Elder Hayden L. Williams

Week #28 - Rama Murthenagar - "10,000 years will give you such a crick in the neck!"

So this week was pretty busy with our busiest day being Saturday where I unfortunately woke up with some neck pain. Still went about all the work it just made it a little harder. 

Calvin couldn't come to church this last week as he got sick. Brother Babu's foot is still the size of a small moon so they also couldn't come but we gave him a priesthood blessing on Friday and he is going to see a different doctor so hopefully they can find the cause of the swelling. 

At one of my voice lessons with Charles I felt the impression to ask him if he wanted to be taught the gospel but I had already learned from him that he was now going to his friends church because he promised him so I didn't say anything. It was at this point that he said,"Hey is there some way I can learn more about your church?" It was like a slap in the face to me. I can't believe I didn't listen but the Lord always finds a way. Anyway he lives in the ward boundaries of Lingarajapuram so those Elders will teach him the gospel and I will continue to teach him music. 

I seem to find a new language every single new family I talk to. There is a member family in our ward named the Touthangs from one of the North Indian States really close to China. The native language that they speak is Cookie. No joke. It doesn't have writing anymore but it might have been what turned into the Chinese alphabet. 

Transfers got pushed back a week because President Mortensen is going to Hong Kong for some meetings so we will see in a couple weeks what changes come. I am really learning a lot in this area and I am excited to see what other things come about.
--
Elder Williams

Week #27 - Rama Murthenagar - "The Lord is calling people"

Literally. We had someone call us this Thursday saying he was calling back after getting a missed call from our number. Well we never called him so my only other solution is that the Lord called him. So we met him on Saturday to see how we could help him and if we needed to teach him, somehow our conversation turned to the point where he said that he was trying out for a church choir that is pretty big here in 2 months time to prove someone wrong that he can sing. So Elder Halford said," Hey my companion could teach you to sing if you want." Charles, that's his name, as it turns out has never really sung before in his life so he seemed excited to learn. We had a good lesson on basics on Saturday and Tonight I will be teaching him a little bit more. Honestly teaching people other skills is a great finding tool and it can really open people up to the gospel. It is why we have people teach free English classes and teach piano and honestly you can teach anything on the mission that you know how to do. 

Well I was in an appointment this week with Sam's family that I mentioned last week and turns out Brother Babu was in a bike accident this last week and his foot was swelling like a balloon, so they couldn't come to church this week. After an appointment with them this week I walked out of their home and found only one of my shoes where I left it. I looked around confused until Elder Halford found it out in the middle of the road where a dog had used it as a chew toy. Nothing a little glue couldn't fix but for the rest of the night I wasn't the biggest fan of the street dogs. 

Calvin came to church again this week, and it looks like we will be able to continue teaching him but the rest of his family will not be joining in on any more lessons because of their relatives telling them not to. 

Overall we have been doing a lot of working with members this last week in order to get more referrals since they are far more likely to progress. It all just takes time though and ultimately it is up to the person we are teaching if they will accept our message. All you can do is invite the spirit into the home and let him begin his work. 
--
Elder Williams

Week #26 - Rama Murthenagar - "My hand has a lot of words to say"

So temporal highlight of the week, or highlight that doesn't have anything to do with the work, I got my palm read by a member this week. The four of us Elders in Rammamurthy Nagar all went to this members home for a lunch appointment and then I learned that she reads palms. She then offered to read all of ours and so we went with it. Mostly it was just really funny when she got things right about how the Elders act in their normal behavior. Mine was just vague stuff about how I had an easy upbringing and will have a good future so nothing to worry about. 

Spiritual highlight of the week, we met with Sams family, not sure I introduced them but they are a family of five, the parents don't speak English, the kids do a bit but we always bring a translator. The family is Babu(father) the mother, her name is hard and I keep forgetting it, Sam, who is 20, Benita, who is 17 and Matthew, who is 9. They speak Tamil which honestly I don't understand at all, it is way too different from Telugu. But after we introduced the Book of Mormon and explained it to them we told to pray and find out the truth for themselves, to that they said:
"I don't need to pray about it I already have faith that it is true!"-The Mom
"Well awesome! But please pray anyway!"-Me
After the lesson we discovered that Babu had seen some of the pictures we had shown in the gospel art book some 14 years ago! He said he had been doing carpentry work in the home of a family from England and they gave him a little book that had some of the pictures that we shared. Truly no effort is wasted and may prepare someone far down the road. They also came to church this week and said they really enjoyed it. 

Calvin's family had a little hiccup this week because after we gave them the Book of Mormon and left one of their relatives saw it and started telling them not to come to our church. They really love us so they were just really confused, we just simply told them that the only way forward was deciding for themselves after asking God but we know that it is hard to go against family so we will see what their decision is this week. They couldn't come to church this week because of a family function but we will see about next week. 

