Monday, February 23, 2015

February 23, 2015 - Rajahmundry

Well first things first!!!! Happy Birthday to my POPS!!!!!!!!!!!! What an old man;) haha. Hope you enjoy your birthday Dad.

Well this week was a pretty decent week.  I wouldn't say it was a great week because there is still so much telugu.  However, that aspect did improve.  So on wednesday we had interviews with mission president and i just talked to him and told him about my frustration with so much telugu and he reemphasized that we should only be teaching in english unless there is a part-member family that needs to be taught in telugu.  He did say however, that we should not do those too often because if my companion gets transferred and i get a non-telugu speaker next then we won't have anyone to teach so he gave me a couple suggestions on how to improve our pool of english speakers.  And that same day when we went out we found a couple english speakers that are now potential investigators.  

This week we did teach two guys that speak some english.  One named Gowtham and other named Chinna Babu (which means small boy in Telugu haha).  They are both college aged and were very interested in our message and we have another appointment with them on Tuesday.  Hopefully we can also continue to find more english speakers this week.  

This week we also taught a sister named Vimala and she is very interested in our message.  Whenever we teach her and then she says the closing prayer, my comp tells me after that she was saying how grateful she is to have us share this with her and that she loves what we share and she has never heard anything like this before.  We committed her to be baptized but she didn't show up to church this week because she had some family function which was very unfortunate for us.  Also we were very disappointed when Johnson Raj and Suresh didnt come either.  Johnson Raj is really doing well and learning and doing well with his word of wisdom problem.  Just didn't come to church...But suresh on the other hand, isn't actually progressing that well.  

We ended up dropping joshua and shirley because they aren't progressing because of their mother.  If they didn't have the mother interfering, they would be baptized for sure.  So i think with them we will just give them some space for a while and try again later.  

Uplifting this week was probably my first lesson i taught in english without it being translated in Rajahmundry.  My first one here.  That was pretty great.  Nothing new to eat.  Just still really good food.  They don't really eat anything weird.  And mango season is coming up soon so i am excited for that.  Speaking of is so dang hot and humid here.  I feel like i am going to die here because it is so hot and humid.  As soon as you step outside there is sweat dribbling down my face! So dang hot here...that will be very hard for me also.  I haven't really found new favorite people here because most people just speak i will try and find some haha.  On Pdays we normally go out to eat and then go play volleyball or basketball on the court right behind our apartment.  I could be playing every morning but the ball we have gets flat in one day so it is only good for one day without having to pump it up every single day.  So i might buy a new ball.  I don't play piano because they have someone who does.  They play so terribly and wrong, and the British elder in my apartment teaches sometimes.  I gave a talk yesterday in sacrament meeting because two of the assigned speakers didn't show up to church (a very usual thing to happen).  

So anyways, very surprising sports update Pa!!! Oh my.  So many trades.  Man state is coming up as well!! Make sure to watch a lot of games for me:)  So this week was pretty good for me.  Still trying to adjust to the telugu and heat.  But still life is always good as a missionary!

Scriptures: 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John.  I know it is a lot and long but i didn't give any last two weeks and these are worth it:)  Well Dad have a great birthday and family, have a great week! Love you all!
Elder Ballu

Monday, February 16, 2015

February 15, 2015 - Rajahmundry

Namaste! (Hello!)
Well another week has gone! This week kind of went slow for me honestly though. Still we are struggling to find english speaking investigators.  We are finding part-member families though which is good but they all are only telugu speaking so i am still trying to find out how to be of use in lessons.  Because it is very ineffective to have everything i say translated...This week we are meeting two guys who are referrals from other elders who speak english so that should be good for me haha.  It is just pretty frustrating right now not being able to teach people. 

This week we met Johnson Raj multiple times and we actually committed him to being baptized on March 8.  We also taught his son Suresh with him and committed him to that same date as well! So that should be good.  They are great guys, but we still need to help Johnson Raj overcome his word of wisdom problem and also get them to come to church.  We also taught Joshua and Shirley and their mother the "Do or Die" lesson meaning we taught them the Restoration and that our church has the fullness of the gospel and is the only true church upon the face of the earth with the Priesthood authority and direction from Jesus Christ himself.  So we will just have to let them excercise their agency now.  

As for me, not much went on this week.  All the missionaries in this zone were asked to begin visiting members more now because we all found out that even the active ones know pretty much nothing about the fact our branch has over 500 members on the list, but only like 70 come to church and we found out that it is because many previous missionaries baptized people who didn't know anything, baptized, beggars, baptized non-english speakers, used member translation and so forth.  So we are facing a very big struggle here trying to help our branch but we are going to be focusing a lot on members now.  

