Saturday, July 25, 2009

Vizag, July 22

Well, more of the usual is going around me at the moment, shouting and shooting and other sounds coming from the best and brightest of India’s youth wasting their time playing Counterstrike, a first-person shooter game.
This week has been pretty good. It calmed down a bit from last week since there isn’t anyone we’re preparing for baptism. Transfer calls came, but I’m staying in Vizek in my current area for the next six weeks and probably more than that.
I started and taped up my fifth planner today. Since I’m only going to have sixteen, this means I’m a quarter done and that was a bit weird. The time is really starting to fly, and I can’t believe I’m sitting in front of the computer again.

Funny moments from the last week: from a family we met.

Me: Hey so what are your hobbies Lemuel (a 16yo boy).
Christobel (mother, extremely friendly and talkative): He keeps writing music
Lemuel to me and his mother: No, I’m *mixing* music. (as if the distinction was obvious to his mother). Hindi music is boring so I mix it with Western songs.

Right now I’m trying to learn how to be more obviously sad when people fail to do what they say they will. We’re supposed to be devastated when that happens, and I usually fall short of ‘devastated’ both internally and (especially) externally. (Or I get angry, annoyed, or frustrated, which isn’t the correct reaction; people should be doing this for themselves not for me) I know this will be really helpful later (especially as a parent), as well as essential for helping people improve now. Elder Bartlett is doing a pretty good job and he’s showing me.

We had a really interesting lesson on Saturday. Elder Glade (my first companion) taught me how to cut people off if they’re going on long, irrelevant rambles or side tangents – talk louder than them, don’t stop, and do it kindly. Still I’ve never been very good at it and I tend to lose my patience (especially if their long rambling is preceded by not listening), which isn’t good. But we went in pretty convinced that the father of the family was going to spend the whole time going on about his favorite topic, and we were able to keep it under control and on topic, which was nice.

You’d be amazed to see my new planner. On the Notes/To Do section at the beginning of the week, I have about five different lists of people we need to teach, things we need to commit them to do, church members we want to take with us, how we’re going to help get people to church, people we need to contact. Elder Bartlett and I had a really amazing planning session on Monday where we went through what we had to do in a very methodical manner and didn’t get distracted or on to irrelevant side tangents at all. Then none of the four appointments we had that day went through. Such is life sometimes.

Right now, as usual, my life is revolving around all of these people, especially a few who we’re focusing on, and my happiness is tracking their ups and downs. Those people are: this 23yo Nepali guy named Amit who wants to get baptized in about a month but will have to overcome a chewing tobacco addiction first, another 13yo boy named Banu Prakash whose family is church members but there might be some legal problems for him getting baptized – long story, and a 19yo biology student named Solomon who knows the Bible like the back of his hand but (as far as we can tell) never really took to churches before. Now Solomon is coming to piano class and English class and getting to know all the 19 and 20yo church members who hang out in the church in their spare time.

For example: Tonight we’re taking Jerry, the 18yo girl who got baptized last week and is way way excited about everything we teach, to go be friends with a 20yo girl named Sravanti – we’re teaching her whole family and she wants to come to church but she’s afraid she won’t know anyone. Then we’ll take an older married couple (means 26yo and 24yo – that’s old in church here) over on Saturday, and then plop Sravanti between them in church. We planned this all out a couple weeks ago and slowly abstract goals like ‘get Sravanti fellowship’ are becoming names dates and concrete plans, which makes me really happy. The same thing is happening for most of the people we’re teaching, (though as usual it takes a little more time than you planned it to), so overall I’m really happy at the moment.


He Who Must Be Ignored...or Obeyed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rob Daines said...

Dear Elder Samwise:

It's been great to follow your progress on the blog! I thought I'd break with the pattern and leave a brief footprint and offer a cheer from your hold haunts in Palo Alto. It sounds like you're doing well and doing what you're supposed to be doing. You can rest assured you're not missing anything back here -- nothing ever changes much here, so no need to hurry back! It'll be largely the same in the Stanford bubble when you return.

The only news on my end is that my own son McKay is getting ready for his mission (which is getting a little close to home for me!)

Hang in there - and God bless you!

Rob Daine