Oh wow... hahaha I realize that phone bill must have been quite unpleasant for you all, but it gave me a good laugh! You're definitely a little teenager, Abbey! ;) And I totally agree with you mom about getting to bear your testimony every day. There's no better way to grow your testimony than to share it! :) Noah, are you doing slow dances now, or still just a fast dancin' kind of guy?
This week in India has been AMAZING!! I LOVE the Ganesh festival!! I think it's similar to how atheists still love Christmas. Even though I don't worship the elephant god Ganesh, that doesn't keep me from having a roaring good time! :D
On just about every street there is a giant Ganesh set up (most are about 3-15 feet tall), with a little shrine around it. And the fun part is that all day long they blast party music at each shrine! Every where we go we are listening to awesome Indian music! (I'm hooked on Indian music, and I'm totally going to listen to it even when I'm in America). Plus, the festival puts every one in a good mood. Just like how everyone in December has the "Christmas spirit", everyone in India gets the "Ganesh spirit"! haha.
And by far, my favorite part of the festival was one night when they were playing Gangmen Style at one of the shrines, and I got to watch little 7 year old Indian boys try to do the Gangmen Style dance. hahaha! Little Indian boys doing the Gangmen dance around a giant elephant statue. Definitely not something you see every day.
One part of the festival that has been strange for me is a rule that we have to help keep us safe: no finding new investigators. I didn't realize how automatic it has become for me to share the Gospel with people I meet in the streets and stores until I started needing to force myself NOT to! Normally, people ask where I'm from, what I'm doing in India, and then that's a perfect lead into I'm a missionary, teaching about Jesus Christ, and then I ask if they would like to learn more. But for this past week, I've had to force myself to say, "Oh, well, I'm just here doing service." Sigh... oh well, starting next week I can talk to everyone I meet about the Gospel again! :D
My new companion's name is Elder Thompson, and he is the EXACT opposite of my last companion, Elder Watts. Not that he's bad at all, just WAY different. I would say it's like comparing Batman (Elder Watts) to Spiderman (Elder Thompson). Both quality super heroes, but not at all the same.
Elder Thompson is a really goofy guy, so it's been a lot of fun partying it up with him (missionary kind of partying, of course). And, since he is brand new to Kakinada, it's been great getting to be the leader of the area, and see that I'm actually capable of leading very well. I guess all that training Elder Watts gave me really paid off. :)
One awesome story for you all. So, this last week I went to Rajamundry for a few days, before my new companion arrived. While in Rajamundry, I became a trio with another companionship up there. One day, we went and visited a old sister named Papa (ironic name for an old woman, huh?) Before the visit, the other elders told me "I know this visit is going to seem a little harsh, but we've been working with this lady for a MONTHS now, and she just isn't progressing. She can't/won't give up her tea. We are going to give her one last chance, and if she can't do it, we are going to need to drop her and move on."
So, for the visit we had with her, we told her that if she didn't stop drinking her tea, we would need to stop visiting her. When the missionaries first started coming, she was having EIGHT cups of tea a day, and she had brought it down to 4 cups per day, but she never could go a day without it. We told her she NEEDED to not drink any tea the next day. That was our goal for her. To just go tomorrow without drinking any tea. One day. That's all she needed to do to show she was serious about this.
And we told her we would be coming back tomorrow to see if she completed this goal.
All that evening and the next day we were praying for her, just hoping that she could give up her tea addiction. After months of trying, that she would finally have success.
The next evening, we went over to her house. But, she wasn't home. Instead her daughter was there, and we asked her if her mom had drunken any tea. She told us that Papa had NOT drunken any.
Did our ears deceive us? Was this for real?!
Needless to say, we started hollering for joy and dancing around like little kids. And just at that moment, guess who walked around the street corner? Papa.
You could tell by her face that she knew exactly what we were all yelling about. :)
On the mission call packet, it says something along the lines of "greater happiness and joy than you have yet experienced await you as you humbly and faithfully serve the Lord". I would say this was one of those times. :)
Miracles do happen!
Have a super duper week!