Sunday, February 22, 2009

Chennai, February 18

1. What day is your prep day?

Prep day is Wednesday here. Hence, why I am sending e-mail today.

2. Did you get your suitcase?

No, but I hear it is on the way. Sister Nichols and Sister Linton (she is at
the office) are taking care of it for me.

3. Is it hot?


4. Tell me about your day to day practical living - i.e., do you have an apt?
how many of you live there? Do you cook or how do you eat? Do you/have you gone
shopping? Stuff like that.

Apartment. Four of us live there. We have a kitchen. It seems a bit
extravagant for India but whatever. 2 bathrooms. We wake up at 6:30am, exercise
in the apartment and on the balcony until 7. Get ready until 8. One hour
personal study, one hour companionship study. Many times we just plan what we
are going to teach our investigators. We leave at 10:30 am (normally 10am but my
companion and Elder Diamond's companion have leadership responsibilities for
1/2 hour). We take 1 hour for lunch, then get back at 9 to 9:30 pm, plan until
9:30 to 9:45, eat a snack. We go to sleep at 10:30pm and start the cycle over

We have usually three appointments every day, and in between we go finding
(looking for people), either by knocking on Christian doors, or talking to
people in the street.

What else is new. I hurt myself jumping off a bus. It was pretty stupid of me. We put hand sanitizer on it right away (that hurt) got a probably redundant tetanus shot and put some antibiotic ointment on.

Time is starting to go by faster. It is interesting learning to gauge
people's interest level, they will sometimes even set up an appointment with
you and then they are not there. I am still learning how to use time effectively
with that in mind.

I went on exchange on Tuesday with my current companion's last companion,
he is only eight weeks out and it was interesting. That was the day I jumped off
the bus. He knows a friend at school, which is kind of funny.

People - friendly investigators and less-active
church members we visit - promise to do things and then don't, a lot. (Of
course, people we meet on the street promise to call us too when we give them
our card, but we just met them so that's understandable that they just tell
us that.) It can get kind of frustrating sometimes, but there's a scripture
verse that I'm remembering a lot.

"No power can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only
by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love

By kindness and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without
hypocrisy and without guile." (Doctrine & Covenants 121:41-42)

Had the first baptism at church while I've been here. We didn't teach
them; one of the other pairs of elders did. There are three other pairs of
elders at the same branch (~ward), plus an older couple that alternates between
two branches. I think I told you about them, their name is the McKinleys, and
they are wonderful.

Still learning how to be effective and understandable. Basically, I need to be
able to teach in five word sentences if necessary. When I come back you might
not realize it's the same person talking to you. It was funny my companion
was working on his essay for BYU and I was able to help him a lot on that -
making it clear well-laid-out and intelligible. But he is teaching me by example
a lot about how to be intelligible speaking. Works for me.

Also, made my first Indian food ever! Okay, so that mostly involved boiling
potatoes (after putting them in chlorine water) frying onions and putting
prepackaged curry powder and salt on, but it was very good. I was impressed with
myself. Well, the people who made the curry powder mostly.

Editor's Note: The questions that open this post were addressed to Sam in a recent letter; his answers are inserted after each question.

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