Monday, October 21, 2013

Cultural Differences

Here's something pretty exciting! This week we got a boyfriend! :D hahaha Well, maybe that's a little bit of an exaggeration, but not by too much. We met these two guys named Phani (pronounced Funny) and his best friend Kiran. They were very interested to meet us (Because we're white. Who DOESN'T want to talk to white people here?? haha ^_^ ), so they invited us over to their homes. At first, they just wanted to watch movies and play games and eat food with us (just be buddies with us), so we had to carefully explain to them that we are here to teach about Jesus Christ, not to hang out. Kiran seemed just fine with that, and we see him potentially progressing very well. However, Phani didn't seem too interested in learning about Jesus, but he loves us just the same! 

Actually, an a side note, we have a LOT of guys flirt with us here! It's not uncommon for guys to want to hold my hand, and I have had quite a few men tell me I'm cute, beautiful, and other such flirtatious comments... haha weird! Fortunately (well, fortunately because I'm a missionary), there are big cultural pressures for girls not be flirtatious, so they don't clammer all over us. In India though, being white is the semi-equivalent to a guy being able to bench press 300 pounds in America; it doesn't AUTOMATICALLY make you attractive, but it sure doesn't hurt either! he! :) 

Here's another random-ish thing about Indian culture/being a missionary here. In India, there is much, much, MUCH less "political correctness". Unlike in the USA, where people get offended at the littlest things, you can say pretty much whatever you want here. This makes for a lot of good laughs at times, and it also makes being a bold missionary much easier, because you know they won't get offended! woo woo! 

But on the flip side, they also don't always take what you say... seriously enough? I'm not sure what it is.

Here's how a lesson might go.

"The Church of Jesus Christ is Christ's church on the Earth today. It is His ONLY true church. Do you believe that?"
"Yes brother, yes brother! Most definitely!"
"Great! So, will you come to Jesus Christ's true church this Sunday?"
"Oh brother, I wish I could, but I can't..."
"Why not??"
"Well, your church timings are the same as MY church timings! And I can't skip going to my church."

.......... FACE PALM ...........

Haha even when you are as bold and direct as you possibly can, sometimes people just don't get it! :P

But, I always give them the benefit of the doubt, that maybe it's just language problems are causing a mis-communication. Like this past week we had one 18 year old investigator tell us that he is very fast. In fact, he said he ran a 5K race is five minutes and 36 seconds. 

Really? You sure? 5:36 for a 5K race?

Yes! Yes, he says he is sure!

Try not to be too jealous, but I now know the fastest man alive! ;)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

I'm Safe and Alive!

Hola familia!

Good news! We are 100% safe here in Kakinada! The cyclone didn't hit our city at all, and 
we were not evacuated. And even BETTER news, they stopped having the electricity strike 
so that there could be power to help those that were hurt from the cyclone, which means 
we have zero damage and full power! woo woo! Guess all those prayers you guys gave back 
home worked! :)

Mom, you talking about that scripture mastery verse reminded me of something I have been 
meaning to say. Knowing your scripture mastery is PRICELESS while you are on your 
mission! I can't tell you how many times we've had an appointment randomly pop up (so we 
hadn't prepared anything), and all we have is a few minutes, and I just whip out a good 
ole' scripture mastery verse to use for a spiritual thought. Or there has been many times 
where investigators will have questions, and I'll say "You know what, that question 
you have reminds me of a verse from the Book of Mormon..." Those scripture mastery 
verses were definitely not selected randomly! 

And more great news for this week! We finally got Ramu baptized! :D He's that guy I told 
you about that serves a ton in the church, but has trouble learning. Haha if I remember 
correctly, I think we taught him the Restoration 9 times... :) But now he knows Joseph 
Smith is a prophet! He knows that, and Joseph Smith talked to Heavenly Father and Jesus 
Christ, and that he gave us the Book of Mormon. 

