Sunday, October 25, 2009

Vizag, October 14

The flooding is a couple hours away, the closest is in another place in Andhra called Vijaywada. We'll hear about it from other people, but there still has been very little rain here. I got soaked a couple of weeks ago, and a couple months before that, but that's it.

We're going to go play football in about an hour after e-mail, which will be cool -- I haven't really done anything athletic (besides walking everywhere) since we played football like two months ago. Last time I dropped an interception thrown right to me. Sigh.

Life continues well. The main highlight has been our recent convert, John, who brought his friend Vasu to church two weeks back. Vasu felt really good at church, really wants to stop smoking, told us this but we didn't really get to start helping him, went back to his home village, and had some dream which involved him killing people and Jesus Christ stopping him (John was translating the dream for us, I didn't really understand it fully), and now hasn't smoked for like three weeks. It was crazy. He wants to take baptism, but he's kind of uncomfortable with us so we just played caroms with him on Monday to build friendship.

Then John lost his job due to some office drama and is understandably kind of down, especially because other jobs are saying he doesn't have enough English skills. Apparently no one in the office has ethics and most of them have bad habits also, and it's really been dragging on him spiritually, so maybe it's a blessing in disguise, though we're still worrying about him because bad things happen to him when he is depressed. He might move to Hyderabad and get a call center job of some sort. If he does, I'm going to miss him a lot.

…We stopped by on Sunday [to visit a family we are working with,] and Saraswathi (the wife) was reading from the Book of Mormon storybook to her children (and also translating it into Telugu for them) and her daughter was sad because she wanted us to leave so she would keep reading to them. Which was pretty funny. Her 10yo son Santosh really loves us (or me) though so he was okay with the interruption. Saraswathi seems about ten years younger than when we first met her, even though her husband isn't changing quite as much. We're still learning how to help him change, and it's really difficult. For Elder Pritchett and I, it really involves a lot of soul-searching, complete confundment, and throwing good ideas at the wall until something sticks. The main thing that stuck this week was one time where he really wasn't listening or being rational, so we left him to fill in lists of "What I'm doing that God wants me to do," "What I'm doing that God doesn't want me to do," and came back in three hours with Elder Nielsen, and he was way more receptive and rational. Still, honestly we still don't really know what worked -- it was probably some combination of Saraswathi, self-reflection, and Elder Nielsen.

On that note, we seem to be encountering a lot of problematic Indian males right now. When we stopped by Raju's on Sunday we learned that his neighbors that we used to teach moved out. The husband was apparently jealous that his (house)wife had friends nearby and was socializing with them. She would always complain to us about her husband and make faces about him, and when we played caroms he seemed to not-jokingly describe her as 'Pakistan'. I smilingly suggested 'Sri Lanka' but he kept insisting on 'Pakistan.' (This was about the extent of our direct communication due to my lack of Telugu and his lack of English.) Meanwhile the husband's sister was staying with her because her husband kept threatening to kill her and their infant son. Basically one big happy neighborhood. I heard a quote recently that describes my situation well, to paraphrase: "My mind informs me that I lack the capability to help all the people of whom my heart requires." Alas....

Also transfer calls came and I'm staying here with Elder Pritchett for at least another six weeks. Yay!


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