Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!! 
Well, here in India it is Christmas Eve and the highlight of the day will be writing this letter! 
So, this week was a tough week. Things in my area are regressing a lot and so we are just doing our best to stay afloat. It's okay though. I listened to a talk from Elder Holland called the Inconvenient Messiah. He talks a lot about how life won't be easy. As a missionary, I applied those same principles to missionary work. Obviously, nothing will be easy or even comfortable, but as we continue to work hard and keep pressing forward, then we will be able to succeed (2 Nephi 31:20). 
I'm going to be very frank with you. Christmas here is kind of boring. It's a minor holiday since Christianity is not the major religion, so not too much goes on. It's nice though, since it helps me to remain focused on the work. Being somewhere where I was surrounded by all the Christmas things would make me really homesick, but being here it doesn't too much! It's really nice! Also, I didn't get my package yet, but it doesn't worry me. It doesn't feel like Christmas, so a Christmas package would not make much sense.. ;) 
This week hopefully will be a better week. The branch really really wants the missionaries to do a skit for their Christmas activity tonight, but I REALLY don't want to. We just put on this large fireside like a month ago and they want us to do even more. It's really annoying, but whatevs. We'll do it anyway. 
I hope Christmas is good for everyone. I have really been able to focus on the life and mission of the Savior this Christmas and it has brought more meaning to me. So often, people look at Christmas as a commercial holiday, but it is so much more than that! Christmas time is where we reflect and remember the birth and life of the Savior. I would encourage all of you to remember the  true meaning of Christmas and let that play the largest part in each of your lives over this holiday season. 
Have fun and stay safe! 
Elder Head

Christmas meditation??

Ryan's comp prays while Ryan signals Kyle VanNoy's first touchdown in the BYU bowl game :)

Ryan's comp signals Kyle VanNoy's 2nd touchdown in the bowl game....while Ryan is
overcome with emotion that the BYU defense won the game ;)

Elder Head...Gangnam style??!!

Merry Christmas from INDIA!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

It's a week before Christmas and all through INDIA....

Hello everyone! 
This week was a pretty good, weird week!
My companion got really sick on Monday, so Tuesday and Wednesday we spent a lot of the time in our apartment, so I got to read the Conference issue of the Liahona. Conference was so good!! But, I still liked listening more than I do reading the talks. Haha!
Anyways, this week was a pretty good week other than that. For the time that he was able to go, we worked HARD. So one of the culture things here is that at Christmas, the Christians will put stars on their houses. Like big stars and they put lights in them. It's like Heavenly Father is telling us as missionaries, "Hit this house! I gave you a sign!" Haha it's really nice and it makes it really easy to go tracting because we just look for stars.. It's almost like cheating. We got 2 new investigators, 12 potentials that we are meeting today and tomorrow, and 6 or 7 more houses we want to knock. Why does Christmas have to end? 
We got to go to Rajahmundry again on Friday for Multi-Zone Conference for the Rajahmundry and Vizak zones. I got to see Elder Cuhna and Elder Aydelott from my MTC batch which was fun! And I met some more Elders, so it was just really fun to be there. We got to watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional which was really good. I really like President Uchtdorf's talk on receiving gifts. It's so true! Especially in America. India they do a little different. It's more of a time where they get to get together in their families and visit/ be with one another. Not many gifts, so my companion doesn't expect anything for Christmas so I am going to get him a couple things for Christmas. 
I still haven't gotten my package yet, but I am anxiously awaiting the day that it arrives! I think that pretty soon I will be sending a package home, so I may need some extra money in my account since I don't know how much that costs! I don't think that it will be a big deal since you are raking in the dough, with all the home renovations and what not ;) haha but the basement looks great! I can't wait to see it in 18 months! I'm almost 1/4 of the way done with my mission.. Crazy!
So when would be the best time to call? I'm thinking that I want to call at like 8 in the morning on Christmas Day here, which would be like 7:30-8:00 PM on Christmas Eve there.. Would that be okay?
Anyways.. I love you all! Do some service back there! Give presents and a Christmas dinner to a family in need or something! It would be really good for all of you! :) 
Elder Head

Monday, December 10, 2012

Kind of a boring week in India :)

Hello everyone! 
First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MITCH!! How old are you now? 17? YOu can go see rated R movies legally now! Haha just kidding! Don't do that. It's not worth it. 
This week was a pretty good week. We worked hard, but still the area that we are in is still struggling a little bit. Luckily, we found new investigators this week! It's been so hard trying to work with no investigators, so it is really relieving to finally have found people! One 13 year old girl told us that she wants to be baptized, so things are looking up a bit :) 
Man, nothing really cool happened this week. It was kind of a boring week. I mean, as boring as India can get.. As a missionary that can be really boring because the fun things we are limited to can only be done on a Monday.. Haha well church was really good this week! It was the primary program here and the little kids are so adorable! It is so different, but I loved it even more than the ones in the home ward! (Sorry primary presidency) :)  The little kids here are so adorable and their faith is off the charts! They truly love the gospel. A lot of them are part-member families where only the children are members or the parents are inactive. It's really fun to serve here and be a part of this branch. 
I would love to see some pictures of home! You can't demand pictures from me and then not send any in return! It's not fair! :) haha well, I guess that's it for this week. Sorry it's lame! 
Elder Head

Liquid refreshment - a nice cold DEW
Elder Head LOVES watches & he finally has one
that has his favorite saying when referring to himself,
"I'm kind of a BIG DEAL" :)

Elder Head - "the dog whisperer?"

