Monday, August 17, 2015

17 August 2015

Well, this week has been pretty exciting. On Tuesday, we didn't have district meeting, because the elders from Kakinada couldn't get here, because of the strike. Apparently, that day was set aside as a Bundt (strike) to try and get Hyderabad (a big city) to become part of Andhra Pradesh (its original state) instead of remaining in Telangana (the state that split off of Andhra Pradesh and now owns Hyderabad's tax rights). So, lots of things were closed. We dropped by the other district's district meeting near the end to try to pick up some meds from the zone leaders, but they didn't have them. Then, we went out to lunch together. The original thought was Dominos, the only American restaurant here, but it looked closed. One of the elders called, and what would you know? Despite having big metal things pulled over all the windows and covering the door, they were actually open, and let us in through the back.
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That furry looking thing in the bottom left is Elder Thompson's head, by the way. After we got done there, we went out visiting. Unfortunately, not many people were home. As in, basically no one. Partly because of the strike, everything was closed and everyone was gone. It wasn't violent, though. All that was different was that 3/4 of the businesses were closed. However, we found three new potential investigators, with a bit of a funny story behind that. We showed up to a less-active family's house, and taught them a quick lesson. Then, they gave us a referral! That was the first time I've gotten one since arriving in India. We go to the referral's house, and learn their story. One of them, Pradeep, is a bodybuilder who met an LDS Mexican woman online. She only spoke Spanish, so he learned it to talk to her, and now they are going to get married. However, she insists on him being baptized before marriage, so he agreed to meet with us. We are going to have to be very sure that he is getting baptized for the right reasons, but right now that isn't a problem because he is avoiding us. He also has two sisters who seem very interested, and sincere! As we were heading home that night, we saw a whole bunch of Hindu decorations set up, and people dancing around with music blasting. As we tried to bypass them, we were all but literally dragged into the mosh pit, with people asking us to dance. We got out safely, but it was an exciting moment. 

On Wednesday, we had district meeting in the morning, then left for a lunch appointment. Unfortunately, we got a call cancelling it. The same family who gave us the referral also invited us to one of their friends/relative's weddings, but right before the ceremony the couple started arguing, and it was called off. After that, we went out to go to all of our investigators. The high point of the day was teaching Rakesh, our most solid investigator. He just showed up in church one day, and agreed to let us teach him! He is on date for baptism, but is having some trouble with really believing he can be ready by then. After that, we went to another member's house for a dinner appointment, which are deceptively rare here. One of the sisters cooked us an amazing beef curry! One of the different things about India is simply that the people here don't experiment much with food. Even most of the Christians and Muslims here don't eat beef, mostly because they've never had it. Also, no one eats pork. I have no idea why. As we were going home for the night, Elder Patten took a crash in a very interesting way. He was just biking down one of the alleys when his wheel caught in a crack, and he fell over. He's fine, though. 

Thursday, we had some very exciting weekly planning. Then, we went out to a new restaurant, where I got to try uttapom for the first time. It's good! After lunch, we tried to track down a few families that the branch president had asked us to visit. Eventually, we found them all, but it took quite a while. We set up appointments with them and a bunch of other people, but didn't get to teach many lessons. A lot of people were busy then. 

On Friday, we had an eventful day. Bro. Raju, our BML, had said that he would come with us all day to help us find places, which we were really looking forward to, but he got sick. So instead, we went to the Bordu family, then to the hospital. Elder Patten has been having an earache for a while, so he called the mission nurse, who told him to go there. We waited after checking in for two hours, then Elder Patten got called in. He said that the doctor was a little different than what you might have expected. He mostly just prescribed a whole load of antibiotics, antifungals, steroids, and painkillers. In India, you can get anything in a medical shop without a prescription, as a side note. That includes crazy painkillers, antibiotics, and anything else you feel like. After the hospital, we were short on time. We started heading out, but then it started raining, which trashed our plans. Some of the people we meet with are single sisters, which means we have to talk outside, which they don't want to do in the rain. However, we still had a pretty successful night, and shared a bunch of messages.

Saturday was Independence Day for India. We had a crazy good day, and met with 8 families. That is almost unheard of here, largely because most people aren't home very often. However, on holidays we can meet with anyone because they are all home. We had a long list of people we could visit, and a member who came with us for part of it. That too is very rare here. We dropped by the Godavri river at one point, and noticed something: the river water is just about completely opaque. We couldn't see the steps that were less than an inch under the surface. Anyway, we tried visiting two families in a row that weren't home, but as we swung by later, they were! Then, we visited some more less active families, and called it a day. 

Sunday was one of the best days of the week. We headed out a little early to invite some investigators to church again, then had a lunch appointment with the Katiki's, who also have a son on a mission, and are amazing cooks. They made the best mutton biryani that I have ever had. At church, almost none of our investigators showed up, including Rakesh. But, we had two of the inactive families that we had visited show up! Because the one investigator who had came to church ducked out right after sacrament meeting, we had BMCM instead of Gospel Principles class. After church, we had a hard time finding anyone who was home, until we ran into Mohan. We had an amazing lesson with him, and he really seemed excited to come back to church!

Earlier today, we had an interesting experience. We went to a Hindu temple, after getting authorization, and got to climb the 600 steps to the top of the hill it was built on, in bare feet. There were monkeys everywhere, and some really good scenery. Inline image 3

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Are you still working at the hospital, as well as teaching? What is Ben doing? And if you want some ideas on what to cook, try chicken biryani. That is one of the most popular and common foods around here. Finally, my companion has a funny story. He asked his mom for a lantern, and she ordered one and sent it to him through Amazon India. Unfortunately, he just wanted a small one to keep in his bag, and this one is massive. Would it be okay if I pulled money off my card before my birthday to buy it from him? Transfer calls are today!

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