Monday, April 25, 2016

25 April 2016

T-Minus 15 days...

So, the trip to the Philippines has been on my mind more than usual this week, largely because of some stuff that I had to do because of it. It's more or less 100% that I'm going there at this point, though. I only have 2 weeks! 

This is how the week went down: Tuesday, we had district meeting way over in Indira Nagar, with our zone leaders. Going there and back ate up most of our day, but we did manage to meet with a less-active family at night. 

Wednesday was the very exciting day. I'd found out on Monday that I was taking a special trip back to Hyderabad to apply for a second passport, and left on Wednesday. I packed in the morning, left in the early afternoon, flew out in the evening, and arrived late night. It was a long trip, but I ended up staying in the West Maredpally 3rd ward apartment, where I served 4 months back! That was pretty crazy. I met up with Elder Martin again, which was the weirdest thing. We've only met 3 times- the first time in West Maredpally, for a mission conference, when he was staying in Bangalore and me in Rajamundry. The second time was also in Hyderabad, when I was leaving for Coimbatore and he was arriving in West Maredpally. The third time was also in Hyderabad, when I stayed in Bangalore and he stayed in West Maredpally. That was weird!

Thursday morning, I went to the US consulate. That was the first time I'd set foot on US soil since June! Things went pretty smoothly, except for a few hiccups. The consulate didn't allow any form of memory devices or any electronics in, so I ended up leaving my card reader with a random security guard for an ATM outside! That was a little risky, but better than just throwing it away. The only other problem was that the application I'd been given by the mission office was outdated, and I had to transfer the information to a nearly identical but somehow better other application. Once all that was finished, everything ran smoothly, and my application went through. In 7-10 business days, I'll have my second passport! I did get my card reader back, even. Then, I stayed in the apartment with a sick missionary while Elder Martin went out with a member to proselyte until my cab showed up. I went back to the airport, flew back to Bangalore, and arrived at the apartment at nearly midnight

The rest of this week was pretty typical, with one exception: Sunday night. Last week, as we were walking down the road, a random old guy grabbed us, and insisted on introducing us to his family. That was pretty strange, but we had an appointment, so after introductions, we left. Throughout the week, we tried to visit them, but no one was home. Sunday night, we finally caught them. After we talked for a while, we asked why the father, Amul Raj, had grabbed us. His wife, Mary, explained that he'd been drunk at the time. Anyway, it turns out that they were very interested in hearing the gospel, and invited us to come back and tell them more! They have 7 children, only one of which was a son. Try not to be too jealous!

That's about all of the news. Tell Zach and Nate that I'll bring them all the disgusting candy they like! I'll see about getting another elephant thing or sari; I don't know much about those. This is kind of a weird question to ask my Mom, but what size are you? I need to know if I'm getting clothes.  I have been reading Payne's letters, and that does sound pretty painful. Injuries are something I've lucked out on- I've had a couple of cycle crashes that could have turned out to be nasty, but have never got so much as a cut or bruise. I've had a companion twist his ankle on a cycle, and that's it. 

You said you're going to take a class on ethics? That sounds How much is ethics involved in nursing? I thought it was mostly just "Don't violate HIPPA, or intentionally screw up." Apparently not, though.

Well, that about it for the week! See Ya!

Monday, April 18, 2016

18 April 2016

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This is the Bangalore Metro.

Well, things are happening in our area! I can't really keep track of the days; it all happened so fast. But, here's a quick overview:

On Saturday, I got to interview an investigator for baptism! Not ours, but the other elders in our ward were teaching him. On Sunday, he was baptized! That was a very long Sunday. We had 9:30 church as usual, then the baptism, then a mission farewell for one of the YSA members of the ward. He's leaving to the India New Delhi mission this week! All told, we were at church for 5 1/2 hours. Right after that, we had a quick lunch, and went out to teach some lessons. It's plenty hot here- so much so that we all got little cards from Sister Berrett warning us about heatstroke and its symptoms, and giving some remedies. Anyway, we met with one elder's parents, who fed us a very nice dinner, and then with an interesting family. The husband was baptized about ten years back, and then got an arranged marriage. That's when your parents and your soon-to-be spouse's parents are both hunting for a spouse for you, meet each other, and decide to marry you off. You do get a say in the matter- you can meet your spouse exactly once before the marriage, for the engagement. That's your one and only chance to veto before it becomes permanent. Fun, right? It used to be incredibly common in India, but is much less so now. Back on topic, his newly wed wife was baptized basically just for his sake, and so they remained up until we ran into them. Elder Sunny and I all but whitewashed (both moved in at the same time, thus being equally clueless about it) this area, so we were trying to find some members. A member showed us this particular family's house, so we visited. They weren't home. We tried again later. This time, their 7 year old daughter was home, but not the couple, just the daughter and the grandma of the house. We talked briefly, and left. Then, out of nowhere, the brother showed up at church! I didn't recognize him, because I'd never met him, but he told me his name, and asked me to find my companion (who was at the other side of the sacrament hall). I did so, but when I turned around, the guy was gone. We visited their house Sunday night, and finally met them, and learned their situation. The husband was very less-active, and the wife had pretty much abandoned our church in favor of her last one. But, they listened to the message, talked with us, and promised to come back next week! That's always good. 

