Monday, March 30, 2015

March 30, 2015 - Rajahmundry

Hello my beloved family!!! You guys really are the best family anyone could have, and i really appreciate the support i receive from you.  Especially to you mom and dad.  I don't know where i would be or what i would be doing without you.  And also to my perfect brother who is my eternal mate.  Without him also i most definitely would be a "junk fellow" as they call it here in India;)  

Well me and my companion worked pretty hard this week trying to help our recent converts and less actives and also our investigators.  Again our main focus was on Sophia.  So we taught her three times this week and she read the book of mormon a couple times or at least tried, but she is having a very difficult time understanding it so we are really trying to help her with that.  But the main thing that happened this week was we spoke to her again regarding baptism...And she decided she wants to be baptized!!! So we committed her to being baptized on April 12!  But we really have to help her with one thing.  She is way way into her she is willing to come off of the coffee but it will be very difficult for her, so we are praying really hard that God will help her and also we decided to buy her this stuff called Boost which is a good substitute for coffee.  So we gave it to her to help her get off of coffee.  But we are really excited about her decision.  

We also found some more potentials this week, so next week we are planning on meeting them.  We also met Neeraja again, but we aren't totally sure about her willingness to learn more.  She said she was wanting to learn more but we will see.  We have an appointment with her today.  

We focused on recent converts and less actives as well as members again this week, and we had 17 recent converts and less actives come to church! Including one sister who we have been working with my whole time here so that was great.  We went on splits four of the days this week and that was pretty good.  I am getting quite good at riding my cycle in this crazy traffic haha   I am still dying of heat haha.  I am drinking lots of water which is keeping me hydrated, but i am soaked head to toe in sweat every single day.  And apparently it is going to get even more hot so not too excited about that.  

So yes we had a really good zone conference this week about focusing on the book of mormon more, and we got two new mission standards: Using the book of mormon in EVERY lesson we teach, and also the main one is not teaching people who are not reading the book of mormon.  So if an investigator is not reading, we need to drop them and not progress them until they read the book of mormon.  I think that is a good idea because the book of mormon is so important.  

So there is one elder in my district who was comparing his states mission he was visa waiting in to this one in india and said india is by far sooooooooooo much more difficult haha.  And i would agree this mission is very very difficult...but it is so awesome.  And is really pushing me and helping me to learn and grow so i am grateful for that.  
Sounds like my bro is getting extra smart!! Thats my man!  So next week i will upload more pics.  I didn't take too many this week.  I really need to take more pics now that you were complaining so much about it;) haha just kidding i need to take some more though so i will do that:)  
Man college bball sounds so great this does the nba...

You finally got iphones!??!?!?!?!?! What?! No you are just have to be.  Dad can't be too techy.  He is old skool.. and so cool:)  Wow well enjoy those!!!:) and yes keep one for me;) i sure would like to come home to one of those;)  If you are serious about actually getting iphones haha.  Not sure i completely believe you guys:)  

Well i am absolutely loving my mission.  It is so great.  And time is really flying.  Can't believe i am already at 8 months...flying so fast.  I am very settled here now but i am leaving to the philippines in 3.5 months!!! in three weeks my comp will probably be transferred, he should anyways haha.  

Well i love you guys so much.  
Until next week,
Elder Ball

Monday, March 23, 2015

March 23, 2015 - Pictures, Rajahmundry

Think this might be the 'truck stop hut' they like to eat at called Daba.
Elder Ball quickly fell in love with Indian food.

Elder Ball's mode of transportation...the infamous 'cycle'!

This would appear to be the bike path...:)
Looks like multi-purpose furniture--table, chair, bed all in one!
Yellow taxi - drive in front and passengers squish/bend into the back.

March 23, 2015 - Rajahmundry

Well me and my comp had another pretty good week this week.  We had some success with our teachings and had many of our recent converts and less actives come to church this week.  15 to be exact which is a pretty dang good number.

