Sunday, May 29, 2016

Week 102 - May 29th, 2016 - Bengaluru, India

I swear every week I am doing good and then I come to mailing and realize how soon my service is coming to an end.  India is a really an awesome place and I can't believe the time is almost ready to come to a close.  

We had Gowtham's Baptism yesterday and his mom and dad came to the service which was really cool.  His uncle performed the baptism and it was cool because they are already talking about his brother, Sunil, getting baptized soon and Gowtham's plan to serve a mission in like 4 years when he turns 18.  Then Gregory also stayed after church to watch and he was pumped about his baptism this coming Sunday.  I don't think I could even ask for a better way to finish up the mission.  

What I noticed about Bangalore:  There are way more North Indians and people that are not from Karnataka living here.  We can find a lot more traffic because of the increased amount of cars and signals.  There are malls everywhere as well as foreigners.  People are a lot more westernized here when it comes to clothing, media and speaking. 

We went to this grocery store and I saw a box of Honey Bunches of Oats and I couldn't believe my mind.  We also bought some salami, so now we are making sandwiches in the afternoon.  Also they don't have the Book of Mormon translated into Kannada, so we have to hand out tamil or hindi language copies.  We have another investigator named Ayshawarya and she doesn't speak much English, so we use her recent convert brother to translate and he doesn't know how to read much because he only studied until 3rd class but he learned all of his English from playing tennis.  

Can't wait to see you all soon,

Elder Wakefield

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Week 101 - May 22nd, 2016 - Bengaluru, India

Hey everyone!  Cant believe that I only have one month left in India but it has been a great privilege to be serving in the Convent Road area.  So we are still in a tri-companionship and no word about any changes so we have just been enjoying it like anything.  

This week was really awesome because we saw 6 individuals accept an invitation to be baptized and it is weird because basically none of them have any sort of concern  but they just really like this Gospel.  So we have this guy named Gowtham and he has been coming to church with his Uncle and Cousins the last few months continuously and we found out that his mom was the one that was not giving him permission.  So we decided to just got to his home and talk to her directly.  It turns out that she had never met missionaries before and she is from a non christian background and when we told her how this church would help her son, she came to understand.  She was really nice and invited us back over to her home the next day for her other son's birthday who she said we can also start teaching.  Definitely a huge miracle because so many people had tried but I know that Heavenly Father opened her heart to receive us.  

We had some really good food this week including: Taco Bell, butter chicken curry, seekh rolls and rajma.  

It was also kind of weird at Church yesterday because there were like 3 separate foreign families there and I told the local members that these foreign families were my relatives!

All is well - Miss you all and see you soon,
Elder Wakefield

Monday, May 16, 2016

Week 100 - May 15th, 2016 - Bengaluru (Bangalore), India

What an awesome week in Bengaluru!!  I've only been here like a week but I love this place.  The weather is so cool, so many people speak English, it's really clean and there are so many restaurants to eat good food at.  Our apartment is really nice too.  It's a duplex just like 1 km from the church and only 3 km from our main area.  We have cycles and usually travel by bus to our area.  

Yesterday, we had stake conference at the Whitefield Building and it was crazy to see how many people I already knew even though I haven't officially served here before.  It was the first stake conference they had since they created the new Stake so members and leaders were really happy to see how much they have improved.  It was also President Berrett's last Stake Conference here so he gave like a goodbye sort of talk.  

Now we have this investigator named Gregory.  I would call this guy a golden investigator but that is kind of down grading him.  He's like a goldmine that you find at the end of the rainbow sort of thing.  I guess he had been coming to church for the last 3 weeks and no one had taught him yet so on Tuesday, the day after I came, we called him and he came to meet us at church.  It turns out that his sister, brother-in-law, mom and dad are all living in (our home town of) San Jose, CA.  I couldn't believe it!  Then he started talking about how he works for this company that recently joined with this company based in Salt Lake City. And that some of his colleagues came to Banglaore like a month or 2 ago and shared with him their beliefs.  He said that he was shocked because he had a totally different perception of Americans but when he met these guys, he was totally impressed.  So we start teaching him and he starts telling us about the restoration.  This guy already knows everything! Then he says he's already on 1 Nephi 11, I couldn't believe it.  So we invited him to pray and ask God if this church was true.  

      Then on Thursday, we meet him again, we followed up and asked him if he prayed he not only says yes but he says that he fasted and prayed to know if this church was true and that God answered his prayers for sure.  I don't think that I have ever heard these words out of anyone's mouth before in my whole life.  Then, he starts asking how he can prepare to enter the temple when he goes to the US in a few months and I was shocked haha.

Just goes to show that you can share the Gospel with anyone, anywhere you go.  Other than that everything else is awesome.  I dont think I can even feel trunky because I'm going to miss these people so much and right now there's a lot of work so its really awesome.  And one of the elders in our ward got transferred so now its me Elder Sunny, and Elder Tuscano rolling around as a tri-companionship basically covering half of Bangalore.  Here goes nothing.

