Monday, August 27, 2012

Kakinada 3rd email

India is 12 hours ahead of us here in the USA so Ryan's emails come through at like midnight or 1 am....but today I woke up at 5am and checked our email and NOTHING from our elder!!  My mind starts racing and worrying about the various reasons for not getting one.....then at 6 am it finally arrives!!  Power outages!! I have added some photos too as we finally were able to figure out a website that allows for easy uploads.....a win win for sure!

So this week was a crazy week. On Wednesday, my trainer went to a Leadership Conference in Hyderabad and left me all alone to fend for my area. So I, being brand new, had to guide the other two Elders all around my area! The advice that the Zone Leaders gave us to find new people was to get lost. So I figured I would take that to heart and get us  REALLY lost. However, getting lost on the way to an appointment with an investigator just isn't as productive as getting lost while finding. Anyways, I made it through the 3 days he was gone and didn't lose any investigators! :) This week was a downer week.. 6 investigators lost their baptismal dates which is a total bummer. However, they all are so interested in the church and following Christ that they try really hard, which is nice. I'm getting more and more comfortable here. I can even talk on the phone with a member, set up a member present lesson, and ride my cycle to our appointment AT THE SAME TIME. I'm getting TOO good at this missionary stuff! Haha ;) but another thing.. I am officially the Kakinada Branch pianist! I am the only person here who can play so I now play in Sacrament, priesthood, and relief society! So I get to practice all the time! Which is really nice. Today, I bought dad and Mitch a present. It's called a Loongie (I don't know how to spell it) but it's like a kilt. It's a man-skirt! Naturally, I bought two for myself, but they are so comfortable since it is so hot here! I'm sweating less and less, but I still sweat so much. And I cried for the first time on last Monday. We had a lunch appointment and the curry wasn't super spicy but there was a little green chili that I ate and it literally was the hottest thing I have ever eaten. I started dripping sweat and tears were just flowing. It was so embarrassing, but it took my appetite away. So unfortunately I couldn't eat anymore ;) haha well I've got to get going pretty soon. Hopefully, I will get my first baptism soon! This 16 year old girl is investigating the Church and wants to be baptized, but her father doesn't feel too fond of the church, but we hope that his countenance will change as he listens to the message that we bring. Even if he doesn't get baptized, our hope is that he will let his daughter be baptized. Fingers crossed! Haha but I love you all so much! I'm so blessed to have amazing family and friends that boost me up! I'll try to send pictures but I forgot my cords and I don't know if the internet cafe guy has any, so we'll see.. But congrats on getting playing time Mitch! Maybe if you are lucky, you will be half as good as I was. Thanks for the letter Grandma! It was great to hear from you! Also, thanks Grant! 
Tell Cole good luck for me and that I know he will do great. Tell Edward that I love him. 
Elder Head <3 :) 
P.S.: I hope I answered some questions, but there are so many that I can't answer them all.. (Hint, hint) :) I love you!

The "cycle"

Full view of the Gandhi statue!
We wondered who this statue we know!

