Monday, April 26, 2010

February, Completion, and Home

With a bit of irony if you like whole numbers, this last post will be number 100 for our mission blog. A nice touch to wrap things up, but it will also make for a very large post with around 50 pictures. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The last dinner Sister Tanner prepared for the elders at our flat. L-R Dhirendra (Robin) Baisoya, Elders Tamang, Sathiyanathan, Gollapolli, Dennis Thomas, Elder Godi

Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Elizabeth, our daughter who lives in Perth, Australia, arrived and we got back from the airport at 4:15 AM. Good planning though, we had nothing scheduling until the afternoon. Pete, our son-in-law, let Liz go by herself and he stayed with the children. Sister Tanner has looked forward to this visit for months. When these two get through shopping, the Indian economy will move up a couple of points. I'm not going to recount all of their adventures, but they hit the ground running and first up was huge mela (fair) that featured Rajasthan this year. Besides all of the goods for sale, it included entertainment.

Liz had to sleep on the floor as we only had one bed. Robin helped Sister Tanner buy a pad for Liz to use. Here it is being rolled up on the left.

An Aussie in New Delhi.

The fabrics and colors in India are something we will always remember. Looking at this picture was a reminder.

The Noida Relief Society sisters.

The last brownies for a District meeting. The zone leaders picked a good day to visit.

Mansa, our neighbor upstairs, put on a fashion show for Liz and her mother. Ladies only. But they raved about the fabrics when they came back downstairs.

Lost the date on this one, but sometime after Liz arrived, this group met at KFC's in the Noida Great India Place mall. The elders had traveled over to say goodbye and meet Liz. L-R Roma Hukil, Liz, Monica Gupta, Sister and Elder Tanner, Sonia Hukil, Elder Schade, Elder Erekson.

"Raj" A great guy who drove us on many of our humanitarian projects that we could reach by car. He took Liz and Sister Tanner to Agra then Jaipur, Rajasthan, then back to Noida on a 2 day trip that allowed them to see the Taj Mahal and many other wonderful sights...and to shop.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The birthday girl. The branch put on a birthday party for Sister Tanner and Brother Ajit Singh whose birthdays are actually on the 14th, so the party was on Saturday. It began with a bouquet of roses for Sister Tanner.

The birthday girl and the guys. Ajit Singh is to the left of Sister Tanner.

Sister Tanner and the ladies.

The fabric was a present from the branch ladies, and it is a beautiful color for her. She was able to get the sari sown before we left.

Can't have a party without goodies. The sisters took charge and did an outstanding job.

It wasn't a food fight, but the birthday celebrants did a little more than eat their cake.

Sunday, February 14, 2010
A very special day with a baptism and a piano recital for two of Sister Tanner's keyboard students.
Ravindra Satunuri baptized his wife Sunuga. She is from the south and does not speak Hindi nor English. When two elders from the south who spoke Telugu came to our branch, she was taught. What a sweet, nuturing and supportive wife she is. When Ravindra was investigating the church, they always came as a family and she stayed through the meetings and they both took care of the boys. In fact, it was their boys that inspired Sister Tanner to go on a shopping trip and we purchased a number of quiet toys and put them in a box in the back of the chapel so the parents would have something to occupy the boys during church. This is the first complete family with young children in the branch and the beginnings of a Primary.

We were blessed with a sunny day and no wind.
L-R Usha, Ruchi Gupta, Sunuga, Sonia Hukil, Monica Gupta.

I could not leave this picture of Usha and Subhash at the baptism out of the post. What a wonderful couple they are!!

Later in the afternoon, Sonu and Gauri, two of Sister Tanner's students, held a recital in their home. They presented Sister Tanner with a special birthday and going away gift for her friendship and efforts in teaching them. Anil gave me a groom's scarf. This Hindu family has been special friends the entire time we were in India and you will read at the end of this post how they saved us the night we were to leave to return to the States.

Sonu and Gauri with their new electronic piano to the right.

Sister Tanner with her engraved bowl given to her by the Vermas.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010
It is a long story, but Sister Tanner thought milking a water buffalo would be a life experience for Liz when she visited. Robin's family had one, but it died before Liz got here so he found another volunteer, his aunt and uncle's water buffalo.
Sister Tanner doing her thing. She actually got the hang of it and was getting a good stream into the bucket. This buffalo is pretty onery, so someone, in red, is feeding it and keeping it distracted during the milking by the rookies.