Love you guys,
Elder Wakefield

Monday, May 9, 2016

Week 99 - May 8, 2016 - Bangalore (Bengaluru), India

You guys won't believe this but I'm now officially in Bangalore!  I got a call on Saturday Night that I would be serving in Convent Road Ward with Elder Sunny.  I guess these are my last 6 weeks, so we need to go out strong.

So on Sunday, we raced around and tried to say bye to as many members as possible.  It was sad to leave everyone because I felt like that is the Ward I've been apart of my whole life.  They let me give a short talk on Sunday and I really hope that this ward continues to grow into the future.  

This morning we woke up early and took a cab to the airport and arrived in Bangalore and got dropped off at our apartment.  Elder Sunny is about 9 months into his mission and is from New Delhi.  He served in Hyderabad when I was their and our companionships used to hangout on Mondays.  It sounds like our area is huge and the Ward has a large majority of sign language speakers (see what i did:).  The weather in Bangalore is a little more humid here but the sun is definitely way less powerful than Hyderabad.

I dont know a whole lot else but Elders Madda and Larson are staying In Hyderabad so hopefully they can put in more good work there.  Once again Happy Belated Mothers Day.  Calling home on Sunday helped me realized that my communication skills are totally junk.  All is well!

Elder Wakefield
1.,2. Seven Tombs in Towli Chowki

Friday, May 6, 2016

Week 98 - May 1, 2016 - Hyderabad, India

Happy May eveyone!  I dont want to make you guys too excited or anything but now I can say that I'm coming home next month.  Hyderabad has had some crazy weather this week with some extreme heat, wind storms, and rain.

One cool experience from last night.  We have this family that is cousins with a family in our ward and they speak pretty good English and they've come to church the last 2 weeks so we went over there last night and we start talking to them about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and come to the point of Baptism....well this sister talks like anything and so she starts telling about how she has been going to church since she was young but she never really cared much for God.  She has one son and tried for another about 8 years ago but it didn't work out and she started talking about how she had been searching for a job but now only is the time that everything is working out for her.
Anyway she is super happy that we invited her to be baptized and at the end of the lesson.   She says a closing prayer and halfway through, she starts crying about how happy she was that she had this opportunity to qualify for God's Kingdom.  It was one of the most spiritual prayers I have ever heard on my mission.

This week, I also got to drive an auto.  All of a sudden, I'm sitting in the front and the auto guy gives me the steering handles, so I take over and start driving all over the place.  It was really funny but yeah, I need to bring one back home.  Sorry for the short email all of the other missionaries need to go on too.

Have a great week,
Elder W

Week 97 - April 25, 2016 - Hyderabad, India

I still remember this day one year back and I said how I would spare my mom until this year so here we go. well Putina Roju Subha Konkshaloo.  That means happy birthday in telegu, but i cant Believe that you are XX (censured :-) YEARS OLD, LIKE OH MY GOSH THAT IS SOOOOOOOOOO OLD.  Like you can almost say that you have been on earth longer than most of the quarters that are in circulation today.  But as I look back I'm just amazed at how you've survived this long with 4 kids.  Just think about it you only have like 7 more years with children in your home and then you'll be a loner after that so enjoy the time while you have kids left.  I love you!

Anyway this week our P-day is on Tuesday due to our mission tour with Elder Funk yesterday.  It was a really cool meeting and they talked a lot about our duty to teach Repentance and Baptize converts.  They talked about how a lot of converts don't really learn how to repent so we need to teach them so they can stay active and always retain a remission of their sins.  We also taught a brand new family of 4 last night and they understood English really well so I was almost shocked and how rare of an experience this was.  

Sunday, we had an interesting church where there were very few members coming because it was so hot outside but we had some investigators come for the first time and some that have been coming for a while so it was cool to see them exercising their faith.  I think a lot of the investigators that we have now will be ready to take the baptism in May so we are praying for them.  

Also the other good news is that it's now officially mango season and even though they are more expensive in Hyderabad, they are super good.  That's going to be the thing I miss the most.  Also marriage season has commenced and I think we've already had a couple of members get married and some more coming up soon so its nice to see some families starting to take shape.

Everyone have a great week,

Elder Wakefield

Week 96 - April 18, 2016 - Hyderabad, India

What up everyone! I guess this week it was pretty hot but we had this random rain storm last night that was crazy.  We are like waiting at this bus stop at around 7pm and all of a sudden it starts sprinkling a little so we go under this shade structure and a couple drops start hitting us so we are like no big deal then it starts coming down and I look at my shirt and there is like dirt and mud everywhere.  I got out of there quick.  I guess all of the dirt had been built up on top of this structure for the last couple of months and this was the first rain in a while so we got wrecked.  I made up this cool story that Ii fell off the bus and rolled into this mud pile and some people believed me so it was pretty funny.

We had this really good lesson with this Brother Named Naveen and actually Elder Madda just met this guy on the bus and he's really awesome.  He is basically from a Hindu background but he had some childhood friends that he used to go to church with.  Actually, he is really humble and his hobbies are reading and learning new things which is like unheard of here so he actually reads the Book of Mormon and he loves it so much.  He also came to Stake Conference and President Funk, the Asia Area President, came and he gave a really awesome talk about the importance of attending the temple and keeping the commandments.