"Lovely" clean restroom.....but I am not
seeing any toilet paper holder :(

Monday, August 20, 2012

Kakinada, India

This week was pretty normal for here I guess. Haha nothing like SUPER special happened but it was an easier week for me! I'm getting more and more adjusted to being here. Sometimes, we'll be riding our cycles down the road and I will look around and think: "Wow. I can't believe that I'm actually here in India." It is such a different place and it's so weird actually being here. 
Yesterday we had a District Conference in Rajahmundry (Rah-jah-mun-dree) and we listened to President Funk and his wife speak. There were about 5 branches there and maybe like.. 200-300 people there? It wasn't a ton of people but we had a lot of people (especially recent converts and investigators) from Kakinada there. It was super nice. So a little bit about Kakinada. Technically, it is a village, but it has about 500,000 people living in it. Its crazy how many people are here. The members are so amazing. We had over 100 people at the District Conference. It was so cool! The work here is going so well. I've only been homesick once or twice, but I'm mainly homesick for the normalcy of life in America. I don't really miss any of you ;) haha just kidding! But India is just so different here. All of the food is spicy and sometimes I can barely talk because my tongue and lips are tingling so bad from the spice, but it goes away really quick. Especially with some tears. The water is purified in jugs and that's where we get all of our water. I'm sorry this is short. I don't have a ton of time to type today. My cycle broke this week and so I'm off to use the debit card the mission gave me to pay for it! I love you all and am so grateful for this gospel. I love that I can go out and teach the people here. In Kakinada, the people love the missionaries so much. Even nonmembers that AREN'T investigating the church will always yell hello to me and ask me things. The kids all love me and want to touch my hand. It's pretty funny. Having Elder Taylor (from Nephi) is super nice. We talk a lot and its helpful. 
I love you! The Church is true! Also, use Matthew 11:28-30 or Helaman 5:12 for my plaque. I like both of those scriptures! 
Thanks Krista and Lindsay and Sophie for the emails! 
Elder Head! :) <3 

Elder Head's 1st area - Kakinada

Monday, August 13, 2012

Elder Head's 1st email from India

We've been anxiously waiting for Ryan's first email from India.  We sent him emails yesterday and he did a great job of answering most all of our questions!  It is hard to believe that it has been almost 5 months since Ryan received his mission call and we could only wonder what it was going to be like in India and now fast forward and he is actually there.  Amazing!!  Enjoy the first email from India because we sure did :) 

Hello Mother and Father and Mitchell and Everyone else!! :) 

Haha you are happy I made it safe to India? I can't even tell you how happy I was to just be off a stinking plane and be able to shower. We hadn't showered since Tuesday and it was Thursday and we totally stunk! Thank goodness that most of the people from London to Hyderabad were Indian so they smelled worse than us ;) but yeah like Sister Funk said, I had so many prayers answered just on the flight. I have never been so nervous before and I didn't know what to expect and I was in a foreign place with a bunch of teenage boys that had never been out of the country. Luckily, everyone was very helpful and we made it to Hyderabad safe. Then, we had just gone through Customs and we were sitting at this desk thinking, "now what?" We had no idea what to do. Indian airports are so different than American airports! So a couple of Elders needed to go to the restroom so they left and came back like two seconds later to tell us that President Funk was waiting for us outside. BEST THING EVER. If he hadn't shown up we probably would still be sitting at that desk. 
Anyways... Right now it is about 3 in the afternoon, so it will be about 3 in the morning there.. Sorry if I wake you up :) haha but I'm sitting here in an internet shop in a storage shed. Haha this place is so crazy! Most of the shops are in storage sheds and stacked pretty high up. Our rented church is on the second floor of a building. Half of it is tile, the other half is concrete floor that has been around since concrete was invented. Not really but it seems super old. There is so much to say but I am having a hard time putting it all into words! Normally, I have some time to think about what I want to write home but today I had to register in Kakinada (Caw-key-nod-ah) because the Indian govt. likes to know where I am at all time. I guess you could say that I'm kind of a big deal ;) haha so we have been doing that all day. Which was cool. I got to talk to some police officers and the police chief! 
It was like I was on a field trip! 
So my companions name is Elder Vaiphei (Vie-pay) and he is an Indian from a state in the New Delhi mission! I don't know how to pronounce or spell it so I'll just leave it at state. He speaks really good English which is really helpful, however, everyone else in Kakinada did not get the memo and all of their English literally makes no sense. In Kakinada, the main language is Telagu. Neither I nor my companion speaks Telagu. See a problem? Haha but that's why we have members! We take members out all the time! The Indian saints have the most amazing testimonies, because they are all converts! So its really easy. So the way we can teach is to anyone that speaks English. Hindus, Christians, Seek (I don't know how to spell it) and Muslims. But for Muslims, the mission president has to interview them before we can meet them and they have to get a background check on their family. The family will come kill us if we do not :) haha so we get to teach a lot of different people, all of which have one thing in common. I CANNOT UNDERSTAND ANYONE. In lessons, I just nod my head and smile. But we have another pair of Elders that live in our apartment: Elder Singh from India, and Elder Taylor from Nephi, Utah. Elder Taylor told me that for every new American missionary, it usually take about 3 months before you really start to understand so I have a long way to go but I know that I will get it eventually!  The food is delicious! Kakinada doesn't have the hottest food, but everything is spicy to me so it doesn't really matter. 
Church was great! 90 members in the branch that are active and over 170 in the branch all together. The work here goes pretty well! Yesterday, the other companionship had 4 baptisms and last night my companion and I got three baptismal commitments. So hopefully that turns into more members for the Branch. India is always hot. I sweat all the time and I hate it. And I drink SOO much water. I get thirsty just walking down the stairs from the apartment to the cycles. We ride bikes in our mission but here they are called cycles. The scariest part, even scarier than talking to people I don't understand, is the traffic and roads here. It's basically everyone for themselves and whoever has the biggest car usually gets priority, UNLESS there is a cow in the road. Which happens all the time. It's crazy how many animals you see here. Cows and dogs are the most frequent. 
Another funny thing about being here is that everyone just stares at you. We were on the side of the road talking to a boy who had just been confirmed that day and this guy walks over and touches my arm and I turn and smile and say hello and he backs away to about 4 feet away and just stares. He did it like for 15 minutes! Anyways.. I have to get going.. I have missionary things to do :) haha but I'll send pictures next week! I love it here, its just going to take some getting used to! 
I love you all! 
Elder Head :) <3

