Monday, December 26, 2016

26 December 2016

Well, this week was really, really short. I'm still not trunky, believe it or not. We largely spent the week running around, trying to find new investigators. I just packed up most of my stuff, and I'll be home tomorrow. Let's see if there are any stories from the week...

Monday and Tuesday nights, we tried to go caroling, but everyone showed up far too late. That was pretty funny. We also found a bunch of new investigators on Wednesday! 

Thursday, we met with a less-active returned missionary. That was interesting. 

Friday, we had our Christmas party. That was as entertaining, if not actually Christmasy, as always. 

Saturday, we had our Christmas missionary devotional. All of us went down to the mission home, and the mission president showed us a couple videos, fed us lunch, and gave a great talk on obedience and the Christmas spirit. Funny story- one of the American elders was pretty sick at the time. I just got the news- he's in the hospital with a nasty bladder infection. That has to be thrilling. 

Finally came Sunday. Christmas. The last one on the mission. It went by pretty quick. We had 8 o clock church, then went back and had a snack, before 3 consecutive meal appointments. At the first one, they fed us chicken biryani, and we called home from there. At the second, with our WML, he gave us lots of sweets and tried to feed us more chicken biryani. At the third, Neil, he gave us bacon! And yes, more chicken biryani. You can't forget the chicken biryani. 

Christmas itself is interesting in Bangalore. You don't see too many decorations outside, but people will decorate the inside of their homes. Also, because under 10% of the population is Christian and the temperature was still in the 80s, it really just looks like a normal day. 

I'm now mostly packed, and will move out to the mission office for my trunky training shortly. See ya for the last time!

Monday, December 19, 2016

19 December 2016

We had a fairly slow week- not too much in the interesting department. The best story was actually last Monday night! We had a set appointment over near our bishop's house, one of his son's friends. The problem was that we didn't really know how to get there. The usual way in India is to stop an auto, tell him the area name, go there, and call a member. We did that. Unfortunately, it was cold and rainy out, and autos have open sides. Oh, and the ride was far longer and more expensive than we thought. Anyway, we got out at what we thought was the right spot, still cold, wet, and raining. We called our bishop, and asked how to get to his house from there. It turned out that we'd gotten down at a spot that was named something similar, and only about a mile off. Of course, the bishop didn't actually know where we were, so we had to wander around asking strangers on the street directions for a while before we figured that out, but hey; we're missionaries, and that is part of the job description. Eventually, after walking about two miles (it was still raining, by the way, and neither of us had an umbrella), we got to the bishop's house. The only problem was that he wasn't there, and neither was the investigator who said that he'd be there just that morning. So, we waited. The bishop's very nice wife let us in. Did I mention that our bishop just returned from a trip to America? His family gave us all sorts of amazing American candy. In the end, the bishop and investigator never showed up because of the rain. But hey, I'd do a lot more to get a Baby Ruth again.

Tuesday was equally uneventful, except for yet another fun incident. We were trying to find a member's home somewhere called Pillana gardens. On arrival in the area, we looked in vain until we tried asking people about the landmark. They told us it was across the railroad tracks and beyond the wall. So, we went there. I kid you not, the first thing we noticed was a ton of Muslims everywhere. They are very noticeable, and this was apparently home to a lot of them. We started cautiously looking around anyway, and that's when the party started. Within half an hour of us being there, they started having some huge celebration, I still don't know why. They jam-packed the main road to get out. Now, I haven't had too much luck with big crowds of religiously excited people (remember the Coimbatore incident?), so we tried to find a back way out- but couldn't. In the end, we just caught an auto and evacuated. Nothing too exciting happened, thankfully. 

Wednesday was just plain uneventful, as was Thursday. We had a couple of appointments, but that was it. Friday, we had zone training in the morning, then the plan was to go to a member's wedding, where they'd give us lunch. For some reason unknown to anyone, we instead decided to grab lunch elsewhere, then go to the wedding. Then, we headed back to our area, and tried to go to a set appointment with a returned missionary. You'd think that a returned missionary of all people would know better than to bunk appointments. You'd think. Nope! Then at night, we tried to visit an investigator named Babitha. We had to walk around forever trying to find her house while she ignored our calls. Eventually, we found it- only to learn that she'd bunked. We'd just set the appointment that afternoon when we saw her at the wedding! After walking all the way back out of that area, she finally called us back. Turned out she had to take her grandmother to the hospital. Oh well.

Saturday, we managed to meet with some new investigators. Nothing too thrilling, though. We did have a puzzle- both of us had written "James" in our planners, but neither of remembered who James was! That mystery is still unsolved, as the number listed as "James" in our phone won't answer our calls. 