Anyway this week should be fun and we will have some appointments lined up.

Love you guys,

Elder Wakefield

Week 95 - April 11, 2016 - Hyderabad, India

First off Happy Ugadi everyone!  I think its like a Telegu / Hindu New Year.  But I can honestly say that we didn't do any sort of celebrating this week unfortunately.  General Conference was totally sweet though.  I loved it like anything.  The Prophet I would say made his talks the shortest of all but I guess the spirit told him to make it short and sweet and that is what he did.

I would say that some of my favorite talks were by Elder Gong, Elder Arnold B. Mervyn and Elder Hallstroms talk.  I can kind of relate to the story that Elder Hallstrom told visiting some of the saints and they just went crazy by singing and I remembered when President Nelson came and people were so happy.  I feel really blessed to be serving in Hyderabad especially those days when it seems like no one is home and the weather is hitting 110 but we drink a lot of water, so I just feel like a big balloon walking around.  

The members are really awesome though and they are giving us lots of people to teach so we don't have to walk around so much.  Honestly, I cant wait until I come back and take the missionaries to visit all of my friends in Almaden.  So those of you in San Jose, be warned that 2 brothers in white shirts will be showing up at your home in the next few months.

Another cool story is that we have this watchman from our apartmnet complex named Deepak.  He's from Nepal and he doesn't speak any English.  Everyday when we leave, he says something to us but I can honestly say that I have never understood anything that he has said.  So one day our door didn't lock and we tried to ask him to watch so nothing happened and we came back that night and we open our door, to our surprise there is Deepak just sitting on our couch, no shirt on just sitting in the dark and drinking some water.  It was really weird so we asked him to leave and now we don't really know where he went so hopefully he's not hiding anywhere in any of our rooms haha.

Sorry no pics today we are in some sketchy internet cafe but next week I got u!

Elder Wakefield

Week 94 - April 4, 2016 - Hyderabad, India

Happy April everyone!  We started off the month pretty nicely with the baptism of Hanumantha Rao (Hanook) yesterday!  It was really awesome.  Right after church, we had his baptism and lots of the members stayed after to watch.  We also got 2 new Elders in our ward so people  were really surprised / confused when they saw 4 of us there on Sunday.  They are really cool though and now we are trying to show them all of their families in their half of the area so they can start going to work.

We also had a really cool District Meeting this week and last month we were focusing on the Atonement because of Good Friday and Easter and we talked about how Christ was the first one to be resurrected and because of His victory over the grave we will one day have that same opportunity.  Heavenly Fathers work and His glory is to help His children receive the Eternal Life and for these 2 years it is our responsibility to offer this gift to everyone that we meet.  Then it made me think of all the gifts that Heavenly Father has given us to be able to make it back to him: the Atonement, Priesthood, Temples, Families basically everything we have points back to His love for us.  

Also one day I went on exchange in Madina Guda and this family wanted to feed us so we came back the next day and they just kept bringing out more and more food for us.  First Chappati, then papu, then beef curry then white rice, then some vegetable fry and fish fry and finally curd.  Man they just kept throwing stuff on my plate and I couldn't get them to stop so after I felt like I had a food baby but it was really good. 

We started drinking more coconut water as well to keep our bodies cool.  Main thing is I'm trying to look south Indian in these last 2 months so lets see if i can do it.

Love you,

Elder Wakefield

Week 93 - March 29, 2016 - Hyderabad, India

Hello everyone!! Happy Holi, Good Friday and Easter!!

Hope you all enjoyed because we did.  On Wednesday, it was Holi, the festival where they throw colors at each other, not really sure the reason but we had a lockdown until 4 pm so we didn't really do much that day except for cook and sleep.  In India its also a really big celebration when someones baby completes 1 year so one of the families in our ward celebrated their daughters birthday and maybe like over 200 people came and they fed super good food too! Chicken biryani, chicken fry, double ka Metha, and butterscotch ice cream.

Another cool thing is that Elder Madda and I are both staying for the next transfer and they are adding a second companionship in our ward. we are going to split the area.  I think the 2 new Elders coming are Elder Larsen and Elder Tuscano.  Should be pretty cool, I don't know how we are going to split the area because it is so far from church but hopefully, we can find out a good strategy.

Hyderabad is definitely getting hotter.  Today we all went to a lunch appointment in 2nd Ward area. All is well and thanks for all the support.  Time is flying its almost April!

Elder Wakefield

Week 92 - March 22, 2016 - Hyderabad, India

Man I'm going to have to start using some sunscreen here in Hyderabad or else you guys wont recognize me when I get back.  People here are very amused at the fact that my face turns red when I walk in the sun all day haha but whatever floats their boat.  I would say that the work was pretty steady this week.  We were walking on the road one night trying to find someone to teach and this guy called us over that was standing next to his bike so we talked to him for a little and he told us that his mother-in-law had converted to Christianity about 15 years ago, so he invited us over that night to his home.  He said that his family was believing in Jesus Christ but hadn't taken the baptism yet so that was good and they seem really interested to learn.

We had a couple of members to take on exchange this week as well so that always makes things better.  Its funny becauae people will give some strong commitments to come to church during the week but magically on Sunday morning their phones are always switched off haha but it just means another week to work harder.