So the first thing to talk about is our main investigator Sophia.  So this week we invited her to be baptized, and we got the answer we pretty much always get at first. "No, because i have already been baptized..." I am so sick of hearing that answer haha but we actually just re-explained authority and also receiving the holy ghost after baptism, and she seemed to understand it pretty well actually.  So then last night we went on splits and i went with my favorite member named Chandra Shekar to the appointment, and we had a good lesson with her about the importance of baptism and found out that the reason she doesn't want to get baptized is because she is scared about getting baptized a second time.  So we decided to teach her again about the importance of authority and how if the first time no authority was there, baptism a second time by authority into Christ's true church is essential.   She seemed to be a lot more comfortable about it, and next time we teach her, we will find out what her decision is as we gave three different dates that she could choose from but told her we are not forcing her.  so i also asked her how she feels when we teach her and when she comes to church, and she said she feels very happy and feels joy and peace.  So i explained to her through the scriptures that God already has answered her and told her it is true.  She then admitted to us that she thought her answer would come by God actually literally speaking to her with his voice, so we cleared that with her and she is really progressing well.

With our former investigator, Vimala, we found out this week that she quit her job that required her to work on Sundays so that she could start coming to church again, so she said she will be attending church every week now onwards so we could be baptizing her next month.  That was quite the blessing.

So one day this week my companion and i spent an entire day just going to one area to door knock because many english speakers are in this place called Lala Cheruvu.  So we spent the whole day finding christian homes and knocking, and i don't think i have ever gotten rejected so much and so hard as we did that day haha.  Literally every door didn't think twice about saying they are not interested.  However, we called one who we met a previous day and he wants us to come this week, so we are really hoping that he is the one god prepared for us in that area because we strongly felt to go to that area but found absolutely nothing.  That evening on our way home, we had a thought that the reason we found nothing there was simple.  Only 3 members live in that area, and previous missionaries had to have been there before because there are english speakers, and there are 15 different churches just in one housing board area.  We decided that the reason we went there was to find out that that area is not ready yet and to focus elsewhere.  But maybe we will have that one family we called.  Really praying for that. 

Other than that not much to tell about this week, but it was a good week. So yeah i am getting a little bit better at cricket.  I actually love cricket now.  And India is in the semis in the world cup! SO awesome.  Very good team.  So one cool thing that we did this week we went to a place called a Daba to eat.  It is like a truck stop on the highways for the trucks travelling throughout the country and it is way cheap and actually really good food.  but is like a hut on the side of the road haha, but very tasty.  We ate there three times in two days!  So this week not many random or interesting things to tell.  It is still hot as heck, and i am sweating like crazy.  Still having a great time with my companion.  We really get along well. 

Very excited about March madness actually and the bracket i got!! Not going to lie it makes me a bit trunky;) haha  Sad about Uncle John, but yes he should be having very happy time with his family in the spirit world for sure.  Very quick the picture mom sent, why do i see the small red truck????????? Did you buy it back or what? very confused.  So yes i made it through jesus the christ a few months ago and it was awesome, so good but so long and deep haha.  And didn't ever get a response about the other book. 

Scripture: Alma 34.  Very powerful testimony but an exemplary missionary in the book of mormon.  Well another good week is gone and another hopefully ahead! Hope you also have a great week! Love you guys!
Love, Elder Ball

Monday, March 16, 2015

March 16, 2015 - Rajahmundry

Well this week was the bounce back week i was talking about.  I knew we just had one bad week and a good one would follow.  We worked extra hard this week to try and make up for last week, and we really had lots of success.  So basically it started with us deciding to drop all but a couple of our telugu investigators.  On monday we taught Neeraja, and we taught her the gospel of jesus christ.  We were also very straight with her and asked her if she wants to be baptized or not.  so the answer we got was a very firm yes...but she will be going to her village until the first week in april.  So when she returns we will finish teaching her and then will baptize her, so we have one baptism set for early april.

This week we taught Gowtham and Chinna Babu.  We had a wonderful lesson first with Gowtham about the priesthood and the difference between our church and others.  And we felt like intellectually he didn't fully understand, but after the lesson we couldn't help but discuss how strong the spirit was in that lesson.  So that is when we decided to only teach a couple of telugu and the rest english.  Later this week we taught Chinna Babu that same lesson and then taught both of them the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We then invited them to be baptized, and Chinna Babu said yes but didn't agree on a date yet.  Gowtham is still struggling with understanding that his baptism one year back wasn't valid and that he must be baptized by proper authority.  So this week we will try and meet them again, but if he still doesn't understand, we might have to drop him and just focus on Chinna Babu.  

