Monday, August 25, 2014

Miracle Sunday!


Well another wonderful week in India! I hope all of yours were great as well! I am sorry about Dads car! That was a beautiful piece of machinery. I will definitely miss it. When I tell people here that almost every member of my family has their own car it blows their minds. So I have to learned to refrain from talking about America to people. Most people here have either a bike or a couple of cycles. Only wealthy people have a car and usually its only one. Something that has once again made me very grateful for what I have been blessed with. Its amazing to see how little these people have. A/C is something that isnt very common. You usually have to pay an extra 20 rupees to sit in an A/C section of a restaurant or something like that. Our church here is known as "The A/C Church." Haha something kind of funny but also something we need to try and stop! Man that is weird that Tim is going to High School. What the heck. Man. Have fun! Those were some good times! 

Soo Sunday was a Beautiful and Glorious day. Man, All those terrible Sundays of having 0 investigators come was made worth it! I dont know what happened. Heavenly Father answered our prayers. There we were in Sacrament meeting, awaiting another Telagu filled, Investigatorless Sunday. I am over exaggerating. Its not that bad. Anyway. We were sitting there and as the meeting got started we noticed that we had like 30 recent converts there, 12 less actives and 3 inactive members. then when they opened the doors back up after the sacrament was administered, 6 of our investigators walked in. It was like a heavenly manifestation that our prayers had been answered. I would relate it to the experience in the movie The Best Two Years when he prays that the man he contacted would call, and as he said that the phone rang! It was awesome. I was pretty stoked. We also received 4 referrals from members and we were able to teach them that same day. They are coming straight from a Hindu backround and the Mothers name is Sri Lackshmi. She was the most intent on listening, but they are awesome. I have met like 400 women named lackshmi. Lackshmi is the Hindu God of money.... Sooooo. Yeah. They have a holiday here only devoted to doing pooja to Lackshmi. it might be spelled Laxmi... I don't know. Good stuff. I am learning a lot about Hindu Gods and their stories. Some are the weirdest thing I have ever heard. No offense to Hinduism, Its just different. There are some interesting stories though. I havent been able to visit the Brommen family. Since Elder Eames and I are covering the entire branch we got a lot busier and we are having a hard time keeping everything organized. This branch needs a lot of help. I have heard of Elders here being made the Branch president because no one else in the branch could do it... I hope that doesnt happen here.... 

The main problem with teaching Hindus is that they hate the British for ruling over them and "corrupting" their customs so they dont really like Christians. Once we teach them the Plan of Salvation something inside them seems to click and they say "oh.. That makes sense." A good example is the story of Ammon. Teaching a people that had no idea who or what God was but they have some sort of an idea about a great spirit. Pretty cool how the Book of Mormon has an answer for everything. Also. I finished Jesus the Christ again. Holy crap I love that book. Its amazing. Everyone should read it. next to a dictionary. Its so good though.

Well. Thats about it. I still have yet to catch a piglet. Those things could beat any Olympic runner. Or maybe I am just getting fatter. I cant find a weight scale anywhere here. They are around but hard to find. Life is good. Keep smiling. The Lord always answers our prayers. If only we have the eyes to see! Love ya Miss ya!

Elder Checketts

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

6 Months Finished!!

Well. I have made it through 6 months of my mission. I still feel as though I am fresh from the MTC. Pretty crazy! It feels like its been such a long time but yet so short. Its weird. I dont really know how to describe it. Good stuff though! How is everyone doing? Life in the dirty swarem is good!
Water Worn Shoes and the traditional tie
6 months completed

