens all over. They are super scrawny and often nasty, probably because all the fat ones are pulled off the streets and eaten.

You'll even see an occasional monkey. This one is hanging out on top of the baptismal font.

You'll see wild pigs, too. Those are huge, but not as big as the cows. They are pretty docile, thank goodness.

What you'll see inside of houses, but not often on the streets, are lizards. Some of them are pretty smart- They'll hang out by lights and eat all the bugs that fly toward them.

The most common thing that you see on the street are children. They are absolutely everywhere, and love missionaries. Most of them don't speak very good English, but they love to talk and shake hands.Inline image 10

Finally, there are the autos. You'll see them everywhere, all the time. They fit up to ten or fifteen people, but only if you stack them tall. They really are supposed to hold two or three, but five will fit with only a bit of stretching. They are how we get around to places that are too far to cycle. 

This email is already going on a bit long, so I'm going to give only a very short synopsis of the week. It was hot and humid, but not nearly as hot as I'd imagined. The humidity, on the other hand, was incredible. We have been doing a lot of biking around to all the branch council, to share a message and get referrals. A load of people have asked to go on exchanges with us, which works out nicely because we have three missionaries. The craziest thing that has happened all week is that I got in my first motorbike-cycle collision. The guy on the bike was crossing the street, and then stopped in the middle right in front of me. I locked my brakes and dragged my feet, but still couldn't stop in time and t-boned him. The brakes on our cycles aren't very good, by the way. No one was hurt, besides my cycle. The front tire was already a bit off balance, but now it's so bad that I'm having it fixed right now. I love how cheap things are in India. It's costing me 60 rupees, or about 98 cents, to get it fixed. Even that is on the high end for cycle repairs- getting your tires filled is 2 rupees, or about 3 cents.  American food is pretty up there, though- 250 rupees for a tiny jar of Nutella. Spiritual experience of the week- Training. We had a training on how to plan in Visakaputnam on Saturday. It was a four hour ride, but we had a very nice bus to ride on. Inline image 2

It was an eight hour round trip, and a six hour meeting, so it took up the whole day. What Pres. Berret said was pretty amazing, though. He had asked us earlier to set inspired goals for baptisms, and now asked us to bring them out. He wrote them all down on the whiteboard, then showed how much higher they were than our current numbers. As in, 8-12 times higher. He then showed us how to best use weekly planning to get to those numbers, and how we should use the Spirit in planning. It was amazing!

By the way, I heard that packages can take over a month to get here, so I'm not holding my breath on getting the package anytime soon. Thanks for sending it, though!

Monday, June 22, 2015

22 June 2015

India itself is very exciting and different. However, the trip to get there was even more so, so far. I spent all of Tuesday packing and getting ready to go, then woke up early on Wednesday to get to the airport. The mission president dropped me off, and talked a lot about how different things would be and how diligent I needed to be. Then, at the airport, things went smoothly. Everything worked like clockwork, and I got on the plane with absolutely no problems. The flight to Chicago was fairly normal, just a 4 hour trip. It felt like forever, but really wasn't that long. Then, I got on the flight to London, with no problems. Everything was normal and going well, except for an hour delay, until 15 minutes before boarding, when I started to feel sick. That got gradually worse and worse until the plane was about to move, when I got sick all over. That took a lot of cleanup, followed by an 8 hour flight. I spent nearly the whole flight being sick over and over, until they moved me to a seat by the bathroom. That completely cured me, and I got an hour or two of sleep. In London, I had a long layover, 4 hours. I spent most of it staring at the wall. Finally, we boarded, and had a 10 hour flight to Bangalore. I didn't get sick again, thank goodness, but it was still a very long flight, where I got basically no sleep. Finally, I arrived in India, and had to go through Immigration. That was an experience. The guy at the station spoke horrible English, and neither of us could understand each other very well. I ended up just giving him all my papers, and he sorted through them and cleared me. Coming out of the airport, President Berret picked me up, and said that I had made it through immigration in record time. Apparently, not being able to speak Hindi really speeds things up! President Berret explained a lot of things about India on the ride to the mission home. Over here, missionaries have three main ways of getting around, besides walking. They have the choice of riding these ancient, indestructible one-gear bikes, auto-rickshaws (basically a motor, a front seat, and a back seat, and very little else), or buses. But, the buses are super expensive, so we avoid those. Very few people here have cars, too. Besides the previously mentioned transportation, they ride bikes, but here it means motorbikes. There are a thousand of those on the road, and there are basically no rules-of-the-road. You'll find anything there, including your normal Indian pests, like stray dogs, occasional rats and snakes, but mostly cows. Those are everywhere. They can get enormous just by eating all the garbage people throw in the streets. Also, you can't drink the water here. 65% of it is contaminated, and so every missionary apartment comes with a water filter system. We also have to be careful with what we eat. Eventually, we arrived at the mission home, which was attached to the mission office. There, I sort of unpacked, and then went out with the APs for a while. We ended up doing nothing, though, because one of them was also sick.