So this week we also went and did some finding in a place called Lala Cheruvu, and we found some potential investigators who we are planning on visiting this week.  The main highlight though was actually we got a referral from our Branch President who got a call from a sister in the US who is living in Salt Lake City.  This sister is a member and her sister is living in our area and is not a member.  So this sister is bringing her sister to Utah in 3 months, and she wants her to learn the gospel before going to the US.  We began teaching her this week and think she is pretty much golden.  She is awesome and understands much of what we teach.  Her name is Sophia, and she already came to church so this week we are planning on extending a baptism date for her.  We also taught many recent converts and less actives this week as well as members.  so this week was very successful for me and Elder Chettimalla.  

There is nothing really to see in Rajahmundry, so on P-days we mostly just go play volleyball or basketball or cricket at our apartment or something like that and go shopping.  In my apartment is Elder Braganza from England and his companion Elder Monk from Houston.  So about our is wayyyyy better than Lingarajapuram apartment.  Very big and we have A/C and normal toilets and good showers, and it is a very nice apartment actually. Yes, i have had Limca and it is pretty good, but i have not had Paradise biriyani because it is in Hyderabad but i will have it when i go.  
I did get the package! And actually i am learning a lot and can almost hold a non-intellectual casual conversation and am learning mostly how to at least understand some of what people are saying.  My telugu is really improving which is great.  I actually had a police guy come up and start talking to this canadian elder who was with me and elder semadeni at the time.  the canadian is from india so the guy noticed and started speaking telugu to that elder, but he didn't understand anything and i did.  so i just answered him and had a nice conversation with him about where i was from and my name and his name, and he asked if i was getting tiffen but i said later. it was kind of cool actually because the other elders were looking to me to know what he was saying, haha.   
Great sports update Dad:) but a little disappointed about not getting a bracket;) haha.  So yes i had a much better week this week and am hoping for another one!

Hope you all have a great week as well! And as for pics next week i will try my other memory card because this week i tried using a different card reader and because of lack of technology i was unable to just insert the card somewhere and i have also tried the cord...but for some reason nothing is working....i promise i am trying hard to figure this out because i have some dang good pics you should see but i really am trying so please be patient;) 
Love you all!
Love, Elder Ball

PS, While we wait for Elder Ball to send pics, Elder Dusara had some p-day pics that included Ryan. :)

I guess this is street ball in India...:)

Monday, March 9, 2015

March 9, 2015 - Rajahmundry

Hello family!
Another week come and gone, and honestly this week was pretty lame.  nothing really happened this week at all.  We taught lots of members this week and most of them with one sister.  Her name is Pushpalatha Polimati.  She has been a member for a while but was pretty much baptized without any knowledge about anything.  She had never even heard of Joseph Smith before.  Anyways so she basically had been coming to church every week but also attended services and prayer meetings of multiple other churches and she kept getting doubts.  So we taught her the Restoration and now she doesn't attend those other meetings anymore so that was a success.  Other than that we didn't teach very many people this week. 

Pretty much none of our investigators gave us appointments and when they did, they would just bunk or postpone and then postpone next time as well.  We were very frustrated this week.  Plus my companion is also pretty frustrated because he has been in Rajahmundry for over 10 months now and still has not gotten transferred.  He also did not get a transfer call last week so will be here for the entire first year of his mission.  So we are still together for another transfer.  He is a very cool guy from Hyderabad, 26 years old.  We get along really well although sometimes there are a few things that make me tick but i guess that will happen with everyone.  
No Neeraja who was our baptism date has not been giving us appointments, so this week we are going to just surprise visit her.  Also with Gowtham and Chinna Babu because they told us that they were coming to church this week but once again did not follow through with that, so we are going to be very straight with them as well.  

So in answer to the questions, testimony meetings happen in Telugu so i have no idea what is being said.  Singing is worse than before.  Our PEC meeting was quite frustrating this week as well.  our Branch Presidency was just saying some stuff that was very frustrating and non-productive and let's just say they have a long ways to grow.  So we are planning to meet with the Branch President this week and talk to him about a few things and see how we can help them better.  They just don't really know how to hold meetings and what should be said and not said.  

What was also frustrating about this week was the fact that Elder Bandi called me this week and told me how ever since i left, with his new comp, Lingarajapuram is basically in shambles.  Elder Bandi is having health problems, and his comp has offended members, investigators, basically told people in the branch that Elder Ball is a junk missionary (even though this guy doesn't even know me and has been out for less time than me).  Bandi told President everything, so Bandi is getting a new companion so hopefully they can fix things there.  It was just so frustrating and really made me want to go back there (i never thought i would say that).  Anyways we do ride cycles and they are absolute junk haha but oh well.  The traffic is not nearly as bad as Bangalore.  Cycling to our area is so far away and uphill the whole way haha.  Ice cream is okay, nothing special.

