These two weeks have been absolutely crazy.
I’m working harder and getting more done than possibly any point previously in the last year. Probably because Elder Gervais and I are both committed and hard-working, and Elder Gervais is big on planning and organization.
When I got on my mission, the standards were, for one week, to have about 5 lessons with people you’re teaching where a church member is present “MP = members present” and to find 5 or 6 new people to teach “NI = New Investigators”. (This doesn’t work as a system when you get whacked on the head when you’re below the targets but more of just a way to measure whether you’re being effective.)
Then they raised the standards because there were less of us, so it became 7 MP and 8 NI respectively, and everyone thought it was crazy and it would be so hard to do.
Then Elder Gervais and I, for this week, had 20 MP and 10 NI, because we split up and took church members with us all Saturday and Sunday, so there were two companionships walking around our area instead of one.
We’ve done this like the last three weeks, and now people are basically asking us to take them on splits with them. (In one case, their girlfriend is sending them text messages pumping them up about it, which is pretty funny.) And it’s way exciting. Basically, everyone wanted to be energetic and excited about missionary work. And when we showed we were energized and excited, and kept asking them to come with us, then they came with us, then they became energized and excited. An interesting life lesson, and really good now.
Other exciting events: one sister who is engaged to an Indian elder currently on a mission in New Delhi showed up at church with her fiance’s family and wants to be baptized, so we’re teaching her. She’s already came to church for three or four years on and off and knows everything, and wanted to be baptized and join the Church but didn’t live in a place where the Church is (but now she does).
So for us, we’re kind of confused because we don’t usually encounter this situation, so we don’t know what to teach. Pretty good problem to have though.
I now have a new “Wyoming Cowboys” shirt from a girl (well, woman; she’s 25) who used to be interested in my companion. She sent him a package with one shirt for him and one shirt for his companion. Funnily it should have arrived six weeks ago or so but got sent to Kakinada after he got transferred to Hyderabad. In that case, his old companion would have gotten the shirt but due to the delay it’s mine. Muahaha.
(Also, it was an opportunity for me to talk economics for 15 minutes; she sent him the package because she wanted to marry him; there’s a comparison between false romantic expectations and why recessions occur and how people can keep putting off the day of reckoning, thus making it worse…)
Elder Gervais and I were talking about some experiences we had, and we’re a little confused. Twice in a row we took church members to a family that hasn’t come to church in many years, and they kept scolding the family instead of asking why or acting based on what we figured out. (A long-ago, extremely personable elder named Moffett who got this family to start coming to church and become church members because they liked him, rather than any real converting experience.)
From what we hear, scolding people for not coming to church is also something pastors do a lot here. We think all of this is because public and private scolding of mature adults (from what we can tell) seems to occur a lot more in Indian culture than in American culture. We wonder if maybe that’s tied in with the whole joint-family power structure; a 28yo, newly married couple has far less decision-making power here than in the US.
That’s about it. I just spent 1000 rupees buying new shampoo, aftershave, sweet lassi, a journal, and other food supplies for the week, which is by far and away the most I’ve ever spent in a week. Ai-yo – at least I’ll be eating lots of eggs nuts and muesli in the next week. And hopefully next week won’t be too bad. Alas.