Other various announcements: 

I have 3 weeks left till I go to the Philippines. Anyone who wants souvenirs, speak now or forever hold your peace. I'll mail them off from the Philippines; I've heard the mail is a lot more reliable and faster there. 

We are teaching a Muslim investigator, Navaz. He wants to be baptized, but the mission has some special rules for Muslims. One of them is that they have to be interviewed by our mission president. He did that this week, and we sat in and watched. It was interesting: there are some strong recommendations made, and some things that I hadn't thought of. For example, Navaz was advised not to travel to the Middle East and certain other countries, to consider changing his name, and other sundry topics. He was also asked if he had any friends/family who would consider injuring or killing him for converting. Fortunately, he passed the interview, and is go for baptism! 

Bangalore is awesome!

That's it, but here's some pictures. See Ya!

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This is as much of the chapel as my camera could get at one time. 

A normal street in Bangalore.Inline image 2

Monday, April 11, 2016

11 April 2016

This week passed by in a flash, especially Monday. Then, we had cleaning inspections. That necessitated a couple of hours of scrubbing everything, from the walls to behind the fridge. The elders who were here before us didn't do a very good job for the last year or so, and it took quite a while to get it all done. After we'd done all that, we played a lot of ping pong with the zone leaders, and went out and taught a few lessons.

On Tuesday, we normally have district meeting, but since we have zone training on Friday, we didn't. I don't remember much about Tuesday...Except that we had a very interesting lesson, with a guy who would be a great candidate for your hospital. He's a less-active member, with quite a few problems. He hears voices talking to him, is convinced that the government is trying to find him through his cell phone, and carries his disembodied hip in a bag. That last statement probably deserves some explanation: he had an accident, which resulted in his hip being removed and a prosthesis put in. Later, it got infected (he blames it on evil spirits), and had to be removed. The doctors wanted to wait for his bone to regrow a bit before they put in yet another hip, and he is saving for another operation now. He still has the artificial hip that got removed in a bag, though. 

Wednesday, we  got shown around one of our areas by a member, which really helped. 

Thursday, we had weekly planning, and made some banana bread. One of the ward leaders asked asked us to make it for a General Conference potluck, so we did. We had to go to a member's house to bake it, though, and ended up leaving it there because we hadn't considered how we were going to take the still-hot bread back. 

On Friday, we first had a very long zone training all the way over in Indira Nagar, then went back and had an exchange. I went with Elder Sampara all over his area, and even had a dinner appointment with some members. 

Saturday was the fun day. We had 6 hours of General Conference, which was really inspiring, but cut the heart out of our proselyting time. At night, we did visit one of our investigators, though. 

Sunday was pretty much the same, albeit with a dinner appointment after visiting a different investigator. 

Which was your favorite General Conference talk? Mine was definitely Elder Nelson's talk in the priesthood session about the priesthood, and the qualifications. 

It looks like I'm still going to the Philippines; I haven't requested anything. I also haven't got any official news, so I really don't know for sure. 

See Ya!

Monday, April 4, 2016

4 April 2016

Wait- Before I start, what sort of trouble did David get in on the bus, and why did someone call the news about it? That's strange...Also, thanks for the warning about the speaker and the ice cream. I'll be sure to be prepared.

Well, this week was truly fascinating. Before I start again, I just looked through my camera card and realized I had some old pictures that I still need to send. Inline image 1

This was actually not for Easter, just for fun. 

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When you buy chickens here, they come in cages just like this. So, when I saw a cage like that filled with rabbits and ducks, I was pretty curious. Turned out to just be a pet store.
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Forget play dough, this stuff is for men. 

Anyway, this week was very interesting. Without Elder Doyle and Elder Selvam to show us around, Elder Sunny and I were basically just thrown to the wolves. Turns out this area is the opposite of most- normally, you have lots of members to visit, and have to find new investigators. Here, we have a whole bunch of investigators already, who are in the process of being taught. We just have to find them. With the members, it's pretty dismal. We tried all week, calling at least a dozen people a day, but only managed to get one person on exchange, and that was last night. Neither of us know the area, so we really need someone to show us around, but it's not happening. That makes the work a lot more frustrating, but we're finding our way through the member list anyway. 

We've had some thoroughly interesting events already, though. I had my first district meeting in 6 months on Friday, which was fun. I'm also learning quite a bit of sign language from the deaf members, which this ward has in abundance. It's surprisingly easy. There's a lot of fun stuff to find in Bangalore, too. We're about to go looking for stuff right after we finish emailing. 

So, about the week. We spent basically every day the same way: finding, finding, finding. We go out to an area, usually Ejipura, and look for houses there. This week is going to be a lot easier, though, now that we've found some houses last week. We've found some interesting people, too. One sister used to be super active, before 2 of her sons died. That didn't disaffect her with the church- the member's lack of response to it did. So, we visited her, and had a great lesson. At the end of it, she promised to come to church. But, Saturday night, she texted us to say that she was going to a wedding instead. 

That's the biggest news of the week- See ya!