Monday, February 8, 2016

8 Feb. 2016

Well, we had a surprise, or at least disruption to the schedule every morning this week; some much more so than others. Last Monday, we took a trip to Semmedu, but Tuesday kind of upstaged it. We were just studying in the morning, when the power went out. It wasn't your normal powerout- it cut in sections. So, we went out and looked at the junction box- only to see a power company representative pulling our fuses. We talked to him, of course, and he said that it was because we hadn't paid our bill. Monday, we'd gotten a strange call from the mission office about that, but it was referred to the zone leaders, who I had assumed had taken care of it. Apparently not. Anyway, I called the mission office again, and got the lowdown on the situation: missionaries had vacated the apartment last year for a couple months due to transfers, and the electric meter got switched out in the interim. The church didn't know that, and couldn't figure out how to pay the bill. So, in November, the power got cut, and the talks began in earnest. Soon, it was all figured out, and the power company gave us power again. BUT, the company seemed to have failed to credit that to our account, and so was charging us for that huge amount all over again, along with the recent power use. The mission office had been talking with them for 3 weeks without any results, and now asked us to go down in person (they'd sent a few others, who had all been sent off ineffectually), and figure out what was happening. We went to the main power office, and got redirected to a more senior official. Our BML, Bro. Bosco, and Elder Maddikonda and I went down there to speak to the guy. But, he didn't know English, and our BML was the only one that knew Tamil, and didn't fully understand the situation. After much talking, translating, and misunderstanding over the papers we had been sent, we finally learned what had happened: Soon after the missionaries had left the apartment, the power company had shut off the power for no explicable reason. But, someone had gone and plugged in their own fuses: a criminal offense here punishable by jail time, as it technically is stealing power, despite the fact that the company still meters and charges for it. Anyway, the power company confiscated those fuses in November, causing the power to cut. They put in the official fuses, and restored the power. But, sometime between those points, the power company threatened police action, and someone went to them and asked if they could just apply penalty charges instead of informing the police. So, they did. The only problem was that the company billed the user, the church, not whoever actually put in the fuses, which was probably the landlord. So, we talked about our options, called the mission office, and ended up telling the power company that they could just sue the landlord; we had nothing to do with it, and wouldn't pay the penalty. They accepted that, and I just got an email confirming that the terror is over: the bill (the standard amount) was paid, not the penalty. After the talk, they gave us our power back, which was off for a very long four hours. But, that seems to be the end of it.

On Wednesday, we had yet another exciting trip to the FRO. And yet again, they told me to come back another day. Apparently, my documents finally cleared in Hyderabad, after a month of waiting, and are now pending in Rajahmundry. No one can quite explain why or how or what is going on, but they are content to sit on it and let things pass by. 

On Thursday, we had some thrilling weekly planning, where we tried to guess what was going on in the transfer. But Friday was where it got really exciting: we had zone training, and learned some very interesting new announcements:

1: We are no longer serving in the India Bangalore mission; it is now the India Bengaluru mission. No explanation was provided.

2: Due to another change in the MTC training time (it's 3 weeks for English speakers again), next transfer will be 7 weeks long to catch up.

3: 4 missionaries are entering the mission on the transfer.

4: Missionaries from our mission whose visas ran out have been waiting for 6 months for new visas, and prayers would be appreciated.

5: Bangalore has unofficially stopped registering missionaries, so no American elders will be assigned there until they clear things up with the FRO.

6: Our area is probably being split. 

That was what we heard, and yep, it all happened. On Saturday, we were anticipating an appointment in the morning and an exchange with the zone leaders, but both fell through. Finally, on Sunday, we had church, then transfer calls. Elder Maddikonda and I are staying in the same area, but splitting up: the area is being divided, and we have to figure out how. That means that every area I've stayed in for a full transfer in India, I personally had to split it. Granted, that's only been two areas, but it's still pretty crazy that out of the 9 months I've been in India, I've only been in 2 areas for a full transfer! At the end of the email, I'll send my full transfer/companion list as of the end of my first year. Anyway, my new companion will be Elder Kommalapati, who is fresh out of training, and also a native Indian. Stuff is happening!

Man, I keep getting weird flashbacks to a year ago, which was still on my mission now. I remember talking with my trainer about the Super Bowl! Also, I'm really jealous about you getting snow. Believe me, I'd really appreciate a couple feet of snow around here. It's nice and hot and humid in Coimbatore right now, still hitting over 80-90 some days, with plenty of sun. I looked through some old pictures I had, and saw one of me wearing a jacket, which made me laugh. That's also interesting news about McDonald's- they never offered me more money! And, that's about it for the week. See ya!

Year one of the mission:

Brea 1st Ward (5 months)
Rajahmundry 1st branch (3 weeks)
AS Rao Nagar (2 weeks)
Rajahmundry 2nd Branch (5 months)
Kakinada (1 month split b/t RJY 2nd)
West Maredpally 3rd Ward (5 weeks)
Coimbatore 1st Branch (6 weeks and counting...)

Brea 1st:
Trainer: Elder Wilding
Elder Mackey

Rajahmundry 1st:
Elder Thompson
Elder Willis

AS Rao Nagar
Elder Patten
Elder Peter

Rajahmundry 2nd Branch:
Elder Patten
Elder Braganza
Elder Jalagam

Elder Patten
Elder Braganza

West Maredpally 3rd Ward:
Elder Campbell

Coimbatore 1st Branch:
Elder Maddikonda

All that in one year!

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