Sunday, March 08, 2009

Chennai, March 4

Got my suitcase, which means that I have a reasonable amount of shirts and other
clothing. It was good but wasn't a huge deal, could manage without it. Took
like three hours to get though, that was a pain.

Things are going well. I am getting the hang of talking to random strangers
more; that is the thing I like doing least. But I know it's one of the most
important things to do so I am learning to like it more.

What else is new. I was with an Indian elder on companionship swap (exchange)
yesterday. That was pretty cool, I learned a lot from him. Also at the end of
the day we had a funny incident where he needed to eat an iddly (he has
gastrointestinal problems) so we took an auto driver around searching for
someplace that served iddlies that was open at 9:20pm. Eventually he got plain
dosai.

Hmm...I am trying to learn now how to take control of discussions when people
ramble on and on, or if we don't have much time, or so on. Also how to speak
in short sentences. I'm sure my interpersonal skills will be much stronger
when I get back.

There was a former NBA player named Shawn Bradley at church that was
7'6". He made us tall American elders (6'2", 6'5",
5'4") look puny by comparison. Everyone was taking pictures of him.
Maybe I'll bring a camera to church so I can get one. Also a lot of kids
from an orphanage about 2 hours outside of town.

Hmm. I don't have too much more exciting things to report. Lots of being in
packed buses. Lots of learning how to do things. The people we are teaching are
all being taught, and mostly keeping their commitments (eg, come to church when
they say they will, read things when they say they will, pray about it etc). If
people keep failing to keep their commitments even if they are okay with us
visiting we will probably not visit them. That hasn't happened to me yet but
apparently it's hard. Also because usually when you aren't visiting you
are outside in the sun talking to people. And I don't want to be outside in
the sun talking to people even if I know I need to do it. Hence why I want to be
better at it/like it more.


Other than that not much to report. I am generally happy. Things are generally
well.

Sam

Chennai, February 25

More about my days. We go around, try to set appointments with investigators (= people we are teaching), and spend the time in between dropping by people we know in the area that could use a visit. In between we go looking for people to teach. Yesterday I went on companion exchange, and my companion for the day Elder Lima and I studied for two hours, left (10:15am) went talking to people in the street for an hour, then went and visited a sister whose husband has been working on a cruise ship for 9 months (she is kind of lonely), taught her about how to use the Book of Mormon to answer "questions of the soul", and gave here a pamphlet called 23 questions answered by the Book of Mormon. Then we got the number of a neighbor of hers who walked by (he's seen us visiting her before), went and found more people to talk to, went home and ate lunch (1:15pm, Masala-flavor Ramen with eggs thrown in the boiling water, and some sweets I bought), took a bus to a Christian area, talked to people, learned my way around the area more, walked 300 feet towards the beach, 1000 feet along the beach or so (no one knows English so not much good), took the next right, went into government employee housing nearby, met a pastor on the side of the road who wanted to know more about us, knocked on a couple of doors, and taught a Christian that seemed interested about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon (it's called the first lesson), walked half a kilometer, knocked another door or two, and went to a 6pm appointment with a friend of a church member at the church member's house, then spent 80Rs for an auto to the church, got there a bit late (7:40 for a 7:30 appointment), taught another lesson, this time about why we are here on earth and how this fits into the overall plan for us. Then we caught a bus home and arrived home at 9:08 pm, then planned, evaluated, and called people for 40mins. Lights out at 10:30pm but chatted for 10-20 minutes afterward. Two times we got asked why God lets bad people on earth enjoy good things. That was interesting. (We explained that this is a inevitable consequence of agency -- people making choices and being able to choose evil things -- and how agency is absolutely essential for our overall plan even if people misuse it many times.)

Hopefully you have a better idea of what we are doing day-to-day now.

(Sister Young, you may be interested to know that having read 'The Weeping God of Mormonism' I showed Moses 7 to my companion, opened to there, and started teaching from it. So you English professors aren't just penning words and ideas in vain.)

Allowance is fine, more than enough. My comp likes to order Dominoes delivery which costs 120Rs for lunch but is good, so we do that once or twice a week.

What else. We committed a family of four to pray about baptism and if they received an answer be baptized in a few weeks. The lesson that we taught went wonderfully. In Church terminology, we felt the Spirit really strongly, so we asked them. That was really exciting. We are so happy for them. The family is awesome, really great and friendly and interested. They have been to church four times but it was only our third lesson which is kind of unusual.


With love,
Sam