Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year from India!!

Hello everyone!! 
Merry late Christmas and a Happy New Year!! (Just in case I forgot to wish you all last week..) 

How was Christmas? Did you all have a good time? Christmas here was a little bit boring. Haha that WAS one thing that I was a little bit sad about for leaving the Philippines.. Christmas is so big there and everyone was so excited and we had like three dinner appointments set up so it was kind of a bummer to leave there RIGHT before Christmas, but that's okay. 

So not too much went on this week.. We had our branch Christmas Activity on Tuesday night. We went to a school for mentally handicapped children and put on a few skits and all. It was a pretty good idea, but the execution wasn't so hot. But the desire was there and I'm sure that the kids had a really good time. 

Christmas day was spent Skyping home (YAY) and then the rest of the day was spent with the members and such for dinner and lunch appointments. Not too much goes on on Christmas because it is one of the few days that the entire family will have off and usually they don't want to spend their Christmas holiday with the missionaries.. Haha but we did go to a few members houses for lunch and dinner. 

The rest of the week was spent doing what missionaries do. We tracted a lot, we tried to find new investigators, and we tried to locate all the members in the branch living in our area. It is really painstaking work, but we don't have anything else going on here. The area is really weak and so we just have to do all the menial things to build it up.. 

Other than that everything is great! I'm just happy to be back in India and hanging out with all my peeps and stuff! I'm grateful to be back and serving here and I know that this is where I'm supposed to be. 

Love you! 

Elder Head

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas from India!!

Hello everyone! 
Greetings from the glorious land of India!! :) Merry Christmas!!! Remember the true meaning of Christmas.. :) I arrived here safely on Wednesday night, spent Thursday in Bangalore, and then Friday morning I flew out to my new area in......VISAKHAPTNAM 1st Branch! 

My companion's name is Elder Sharma. He is an OCI from Utah. He has been on his mission for about 4 months now and he is still pretty new. He is a good guy. He really likes movies and video games. He is way big. He's like 6'3". He is a big teddy bear. He is pretty cool, just new. 

The area that I am in is a good area. Lots of missionaries that serve here get lots of baptisms, but when I get here it is in a down time where they have no investigators and they just split the branch and so all of our leadership is new and the missionaries that were serving here were also pretty new still so they didn't really know how to handle the situation.. But it's all good! I'm just happy to be here! :) 

I'm sorry to say mom, but I did NOT receive my Christmas package. So.. Yeah haha we just missed each other I guess! 

Other than that.. I don't really have much to say. We are pretty busy trying to learn the area. It isn't a whitewash, but Elder Sharma and his last companion didn't do very much and so we don't have too much to do, but we are just working to get this area back up to it's former glory...

I love India and I'm so happy to be back serving here for the remainder of my mission. Thanks for all the love and support! 


Elder Head

Elder Head is once again on the east coast of India approximately 100 miles north of Kakinada.  While the distance appears relatively close if you were to travel by car from Kakinada to Visak (pronounced Vice-ak), you would enjoy a two and a half hour drive. Visak is a larger city but reminds him of Kakinada. The beach is in his area and there was some sort of festival there today that they were going to go see. He was also making a trip to a fabric store to buy some material so he can get a new suit made because his other one is so dang big now. We hope that his choice in a tailor is a good one!  As far as the christmas package did indeed show up after Elder Head left the Philippines :)  We are now in contact with the mission home there and are making arrangements to have it forwarded on to India. The christmas package debacle will continue to be a slightly funny/expensive story this holiday season :) The week before thanksgiving we emailed the mission president in India to see if he thought the elders would be back in India for Christmas. He emailed us back and said that they would most likely still be in the Philippines. So we put the package together. The christmas package is only 3 pounds 9 ounces.  

Michelle:  "I know it's expensive but lets send the package via DHL or Fed Ex as it will   arrive to him in three days. So if by some Christmas miracle he gets his visa....he can easily transport it back with him to India."  

So on Wednesday, December 4th, Jeff goes to the various mailing facilities and finds out that expedited shipping is costly (we knew this to be the case as we had to send Ryan his new debit card earlier this year but it arrived safe and sound in 3 days)  Send it via Fed Ex or DHL Express the cost would be $154 !! Crazy!!  The USPostalService international priority (supposed delivery date 6-10 business days) $70. Ryan's cute dad decided to send it that is after all less expensive :)  So as instructed by Ryan, Jeff put religious (Jesus) stickers on the package and sent it off into the wild, blue yonder....halfway around the world! 

Jeff:  "Ok....the Christmas package is on its way to the Philippines! You know what  is going to happen now.....Ryan's visa will get renewed!"  

Of course that is exactly what happened! Ryan seemed to think that his dad was some sort of psychic!! Oh brother!!

So now we are paying to forward the package to India.....most likely another $70 plus (hopefully that's all)  Now I get to tease Jeff about the shipping decision.....

DHL or Fed EX  $154.00  (3 days)

Priority International $70.00 (6-10 days)  PLUS  forward package to India $70 plus and so maybe Ryan will get his package in 3-4 more weeks.......haha PRICELESS :)  Sometimes I think I may psychic too!