Today we went to Golconda Fort for my 3rd time so it was pretty average but we had a good time.  I tried to tell everyone that it was going to be super hot but they perservered and it ended up ok.  

I think we are going to have the baptism of Hanuantha Rao (hanook) this Sunday.  He's a really humble guy.  Actually he's from Prakasham district in AP and he came to Hyderabad for study purpose and one of our church members in Rajhamundry stayed in his room one night and he called us and introduced us to him.  He comes from a very humble family background but the government granted him 20 laks in scholarship funds so he is planning to go to US to do his higher studies for engineering.  He had a lot of struggles in his life but he has really strong faith in our Savior.  He said that ever since we started meeting with him he saw so many changes in his life.  I'm really excited for the next couple of weeks: Easter, General Conference, Stake Conference and Fast Sunday.


Elder Wakefield

Week 91 - February 15, 2016 - Hyderabad, India

This week was pretty dang good folks.  We had this crazy missionary fireside that had the members on their feet.  We told everyone to come at 5:00 p.m. but because this is India we started right at 6:00 p.m..  There weren't that many people at that time but it was already getting late so we had to start.  And at first, it was a little shaky trying to get this going but when one of the return missionaries stepped in things started to get better.  We had to almost fight over this projector that the Stake Young Mens President was using but they eventually gave it to us.  Also, the brothers computer we were using decided to update windows 10 and after his mouse wasn't working but by the Grace of the Almighty, it eventually worked.

Then we had Naveen's confirmation on Sunday and that was really cool.  He seems like a really awesome member and then the Bishopric is making big plans for him as he is the first convert of 2016. 

Today one of investigators, Hanumantha Rao, took us out to this buffett and we enjoyed like anything.  So much food I can hardly walk now.  We have some good appointments lined up this week so all should be well.  Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers.

Elder Wakefield

Week 90 - March 8, 2016 - Hyderabad, India

Welcome to March everybody!  Although the winter has already ended it definitely feels like summer here, but none the less, we are surviving nicely.

This week was ok and it involved a lot of finding and teaching to some of the investigators that we had.  And if there is one thing that I learned about investigators preparing for their baptism, is that Satan tries so hard to stop them from making covenants with the Lord.  We had a brother named Naveen and our WML's referral who had his baptism planned for this Sunday, so on Saturday night we go over to his house and our district Leader gives the interview.  He passes and everything is ok then that evening we go clean and fill up the font at the church.  Then Sunday Morning at about 11:00 a.m, this brother calls me asking to postpone his baptism to the following Sunday due to the death of his Uncle at their native place which is like a 5 hour drive away.  I probably spent 10 minutes talking to this guy on the phone about how we could postpone the date but today was the day that Heavenly Father wanted him to be baptized.  It was really hard to convince him but in the end he understood that it was important for him to be baptized.  And I think we both had a really spiritual experience.  

We have a missionary fireside this Saturday and we are taking a picture with all of the Members of the Church, Actives, Less-actives, Investigators, Recent Converts, everybody to try and help motivate the members to find some of these people that are a part of their ward.

We went to this Birla Planetarium and watched this movie about how aliens may or may not once existed on Mars.  Anyways this week should be really awesome.

Elder Wakefield

Week 89 - March 1, 2016 - Hyderabad, India

First off Happy 20th Birthday Grandma!!!!! Everyone says you look like you're 80 but I think when they read your birth certificate they will understand :)

This week was really awesome in West Marredpally 1st ward.  We taught a bunch of lessons and our Ward Mission Leader came on exchange with us a bunch and he is really excited about this fireside activity that we are having.  To be honest, I think the expectations for this activity are going to be really high so they are making him work like anything.  But like, no joke, the Lord has blessed us with a bunch of solid investigators the last 2 weeks so those are the people we will be working with the next 2 months as well as continuing to find new people to teach.

Last week we went go karting at this place called Runway 9 and it was really sweet.  Pretty similar to the place that we went to Vizag a year back.  As usual the missionaries always have to cause some sort of trouble and sure enough we were able to damage 2 carts this time.  Luckily, the people weren't too upset at us so all is good.  Then today, we went early in the morning and caught a bus at Jubilee bus stand and went to Medak district to see this church that the British built almost 100 years ago.  It was a long journey and we only stayed for about an hour but it was a really cool place to see.  

Another funny story this week is that I've been trying to teach my companion how to jump off the bus because they don't like to stop very long at the bus stops, so one night we are going back home and the bus is going up this little hill and its going pretty slow like less than 10 km/hr so I tell my comp we are going to jump and he's like oh no we aren't and suddenly I get down and he has to jump off also but in the end he did it and he's getting better too.  We are having lots of good food and the members are really helping us with whatever we need so it has been really cool to see some of the changes these last 7 months.  

Time is flying bye and hopefully March brings some more good news.

Elder Wakefield

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Week 88 - February 22, 2015 - Hyderabad, India

Another week, another dollar!

