Wednesday, November 19, 2008

1st letter from 1st area - Hyderabad

Dear Family,

I think I will start to organize my e-mails like this: a general letter to the family explaining things about the mission and everything. Then I will write back to each of you respectively. So here it goes...

Wow. I knew that I had no idea what to expect coming out here. and i was so right about that. India is so so different than the USA. I am trying my best to adjust as fast as I can, but still, its a completely different world out here. As President Nichols mentioned, I am serving in Hyderabad, in the Second Branch there. Actually, there are four branches out here in Hyderabad. The first two are in the city and the other two are basically out in the villages. The church in India is the strongest here. The first branch has about 500 members our branch I think has close to 200 or something. but not everyone is active. So when they decide to create a stake in India...Hyderabad will undoubtedly be the host of it. So, I was very excited to hear that i was going to be serving here and also I felt very blessed that the president would send me here to begin my mission.

My companion is a native, and he comes from a city called Visakapathnam which is north of here maybe 350 miles or so. He has been out in the field for 18 months. He is a good trainer, obedient, and pretty hard working. I am learning a lot from him. I think maybe he is just a tad excited to go home though...hah I guess I cannot blame him though. He has served here in Hyderabad for 8 months, which is an unusually long time to be in one area, but he has been doing work so it’s chill. We are both thinking that after this next transfer, when he is done training your one and only, he will be leaving to another area.

Ok, so the city is ridiculous. There really are so many people here, you wouldn’t believe it. I'm sure that the videos you are watching give you some idea, but you really don’t have a clue until your trying to walk across the street, and you look up there is a bus literally about to run you over, or a motorcycle, or an auto-rickshaw, or even a car. Crossing the street is so scary. My first time, I knew I was going to die. Here, people are just as common in the middle of the road as cars. Traffic laws here are merely suggestions. But, I am starting to get the hang of it. There is a verse in 1 corinthians that this experience reminds me of, walking by FAITH and not by sight. Ha, you just have to go for it and hope they don’t hit you...and they usually don’t. Lets see, being so populated the cities are very dirty. The streets are pretty muddy and not very even, there are many areas that are very modern, but those areas are very few compared to the areas that are old and run down. It’s very interesting, here you can drive down the street and you will see a plot of land that is completely destitute with a few piles of bricks and mud and right next to it you will see a very modern edifice, like a designer store or something. The contrast here is so abrupt, there is poverty and wealth like any other place, but the difference that here they are one in the same. There are so many beggars on the street and it’s sad because we cannot give them money. In our area of the city it is largely residential, so there are apartment complexes and many houses. The streets are in very poor condition so you have to be careful when you are walking. The apartments we live in are very nice for India. They have marble floors, but that doesn’t mean they are way nice or anything. They are comparable to a decent apartment in the US. There are 3 bedrooms, a kitchen, and a living room. There are 6 of us in our apartment right now. We have A/C so that’s nice, and we have showers with hot water...sometimes. Also, we have a washing machine but no dryer.

Ok, now on to the good stuff. We are teaching right now about 10 different people. We met two new families on monday evening and I think they will be very good investigators. They are both Christian families and are well acquainted with the bible. We taught to both of them the first discussion and with the first family we left a book of mormon. I think the auntie will end up reading, or at least I hope she does. We have a return meeting tomorrow. Finding people is exhausting, but really the key is faith. If I walk out the door in the morning knowing that I am gonna find someone today, I do. It’s seriously incredible. In another family there is a Brother Raj and he is the head of the household and was baptized 3 weeks ago by my companion. He received the priesthood this past sunday! His wife does not speak english, only telugu so we can bring members to translate, and with permission from the branch president she can be baptized, so we will work for that. We also have a few more families we are teaching, I haven’t met all of them yet, but i will soon. Man, teaching is so fun. It’s like the reward of all the hard work you do finding people. It's when you walk out of a house after a lesson and the spirit was there that you feel so relieved and satisfied. That is what makes it worth it.

Below are excerpts from individual emails that Josh sent:

So, when we came in the first day there was a parade here. It was the BJP party, I think you may have heard of them. But they are just like an activist group who hates christianity, when we came into the city everyone was staring at us like they were gonna kill us. We took off our name tags but once we got to the apartment we had to stay inside. Most of the people are very mild mannered but there are a certain few here that will cause a whole lot of trouble for us. So...we just have to avoid them. Consequently, teaching Hindus is a touchy matter. you cannot knock on hindu doors and we are very cautious in even approaching them on the street, when i say that i mean that we usually just don’t... the branch here is very good. the members are sweet. i have met a few i really like. One is Madhu, he is a convert of a about a year. he goes to school here and works at a call center so he can do an american accent, it is much easier to understand! he is funny and he comes to exchanges with us, i really enjoy him.

My first week here was very interesting and a lot of adjusting to do. I am trying to embrace India as much as I can, eating the food and eveything. I love the masala dosas here I always get them for tiffins. There are many sambars and curries to eat, but my stomach does still need to do some adjusting to food. Also, we have to be careful of water to drink. sometimes we go to houses and they bring us glasses of water. I drink some and then set them down. i dont wanna know what will happen if i drink the whole glass.

india is so crazy. the people here are so cool though. like if you walk down the street they will stare at you like you're an alien or something, but if you smile at them they light up and are so excited to wave at you.

india is so different than america. there are little kids running around in the street all the time. but they are all so smart. yesterday i met a young boy named krishna who was your age and he was so polite i was amazed by it, probably about as smart as you too man. the food is good here, very hot to eat, but you just have to get used to it.

1 comment:

Chase and Nisha said...

Can Josh see this site??? It sounds like he is working really hard out there! Wish him luck for us if he cannot see this site!!!