So it looks and sounds like you guys had such a great time in Hawaii!! I am glad you were able to have a fun relaxing time and especially grateful that Tyler was good while you were away.  

Answers: the biggest difference is definitely the english.  In rajahmundry there is very little english.  Especially in my area which is the hardest in rajahmundry. Our area has pretty much no english and our area is the farthest away from the church and many people live in cement blocks or huts in my area.  I think that is pretty cool honestly, but i can't do anything really with them because i speak little to no telugu.  I am trying to learn but it is pretty dang hard.  In telugu i can say: hi how are you, i'm fine, what is your name, my name is, where is your house, who, what, where, when, why, tell me.  Some little things.  I can say faith and holy ghost also.  but that is pretty much it...i didn't get the package yet and because i am in rajahmundry it probably won't get here until the beginning of march.  the lungi is getting stitched now so tonight onwards i will be wearing it every night:)  And of course i know Elder Dusara, everyone knows him haha.  he is way cool.  So elder johansson, the rigby elder is standing in the middle back in between an elder wearing a pink tie and elder braganza who is a british indian.  He is a very cool guy.  So franck messaged you?! Awesome! i love franck, he is such a great guy.  Connor going to Germany, not a surprise.  

And about the Cricket world cup, we actually watched a little bit of the game at a members home haha.  They are crazy about cricket here so....haha.  Australia has a way good team.  Their game against England was on at an eating joint we were at on saturday.  MV didn't make it to districts??? bummer....well they should be a good squad next year.  

Well i am glad your week was great!!! have another great week and i will talk you next time!
Elder Ballu

(Mom note...another missionary mom w/ son in Rajahmundry posted this picture on the mission mom's fb page.)

Rajahmundry Zone

Saturday, February 14, 2015

February 9, 2015 - Rajahmundry

Hey you vacationers!!!!!!! All play for you this week huh? haha anyways glad you are getting away to Hawaii to have some fun.  We all need fun in life.  Even 2 Nephi tell us "men are that they might have joy" and i am sure he didn't mean that the only way to have joy is working hard and having no vacations to hawaii haha.  I better get a good update next week about how much fun you had and what you did.  

As far as my update for the week.  So many of our appointments bunked this week but the appointments that we did have were very successful and productive.  When we went to teach an investigator named Johnson Raj, his daughter told us he wants to be baptized!! So this week we will be teaching him a lot and try to extend a date for him.  The only thing that will be difficult is helping him overcome his word of wisdom problem.  He is a great guy so we are going to focus on him a lot this week.  As far as Shirley and Joshua, we taught them this week but when we asked when we could pick them up to take them for church, their mom told us they weren't going this week because their pastor is becoming angry on them.  So this week we are going to teach the Restoration and Do or Die lesson basically.  We are going to try and powerfully hit them with the spirit of the truthfulness of the Restoration of the gospel and hopefully help them understand that there is one true church and that our church is that church.  So we will see how that goes this week. 
We also taught two new investigators.  One named Kupavathi who is a cousin of one of our members and she said she doesn't believe in any church right now because the ones she has gone to are all not true.  She hasn't been to ours yet so we will be teaching her and she said she is very willing to listen to us.  The other is the mother of a member named Devi and she has faith in Jesus Christ but we need to teach her how to act on that faith through Repentance, Baptism, Holy Ghost and Endure to the End.  We also have a couple of potentially good investigators upcoming this week.  We also got a referral from other elders and this guy's name is Teja and his has a friend named Pradeep and they both speak English!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank goodness. That is the ONLY thing i do not like about this transfer.  So I absolutely the people, the food, the apartment, the companion, the area, pretty much the everything.  EXCEPT for i am pretty much useless here most of the most of our investigators are part-member families and the rule is if there is one telugu speaking elder in the companionship, that elder can teach in telugu but no member translation or translation with these people i pretty much just sit there and for the first 15 minutes try to decipher what is being said and the rest of the time wonder when we can teach an english investigator.  So i was very very excited to finally get an english speaking referral.  It has just been kind of frustrating in that aspect.  Other than that i love everything about this place.  It is just frustrating because i want so badly to just teach people but i can't teach anything.  So we have some possible referrals from members but we told them they need to be able to speak english so we will see how many of them speak English.  

So i still have to get my lungi stitched today so then i will start wearing it around the apartment all the time:)  Well hope you have so much fun in Hawaii and i really hope Tyler is doing okay with you being gone.  
Love you guys so much!
Love, Elder Ball

Monday, February 2, 2015

February 2, 2015 - Rajahmundry

Well hello again!
So early this last week i flew here to Rajahmundry and started in my new area.  My new companion in Elder Chettimalla and so far he has pretty dang cool.  The area is definitely very different from Bangalore.  Much much smaller with zero things american except for one dominoes.  However, the people here are absolutely incredible.  They love missionaries so much.  Even the Hindu people.  They all know who we are and say hi elders and they love to attempt to talk to us.  The only thing is is pretty much nobody except for some members of the church.  The kids love to come up to me and give me a handshake and say hi and see my white skin.  They think i know magic and stuff haha.  And whenever they come up and give a handshake and i shake their hand, they get all excited like they just met some celebrity or something haha.  They absolutely love white people.  It feels pretty great to be so appreciated.  You won't get any of that in Bangalore. 

