Monday, April 29, 2013

Elder Head reporting from India! 4-29-13

Hello Everyone!
Elder Head reporting from India!
This week was a pretty weird week...I have been a district leader for all of 3 weeks and....We already had one missionary in my district go home! He was from Delhi and he had some family problems, which is the main force for his departing. However, he told my companion that he didn't like being in the same district as Elder Britton and I because we are obedient and we made him work hard. He said that this is the first time in his mission that he has actually had to work....I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but we will just keep pushing on and working hard. Elder Britton's new companion comes tonight. He is from Rajahmundry and he knows the local language which will be really nice!
The work this week is kind of suffered a little bit. With that Elder going, we were in a threesome here and trying to do work for both sides in one day was a little bit difficult, plus the fact that there were three Americans together and we can say that we enjoyed! We worked, but there was a lot to do and less time to do it, so we are grateful and excited that Elder Britton's companion is coming as soon as he is!
Things here in Hyderabad are awesome! I got a call from one of our investigators the other day saying that he talked to my mother on Facebook...Haha it was really funny and really weird...Don't abuse Facebook mom :) you can't beat the system!! It was a fun week though and we have some good investigators that I think will progress and learn well. I'm excited about the prospects of this time that I have here and so I'm going to do the best with what I have got! I have learned some degree of patience on my mission and I teach people about enduring to the end so I must practice what I preach!
Also, Happy Birthday Jake!! Even though I'm halfway around the world, I still think about you! Congrats on turning 8 and now you can be baptized! That's so cool! You are way lucky to be baptized in Jesus' Church! He is going to be so proud of you!
Thanks for all the love and support!
Love you!
Elder Head

Haha!! well now that Ryan has made me sound like a Facebook freak.....I will defend my facebook chat :)  I checked Ryan's page to see if he had anything new on there...friend's mission calls etc. I noticed that he had friend requests and some were obviously from some of his India friends. I took a screenshot of the requests and sent him the picture in dropbox and asked him if he knew these people. He said yes, he did and please accepted their requests.  So I went back and accepted them and two of his friends from India saw that he was online and immediately started messaging him. I informed them that he can't check his Facebook page and that I, his mom, was updating his blog and friend requests.  They were so nice and said nice things about Elder Head and one friend from Kakinada, whom Elder Head had baptized he and his wife while serving there, wanted to know where he was currently serving. It was fun to hear from them and now I have a friend that lives in international Facebook friends :)  HA!!

Elder Head's mission president and his wife left India last Friday. He has been called as the second counselor in the Asia Area Presidency.  President and Sister Berrett will arrive in India on May 9th.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Changes coming to the India Bangalore Mission - Hyderabad 4/22/13

Hello everyone! 
Well, this week was a pretty good week! It was a little bit bitter sweet because President Funk came to Hyderabad on Wednesday for the last time because this Friday he is leaving to go back to Salt Lake! It's so weird that he is actually leaving and that President Berrett is coming! But I'm excited to see the change that will happen. Right now our mission is struggling a little bit. With the announcement of our new mission president and all of the news surrounding President Funk, 2013 has been a lackadaisical year so far for the India Bangalore Mission. I'm excited for President Berrett to come because I know that things will change and that they will be different! However, with that being said, I am sad that President Funk is leaving. It's weird that he is going because I have learned so many things from him that will help me so much and I feel like there is so many things that I still have to learn from him but I know that I can learn these things from President Berrett as well! 
The work here in Hyderabad is going okay. Our ward is struggling and we are trying to work hard to help it, but it feels like a total uphill battle. No one in the ward wants to help us and so we are trying to take it on by ourselves and that leaves a lot of stress and pressure on me because now I'm working like directly with the bishop on what we can do to improve the ward and how I can continue to help the missionaries in my district. It's all good though! We are all working hard and doing the best that we can, so I'm pleased and happy with our efforts. 
Our investigators aren't progressing all that well. Our area is a little tough because of the lack of people that are willing to listen. My area extends pretty far away from church (something like 14 km) and we have been working out there more recently. The positives are that the people are more humble (less rich) and willing to listen to what we have to say. The problem is that it is so far away and they are humble so making it to church is kind of a stretch, but we'll see. We're going to continue to work hard our there and do what we can! 
Things with my companion are pretty good! We have found some things in common like reading! So that makes it a little easier to talk and relate when we have something to talk about! It's fun. There is one missionary in my apartment named Elder Britton that is awesome! I really like him a lot and we get along great! It makes it fun! 
Well, that's all for this week! Thanks for all your love and support and everything that you do for me! Pray for me! Love you!
Elder Head

Elder Head w/ President & Sister Funk
This is their last visit as they are heading to their new assignment.