Elder Head & Elder Vaiphei before transfers

Elders Taylor, Head and Newbill all from Utah

Monday, December 3, 2012

Ay Carumba!!! When cardboard solicitation signs don't work...try using cobras???

Hello everyone!!
This week, I'll start my letter off with a terrifying story! So it was actually today, December 3, and for our district activity we were going to go to a town called Yanam, like 30 km's away. So before we got on the bus to go, we went to an ATM to get some cash so I can pay for stuff. As we are waiting for the people in the ATM office to finish, this beggar lady comes up to me with this odd looking box.... And she opens the lid and I hear this hissing noise and then this FREAKING COBRA sticks its head out of the box. I have never been so scared. And the lady keeps saying, "Annaia" (meaning brother) and asking me for money while she sticks this cobra in my face. I yelled at her and ran away. I was so scared. Luckily, they take the teeth out of those cobras so they aren't dangerous, but they are still disgusting and I hate them. 
This week was a rough week and the work was really slow. We weren't able to really find anyone this week and the investigators that we have are not progressing. SOOOO basically we are literally at rock bottom in Kakinada West. It's really frustrating, but one thing I've learned from my companion is to not let it get me down. If I let it get to me, will I be able to have the Spirit? No. So we decided that we would make the best of it while continuing to work hard and be obedient. As we continue to do everything that we can and leave the rest to the Lord, then the work will progress, just in the Lord's time. I honestly kind of feel like this is a test for me, to see if I can overcome trials and I hope I pass! 
We may be moving apartments soon and I'm kind of excited! I love Elder Newbill and Elder Taylor, but three Americans in an apartment is just a bad idea. I get distracted and waste time. If I wanted to waste my time, I'd rather waste it in America! But that's not why I'm here! So I hope that we move before Christmas and all will be well! 
Last Monday, I weighed myself and I officially have broken out of the 200 pound club. I weigh a measly 198 pounds.. The least since I was 17! It's been crazy and we work super hard and it gets really hot but I love India so much. Best place in the world aside from home! Haha one funny thing is that Elder Taylor gets really homesick and so I play "I'll Be Home For Christmas" for him to help him get over it :) I'm the worst! Haha but it is really funny so I continue to do it! 
Well, I guess I'm out of things to say. We went on exchange this week and I took Elder Newbill to my area and we were riding in an auto and we got hit by another auto. It wasn't scary at all and neither of us were hurt, but it was a little bit sketchy! Haha well, I love you all and thanks for the support! 
Elder Head

Monday, November 26, 2012


That means "greetings" in Telugu! 
So this week was a weird week. My companion is brand new and so I have to show him all around our area and introduce him to all of our members, investigators, and other people. It's weird being in charge and being the one who knows everyone. My last companion was here 7 months and knew all the members so I didn't have to. But now that he is gone, I have to be the one who knows everyone. It's not a big deal and I enjoy going out of my way to meet the people in the branch and so it's all good.
The work went really SLOW this week. We had those three baptisms last week and another this week, and with those four baptisms, we now have ZERO investigators. We are basically starting from the bottom and working our way back up. I have the faith and I know that if my companion and I work hard, are obedient, and work efficiently that the Lord will bless us and that we will be able to find people to teach.
We were able to take part in our branch's Missionary Fireside and that was really good! It started at 6, but no one showed up until about 6:45 PM (Indian standard time is to always be LATE) but once things started it was super good. I took a bunch of pictures and hung out with the members. It was really fun and I enjoyed it a lot. One bad thing came from it though... I gave my SD card to the branch to copy the pictures I took onto the Branch system and I got a virus on it that deleted like all of my that I had just taken, including the baptismal pictures from the 25th. It's super annoying but one of the members is diligently working to fix it. 
First Thanksgiving away from home and we COMPLETELY spaced it. It's hard to celebrate an American holiday in India I guess. 
My new companion is great, just takes a little bit of adjusting to get used to! I love him and he is pushing me a lot to become better and work hard. I love being here and am constantly seeing ways that I have changed. It's weird! I'm glad everything and everyone is going well back on the homefront. Know that all of you are in my prayers! Love you! 

