Saturday, July 18, 2009
In the evening, the elders, some of our members, and a number of investigators met at the church, then walked over to same park we had done our service project at. It wasn't as clean as we left it, but not as bad as I expected either. Today's objective was to play a cricket match. We went with them to take pictures and support the activity, and I'll admit, I had some fleeting fantasies of playing too. But it did not take long for the 50 year age difference and reality to register. We're becoming educated on cricket which is quite a popular sport here among the young men and they have made changes to the way it is played to avoid the old day+ long matches, etc. I've also gained a lot of respect for both the bowlers (pitchers) and the batters. When you have a bowler who can send the ball to you on the bounce, with action, batting becomes a challenge. We enjoyed watching them play 2 matches. The first was a blow out, but the second was very closely contested, the competitive juices were really flowing, but all remained gentlemen. After the second cricket match, Elder Swansborough, our Aussie elder, convinced them to try playing rugby with an American football.
Nice form Robin, but what's that thing behind the bat by your right foot?
Elders Shepherd, Schade, Erekson, and Barrick show their style ...
Don't let the tree fall Elder! We attracted a crowd again, some in the back along the wall, and many more in the park.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Last Sunday, Dennis Thomas was baptized. He is a young man that has consistently been attending church for some time, including our Wednesday branch activity nights. It is so good to see someone come into the church exhibiting commitment along with a testimony and gospel knowledge. I believe he has a degree in marine engineering, but has been working for some time as a Java developer. For the non-IT types, that means he is writing software programs.
Today, we had a baptismal service after church and two more wonderful people became members of our little branch, although I do not know if I can keep referring to it as little when we had 58 people in Sacrament meeting today. A lot of those attending were visitors, but it is always nice to have a full house. Ironically, attendance seems to go up when we have a speaker from the District Council. This speaker had a special connection to us. It was Brother John, the District Sunday School President, who was another of the 4 elders that Sister Tanner’s parents taught preparatory to their missions back in 1985. They were the first group of Indian elders to serve in their home country.
The first baptism, Suman, is a young woman, remember who is writing this, that spent 13 years as a Catholic nun. She had a physically and emotionally hard time with it as her order was in a remote area where they had to raise their own food and lived an essentially self sufficient life style. It was extremely hard for Suman, who is a tiny person, and she was constantly sick. Her leader finally suggested that she could continue where she was and continue to be sick or return to Delhi. Suman choose the later and left the order. It was shortly after that she met the elders. She already bears testimony of living the Word of Wisdom as an affliction she has had since her youth cleared up when she stopped drinking tea. We had the pleasure of joining the elders in teaching 2 lessons with Suman. I’ll never forget the second lesson when she bore a very strong testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon with tears in her eyes and said how much she loved reading it and how consistent it was with the Bible. It was really an enjoyable experience teaching someone who had gospel knowledge, had faith in Jesus Christ, studied, and kept commitments. She is already a great addition to our Noida Branch Relief Society.
The second person to be baptized is the father, Ravindra, of a family whose initial contact with the elders and the church goes back quite some time. He has 2 young boys and I’m guessing they’re 3 and 1. His wife does not speak English, so the elders cannot teach her, but they come to church together as a family, the first young family in our branch. His wife is a very patient and sweet person, but the 3 hour block was a challenge for the young boys and prompted Sister Tanner to go on a quiet toy buying trip. We now have an area at the back of the main meeting room with a plastic basket of things to keep young people occupied and it has worked for them and for some other young ones that have attended.