This week, Elder Madda and I were really blessed with lots of investigators and appointments.  I've been trying to show him to all of the members homes I know and even go finding for some of the other members we don't know.  It's funny how many people we meet that are from the same district as my companion.  He is really happy every time he meets someone from there.

We had some awesome lessons with these 2 very humble brothers.  One of the families in our ward introduced us to them on Wednesday and then on Friday, we went to their home and got to meet their mother.  They are super prepared and willing to learn.

We are also planning a ward missionary fireside in March - the second week and we had a planning meeting with our ward mission leader and assistant ward mission leader on Friday at our new apartment and we made some good plans and then we go into PEC (Priesthood Executive Council) yesterday after church and the Bishopric just rip this guy apart.  He tried to make these invitation cards but he messed up on the time and name of the activity and they showed him no mercy.  Haha its like this guys first time leading any activity and these people aren't helping at all just telling him what he did wrong but in the end everyone was happy. 

Our buddy, Naveen came to church again today and the Ward is doing an awesome job fellow shipping him.  He really likes the Church and I think in 2 weeks he is planning to be baptized.  Other than that, we got this brand new apartment in Banjara Hills and its really nice. 5th floor and every morning you can see the sunset from the balcony.  India is awesome

Love you guys
Elder wakefield

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Week 87 - February 15, 2016 - Hyderabad, India

Whats up everyone???

This week, I got my new companion Elder Madda, from Rajhamundry.  He is 22 and the first one to serve a mission in his family.  He is super humble and really willing to learn.  His MTC group arrived on Wednesday night and on Thursday night we flew back to Hyderabad.  His English is ok but he is speaking more and more so I think in no time he will be fine.  Actually this morning, I taught him how to send some emails and type and edit pics and stuff so I guess I learned a lot of that stuff here so just spreading the knowledge.

But this week, I got to show him a little bit of the area and he is about equally overwhelmed when I first came but I told him that he will remember everything in no time.  But on Friday, we went to our ward mission leaders home and he was telling us about one of his friends that was interested in learning about the gospel and sure enough he was home and got to share the restoration with him, it was elder Madda's first lesson as a missionary and he already is a pro, so no worries.  Then a cool thing is that this brother came to Church yesterday and he really liked it and we are meeting with him again tonight so things are already improving.

Basically I'm really glad I have a new companion that is excited to do missionary work and has a real desire of the Gospel so he is helping me at the same time to rekindle the joy and excitement I had when I first started my mission.  Go out and share something good.

Elder Wakefield

Week 86 - February 8, 2016 - Hyderabad, India

Jai Telangana!!  Well you guys aren't going to believe this but my companion is getting transferred to Coimbatoire and he will be the Zone Leader and I'm staying in the some area and I'm training another new missionary.  I'm flying to Bangalore on Wednesday for the trainers meeting and maybe come back later in the week.  So for the next 12 weeks, I'll be here in Hyderabad.

We had a really great MLC and we saw a lot of the key indicators improve in the month of January.  We also talked about what are some of the qualities of a good companion and that was useful for a lot of the Zone members.  Nowadays, it seems that not many people are getting along well with their companions and I would say that the main problem is their lack of communication, so hopefully when I get my new companion later in the week we can get some sweet involvement.

One interesting story is that we found a new investigator, Krupakar.  He is the neighbor of the Sister that recently moved into the ward.  He's from Christian background and he doesn't really belong to any denomination mainly because he believes they were all created by man, but this guy can talk your ear off.  He thinks he knows English, but he has listening skills that he could improve on, but the crazy part is that when we shared the first vision with him he said he had the exact same experience and the people in the picture were the same he saw.  It was definitely really weird but he got pretty excited when we gave him the testimony of Joseph Smith to read from the Book of Mormon.

Also we need to move out of our apartment by Friday because the rent expired and we still haven't found a new place to live so we might be the first missionaries since Samuel Smith to sleep outside so hopefully we can find a good place by tonight or tomorrow.

Anyways all is well thanks again,
Elder Wakefield

Week 85 - February 1, 2016 - Hyderabad, India

First off, Happy belated Indian Republic Day everyone!  I think that was when the British finally left India, now here we are today.  On Tuesday, they had this huge Parade in the patny grounds and they had all of the armed forces present there but the only bad thing was they didn't really let spectators into watch and we couldn't stand outside the gate so that was kind of a bummer and I tried to take a picture but they didn't seem to like that so much either.  

But other than that we had a couple of exchanges this week to help some of the missionaries and they were pretty successful.  We are finding a lot of new investigators and teaching lots of less-actives but only bad thing is that no one is coming to church, so we are helping the members to pick up some of people to come to church.  

This week was pretty normal other than that.  So on Saturday, I was looking on the membership list and had this feeling that we should search for this one family so that afternoon, we went to the area and if you know anything about Indian addresses and streets, it's that there is no order or system in where the home might be so we started looking around and asked some people and we got to this one home where they had a cross on the gate but no door number and I was thinking it could be this family and later we asked someone and sure enough it was them.  They had this German Shepard chained to their bike and when we knocked the dog started barking and kind of took a running start and ripped off its collar and looked like it was going to jump over this fence but lucky for us the gate was pretty high so we survived.  But ya we taught them and found out they have some non-members in the home, so we got some good potential for them.

