Friday, July 31, 2009, the District elders organized a ‘workshop’ at the main entrance to a housing area in Sector 53. Elders Swanborough and Erekson had worked hard to get permission from the RWA (Residents Welfare Association) president to put this on. Its success or failure would determine whether they could get in to teach people in the housing area. They would not be allowed to knock on doors or cruise the area contacting under any circumstances. The activity would run from 5-8 PM and Sister Tanner and I and Robin were recruited to help.
Sister Tanner had an English lesson with Gauri Verma in the afternoon and her father, Anil, and Cousin Sonu came with her. We had a fun little birthday party before the lesson. It was Anil’s birthday and they brought their own cake which a chocolate lover would have died for. We had been invited to go with them to dinner at their club and we agreed we would do that after our commitment with the elders was over. Anil volunteered to drive us down and come pick us up. What a deal!
We arrived on time at 5 PM and there was a table set up just inside the entrance with all of the standard English pamphlets and a couple of them in Hindi. They had a TV and DVD player set up in a room close by to show Man’s Search for Happiness and other church videos. We manned the table and the elders went out to invite people over. The first hour was fairly slow, but then things picked up and the last 2 hours were non-stop. Our objective was to get people to agree to have the elders come to their flat to share more information. And that would be done by giving us their name and contact information on a slip of paper we had available. Robin is such a natural at contacting and talking to people, we sure hope he is able to somehow work things out to go on a mission. He would be fantastic and what a future leader when he returned. He got the first 2 contacts. Sister Tanner is a wonder when it comes to the ladies here. They love her and would come to the table when they saw her smile.
After a while you forget the heat, sweat, and flies that can’t resist your ears, and just get lost in meeting people and the conversation. There were a total of 17 contacts obtained - a very successful event. Once everything was packed up, we headed off with Anil and his family who had returned to pick us up. We were able to freshen up at the club and enjoyed dinner and their company. When we finally got home, we found a large Nestle gift package leaning against our door. It was an anonymous thank you from the District missionaries. We love our elders!
Sunday, August 02, 2009, was another milestone day for our little Noida Branch. From meeting last year as a group for 2 hours, Sacrament meeting and Sunday School, to being a branch with the full 3 hour block was a significant change, and challenge. Talk to the Smith children who went from a 1 to a 2 hour Primary, or maybe Sister Smith would be a better source. Today’s change was more subtle, but it merits being noted as a milestone. For the first time in Noida history, we had opening exercises in Priesthood meeting and then separated to our quorums, well, actually just separated those under 18 from the rest, but it was a separation none the less.
Last Sunday, one of our new members, Dennis, was called as the Young Men’s President with Ben Smith as his 1st counselor, and they were both ready to go today. Ben is no longer the Lone Ranger in the Young Men as he has been joined by Sourap and Kunal, brothers, and our investigator Arpit who yearns to be baptized, but cannot due to a family situation that prevents it. It was great to see the young men go to their own room and have a lesson. Some reading this might be wondering about our mental state going on about a separation, but we take great satisfaction in noting the little signs of growth as they occur. Think of parents going on about the first step of a child. Sister Tanner and I are grateful to see any and all steps in Noida of whatever size or means.
I’ll close the post with this note. Johnny and Mena Peter were confirmed today in Sacrament meeting, but that is only half the story. Johnny had been suffering chest pains yesterday and had been taken to the hospital, had not been released, and was being kept under observation. He checked himself out early this morning because he said he had to go to church. He did not want to miss being confirmed today.