Monday, October 31, 2016

31 Oct. 2016

We had quite the week! Plenty of adventures...small ones at least.

Tuesday was not very eventful. We did not have district meeting, because of transfers. Speaking of those, both Elder Daniel and I are staying in Visak 3rd. We are the only companionship in the zone that didn't change, though. All others had a missionary cycle through. One of those, oddly enough, was my old companion from Hyderabad, Elder Campbell: the only other missionary from Indiana I've met. He is in our apartment, even. Anyway, not much happened on Tuesday. Elder Harris went home, and we dropped his companion off with some other elders. 

Wednesday was pretty crazy. We met with Jhansi in the morning, and shared a lesson, then with Aruna later. We went clear out to Madhurawada, and found a couple of lessons there, as well as a big relief. I mentioned the Ravi family last week- they had their auto stolen. As it turns out, their auto wasn't stolen, just the battery. We set up for them to take a member to church in their auto, and called it a day.

Thursday was weekly planning, before a lot of drama in Arilova. We had a couple of lessons there. 

The rest of the week was fairly uneventful, up until Diwali on Sunday. That was pretty spectacular! We were locked down, which means not leaving the apartment, so we had plenty of time to watch the fireworks. 

Sorry, I'm really short on time right now, but I'll see ya!

Monday, October 24, 2016

24 Oct. 2016

Well, I don't really have a surprise for you. But, we had plenty. By plenty, I mean a lot. Everything from a shocking new investigator (sort of) to an unexpected piano, this week was fairly crazy. Here's how it broke down:

Tuesday, we had district meeting in the morning, then Elder Daniel had another checkup on his eyes. Then, we had correlation meeting, where the topic of a surprise new investigator came up: Sister Ramya. Actually, she's not new, and we aren't even teaching her. She is mentally handicapped and lives in our branch area, but the sister missionaries are teaching. I knew next to nothing about her, just that the sisters were supposed to be teaching. Turns out, the branch was planning on baptizing her that Sunday, and wanted an urgent status report. Surprise! We were pretty shocked, considering that they hadn't asked about her ever before. After the meeting, I spent half an hour on the phone, calling the sister missionaries, the mission president (he had interviewed her because of her handicap, and found her capable enough to be baptized, but I was hearing some weird things about that interview), and just about everyone else on the planet. That night, I talked with the zone leaders, who talked to the APs, and we worked out a tentative plan: to get the branch president to interview her father, and see if Ramya can be baptized, then move on from there. 

After that craziness, things kept moving on Wednesday. We met with Jhansi, an investigator, in the morning, and she accepted a baptismal date! Later, we went out to Madhurawada, a far area, and thought we'd have appointments. Just Saturday, we'd found 6 new investigators there...but none were available. Surprise! We did manage to meet with a less-active member with an interesting story (a ceiling fan decided it wanted to be a ground fan while she was sleeping under it. Surprise for her!) , but that was it. After we came back, we serendipitously managed to arrange for the branch president, Sister Ramya, and her father to all be at the church at the same time, and had an interview. We are now pretty sure she is accountable enough to be baptized. 

On Thursday, we had weekly planning in the morning, and went out. We met with Aruna, one of our progressing investigators, but struggled to find appointments for the rest of the day.  At night, we managed to meet Sister Ramya at her home with the sister missionaries to try to find out what she knows about the gospel, and if she needs to be taught. Turned out, the sister missionaries, her family, and everyone else had not taught her at all, and she knew nothing. Surprise again! We started teaching, and laid the burden at her parents' feet. 

Friday, we met with Jhansi again. She is still doing well! Then, things fell through. We had an appointment with a recent convert that we had just set that morning that bunked, even. We ended up giving up on that area and going back to Madhurawada, which, again, did not end well. We talked with a couple investigators, but none were available for lessons. At night, we did meet with a member, though. 

Saturday was the fun one. We had mission president interviews! Surprise! Okay, we actually knew about that one. Those took quite a while, though, up until 4. Right after that, we headed out to Madhurawada again to meet up with a member to take to Bheemili, which is an hour off. We were a little late, so the member had decided to start washing clothes...which took another half hour. Finally, we got moving...only to learn that there was no transportation. All the buses and autos were jam-packed. Rush hour, eat your heart out. Eventually, we had to give up and travel back to the church, where the sister missionaries had invited us to watch their baptism. 