Elder Head

Monday, November 19, 2012


Hello Everyone!
First off, congrats to Mitch’s team for finally bringing the trophy home! I’m happy for the Jordan High football team, except for Mitchell. He doesn’t deserve a ring ;)
This week was a weird week!  On Monday, we were sitting in the apartment
after we finished Daily Planning and then, I noticed our phone was ringing and I went and looked, and.......ASSISTANTS. It was my first transfer call! They told me that I would be staying in Kakinada and that my new companion would be Elder Penumuru! The funny thing is that I had taken Elder Penumuru on like 7 exchanges and so it was really weird that he was going to be my new companion. Elder Vaiphei, my beloved trainer, is now a Zone Leader in Coimbatore! My new companion was a Zone Leader in Rajahmundry! It was a weird week and I’m excited that I have this opportunity to work with Elder Penumuru. He is way experienced and I have so much to learn from him! 
So this week Elder Vaiphei and I met with some of our recent converts and helped another family prepare for baptism, and on Friday, we got up at 5 AM to take him to Rajahmundry. I dropped him off, picked up my new companion and then met with President Funk for our interviews. He told me that he had high expectations for Kakinada! Elder Vaiphei and I had a lot of success and he expects the same. He told me that he expects me to learn things quickly and apply them to become a really good missionary. Elder Penumuru told me that President put us together so I can learn to be a leader, and that after this transfer, he expects me to be able to become a leader in the mission....Scary?! Yes.
This week we had three baptisms! It was so good and I’m way excited that we got to be there with them every step of the way. A sister and her two daughters. They are such a good family and they love me so much ;) It’s been so fun to be able to watch them progress and grow.
We had Diwali this week which is the Hindu festival of light....and noise! Everyone buys fireworks, specifically firecrackers and mortars, and sets them off. It was SO loud. We had to stay inside. No big deal. Everyone stayed in my apartment except for Elder Vaiphei.
Well, thanks for all the love and support! I love India!

Elder Head

PS.  By the way, it’s 70 degrees November! And they sell ear muffs!!

"Jordan Pride?"

Newest Kakinada members!

Elder Head and his new companion Elder Penumuru

Zone Conference in Rajahmundry

Zone Conference before transfers with Elder Vaiphei
Elder Head looks a little tired or.....
Ryan sharing the gospel with every living thing??? or maybe a pig standoff? :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Oil & Water Never Mix ....Cooking 101 :)

Hello everyone!
This week was a good week! We got a lot done, had some funny moments, and did some good work! 
We got to go to Rajahmundry (again) for Zone Training! It was a really good meeting. I really like the Zone Leaders that we have. They are just generally fun people to be with and they are such good missionaries. We learned a lot and we had a lot of participation from the missionaries, so the Spirit that we felt was really strong. Then, on Wednesday, Elder Taylor and I went on an exchange in his area and it was really fun! Having an American companion in India is like giving a pyromaniac a match. Haha it was a blast. We got some good work done, and so much fun at the same time. I love my Indian companion, but there is something different about having the American!
This week the work went well. After struggling so much to find new investigators, we finally found some new families to teach! One of them plays the keyboard, so if we baptize him, then I don't have to play in Sacrament anymore ;) fingers crossed!! This next week we have a family being baptized. They have these two little girls (ages 13 and 10) that love Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez. Even in India I can't get away from JB and SG. Haha but they are really funny and love America so much. I love that family! 
A funny cooking story for you, Mom! On Sunday I was preparing lunch and at the grocery store I had found some frozen french fries. Naturally I bought them, and on Sunday I was going to prepare them. Elder Newbill and I were cooking in the kitchen and the directions said to place the french fries in hot oil. So I heated the oil up and put the french fries in... No one told me that they would explode!! They steamed up like crazy and it was really loud and Elder Newbill and I screamed because it was the scariest thing ever. It was really super funny. I learned an important lesson yesterday.......
I'm never cooking again. 
Well, thanks for all the love and support! I love being here so much! I'm totally blessed! Congrats to Mitch's football team for being slightly better than my team. If it wasn't for us, they would not be where they are now, just saying. Happy Birthday to Spencer! 
Good luck on the mission Ed! You are going to do so good! 
Elder Head

Monday, November 5, 2012

An Electrifying Week in India!!

Hello everyone!
I'm happy to say that I am alive and well, however, this week was still a tough week for finding new investigators. It's like every house we go to is a Hindu home (weird, right?) that is NOT interested in Christianity. That's okay though. They usually are pretty nice about telling us no, so that makes it a little easier to accept rejection. We got yelled at two times and I got told to get a real  job. Selling salvation isn't a "real job" to people I guess.. Haha!
This week was a good week. We got fed like four times which is good, but also is very bad at the same time. Their portions here are HUGE and it is all rice and stuff so it's just straight fattening. Then, on top of it, it has been a really cool week and very rainy. There was a cyclone that hit Chennai and Nellore (Naylore) and the aftermath landed here. It was just really, really rainy. Some of the member's homes here were flooded and there were snakes swimming in the water. SCARY. But it was really cool. One scary experience, but a really cool one. (Mom, don't freak out, I'm fine.) We were at an investigators home trying to air dry with our wet clothes on and we were under a pavilion. It was really bad storm, so there was thunder and lightning. All of a sudden, lightning struck the transformer that was like 30 feet away and I watched this line of electricity come and stop right in front of me. It made my heart pound so much and the hairs on my arm and neck stand up, but luckily it only got close. I know that the Lord was watching over and protecting us. It was a close call, but lightning looks really cool up close.
Haha well, I'm also officially an Indian......... but that's about it this week.. Not too much was happening. We have some investigators that are 13 and 10 year's old that are obsessed with America and ask so many questions.
Tell Mitt good luck this week! 
Elder Head

