Sunday, March 15, 2009

An Auto Driver, Faith, and Relief Society

March 15, 2009

Now that we meet in Sector 2, we have to take a 15-20 minute auto ride to get to church. Last Sunday, our first meeting in the new location, (Elder) Bharat Kumar Vanjarpu rode home with us and talked to the driver and got him to agree to come and pick us up each Sunday morning and come back for the return trip after church. He agreed to come next Sunday at 8:30 AM. No contact all week and I figured it would be a miracle if he showed up on time, if at all. I had looked outside and hadn't seen anyone, so I figured we'd need to go catch an auto on the street outside the sector. When Sister Tanner and I walked to the gate, there he was waiting in the shade across the street and down a little out of sight from our window. We had prayed before leaving and the answer was waiting before we prayed. Oh me of little faith.

This is something Sister Tanner wrote that needs to be shared and I second her comment about our great church meetings today. Read on:

"We had great church meetings today with lots of investigators. President and Sister Ricks were there, and at the end of Sacramet meeting he asked if he could take a picture of the congregation. He said he wanted to send it to Bangalore to show them that we're nearly outgrowing our new facility already!! What a wonderful problem!! There actually were about the same number as last week, but nearly all were different investigators and most of them actually stayed for the full block!! There were actually 10 ladies in Relief Society today and Hannah Smith had been asked to give a lesson. Being just 13 years old and quite shy, it was a challenge for her. But bless her heart, she did it and did a very nice job!! The lesson was on "Callings in the Church", so what a great example she was in standing in front of all the Relief Society ladies!! That's the way it is sometimes -- we may be scared to death, but the Lord really steps in after we've done all we can and makes everything alright, if we go ahead in faith. We were all sisters in there, and there was much love and encouragement given to her -- just like a real Relief Society!!"
Noida Branch Relief Society today - half of them are investigators, and they stayed for the whole block - wahoo!!


March 13-14, 2008

For quite awhile, Sister Tanner has wanted/needed shelves in the kitchen to store canned goods, etc. on. We have some cupboards, but not nearly big enough to keep what we need. When we do go to a store that carries some of the things we had at home, it is usually a major purchase and it gets really crowded for awhile until we begin to use it up.

After looking for something suitable and not finding it, I decided to draw up a plan of what we needed with dimensions suited to the space in the kitchen. Every time I go to the market in Sector 40, I walk by a yard where I had seen them making window and door frames and figured they might be able to build some shelves. After a weak attempt to explain my drawing and inquire if it could be built, I decided I needed someone who spoke Hindi. Elder Patha volunteered and last Friday, a carpenter showed up who owned the yard I had stopped at. Elder Patha was around so we came to an understanding and negotiated a price for the shelves. He said he would be back and it would take 2-3 days. He asked permission to build the shelves in the driveway. For once, I was surprised at the speed something got done. The carpenter was back in 2 hours with another guy with one of those bicycle pickups with two panels of teak plywood of different thickness, some trim strips, etc. We left about 30 minutes later to go to an appointment and the carpenter was watching his helper mark the thicker panel. By the time we got back several hours later, the shelves were almost together.

Trim work yet to come, but nice start. The carptener is in the orange shirt.

They were back Saturday morning and finished up in a couple of hours. Putting a laquer finish on with a piece of cloth. The staining and finish was all done without a brush ... and I challenge you to try out this position to work from.

When we brought the shelves inside, we turned the overhead fan on to prevent either the kitchen blowing up or us getting high, probably both.
Cindy is really happy with her new, good quality shelves and immediately reorganized the kitchen to take advantage.
Working on a month's food storage. Notice the Campbell Soup, canned in India. A lot of American and English brand names are available in India, but produced in country, not imported.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Our New Branch Building and Holi Day

Pictures from 3 events of the past week. We held our first meeting in the new branch building. It is not completely finished, but it was close enough to allow us to use it last Sunday. The church has rented the first floor of the building except for a small office in the right front. Even though it is in a commercial/industrial area, the owner did not want us to display the church sign permanently so it will be put up Sunday mornings only during services. This is a good day to stay indoors for reasons you'll read later. Good opportunity to update the blog.

A real sacrament table and a pulpit to speak from with a good sound system. The right side is a series of class rooms. We love it. Robin, Sister Tanner, and Elder Tanner were asked to speak the first Sunday

Our little group for our first Sunday in the new building. 6 investigators among the members and elders.

Sister Smith, Hannah Smith, Sister Archana the RS president, Sister Tanner. Two of our faithful sisters did not make it today. Getting a block mindset established is still a challenge for some so there are many that leave after sacrament meeting.

A baptismal font and changing area is being built on the roof of the building. It is quite a hike to get up there, but consider it the first steps on the path towards heaven ...

We have zone conferences every 6 weeks after transfers. One was held yesterday, March 10th, the day before Holi.

Holi is a day in India where colors get thrown on everyone. From powders, to colored water in squirt guns, to foam cans of color, to creams that are smeared on by hand. Two of our elders thought it was all over by 1 PM so they ventured over to the market area since it was P-day and they needed some things. They got caught and here is the result. After they were colored, they were given some "sweets". I'm told it will take a couple of weeks for the color to go completely from the skin depending on the number of showers and scrubbings. The clothes will retain color stains permanently.

Don't ask about the origins of this practice, there must be at least 3 versions and I don't recall them well enough to write anything. Something to Google if you want to know more.

Trip to Meerut, UP, Sunday Dinner

Saturday, February 28, 2009

IAP held a First Golden Minute training event in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, and invited us to attend and represent Latter-day Saint Charities (LDSC). It was only 60 km away, so we thought the drive would be easy since it was going away from Delhi and supposedly less traffic. Should have known better. 2.5 hours later we arrived 30 minutes late and found they had been waiting for us to begin. Such is life and there was another group of IAP officers that made it even later than we did coming from the Delhi airport.

The training was held at the Anand Hospital, a new facility only 1.5 years old. The administrator gave us a tour before we left and it was very nice.

I was asked to speak to begin the session and I was so fast Sister Tanner could not get picture. It wasn't our show, so expressing thanks, etc. didn't take long.
IAP had set up 6 practice session rooms. This is a shot of one of them. They had the drill down and did an excellant job of organizing and conducting the training.

Some shots from the trip down and back. This is a "rent a boom box on wheels" outfit that can go to weddings or any other activity requiring loud noise to keep the neighbors awake.

A view of traffic when we hit one of the many commercial areas on the road. Also a close up view of one of the "autos" we're always writing about.

Grapes are on and are they good.

A patty cake factory. The water buffalo, cows, etc. manure is mixed and worked by hand into the round "cakes" and then sun dried. Once dried, they are stacked for use later on to fuel cooking fires.

Sunday, March 1st, Sister Tanner feed the world. L-R, Elder Tanner, Robin, Elder Patha, Elder Carmen, Elder Gangipogu, Elder Swanborough, Elder Adari, Elder Siyyadri, Bharack Kumar Vangaripu, Daniel Jayakaran. Daniel is the church's facilities person and is stationed in Bangalore. He was here to check progress on our new branch building.
In our front yard and a beautiful day.