Elder Hayden L. Williams

November 2018

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

Week #14 - Vizag - "Sowing the seeds of love"

Missing the 80's music a little bit but it's ok people play Indian music here on full volume and it is actually pretty good. All of the songs focus on the dancing and a ton of TV here is devoted to playing music videos. A lot of them are less about the singing and more about the dancing and they are crazy good at it. 

Well, a man just walked into the net shop with an absurd amount of burning incense so I can no longer see. One of the other Elders thought there was a fire for a second, that was a little funny. So in the corners of a lot of businesses they will have little shrines to Hinduism and sometimes they do that kind of thing with incense blowing it on them. Speaking of Hinduism there is a huge festival this Wednesday called Diwali where they fire off a ton of fireworks so needless to say we will be spending a lot of that day inside unfortunately. 

So this week we finally met with Manohar and he told us that he wanted to wait till next year to be baptized but we know that if he puts it off it won't happen so we convinced him to really pray about it and give it some more thought. 

We got an amazing referral this week from a Sister Shyamala who just got baptized in the 2nd branch. She and her cousins live in our area but the Sister missionaries were the ones teaching her and they are in 2nd so she is in 2nd. Her cousins are really interested and there is one that has been going to church the last couple of weeks. We visited him and the family and the family really wants him, Anil and his older brother Abishake to be baptized into our church and learn everything about the gospel! That floored me, they even said it would be good for their sons to serve missions like we are. I just about died at that part! Turns out their old church teaches them almost nothing so they want them to come to ours, they even said that after their kids got baptized they would probably start coming to ours. We are going to go by tomorrow to get them started on this road. 

Got a haircut this week and for the first time since I was like 10 I got a buzzcut... One of the young men on Sunday said it was a failed experiment and I can't help but agree with him... On the bright side it makes wiping my head easier. Not that I don't still sweat the same amount. 

Anyway weekly update on Telugu, my brother is a chicken. More specifically a hen. Cody is the word for hen. Just thought that would make his day ;)
Tata is grandpa and grandma is oddly split up into whether it is your moms mom or your dads mom. So dads mom is Nanama and moms mom is Amama. 

So excited to hear that Alyssa is getting out into the field, sounds awesome! 
Pretty crazy but really good week!
Elder Williams