Elder Head and Elder Justesen

Wow! Now that's a large dinner plate for sure :)

Holi festival - the elders participated after all!!

Elder Head, Elder Nepali and Elder Eames

West Marredpally 1st Ward

Monday, April 15, 2013

In case I didn't tell you, I am now the Stake Choir Pianist.... - Hyderabad 4-15-13

Hello everyone!! 
Sorry Mom and Dad that we weren't able to talk at all today.. We had a pretty busy day here in Hyderabad! 
Well, this week was a pretty crazy week. We had transfers and so we had Elder's leaving and we also had Elder's coming and I was in charge for our district. It was a busy day on Monday as Elder Eames had to deregister from Hyderabad so that he then could register in Rajahmundry. Tuesday was a bund outside so we were not allowed to go outside, so we spent the day inside while those two packed and I practiced hymns on the mini-keyboard I have in our apartment. (In case I didn't tell you, I am now the Stake Choir Pianist..) That was pretty fun to just get to sit and play the piano. Wednesday the new Elder's were supposed to come, but only the other companionship came. My companion was delayed one day so I showed the other companionship around their area and took them to some member's homes that will be able to help them. Thursday, my companion came! He is exactly what I remember from the MTC! I thought that one or both of us would change on our mission, but I guess neither of us really changed all that much, but we found something in common so hopefully we can talk about that until we find something else in common to talk about... Friday we spent outside proselyting which was nice and we met some people. Now for the best part...
CONFERENCE WAS AWESOME! I loved all the talks and I think I only dozed off twice.... (I'm a disobedient missionary.. Sorry to disappoint!) I really liked the Priesthood session! I thought that it was very cool that they talked so much about missionary work and especially when President Eyring called out the ward mission leaders! Ours was there and he just sheepishly looked at me because we both knew that he was slacking! Haha! But Conference was good because it gave me a chance to recharge my batteries and get ready for the next phase of my mission. I really liked Elder Bednar's talk on the Law of Chastity. The world needs to hear his talk because even here in India the world is starting to take a toll on the culture here. It's becoming very western and the standards are quickly dropping. That was very refreshing! President Monson's talk was really good on obedience. It really helped me to have it in perspective just how important being obedient really is. I really enjoyed that because obedience as a missionary is like the most important thing. 
Well, that's all for this week. Thanks for all the love and support that I get! I love you all so much! Have a great week! 
Elder Head

Monday, April 8, 2013

Ahh!! Hyderabad...New things all around :)

Hello everyone! 
Well.... There is so much big news! 
President Funk has been called to serve in the Second Quorom of the Seventy as a General Authority and so they have asked him to come and move to Salt Lake at the end of April.... So he is leaving this month and the new mission president is coming! It's so crazy! We all knew that he would be a General Authority though. He is so awesome. 
Secondly, we got transfer calls this week! My district leader who is in the final 2 months of his mission got transferred to Bangalore to serve as an assistant to the president! I really like my district leader. He was an awesome missionary. So his companion also got transferred (YAY!) and Elder Nepali also got transferred.. So I am staying here in West Marredpally 1st Ward and my new companion is Elder Justesen (my batch mate) and I will be the district leader for our district now. Crazy stuff over here on this half of the world! 
This week was a good week. I learned a lot and we had some fun. Today we are all hanging out as a Zone and so we are emailing together. I love being a missionary! We work hard, but also I have become so close to all of the missionaries here (except for the ones I don't like)! Haha not too much else happened this week. We had a couple of investigators at church and hopefully they will be baptized at the end of the month, but we will see. I'm really happy that I get to serve here and be a part of the best mission in the whole world! 
Well, I don't have too much else to say, so... I love and miss you all! Thanks for all the support that I get!!
Elder Head

It was great to email with Ryan last night for a little while even though it was nearly midnight, but it is always worth it :)  Ryan was so really excited that President Funk was called as a new general authority. He mentioned often that he thought his president would be one someday....he said he is such a great man! 

