Saturday, October 24, 2009

Why Not Laugh?

It's almost 4 weeks in the rear view mirror now, but here is a copy of one of the many articles that appeared in the Hindi language papers in Noida, nothing in the English language papers. Elder Smith and Elder Hawks (l-r) are shown in the police station and Elder Smith is calling the president after getting his mobile back.

The reason I'm putting this in the blog is because after I got a translation of the article, I had to share something humorous. It seems the church, try as we might, can't seem to come out of obscurity even with those trying to disrupt the work.

The article says the young men are with the Seventh Day Advertisers church.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Delhi District Diwali Picnic

On Saturday, we went to Nehru Park in Delhi with the Noida elders and members in 2 cars to join the Delhi branches in a district picnic. It was a beautiful setting and I'm guessing around 200 people were there.

Each branch was asked to prepare and present a "dance". We took it literally and with limited members, put together the Noida Branch version of the hokie pokie. We entered the performing area in a line weaving behind Elder Barrick and doing a version of the rhythm from the Dodge Ball movie, slapping our thighs and raising the right hand in a cobra position and doing "hissss". When we were all in a circle, we went silent which got everyone's attention. After a pause, Sister Tanner started out with "You put your right leg in ..." and we all did the hokie pokie through 3 limbs, then invited everyone to come join us. What you see in the video is after a lot of people came from the audience and joined us. Our branch got an award for the most fun dance and we had a great time doing it.

After the branch presentations, lunch was served, good chicken briyani, and then it was cricket, ultimate Frizbee, or just visiting.

Sister Renu and Elder Weeks from the Delhi 1st Branch in Lajpat Nagar.

Things got filled in a lot more from the time the video was made.

Sister Tanner and a family from Nepal who joined the church here in Delhi. I believe Elder Tamang, in the tie, was one of the elders who taught them.

Dennis Thomas, Elder Puri, Robin

Diwali Lights, Action

After the picnic, we made it home and had a little time to catch our breath before show time. Sister Tanner and I walked down to Mother Dairy to get some things. The elders had come over to use our computer to create some CDs with their collection of pictures on their camera cards, so we left them busy and took the camera. The lights on the video are from that walk. The action captured from the roof of our house was just a fraction of what was visable, literally for 360 degrees around us, but heaviest in the direction I shot the video.

None of the fireworks were part of a sponsored show put on for the public, it was all done by individuals and families living in the area. Enjoy a taste of the Diwali celebration, we certainly did!! There is more to Diwali though than just fireworks, there is also gift giving and Hindu religious activities leading up to it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sunday, October 4th

The elders are restricted to only appointments with people they know, so things have slowed way down for a while. We're hoping when the festival period is over things will get back to what we thought was normal missionary work. If they get any flack on the street now at all, the president has advised taking their badges and ties off. With an exchange, we now have Elder Godi and Elder Tamang working our area for a couple of days. The 2 Caucasian elders are in Mayur Vihar which is actually part of Delhi, but on the Noida side of the river.

Sunday President Jackson came to our branch and after a good testimony meeting we had a 2 hour combined session for Sunday School and Priesthood/Relief Society that he and President Smith conducted. It was great as they led the branch members and investigators there through developing a missionary plan. President Jackson shared a personal experience from Ethiopia where local "Christian" church leaders lobbied the government to get rid of the 2 LDS missionaries there (the only ones in the entire country) because they feared them taking away their members. Well, the elders were eventually kicked out, but the branch woke up to their responsibility to share the gospel and the branch grew, a second branch was opened, and now there is a district and many branches in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We then went through an exercise of what the members needed to do to make something like that happen here. They even got commitments from investigators there to share the message with their friends and invite the elders. We left with a lot of hope for the future.

Sister Tanner did a combined District youth activity (see a previous post) then immediately began a crash 2 week preparation for youth conference. After a couple of weeks of stressful preparation for the youth conference, 2 very exhausting, long 17-18 hour conference days, Sister Tanner crashed Sunday evening. The elders were here and she was sitting visiting with us, but was barely with it and very quiet. When she turned to me and said I need a blessing, I could see something was seriously wrong. I had noticed she was fading and thought she was just exhausted, but when she faced me I was really shocked. We gave her a blessing and then I helped her into bed, and I was concerned. By now she was freezing, could not control her shaking, could barely walk, and was really out of it. I put a comforter and a doubled up wool blanket over her before she could begin to feel any warmth, but the shaking hadn't stopped. After tucking her in, I finally went out and closed the door. Three hours later, she was up, smiling, and my Cindy was back. I was absolutely amazed it was the same person. And I'm sure we all know how that happened.

Looking forward to our General Conference Weekend next Saturday-Sunday. The church sends out DVDs of the proceedings to those areas of the world where the time difference makes it impossible to view real time or on a delayed basis because of the lack of church satellite facilities to receive the broadcast. One nice thing though, Saturday we will watch the Saturday morning session at 10 AM, then eat lunch followed by the Priesthood session at 1 PM. Sunday we will watch the two Sunday sessions beginning at our normal church starting time, but no lunch. I really like the whole weekend arrangement.