Friday, August 10, 2012

Dear family of Elder Head....

Dear family of Elder Head,

We enjoyed spending the day with Elder Head.  We first attended a zone training meeting and then finished our new missionary orientation and training meeting.  Elder Head will be serving in the Kakinada Branch in the Rajahmundry District.  His companion is Elder Vaiphei.  Kakinada is on the east coast of India.  Every missionary who has served in Kakinada has said they loved their time spent in Kakinada. Elder Vaiphei is from the New Delhi District.  He served in the Branch Presidency in his branch before he came on his mission.

During our meeting Elder Head bore his testimony and said, "Over these last 4 days I have seen the hand of God.  I was so scared.  I prayed and saw my prayers answered immediately.  When we put our faith in God we have no need to fear."

I have attached some pictures.  Elder Head will write during his preparation day on Monday.

Love, Sister Funk

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Elder Head's officially in India!!

We received some great pictures today confirming the fact that Elder Head is officially in India!

New arrivals with President Funk in Hyderabad!

I love Ryan's expression in this picture...

Waiting at the Airport to fly to Bangalore

En route to the mission home

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Dear India.....

Dear India......Our son is heading your way, even as we type this.  Please treat him well and we'll make sure he does the same.  He is a little nervous but is so excited to come and visit for 1 year 323 days 21 hours 50 minutes and 02 seconds!  He has a great message for families in your country!  We are so happy that he has this opportunity!  We love and miss him and can't wait to hear/see his great adventures in India.
Sincerely, Jeff, Michelle and Mitch Head

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Visa has arrived!!!

I got another awesome 5 minute call from Provo this incredibly excited voice on the other end of the line told me the good news....the highly anticipated visas had finally arrived! Patience and long-suffering are over :)  Ryan and his fellow India-bound companions are finally going to have a welcomed change of scenery.  They will depart for the next chapter of their adventure on Monday, August 6th and arrive in Hyderabad India on Wednesday the 8th.  It was so good to hear Ryan's voice again. He is so excited and ready to go.  We sure love and miss this boy!!