This week: tomorrow is locked down due to elections going on in Hyderbad and at like 10:30 pm we fly to Bangalore, then MLC on Wednesday and exchanges with the APs till Thursday and we fly back to Hyderbad on Thursday night and probably find out about transfer calls so some cool things are happening.

But please everyone pray for the people here to soften their hearts and apply the teachings of the Gospel in their lives.  Love you all

Elder Wakefield

Week 84 - January 25, 2016 - Hyderabad, India

This week flew by.  We got to visit a lot of our investigators this week which was really cool and we made it an emphasis to bring members to all of our lessons.  Some members even brought their friends to Church this week, so that was really cool.  So home teaching is probably going to take a few weeks before it gets going but our bishopric came up with an idea that each Priesthood Quorum will pick out a different family during the week to go visit.  It should be really effective if they all visit the homes.

We had a worldwide missionary broadcast on Friday morning and it was really awesome.  They said that there is like 75,000 missionaries and 418 missions around the world.  They talked about every aspect of missionary work basically,  Talking to people every where you go, seeking referrals from less-active and part member families, teaching investigators as instruments for the Holy Ghost, it was really awesome.

Then we had this sister return missionary who moved to Hyderabad this week and she called us asking for a blessing, so we went to her home and found out that her mom and sister aren't members of the church yet.  I guess they were going to be baptized in 2013 but at the last second they had some problems come up into their life so it didn't work out but things are better now.  Pretty crazy how sometimes Heavenly Father just prepares people and then when they are ready, he gives them into your hands.

Yesterday, we had 2 really awesome lessons in Elders Quorum and Gospel Essentials.  So at the beginning of the class, we split into 4 groups and the teacher gave each group a page of the newspaper then he gave everyone like 3 minutes to find either the words: peace, hope or joy and I think after time was over only one group found one of the words in the context of food.  So then he asked what do people look for in their lives.  Some of the answers included peace, joy and hope.  Then he asked based on the example we just did can the world give that to us and we said no.  Then he asked us to look up some of the verses in the scriptures to find these words and people noticed that there were so many to choose from.  Then he asked us based on this example can God give us these things and people answered yes.  I thought this was interesting because a lot of the time we turn on the news or read the paper just to see all the bad things that are going on rather than opening the scriptures or watching church videos to feel good.

Other than that, the election parties are gathering just about everywhere in preparation of the voting on February 2nd.  Mostly, all the people just gather in the streets and wave these different color scarfs around and shout things and at the end of the day the people give you some biryani and money.  I think which ever group has the most money will probably win.

Elder Wakefield

Week 83 - January 18, 2016 - Hyderabad, India

What a week!  We celebrated Sankranthi this week and all the schools got the week off.  That means a lot of people went to celebrate in their village but it didn't matter too much for us.  I went on exchanges again (I think I've gone there at least 5 times now) and had a good time visiting the families there.  I still tell everyone that that place is the promised land for missionary work.

Then on Saturday, President Berrett came to Hyderabad and we had a really good zone conference focused on using time wisely.  4 days before the conference he had all of us keep track of how we spend every 15 minutes then in the meeting we put all our time into different categories.  Everyone had a lot of the same results, more time for traveling, less for proselyting so he suggested that we make our travel time into proselyting time.  Only focus on one area a day and talk to as many people there as you can.  Look for the Christian homes and find near the homes of the leaders.  Then we talked about the vision for all of our areas and it was tough to decide what our area can do because now there is not much going on but we believe we can help change that.

Then from about 4:30 to 8:30 the Mission President came on exchange with us.  We walked from the church to the bus stop and when we got to the place where we needed to get down, President Berrett decided to jump before the bus stopped all the way so he almost took a tumble but he was ok.  Then we took a share an auto to meet one of the members near to our investigators home.  When we got there, they started bringing a bunch of snacks even though we told them we had a big lunch.  Then he takes over and starts talking to them, husband and wife, about why the Book of Mormon is so important.  Then somehow they start kind of arguing to each other and next thing you know they are calling each other out for things that they do in front of us.  Anyway, it kind of turns into a marriage counseling session with President Berrett for the next 30 minutes but things got a lot better.  They almost fooled us into drinking coffee which looked like milk with boost so that would have been funny.  Then, we walk about 14 minutes to a less-active home and taught them the importance of keeping the Sabbath Day holy.  And finally our other investigator invites us to her home just like 4 minutes away by walk and we also had a really awesome lesson.  What I learned is that President used little clues to start a conversation with them and tie it back into something gospel related.  He also helped them to find the answer rather just telling it to them.  Much more effective.

Only bad thing is that out of the 3 families we taught and committed to come to church the next day, none of them made it.  Pretty hard to decide on what to do next even when the presence of President Berrett can't get them to come but oh well.

This week, we are going to focus on finding the new investigators and help build up our teaching pool so we can have more appointments.  Today, we visited Birla Mandir and it was really cool.  Everything was made out of white granite and they kept it really clean.

Love you all,
Elder Wakefield

Week 82 - January 11, 2016 - Hyderabad, India

Not sure if my email sent last week but oh well here goes another one.