After those very long three days that were mostly spent on a plane, it was Saturday, and I had to take another plane to my area, Rajamundry. What's more, that was the only area that you couldn't fly directly to, and had an important government official on the flight. Oh, and I very nearly showed up too late for the flight because security triple-checked everyone, and once we arrived at the layover at Hyderabad, there was a 2 hour delay because of rain at Rajamundry. Finally, after passing through security again, we were on our way. On arrival, I very quickly met with the elders there, Thompson and Willis. They're good guys! Then, I got all my stuff unpacked, and went out to get some stuff to eat. Indian stores are very, very different. You can't take any bags in, and they have security guards who check your receipts and your bags, searching through them to make sure you aren't stealing anything. It's an experience. Finally though, we finished that and went back to the apartment to finish unpacking and put away my food. We tried visiting a few people, and they were all home! Unfortunately, I don't remember anyone's name, because I can't even begin to pronounce them. 

Sunday was also an experience. At church, everyone is supposed to speak English. They don't, but instead give talks in Teleglish- a combination of Telegu and English. They will be talking in a thick accent, then lapse into Telegu. The whole meeting, I wasn't sure what language they were speaking. That was fun! After church, we went out to visit a family that had a daughter about to come home from a mission to the Philippines. That was pretty good, but only half the family spoke English, and so we had to pause for translation every now and again. That's apparently a big problem here. We aren't allowed to teach most people in Telegu unless we are native speakers, but none of us here are. We can teach part member families and some other exceptions, but that's mostly it. Sunday night, we had a dinner appointment. Those are pretty rare in India. Even better, this was with an investigator family! The lesson went well, on the Plan of Salvation. Something that I very quickly learned is that even the people who do speak English prefer that you speak in second-grade terms, and act like you are talking to a child. Go with whatever works, I guess. The food there was, according to my companion, very good. I'm still not used enough to it to be any sort of judge. 

Some final differences between India and the US: They don't use toilet paper. Instead, they have a sprayer, just like the ones you see on kitchen sinks. Also, they don't use silverware often, instead eating with their hands. That takes some skill, and I'm still not good with it. They have a special method, shoveling with the fingers and pushing with the thumb.

22 June 2015

Sorry I couldn´t respond to each one of your emails this week! Don´t have too much time this week! I can´t wait to see you all! I get home Tuesday June 30th at noon!  I´ll talk to you all then! Thanks for the letters! 

Elder Battraw

Sunday, June 21, 2015

21 June 2015

Dear Family of Elder Battraw,

We are grateful for the arrival of Elder Battraw in the India Bangalore Mission.  He arrived safe and in good spirits.  We have great need for him as a missionary. 
Your son has been assigned to work in the city of Rajahmundry, serving with Elder Willis and Elder Thompson both from the U.S..  They are  experienced missionaries and we are confident that they will be able to help and support each other in the work of the Lord here in India.  
Many parents have asked about sending packages to their missionaries. Postage is expensive for those sending from outside India and custom charges are often assessed which the missionaries will need to pay. We recommend that for birthdays and holidays that you put money in their personal account to save on customs charges and risk of damage.  They can get many items here in the country.  If you send a package, especially from outside India, it should be sent to the mission office.   THE FIRST LINE OF THE ADDRESS MUST READ -- “Indian Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,” This is for customs purposes. The missionaries name should be written elsewhere on the package. Please keep in mind that most of our transfers are done by air travel. The local airlines have a 15 kg (about 33 lbs.) weight limit.  Missionaries struggle to keep within that limit so they transfer very light and discard items not necessary.
 The mission office address is as follows:
The Indian Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,
No. 2, Rear Building
Garudarcharpalya, Mahadevapura Post,
Opp. ABB Tech Park          
Whitefield Road, Karnataka
Bangalore 560048

Thank you for your help in your son's preparation and your support of him as he serves.  The people of India are so grateful for the truth and knowledge the missionaries share.  I know he will come to love the people with a deep love.