Well, we can say Liz touched the water buffalo and leave it at that. Robin's aunt is looking on.

Some of the crowd that came to watch the ladies milk a water buffalo.

Liz, Robin's aunt, Sister Tanner, Robin's uncle.
Dhirendra (Robin) Baisayo - we cannot thank this young man enough for all the help and support he gave to us. He also conducted follow up phone surveys with doctors and nurses that received the neonatal resuscitation training in the five NRT projects we conducted. That alone earned my total gratitude. We heard from him and he is now serving a 7 week mini-mission with the elders in Delhi.
Every time I went to the Sector 40 market, just a couple of blocks from our flat, I walked by the shoe repairman and the stitchers with their treddle type sewing machines. Never thought about taking a picture until we were a week away from leaving.

Notice the scaffolding and home remodel going on in the background.

Sister Tanner and Liz have their own fashion show.

Thursday, February 18, 2010
Raju Massey, on my right, and his family. Raju was our source for anything we couldn't find, even beef. He is an excellent cook and even does an excellent apple pie. He has a catering business and cooked for many mission functions.

Raju remodeled his kitchen to support his business and asked us over for dinner and then gave us the ribbon cutting honors to his new kitchen.

Friday, February 19, 2010
We left for the airport at 5:00 AM and saw Liz off. It was a great visit and I don't think we can put a value on the time the mother and daughter spent together and the fun they had. And it was great having a new body to speak in sacrament meeting.
Today I gave Robin my most prized possession. He has promised me he will be a BYU fan.
In the evening, we visited Ravindra and Sunuga and their family. The elders were there and we all had dinner with the family.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Sister Tanner taught her last Institute class and then as many as could make it, gathered for a farewell party the branch held for us. I get emotional writing this and thinking about again. I actually cried several times as when I went through the pictures for this post as memories of the sweet people we worked with in India came flooding back. Thank you Monica for your leadership and all you did for us. It was such a joy to see you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and to see your commitment to service.
Back L-R Elder Patha, Elder Sathiyanathan, Sister Tanner, Jose Joseph, Elder Tanner, Diwakar Gupta
Front L-R Sonia Hukil, Elder Gollapalli, Elder Godi, Elder Tamang, Elder Barrick, Monica Gupta

Menesha and Dr Maurice Ryder - good friends.

Gifts we received. I love the tie and wore it home.

Usha and Subhash

Sweety and Anu from the Delhi 3rd Branch. Young Single Adults we worked with. Anu, a returned missionary, served in the Bangalore India Mission.

Roma Hukil wrote new words to Leaving on a Jet Plane and the group sang for us.
L-R Diwakar Gupta, Monica Gupta, Roma Hukil, Sonia Hukil, Dennis Thomas, Elder Barrick.

Ajit Singh, Jose Joseph, Dennis Thomas - great men all.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010
All month it has been a scramble to get project financials and reports submitted. Thank heavens for the new web based humanitarian project application, CHaS, which really helps. If a couple ever does come to replace us, they will have all the information available to them online. I was still working to get an order of mucus extractors sent to Dr Saxena in Meerut just 3 weeks ago. But it all got completed and in our running around to return keyboards to the Mission Office, etc., etc., we passed this building on the street where the branch is and finally had to stop and take a picture. It was our last chance.

We have been driving by this sign for a year and chuckle each time we see it...and wonder what is inside the building.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Sister Tanner is a blessing. Her sense of organization and what had to be done to pack up the flat and our own things was simply amazing. But before we left for the airport Wednesday night around 10:45 PM, things got a little hectic and confusing in our flat with well wishers coming to see us off, etc. When we finally finished our goodbyes and got in the car to go, we left something important behind and did not realize it until we got to the airport and looked for our passports and my suit coat. Then we realized they were still on the bed in our flat.

After discussing what to do, we called our good friend Anil Verma. Even though it was now midnight, he readily agreed to contact the elders, get the key to our flat, retrieve the passports and coat, and bring them to the airport. The amazing thing is that Anil, Gauri, his daughter, and Sonu, his niece, made it to the airport in just under an hour. That was a minor miracle and a prayer answered. They called us after they got home an hour and a half later and reported that the traffic was jammed and not moving on the other side of the road as they travelled home.