Ryan was also happy to have change come to his area! His new companion, Elder Justesen, arrives in Hyderabad on Wednesday.  They were both in the same district in the MTC.  The other companionship in their apartment also was changed so it appears that Ryan will be the "old guy" in the apartment....I hope he is "Indian" enough to show the new guys around :)  He's excited for the challenge ahead as district leader.  The first thing that President Funk wants him to do is divide the area according to centers of strength.  

Jeff talked to him about the fact missions everywhere seem to be rapidly expanding and that India would seem to be a natural place for more missionaries to serve because of the large population base there.  Ryan indicated that the new mission rule (18 year olds) didn't affect the Indian missionaries (they could already serve as 18 year olds) and the Americans still have visa problems.  The political party currently in place in India is neutral when is comes to christianity but they are finishing up their term soon. A new political party may not have the same opinion.....we'll see.

Speaking of travel visas.....Ryan will NOT be coming to Washington DC after all this summer!  The American missionaries now go to the Philippines!  Yes that's right!! The Quezon City Mission where one of Ryan's best friends, Edward, is serving!  In fact, Edward recently had a missionary from the India Bangalore Mission serve there!  Oh man... if Ryan served there with Edward and his companion.....well it would be hilarious and awesome!!

Missions are awesome!! We are so grateful for the wonderful experiences and blessings that come with missionary service!   

Monday, April 1, 2013

Hyderabad - Easter/Holi Festival 2013

Hello everyone! 
Thanks so much for all the nice emails! I'm getting so many that it is hard to respond to all of them! ;) So sorry if I don't respond to all of them, every time. 
This week was a tough week! We finally had all the restrictions lifted in Hyderabad so we finally could go finding, which is nice, however we didn't find ANYONE this week. My area is kind of tough because it is in the richest part of the city and so the houses are huge. To knock on a door, first we must knock at the large gate that all the houses have. Then, we must talk to the security guard who usually don't speak English and convince him that we are not salesman. Then if we can get through the gate, then we must knock on the door and explain to this very rich Indian person who we are and what we do. The appeal of white skin has no effect on these people because it doesn't matter to them. And so finding is a little difficult, but I think we may split our area again. President Funk has asked us to focus our efforts on centers of strengths and so we will probably be shifting our area so we can help strengthen our areas of strength. Which is nice! 
Things with Elder Nepali are okay. I have lived with him for 3 months now. I have been very patient and I'm still trying, but he makes it so hard! I can do it, but I would really appreciate a transfer. Our area is okay. It's struggling a little bit, but we have worked a lot with our less actives and recent converts which has been helping. Our sacrament attendance has fluctuated up and down, however the numbers continue to rise and maintain. We met one less active family that didn't recognize who we were when we showed up at their home. I explained what we did and the mother finally recollected.. It was funny. 
I spoke yesterday about the Resurrection in sacrament meeting and it was really good. I focused a lot on the Plan of Salvation and the hope that it brings to each of our lives. I shared my experience that I had last week about finding out about Grandma Alice's cancer and the Spirit was really strong. It was cool and I hope that it touched a few people's lives. 
I hope Easter was nice for everyone in the States! For all those who want to know if the Easter Bunny visits India, the answer is no. He doesn't want to get all different colors because Holi and Easter are in the same week. Poor children here.. 
Thanks for all the love and support! 
I love you! 
Elder Head

This is Ryan 2 years ago at the Festival of Color 2011! Now fast forward 2 years and he lives in the country where Holi Festival (festival of color) originated........hmmm who would have thought :)  
Holi Festival in India

Festival of Color.... for reals!!

Festival of Color in India 2013.......Elder Head looks colorless ;)