Monday, January 28, 2013

A little bit unsafe in Hyderabad....what??

Hello everyone! 
Sorry Mom and Dad that I came to the Internet Cafe a little bit later than usual today.. Some interesting things are going on here in Hyderabad that make it a little bit unsafe for us to go outside so more than half of last week we were just stuck inside our apartment. Today is an inside day, except they said we could go email our families and then go buy some food so we don't starve ;) don't worry! Everything is fine, they are just taking some precautions to help make sure that everything is good.
This week was a pretty lame week. We have one investigator who is preparing to be baptized on the 3rd! I'm very excited to dunk someone in Hyderabad! It's been like two months since this ward has had any baptisms and they are getting a little nervous.. But luckily Elder Head is serving in this ward ;) haha! But he is progressing really well and loves the gospel and church. It's amazing to see how the gospel changes peoples lives! The Spirit really works miracles as we are obedient and work hard. It's going really well. I love being in this area! It's such a cool place! 
We had a Specialized Zone Training meeting and President Funk came for two days to train us on how to be missionaries! We are going back to the basics and learning how to work hard and teach by the Spirit. It was really good to be with him and Sister Funk. They definitely are called by God to lead this mission. They are in their final six months though! It's so weird! I will miss them. President Funk and I had an interview and he told me that my companion has improved so much since the last time they met. His English is improving and so is his teaching. He told me I was doing a good job! Which I really needed, because lately I've been kind of getting frustrated with him lately.. (Surprise!) I still love him though. 
Elder Newbill got transferred from Kakinada to Hyderabad and so now we are in the same zone again! I love that kid! He is super! 
This is for Sister Jacobs for the ward.. Hello Riverview 2nd Ward! Namaste! I hope everything is going really well over there! Things here in India are great! I have officially been serving for 7 months now and I have grown so much! I would encourage all the youth to prepare for a mission. It really is such a blessing to me, to the people I serve, and to my family. I heard about the 100 day Book of Mormon challenge. That's a great idea! The Book of Mormon is so special and important. Treasure it and apply what you learn and Heavenly Father will bless you in every aspect of your life. Remember that the gospel will bring you more happiness in your life than anything else ever could. No matter the circumstance, no matter the situation, remember that you are a child of God and that He loves you. Trust in Him and everything will be just fine :) 
Well, I love all of you! Thanks for the love and support! 
Elder Head

Monday, January 21, 2013

Hyderabad - 1-21-13

Hello everyone!
Well, I like to hear that people like what I write in my letters! Everything I write, I write for you! 
Haha well.... This week was one of the toughest, most frustrating weeks that I have had so far on my mission. However, it also was the most rewarding and I received the most blessings this week than any other on my mission.
This week was so tough because almost all of the referrals we got last week were busts and none of them are interested in meeting with us and the investigators that the previous missionaries had were not progressing, so I dropped them. So the shelf was bare in the investigator aisle in Elder Head's grocery market. So we didn't have anyone to teach and the members were all out of station this week because of the Hindu festival. So basically we were scrambling to get anything done. This happened up until Friday, when I went on exchange with my district leader. He understands the frustration and struggles that I have been having and wanted to try to help. I learned so many things from him! His name is Elder Wadsack-Stewart. I took the things that I learned from him and applied it to my situation in my area and poof! Blessings came! We were able to find 5 new investigators and 9 or 10 other potentials on Saturday and two of them came to church. Like Alma, I was in the gall of bitterness.. I didn't understand why President would put me with a companion who was green and why I basically needed to whitewash the area. I was angry and frustrated and above all, stressed. I have these high expectations for myself and I want to achieve them, but I couldn't. Then, also like Alma, as I relied on the Savior and put my trust and faith in him, He blessed me. My happiness was greater than my sorrow. It makes no sense, but I am so grateful for trials. They truly make us stronger! 
Other than that, not too much happened.. It was an angry week until yesterday and nothing too funny happened (sorry to disappoint) so that's my letter! 
Thanks for the support and I love you all! 
Elder Head 

View outside his apartment

Elder Nepali and Elder Head 

Small dots in the sky are kites flying during the Hindu Kite Festival
The Elders had to stay inside all day.

Elder Nepali

Silhouette Elder Head

Busy streets in Hyderabad

Monday, January 14, 2013

Hyderabad 1-14-13....added bonus pictures from Kakinada!

Hello everyone!
Well, it's been another week here in Hyderabad! I can't believe that I have already been a 1/3 of the way through the transfer! It's good, but it feels like I just barely got here!
This week was a pretty good week, I guess! We had some pretty good referrals coming in and we were able to teach some of our investigators and find some new ones which was nice. It makes being new here a little bit easier to have a good first week of finding new investigators. 
Some interesting things happened this week! So here in Hyderabad, a Muslim politician got beat by the police for something and the whole Muslim society of Hyderabad got upset and they were breaking buses and beating people outside. Luckily, when all of this went down, Elder Nepali and I were in church so we were safe, and all the missionaries made it to the churches safe and sound. However, we had to stay in the Zone Leader's apartment since our apartment is an hour away from the church by bus. So we stayed with Zone Leaders for two days! It was fun and I got to know them pretty well so it was all good! Everything is safe though mom, don't worry :)
This transfer is going to be a little bit of a different transfer for me. My last area was the highest baptizing area in the mission, and the area I am in is a little bit more difficult for baptizing. In this transfer, I'm follow-up training and my companion is very, very green. He is a good guy, he just does not know how to do very much. I'm trying to teach him how to talk on the phone with people and have normal conversations and to teach lessons. It's been very taxing, but the Zone Leaders told me that President Funk gave this assignment to me because it is a very special assignment and has to be dealt with a very loving and patient missionary.... Haha that does not sound like me as patience and lovableness are not my best traits, but I'm honored to have the opportunity to be with him. It's helped me grow a lot having to do EVERYTHING. I like it. Hyderabad is cool and the ward is really good so it's just a cool experience. 
Well, thanks for all the love and support! I hope everything is going well over there in the ol' United States! I love you all!
Elder Head

Here are some pictures that Sister Wigg, a couple called to serve in the mission office, took when she and her husband Elder Wigg visited Kakinada in December.  These photos are so awesome....they capture the essence of this area....and are different from the ones that cute Ryan sends us :)  

Elders Head, Newbill, Penumuru and Taylor

Mission chat in their apartment

Elder Head is enjoying his mission experience and it shows :)


And we thought an SUV was needed to transport our groceries from Costco! This must require tremendous balancing act. I love this photo!