We have attached photos of your son taken the day that he arrived, one with us and your son, one with the Assistants to the President.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.
President and Sister Berrett
India Bangalore Mission

Monday, June 15, 2015

15 June 2015

A funny thing happened last Monday, right after I emailed. I came out on my mission with one watch, which I had for about three years before my mission. A month out, it broke. I got a replacement, which broke in under two weeks. I replaced that two months ago, and that one broke Monday. So I got my first watch fixed, but the pin fell out not even two hours later. when I took it back, they replaced the pins with fixed pins, so I'm just going to hope that it'll last! 

On Tuesday, Elder Mackey had a two hour meeting in the morning, the first one of that kind in the mission. President Taggart gathered all of the missionaries going home this transfer for the first time, so I hung out in the mission office with all of their companions. We are losing 6 of the 10 zone leaders, so next transfer is going to be interesting. The sister missionaries from another ward had asked me if I had an "Indian" Book of Mormon, which I didn't, so I was going to grab one. The mission office had 6 different Indian language Book of Mormons: Urdu, Hindi, Telugu, Sinhala, Bengali, and Tamil. Then, we taught another lesson with Mike, the investigator with a mustache. He's a great guy, but his hair was 4 inches long, he had a mustache like Jeremy on Studio C, and his left arm and leg are paralyzed from an accident. This time, we taught the gospel of Christ, and the word of wisdom, because we'd noticed that he had a few issues with it. He committed to live the word of wisdom super easily! Later that day, we transplanted a tree for a member. Finally, we had a lesson with Emily, our most progressing investigator. We watched the Testaments, and had a great discussion about the importance of proper language in prayer. She is the most solid investigator we have, but she has to wait until she is 18 to be baptized. That's coming up, though!

We spent Wednesday mostly visiting people. First, we tried Sister Jaime. We had talked to here to set up an appointment a week ago, but when we showed up, she asked us to come back in two hours. We knocked a few doors and got gas for the car, then returned, to one of the biggest surprises of my mission. She had baked cookies! Normally, when we visit less actives, we get at best, grudging acceptance. She was nice! We learned a lot about her family history, and she showed us some books about it that family members had written. A few of them had crossed the plains with handcarts, and one had wrestled Joseph Smith. That same one settled four towns, one of which (Wallsburg) was named after him. He also had 5 wives and 43 children. Then, we visited Bro. Davis. When we first knocked on his door, it turned out that the records were wrong, and he lived next door. When we knocked on that door, we were immediately ushered in. He was very talkative, counterpointed by his silent, and very nearly deaf, wife. She had enormous amplifier headphones on, but still couldn't understand us very well. He had a lot of stories, and a depressing outlook. He talked for quite a while about all the simulator games he played to pass time until he died. Afterward, we went to dinner with Brother/President/Ex-Bishop/
Doctor Lords, our former ward mission leader and bishop, who is now the second counselor in the mission presidency and is a podiatrist. He was wearing a very nice suit during dinner, which puzzled us. Normally, people just wear street clothes when they have us for dinner. But after dinner, we had it explained: he wanted to go out with us for the evening. We visited an interesting guy first, Bro. Williams. He is the father of two members, but didn't convert. He thought that religion was a great thing for people because it gave them morals, but didn't believe in anything. However, despite that, he had a moral code. Then, we visited the Tafuas. Normally, they don't answer their door, but they made an exception to that this time. Pres. Lords had to go then, but we visited one last person: Bro. Alger. I was expecting a gruff dismissal like the one I had received the last time, but instead we had a great conversation. He is a truck mechanic, who used to be very active before falling off for no noticeable reason. 

Thursday was district meeting in the morning, before we helped with a move. The Sheffields had lived in the same house for 50 years, and had done nothing but collect incredibly fragile pieces of glass and china dishware, dolls, and knickknacks that entire time. We had 8 missionaries there doing nothing but packing boxes, and we still didn't even get halfway through. Then, we had dinner before going to visit Bro. Harpster. He is 80, and incredibly busy. He owns three companies, ranging from catfish to algae to diesel fuel. He has a 1957 thunderbird in stock condition! 

On Friday, we had weekly planning, then a lesson with Mike. Unfortunately, the missionaries we were going to be teaching it with were half an hour late, so we just let them take it while we went to our next appointment. Then, we went back to the Sheffields for more packing. We had even more missionaries than Thursday, but still didn't finish. Their garage was nearly full with box after box, most of which were marked "fragile." Then, we had dinner, then visited Bro. Openshaw, and had correlation meeting. We now plan on having a big ward event for members to invite their friends to, but it's going to be in a few months and we still have next to no details. 