One other challenge we had was one of our bags got lost and did not show up in Los Angeles although the tracking tag from the bag did. Sister Tanner was almost in tears since that bag had all of the gifts for our children and grandchildren we were bringing to them from India. We filed a report with the airline and 2 days later they had located the bag and sent it on to our home in St George.

We were tired and beat when we finally arrived at 8 PM, Thursday, February 25th, about 28 hours after we left Delhi. When we came down the jetway and into the terminal, I could not believe my eyes. Our daughter Julie had flown up from Arizona and waited in the terminal to greet us. She walked with us and then held back as we passed through security above the baggage claim area and saw the signs and more of our family to greet us, it was sooooo wonderful. There were around 20 people there and our spirits were lifted with the welcome back. We stayed in the Salt Lake City area for the next 5 days visiting with family and trying to recover from the trip. The next night, Friday, they had a homecoming party for us with many of our friends there. It was supposed to have been a surprise, and it was, but we figured something was going on that day as Sister Tanner's father had the assignment to get us out of the house and keep us occupied until evening.

We finally flew home to St George on March 3rd and made it to our own house. It was so nice to really be home, really home. That evening, we met with President Henderson, our Stake (District) president, and he released us as missionaries. But the stay at home lasted exactly one day, Thursday. Friday we were in our car and driving back north to stay with Sister Tanner's parents while all the ladies gathered for a bridal shower, a bride's party for our niece who will be married on April 10th in Colorado. We stayed up north until Wednesday and then drove back to St George. We went to our own ward (branch) for the first time since we got back the next Sunday, March 14th, and received a warm welcome. The day started very early for us as the daylight savings time change moved the clock ahead an hour and we met at 6:30 AM with the Stake Presidency and High Council to report our mission and answer a few questions. It was only about 20 minutes, but a very spiritual and emotional 20 minutes. A great way to start the day!

Sunday, March 21st, we both spoke in Sacrament meeting on being converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and included some experiences from our mission in our talks. We talked with a group of senior couples in our Stake on April 18th to share experiences from our mission and to answer questions on serving a senior mission. These are older members who are considering going on a mission and the stake is trying to provide information and encouragement to them to go. Other than speaking in Sacrament meeting, that was our first assignment.

I do not think a day has gone by since we left that we have not thought of the people we love and had to leave behind for now in India. Many have said we did a great work with the humanitarian projects and we met and worked with some wonderful people in the process, but the real reward of our mission, the blessing we will treasure, is the love we share for the members of the Noida Branch and the Delhi District and all of the great young men, the elders, that we had the privilege to work with while in India.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sister Tanner's All Time Favorite

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Republic Day in India is a national holiday. It is celebrated as the day that the new constitution of the now independent India went into effect 60 years ago. There are parades in many cities around the country, but the granddaddy of them all is the one in New Delhi, the country's capital. Those watching the parade number in the hundreds of thousands and it is a security challenge to screen everyone that enters. We went last year and had tickets again this year. I gave mine to a branch member who had never been to the parade before and it was a great experience for him as he escorted Sister Tanner.

I captured the video from an Internet stream from a local TV or government entity broadcasting the parade, not sure which or if they are one and the same. The clip recorded format is such that MovieMaker could not handle it, so you've got it just the way I captured the clip. I could not edit it. But I got what I was after and that is a recording of Sister Tanner's all time parade favorite band. You cannot take cameras or cell phones into the parade viewing area for security reasons.

A couple of notes:

The video is shot from the reviewing stand where the dignitaries were. There were government officials from Korea. The lady in the white coat seen saluting is India's president, Madam Patil. Near the end of the clip is a shot of the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh. He wears a blue turban. Watch each band's drum major's salute, it is something. The whole event is quite an experience with flyovers, military hardware, bands and marching units from most states and the national military units, floats, it has it all and the marching precision is something that is outstanding. Oh, and it really was as foggy as it appears. We had a prolonged period of foggy weather that played havoc with the Delhi airport, but the parade was only slightly affected.

Sister Tanner's all time parade favorite can be seen beginning around 1:40 into the clip. Until you've seen this mounted band, you haven't seen anything. The mounted band and the mounted group immediately in front of it are from the BSF, Border Security Force, in Rajasthan where there is lots of deseret in a long border with Pakistan.