Wow. So far that is all i have to say. This place is absolutely insane. I got assigned to Lingarajapuram and it like one of the poorer areas of Bangalore. Went to church yesterday and met the Branch but so far the Branch is frustrating because they aren't that willing or able to help missionaries as members. They just don't quite understand how important it is to have members present at lessons. Especially because Pres. Berrett really emphasizes using members and we can't do it. Every day Elder Bunga and i have a goal of teaching 2 lessons with members present but we have not yet hit that mark because it is so hard to get members to come. Elder Bunga is a great guy. He is from Hyderabad and speaks pretty dang good English. Occasionally i dont understand him but most of the time i do. We are kind of struggling right now in terms of success because the last couple days all but one or two of appointments have been falling through. I think we should just try and get new investigators because the ones we currently have are not progressing at all.
Speaking of investigators, the other day we talked an invest. named Vincent David. Great guy with lots of knowledge about the gospel but he keep saying he wants to and will change but he is all talk. He has a huge Word of Wisdom problem especially with alcohol and Gonja. but hopefully we can help him out. We also visited a sister named Chantee. She also has a WOW problem but we had a good lesson and discussion. she is already a member but has a problem with alcohol now after she was baptized. Another investigator we talked to was named Vijay. Apparently the only reason he was interested in talking to the missionaries is because he thought we could help him financially.
So now i will give you the day by day things we have done..
Thursday: arrived India and had much difficulty getting past the security to get into the country. Met the Pres and wife and others missionaries and had breakfast. Then we went out with a temporary companion to kind of get acquainted with Bangalore. Then had orientation and then got assigned to our comps and areas and went back to the apartment.
Friday: Went to a branch activity all day and it was pretty fun. Except the bus ride was 3 hours there and 3 hours back but it was fun. We went to a tiny village and played games and just chilled. In our mission we do this thing called ITLs or Invite to Learn. it is where we just talk to random people and get to know them and then invite them to learn more. So on the way home on friday i sat next to a guy holding a bible and the spirit was like exploding my heart to just talk to him so i did and i ended up giving him a reference card and he seemed pretty interested. He lived in a different area than ours so i might not ever see him again but maybe something will happen i dont know.
Saturday: Visited Vincent David and Chantee
Sunday: took Vincent David to church and in sacrament they asked the two new missionaries to speak impromptu. Then had sunday school. Then for elders quorum, we were waiting for it to start when the EQP came up to me and told me that the teacher didnt show up today so he asked me if i could give the lesson on the Gift of the Holy Ghost. So i did. Apparently it went really well because my comp told me it was soooo amazing. Had many meetings. Then tried to visit people but everyone cancelled on us.
So here is a little bit about my lifestyle now
So my comp was a huge devout Hindu until he was converted at 14. He is 24 now and has only been out for 4 months. Great guy. The other two Elders we are staying with are Elder Kesterson from Wyoming and Elder Basil. So real quick i guess Wyoming and Idaho are Bangalore mission feeders because there are like 3 Elders from Wyoming and apparently currently there are 5 from Idaho right now and more coming.....crazy. Elder Basil is from Melbourne Australia dad!!!!!!! he was surprised i knew how to say Melbourne and so i talk to him with an Australian accent occasionally and he says i am good at it. I love Elder Basil. He is awesome. He is a bball player too. Huge bball fan! His grandparents are Indian but are from Melbourne. Their last name is Basil as well and they started the seminary and institute programs in India on their missions in India. Not sure if you know who they are or not.
The food sucks. Very spicy and i have had the runs for last few days. Im trying to eat as much american like food as possible. Hard to find it though. The apartment has no A/C and isn't a very nice apartment. But oh well i guess. Literally everyone here stares at me. All the time. It is absolutely insane. They see a white guy and are so intrigued. It kind of annoys me sometimes. But the people are very nice. Except there is like no sanitation or personal space anywhere. So crowded on buses and on the streets and the traffic is like nothing you would ever believe. people are crazy here.
So i have been so overwhelmed so far and almost every night i have to get a good cry in because of how hard it has been and how much of a shock i am in and how overwhelmed i am. To be honest i wonder a lot why the heck im in India but i say so many prayers to heavenly father asking him to help through each day one at a time and each hour. And he hasn't helped me with a full day yet but he has helped me in tiny ways often. A couple examples are from this morning. So this morning Elder Kesterson asked how i was doing and i struggled to tell him i was doing fine. I guess he could tell i wasn't. Because after he asked i went into my closet area and just started crying. i just started to pray again. Not even 20 mins after waking up and saying my morning prayers where i already pleaded with God to help me. I opened my drawer after the prayer and there was Dad's envelope of note cards. I decided to look at them and the first thing i saw was Dad's letter to me and the way it started was talking immediately about how hard it is but that i can do hard things and stuff like that. It was pretty dang comforting. then as i kept reading i got the part about mom and tyler and started crying again. Then all of a sudden Elder Kesterson walks in sits down next to me and just looks and me. I tried to hold it in. then he left. When i was done i was still trying to destroy the evidence of me crying and as i walked into the kitchen, Kesterson tells me to grab my shirt and sandals and come with him for a minute. So Kesterson was in Colorado for 18 months waiting for his visa and now he is on his 25th months because he got an extension. So we just walked and he made me laugh and we just joked with each other for a while. Then he ended up taking me to a stand on the road and he bought me a snickers and pepsi and he just started to talk to me and tell me how he knows its hard for me right now and he says every time he is stressed he buys a snickers and pepsi and just chills out. It helped me so much. Anyways crazy first week that seems like it is taking forever so hopefully things get better.
Love you guys,Elder Ball