Elder Hayden L. Williams

Week #19 - Kakinada - "That does not smell like Boost..."

To preface this intro line, Boost is essentially Hot Chocolate in this country but it is not as good. We were at a home of someone we were teaching and had just discovered that they were not interested to learn more so we were about to leave when a lady walked into the room with hot drinks that we assumed was boost since we get offered it a lot here. My companion has developed the ability to not burn his mouth drinking hot drinks so he immediately put it up to his mouth and started sipping it and then froze when he saw me look at him. I had smelled it and I was confused until I realized it was coffee, my companion was about to spit it out but the lady was getting super embarrassed and so to quickly tell her it was alright he ended up swallowing a little bit. He felt super bad about drinking a little bit of it even though I was just dying laughing. 

Yesterday we visited the family of an Elder I served with in Vizag, the Thamma family. They gave us the strangest snack I have ever had, the only way I can describe the taste is, well you know how a campfire smells? Yeah, that is how this snack tastes and yes it is as bizarre as it sounds. It is called a Tagalu and it is very unusual. 

Well, this week we taught Pawan again and he has done a complete 180 after our last meeting, he now wants more than anything to be baptized so we said we have to go through the lessons again with him since it has been a long time since he was taught by the missionaries. We have been going through the lessons and he remembers almost everything he has been taught so most likely he will be baptized before the end of this year which is awesome.

I have been getting used to riding a bike again which has been a pretty fun experience but all around it is a lot better to have one because we get around our area so much faster. My learning of Telugu has slowed down a bit since I got to Kakinada because they speak a lot more English here than in Vizag also my companion doesn't speak much so I haven't been learning too much. 

Other than that we have been doing a lot of finding and a lot of Elder Jordan teaching me the area since he goes home next week. 
Till next week
Elder Williams

How is it going with your companion? Man I love Elder Jordan so much, he is the hardest working missionary I have seen on this mission and I am loving it.

Week #18 - Kakinada "I Want The Holiness That Beats The Other Holiness"

That is a literal quote from an investigator we met this week. His name is Raghu and he is a YSA about 19 with some real questions of the soul. He has been taught by the missionaries before but they haven't met with him in a long time before I got here. We have another YSA that we are teaching that wants to get baptized named Pawan but is having the same hesitation as Manohar from my last area, that is that he thinks that baptismal repentance is the end of forgiveness from the Lord and that after that he has to be perfect. We have been working really hard this last week and the cycling has my body sore but it is a really good feeling. 

Less time this week because these net shop computers are really bad. Can't send pictures either. Will send them next week. 

Highlights: Yesterday had my first double member meal, one for lunch and one for dinner. Never eaten more rice in my life. A lot more people speak English here or because I am not with a native they have to speak more, one of the two. Also I am quite certain I am the only white guy in this city of 1 million. That is pretty exciting, getting even more stares than I did in Vizag. 

Elder Williams

Week #17 - Kakinada "I Like to Ride My Bicycle..."

Well, biggest news is I got transferred over to Kakinada. My new companion is Elder Jordan who is from Millcreek right below Salt Lake and he goes home in 3 weeks so I have to learn my new area very quickly. I traveled by train from Vizag to Rajahmundry and then took a cab to Kakinada. So Kakinada is a ward that is part of the Rajahmundry Stake and has been switching between having 2 and 4 Elders proselyting in this area so with me and Elder Wheeler coming (His companion is Elder Yogesh) we are once again making it so 4 Elders are in this city. Oh also I now have a bike, hence the song quote. Also they still speak Telugu so I will continue to try and learn as much as I can but apparently more English is spoken here so that will be helpful. 

This week was a pretty exciting one even on top of that. I got to ride a camel yesterday. Some man just had one and was soliciting rides on the beach for 100 rupees so naturally I went for it. Thanksgiving was entertaining, we went to a little bistro that sells pretty American food. I had a chicken pesto pizza and while we ate they played Journey and Kenny Loggins in the background which was pretty surprising that they knew that kind of music.

So Friday night Elder Ramishetty and I were walking the beach road in our area and saw this huge function and we came to learn that it was Fishermans day which was really funny that that is what they have to celebrate in this country. They had some dancers that were doing some really traditional dancing with traditional dress. 

Yesterday Sister Kantha, Mani and Chinna Isaac came to church! It may have been partly that I said I was leaving and they had to come so I could get a picture and say goodbye but I hope they came for more than just that. 

