Elder Hayden L. Williams

November 2019

Week #68 - Vijaywada - "I do my job! Kind of..."

So in preparation for the Light the World campaign we were told this last week that we need to have an activity this week which we thought was rather sudden since we just had an activity planned by the missionaries. However, it introduces the whole branch to the service that we can provide in the month of December so we gots to do it ya know? We got these nice passoutable calendars in Telugu that my companion said do not make a lot of sense but they are what we got so we will make do. 

Minnie was baptized yesterday after church and I got to give her the gift of the Holy Ghost which is a really special experience since you also get to pronounce a blessing on the individual and I am always grateful for any blessing I get to perform because it shows your love and service in a very real way. 

Lets see... I lost my voice on Saturday from a cold. Let me just say, missionary work-you know, the work you do by talking to people-is very hard when you can't talk to people and don't know sign language and your companion isn't super confident with his own teaching skills. Nevertheless! It can be done! ish... Basically you find things to do that don't directly involve speaking or teaching, like making posters and decorations for an activity, hence the subject line. My voice came back enough in time for Sunday though so no real issues.

This weekend we get to travel to Rajahmundry for Stake Conference which will be fun. Maybe. The traveling part I mean, Stake Conference is always great. We are traveling to Rajahmundry by train and if any of you have been reading my letters since the beginning you might remember that I hold no love for the Indian Train system as it tends to be overcrowded and smell of coffee. Though supposedly this time around we are in the A/C car so hopefully thats better...? 

Haha anyway thats my life,
Elder Williams

Week #67 - Vijaywada - "Activity of the year!"

Well this last week we had a super great activity for childrens day on Thursday. We had about 150 people show up which is the most amount of people I have seen show up to an activity. About 50 of those were friends and family who are not members which is an incredible number for that! I was running the ring toss game which was really fun. We made over 200 donuts for the donut on the string race which was hilarious to watch. Overall a very successful activity.

Minnie is all set to be baptized next week after church. She chose Elder Puppala to baptize her and for me to give her the gift of the Holy Ghost. So that is going to be the highlight of this next week.

On another note Suresh Antony who I taught in Bangalore will be getting the Melchizedek Priesthood soon and that is a real highlight. Its good to hear that he is still really active in the church and that he will be able to bless others lives even more. 

Oh, funny part of the week, Mary, Sandeeps mom, was not able to come to our activity because she said it was cold outside. I kind of just stopped and blinked, it was about 80° F outside with 90% humidity and she was cold! My sister-in-law isn't even that bad! 

So thats kind of my week, and I got a lot of pictures of the activity so thats fun.

Elder Williams

P.S. - From our call with Elder Williams: When we talked to Hayden last night he told us about giving a talk in church yesterday…on Grace. He said that he started off his talk about when his cousin Grace moved to town and attended the same elementary school as him…he did not like her because she would kick him and pull his hair back then. So when his primary teacher was teaching about how we are saved by the Grace of God he told the teacher “no thank you, that is not for me. There is no way Grace is saving me!” Apparently this translates well in another language and culture because everyone laughed. He then shared the principles of grace, faith, and action and scriptures from the New Testament to show how Paul built these concepts upon each other to make them interrelated. He and Grace are 2nd cousins so we only see them occasionally but they continued to see each other almost daily, growing up together into Jr High and High School, were in choirs together, and became friends which makes this story even funnier because we never knew it😆

Week #66 - Vijaywada - "Lockdown!"

This week started well with a Zone Conference of 6! It was hilariously small! There are only 4 of us missionaries in the zone and then President Thomas and his wife. It makes it a really personal conference which is both good and bad. Good because you get to know him and he you, but bad because there are only so many people to pick on. So we did so many roleplays with just the two companionships. (Roleplays being when you act out a lesson with someone trying to focus on one or two points you are trying to improve on.) We talked a lot about the importance of asking questions to gauge understanding. 