He's been in the MTC so long....might as well learn another language!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Week 5....still waiting :)

Hello everyone! So once again, another week with no visas! :( I mean don't get me wrong... The MTC is great, but I just want to get out of here! Luckily for all of you, I have some pretty cool stuff going on this week so I have a few more things to talk about!
First off: on Wednesday, our supervisor for the India districts gave us some great news! We can now work in the Referral Center, chatting online with people from around the world!! It is so much better than being stuck in the classroom all day. Our teachers are amazing and we learn a ton, but being stuck in a classroom for 6 hours a day just reviewing all of the things that we have already been taught kinda sucks. I know how all the language people feel now though. We are 5th weekers now and are almost jealous of the people learning languages. They get to have half of their class time for language and not all gospel. Sitting in a class being taught the gospel is great and the Spirit is amazing, but I can only sit in that classroom for so long before I want to jump out the window and have an excuse to leave the MTC, even if it means taking a trip to the hospital. Just kidding!! Kinda. On a normal day, we spend roughly 11 hours in the classroom each day, whether it be studying or learning or attempting to learn. But the Referral Center makes that all better! On you can chat with real missionaries about anything relating to the Church. I get to talk with real people on Thursday through Saturday at 6:30 PM- 9:00 PM! Three hours of talking to real people, like 4 days out of the week! It's been way interesting so far! Everyone that I talk to thinks that Mormons are: racists, polygamists, homophobes, or deprived. It is kinda frustrating having to answer the same questions over and over again but hey! At least they are real people! :) I got to work with Sarah Anderson's older brother Bryan the other day and that was kinda cool. All the teachers that work in there are mega-geniuses when it comes to answering weird questions. But so far I've placed 2 Book of Mormons and referred two other people to the missionaries. It is so nice to feel like I'm actually doing something! And about Elder Farnworth.. His P-Day was earlier than mine and we don't write letters until P-Day so that's why you hear from him before me. So don't give me a guilt trip! Haha well.. We get two temple days as well! It's pretty awesome to get to go to the temple once more than everyone else in the entire MTC! It is so awesome.
We saw another district of missionaries leave before us now.. That's 4 districts that we have seen leave and its looking like we will be here for our second set of zone leaders. We will get a new set on Sunday and they will be our third. Our district is like the old people in the ward that no one really wants to talk to because we are attention starved and want to talk about all the experience we have. We get to help teach the districts stuff though. Which is totally rad!  I look WAY smarter than everyone else and it's totally awesome!
I was so happy/sad for Elder Farnworth. Happy that he got to leave, sad because he left before me. It is only fair that he leaves before me, but I just really wanted to leave before him because that would have been totally awesome and I could have given him some hints for the field ;) haha! I miss him though.. It was nice to get to see him around but he is going to do so awesome in Chile. They really are so lucky to have him. I tried to get him to stay a little longer and just go to India with me and also to teach me some more Spanish, but he just got up and left the country. I was totally mad. I now have all three of the Spanish language books that the missionaries use for learning the language and I also have a Spanish Preach My Gospel! I'm gonna be fluent in no time! I also wrote Call Me Maybe into Spanish. Productive week! :)
So shout-outs? Um.. One for Elder Cunha, my district leader, for totally reading  my email over my shoulder! What an awkward person. Also, one to Sister Hill, in my zone, for saying that I'm really funny. Rachel Corlett and Marlies Robinson wrote me last week which was pretty nice of them. CONGRATS TO EDWARD ON THE MISSION CALL! I was so happy for you when I found out that I went and yelled at my whole district about it even though none of them cared at all. True friendship! Also, happy birthdays to two of my favorite aunts in the whole world, Krista and Lindsay! I know that Lindsay's is far away and all, but who knows when I'll be leaving and I don't want to miss it.
Well, I love all of you so much! Thanks for all the love and support and prayers! I feel blessed every single day and I know that I have at least a couple people on my side, praying for me! We learned a ton about the Book of Mormon this week and we are trying to read the whole book before we leave. I read 75 pages the first day and then got lazy... But I'm trying hard to finish! Have a great week!
Love, Elder Head