The things about Rajahmundry though are: the leadership is very poor.  Pretty much all of the meetings are held in Telugu.  So the thing about Telugu is that we have a mission rule: only speak in english.  Because this is an English meeting.  So we need to follow the english memorandum.  The only reason i want to learn telugu is to learn one indian language just for the heck of it, and also to just be able to understand what people are saying and then i can respond in english.  We are only supposed to teach in english.  Which makes things very hard here.  Even though this area is very hard to find english people, we are still only supposed to teach in english.  My companion does speak telugu though so it helps that he knows but for me, i pretty much sit there not saying much because i can't understand anything and they can't understand me.  Sometimes though i try and teach them in english.  There have been a couple lessons so far that we have taught in english.  Including one lesson to a sister named Gubbala Bhavani.  So we taught her this week and we had our first baptism together also!! My first baptism in Rajahmundry in the first week.  It was great so finally i had an indian baptism haha.  Anyways so we are trying to get referrals in order to find english speakers to teach so it is very difficult to find appointments here but we are trying really hard.  We have one 14 year old girl named Shirley and one 11 year old boy named Joshua that we are teaching.  They are actually pretty good and understand and speak a little bit of english.  They came to church this week and they love church so we are going to try and focus on them i think and try and progress them towards baptism.

So the place is pronounced how it looks, and i did fly to vijaywada and then drove in a cab for 3 hours here.  The apartment we are in is way better than my previous one and it is actually pretty big and nice.  My new comp is from Hyderabad and has been serving in rajahmundry his whole 9 months.  Also in our apartment are two missionaries who have been out 4 months and they are Elder Braganza from England and Elder Monk from Texas.  I am serving in the 1st branch and our area is the hardest/worst because it is the farthest out from the church and farthest away from everything and also pretty much the most village part of the city.  We travel by really old crappy cycles haha.  In rajahmundry zone there are 16 elders including elder johansson who is from rigby! i met him on friday and his best friend is dwayne brown! haha small world.  He is a way cool guy and he says he knows Jason and Jake and Grandpa erickson.  He is elder Semadeni's companion (my mtc comp semadeni).  

Dad: Cam had 33??? Dang!!! Atta kid!!! ballin! if you see him, tell him coach ball says congrats and keep ballin hard.  So as far as batchmates here: Semadeni, and Elder Parks who is from Utah.  sounds like Jessie is doing way good.  Kentucky will win the ship this year.  Sounds like KD is having a rough time this year with his injuries.... not good...Seattle lost!!!!!!????!?? Dang it those stupid Patriots haha.

Well anyways so i am loving the people here and the area, but it is pretty tough right now as far as the language and we are only supposed to speak english according to the rule from the mission president which makes things very hard, but we are doing our best which is what really counts.

So next week i will upload some photos.  I will try to this week but if i don't, they will come next week for sure okay?  Let me know when Connor gets his call.  Love you guys!  Thank you so much for you love and support and prayers.  
Scripture: 2 Nephi 10:23-25
Until next week,
Love, Elder Ball

Responses from emails back/forth while on-line briefly...
--My guess is i will probably be with my current comp for only one transfer because he has been her so long, and then i will train and be with that comp for 3 transfers and then directly go to the philippines after that.  Basil is in Erode now.  He has a comp that has been out for 3 months and he is from idaho.  I talked to elder bandi on the phone yesterday and he said there is a new missionary from meridian also here...last name armstrong i think.
--That must be him (Meridian Elder might be the missionary from Jed/Emily's ward).  Bandi is doing well.  He says is trying to do everything i taught him and trying to do the things i did with planning and waking up on time and visiting people haha.  It was kind of funny talking to him.  Claude got confirmed yesterday.. we do teach some english classes sometimes i guess.  We see wild pigs all the time and monkeys.  Not much else yet haha
--Thank you love you too!! Yes india is amazing.  Love this place.  In a different way than the US haha but i love it nonetheless.  It is fantastic.  The foods here aren't that much different than what i have had because bangalore has everything, and also the Pidugu family is from Andhra which is the state we are in so they fed us lots of andhra food in bangalore. The pidugu's also gave me a lungi for a parting gift haha it is way cool:) haha thanks you also have a great week!! Love you guys! Talk to you next week!