Hello everybody I hope you all had a super amazing Christmas because I sure did! I am so grateful I had the opportunity to call and Skype my family and friends. It was nice to see that everyone is doing well back in the states. I was super motivated after calling you guys and I wanted to do was find hundreds of people to teach! But it was a little sad to see that our week was not as good as we had hoped for, but no problem, aside from the low numbers we were able to set Phanindra with a date and he was really excited about coming to church. His lesson was the highlight of the week for me! Elder Napali was with me and Elder Solomon was in Kakinada with Elder Thompson.
Elder Napali might be the most loving and Christlike person I have ever seen in my entire life, he is always smiling and giving people hugs. Anyway this lesson was so great because Phanindra really wanted us to come over and he really wanted to hear another lesson from us. In the past he never kept his commitments with Elders but with us(Solomon and I) he is. Our member that was suppose to come with us bailed so Napali and I just taught him. His mom actually sat down with us and Phanindra translated to her and his sister. His mom and sister have never showed any interest in listening to us but today was different.
We had many laughs and the spirit was totally present because they were also asking us questions and we ended up teaching a 1 hour and 30 minute lesson! Even their neighbors came down to listen to us and ask questions. Phanindras mom wanted to see pictures of Jesus so I brought my gospel art book and gave it to them and all the kids and neighbors were looking at it! Even though we cannot count that as a member present lesson, I am so glad that we were able to teach and testify with with the spirit with us because thats what helped them with the understanding.
We set Phanindra with a date on January 12th and so far he is doing everything he needs to. He came to church yesterday and he met a lot of new people his age so we could not be happier.
This week we are going to rock it because last week was not so great! Solomon and I are going to work out more and eat less food for our new years resolution. Yu-gi-oh at night is the greatest thing ever! Singh asked his parents for his actual deck from home!
It’s amazing to think that today is the 6-month mark for his
mission.What a blessing it was to speak
and Skype with Elder Dusara this week.We spoke like he was in the other room and had not left the
country.He is becoming a great
missionary.Being the social person that
he is, speaking with people is an easy chore for him to do on a daily
basis.He doesn’t look at it as a chore.
An example of this is his love for electronics.When he sees someone with a cool phone
(usually a younger person), he will walk up and talk to them about their phone
and they’ll talk about the phone.Eventually the conversation will turn to why he is in India and what
he’s doing.An invitation to come to
church and find out usually follows.
Something else we learned from our conversations with him is
how well he gets along with the other missionaries.He has found out that almost all of the other
elders have experience with video games, and Yu-gi-oh cards.Of course, these are the elders that have
come from the US and have been exposed to those two forms of entertainment, but
he is quickly becoming a mission favorite.A lot of other missionaries want to be his companion because of his easy
going personality and his constant focus on having fun while working hard.
In Rajahmundry, his current area, he is spending a lot of
time reactivating those who have recently joined the church.Being in India (like anywhere else), it is
very easy to return to your old ways due to family pressures, or just quit
going all together.
Elder Dusara is learning the value of long-term
relationships and scripture study as well.He never really started to read scriptures until he was just about to
leave.Now he is reading to learn and to
study a specific topic.He now has a
testimony of the Book of Mormon and loves to read it.
Being the competitive person that he is, he is getting close
to his dad’s mark for wedding proposals on his mission.His dad had 7-8 wedding proposals on his
mission, and Elder Dusara already has three proposals just from Rajahmundry.Let’s hope he keeps the proposals as they
are and nothing more.
He is having a great time in India, and the time is really
flying for him and us.We look forward
to our next conversation with him in May to see how things are going with
So this last week has been interesting for my companion and I. We have been taking advantage of the cycles we have and we just keep pouring money into it because they are junk bikes. We are also waiting for reimbursements from the Zone Leaders and it is taking forever.
I have been living off personal funds for the past week. Anyway, the members are really helping us out with our area and they are showing us where all of our members live so now we have a pretty good scope of the area. Our Branch President gave a referral to a family that lives close to their home. He showed us where they live and we went and taught them about the Book Of Mormon. The husband has a crazy drinking problem and he wants to change because it is destroying his health. We visited them twice last week to check on him and his family to see if they needed any help at all. I heard he was admitted into the hospital on Saturday so I fasted for him on Sunday.
Besides visiting alot of less actives, that was our week in a nutshell as far as the work. The members have been feeding us every Sunday and this last Sunday I was fed the best Egg Curry ever! I had three huge servings of rice just because it was that good (after I closed my fast of course). I have cut back on rice so much since I have been here because it is killing my gut! Me and my companion have devoted every morning to getting better at basketball. Elder Singh is teaching me better jumping techniques and I can almost do IT!
Elder Solomon and I have been having a side hobby which has been pimping out our ugly cycles and helmets. We spray painted them flat black and I have put the Xbox One sticker and Lamborghini Aventador logo on my helmet. I would love to send the pictures I have but all these computers have viruses. Merry Christmas to all! Stay Classy!
