We skyped with Elder Ball on Mother’s Day, and he seemed happy, content, and focused on working hard, yet still showed a sense of humor. His English is definitely less American and more like Indian-English in tone, terminology, syllable emphasis, and he has a head-bob mannerism at times when talking.
Highlights of things Elder Ball shared via Skype...
--Said a few things to us in Telugu. He is able to understand most Telugu spoken to him, but his speaking is basic conversational.
--Liked Tyler’s blonde mustache and said we should wait for his half-way mark to give Tyler his first shave. Tyler used his IPad to ‘tell’ him a few things.
--Mission/Philippines. The mission is so large that they see President Berrett around every three months. He will go to the Philippines July 14th and thinks he’ll be there for 1-2 transfers. All missionaries will be moved out of Rajah on July 10 for 2wks (during the big pilgrimage to the river by millions of Hindus) for safety reasons (extremists will be there, don’t like Christians, etc.).
--Rajahmundry. Their area of Rajah is poor, and most people live in huts or cement blocks. Those who speak English usually understand just basics, so they really teach with basic terminology. Most all people in Rajah are friendly to them, holler at them in the street “hi bro, how are you, what is your name” (video clip). The little kids especially like them because they are white.
--Rajah branch. Most church meetings are in Telugu, but the need exists to increase use of English, develop future leaders; the Church Handbook/etc. are not in Telugu. Said it’s hard to remember how a real ward functions. Branch ‘list’ of members is ~500 people, but only have 70 active members. Poor records, lack of addresses, etc. because prior missionaries basically baptized everyone. That’s the reason for the no-translation rule now…need to teach in English to ensure investigators understand the teachings prior to getting baptized.
--May is the hottest month of the year. It’s been 110 degrees or so every day plus high humidity, so feels like 140 degrees. He sweats and drinks water all day long.
--Their apartment is very nice compared to his apartment in Bangalore. It has a washing machine for laundry, air conditioning, etc.
--He and Elder Thompson are having a great time together. They have also found nine new English investigators while ‘going finding’ during the last couple of weeks, so are real excited about them. Also teaching a whole bunch of less-active, new-members.
--His “cycle” is such a ‘junk bike’ that it’s almost cool. They ride a long ways up hill to their area from their apartment.
--It's mango season (Ryan loves mangos), so he and Elder Thompson bought 32 mangos the other day and have eaten almost all of them. He loves to wear his lungi, and is going to get another one soon and get Elder Thompson one.
--Some of them play basketball in the mornings for their exercise. (So he’ll be excited that the in-transit package includes a basketball net.)
--His second comp, Elder Bandi, is serving in Rajah now and lives in the apartment downstairs. He’s learned to really love Elder Bandi, who is doing much better now in Rajah.
--Be glad we are in America, because government is corrupt in other places like India.
--Everything is really cheap, and they use rupees. Said he’s very frugal so is still on last month’s allocation. They cook at the apartment more now because it’s cheaper, and they are also learning to cook Indian food.