So now Elder Eames and I are covering the entire branch and its a huge area we cover. But We are teaching a guy named Satish! He is a way cool guy and is willing to learn! He is also the leader of a gang here in Dowleswarem. The gang name is Killer Fish. haha Pretty sweet. Its not the same as an American gang though. Gangs here are basically a big group of friends that every once in a while will get together and beat someone up. They told us that they've got our backs.... soo thats cool. Sister Pillelli is doing well. We can only really teach her on Sundays because we want the husband to listen to the lessons and that is the only day he is there. Working on that. Our branch needs some serious help right now. We arent sure what to do with it and have asked help from President Berrett. We will see what he says next week. Also. We had Zone Conference yesterday which is why I am writing today. President Berrett came and gave a really good training on "Begin with the end in sight." he talked a lot about when we see our investigators, see them wearing temple clothing getting ready to be sealed to their families. That is our goal here now. Getting people to the temple. It was really good and I am excited to put it to action.
So I have almost finished reading Jesus the Christ on my mission for the second time and I think I have learned 10 times as much as I did the first time I read it. Now that I have more time to study and think about the words of Christ and what He did I understand it much better. One of my favorite parts is when Is talking about judging and self righteousness and says "Thou hypocrite, first cast the beam out of thine own eye, then shalt thou be able to remove the mote from thy brothers eye." ... Something like that. I dont have it completely memorized yet but its really good!
Things we eat: So Dosa is made out of like rice powder and its like a really thin wide pancake. Really good. and served with coconut chetni which.. I dont even know but its really good and really spicy. Also there is bajji and that is a deep fried balll of heavenly goodness. I love Bajji. I had 8 of them this morning. Its also served with coconut chetni. Parota is like a fried onion tortilla thing... I dont know.. but its really good and usually served with potato curry. Mango season is over.. sadly enough. So we havent eaten much fruit in the past month. We go out to eat everyday and it usually costs around 150 rupees. we get 3500 rupees every two weeks which is about 50 dollars. The members feed us dinner maybe once or twice a week. but when they do feed us, its big. usually Chicken Biryani and lots of it. They like us to eat 2 plates of it stacked like 6 inches high. Its death. They just keep putting more and more on our plates untill we beg them to stop.. Its awesome but horrible at the same time. Hence the reason for the rice belly coming so quickly. Its like the cool thing to have here. Also everyone here has a mustache. If you dont you are either considered gay or your father just expired. so yeahh. I have seen people of all ages being beaten. I havent been able to play any sports for a while. P days are mostly traveling eating and buying groceries. Travel time takes a long time here. No one goes over 30mph. Its legal to. But you will probably hit a cow and die if you do. The main road in our area is somewhat paved.. its paved but there are so many pot-holes that I can't classify it as a modern road. The rest are either cement or dirt roads. Dowleswarem is different in that its much poorer and there is absolutely nothing out here. No restaurants, (Safe restaurants) no businesses. Just small shops and tons of people. This place is considered a village and it has more than a million people living in it. Its ridiculous. Lots of beggars. Lots of mothers hold their babies out to us and tell us to take them back to America. Our apartments are actually very modern. We have western style toilets while most places are just a squatter. I have yet to use one of those. Its just a hole in the ground that has 2 places on either side for your feet. Pretty sweet. Man I had a horrible experience with the bucket last week. We were in a restaurant and I guess the food decided to go right through me. So I went into the bathroom and again beheld the bucket in all of its glory, but there was a wonderful addition to this. There were cockroaches everywhere. In the bucket, on the toilet, on the walls. Its was awesome. I did it anyways. I just had some companions while sitting on the throne. Anywho. We have bunk beds and A/C that freezes us. It was 60 degrees F in our room 2 nights ago and I almost died. It was sooo cold. Yeahh more to come next week! Love ya all. Be grateful for what you have. Thats something I have definitely learned in the short time that I have been here.
Love ya,

Elder Checketts

Monday, August 11, 2014

New Comp!


So! This transfer has changed things up! Previously there were 4 elders serving in Dowleswarem and we had the area split. Now. 2 elders have been pulled out and we are covering the entire area of Dowleswarem! My new companion is Elder Eames! He finishes his mission next transfer so wish me luck. But we now cover the entire Dowleswarem branch. Its going to be a busy 6 weeks. President Berrett told me he would probably put 2 more missionaries here after this transfer. So will will see. All I know is that I will definitely be here for another 3 months. Also my 6 month mark is in 2 days! Man time flies. Sort of! Kind of weird though. 1/4 of my mission is over. That makes me sad but also reminds me that i have 3/4 to do all the work that I can. Pretty sweet!

So this week was pretty slow. Elder Sharma mostly wanted to say goodbye to members so we visited a lot of them. Which was also really good. The relationship between members and missionaries is pretty weak here so we will be working on strengthening that for the next couple of months. We are also going to be focusing a lot more on less actives and recent converts. This branch has like 400 members but only 70 are active. We have some work to do. We have been going on exchanges with members to help them with their home teaching because they dont know how. This week I have been thinking a lot about what I am actually doing. We are literally laying the foundation for the Church here. These people dont have much of an idea of how things are run or how the church does things. The missionaries are the ones that kind of over see things. Its interesting to watch and actually very humbling. Its a lot of pressure put on us to make sure that the affairs of the Church are run properly and that everything goes smoothly. Pretty intense, But cool to see and be a part of. 

