Monday, July 6, 2015

6 July 2015

Guess what we had for lunch last Monday, right after emailing?

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It was very interesting, and very chewy. Right after that, we visited a member, whose mom insisted on feeding us more curry. That was the first beef I'd had since coming in, and tasted absolutely amazing. Unfortunately, we were all super full already, so eating more made life interesting for the next few hours. 

We had some very exciting things happen on Tuesday. Specifically, I finally registered! Everyone has to register with the police as soon as they come in, but the police are really tough to get a hold of. I had to visit five times over two weeks, waiting for at least an hour or two each time, to talk to the superintendent of police. Once in, it took ten seconds and two questions before he signed my papers and I was off. Fun! We had 6 appointments scheduled that day, but all but one bunked on us. So, we spent a lot of time cycling around, trying to find someone who'd let us teach them. With the aid of a member, we actually did though- Sri Babee, a less active family. We shared a good lesson, and will definitely be back. Also, we tried the Indian version of an American pizza chain's version of Hawaiian pizza. It had jalapenos, pineapple, and corn.
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Wednesday started out in a fascinating way. At about two in the morning, the power cut, and the air conditioner quit. So, we opened the windows. That did let in a breeze, but also dozens of mosquitoes, and did not change the fact that it was super hot out. We spent the whole night slapping at bugs and sweating. I can now truly empathize with the poor people who don't have air conditioning or windows. Later that day, we tried visiting around, but all of our appointments bunked again. We went out with a member, Naveen, for a while, but even with his smiling face by our side, all the appointments we had scheduled bunked. It was a long day.

On Thursday, we had a really good weekly planning. Pres. Berret had just given us a training on how to most effectively use weekly planning last week, and so we applied everything for this week. It took four hours, and we still weren't all the way done. We had to do a baptismal interview for the zone leaders after that, then get my cycle fixed (the tire had busted). It took the repairmen under five minutes to fix the puncture, and he didn't even have to take the tire off! Finally, we had an appointment that night that didn't ditch! The Teykie family! They don't actually speak English, but we brought along a member to translate. 

Friday morning, we had zone training in the morning. A new rule was put in: the 2 a day rule. From now on, we have to eat two fruits or vegetables a day. Apparently, even with the vitamins that all missionaries are supposed to be taking, a whole lot of them are getting malnourished. It's probably because all that there is to eat here is rice and curry. It tastes good, though. Then, we tried to stop by the ATM to pull out my allotment. It was supposed to come Wednesday, but the troubles about it aren't even over yet. Apparently, for some reason, my card isn't in the pay system. Then, when Elder Bedke, the financial secretary, tried to manually add money to it, it wouldn't work. Then, he called the zone leaders to ask them to pay it out of the petty cash, but they didn't have enough left in it. Finally, he added it to their account, and had them withdraw it to give to me. Hopefully, that'll get fixed. Right after that, we met up with some people. First was Sathya, a RC, before taking our BML, Deepak, out to the Tornalapatis, an investigator family. They said they'd come to church! Finally, we visited the Dondapati's, and got Bro. Dondapati to commit to get and to live worthy of the Melchizedek priesthood. That's actually a big problem here- recent converts falling off right after. Coming back to the apartment, I got in another cycle crash, but again, it wasn't serious at all. I don't even have to fix the cycle!

The fourth of July was on Saturday, but that isn't a big thing here. In the morning, we talked with the zone leaders, because one is having some health problems. Then, we exchanged with them, and went to some Telegu speaking investigators. Elder Anthony is the only Telegu speaker in the zone, so if we want to teach anyone who doesn't speak English, we have to bring him.The whole rest of the day we spent visiting some families, including an eternal investigator family, the Ganesh's. 

Sunday was a lot of fun. We had a good sacrament meeting- three investigators showed up! That's a record that hasn't been broken in months. We did a lot of visiting families. The most notable one was where we got invited off the street into one home, out of nowhere, by a random guy who had apparently been taught by missionaries in the past but who we didn't know. He introduced us to his family, and asked to be taught! That was incredibly awesome. That night, we had an interesting experience. Our BML, Deepak, had invited us over to dinner. We had coconut rice and potato curry, and loads of it. Having meals with most Indian families is like a science experiment. You have to figure out exactly how much food will fit in your stomach before it all comes out, then eat twice as much. They'll give you a massive plate of rice and curry, and just as you finish that, they'll load you up with more. Around the time that you're just making your way through that stack of carbs, the mom of the house will come at you with yet more. It is impossible to get away with eating less than two plates, and very difficult to not eat three. I personally have never managed to avoid the third, but I've heard that it has been done. After that, sometimes they'll take mercy on you and ask if you want more before dumping another pound of rice on your plate, but usually not. At that particular meal, I had managed a herculean effort in making it through the third plate, and was trying to catch my breath before the fourth came around. This time though, the mom, Sister Sunitha, asked if I wanted more, and I said that I was full. She responded with the standard tactic for cramming more into you: "Can you have just a little bit more?" This insidious remark will often trick you into letting them put more on your plate. Do not give in; for Indians, a "little bit" is more than most Americans eat in a week. After I had packed my stomach with absolutely all that it could hold, Sister Sunitha left us alone foodwise for a while. Then, she brought out her secret weapon: gulab jamun. In case you don't remember them, they are like fried doughnut holes that have been soaked in straight sugar. Eating one of those was nearly too much, but I survived! I think the two most different parts about Indian meals are first, that you eat with your hands, and second, that the family won't eat with you. Instead, they sit and watch you eat. Every time that your plate looks like you might finish, they correct that glaring flaw. It's an experience!

This is the Godavri River. Something that I forgot to mention earlier that might be relevant is that because of this river, Rajamundry is having a festival this year, Pushkaral. It is a Hindu festival that circles around the twelve rivers of India, and goes to one each year. It is a two week long crazy party that at least 2,000,000 people are expected to show up to, at bare minimum. The party is supposed to be so nuts that all missionaries are getting moved out of Rajamundry, into Hyderabad. That'll happen next week, on Monday. 

Have you ever wondered how Indians dealt with all the spicy foods?

These are some monkeys that we saw hanging around in the trees. See if you can actually spot them in the low quality photo.
This is some of the view from the top of the 7 story tall rented building used as a church. 


This is a common sight in the streets.

This isn't a licence plate, but is funny anyway.


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