Well anyways that is about it for my week.  I know it sounded like a bad week, and honestly it kind of was but no need to worry.  It is hard to stay down for too long while being on a mission.  We will just have to have a bounce back week.  i am praying really hard right now though for strength to make it through the rest of this next transfer because i am probably getting an American companion next transfer which is really needed for me right now because i am tired of teaching in Telugu! haha. 

Well i love all of you guys! Still trying to fix the picture stuff but for some reason it isn't happening...might have to go to a member's house who has a laptop and try inserting my card into there.  i don't know.  Very very very sorry about the no pics for a long time.  

Well i will talk to you again next week! Love you!
Love Elder Ball

Monday, March 2, 2015

March 2, 2015 - Rajahmundry

Hello everyone!!
Well this week was a pretty good week.  The work was very slow for a couple of reasons this week.  So so many appointments bunked on us this week.  So each day we only taught like one or two lessons.  Except for Sunday (yesterday) we took members on splits and accomplished 7 lessons! That is pretty insane for india.  haha.  It is so tough to get appointments here that actually follow through.  This week we did get to teach Gowtham and Chinna Babu again.  We taught them the Restoration and i was so excited about actually getting to teach that i didn't realize our appointment went for two hours!  They were very interested and loved our message.  The only disappointing thing about them was that sunday morning we called them reminding them about church and they assured us that they would be there.  However, they did not show up unfortunately.  Oh well, happens a lot.  I am really trying to figure out how to better help investigators understand the importance of attending our sacrament meeting. 

So other than them we are still trying to find more english speakers but our area is literally the hardest area to do that in.  Gowtham and Chinna Babu live in a very poor place that takes sooooo long to cycle to.  To get to our area, we cycle through and past 3rd, 2nd and the other 1st branch elders' areas just to get to ours.  And in all of those areas there are nice homes occaisionally and some english.  in our area, everyone lives in a cement box basically or a grass hut.  I think that is way cool.  I love going to those places.  The only thing is like none of them speak english.  So our efforts will continue but it will be difficult.  We are planning to go finding less active elders and prospective elders to try and find some english speakers.  Some of the members speak english but because of those missionaries that baptized all those people, the percentage is actually pretty low.  

We also began teaching a hindu sister who is the wife of a less active member.  She is only 17 and already has a baby. (very common here)..So we are also trying to continue to visit members because still many of them do not know that there is only one true church on the face of the earth. So we are going to reteach some members the restoration...

So random they have a bunch of different functions or parties.  Like they have "maturity functions" for girls.  You can probably figure out when they have those without me telling you haha.  It is so weird.  There are some more random things i thought of this week but i forgot now so i will write them down when i remember and i will tell you next week:)  So many weird random things haha.  I guess one thing is also that indians have like no sense of time haha.  They are like always late to everything.  So when people say what time something will start or when they will be somewhere, we ask if it is in Indian Standard Time haha.  it is funny but drives me nuts sometimes haha.  I did leave my small suitcase behind in bangalore at the mission home with some other stuff that i will bring home.  And about the smells, mom are you serious? I can't really smell remember? I really can't smell much here at all.  Although most americans tell me about the smell changing every 100 feet and all the bad smells haha.  

Transfer calls are also today so we will see what will happen with me and companion. We are expecting him to get transferred because he has been in this same zone for 10.5 months....

Sounds like the stake conference was really good!  That's awesome!! 
BYU actually won a big game!?!?!?!? no way. haha and that is great about BSU! Go Broncos.  State bball this upcoming weekend huh? Dang that might make me a lil' trunky thinking about ;) haha just kidding.  Should be interesting.  My bet is on Highland.  And sure Dad i will see what i can find out about that service stuff you want to do.  That would be very cool if you came here to do that the week before i go home.  And about the pictures, none will come this week unfortunately because another elder has the card reader but next week for sure i will try again and maybe i will ask one of the tech savvy elders to come along with me and try to help me figure it out!

Scripture: D&C 18:10-20
Well on to another month.  Crazy.  It has already been 7 months now.  4.5 months and i am off to the Philippines which is so weird...  But anyways i will talk to you all next week! 
Elder Bunthi (means ball in telugu)

PS.  Still learning more telugu.  I can have a very non intellectual conversation about how they are, where they live and if they had their lunch haha.