We did a lot more service on Saturday. First, we went over to the Orlands, and weeded, moved aa cabinet, put some stuff in an attic, and did some miscellaneous jobs like that. Then, we went over to the Sheffields again for more packing. After that, we had a very early dinner, and had a lesson with Emily again. This time, we went over the baptismal interview questions. We did this while sitting in the church parking lot, because no one had their house available late on Saturday night, with no notice, for whatever reason. What's a social life, again? :)

On Sunday, we had ward council in the morning, then church, with a huge surprise. I nearly didn't recognize Mike when I saw him, because he'd gotten a haircut, was wearing professional-looking shoes, had a tie, and had shaved his mustache! If he was wearing a nametag, he could have been mistaken for a missionary! After church, we  had choir practice, then dinner, then we visited a few more less actives. We've been making a big push to reactivate them, because even though that doesn't show on any numbers, they are just as important as baptizing new members, something that we've had trouble doing in this ward. Then, we had Persian, where 8 missionaries showed up. It was a big event!

A funny thing happened this morning. As we were walking into Walmart to do our shopping, President Taggart called and asked if I liked Indian food, and that I might get the chance to try it on Wednesday. As in, 48 hours from now Wednesday. Well, not exactly. The travel will take 41 hours, starting Wednesday and ending Friday. Well, not exactly, again. It'll take only 29 (only) hours of travel, 23 on a plane and 6 in layovers. This isn't set in stone though. President Taggart, the president here, wants me to leave on July 14, but Pres. Berret, the president there, wants me to leave early. I'll find out tomorrow when I leave for sure, but I'm planning on Wednesday. 

**** Another email received later that day****
You'll be cheating yourself of the true pleasure of enjoying the
following if you don't read the first email I sent first. Seriously,
stop reading right now if you haven't read that one yet. I'm warning
you, it'll take all the joy out of my sarcasm if you don't. Please!
These are my flight plans.
If President Taggart has his way, I'll leave then. If not, I'll leave Wednesday, and it'll be super crazyDisplaying image1.PNG

Monday, June 8, 2015

8 June 2015

This week has been full of random things that just popped up. Well, except Tuesday. We tried to visit a thousand people, but no one was home. While we were out, we dropped by a member's house to use their bathroom, and they invited us back that night. When we came back, we shot slingshots at milk cartons and tin cans. Fun!

The "check engine" light came on sometime Tuesday, so on Wednesday we took it in to be looked at. That light isn't very informative, though. We checked the engine at the mission office, and we're pretty sure it's still there. Then, we took it to the dealer. They had us wait a half hour before seeing anyone to soften us up, then drove the car off to who knows where. But, they figured it out pretty quickly; or so they thought. The guy there invited us into his office and pointed out the problem: according to their records, we'd driven the car for years without changing the oil. Unfortunately for that easy diagnosis, the mission took care of the oil changes. Fortunately, they still figured out the problem: the mission changed the oil, but never reset the oil change light. Which basically meant that the car was throwing a fit over nothing. Finally, we had a Book of Mormon class, the last for the summer.

Thursday, we had district meeting, then tried to visit even more people, but no one answered their doors...again. Well, that's a slight exaggeration. We did meet one cranky lady who chewed us out for knocking on the wrong door. Apparently, the person we were trying to visit had moved out a while ago, and this lady had Mormons knocking on her door asking for the wrong person ever since, and was taking it personally. That night, we had correlation meeting with our ward mission leader, Bro. Grant. He is a world leader in Brazilian Jujitsu, and my companion asked for, and received, a quick lesson. Funny story behind this- Bro. Grant was trying to show him something, and Elder Mackey thought he was starting a wrestling match, and grabbed him out of nowhere. That's the only reason Mackey got a hold in the first place.