New members for the Kakinada Branch

So apparently...... in India you ask the girl's brother for his sister's hand in marriage ;)

It is good to know that Ryan still likes to take "random" pictures!!  I am hoping that he has some great ones of the Indian landscape and cool meaningful ones too :)  We were able to instant message back and forth with Ryan last night.  He loves India and says that he has found a wife and is staying there his mom......I informed him otherwise ;)  We are glad that he is safe and enjoying his time in India serving the Lord.

Monday, October 29, 2012

4 Month Mark - Officially Trained :)

Hello family!! and anyone else that reads this..
I officially am no longer a trainee! I finished training on Saturday! and I've been out for over 4 months now!
This week was a pretty good week, but at the same time it sucked really bad. We'll start with the good!
So this week we had a couple be baptized! They are so awesome. They are in their twenties and they are dentists. Everyone in the branch is pretty excited because they are getting a new couple who speak good English! They could potentially be branch presidents and Relief Society president. So that was really good. The baptism service was really good and that was a good way to end the week. 
Also, we went to Rajahmundry on Monday night, stayed over night in the Zone Leader's apartment, and then had Zone Training meeting on Tuesday. President Funk was in charge and did some really good training. It was really good to hear from him. He is SO spiritual and I would not be surprised if he was called to be a General Authority. No joke. Then, Elder Vaiphei and I had an exchange because we hate each other. Just kidding! Wednesday we had baptismal interviews so Tuesday we headed back to Kakinada. Elder Smith was my companion and Elder Vaiphei stayed in Rajahmundry until Friday morning. Wednesday we were inside all day because of some Hindu festival so we had FOUR Americans in an apartment. It was SOOOOO fun! We had a fish curry on Thursday (yuck) and it was terrible (for real) but the family loves me and calls me a son. Hopefully, they will be baptized in November.
So the bad part is that we missed 3 days of proselyting. Thursday was our first day and we had so many bunked (missed) appointments because  people are "busy" or have "work." Liars! And we dropped like 6 families and we could not find ANYONE! So right now we are teaching like no one. So this week we are going to find people like crazy! 
Church was good, I had to teach Primary again though. It's funny. I remember not liking teaching primary at home, but I absolutely loved it here. It was such a struggle but I loved it. The mission is changing me! haha! 
Well, I don't really have too much else to say.. I love you all and am grateful for you and all the support I get! 
Elder Head

Utah Elders in India!

Wow! Who knew that BYU had a campus in India :)
The mascot looks a little different though!

Monday, October 22, 2012

October 22, 2012


Hello everyone! 
This week was a good week, but frustrating at the same time. We had planned four baptisms for the 28th, but two of them basically decided that they want to stay at their old church, but we will see! 
So funny story from this week is that our washing machine broke.. Which actually isn't funny at all because that means that A) I have to wash clothes my hand or B) I wear dirty clothes. I'm not one to be partial to one or the other so I decided that the best thing to do was to have a nice mixture of the two! :) Mom, aren't you so proud of me?! But you can't do anything about it since I live halfway around the world :) but we got it fixed on Saturday, so I'm so grateful for that. 
I have good news regarding the package.. It arrived last Monday! (October 15) and it was really nice to see Dad's signature on the receipt and eat the beef jerky. Beef is expensive here and so we don't get it that often. I love Skittles and Starbursts and the Reese's Pieces were a nice addition. However, I did not enjoy seeing the shorts and shirt :) I think that I may send that home with Elder Taylor's package home because I have enough clothes to manage and not a ton of room or weight in my suitcase to spare. We don't even wear "normal" clothes enough as it is. 
Like I said, we have a couple who is being baptized this Sunday and they are awesome! I love that family. They are dentists and they are just super humble and willing to change. It is so nice to teach them. They want to visit America one day and want to visit me. I love them. We are running out of people to teach though, which is really difficult and not a good thing since we are called to teach the gospel, but if we don't have anyone to teach, I'm just on a long vacation here. We already met the goal for baptisms for the year for the branch, so maybe we will just kick back and wait until January 1 to start trying again.. ;) Just kidding! 
Thanks for all the love and support! 
Elder Head

