Monday, March 30, 2009

Where We Crowd In And Go To Church

The front of the chapel.

Imagine this hall at the end of Church when 100 plus people are gathered and trying to visit. And they came from the Chapel that now has three more rows added to the front so you run the risk of having to tip your head way back to look up into the face of the speaker.
We inherited all the pretty woodwork from a start up company who failed before they started up. A new location would have to have "simplicity" as its theme.
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Upstairs Where We Go To Church

Check Spelling
Stepping out of the landing we enter the Church. There is a classroom on the left and then offices.

Next to the elevator right in the landing is the font.

Back in the Church and down the hall past the offices is the woman's room for the Relief Society.
Typical classroom. There are three on the right of the hall.
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Where We Go To Church

Next should be our excursion to Sri Lanka but thought we had better show you where we go to Church because. . . when we got here in October the average attendance was 50 or so. Since the first of the year we have been blooming. The little chapel is designed for 70 and that is with not much room for your feet. Last Sunday we squeezed in 82. When we got to English class on Saturday a recent convert was teaching four of his friends and then they came into English. The four could not come again to Church the next morning because it was too far to come so soon again, but the same man brought another group of his friends and there were about 25 investigators there wno wanted to learn about Jesus Christ. We have a small overflow room with a window that lets us seat enough more to come up to about a 100.
We share sign space with Titan Eye. Up one fight of stairs is what they call here the first floor. Europe does this same numbering too. This is a high class building elevator all but so far we always take the stairs and keep our heart rates up.
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Sunday, March 29, 2009

This Night Train Stopped For The Mail All The Way Home!

When you all sleep together you just take your coat off and you are ready for bed. We had six bunks together three high on the forward facing side and three moving backwards. It really didn't matter which one you got because the train swayed so much side to side that you didn't notice anything else.
In just a minute we are all going to have to duck so we can pull the bunks down. This is the last time to enjoy sitting straight until 4:30 AM when we reach Chennai.

Besides the six of us there were two strangers across the aisle. If you can believe this no one snored. So was it a good trip? As one who was awake most of the night I am probably the best judge. However, before this trip I had not heard about the bugs and the rats. The noise of the wheels hid any scurry sounds so we will never know for sure. And except for the man in a white Hindu suit who tried to climb in my bunk on his way back from the bathroom we didn't see a single intruder.
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Homeward Bound

Upper Class Waiting Room just means that you stand right THERE on the platform.
For many of us this is our first night train experience.
They provide bedding. I brought my own sheets!
We may be apprehensive about the thinness of the padding on the seats but it seems better that walking.
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We Were In Bangalore Less Than 24 Hours

Some missionaries from other cities in southern India.
Leaving after a day of wonderful training and some beautiful stories and testimonies.
Our train does not leave until 9:30 at night so there is plenty of time for visiting and dinner at a new French restaurant.
The cooking was authentic and we were not disappointed.
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The Bangalore Conference

What does it take to make an outstanding conference?
A special leader from Salt Lake.
An uplifting meeting place.
Leader and friends all of one mind!
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Monday, March 23, 2009

Bangalore Conference And On The Train

When you board a train you never know what will happen but if you have been on a train twice you know that you are stepping up to an adventure. For one of us it has only been a handful of rides: From the OC to the San Diego Zoo with my school class when I was young - every minute fun, returning from Utah where I worked in Zions Park for the summer -funny, during a lay over in LA a cute cop tried to ask me for a date and he turned out to be the brother of my cousin's wife, across country right after we were married on our way to New York and Europe - the porter keep winking at the new honeymoon couple, and years later when traveling in Europe again -I impressed my husband by running for a moving train and leaping aboard with a suitcase in each hand and making it!! Loved the train experience!
We had read some things about trains in India but did not know it all.

We learned that day that a suitcase is not absolutely necessary for your possessions.

And also that you had better hold your mother's hand because one minute you are in an open area and the next everyone is crowding around heading for the door of the train. We got on and looked back and we were the only one, our companion was missing.

Moving a little forward we saw through a window that he was standing on a table and waving. Finally figured he had waited to watch for and wave on the two of our group who were late. Love my companion, always a leader even when he is last.