Its been getting really hot again... bleh. haha the humidity is insane. The weather has now changed to raining a little bit during the night and then blistering hot for the rest of the day. Haha something funny that we realized this week is that our a/c is set at 24 C which is like 75 degrees i think and when its set that low we freeze to death at night. It gets soooo cold! I woke up like 3 times last night because i was freezing. I don't know if thats normal or not but I just remember that our house was set at like 68 right? I dont know. But Its weird. 

So the language barrier is rough. It is so hard to find english speaking people here. I know a little bit of Telagu but I can understand more than I speak. Also we aren't allowed to teach in Telagu. There is a thing called the English memorandum which was set by the area presidency. Just means that we have to teach in English. Sometimes we have a member come and translate for us but we arent supposed to. Its pretty tough. Breakfast usually consists of corn flakes and sugar. Every once in a while we get Bajji or Dosa or Idly or Parota or Chipothe. All are really good except for idly. Its like this mashed rice patty and its.. Interesting. We have a washing machine in our apartment but they dont have dryers here so we hang our clothes on racks. In the dirty swarem our building doesnt have a generator so when the power goes our we are on our own. Its lovely. But the power doesnt go out as much as it used to which is way nice! Well. Yeah... Love yaaa

Elder Checketts

Monday, August 4, 2014

Friendship Day


So! Pretty crazy week. Sort of. Maybe just the past 2 days. We are teaching a sister named Prasana and she is way cool. Probably the happiest person I have ever met. She has 2 kids that are insane and they scream like none other. Its great during lessons! But she really likes our church. Unfortunately her husband doesn't, and in India the Husband has the say in what she does/thinks/wears/eats/everything. Its sometimes good, most of the time bad. We are trying to teach him as well but he isn't very receptive. working on it! The Bremen guy and his wife are good. We are having problems with the language barrier. more to come on that. But they are very humble and very nice people. I am still terrified of him though. 
Breakfast Bajji!

Yesterday was a crazy day. It was "friendship day" when everyone gives each other bands that say friend on it. pretty cool. But on that day. After church, we were cycling home and all of a sudden an Auto flipped in front of us. We were fine, but one of our church member families was inside. The mom and brothers were fine but one of the daughters was pretty badly hurt. The auto was on top of her ankle so everyone helped lift it off and there was a lot of blood but we weren't sure if it was fractured. They took her to a hospital near and wrapped it up but they didn't know for sure if it was broken. Most hospitals here are junk by the way. Anywho. They took her to a different hospital and thats all we were told. Then on our way to an investigators home we cycle right next to the godavri river. All of a sudden we see like 5 men run over to to the side so we were like what the heck. We went over and there was a body floating down the river and someone had jumped in after it. When they got it to the side They set him down and did some cpr and he started breathing. I guess in the end it was an attempted suicide. Kinda crazy! The other elders in our branch witnessed a bike crash that was pretty bad. Wild day. Friendship day.

Today we went to a really famous Christian church about an hour away from Rajahmundry. It was kinda weird but awesome. People would walk up this giant staircase and at the top there is a cross with Jesus on it. When they reach the top they kneel at the bottom and touch their hands to His feet and back to there foreheads. It was pretty apostate but interesting. There were some way cool buildings! One of the member families took us! It was way cool! Pics coming! But yeah. Good stuff. This week I was studying from Mosiah 3 and 4. Man King Benjamin. He is a beast. Love that man. I love that he talks about our own nothingness compared to god. And calls us unworthy creatures. It really makes you see why humility is so important and is stressed so much. Solid. 

Also. This week was kind of different as well. I was given the privilege to give around 8 priesthood blessings. It was pretty humbling but I am so grateful for that opportunity. I am so grateful for the priesthood and its capabilities. Each and every single time I have the chance to give a blessing it increases my faith and understanding. Sometimes I say things that I feel I don't have control over. That's when I know its the spirit talking and not me. I am eternally grateful for the Holy Ghost and the guidance it gives in all of our lives. I am reminded everyday of the importance of being a worthy priesthood holder. Its a very big responsibility. Heavenly Father Trusts us enough to hold it. Always strive to live worthy of it.

Well. All is well here. I about burned my mouth off with some curry that had too many peppers in it the other night. I wanted to cry. The sprayer is still wonderful. Mom and Dad. That is an investment we should make...... I'm serious... Anywho. How is everyone? Sorry that the flu is going around. Hope you all feel better! Love ya Miss ya.

Elder Checketts