ello everyone! 
This week was a good week, but frustrating at the same time. We had planned four baptisms for the 28th, but two of them basically decided that they want to stay at their old church, but we will see! 
So funny story from this week is that our washing machine broke.. Which actually isn't funny at all because that means that A) I have to wash clothes my hand or B) I wear dirty clothes. I'm not one to be partial to one or the other so I decided that the best thing to do was to have a nice mixture of the two! :) Mom, aren't you so proud of me?! But you can't do anything about it since I live halfway around the world :) but we got it fixed on Saturday, so I'm so grateful for that. 
I have good news regarding the package.. It arrived last Monday! (October 15) and it was really nice to see Dad's signature on the receipt and eat the beef jerky. Beef is expensive here and so we don't get it that often. I love Skittles and Starbursts and the Reese's Pieces were a nice addition. However, I did not enjoy seeing the shorts and shirt :) I think that I may send that home with Elder Taylor's package home because I have enough clothes to manage and not a ton of room or weight in my suitcase to spare. We don't even wear "normal" clothes enough as it is. 
Like I said, we have a couple who is being baptized this Sunday and they are awesome! I love that family. They are dentists and they are just super humble and willing to change. It is so nice to teach them. They want to visit America one day and want to visit me. I love them. We are running out of people to teach though, which is really difficult and not a good thing since we are called to teach the gospel, but if we don't have anyone to teach, I'm just on a long vacation here. We already met the goal for baptisms for the year for the branch, so maybe we will just kick back and wait until January 1 to start trying again.. ;) Just kidding! 
Thanks for all the love and support! 
Elder Head

Monday, October 15, 2012

October 15, 2012!!

Hello everyone!
So this week was much better than the last week! It was a weird and crazy week but I loved it! 
So.. I met Mission President on Tuesday and that was good. He is such a great guy and I'm very grateful that he is leading our mission. Then, one of our zone leaders was made an Assistant, so Elder Penumuru came with us to Kakinada and we were with him for three days while he waited for his companion to come! We got so much done and it was a crazy three days because I went with him and Elder Vaiphei (he didn't get transferred) went with a member. It was good and very productive.
Then, he interviewed some of our investigators for baptism that we were planning for the 21st, but Mission President and Elder Penumuru felt as though they should be baptized on the 14. So we had like 2 days to plan a baptismal service and do the paperwork for them. It was very stressful, but we had a wonderful baptism service on Sunday where we baptized a family of 4. The children have been coming to church for 9 years and were finally baptized! It was very good!
This week we had the opportunity to watch General Conference and it was so good! I love Conference and being able to hear the Apostles and Prophet speak! It was doubly nice to hear them speak in an American accent since all I hear is Indian accents ;) haha just kidding! But my favorite talk was in the Sunday Morning session by President Eyring! It was super good! Watching away from home was weird, but I enjoyed really focusing on the talks! One of the talks made me miss my mom so bad! He spoke about loving his mother so much and it made me miss my mom so much! I love you mom! 
The work here is progr 
Power cut until 6, couldn't finish. Love you!
Elder Head

We were happy to hear that Ryan had a better week....we would have loved to hear a little more but unstable power negated that :(  When Ryan talks about the constant power outages....I can't help but to pause and be so grateful to live here in America....I love electricity and clean water....we are truly blessed!  <3 <3

Monday, October 8, 2012

October 8, 2012 - 103 days!

Hello everyone! 
This letter is going to be shorter for a multitude of reasons. The first, nothing good happened this week, and secondly, it was a bad week. 
This week was really frustrating for my companion and I because nothing seemed to be going right. We had so many people not showing up for their appointments, or members not showing up for our lessons, and we were really struggling to find new investigators. I guess that just comes with being in the mission field! I'm still in training, but I am so ready to be done with training! It is so boring and an extra hour of companion study is too long! I like it short & then we just head out and get stuff done :) but that is not how it works so I still am training everyday! 
I have learned so much and am so grateful to be here. Every morning is so weird when I get up and look outside and I'm in freaking INDIA! It shouldn't be weird but it still totally is. And every night when I say my prayers and I pray for my family, I miss them until I fall asleep. That really is the only time where I am able to think of home. Most of the time I am too busy to think or worry about anything else. It is totally a good thing because if I had a lot of time to sit and ponder about home I would get so homesick! 
I'm really excited to get this package! I know that it is expensive and I'm sorry that I want to feel loved by getting a package but it will be nice to see what I get :) It is so weird to think that on the 27th of this month, I will have been out for 4 months! It only feels like yesterday that my parents dropped me off on the curb at the MTC. Time flies! 
We get to watch Conference this weekend in Telugu! So I won't understand! :) just kidding! They are going to play it in English too so 5 of us can watch. Rajahmundry is good. We are going back tomorrow for interviews with Mission President. We did not get transfer calls, but this week might be the week. I'm so scared! I don't want Elder Vaiphei to leave.. He has been here for 5 months in Kakinada! He loves it and I love him so he HAS to stay. 
Well, I am out of things to ramble about, but I would really like some G2 pens in my Christmas package. The fine point ones and send like 6-8 refills. Thanks :) 
Love you! 
Elder Head

We also received some clarification on his trip to Washington DC for visa renewal....

