Thursday, December 3, 2009

Where did November go?

Wow, November just simply disappeared. I cannot believe how fast the month went. Looking back on it, it isn’t surprising given how busy we were. I’ve already posted about the Smith’s departure, but during the first 2 weeks of November I was as busy as I’ve ever been with humanitarian project administrative work, in particular playing catch up gathering and organizing results data on prior Indian NRT projects in order to get what will probably be the last neonatal resuscitation training project in India approved. It would take pages to describe what has happened with NRT since we’ve been here, but the net is that the overall program has taken off nationally thanks to the Indian Academy of Pediatricians program with the private institution birth attendant doctors and nurses and now the Government of India Health Ministry has launched its own program (with the assistance of IAP and indirectly LDSC) with public institution birth attendant doctors and nurses. And there are active efforts also underway that will address the non-institution birth attendants. It feels so good to be blessed in having been a part of something this significant.

We had a senior missionary couple’s conference in Kathmandu, Nepal, November 18–21st. Nepal is in our mission and there are 2 humanitarian couples serving in Kathmandu. President Jackson decided to take the conference north this year, so we had the opportunity to visit Kathmandu. The church is not officially recognized in Nepal, but there is a very active branch in Kathmandu with over a 100 members and a great record of missionaries that have served and are serving from their branch, just not in Nepal. Elder Tamang who is serving here in Noida is from Nepal and we were able to meet one of the girls he left behind when we delivered a package to her for him.

On leaving the Kathmandu airport arrival area, we were greeted by the Earls and the Borlands who were our hosts for the conference. We stayed at the Borlands on the 2nd and 3rd nights and they were great hosts. The first night we all went up to a hotel/resort in Nagakot in the nearby mountains that surround the valley location of Kathmandu. The hotel was on the top of a ridge at 7,200 feet with an unobstructed view of part of the Himalayan range whose peaks I believe rise to over 27,000 feet. The ride up and the view were an experience of a lifetime. Our rooms were quaint and the whole experience, the dinner, and the conference session we held in the evening was inspiring. But it was cold and no heat so we piled on the thick wool blankets and tried to sleep. Guess the hard rock group is into Nepalese beds as well as cafes. Sister Tanner got up just before daybreak to see the sun come up over the Himalayas, but I could not get my sorry body out of even a hard bed for that. We supposedly had hot water, but it took all of 2 seconds for me to give that idea up. Breakfast was great and then we gathered and headed back down the mountain to the day’s activities in Kathmandu. The Borlands and Earls did a great job of organizing some fun things to do and enjoy. There are 3 posts with a lot pictures that follow on our conference experience.

We got back to Noida from Kathmandu on Saturday evening and the next day I was in church as the new branch president. Fortunately I had a chance to hold a branch presidency meeting the day before we left and things went well Sunday. But there was no rest for us. Sister Tanner was busy preparing for her District YW Leadership meeting on Tuesday and I was trying to get some things together for us to use for a Dating, Courtship, and Temple Marriage workshop we were asked to put on at the Young Single Adult Conference the following Friday-Sunday. Thanks to E/S Eichelberger in Bangalore, the Speed Dating Activity we were also doing did not take a whole lot of preparation. Along with all that, Sister Tanner knocked herself out with a fantastic Thanksgiving Dinner for the Elders, Dr Ryder, and Menesha on Thursday. The story of the “turkey” is one you will have to ask Sister Tanner to tell sometime. It is hilarious as only my dear companion could tell it, but the preparation took most of Wednesday and Thursday morning with continual prayers the power would stay on while the “turkey” was in our “easy bake” oven. As it turned out, Thanksgiving was absolutely wonderful with a fantastic dinner the centerpiece of a great day. As we sat at the table before eating it was a choice experience to introduce our custom of speaking about something we were thankful for in turn. A special moment and I am going to repeat how thankful I am for a companion I strive to be worth of. Check out a couple of videos on the Thanksgiving post.

After Thanksgiving was over, we managed to be ready to leave at 6 AM Friday morning to head to the YSA Conference. It was being held at a resort near the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve in southern Rajasthan. After picking up E/S Weeks in Delhi on the way, we continued south stopping in Jaipur on the way to get copies printed for our workshop handouts and copies of the questions for a Speed Dating Activity we were to put on. Thanks to our knowledgeable driver, Raj, we even got the necessary color copies we needed. The man is a gem and we love traveling with him. We simply had run out of time and had to finish that last step on the way. 9 hours from home, we arrived to find out we had no place to sleep, but that got resolved as the Weeks and the Tanners went up the road to a hotel for the night. The workshops and activity went well and we had a great time. It is wonderful to work with the future of the church and it reinforces our hope to see the spiritual strength of many of them. After an early morning tour in the tiger preserve, followed by breakfast on our return, we put on our last 2 workshop sessions, then packed up and headed north in order to be back for Sunday at the branch. We had 5 members and 3 investigators attend the YSA Conference from our Noida branch. We arrived safely home sometime before 11 PM and collapsed when we hit the bed. 16 of the past 48 hours had been spent traveling in a car and my back is telling me about it. But we’d do it again in a heart beat. As the saying goes, the memories are priceless. There is a separate post with pictures on the YSA conference.

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