Monday, June 1, 2015

1 June 2015

So the job across town would be difficult to go to, I would have to use the car to get there.  Which McDonalds? The one off of 116th or the one closer to the house. Will Mcdonalds let me work there for just a few weeks? What are the hours like there? When would I start? Thats cool that school is now out and everybody now is on spring break.  How is everything going, everybody just relaxing right now? We get fed regularly here no problem.  Does the ward still have sisters, or is it a pair of sisters and a pair of elders? Thats cool that the temple is so close to getting done, everybody seems really excited.
  This week was interesting.  Monday we had the normal p day.  We had a family home evening planned for that night that ended up not working out, but it was okay.  Tuesday morning my companion wakes up sick, throws up and has a fever and is very sore.  Not good signs,  but he starts to get better enough, to go to District Meeting, which was normal.  Afterwards, starts to not feel well again, so we call a member to come give us a ride to the hospital.  Arrive at the hospital, my companion goes through and ends taking a whole bunch of meds through IV, but he leaves the hospital feeling a lot better.  We stop by the chapel really quick and then head on home.  Wednesday, my comp is back to normal so we set out to work and we managed to find some new peoples to teach.  We found a 13 year old girl who is a cousin of a member who has been wanting to be a member of the church for a while now, but has never been able to b/c she needs her moms permission.  Really cool lesson though.  Wednesday was pretty good. We got to teach Andre and his wife as well and that was super cool.  Andre loved church and is super excited to come back.  He and his wife both came to church this last Sunday and they both loved it! Thursday, my companion wakes up with the same symptoms as Tuesday, except for vomiting.  We come to the obvious conclusion that the hospital treatment did not work.  After lunch, its back to the hospital.  All these symptoms are common symptoms of a disease that is common here called Dengue, which is a pretty nasty virus. The doctor runs tests for dengue and parasites/bacteria, and while this is happening, my companion gets another IV.  After 2 1/2 hours waiting the tests come back.  Its not dengue, but its an intestinal infection and tapeworm.  The doctor was impressed that he had both at the same time, but this time he passed a bunch of medications that seem to be working just find.  The crisis has passed.  Friday was normal, just working out.  Saturday night I got to play piano for a devotional of the Relief Society.  Sunday night we got to have an activity called the Member Missionary Training Center in which we had 3 rooms in which Returned Missionaries and us the Missionaries taught the members how to be better member missionaries.  It turned out really well and the members loved it! The activity will continue for 3 more weeks and everybody is pumped for it. We´re super excited as well!
  I hope that you all have a great week!  I miss you all! 

Elder Battraw
Image 1 and 2 are of the flooding that is happening in Manacapuru.  Its a yearly thing. 3 is of my district right now, 4 is of Elder Brock and I when he was leaving for home, 5 Elder Mazzagardi of the seventy and I after the stake conference, 6 the Manaus Temple!

1 June 2015

This whole week has been fun, bizarre, and pasta-filled. Tuesday morning, we helped a member, Sister Horner, move some old stuff out to the curb, before going to a lesson. This was not your usual lesson by a long shot. This investigator is actually on date, and is excited about being baptized. Well, today when we showed up, he was sitting in his garage with his dad, with the garage door open. As we walked up, we noticed three things: one, they were watching Cops. Two, that his dad was smoking. And three, the investigator, Mike, was super drunk and had a big pile of empty beer cans next to him. Literally over a hundred beer cans. Oh, and as we were talking, their chihuahua bit Elder Mackey. This was extra ironic, as Mackey had said that he wanted to fight a dog sometime before he went home, and hadn't been bitten ever on his mission. Not even thirty seconds later, a crazy, yet fortunate, coincidence hit. The dad was holding the cigarette in his right hand, so I tried to switch my iPad over to my right hand so we could shake left hands. That was the theory; what actually happened is that I dropped the iPad directly onto the chihuahua that was yipping at me. It was totally an accident, but I wasn't particularly sorry either. After we set up another appointment, Elder Mackey was nursing his wounds in the car when two sister missionaries wearing short shorts knocked on our window. They were from the Antioch Community Church, on a two week party mission from Texas. I say party mission because they were going to Disneyland and a few other fun places while here, too. Anyway, we talked for quite a while about the differences between our religion and theirs. Apparently, they are a nondenominational Christian church, who believe in the bible but not in baptism. Then, a guy came over from their group and said that instructions had come from on high to get them going. We exchanged cards and numbers before leaving, though. We'll see if they can come to our church. 

