Saturday, April 11, 2009
Chennai, April 8
So I have a new companion now, which is pretty cool. His name is Elder Siyyadri (actually Kishore Siyyadri, but..) and he is pretty cool. We are still learning to work and teach together but things are looking up. Probably the easiest way to compare them would be to pretend that this is some sort of role-playing game for nerds. This is what I’ve figured out so far:
Speed +20% (Long legs, 6’2”, and walks quickly)
Understandability +30% (he was very good at explaining simply, in short
sentences, and slowly)
Food cost +30% (goes to eat at American places and nice hotels)
Rapport with investigators +30%
Getting people interested, exotic factor +100% (tall American white male in shirt & tie)
Punctuality +40% (very keen on being on time and prepared always even in the apartment)
Speed -10% (Short legs and walks normal pace)
Understandability +50% (also good at explaining simply, in short sentences, and slowly, plus he has an Indian accent)
Food cost – 20% (we ate veg biryani yesterday for lunch at a decent hotel for Rs. 23 each)
Rapport with investigators +50% (is Indian and understands Indian courses of study & etc)
Getting people interested, exotic factor +20% (normal height pudgy Indian male in shirt & tie)
I attached photos of the baptism on Sunday. I baptized the two sons, Samuel (18) and Daniel (15) at their request. (Elder Glade baptized the parents, at theirs.) The photo includes two other baptisms that happened the same day.
Baptizing Samuel and Daniel was an honor and a privilege that invited a lot of self-reflection on my part. We are meeting them again tonight and will continue to meet them to make sure they are doing well.
Hmm…the baptism was pretty much the highlight of the week. Also we had ten investigators (people we are teaching) come to church, plus two less-active members that we are visiting and teaching. It was crazy! Normally we sit by them and help them feel comfortable but with ten of them and two of us this was rather difficult. Elder Glade told everyone it was his last week, which accounted for some of it. Also people that we had been inviting finally came. As far as we can tell all of them liked it though they have some questions.
We have zone conference tomorrow, which means seven companionships and two senior couples, plus President and Sister Nichols and another companionship that are their assistants, sit around a table and give talks and review how things are going. Probably this will be a combination of talking about principles, reviewing the numbers (statistics) and talking about names.
As for numbers – the goal that Elder Mckinley, the male in one of the senior couples, is “CHZ: 1 + 1 = 13,” which means try to baptize one person a month, plus an extra one sometime during the year. Talking about numbers can seem heartless, but it helps us see what we’re doing good at and where we’re having problems. For example, by examining statistics, Elder Glade found that the other district in Chennai (ie, all the elders assigned to the other church building) was finding tons of new people to teach, but for every 73 new people they taught they would only be baptising one person. Normal is 24, so this gave a good idea of the type of skills the elders needed to improve in.
And as for names, all of us are expected to know all of the investigators that are coming to church in our branch. That way, Elder Leckington and Naulu can take someone who lives in the area we cover, who was baptized 8 months ago, to go help teach someone with a similar personality. Or I can introduce him to a recently baptized man one of the other companionships are teaching, who needs friends. Or, we can just say hi to the people who need to feel welcome the most. It’s really interesting, it’s not that hard to do all the friendshipping I do in church. But I’ve never done it before in church or otherwise, I usually just go and sit with my friends, because it’s never been my ‘job.’ Hmm.
Funny story about Elder Leckington and Elder Naulu. No one in India can pronounce ‘Leckington,’ so he goes by ‘Lucky.’ And ‘Nalu’ means ‘4’ in Tamil. So all of the people they teach know them as Lucky-4.
Anyway, not much else to report. Life is well. All the best and love,