I am going to keep this email nice and sweet because there is not really that much to write about. So this last week we had a Christmas devotional in Vizak and we had some service opportunities as well followed buy some bunked appointments. Anyway, we finally were able to have a member present lesson with our boy Phanindra and we introduced again to the Book Of Mormon.
We did manage to find more less-actives thanks to the help of the Spirit. No joke. We sometimes are just walking and randomly we notice a house or person that looks familiar to us and we start talking to them and they are members! They just have not been to church for a long time. Like I said a couple of emails ago, this branch is not doing super great and they really, really need help building unity with each other and us. They are teaching classes in Telugu and most of them do not have testimonies of the Book of Mormon. But Elder Solomon and I are on the case to help out as much as we can!
We had the opportunity to go to Vizak like I said for a combined Zone Christmas devotional. It was the best Zone Conference I have ever been to because we got to ride in a large van with Elder Thompson and Elder Napali (from Nepal), Elder Singh and a couple other weird missionaries, but Thompson is the funniest guy! We dueled with Pokemon cards on the way and we just laughed the whole 3 hours. When we arrived we had lassi (curd, boost, and sugar mixed) and I finally got to see Elder Willis (MTC batch mate) again! I also got to meet his companion Elder Sharma from Utah! They are both the coolest guys in this mission aside from my companion and we 4 are like brothers.
After the wonderful testimonies that were shared, and the awesome talks given, we came to a close and my companion had his interview with President (Berrett). After he came out he told me what him and president talked about and it gave me so much motivation to work even harder. He said that President put us together in 2nd Branch because he knew that we were both fantastic missionaries and he knew that we were capable of healing this branch. He also hinted at me becoming a District Leader so we will have to see what the future has in store. We are going to keep being the best missionaries we can be and have as much fun as possible while doing it.
So yeah Elder Solomon and I have been at work this whole week just trying to meet as many of the members as possible and finding some investigators through them. We met about 5 members the first day here because everyone's home is so stinking close to each other. The whole week we probably visited around 40 members and we visited 9 less-active families. We actually are suppose to have cycles which would be super amazing but someone else is using them at the moment so we are cycle less for a couple more days. The area is much smaller than my old area and we are able to fit in about 4-5 appointments every day. No joke that is everything we did in a nut shell. For food we have been blessed tremendously with the opening of a Dominoes in our area! Can you say blessings? Yea my wallet is getting lighter and lighter but...I am saving my backside a lot of problems that come from street food so it all works out.
There is a huge problem with our branch here! Everyone speaks Telugu! They even teach the classes in Telugu and that's not suppose to happen according to our English memorandum. This branch has about 150 active relief society members (100 are aunties) and only 50 have the priesthood (Most are less-active) so its kind of depressing to hear but...Elder Solomon and I are not worried at all. We made ourselves a promise to only find and teach English speaking people or Half and Half speaking between Telugu and English as long as they have the desire to follow Jesus Christ! So you have to use your judgement wisely and follow the promptings of the spirit:)
Elder Solomon get along so well because we are pretty much the same person? We have the same interests and that makes everything super nice and fun!
For my mom and dad, Elder Singh and I are pretty much bros here! We both are exactly the same person and we know why we were such good friends back in the day! Next week I will send pics:)
So this last week was very very interesting. I able to go on exchange with my boy Elder Bean and spend alot of time with Elder Mecham and Elder Radhakhrishnan. On Wednesday I received a call from the AP's saying that I was getting transferred on Dec. 2nd so I had to do a lot of stuff! I visited all the members and less-actives that I felt I should visit and bore my last testimony to them. Some members cried when they found out I would be leaving and that really touched my heart.
I made a special visit to my recent converts Raju and Renuka and encouraged them to Read, Pray and come to Church because that is how they are going to see the many great blessings they are missing out on. Something extra cool was the fact that I was able to buy a new camera:) I sold my old cam to a member in my ward and went to reliance digital to purchase a new Canon Powershot SX500:)
It came at the perfect time because we had a Missionary fireside that same day so I was able to get some wonderful videos and shots of the ward. It was a very successful fireside and 70 people attended which was such a blessing for us (Elder Sommer and I) even though we were leaving. We gave the sister missionaries all of our investigators and less-actives and pray that they will bring all of them back to the church and to baptism.
I am emailing from Rajahmandry as we speak and It is a beautiful place(Similar to Fiji) just a little more dirty. Elder Eames, Elder Vipea, Elder Solomon and I are all sharing an apartment together and we are going to do work over here. Apparently english over here is super rare (Rescue Rabbit) and like everyone speaks Telugu. We were called to find and to teach in the English language so we will find english speaking people. We don't need any more less-active telugu speaking families:(
Well lets see if some pictures work so yeah! bye bye