Monday, January 7, 2013

Happy in Hyderabad!

Hello everyone! 
Happy New Year from the giant city of Hyderabad! 
So I have been in Hyderabad since last Thursday and things are going pretty well! It's been a rough adjustment, but it is a nice place and the people are really nice here! The white skin does not have the same effect on the people here than it did in Kakinada, but it's better that way. I like being the center of attention and all, but I don't like everyone watching me all the time..
Haha so everything is going well here! My companion is Elder Nepali! He is a nice fella from Nepal, but he is a work in progress as a missionary. He was taught by his branch in Katmandhu, so he doesn't have a ton of experience with missionary work, but he has a really strong desire to serve and is very obedient so that is good! He doesn't know the area very well, so we are kind of depending on the Ward Mission Leader to help me learn the area and find us referrals so we have people to teach. The Ward Missionaries are really good and are super helpful, so I'm sure I will adjust fairly quick!
So Hyderabad is a cool place! It's really, really big! Easily the biggest city I have ever been in. To get around our area, we take buses everywhere and we have to run to catch them since they don't stop! It's so interesting and the food is really good! They have McDonald's!!!!!!! Normal people food! :) haha it's way tasty! I already went! :) 
Well, I live with another companionship and there is an American here and his name is Elder Barker. He is from Layton. The apartment is pretty nice. The area that I am in is really rich, so there are a ton of malls and shops for me to waste money at :) The ward here is really good! I met the Stake President yesterday and that was cool! And the Stake Patriarch! Really cool people. It was a cool experience. One funny thing: yesterday in EQ/RS meeting, they trained about safety and the first thing they talked about was on how to use an American toilet! It was really funny to listen to them explain how to use an American toilet! That's all they have in the church restrooms and I guess people don't know how to use them so they end up getting hurt a lot.. Haha well, I love and miss you all! 
Elder Head

Friday, January 4, 2013

Happy New Year! Elder Head's 1st Transfer

It was so great to be able to talk to Ryan on Christmas Eve!!  We have missed hearing his voice!  Elder Head is doing great and is absolutely loving his mission.  He loves India and all of the wonderful people that he has met and continues to work hard.  We (namely me...his mom) were so disappointed to hear when emailing back and forth the night before our Christmas phone call that as of the morning of the 24th, he had yet to receive his Christmas package that we had sent to him 4 weeks earlier.  We didn't want his first Christmas away from home to be without a few Christmas gifts and notes from home....well alas there was a Christmas miracle.  The elders had gone over to the church on Christmas Eve for a program and his package had indeed arrived!  He shared with us stories of his cultural experience.....spicier than spicy food....learning to cross incredibly busy roads on bikes...being surrounded by many, many people and having his pictures taken more in his life than ever before :)  We asked him about coming to America this summer to renew his visa and he said that the missionaries before him that had to done the same thing were in Washington DC for as little as 3 weeks and some as long as 2 months.  The India Bangalore Mission currently has 108 missionaries....54 Americans and 54 Indians.  He loves the Lord and bore testimony of the blessing of the gospel in his life.  He said that he loves and misses everyone but is so focused on what he had been called to do!  We LOVED every 70 minutes that we were able to talk to him.  Can't wait for mother's day :)  Happy New Year!!

Here's Elder Head's latest letter......

Happy New Year! 
I thought that I would start this week off with a funny (weird) story that happened this last week! So yesterday, my companion and I were in this new investigators home and we are teaching about the Restoration. Part of the way through the lesson, I look at the little kid that has been playing in front of me the whole time. When I look, I see him adjust himself in his shorts (he's like a year old) and he starts to pee on the tile floor. The mother doesn't notice and I don't know how to comfortable bring it up so I do the best thing and just sit there silently. Then the little kid sits down and starts scooting around on his butt all through the wet pee. SO GROSS. But it gets weirder. Then, we are going to say the closing prayer and we ask this sister to pray and it started out normal, but then she started to feel the "Spirit" (some evil spirit probably) and she starts yelling and screaming and has like a panic attack! It was bizarre. I opened my eyes and just watched her roll around on the ground, panting for air. It was WEIRD. 
Well, big news this week is that Elder Head has officially been transferred! I'm leaving Kakinada on Wednesday and going to the biggest city in the mission... Hyderabad! I will be serving in the West Marrepally 1st Ward and my new companion will be Elder Nepali, who conveniently is from Nepal and speaks Nepali (Nepal language). I will now be senior companion and follow-up training him (he just finished training). I'm really excited and really nervous at the same time! It's a HUGE area and a tough place to serve. The work is really slow there, but I know with the Lord's help, I can succeed! 
So Christmas here was uneventful. Nothing really exciting happened so I don't really think that I will talk too much about it, but the most exciting thing was talking to my family! That was a blast and I love and miss them! 
Well, it was an eventful week and I'm really happy right now. I love my mission! The India Bangalore Mission is the best mission in the world! 
Elder Head