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