Sunday, November 21, 2010

Coimbatore, October 31

Mostly it's just rainy season here, so we're busy getting wet. Yes, we have umbrellas, but we also have bicycles. I've gotten pretty soaked about three times in the last week.

Other visible effects include a decrease in Church attendance -- even though Sunday was clear -- with the general reason that "I have a fever (= a cold), I was out walking in the rain."

It seems rather medically dubious to me (a cold is a virus, right? Does being out in the rain really affect your immune system that much? Does everyone in Seattle and Portland have a cold all the time?) but everyone believes it here.

As per my companion: Elder Prabhakar's name is actually Vasanth Prabhakar; his father's name is Prabhakar. He is from Karnataka, and in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, they take their father's name as the surname and don't have any family surname. (In Andhra they have a surname, same as in the US.) The Maharashtran system, having a surname and your father's name as the middle name, makes the most sense to me. Can you imagine the difficulty of record-keeping without surnames? Abbott and Costello would have a ball...

We are still crazily busy, ie, life is still looking up. Everyone is busy preparing for Diwali. Most everyone will have holidays on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, so we are going to try to get about two weeks of work done in four days. Due to various reasons including our busy-ness, other people's busy-ness, we aren't meeting people frequently enough.

For example, we need to meet J. once or twice in a week to help her have enough upward oomph and encouragement, but we've only been able to meet her once in two weeks. We need to meet another brother named A. every week, but we've only been able to meet him four times in two-and-a-half months.

The main cause of the problem is that in the last two weeks 18 different people that we're actively responsible for came to church at least one week. Of those, 14 are preparing for baptism. Normally, that would be like 6 and 2. This is hardly cause for complaint -- we're really excited -- but it does cause us to be rather busy.

I've gotten to this stage before in Hyderabad with Elder Gervais, but then everything fell apart. Over time we discovered that people just liked Elder Gervais and myself rather than being interested and able to change their lives. So they kind of all fell off the map sooner or later. Part of our mistake was that we failed to honestly evaluate people's motives and challenges and part was we failed to make the right plans and concentrate on the right people. I hope to avoid making the same mistakes here. One difficulty is that I probably won't be able to get much help with Elder Prabhakar with such evaluation, it takes some experience as a missionary, which is why I made that mistake in the first place.

I also have tons more stories to write, but a part of them would not really suffice, so I'll leave it at that.

Love,
Sam

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