New Delhi District Youth Conference - Friday

With a 5:00 AM wake-up, we were ready when our car arrived, loaded up, and made it to the Vasant Vihar building before the buses got there and had time to get ready and coordinate with those who helped with registration, distribution of the conference t-shirts, bus loading, etc. After a 1.5 hour trip, we were at the hotel waiting when the buses arrived. The boys (35) got out and the girls (21) combined into a single bus that continued on to the resort, Fun City. The boys followed once they were checked in.

We had time to put up our sign and get ready for the masses when they came.

The opening session of conference in our combo lunch room, meeting hall.

Young Men's president, Praveen Beesa addressing the group.

After the opening session, it was off to the water park. This is a room with sprinklers above and below. They play loud music and the kids go nuts dancing in the rain.

Lunch time!!

Sonia from our Noida Branch.

Our first group picture.

All of the groups rotated so each attended all of the 4 workshops. One workshop had boys only and girls only sessions. Sister Tanner teaching a workshop, girls only.

Give'm Heaven President Beesa!

President Valleta's workshop.

Ashish presenting his workshop.

A sister from Delhi 1st Branch presenting a workshop. Sorry I did not get a name.

2 of the YW advisers.

Sister Jackson, President Jackson, and Sister Tanner enjoy a moment.

President Jackson serving, literally.

Service with jokes and a smile!!

An great anecdote. Friday night, one of the young men advisers was checking rooms to be sure the boys were all in. He was surprised to find a couple of rooms where the young men were reading their scriptures. He was willing to learn from the young. When he got to his room, he read scriptures with the young men there who were more than willing to follow his lead.

Youth Conference - Saturday

October 3, 2009

Up at 5:30 to get ready for a devotional at 7:00 AM, followed by breakfast, then water fun for an hour. We won't mention when the devotional started other than to say the boys made it from their hotel a bus ride away and were waiting in the conference room for some time before Sister Tanner and some other YW leaders managed to get the girls over from their rooms 100' away. Getting hair and makeup right is a worldwide gender concern and speaking for the guys, we wouldn't want it any other way.

Even the leaders can't resist the water.

A small wave pool and a couple of water slides and young people and watch the fun!

And how late were you up talking last night guys?

The resort required all females using the water facilities to be dressed with synthetic tops and bottoms, no cotton fabric allowed and in swimwear similar to what is shown here.

The grassy area in the background was where the dance was held Friday night.

Another Sinthiya

The youth were divided into 6 groups and each given sheets with copies of an event from the Book of Mormon. They had to prepare and present a skit that told the story and had to identify the book and chapter without referencing their scriptures. Here is Ammon reporting to King Lamoni on cutting off his "servants" arms. That translation must have come from the tin plates.

After a testimony meeting, a last group picture before boarding the buses for home. A couple of memorable comments from the testimony meeting. A young man, "There was fun at this youth conference, but we learned things too. I was planning on a mission, but now I must go." There were several who stated this was the first time they had given their testimony. And one that got a laugh, "After this year, no more seminary, no youth conference, we are becoming adults, no fun anymore."

Three movie clips from the conference. Sorry about the dark dance clips, but you can see, even the backflips by Arpit, if you left click on the image to go full screen and look at it with a good angle, on a laptop anyway. We tried dancing a little swing to the music and the grass was damp and it was a miralce we stayed upright after the first push back, but the youth loved it. After that, Sister Tanner was on her own. Check it out.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Language Lesson and Other Doings

The articles continue in the papers, but one yesterday actually gave me a chuckle. The article, in Hindi, had a picture of the elders taken at the police station with the usual lies about their activities, but instead of referring to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the reporter wrote, "The Seventh Advertiser ..." apparently confusing us with the Seventh-Day Adventists who also had one their members visiting from the states verbally harrassed on the street today.

Robin came over Wednesday evening to go with us to Seminary/Institute and was disturbed by what had happened to the elders and also concerned that the 2 missionaries were being transferred to Delhi and no one was going to replace them. I can understand the feeling since Robin has worked hard accompanying the elders and always welcoming the new ones when transfers occurred. In some ways, the feelings could almost touch on abandonment, but Robin is strong and will survive.

As we, Robin, Sister Tanner, and I, were riding to the church in an auto for Seminary/Institute class, we were talking. During the conversation, I put a hand on Robin’s shoulder and told him sincerely that he was a great guy. His response surprised me as he answered, with what I thought was a trace of a grin, that he was not a “great guy”. “Of course you are Robin”, I repeated, and I turned to Sister Tanner and asked her if she agreed with me. “You are a great, great guy, Robin”, she added. “No, I am not” Robin stated adamantly and then with a big smile, he added, “A ‘guy’ is cow in Hindi”. We had a good laugh over that one as I changed guy to young man and told him again.

Sister Tanner has put a mountain of effort into preparing for Youth Conference and we head out tomorrow morning at 6 AM. The elders came down tonight and the power was off over 5 hours, but thank heavens for the inverter that kept a couple of lights on and a fan going. Sister Tanner whipped up some great soup on the propane gas stove so the power didn't matter and the elders enjoyed just being here. They're going a little stir crazy being confined to their apartment. Tomorrow is zone conference and they'll find out what the new guidelines will be for doing the work. We'll find out when we get back Saturday evening. Since Sister Tanner has assigned me the job of conference photographer, expect to see a picture post on it.