Tuesday, July 28, 2015

28 July 2015

This week took a long while. We spent a lot of time running around Hyderabad, looking for addresses. Elder Peter was the only one of 4 missionaries who knew anything about the area, so we got to explore a lot. We did find some very fun things, though. In India, Muslims don't eat pork, and almost everyone doesn't like it. We still found a bacon shop! It is the only place, besides Dominos pizza, that has had any sort of pork products. Even in Dominos, the pepperoni pizza is tied for the most expensive pizza on the menu. That other pizza had about 10 toppings, to put it into perspective. Anyway, we spent a lot of time finding people until Wednesday. Then, we had Preach My Gospel Fundamentals Camp. They pulled in everyone from three zones, a total of nearly half the mission, or 70ish elders. We learned about everything in Preach My Gospel, and had a lot of fun. It was a three day camp, but we weren't there for three days straight. We'd go there in the morning, which took about a half hour bus ride, learn, then go back to our areas and try to apply the things we'd learned that day. It was good! I picked up a lot from it, including a few predominant themes, like obedience to mission rules and finding people to teach everywhere. We had two elders from Visak over in our apartment too during the camp, which meant we had 6 elders, one water heater, two bedrooms, and only one person who knew the area. It was a lot of fun! One of the new elders, Elder Kunchala, was staying in his home ward! He'd only been out for 8 weeks, then got stuck back. When out visiting a member at one point, the member asked why he was dressed up (we don't wear nametags in Hyderabad). He didn't realize Elder Kunchala was a missionary!

After the camp was over, we had a lot to do still. It ended late Friday, and Saturday was a stake event, a pioneer heritage thing. It was pretty awesome! We pulled sticks and watched some pioneer-style dances. They even made a covered handcart that they pulled some of the women around in. We did most of our preparation to go back to Rajamundry on Sunday. It was kind of shocking how little stuff I'd brought for two weeks. Then, finally, we had the longest train ride...ever.

Monday morning, we woke up at 3 to get to the train station. It looked pretty high-security at first glance, but looks can be deceiving. I looked back after walking though a metal detector, and noticed that only one of the 4 they had was on. I'd walked through the one that was on, and it didn't go off despite all of the metal I was carrying. They had some security officers at a folding table, who stopped people seemingly at random. Anyway, we made it on the train safely, only to learn that sleeper class wasn't quite as luxurious as I'd imagined. As in, Alcatraz had better facilities. To aid the impression that it was a prison, all the beds were folding beds that were stuck to the wall and stacked three-high, and there were bars in all the windows, which could almost open and close. The luggage room was limited-whatever you could cram under the bed. There were a lot of people on board at first, but thankfully, the train got down to half empty pretty quickly. It was pretty nice, by the end. You could freely walk around the train, except for AC class (air conditioned), the best. You'd get kicked out of that. The trip took a total of 12 hours with all the stops, but it wasn't bad. You could get out and walk at the stations, and there were always vendors walking the aisles selling things, mostly food.

When we arrived back in Rajamundry, we unpacked all of our stuff, then went over to my last apartment and pulled all the junk out of there too. My new area is Rajamundry 2nd branch, and the apartment is a shockingly far 1/2 mile away, and my new companion is Elder Patten. 
From now on, all pdays should be on Monday. The reason they've been on Tuesday is because we've been traveling on Mondays, but since I hopefully won't move for another month, I should be good. Oh, and the package hasn't reached me yet. We can't get the packages until the zone leaders go to the mission office for MLC and bring them back, and the next one is August 4th. I'll know by next week!

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