I read one person's account that on the train they always found someone in their seat when they got to it. 100% true, but with shuffle and juggling seven people moved until everyone was sitting by their wife which is usually the reason for their being in your seat in the first place. (Note: To a future train traveler in India don't just run off to the intruders seat because another person will be in his seat.)

So seated and actually comfortable, even little shelf for your feet, we soon started our six hour journey what we didn't know then is it was five and a half hours. The journey was interesting all the way. Soon vendors came down the aisle calling names of food on their trays or in big covered pots that they carried. Knowing that we would be in a meeting ALL day long the next day we passed. At about five hours they came through with omelets which we had heard were delicious but by now it was really too late to eat and get a good nights sleep. The next man sold packaged cookies so we did have a bedtime snack.

We had stopped many, many, times on the way so when we stopped again there we no thought that this could be different. A half hour later told us that it was different but we only knew it in our minds because no porter ever came through the whole trip after the tickets had been checked and one didn't come now. Cell phones were out with the Indian people but who were WE going to call? Finally a young Indian mother from Australia leaned forward and in beautiful King's English gave us the whole story that she had learned from a relative on the phone. It turned out the train in front of us had derailed and been across the tracks for two hours before we caught up to it. We waited another half hour then called Bangalore and told them we were getting off and trying to find other transportation.

After walking a few blocks, quite a few, we came to a crossing and headed into a small town. There were autos but no one wanted to take us. Finally there was a little give and we loaded four missionaries in an auto and it took off. That was a catalyst and another auto driver caved and loaded up and the miracle of two taxi pulling up let us load the rest - eighteen and all.

We arrived safely at the office and then were dispersed to homes of other couples to spend the night, now a shorter night and even as we were laying our heads on the pillows a knock came and we were told that in the morning the meeting would start an hour earlier than the original plan. The bed was very comfortable!

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Shuffel Off To Buffalo

Buffalo, that's in New York. If this is India it must be Bangalore. Here we go off on our out of town missionary conference. This is for all ages and in two days after we return we will go on a couples conference - you guessed it - out of town. All the fun in the same week.
Our first train ride in India. Here is the station in all of it's glory - Madras Central. Something old which is hard to find in a fast growing city. It is a brick building but many years ago it got painted. Someone finally came up with the idea to bring back the past and at least it is restored to brick red through the magic of paint

Inside it is very basic, but there are a few marble pillars echoing grandeur from days of colonial occupation. Somehow elegant can never trump freedom.
Many of us were more than on time. A couple were right on time and a couple late. We are a microcosm of the world.
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Friday, March 20, 2009

How Many People Does It Take?

If you are buying a refrigerator you definitely need lots of help.

Five will be perfect. Count the legs. You would think it important to get the right refrigerator. The perfect fit for you,

But you know when you have a suit made fit is high on your consideration list. So why now are there only two helpers?
Some left to work in the appliance store so you will be sure to have six people helping you buy an iron. In reality there were nine, but some got away before the photo was taken.
India does an amazing job being sure that lots of people have a job. Hope they can maintain it through this world economy crunch. It is delightful to have so much help. Someone in the large group around you will know the answer to any question you might have.
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Thursday, March 19, 2009

All Of This In One Day

We started at seven in the morning and hoped to be back in town by seven in the evening so the missionaries could email their families - a must on every Wednesday evening. So moving through the day when we would have liked to sit under a shady decorated tree in the temple courtyard, we moved on.
These temples had stories to tell but on we went on...
Our guide for the carved hill took just 45 minutes so we could hear the whole history before we went on AND then we discovered that we were right on schedule so...
One of us stayed in the bus and finished back editorials from The Hindu while all the rest saw ______ and crocodiles. You notice that there is one picture and one name that didn't make it into this blog. (He whose name we don't speak while we are in India hoping that we will never see one. Please, please don't put it in the comments!)
So after the reptiles we moved on and in the dark we arrived back in Chennai at the peak traffic moment and two by two dropped the missionaries off at their requested corners. Looking across the wide multi laned streets, remembering there are no lanes in India, I felt like a mother sending her child on a round the world trip. It felt like they were ten years old and I was abandoning them. Instead they are "twentish", accomplished and responsible. Sure enough by nine that night we received calls that all were in and all had emailed their parents. Way to go men!
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