Elder Hayden L. Williams

Week #26 - Ramamurthy Nagar - "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 - Ramamurthy Nagar - "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 - Ramamurthy Nagar - "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.

Week #23 - Ramamurthy Nagar - "Just when you start to get an area..."

Well I just started to get to know the ward and area in Kakinada and then I got sent here to Bangalore. I am now in the Rama Murthenagar, I can't really help you on how to say it as I am still trying to get it down. My companion is Elder Halford from Orem, he went to Timpanogos High School and graduated my same year. He actually knows a fair amount of people from my school like Dakota Allphin (Harrison's cousin). Elder Yogesh got transferred to be in Rajahmundry so we went there yesterday and I left from there this morning to head to the airport. It was actually a little cold this morning. All the natives were wearing heavy coats and huddling around little fires and I was cruising down the street in an open auto loving the cold. Well now I am going to have to get used to walking around without a tag on which is going to feel really strange. 

This last week Pawan wasn't answering any of our calls and now Elder Yogesh and I are gone so hopefully the other Elders can go with the Bishop to try and get permission for his baptism. We had a bunch of people start calling us back the day that me and Elder Yogesh were leaving and we were just sitting there wondering where all these people were when we had time. 

I'll probably have to write on next week when I actually know this area a little bit and what's going on. 
Telugu is not the main language here so this is going to be fun. The main one in this state is Kannada which I have heard shares a lot of comparisons to Telugu but they speak almost every Indian language here so it will be pretty exciting trying to keep track of them all. 
Until next time!
--
Elder Williams

Q&A
1) Do Indians drink milk? Haha some of them drink milk but most no. The way moms get their kids to drink milk is mixing in the flavor boosters like boost and other things. But the milk alone here tastes not good.

2) Are you adjusting to the heat? Yeah I am fine with the heat and honestly I prefer having a ceiling fan as compared to A/C because I get cold... I get cold now. That is a weird thought.