Sunday was the surprising day...again. We called all of our investigators and invited them to church in the morning. Most said they'd come. None did, except Jhansi. That was a surprise, because we thought she'd attend the first branch meeting like she usually does because of her work schedule. We called the Ravi family, who had promised they'd come, afterwards, and learned why they hadn't: their auto got stolen. Considering that he is an auto driver for work, that is a big problem for them. After church, the branch had a massive baptismal service. They had 6 primary children who all turned 8 about the same time, and all got baptized at once. 

Well, that's about all the news for the week. I can't believe I'm missing Halloween...again! Diwali is coming up next week, and should be pretty spectacular. Transfer calls will be tonight, and we'll see what happens. See ya!

Monday, October 17, 2016

17 October 2016

This week was nuts! We had a lot of work, and a lot of blessings. Here's how it broke down:

Tuesday was long. We had district meeting in the morning, with a new type of training plan. Pres. Mortensen is trying a new thing with the training plans. That ordinarily wouldn't be a problem, but he only got it to us late Sunday night. That meant we only printed it Monday while emailing, and only started preparing Tuesday morning. It was very impromptu, but went okay. Right after that, we had lunch, and visited a hospital. Elder Daniel's eyes have been acting up, and it turned out he has a very exciting problem. He​ ​ got a viral infection that was bad enough that he got a secondary bacterial infection on top of that. It was so bad that the doctors gave him 3 types of eyedrops and two types of pills. Right after that, we had correlation meeting with the branch council. Finally, after that we could have one appointment with a recent convert family.

We had an exchange on Wednesday. I went with Elder Harris, one of our zone leaders, to his area. It was a very, very long day. They had no appointments, just finding all day long! Fortunately, things were pretty fun anyway. We went all over their area, looking for members. We found quite a few, and had a bunch of adventures. The best one was when we were walking near the beach, and got picked up by a random guy. He was a submarine technician who wanted to help us out, and was pretty wealthy. Having a car in India is sort of a status symbol, and he had a nice car. Anyway, he picked us up off the side of the road and helped us find the next person we were looking for. Of course, we talked with him a lot, and had some interesting conversation. By the time we left, he had warned us to go home and stop wasting our youth, because "you can't change this #$%^ing world anyway." He was pretty funny, but also very fatalistic. When we found the place we were looking for, it was actually a compound with a couple of buildings in it. As we asked at a one of them, a very angry guy came out and told us to leave immediately, reason unspecified. He all-but attacked us! That night, we visited a very nice family that we had found earlier, and had a great lesson with them.

Thursday was interesting. We had planning in the morning, then tried to meet with some investigators at the church. Four of them had told us they would show up- none of them did. Fortunately, we were able to teach an investigator at night, then go out to Madhurawada, a really far area, to meet a member.

Friday was another long one. We had a zone calling activity in the morning, where the zone got together and called all of the potential investigators in our phones. That took a long time. Afterward, we had to go to the hospital for a follow-up on Elder Daniel's eyes, which still haven't fallen out yet. At night, we only had time for one lesson, with a less-active family.

Saturday was the best day we've had in a really long time. We went out early back to Madhurawada to meet with a new investigator family, where we had a good lesson. Afterwards, they introduced us to another new investigator family, where we gave a blessing. After those two, we had lunch, and visited another new investigator family, who is amazing. The guy's name is Boby, and he is in college. He speaks amazing English, and is very frequently available and interested. Not much more could go right! After them, we went to yet another new investigator, then went back to Arilova to teach a member family. Our second counselor's son is about to get baptized, so his dad wanted us to teach him a bit. 

Sunday was the disappointing day. Despite getting 9 new investigators for the week, none of them, along with none of our current progressing investigators, attended church. Anyway, after church, we went knocking doors in our apartment complex. We found a couple of devout Hindus who shut us down, before finding a really good seeming Christian family. They invited us in, and listened with interest up until we got to Joseph Smith. There, they shut us down. "How can God call another prophet? Even if he did, what difference would that make?" They really didn't seem to get the whole "prophet" thing. After we tried to explain it several times in several ways, they refused to get it. 

Well, that was our week. Overall- really good! See ya!