On Monday, we flew to Bangalore and the cab that was supposed to pick us up left so we just kind of hung out at the airport for like 3 extra hours.  And you know how I said I had never been cold well I take it back because Bangalore was freezing.  Then on Tuesday, we had a pretty good discussion on changing the Mission Culture to adjust for the goals we set in 2016.  We figured out too that if every companionship had a baptism for every month then we could have 500 baptisms which is like almost double what we had in 2015. 

Wednesday we found some cool new investigators.  They were understanding really well and were like right in tune with the lesson.  They were also wondering if there was any source that could clear up what they were learning from the Bible so when we showed them the Book of Mormon they were excited.  Hopefully, this week we can visit them.  Thursday we ate at Burger King.  They had a mutton Whopper and I got it.  Still not sure how I felt about it but that will probably be enough for me for the next few months.  Friday we had our Zone training and all the missionaries were on board for the new mission goals and even set higher goals for themselves.  I think that this year we accomplish a lot of cool things.

I heard they even called a new mission president for the IBM for summer.  President Berrett is also coming with us for exchange on Friday night so that should be cool..

This week alot of people are going to their village for holidays so it should give us more time to become more organized and visit with some of the leaders for our goals for this year.  I think that if everyone from the Ward is on board, then we will accomplish a lot of things.

Love you guys and hope your week is wonderful.
P.S. Happy early Birthday Alex.  Don't go too crazy for your 17th haha

Elder Wakefield

Week 81 - January 4, 2016 - Hyderabad, India

Happy New Year everyone!!  2015 was pretty great but I hope that 2016 can bring all of us a renewed spirit and time of working towards our goals.  This week got better as the time went by.  We got to visit a lot of the members because they had holidays and more free time to invite us over so we committed them to make some new goals and be more actively involved with the church.  In my opinion, the Church needs some sort of retention program to keep people coming after they are baptized because there are a lot of people that don't quite understand that.

New Years was cool, We didn't really do anything too crazy.  My companion cooked a lot of food this week which was really awesome though.  Also, yesterday my companion was telling all the members that it was my birthday AND whenever someone would come to wish me Happy Birthday I always joked with them that it wasn't really my birthday - so i think a lot of people were really confused if it was my birthday or not.  But one of our investigators prepared food for us not even knowing it was my birthday, so that was cool.

21 feels a lot like 20 except now I say I'm 1 year older.  We are flying to Bangalore in a few hours and then coming back tomorrow.  I'm thinking this meeting President won't be too happy but you never know.  

We shared Mosiah 2:22 with a lot of people this week and it is pretty straightforward.  King Benjamin tells the people straight up before he peaces out that all God,"requires of you is to keep his commandments; 

and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye  should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he  hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and  prosper you."

The Work is still great and it always will be.  Thanks for all the wishes this week everyone.

Elder Wakefield

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Week 80 - December 28, 2015 - Hyderabad, India

Christmas was unreal this year.  I can say that I got more gifts and blessings than ever before while serving the Lord.  Christmas eve we enjoyed at the Cobb home and they hooked us up with some sweet Indian Pajamas.  Then they gave us some cool ornaments too.  On Wednesday, we had our ward Christmas Program and we danced like anything.  We tried to prepare a dance a few hours before we did the real thing and it didn't really work out that well but we enjoyed like anything.

Christmas of course we got fed more Chicken/beef biryani.  Then to finish the week we gave some interviews and taught some lessons.  I am really grateful that church is starting at 1 pm next week because then we will hopefully be able to see more people coming to church.  On Tuesday, one of the senior couples came to Hyderabad and we watched the First Presidency Christmas devotional and did some Christmas singing and they brought us all a new pair of socks, it was pretty funny.  

Good news is that my companion and I are staying together for another transfer here so we are going to make some new plans on how we can do more effective work here.  Weather was cool early this week but today it was a warm one, I think winter season might be over.

Today we went to the circus right by the church.  It was the kind of circus that every kid imagines with some one walking on stilts and clowns telling weird jokes and these guys from Manipur were putting knives down their throats it was crazy.  We weren't allowed to take any pictures but hopefully I can remember it.

Looking forward to a New Year.  A time of seting goals and reflecting on how we did this past year?  What can we do better?  What is the vision for 2016? and what will we do so that we can make that dream or goal happen?  Definitely so many things that i want to accomplish before my last 6 months are over.

Love all you guys,
Elder Wakefield

Week 79 - December 21, 2015 - Hyderabad, India

Merry Early Christmas everyone!  This week was filled with miracles and some of the greatest Christmas moments anyone could imagine.  