Telugu for the Week: Maley Kaludham-We'll see you again.   

Elder Jordan and I
Elder Williams

Week #16 - Vizag "Thanksgiving with the Indians"

Ha! Thanksgiving among the Indians. That one was pretty clever I have to give you that. Let's just say that if Thanksgiving were a holiday here there would be no relaxing after eating rather an uncomfortable burning sensation in your stomach after eating that much. 

So I got back to my area on Saturday which totaled about 9 days over in the Gajuwaka are with Elder Trainor, which was a really good experience and it helped me to learn about the Elders over in that apartment because we only see them once a week in district meetings. So Elder Trainor and I did our best to meet with the people they were teaching and to find more but that is getting really hard to do because we just had some restrictions put on our finding and contacting because the police had stopped Elder Rather and Elder Hugie about a week ago questioning them on what they were doing passing out the pass along cards we have. Long story short contacting people to teach is hard now. 

But over those 9 days apparently Elder Ramishetty put 3 of our people on date for baptism. First is Anil, the 12 year old whose family really wants him to learn a lot from our church and they also put Sister Kantha and her son Mani on date as well. We went over to see them with no idea what we were going to teach them or talk about because they had already told us that they do truly believe everything we were telling them and they were impressed how we told them it should be between them and the Lord. The only problem is that they aren't keeping our commitments to come to church and instead choose to go to their church early in the morning and then sleep the rest of Sunday. So Elder Ramishetty and I kept our appointment and went over without knowing what we could do to help them and then opportunity literally fell into our lap. Sister Kantha's brother was outside the home completely drunk and that is when Elder Ramishetty felt inspired to share the beginning of the Word of Wisdom with them. I thought that it would be too on the nose but I trusted him and we went in. When we shared what we should not partake of Sister Kantha said that she believed this commandment was built for her family. I was afraid of what she would say because she loves drinking her tea but she immediately acknowledged that she was addicted and it really wasn't a good thing. She wants us to share the full Word of Wisdom next time we meet and she will make sure to have her brother there with them. I was so floored by all of this, always follow promptings even when it feels like it would offend. I had known this since I was a kid but this is the first time this lesson sank in. 

Telugu for the week: Don't confuse Peda and Pedtha (emphasize the "-tha" like a the) Pedthabye means big person and Pedabye means poor person. Accidentally called someone poor this week that was entertaining. 
Welostamo (We'll go and come back)(Bonus word)
Elder Williams

Week #15 - Vizag - "These would not be legal in the US..."

Man, Diwali was insane. There is a reason we have to come in at 4 o'clock let me say that. Everyone and their dog lights off the most insane fireworks that belong in the Stadium of Fire. They are so loud, way louder than in the states so I don't know what they did but they light up that day like it was the 4th of July for Americans. We got on the roof of our flat and ordered pizza and just watched all of the insane fire works explode all around us. They have these crazy firecrackers that are so loud and fire like 200 times and it honestly sounded like guns going off so I was a little worried at the beginning. The smoke was so thick by the end that I couldn't see half the city (our flat is near the top of a hill). 

Well Thursday was pretty exciting too because I learned that I would be going on a week long exchange with Elder Trainor in the Gajuwaka area (a smaller city right next to Vizag). His companion has been in the area for a very long time, almost 8 months or something so he has gone stir crazy. Elder Trainor only just got out of training when I showed up to India so combined we have 6 months of experience in India so it has been really fun. It also let me know that I am doing well learning Telugu because I speak more than he does so that boosted my confidence a little bit. Elder Trainor is from Rigby, Idaho and is about the same age as me but is about 5'6" so actually taller than Elder Ramishetty which is pretty great. So we don't really know when the exchange will end it is whenever the Mission President says that it will end. And before you ask yes, this is highly irregular but that is just how my Mission President rolls here in India. 

So in answer to your questions all hymns are sung in English along with the sacrament prayers. Strangest things I have eaten is between chicken liver and buttermilk. Buttermilk is this horrendous creation of mixing curd with water and it is supposed to cool down your stomach but its taste is sickening. My native companion doesn't even like it and he likes almost anything. 

Telugu for the week: Bagundi is how you say something is good. So undi means "is here" and baga or bag means "good". So you are literally saying "good is here" this is how a lot of the language works here, either something is here or it is not here. Very curious when you learn these rules. 
Elder Williams