FYI- Diwali is coming up! And today is my 3-months-to-go mark.
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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

10 October 2016

We had a REALLY short week! I don't even remember half of it! We did have fun watching conference, though, and found some new investigators, who were surprising, to say the least. We found the first one, Daniel, in an auto on Tuesday. He just jumped in an auto with us, and we started talking to him. He turned out to be surprisingly willing to meet with us! We talked with him on Thursday, at the church. He seemed excited- showed up half an hour early, made it to the church without problems, and listened to everything we had to say. The only problem was, he didn't talk much. After the lesson, we found out possibly why. One of the members who had been there before us overheard him talking to the security guard about "finding out how they convert people." We'll see how reliable that is. The second new investigator we got was also a funny story. He showed up to church on Sunday, but I didn't recognize him. My companion did- apparently, he'd been investigating for over two years. I asked a couple of questions, and was very confused by the answers. The guy's name was Prem, and he wasn't studying and was only looking for a job. For missionaries, this reads "available anytime." Even better, he is amazing. I asked about whether or not he knew the church was true. He said yes. I asked if he knew the Book of Mormon was true. He said yes again. Then I asked why he wasn't baptized, and he didn't know. We ended up talking to him for a while. He is from a Lutheran family, and doesn't actually know all that much about our church. He says he knows it's true, but he doesn't really believe it. While we were talking about the Book of Mormon, he told us he hadn't even read it! He is smart though, so we are hoping for progress. We committed him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon, and I think he will.

Conference especially was good! We listened to all of the talks, and all of them were awesome. I loved Pres. Uchtdorf's first talk most, though. That was incredible. Oh, and Elder Holland's talk on home teaching. His talks are always memorable, but this one more than most. 

Apart from those, we struggled to find appointments this week. We had loads of things going on, between functions and conference and some minor crises. Just last night, a wall next to our apartment fell down and killed two people! I guess the reminder there is to repent never know when you'll be called back. I'm really looking forward to getting the conference edition of the Liahona in the mail! 

That pretty much wraps up our week. It was fun, but short! See Ya!

Monday, October 3, 2016

3 October 2016

We had a very exciting week; lots of lessons! So many members came with us all week long, that for the first time on my mission, we managed a whole week with only member-present lessons! Granted, a large part of that is because most of our investigators are female, without a male in the home most of the time, so we have to have a member with us to teach them at all, but it's still exciting.

On Tuesday, after district meeting, I finally finished up my FRO work: I'm registered! Hopefully no more deportations! That took a while, but we still managed to teach a lesson to a recent convert that night. 

Wednesday was the best day of the week. All through the day, we managed to find people to teach! Usually the afternoon and morning are pretty dry, but we managed to keep going through them too. Aruna, our most progressing investigator, is starting to get ready for baptism. Her biggest problem is that her husband won't let her, and we can't meet with her husband (he's very infrequently available). We are hoping to meet with her husband, but the prognosis isn't good for anytime soon. I don't know what it is with Christians in Visak; they all marry Hindus who won't let them come to church or be baptized! I can name five families right off the top of my head in that situation. Anyway, the highlight of the day was Roshan. He lives right across from us in our apartment building, Anyway, he is actually a former RLDS member, baptized back in 1999, and less-active since. He is now an active Baptist, and enjoys talking about religion. We went over and answered some of his questions, including about the Book of Mormon (which he knows nothing about), and he invited us to come back. 

Thursday was just about as thrilling. We had weekly planning in the morning, then visited Pavani, a very, very long-time investigator. Fortunately, that's about to change! She is now on date for baptism in just two weeks! That makes a pleasant change from "the investigator who is good to go by every now and again". Later that night, we ended up climbing a multitude of stairs to visit a less-active family, the Durga's. The lesson wasn't too eventful, but there were a lot of stairs built into a hillside to get there. 

Friday wasn't as exciting as the other days. We had a lot of bunks, and not a lot of appointments. The only real highlight of it was giving an investigator a blessing. 

Saturday, in contrast, was plenty eventful. We met back up with Pavani, and watched the Restoration movie with her, then went out to Madavalla. That's roughly an hour out from the rest of our area, so we don't go there very often. There, we met with a referral family that we got, the Ravis. They are a very nice, albeit Telegu-only family. We really can't teach them much if they don't know English, but it's always nice to meet new investigators. The best part is that they came to church on Sunday!

We actually had a ton of people at church! Almost all of our investigators showed up. The issue was after church. We had multiple set appointments; but they all fell through, and so did the backups.

Overall, things are going well! I think I'm more or less adjusted to India again. See Ya!