On Wednesday, we tried visiting a bunch of people in the morning, but no one answered their door. Then, we had lunch at Olive Garden with a former investigator who wanted to talk to Elder Mackey before he went home. She is a Christian with fairly standard views, and we talked for a while about where our religions parted tracks in the biggest way- the plan of salvation, especially the fall. Apparently, her church believes that the fall and Adam's transgression were the greatest tragedies in all history. The restaurant choice was interesting, too, in that we'd had Olive Garden last Wednesday and on Monday. Then, Elder Mackey started feeling sick, and slept till dinner. After that, we taught a Book of Mormon class with the third ward missionaries, about Lehi's vision and the tree of life. It was an amazing discussion! Finally, we taught Emily, our most progressing investigator again, and answered some fairly stereotypical antimormon questions that she had. She has a pretty anti mom, and got most of them from her. A lot of those questions played off of half a truth, and required a lot of explaining, like why the Book of Mormon had revisions made to it. While we were going into the class, we got stopped by the bishop, who asked us to visit a few people, too. 

Thursday was an interesting day. We had district meeting in the morning, then lunch. Then, we tried visiting the people that the bishop had asked us to. We quickly noticed that most of them had one thread in common- they were really old, and in hospice. One of the people had an enormous cockatiel, literally the size of a quadruple combination. We also did some service for Sister Lamb, helping to move a fridge, washing machine, and dryer. That only took a half hour, and then we had a late dinner, which took up the rest of the evening.

We had weekly planning on Friday, followed by another lesson with Mike, this time accompanied by the Euclid missionaries. Mike was sober this time, and we had the lesson in the backyard to avoid his dogs. We taught the plan of salvation lesson, and committed him to read from the Book of Mormon. We plan on teaching the word of wisdom in the next lesson. I wonder how he will take that... During weekly planning, we had tried to figure out who had taught Mike, and why he was dropped a year ago. Apparently, it was actually my trainer, Elder Wilding, and Mike had been dropped because when he was asked to take the lessons, he stopped going to church for three months. He's a bit of a special case because he lives in the Euclid ward, and only comes to Brea 1 because that's where he has a ride. We got full approval from a member of the mission presidency to teach him here, but we still plan on eventually transferring him to Euclid, so we are going to involve those missionaries as much as possible. Later in the day, we tried visiting some more people that the bishop asked us to visit. We only got to one, but we had a very good conversation there. Bro. Bradford is an active member who doesn't come to sacrament meeting because of health issues, and is in hospice. He told us that Elder L. Tom Perry was in hospice too, which was news to us. Finally, we had correlation meeting that night.

On Saturday, we just did a whole lot of service. We went to a part-member family's house to hang a shade and work on their fence in the morning, but before we had done much, we got a call. A move that we had been told by the elders quorum president was at ten, was actually at 8, and they had a whole house full of stuff to move and only two high priests to move it with. Granted, one of them, Bro. Rossow, rides his motorcycle everywhere and is stronger than your average lumberjack, but they still needed help. We showed up and started moving stuff out before being stumped by some large furniture upstairs. The member had a whole room full of huge pieces of furniture that all needed to be moved out. We got some of the smaller big pieces out by force and contortionism, but the bigger pieces needed more help than that. We ended up taking out the chair lift in the stairwell to make more room, but that took a long time and a lot of effort. Did you know that basically everything on them is made of solid steel and bolted to the floor? That let us take out even more stuff, but we got stuck again on one huge entertainment center. It was too tall to take out the door as it was, and too long to take it sideways. We ended up taking it out the same way it came in- in pieces. Moving in at the other end was equally fun. The path to the apartment was nothing better than a maze, and was easily a quarter mile long. We figured out a shorter path fairly quickly, but it still was quite a while. To compound the problem, we were trying to move the stuff from a five bedroom house into a one bedroom apartment. But it was done! Then, we finished up at the first place we were serving at, which included figuring out how the shade worked and reinstalling it a little lower. Finally, we went to transfer meeting at night, and killed time until transfer calls. As it turns out, almost everything in our district is staying the same. This means that, because Elder Mackey is going home this transfer, I'm likely going to stay one more transfer beyond this one to teach the next missionary here about the ward. That means that I'll be in Brea 1 for at least 7 1/2 months. I have mixed feelings about that. The members here are great, but the missionary work is pretty slow because area is geographically puny. On the other hand, by the time I get out of here, I'll know the area pretty well. Also, we went to another Italian restaurant.

Sunday, we had ward council in the morning, where we gave a quick report on missionary work. Then in second hour, we taught the Gospel Principles class. And in third hour, the ward had an enormous fifth Sunday combined activity, with us and the ward missionaries teaching. At Persian that night, we had a few surprise visitors, too. Normally it's us and the Brea 3 sisters, but today we had a member and two extra missionaries show, too. That was a lot of fun!