Sunday, July 12, 2009

Vizag, July 8

Things have been so busy over here. We've been having five appointments every day, and we're hardly going to have time to teach all the people we're teaching now. On Monday, when we were planning we made a list of six groups of people who we should focus on, and then wrote plans for the other fifteen groups we're also actively teaching. Plus quite a few others too. Some of them we meet multiple times a week. It's really amazing how much I can organize and keep in my mind when I plan it all out.

It's amazing how young some girls get married here - we visited a couple of families where the wife was married at 15; the 27yo guy I mentioned last week's mother is 40; and a couple other cases also. Elder Bartlett and I were talking about that and we realized that many times there isn't the same concept of adolescence here -- or at least, it exists mostly in the more educated, wealthy class of society. (Also, we don't really talk to anyone else -- we can't, because they don't speak English). So we figured there were both upsides (in my honest opinion having a class of teenagers that don't add any value to society is not good for society) and downsides to that.

Our companionship went on exchange with the companionship that is 'in charge' of all of us in Vizek, called the zone leaders. That meant I got to spend some time with Elder Prasad, who is from Bangalore. We played some chess when we got back to the apartment (I won) and went around together for the day. It was really cool, he's got a really funny style of doing things. (Like when your typical devil-may-care 20yo guy told him that he didn't really care what his purpose in life was or what happened after death, he just kept being like, 'You can live a hundred years?')

Otherwise things are going really well. We have two baptisms on Sunday, the 17yo girl, named Jerry, and a 12yo boy John who's been coming to church for a couple of years. (His parents and family go to a different church but started sending him here because they liked the children's program.) Both of them are really awesome - Jerry is really sharp and John has a way good understanding for his age.

I'm really liking being here in Vizag -- the church community is very close-knit and there are always people hanging out at the church for programs (English, choir, piano, games, young adult classes) or simply hanging out and playing caroms and socializing. As I learn who's who I really feel like I'm grafted into a community, rather than forging relationships with a jumbled together group of individuals.

There are a ton of way cool people that we met -- a way humble guy who got a degree in theology and was an evangelist in Nepal for a few years until he got typhoid fever, and now works as a public relations officer for a charity. John Prasad's friend who is doing his undergraduate in biotech, John's parents who love us so much but can't communicate with us, this cool 8-member family who told us at least three times in very definite terms that they'd come to church at 1:30 (it starts at 2pm; they didn't come), a 40yo accountant for a construction firm with a family, he's a quiet guy but really loves us.

We had testimony meeting last Sunday and that was mostly in Telugu. Still pretty good though even if I didn't know what was going on. It was also a pretty interesting exercise in group dynamics, a lot of people who spoke in Telugu could speak in English but (like most people in India who speak English) are a bit insecure about their English and so when the people before them speak in Telugu they talk in Telugu also.

Anyway that's about it, I am happy and busy and ready for the next week!


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