Monday, November 14, 2016

14 Nov. 2016

Our week was weird! Lots of crazy things happened. Remember Diwali, from 3 weeks ago? It still hasn't died down all the way. There are still fireworks going off every night! The other bit of exciting news is that Rajahmundry is becoming a stake on Dec. 17th! When I first came to India, there was only one stake. There's going to be 3 by the time I leave!

The biggest news about the work is Jhansi. I'm going to ditch chronological order on this email to talk about her. She was on date for this Sunday, but complications set in. We were supposed to meet with her on Monday night, but she bunked. We were going to visit her Tuesday, but she bunked again. Wednesday morning, she was finally available. We went over the baptismal interview questions then, and again on Thursday morning, and she was interviewed on Friday morning. That was a bust. Apparently, she still somehow managed to forget everything, and I mean everything. We'll take a few weeks to go over everything for the third time, but we can only hope...She wants to be baptized, but has some mental issues. 

Returning to chronological, Tuesday was good. A member family showed us a new investigator family! Then, we had another member appointment, and then correlation meeting. 

Wednesday was an adventure. We had a ton of shocks, forget surprises. Late Tuesday night, we got a notice from the APs that I thought was a joke: the PM of India had demonetized all 500 and 1000 rupee bills. That was a surprise! From that moment on, you couldn't spend them. Banks would exchange them for the new currency series...starting in 3 days so they could stock up on it. All the banks and ATMs were closed for a couple of days, presumably to prevent rushes. That was a problem for the missionaries, who all rely on cash. I still haven't managed to change out my money; all the banks are still packed. I guess that's what happens when everyone in India simultaneously wants to go there. The move was apparently to target "black money", drug dealers and counterfeiters with big stocks of cash and no legal way to have earned it. All the banks are requiring a copy of a valid ID to exchange money to help track how much cash everyone has. 

That was only 1/3 of the story for Wednesday. Another 1/3 was the auto strike. Those are fairly essential here, so pretty much all public transportation in the city ground to a halt. The police had seized a ton of autos the day before for breaking some law or another, and the auto drivers were striking until their demand for halted police action was met. We found all that out the hard way. We did manage to get out to Arilova to meet with Jhansi with fairly few difficulties. Catching an auto was easy, but halfway through the ride, a crazy guy jumped into the auto, grabbed the keys, announced the strike, and jumped back out. Fortunately, keys are pretty optional for autos, so we got there anyway. (in case you are wondering, this is an auto).

Inline image 1

Anyway, getting back from Arilova was the fun part. The CITU, which is some sort of communist union, was leading the strike. That much was obvious; all of the people out in the streets who were stopping all the autos were wearing CITU stickers. We had quite a few misadventures trying to catch an auto before having to walk about a mile down the road past the strikers. All the buses were jam-packed with students hanging out the doors, so they weren't an option either. Because all of our normal areas were out of reach, we decided to go super far off- all the way to Bheemili, an hour by bus. We had to wait until afternoon, but eventually we got out. There, we finally met with an investigator who we'd been trying for nearly a month: Jayababu. That was the final 1/3 of the news, and it was a big third. He lives in a hostel for his school, and when we went there, other students trickled in: 11 of them by the end! And they all were interested, and wanted to meet with us again. That's right, we found probably the only Christian hostel in all of Visak.

Thursday was less eventful. We had a bunch of appointments in the morning, and didn't manage to have weekly planning. Instead, we went out past Madhurawada, and met with a member family who'd invited us to their new home. They wanted us to pray over each room! That night, we met with a bunch of members, and got a new referral family that we contacted!

Friday was zone conference, and Elder Campbell's birthday. His companion privately asked us to get him a cake to celebrate, but Elder Campbell had asked us not to get him a cake in advance because he knew his companion would ask. So instead, we did this:

Inline image 2

It's really too bad that we couldn't find a bakery that would frost a pineapple, but you can believe we tried. President Mortensen showed us the new Christmas initiative the church is starting, and we talked a lot about finding families.That night, we managed to find the Ravi family's house! That was good; we'd been looking for it for forever.

Saturday was weird. We did our weekly planning in the morning, then wanted to go out to Bheemili again. We'd just found a dozen new investigators there, so we were sure that at least one would be available. Luckily, we called ahead, because it turned out that none of them were; it was the college holidays and they'd all gone home. Then we tried to go to Madhurawada. There was always someone available there...usually. Not this Saturday, though. Instead, we tried Arilova. There's absolutely always someone there, right? Nope. All the members were at a party the branch president's wife was throwing, so we couldn't take anyone to our investigators, who were also unavailable. Eventually, we manage to meet with one member family who had stayed home, but that was it. Also, I stood in line at an ATM for 45 minutes to pull out some money. I had plenty and to spare, but it was all in the denominations that had just been deemed worthless.

Sunday was also funky. We ended up splitting in the morning; the zone leaders had a sticky situation over in Gajuwaka to sort out, but also needed to be at their own church. Eventually, I met up with Elder Daniel again, and we went to our church. That night was wacky for lessons, too. 

Overall, it was a good week! Plenty of new investigators, and plenty of surprises. I still don't have news on when I'm going home, but it should be soonish. Today is my 22 month mark! See ya!

No comments:

Post a Comment