That's all from this side of the world, see you next time
--
Elder Williams

Week #25 - Rama Murthenagar - "Hey can I join your church?"

"Uhh well yeah, yeah you can." -Me
So in our second "lesson" with this family of four their son that is about 15 asked us this question and it took me completely off guard. I put lesson in quotations because all we shared was a scripture from the bible not a full lesson because we needed a Tamil speaker to translate for the parents sake. So we had not shared the restoration or the Book of Mormon and this kid is feeling inclined to join our church. Calvin is the boys name and he is super awesome, we were able to share the restoration with him on Saturday and then he came to church yesterday! The rest of his family went to their other church which has the same timings as ours but Calvin came with us and said he really liked it, I guess he didn't like his last church I am not too sure on that.

Yesterday was my birthday which was pretty eventful. It started with the other Elders waking me up at midnight to eat cake which is apparently Indian tradition.. They lined our hallway with candles for some reason so I was pretty confused. They also woke me up with the rubber chicken that we found in our apartment so that added to my confusion. Also if anybody knows me it means you know that I love my sleep so I wasn't the happiest camper. Another part of Indian tradition on birthdays is that the person who's birthday it is feeds everyone a piece of cake who is in attendance and then all of them feed you. So a lot of cake stuffing is there. It usually turns out as well as every wedding reception you have ever been to where the bride and groom smear cake everywhere. 

So nifty little tidbit I learned this week. The cap that muslims wear here is called a Topi and it is used for the prayers that they do. Not sure what they call it in English.
--
Elder Williams

Week #24 - Rama Murthenagar - "I don't remember that in the Bible..."

Well this week was exciting because as Elder Halford and I were walking our area we found a huge church with its own compound. It is St. Anthony's church where they have a bunch of lifelike models of Christ's journey to the Cross and also some about this St. Anthony. I had to take videos of it because honestly I am not sure how to explain it and they made no sense. Half of Christ's journey they were showing I don't remember reading in the Bible. My favorite part of this church was when we sat inside the main hall and realized they had 4 of our church's artworks used in their worship and we are quite certain they did not have permission. They also had a nativity outside where they got cardboard cutouts of Joseph and Mary from our bible video and I honestly couldn't stop laughing. Let us just say that our church has better artwork of the Gospel than any church here.

So one interesting thing in Bangalore is that the buses are segregated by gender. The front half is for ladies and children and the back is for men. I don't have a problem with giving the women the best seating I just thought actual segregation was interesting.

I had beef for the first time in India! A member had a little thing of beef yesterday right after church and gave me a little! I really miss beef, apparently there is a place near our apartment that sells a beef curry so I will be visiting that place real soon.

So in my apartment there is another Elder Williams who is a native and we are serving in the same ward so yesterday we had a fun time trying to figure out who the members were talking to. A few of them started refering to us as the black and white Elder Williams, all I can say is that I did not start that. Elder Williams is from a state called Tamil Nadu which is where they speak Tamil (surprise!) and all of the Indians there are darker than the rest of the country. This might be the most diverse looking people who are all natives of a country. America is diverse but that is because people came from other countries to settle. Here in India you can go to one state and the people will look completely different and still be fully blooded Indians. The north states (near Nepal and China) have Indians that have the facial structure of the Chinese but they are full Indian, it is crazy to see sometimes.

So two of the days this week we had a Bundh. Which is literally where some of the people, especially auto drivers, go on strike and don't use vehicles that use petrol and because of that most stores didn't open. This is because petrol prices are high right now so they appartently do this every couple months for a couple days. Apparently the one a few months ago had a few riots too but this one was tame. It was weird to have relatively empty roads.

They speak so many languages here and honestly I don't think my tongue was made for some of them. I am trying my best to try each of them but they are crazy.
Pretty big week this week!
--
Elder Williams

Q&A
  • How often do you get to go to members homes for dinner?
    • In my last area it was maybe once or twice a week for dinner appointments, in this area it's as many as you set with the members. I do wear a tie no problem there everyone just thinks we go to some school
  • How close are you to the mission home?
    • I am about a 25 minute auto ride from the mission home.
  • How many do you have in your teaching pool?
    • Our teaching pool expanded this week, right now it is maybe 6 families and a few ysa's. The problem is finding people that will progress.
  • How many of you are in this apartment?
    • 6 again. 4 americans and 2 natives. the zone leaders are the other 2 americans and their companionship is split with the natives. Elder Tolbert and Elder Lowe are the zone leaders. the natives are Elder Nathaniel and Elder Williams. And Elder Williams and I are in the same ward just opposite areas so it has already got confusing.