Then we had a really good Restoration of the Gospel lesson with Sandeep and his family, honestly probably the best one on my mission. They understood it really well and said they always believed that none of the churches they knew followed Christ's gospel. That is probably the best thing you can ever hear someone say. Unfortunately Sandeep couldn't make it to church on Sunday due to work but we will be visiting tonight to answer any further questions on the Book of Mormon.

Saturday as we were getting ready we got a message from the Mission President telling all Elders to stay inside for 2-3 days due to some controversial legal action up north and possible demonstrations, so the 4 of us were stuck in our apartment for the last two days only coming out to go to Church. 

We have an activity we have been planning for this Thursday, Childrens day here in India. It is pretty much going to be a carnival with a bunch of fun games for the kids after a short devotional. There will only be 3 of us missionaries there running it so we are relying on members a bit (Elder Dass is heading off to the MTC). This should be a really fun activity as the kids in this branch are crazy! I sat in Primary yesterday with them and pretty much went deaf with some kid screaming in my ear, boy I missed Primary. 

Anyway that is pretty much it for me,
Elder Williams

Week #65 - Vijaywada - "It's just Halloween.."

Well tragically India does not celebrate Halloween because all the Christians believe it is the Devil's holiday... Not really sure what they think of all of us celebrating it. Even the members here don't like the idea of Halloween. It's tragic really, I had to buy myself a KitKat so I could at least celebrate a little.

I spent about half of the week on a bus which is kind of rough when you have travel sickness combined with the effect on your stomach from the spicy curries. Short story shorter its rough. I had to travel to Kakinada with Elder Puppala because there were no other Elders in Vijayawada since the two Zone Leaders went to Bangalore and Elder Dass went to Delhi to figure out the stuff for his Visa to the Philippines so he can go to the MTC.
Anyway, the plan was for me to stay there until Thursday when the Zone Leaders got back but 4 hours into my first bus ride on Tuesday my mission president calls and tells me Elder Dass is coming back that day so he sent him to Rajahmundry so I could meet up with him. So I spent Tuesday visiting some people I knew in Kakinada and then Wednesday I took a 2 hour bus to Rajahmundry where Elder Dass and I took another 5 hour bus ride back to Vijaywada. I'm sick of buses.

So after that whole ordeal, my companion for the next two weeks is Elder Thamma who is also from Kakinada (in fact I got to go see his mother on Tuesday, sweetest Sister ever) and he and I will be covering 2 areas until Elder Puppala gets back from Kakinada after finishing his exams. He is a really good Elder who is 25 but by his relatively small size you would never guess it.

Well Minnie is still on track for her baptism in a couple weeks, had her interview and everything went good. Now we just have the paperwork which essentially tells the country of India that she is doing this of her own free will, as we have to do that with everyone we work with.

I met another family with really good potential this last week. Sandeep was found by the Elders previously but I guess had never really followed up until we went a week ago. The day after we went to his home Sandeep actually attended church so that was a green flag on the visits actually working so Elder Dass and I went on exchange there, we werent able to teach anything big because Sandeep speaks English but neither of his parents do so we shared a simple lesson. Sandeep came to church again yesterday and his mom said once she recovers from a recent surgery that she would be available to come as well.

Merry Dia de los Muertes Y'all!
(Thats a test to see how many cultures I can offend at once. Think I got at least 3.)
Elder Williams

So one thing Elder Williams isn’t saying here was about the Primary Presentation which was last week. He thought that he was done participating in those put got the opportunity to sing a duet with the Primary - that’s right, the whole Primary sang the 1st verse of “A Child’s Prayer” while one of the Elder’s played the right hand melody on the piano then Hayden sang the 2nd verse while he played his own right hand melody on the piano and then they sang and played together the 1st and 2nd verses as a duet. He says that he sings louder by himself than the entire congregation so I’m sure he held his own just fine with the primary, haha;) We are just excited when he accepts the opportunity to sing!