Sunday, we had church, then went out caroling with the ward. That was fun!

Well, that's our week. Nothing too crazy happened, but we had plenty of fun stories. 8 days to go!

Monday, December 12, 2016

12 December 2016

Well, I'm back in Bangalore. Things are surprisingly similar, just flipped. Last time, after 3 weeks, I was leading the area with no idea of where anything was. Now, my companion, Elder Magnusson, is leading the area, with no idea of where anything is. He's only been here one transfer, where he went on a ton of exchanges and had a lazy companion who didn't show him much. So, we largely spent the week finding new investigators and members' homes.

Tuesday was the transfer. I flew over from Visak fairly uneventfully, and got dropped off at the Lingarajapuram apartment. As soon as I got there, I learned the power was out, so I had to haul my luggage up 6 flights of stairs. That was fun. Right after that, we needed to go to the mission office to pick up some stuff. There, I got to meet up with a lot of old companions and zonemates, including the unforgettable Elders Patten and Jalagam. They were all going home, along with a ton of other elders that I knew. We had one funny moment- Elder Conrad had received a package from home that had something in it. After looking at it, we decided it must be either dog treats or beef jerky, but we weren't sure which. Even after we all ate some, we still weren't sure. I think it was dog treats, but it could have just been cheap jerky. Elder Halvorsen loved them anyway, and ate half a bag! After that, we did lots of finding members' homes, without much success. 

On Wednesday, we did some administrative work- printing a member list, media referrals, and other stuff. Not much happened, but we did do more finding!

Thursday, we tried to have weekly planning, but we didn't quite finish. Then, we tried to make a map of the area, and ran into the usual headaches associated with that. At night, we met with a member, Rajesh Bogati. That was surprisingly fun! On the way back, we met with another, too.

Friday, we had district meeting in the morning. It was a relief to have someone else teach- I'm not the district leader anymore! Then, we had interviews with the mission president. That went pretty quick for me- "How are you doing? Any issues? See you for your exit interview in two weeks!" We met with two less-actives later, Moses and Aaron, from the Congo. Our ward seems to have tons of Africans in it, by the way. Finally, we did more finding! 

Saturday, we finished up our weekly planning, met with an RM (the former Elder Sampson), who showed us the area a bit, and had our first lesson with an investigator all week! Then, we had correlation meeting.

Sunday was interesting. Our church meeting was inverted- sacrament meeting at the end of the block, for some reason. After church, we spent a lot of the rest of the day in various meetings and ITLing on the streets. The highlight was meeting with a part-member family and sharing the Light the World initiative with them. 

That was our week- lots of finding! The 15-day countdown has begun- I'll be home on the 27th. Join me next week as I battle trunkiness and invent a compass to find investigators. See ya!

Monday, December 5, 2016

5 December 2016

Well, I don't have a lot of time, but I do have a LOT of news. Let's see how much I can cover:

Tuesday, we had a standard district meeting and correlation. Nothing thrilling.

Wednesday, we met with Pavani, who was on date for Sunday. She is still doing well! Then, we went down to Madhurawada and refound a couple families we hadn't met with in a month!

Thursday, we had a huge service project in the morning. It was supposed to start at 8, and finish at 1. No, it started at 9:30, and we didn't start proselyting until 6. For that, we went to an old folk's home. The warning we got didn't help- "Don't hesitate when you see their faces, just smile and make them smile." Cheering, right? Fortunately, we only had a couple of weird moments. For the service, we cleaned everything. I first weeded a flowerbed, then cleaned ceiling fans, but other elders mopped, painted, etc. There was a lot to do! At night, we managed to meet with a recent convert family, but that was it. 

Friday was a lot more exciting. We split up with the zone leaders in the morning to do two interviews in two different places at once. Pavani, our investigator, passed her interview! Then, we went out to a pastor. We didn't know he was one at the time, but we learned fairly quickly. He loved to debate everything. We had to explain everything over his frequent interruptions. In the end, we committed him to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. He told us he'd read it in just 3 days. Good luck!

Saturday was the fun one. The mission president called in the morning, and told us that he was coming in 30 minutes. After half an hour of frenzied cleaning, he arrived, gave us the transfer news, and dropped off a new elder, Elder Cundick. I am going to Bangalore for my last 3 weeks, and am leaving tomorrow morning. My companion will be Elder Magnusson, from Georgia. Anyway, we met with Pavani again, then a couple of new investigators.

Sunday was mostly just thrilling because Pavani got baptized! That is big news. She's been investigating for over a year! That was about all that happened, though.

The biggest news for me was hearing that my return date is December 27. I'll see you then.