Buuuut... that's about all he really knows from the Restoration. But really, that's all 
that really matters, right? :) 

It was so cute seeing him on the day of his baptismal interview. Since he is very poor, 
he doesn't have nice clothing to wear, but on the day he was interviewed he put on a nice 
clean shirt (potentially the only clean church he has), a pair of clean jeans (jeans are 
very classy to wear here in India, because they are fairly expensive), and he got his 
hair all slicked back (I think this is the only time I've seen him do his hair!)

And after he passed his interview he gave the missionary that interviewed him a big hug! 
:) All week whenever we would bring up him getting baptized on Sunday he would squeal 
with delight, like a little girl. haha, so precious. 

After 4 years of coming to church, Ramu was finally baptized! A very grand day indeed! 

Oh, and this weekend we watched General Conference! I LOVED it!! It's amazing how fast 
those 10 hours of talks fly by! And I don't know if you noticed, but Randy D. Funk gave a 
talk in priesthood session, and he is my mission's old mission president that was just 
released a few months back. He even talked about Rajahmundry, which is a city I've got to 
be in quite a few times! That was pretty awesome. :) 

Life just gets better and better here! Being on a mission truly gives you a lasting 
feeling of happiness and peace. 

Have a splendid week!

Elder Anderson 

P.S. Sounds like you are making a pretty sweet vid, little sister! You should have Noah 
put it up on his Youtube channel, so then you can begin your journey towards fame on 
Youtube. ;) And good work talking to your friends about the Gospel! What a great little 
missionary you are. :) Oh, and it looks like you are getting some nice strong legs, from 
what I see in your soccer picture! Very nice. :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

On Strike!

Well, as you might have guessed from me not emailing you at the normal time of the week, things have been INSANE over here in Kakinada India!!! To put it simply, the state I am living in, Andrah Pradesh, is splitting. The people on the other side of the state want to split it very badly, and people on my side of the state do NOT want it to split! And because of that... crazy things are going on! 

Our side of the state is having massive bunds (similar to strikes). But instead of American strikes where they just shut down a business or two, throw up a few picket signs and call it good, Indians strike HARD!

The most pressing of matters is the fact that they are shutting down the electricity on our side of the state. For 12-15 hours a day they will shut down the current. (Which is why I couldn't email on Monday; there wasn't any power in the day time). Fortunately they usually turn it on at night time, otherwise sleeping would be quite difficult! haha sweating up a storm in your bed! :)

They also take big trucks and put them in front of the roads to close down the roads. Then people all get together in rallies and burn tires (don't ask me why they burn tires, but they do... whatever floats their boat, I suppose!)

Just imagine if Eastern and Western Washington wanted to split, and they started shutting down the electricity and roads to revolt against it. Ya, crazy.

Every day we go outside without our tags on (to make us look more like college students), and then given the advice to "be careful" as we go outside. haha solid advice I'd say! :)

What's also really exciting is the fact that there are no street lights as we cycle home, which means you are riding in close to total darkness! And unlike American roads, where if there is one pothole in a road you think "Wow, this is a bad road!", in India if there is a road WITHOUT any potholes you think "Wow, this is a superb road!" Needless to say, riding home can be quite an experience!

I love it all though!

I'd say I've definitely seen the promise in Ether 12:27 (in the Book of Mormon) fulfilled on my mission. Before my mission I was definitely a little fradey cat when it comes to scary things, but now I THRIVE on danger like this! It gets the adrenaline pumping! :D 

Plus, I've decided fear is a silly emotion, so I've decided not to have it anymore. Why stress yourself? I AM an obedient missionary though, and our handbook tells us to be careful, and that our safety is very important, so I do do my best to avoid the rallies... haha :) 

Oh, and I forgot to say, but we will be watching General Conference this weekend. We needed to wait for them to do the Telugu translation, so that the members can understand it. I can't wait to watch it!! Watching General Conference is like eatin' candy for a missionary! :)

Life is great here in India! You never get bored over in this country!