Wednesday, April 15, 2009

General Conference Weekend in Noida

The weekend of General Conference was our fast Sunday over here. The sessions are not broadcast to India, at least not live. We wait for a DVD of the sessions and then hold our General Conference the following weekend. Our new building allows us to meet and view them there. In the past, we had to meet in the Smith's home. We now have a large screen TV and a DVD player for the branch. I arranged with Elder Patha to have the carpenter who made our kitchen shelves build a large open box that we could set on the sacrament table. When we came back from the Rajasthan trip, the box was complete and worked beautifully, raising the screen high enough so all sitting in the seats could see it.


Conference is a challenge here. Our Saturday schedule began at 10 AM, first session, then an hour break for lunch, the second session at 1 PM, another hour break, then priesthood at 4 PM. We started the first session with no Indian branch members, but 10 investigators and a total attendance of 23 counting missionaries and the Smith family members. All but 2 stayed for lunch which was sooo good. A combo effort of Sister Smith and Sister Tanner.

Watching and listening to conference, I honestly did not even consider it was a week ago. It was so live being there and the spirit was the same. What a great experience even though 6 hours of watching a TV screen in an 8 hour period was enough to tire me out physically, at least parts of me. By the priesthood session, it was down to the 6 elders and myself and one investigator, a 15 year old, Arpit, who came in and out, but stayed to the end and escorted me home in a rickshaw. I didn't need an escort, but I'm learning to accept help from others. Even if I don't need it, I do it for them. It is about time I learned that life lesson. Arpit is here essentially on his own. The relatives he came to, put him up in a hostel where he lives completely independent. His parents are in Dubai where he spent his whole life, but they are divorced and sent him here because he was getting into things he should not have in a pretty wild and woolly society in Dubai. He is very intelligent and has spent many hours with Cindy and I discussing the gospel and loves Sister Tanner's cooking, like everyone else I might add. Unfortunately, if he did get permission from his mother to be baptized, his father, strong Hindu, would use it to break the divorce settlement and leave his mother with nothing. He has told his mother of the changes he has made and she is very grateful for her son's new direction and we certainly enjoy this great, intelligent young man. The future is unlimited for him if he stays on the path he is on now.

While we were at the priesthood session. Sweety, yes that's her given name, went home with Sister Tanner and helped her color Easter eggs. Sweety was baptized in November and lives in Delhi, but works in Noida. She came to conference here after work, actually I think to see Elder Adari who baptized her. She is planning on putting in her mission papers this coming August.

Back to Arpit. As hard as it was to do, because I understand the need and desire he has to belong, to have some roots, I advised him that maybe his best choice would be to continue to attend church, even take the sacrament because he understands what it means, and to wait for his time to come. Patience is hard to come by sometimes for 15 year olds. He brought his friend, Akil, to church who comes with him frequently now, even to conference Saturday morning. Arpit is quite the guy.

SUNDAY, APRIL 12, 2009

E/S Tanner hosted the elders for Easter morning breakfast and Sister Tanner prepared Easter baskets for each of them with a tie and some goodies. The Easter bunny arrived in India on time.

Transfers last week and we now have l-r:

Elders Shepherd, Swanborough, Schade, Carmen, Adari, and Erekson.

Sunday, we had our regular Sacrament meeting, then watched the Sunday morning session of conference. This time, we had 9 members and 6 investigators, only 2 of which were there Saturday. Sunday evening, President and Sister Ricks invited all of the senior missionaries to their home for dinner.

Borland, Brown, Weeks, Zaugg, Ricks, Tanner

When we got there, a new couple had arrived early that morning and would be leaving Monday morning Katmandu, the Borlands from Provo, Utah. Great couple and we enjoyed meeting them and the evening with everyone else, the Weeks, Browns, and Zauggs and President and Sister Ricks. It was interesting to see someone new and recall our own arrival experience a lifetime ago, seems like ancient history now.

I close with one interesting comment. But lacking confirmation, I consider it a good story. Someone shared the information that all of the 12 tribes of Israel have been named in Patriarchal blessings given to members in Mongolia. I checked online, and there are between 14 and 20 branches there, but no stake and I would imagine no patriarch. There have been a lot missionaries from Mongolia. I remember one outstanding sister from Mongolia who served in the Sunset Stake several years ago. Can anyone confirm the 12 tribes claim?


Matt said...

Yes, I believe all the tribes of Israel have been found in Mongolia. Although there is still no stake in the country, Mongolian missionaries can receive their Patriarchal Blessings in other countries they serve in where there are stakes organized. The mission office in Ulaanbaatar kept track of what tribe all of the missionaries were from. All but one of the tribes were found among the missionaries as of December 2003 who served from the country (which was Zebulun). For more information, visit

Oh, and by the way, I know where all the branches of the Church are in India, but I was wondering, do you know where all the home groups are? I know there is one in Pune. I would love to know.

Duane&Cindy said...

Matt, thanks for the info on Mongolia. Not sure who you are, but if you're using for obtaining branch information in India, it is out of date, big time.

There are 2 missions in India. We are in the New Delhi India mission that includes everything in India above the 20th parallel, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. There are 6 branches in the Delhi area of our mission, no longer any home groups, both have become branches in the past 6 months.

Pune is in the south, the Bangalore India mission, and I do not have information on it.

Elder Stevens said...

Elder and Sister Weeks! It was so great hanging out with them at The MTC. Next time you see them, ask them if they still remember Elder Stevens from the MTC!! =D