Friday, May 29, 2009

Weddings or Baptisms

I was going to tell you what we have learned about weddings but I am getting so far behind in baptisms and our camera broke , actually we brought two and both have problems at the same time so there are many pictures of these important moments missing. Both cameras have batteries problems. The one uses rechargeable batteries and I was prepared with five and none will recharge. The other has the batteries that let you lick the ends and get one more picture so I have this moment saved. This one is important because there is a little subtle symbolism represented. The young man on the right was baptised several weeks ago. His shirt of choice then was pink. Notice the white shirt and tie. This day his older brother was baptised. With more knowledge and an increase of the spirit comes outward manifestation of the obedience of the soul.

This is us on the south side of the city. The other couple here spend part of the week at an orphanage and now they will be there three Sundays a month to help with primary. Since the first of the month I have been helping with the primary on the north side and we come to both meetings as much as we can. They are both held at the same time. Now we will have to get even more inventive to be able to cover both sides of the city on the same day. (Interesting note: The list of required clothes for missionary sisters states that we are not to wear the local dress. However, most visiting woman here do and missionary sisters who work with children in classroom settings find the style you see here very practical and so they have adopted this loose pant and long over blouse that is the next step from sarees here in India.

Bottom line, lots of weddings in May and even more baptisms. The young man in the south of the city and five here last Sunday in the north - a young man and a family of four.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

May Seems to be a Wedding Month In India

I took these pictures a few months ago when we were in the middle of outfitting all the apartments we leased. Since all of a sudden we are on the wedding circuit, two this week, for a total of three in May, it seemed like a good time to remember the refrigerators. Wouldn't you like to get a new refrigerator for a wedding present? These are just a few of the colors available. Why so much color? Not really sure, but it could be because in almost all homes the kitchens are very, very small and the space problem is solved by putting the refrigerator in the living room.

This pink one caught my eye the first time we were in the appliance store. It's not because I have never grown out of the little girl in the pink princess dress stage. It's because the pink on this refrigerator is covered in charming little polka dots and who at any age can resist a polka dot.
By the way we had to be practical and settle for a sedate gray. Try to visualize seven gray refrigerators!
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

They race through the city all night barking and looking for food. In the day they sleep knocked out by fatigue and the heat of the sidewalks.

If they move it's for just a glance at a strange guy. India is a hard life for people what would it be to lead a dog's life?
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Monday, May 18, 2009

Dedicated To Democracy

Officials tramped out into rice paddies with voting cards to educate the public on how to mark them. Machines were brought into remote areas so that all who desired could cast their ballot. The educated or the uneducated, the villager or the recent city dweller all are important to India.

With fancy jewelry this voter is both seen and heard.

In India some like to cover up and that is okay too. If you are registered you can vote.

So now the voting is over. It started the first part of April and area by area the voting moved forward. The exit polls are not refined in India and there are certain rules of what and when things can be said. The outcome was that even the winning party was surprised at how well they did. Unfortunately the losing party was surprised at how poorly they did.

They voted in Chennai on Wednesday and then the polls were closed and the counting began.
As for us we stayed out of it. All missionaries were quarantined on the day of the announcement of the final tally. Seeing a country of 1.1 billion go to the polls is a unique experience. Our city was orderly during the process. It is just on announcement day that some like to cause a bit of a ruckus and it's safer to stay off the streets.

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The ink mark on your finger shows that you have voted. Did someone offer you coconuts at discount or did you give your vote out of the convictions of your heart? Candidates had their hotel rooms ransacked over reports of piles of money to be given out to voters. Did the police find money there? Sometimes. Sarees were another popular give away item. Raids turned up stacks and stacks of colorful sarees. Bribing is an age old campaigning technique in India.

To get in touch with the common man this candidate took a rickshaw ride through the streets of Chennai. I am no political annalist but for optimum, positive body language I would get rid of the folded arms and try an old fashion wave and smile.

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Voting Dangers

The newspaper showed a polling place where there was minor violence. Our city voted last and there was not this kind of trouble. Many areas suffered kidnappings, murder and all manner of invasion of their right to vote.

The Indian government went to great expense to protect voters by bringing in special troops. Here women line up for their turn in the voting booth as a guard stands at the door. A little artistic touch as we view the scene past the trigger of the solder's rifle.

Voting is serious business in the world's biggest democracy.
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Monsoon ? ? ?