So on July 31, 2013 I will leave India and fly back to Washington DC to renew my visa because it is only a one-year missionary visa that I have now. So that's what that is all about. I will serve there until I get my visa and then I will head back to India to finish. 

That is so interesting ;)  We love you Ryan....keep up the good work!  Listening to the great talks from conference will certainly recharge his batteries!  Much love from America <3 <3!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

October 1, 2012

Hello everyone! 
This week was a pretty good week! So I originally thought that the Ganesh festival was a one day thing. Silly me! Turns out that it is NINE days long and the last two days are the biggest days where they push the statues into the ocean. So on Saturday we only had a half day and Sunday we only had a half day. It was really rough because those are our best two days to find new investigators, teach lessons to whole families, and to help the branch out. Being stuck inside was a pain in the butt, but I managed! 
This Sunday was a really good Sunday! I played in Sacrament and I had to try to play the Spirit of God and I SUCKED, but I'm over it. Then our investigators that we baptized became members of the church! It was so awesome. I was like a proud father as I watched them be confirmed. Then we went to Gospel Principles and the lesson that the teacher taught was a really good lesson all of our investigators that came to church had a good experience there. One of our investigators who is like 50 but doesn't act that old was so funny. He loves the Book of Mormon and the Gospel Principles class so he would yell answers and participate so it was really funny. Then we have been teaching this family that the children have been coming to church for 9 years but the parents wouldn't let them take baptism, but the parents came on Sunday and they really enjoyed church and want to take baptism so hopefully we baptize them on the 14th! And then the Branch President taught a really good lesson in combined Relief Society/Priesthood on "The Merciful Obtain Mercy." 
One funny experience that happened this week: we found this family on Monday and we are teaching them. The mother's parents live with them and the grandpa is like 80 years old, almost completely deaf, and fairly blind (watch out Grandpa, if you do not get hearing aids this may be you in the future). He wears these thick glasses and yells when he speaks. Naturally, he likes me, because well, I'm me. And he just yells at me about Jesus and the only thing I can do is the head bobble (yes, I developed that habit) and say "yes brother." So on Sunday we visited them and a stray dog was standing at the gate to their home and the grandpa goes out and starts yelling at it to go away. The dog doesn't listen and so the grandpa gets angry and pretends to throw a rock at it. Normally this scares them off but it didn't this time. Oh yeah and he speaks really good English and so I can understand everything he says. And so he starts saying expletives and the most rational thing to do is to grab the close by bicycle pump and chase the dog down the street. I couldn't help but laugh as this old man chased a dog down the street with bicycle pump in hand. It was awesome. 
Being here is so fun! We are going to Rajahmundry on Friday for Zone Training and President Funk will be there so that will be good! Transfers are coming this week and I'm afraid my companion will be transferred.. I don't want him to be transferred! I like him a lot and if he leaves, I'll have to be in charge! But, it's all good. I'm not scared! 
Being here is so much easier than I imagined. Being in the work doesn't leave a lot of time to worry about other things so I am constantly immersed in the work and it is so good. I'm so grateful to be able to serve here and to help the people in Kakinada as best as I can.
Thanks for all the love and support! 
Elder Head

Monday, September 24, 2012

Interesting week in India :)

Hello everyone!
So this last week was so weird. Monday and Tuesday were normal as usual, but Wednesday and Thursday were so weird and sucked. Because the Ganesh festival started on Wednesday, we were not allowed to leave the apartment for anything. We did a 5 hour Weekly Planning and then deep cleaned the crap out of our apartment (literally). Then on Wednesday night we had just planned this awesome day for Thursday and Zone Leaders called and said that we would not be going out again. So we were stuck in the apartment all day AGAIN. I wanted to jump off the balcony at one point because it was so boring, but the fall isn't far enough to kill me so I figured it would be less painful just to stay inside. Then on Friday, Elder Taylor and I went on exchange with no tags or ties. Haha it was such a weird day going all day without that stuff. We did pretty good work and were happy with how the day went.
On Saturday, Elder Vaiphei and I traveled to Rajahmundry to pick up some cash to pay our bills! Having no power here in India would suck because it gets so hot and we would have no fans or AC. I would have died. After that, Elder Vaiphei and I had another productive day spreading the gospel and what not. Then....Halfway through my letter, the power went out!! Welcome to India :)  Anyways, Sunday was a big day! I played the piano in Sacrament again! And then we had our meetings and then we had a baptismal service for a family that we taught! I baptized the two sisters and Elder Vaiphei baptized the brother. It was kinda scary, but I handled it like a champ. It was so exciting to see the change that they have made from the first day that we met them to now. They are so excited about being members on the church and it is so fun to be a part of it! I also confirmed the sister we baptized last week! Such a cool day! Then, a family had us over for lunch and it was way good. Prawn Biryani. It was very good. Then, the family next door told us that they prepared a dinner for us and asked us to come over. The difference between us and them is that they feed us until we are about to explode! It was so good, but I thought for the whole way home that I was going to throw up. But I didn't! :)
Anyways....It was a good week here, aside from all the Hindu festivals and the tensions between the Muslims, I count it a very good week. I'm so blessed to be here and I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to serve the Lord.
Elder Head :) <3

More baptisms

Getting ready

poor little gecko

Ryan's big guns?