Ryan said that Christmas isn't about getting presents....haha..hopefully he thinks that way in a couple of days.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Where's Elder Head? Returning to India

Hello everyone!! 
So my mom says that she already told everyone, but..... I GOT MY VISA AND I'M GOING BACK TO INDIA TOMORROW! 
My flight leaves at 3:05pm from the Manila International Airport and we arrive in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia at about 7ish and then continue on our next flight to Bangalore arriving in India at about... 11:30pm ish. Haha so it's going to be another LONG day of flights and what not. I counted and I have spent almost 60 hours of my mission flying around and stuff. 

I'm really excited to go back to India, but its kind of a bittersweet feeling. I always talk about the hard times and stuff (probably because that is the stuff that sticks out most) but my overall experience here in the Philippines has been an absolutely AMAZING experience. I have been able to hang out with and become friends with so many different people all over the world and it is just really exciting to be here. The mission was going to make some changes that will really improve the mission and right before it changed, we leave. But that's okay. I know that the time and effort that I gave here was not in vain and I gained so much more out of this experience than I gave. It's weird how the Lord blesses, but I'm grateful for this blessing. 

This week was the craziest week of my mission. 

Monday: Preparation day and we also had some last minute things that we had to get ready for our Christmas Conference. 
Tuesday: Philippines Quezon City Mission Christmas Conference. We hung out with President and Sister Revillo and half of the mission. We performed Christmas Tagalog songs and skits presented by each Zone. I have videos, but they are too big to send so you can all see them when I get home. That took the entire day. 
Wednesday: Mission Leadership Council. We discussed changes in the mission and they are implementing some new things here that will really improve the mission in a lot of ways. That took the whole day. 
Thursday: We were on District Leader exchanges with one of the DL's in our zone and that was fun. 
Friday: I got my visa and so the day was spent proselyting and saying some goodbyes. 
Saturday: Work day and we had a ward activity that we attended. 
Sunday: Church, First Presidency Devotional, and a Ward Missionary Training. I had to bear my testimony in Sacrament because I was leaving. 

That was my week! It is a brief oration of what transpired this week, but there was a lot more that went into it than that! I'm grateful to my Heavenly Father that He allowed me to come to the Philippines and be tested and tried. I know that everything that has happened is for my good and I'm excited to continue serving back in India. 

Love you all!

Elder Head

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hello!! from the Philippines 12-8-13

I like to think Ryan's saying "Hi" real loud to all of us in this photo :)
Hello everyone! 
This week was a pretty good week. I came to appreciate the Atonement of Jesus Christ again and how encompassing it really is in my life. I wish I could say that everyday I was perfect and did everything perfectly, but I can't. I'm only human. I still make mistakes, I still have problems and trials and temptations and all that bad stuff. But even though sometimes I slip, the Savior is always there to pick us up, dust us off, give us a pat on the butt and tell us to do better next time. (maybe not the last part, but in my mind, the Savior is like the perfect football coach.. haha) I'm grateful for my mission. I was reflecting last night and I realized that after this transfer finishes, I will only have 4.5 transfers left.. That is so crazy! Just over 6 months. Where has the time gone? It still feels like yesterday that I was walking around the MTC thinking I was all that because I was delayed 3 weeks and I knew everything there was to know about the gospel and about teaching and about missionary work. Oh how naive I was... Haha. 

This week was okay. We didn't work as hard as we could have and I will definitely take some responsibility for it, but my companion only has two transfers left and he is starting to get trunky and it really affects our work and relationship. I find that in those moments that he doesn't want to work, that I lose patience and get frustrated and then we lose the Spirit and don't work as effectively as we could. That's something that I have been working on. It's difficult, but not impossible. He isn't like disobedient, but just lax on the schedule and with wasting time with the members. 

We didn't really have anything that cool happen this week, but this week will be crazy! We have Christmas Conference tomorrow and then on Wednesday we have Mission Leadership Council. Thursday we continue to go on exchanges with the missionaries in our Zone and then Friday and Saturday we have to work. Sunday we have meetings all day and then next week is transfers so these next two weeks will be crazy busy! But that's okay! 

I am so grateful for the Christmas season and all that it brings. Each year, we receive gifts and give gifts as a tradition and something that we have been inviting people to do is to give gifts to the Savior by following the direction given in John 14:15 and also in Mosiah 2:17. Remember, when we serve others that we are only serving God and we are also keeping the commandment to love one another. I know this Church is true! 


Elder Head

Demonstrating how to teach about the gospel for ward missionary training

Monday, December 2, 2013

The work continues in the Philippines :)

Hello everyone!! 
This week was much less exciting as last week was! We were trying our best to be busy, but Satan had other plans because we had a real problem this week with cancelled appointments and all that jazz.. Speaking of Jazz, how are the Jazz doing this year? I heard that they are undefeated! Haha just kidding I know that they are sucking... That's okay though. Thanks for the sports update this week!! I am always grateful to know what is going on in the real world! 
Yeah.. Other than cancelled appointments, we spent a lot of our time trying to find the lost sheep in our ward. That is something that I have experienced on my mission that is very productive for us and also for the ward. So we tried to find I think like 6 families, but one whole family died and the rest moved.. Haha so it felt unproductive, but we managed to find a few other less-active families while trying to find the other families... 
That's about it for this week. I'm excited for the next few weeks. We have Christmas coming up and so we have all that Christmas stuff to prepare for and Christmas Conferences and Ward Parties and we have another MLC so the next few weeks will be pretty busy! We also are hoping to have a baptism in our area for the 28th! It will be the first one since June and so we are pretty excited! 
Thanks for everything! Love you!

Elder Head