First off the "Only In India Story" for the week:  So Saturday, we went on exchanges with our District Leader so he could give a baptismal interview to our investigator and my companion went with his companion so he could do the same for them.  When we got to the members home, we found out that our investigator had a concern that would involve the Mission President.  So i called President Berrett because last week he told me was coming to Hyderabad but i spoke to him and he was on the plane back to Bangalore... However, he said that we could have a skype interview and the District Leader could translate as the sister taking baptism didn't speak much English.  But the power was cut and when 3 pm rolled around still no current.  So I called President Berrett and he said, "you know Elder Wakefield, I had a feeling i should have called you this morning before I left. " and that just to call him when the power was back on.  So we left and the member said he would just call us if the power came back because he had a meeting at 6:00.  So I just remember praying so hard that Heavenly Father would provide a way for this Sister to have a successful interview so that she could baptized,  

Then just like 10 minutes later he called and said power came back.  We ran back to his house and her interview was successful and then at 4:30 pm yesterday, Sister Sathywathi was finally baptized.  When she was bearing her testimony, she was in tears because she said she still had doubts if this was the true church or not but after she came out of the water, she knew this was true.  Definitely a feeling that none of us will ever forget.

Then on Friday night, we went with maybe 10 other members caroling.  It was super fun.  we just had 2 small cars and we crammed everyone together and visited like 7-10 families.  You tell how happy people were to see us all coming into their home and showing our love to them.  I wish they could do something like this every week because then there would really be no less actives.  But we weren't able to go much on Saturday or Sunday but I heard they were also good.  

We have our missionary Christmas devotional tomorrow and our Ward Christmas party on Wednesday then Christmas on Friday so this week should really be awesome.  

Finally, I decided that my gift to the Savior this year would be to show my love for his children.  It seems like almost every Christmas thus far in my life has been focused on what am I going to get this year?  or what am I going to do during my holiday breaks?  Now that I really understand the importance of Christmas, i decided I just want to show my love for all of Heavenly Father's children because even though I cant help all of them, I can at least do my best to make them feel loved. 

Elder Wakefield

Week 78 - December 14, 2015 - Hyderabad, India

Merry early Christmas everyone!! I love this time in the year the most.  Crazy to think that 2015 is almost gone and we will be starting a new year soon.  Yesterday, we had a Christmas council meeting in our ward and it sounds like they are going all out this year.  I'm not sure if they will be able to handle it all but we will see.

We had 2 exchanges this week I think we really helped 2 companionships that were struggling.  They both are good but like a lot of companionships, sometimes they forget to communicate their problems to each other effectively.  We also had a training on Friday to all the missionaries in Hyderabad about teaching with your companion in unity and I think they learned a lot of the same things we did.  Sometimes you have to practice something like 5 times before it actually gets better. 

We are also preparing for Christmas carols on the 18, 19, and 20th so that should be fun.  The cool story of the week was about this sister that we have been teaching for around 2 and a half months now.  She comes to church with her family almost every week and she doesn't speak much English or understand a lot of things that we teach her but last night we taught this lesson at her family's home and we really wanted to help her realize how God has answered her prayer and when we there last night, it was like a hallelujah moment.  She just kept saying I'm praying but nothing is happening and when we asked her what her heart is telling her and about all the changes she has seen in her life something just clicked.  So we have to finish teaching her the lessons this week but hopefully her baptism will happen this Sunday.

Weather is still pretty warm here so it doesnt really "feel" like Christmas but something is different.  People are also starting to invite us over more often so that is good.  

Today we toured around in Hi-tech city so that was cool too.  Everything is good and I'm excited for what Heavenly Father has in store for his children this year.  
Elder Wakefield

Week 77 - December 7, 2015 - Hyderabad, India

This week was AWESOME!!! Wednesday I went on exchange with my previous companion in this area and now that he's the AP I took him to go and visit some of the people we had a good time with and baptized.  He's doing really good and I guess he only has like 3 more weeks until his mission finishes.  He was talking about getting married pretty soon too but it might be some time he was saying.  Then on Thursday and Friday, the zone leaders from Rajhamundry and Vizag came to Hyderabad for this special training on how to become better teachers.  I think I learned more about teaching in these 2 days than I have in the last 2 months.  It was really great and now we are excited to share with the rest of the missionaries what we learned.

Crazy that in Chennai its raining like non stop and they are having huge floods while here in Telenagana, we are struggling to even have any running water.  We live in  the hills, so we don't have direct access so they told us it might be a month before we have fully running water again.  As for now, we have water almost every morning from 7:30 to 8 am and then they shut it off.  Then in the evening same thing from 7:30 to 8:00 pm but we don't get back until 9:00 p.m. so that is the problem.  Now we are trying to find a new apartment so hopefully things can work out in our favor.  

Then Saturday, we had interviews with President Berrett, I was the last one to be interviewed and it was right before the Saturday session of stake conference so it was just a quick 5 minute how are you doing sort of thing.  It seems he is always super busy, so i didn't want to trouble him with anything.  Good news is that he brought my package, so I have been conservatively sharing some starburst with the members.

Then on Sunday, we had stake conference at this really nice Marigold Hotel in Green lands Ameerpet.  Probably like 400 to 500 people showed up and the facility was really nice.  Hopefully, we can have some succeess this month with some of our investigators who have been coming to church.  

We are looking forward to the Christmas party and carols coming up here in our area so it should be really fun.  Here, people hang these stars up in front of their homes so it makes it easier for finding so that's what I really like.  Today, I also noticed that there are like 6 churches within a km radius of our church, so it should be poppin over here.  

Everything is great, the work is true and Christ still lives.

Elder Wakefield