Cows...since you can't eat ' might as well tract with 'em!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Kakinada 1st Baptism - September 17

So much happens here in a week and I only have ONE HOUR to think and say everything that happened. Not enough time, but here it goes! Yesterday we had on e of our investigators who had been designated as an "eternal investigator" was baptized! It was so good! My companion performed the baptism and I am going to confirm on this upcoming Sunday. SCARY! Anyways, we should be having three more baptisms from our area this week which is so nice! Our area hasn't had any baptisms for over a month so having these 4 is so good. I had another exchange this week and it is starting to feel like I have 3 companions instead of just one. I had to go with the Zone Leader in my area again because he had to interview our investigators since Elder Vaiphei is the district leader. I really like him, but all of our investigators are starting to become very confused as to who is my real companion. Anyway, that was good and they all passed which was very good and Elder Penumuru (Zone Leader) told us that we did a very good job which was really nice to hear. It is so fun for me to see this family be baptized. I have been here since day 1 with them and I have seen the changes that come into their lives as they accept this wonderful gospel that we have. I also see miracles and I'm just so grateful that I am able to be here.
I am to the point where I slightly gag when I think of Top Ramen and I salivate when I think about eating Biryani or Naans....Haha I love the food here! It is so good! The people here love us so much and so every appointment we go into they always give us some snacks and drinks. I have actually had to refuse cookies and drinks because I am so full all the time. I have truly been changed.
The weather this week was SO HOT. And we have been expecting rain and so it was slowly building all week and the humidity was just through the roof. I was sitting in a home with two fans going and I was still dripping with sweat. But I'm used to it now and everyone thinks one of two things: that it is really funny that Elder Head sweats a lot or that Elder Head is deathly sick and so he needs medical attention. It might be both but I'm not sure :) 
That's okay about the gospel art books.. We can't get them here because they closed the distribution center here so maybe you can send one while I am in Washington DC when I am getting my visa renewed. We will see. 
Interesting news about the upcoming week: there is a huge cricket match this week! hahaha Everyone here loves cricket so much and they think that it is the best sport ever. However, none of them know about American football and therefore do not know how wrong they truly are. Elder Taylor played at Juab and so we talk about football sometimes and that is always fun. Also, there is a big Hindu festival this Wednesday called the Ganesh festival. I have no idea what it is for but all I know is that they push beautiful statues into the ocean. We may have to stay inside for that one, but we will see.
Anyways, I'm so grateful to be here and to be with my companion. Best companion ever. I'm trying so hard to get along with him and the members and I can see the benefits that come from it. Turns out I'm really not that hard to get along with. Who knew? 
I love and pray for you every day! Thanks for being the best! 
Elder Head

PS if you haven't sent the package with the USB music, put Christmas hymns and church Christmas music on it because I want it! 

1st Baptism!  Elder Head, Kakinada Branch's newest member & Elder Vaiphei

We loved the reference in Ryan's letter that he has to go to Washington DC to renew his visa.....WHAT??  WHEN??  So I guess when we find out......a family vacation to DC would be in order :)  I mean he really does need the Gospel Art Books so why not hand deliver them??  Plus Jeff and Mitch have never been to DC :) :)  If only...........