In the west part of India you can expect monsoon conditions. They actually have two monsoon "attacks" a year. The paper next morning called ours a "sharp shower" - we said sharper than a serpents tooth. It started with amazing flashes of lighting and then thunder like only summer air can roll it. When we heard the first rumble we thought it was celebration for the elections.

We watched the flashing sky and endured the noise for awhile then knowing the human mind can only take so much drama went back to out reading and studying. All of a sudden there was no mistaking the fresh, sweet smell of rain in the air. It was steady for ten minutes and then the faucet turned and the water stopped dropping and just poured out of the sky. Only an inch they said the next day. Okay, but it all came quickly.

One bedroom window is warped and the catch at the bottom won't slide into place. There is a tiny gap about three inches high and less than a quarter of an inch wide. There was so much force that even sideways and tucked back in, the gap let in enough water to travel ten feet along the floor and turn to soak a thick, six foot rug. What will the real monsoon bring?
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Sunday, May 10, 2009

We All What To Be Sally

Baby Mac
Emilia, We all love to dress up in Grandma Sally's lovely red coat that she left us when she went to Heaven.
We love her stories of when she was a school girl. The outcome of it all is that she acquired a marvelous education. She was an inspiration to her children, those who married into the family and to this day all of her grandchildren and great grandchildren. A favorite thing was that the English department of one high school always called on her to settled disputes over the correct usage of certain words in the English language. Happy Mother's Day dear Sally.
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I Got Mail

These are the people who wrote me such beautiful, funny, spiritual, tender and poignant letters for Mother's Day. Here they are the oldest just back from a mission.
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Most of my mother's young life was spent living in the back room of the family store, but there were many times when the family was without a business and they had no place to live. She told me that she was in the second grade before she knew that people had furniture. She was use to sitting down to dinner on a wooden box at a table that was used in the daytime to make dough for donuts. She was invited once to a friends house after school and was introduced to lamps and couches with end tables adorned with lace and nick knacks. This was in Salt Lake City a good place to live. Later the family left to start over and lived in downtown Los Angeles, California not such a good place to live.

When High School started my mother was invited to move to Santa Ana, California and live with a cousin of her mother's. In that home she helped with two young children but there was lots of time for school, Church and learning the gospel and driving. She was taught and then immediately given a car to drive in the evening. Well one lesson went over her head and she never learned to park the car. All was well however, because her girl friend was a good driver and would park the car in the driveway and then walk home. One night her friend was too tired to walk and my mother had to go it alone. She tried for the driveway but ended up on the front lawn. The next morning she refused to speak and so no one knew she couldn't park and she got to keep driving. Getting your drivers licence was a lot easier in those olden days.

This year my children gave me the Mother's Day gift of writing memories from their younger years and relating things that were important to them. A recurring theme was the gift of having lots of time just to enjoy being young. My mother gave this to us too. Hours were spent in the big front yard of our little house in southern Utah. She taught us to appreciate roses as their perfume filled the hot summer days. The yard was full of trees that we could climb or just sit under and enjoy being cooled. There were few cars so we could play outside the green hedge and dip our feet in the irrigation water. Mother would always leave her work when we called and tell us a magical story then help us create a new game to play. Someone asked me how I knew so many games to play with young children and I answered because my mother played with us.
I don't know the process but even though my mother is in Heaven she has let me know that she and my father are championing us on our journey through this mission in India. How blessed I am to be born of this noble woman.Posted by Picasa

Sunday, May 3, 2009

It's A Miracle

Its the end of Sunday and this picture seems appropriate and is the only one available since the miracle happened in Church and pictures during the meeting would not be appropriate.

When you are in one place for six months you know a lot of people. When you are the only white guys on the street you are not a celebrity but a rarity and people want to know you. Remind me if too much time passes and I haven't remembered to post for you what Indian babies think of us.

Anyway we know a lot of people who are members of the Church and just as many, no more who aren't. Both sets were in Church today. When we came in October the average attendance was fifty. Last week we had ninety-two and we were nervous that we could get to one hundred and not fit. We had one hundred and twelve and the hallway was lined with chairs.

When you know a lot of people all of a sudden you know a lot about them. Looking around the room in testimony meeting for sacrament today we saw faces that represented miracle after miracle. They represented great loss and suffering but through showing faith new strength and success is coming to them. Church was an especially nice place to be today.

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Saturday, May 2, 2009

S U R P R I S E ! ! !

A young friend came by and we surprised her and her parents with a birthday party. We started with a game of Skip BO and she won.
Then came a pretty smile to go with her new birthday dress.
And we ended with cake and presents.
Happy, Happy Birthday Steffie! ! !
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