Friday, January 2, 2009

First Christmas in India

December was a busy month. All of the logistical planning for a major NRT project in mid-January had to be completed. That project will take us to Gandhidham, Gujarat, and to Bangalore so there should be plenty to post on in January. Besides that, the newborn baby blankets finally got shipped to Bihar. That project could take a post of its own, but tales of dealing with shipping, etc. are not as interesting as what follows. I will say this, that project had help and prayers were answered. I cannot tell you how many times we have asked for help before heading out the door and have literally had things happen that fit President Henderson's statement that there are no coincidences, just minor miracles in which the Lord prefers to remain anonymous. In spite of all the delays and hassles with the blanket project, we had help.

And I just realized you're probably asking, what blanket project? Back in September when we arrived, money had been approved by the Area to acquire newborn blankets for the hardest hit areas in the flooding in Bihar. One of the first posts in this blog had pictures of Sister Tanner giving out a few sample blankets we had taken up with us, but the sample source did not work out. We finally managed to obtain and ship 8,500 blankets with the money provided. They will surely be welcome now that winter is here.
Let's begin with the last Sunday in November, the 30th. Elder Vanjarapu spoke in Sacrament meeting before completing his mission and returning home on December 3rd. He was our zone leader and is a great young man who faithfully served his Father in Heaven. He came to District meeting Monday and this turned out to our farewell with him.

Actually, it was a farewell to several elders as transfers took place this week. Elders Williams, Ivie, and Vanjarapu all left our area. They will be missed. All great young men!

We had some Christmas decorations stored in a back room and Sister Tanner got them out and went to work with some help from the elders on the tree.

This nativity was a find Sister Tanner made when she met with some expat (Americans in India) women in Delhi. One of them had an extra set and sold it to her. It is cast brass and is arranged in a Subway sandwich box stable.

December 20, 2008

The new Noida branch had its first ever Christmas party. There were just under 40 people there, members, investigators, and friends. Here we are with our new set of District Elders. Patha, Sarver, Walker, Siyyadri, Dyck in back, and Joseph.

President Smith hosted the party in his home to make it more cozy than the branch building. We reinacted the Nativity with yours truly and Anil Verma being the stable. The hit of the evening though was singing the 12 days of Christmas and groups acting out their day. Sister Tanner's group got the biggest laugh for 8 maids a milking.

December 23, 2008
We invited the 4 upstairs elders in for an hour in the afternoon to decorate cookies to take to their investigators. Another great Sister Tanner project.

All decorated and ready to go.

Christmas Eve, December 24, 2008
President Katuka and his family invited us over for Christmas eve with them. Joshua, Timna, President Katuka, and his wife Swarupa. We had a great time visiting and signing carols and what a superb dinner by Sister Katuka. She had toned down the spices just for us and it was wonderful. There must have been at least 8 dishes and all were outstanding!

Full stomachs and waiting for the man in red.

Christmas Day
We had the district elders over for an early breakfast before heading to Delhi for the mission Christmas party. After pancakes with home made maple flavored syrup, bacon, and scrambled eggs, the elders took advantage of our Skype to call home. They are allowed an hour on Mother's Day and on Christmas day to call and talk.

Santa Baby ...

The mission party was held at the First Branch building in Lajpat Nagar, Delhi. We watched the First Presidency Christmas program on DVD, then had a short testimony meeting. The spirit was sooo strong listening to these young men testify of their Savior and the work.

After lunch, each district presented a skit that they had prepared to kick off the activities organized by Sister Tanner. Here is our Noida district giving their rendition of the First 12 Days of My Mission. It was hilarious.

Somewhere, Sister Tanner found Sponge Claus Square Pants and had him come and pass out stockings full of goodies to the elders. Sister Ricks, our mission president's wife, prepared the stockings.

The India New Delhi Mission sans President Ricks who took the picture.

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