Monday, September 10, 2012

September 10, 2012

This week was a pretty good week! We went to Rajahmundry on Tuesday for Zone Training and we learned/re-emphasized the importance of the Book of Mormon, which was really good. Then, on Wednesday, one of our investigators who believes the church is true, but wouldn't commit to baptism finally committed! It was so good and she already has seen blessings for making the decision! She will be interviewed this week and hopefully will be baptized on Sunday! Even better news, the family that we have been teaching and had committed to baptism on the 16th received permission to be baptized! The father decided that they weren't getting baptized and said they could be baptized if they really feel that our church is true. It was so cool to see a miracle happen and I'm so grateful that Heavenly Father answers prayers. 
Church yesterday was pretty good.. I had to play "If You Could Hie to Kolob" which didn't go bad but it definitely was not the best song I have ever played. It reminded me of Spencer. Unfortunately, that family that had their dates for the 16 showed up late for church and therefore we have to push their dates back to the 23, but I'm still so happy! After they showed up late, we went to their house later and gave a lesson on keeping the Sabbath Day holy and the importance of coming to church on time :) haha it was kind of a guilt lesson, but they need to come to church on time to take the sacrament because that is the whole reason we go to church! We had a baptism on Sunday and Elder Taylor performed it. He went to Snow College and said that he knew Amy Sorensen. His name is Jeffrey Taylor, but I think he went by JJ. 
So far, I have been apart of 4 priesthood blessings in India. The peoples faith here is remarkable. They love Jesus Christ so much and it is so fun when they realize that this church is Jesus Christ's church established on the Earth once again. It's so fun and I'm so happy here. The work is hard, but the days go by so fast. The days here feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days. Tomorrow is my month mark in Kakinada! Crazy! I have almost been out on my mission for 3 months! It's so crazy! This week went by so fast, but I'm growing more and more accustomed to being here. I'm starting to really like the food, even though some of it is so hot. I have eaten fish twice so far.. It's so gross! But I've had beef, mutton, chicken, and fish. I'm becoming quite the curry man. And I'm getting really good at eating with my hands. It is so much more difficult than it looks! 
I looked at the pictures, and I can't believe how big Davis is! He is huge! Haha and Mitch looks like a stud in his uniform. So in this surprise package, it would be great to have just a  USB filled with church music and what not. We don't have good speakers for the iPod and the USB would be easier to use. And two Gospel Art Books would be greatly appreciated.. Two because I want one and my companion HAD one, but I accidentally ruined his.. Oops! haha and American candy would be appreciated. Indian candy sucks. Haha well, I don't have anything else to say.. But I love all of you and am so grateful for this work! Have a great week!
Elder Head :) <3

Monday, September 3, 2012

Kakinada - September 2, 2012

We received Ryan's email last night & we were able chat with him for a few minutes :)  This is what we found out from him.  He had to buy a new wallet......rupees don't fit in the money clip as well as he'd hoped :)  P-days are super busy. He shops at a store called Spencer's that has some American food to eat....Top Ramen, Peanut Butter and Jelly, corn flakes and weird milk.  He's lost about 10 pounds since his arrival in India.  His companion loves to cook and is thus deemed the apartment chef. He is loving curry but says that we were eating it wrong in America when we went out for Indian food prior to his departure for his mission. There are 4 Elders that live in the apartment which is nice as Elder Taylor is from here in Utah as well. He loves serving the people in India.  He is so focused and busy that it leaves very little time to think about home...we are so happy to hear this :)  We are hoping that Ryan will begin to include himself in more of his photos :)   

This week was a fairly good week! It's actually been kind of a struggle lately. The main language here in the state of Andhra Pradesh (On-dra Pra-desh) is Telugu and so everyone speaks Telugu, but not everyone speaks English. Unfortunately for me, I speak English, but no Telugu. So when we go out to go knock doors, I usually can't say very much because here in Kakinada isn't exactly a developed town so there are a lot of Hindus who speak no English. So I guess I'll just have to learn Telugu :) haha but we have been struggling with finding investigators that speak English and some of the families that we have been teaching have been struggling with what we are teaching and so it's just been frustrating to not be able to help them. However, we did have many good things that happened this week! We got 3 investigators set for a date on September 16 and they are a really good family, but the dad does not want them to take baptism. So we're hoping that soon we can meet with him and help him see how having the restored gospel of Jesus Christ will bless them and their family. 
My companion left me on Friday to go on Zone Leader exchange in Rajahmundry and so one of the ZL's (mission slang) came to Kakinada and once again, I was in charge of our area! I'm getting more and more comfortable here each day and the members really like me! It's somewhat because of my skin color, and somewhat because I'm a missionary, but I'll take what I can get. Also, being able to play the piano has really increased my popularity. I now have 6 members that want me to teach them to play the piano. Haha it makes me laugh because they think I'm way good, but I can mostly only play with one hand on most songs. And some others want me to help them with English. I'm just so good at everything that I do that they all want my help! ;) 
I'm glad Cole is entering the MTC this week, he will do so good. Be happy with your companion Cole and you will do great! At the same time, I feel sorry for Edward. He is going to get really good at XBOX though while he waits to leave. So there are benefits! Haha well, I've got to get going soon, but I'm so grateful for this work! It's such a blessing to me and I know that it will be a blessing for the people of India. 
I had an "I'm in India" experience yesterday. I saw two little kids holding hands while pooping in the gutter. Welcome to India! :) I love it here! I can poop anywhere and it is totally fine. Haha just kidding! 
Happy birthday on Saturday dad! Eat a piece of cake for me! How old are you now, like 50?  Haha! But seriously, how old are you? I can't remember. Have a good week! 
Elder Head :) <3

Elder Vaiphei - Ryan's comp

District conference in Rajahmundry

Elder Vaiphei

Elder Head's 1st Fast Sunday in India - only 21 more :)

Ryan modeling his "manskirt"