Saturday, January 23, 2010

Winter In Chennai Is Three Days Long

Goodies from home were just what we need to bring memories closer. We even got little apple pies in the mail! The days got a little gray and cooler and it felt like a Christmas season. Then we had a heat spell and it was harder to pretend.
We had old time Christmas music from home and because we were so busy with the building we celebrated a little each night. Not twelve days of Christmas but we kept the music going all day and opened a little surprise at night.
The beautiful message of Christmas is a blessing anywhere you are.

Friday, January 22, 2010

They Came To Dinner

It was really noon but we pretended that it was Christmas Eve. We sang carols and read of the Saviors birth from the account in Luke. Then we went around the room and each missionary shared events from their family life that told us about some of their traditions at Christmas time.
We all brought gifts. Each in turn got to open one. The next person opened another gift or he could take yours. You got to pick last if you had been on your mission the longest.

They brought me a flower garland and we had tons of food.

We enjoyed "Christmas morning too"...

And just being together.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

You Had To Have Been There

I fell down some dark stairs and had to get x-rays. When coming out of the clinic we spotted a new French Bakery across the street. They really do a great job. We took many items home. Lucky for us they are clear across town because their prices are very high. We took this picture for our children!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The One Thing That Worked

The owner of the building built our baptismal font. He knew the story of the very tall Indian man who almost knocked over the smaller missionary during the service because our old font was a cramped space. The owner made this one longer to avoid any accidents. He also said it had to be high for proper drainage. Sooooooooooooooooo

We have the longest and...

Tallest font in all of Indian and maybe the world. It was only a week late getting finished and we only had to race over to the old building to the old font just one Sunday. We are still missing the guard rail by these steps but we hold our hands up to protect our new people safely down and over to the dressing rooms.

There is a little office for the owner just behind us and after it is completed the whole roof top will be tiled. For now we just watch out for the little piles of sand and...

We don't mind at all. We have the best view in the city of Chennai.

I Need To Do This

Our construction project must be talked about a little. We are in our new Church site and it is wonderful. It isn't very big but it functions well and gives us more teaching stations, a little library, a real clerk's office, rooms for the senior and junior primary and our first nursery BUT best of all there is room for seventy more people in our chapel. Why would I not want to talk about it until now. The picture above of paint dripping down over the woodwork is a clue. We moved in during October and week after week the building really wasn't finished and would get torn apart again during the week and late Saturday we would try to restore it enough for Sunday morning. Often many chairs were covered with drywall dust and the men's suits suffered. The painters arrived early one Saturday morning after being told they could not be there because we were having an open house. At eight AM

They hurried around slapping paint on every spot that was missed. In their minds if it was touched it was done. The contractor was rarely there and spent most time saying that a thing was done or would be by Sunday. He called the building finished one day by completely ignoring one room and not texturing and painting the walls. One way to finish on time!

After the fact big holes were cut in the walls so they could anchor tack and dry erase boards. Soon after dark spots emerged and the two wall materials began to split apart. Twenty-two boards had to be redone. Little pieces of us body and soul were consumed on this project. The monsoon came and flooded. Carpet was replaced and the carpet that came second was different than the carpet that was there. "Just walk on it for a few days and they will look the same we were told."

We walked for two months and it did not change. Finally it got replace. The scary thing was the carpet layer convinced the contractor and others that this walking would work. This is just the tip of the ice berg and talking any more could bring tears. Did have to tell the carpet story because that one brought tears of laughter.

There was one little moment in the beginning that was wonderful and choice. A few powders (raw colors) were laid out on a board and

One craftsman mixed colors and carefully matched the wood around the little windows. The frames blended nicely with the laminate of the door. The second special moment came after weeks of haggling, begging and digging our heels in about the horrible paint that in one week was showing fingerprints. Then we saw the pale yellow white wash that came under the direct of the contractor disappear under two coats of real paint. This was administered by real painters who were kind and courteous. Victory!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

"Small" Shopping

A friend took me antique shopping when we were in Bangalore for zone conference. The store is up a few steep steps and wide enough for one person to walk. If someone wants out you have to turn sideways. The white display board on the left is the center divider. Two brothers had this shop together but had a fight and cut the original space in half, one side for each. They have to open and close at the same time however because there is only one front door.


The Branch Choir came to our home with songs and a beautiful Christmas message from the scriptures. They asked to come last year, but we had just moved and the owner of our apartment made a big deal about not having church meetings here. Now the owner is secure and we know most of the other families in the building and singing would not offend anyone.

This was the best singing we have heard. Tamil people do a little something different with their voices. You don't want to say off key but you are the only one singing what you are singing.

After their visit we traveled on with them. The bus was full so we took an auto and tried to keep up but the bus was blocks ahead by the time we started. Two people were on motor bikes and kept coming back for us and that worked for a while. On the way we saw a delightful Christmas pageant taking place outside and only about thirty feet from the road. The next time we got lost we were close and the bikers found us and we all traveled down tiny dirt roads through a crowded neighborhood. Good at night when you can't see everything and maybe difficult in the day time when you can.

The people of Tamil Nadu welcome you to their homes with great warmth. No matter how humble their home they are excited and honored for you to visit them. We have been in many homes and many are so small that there is just enough floor space for a family of three to sleep on the floor. Water must be brought in. One man gets up at four in the morning to get water for his family because if he is later the water runs out for the day.

A Christmas choir fits in a big apartment or a tiny palm home with one room. That is the Spirit of Christmas.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

So Far In January, 2010

These are the first to be baptised in this new year. And one new member was experiencing his first opportunity to baptise others.
And here they are, our special friends. You saw them last at a little Christmas gathering at our home.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What A Difference A Year Makes

The pictures of this family now are very similar to the ones we took of them last year when we shared Christmas gifts. A few changes have taken place.

A cousin has come to be a sister in the family and we tried some American style clothes for the girls.

The Barbie dolls have sarees.

We had fruit cocktail instead of so much sugar.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Tuck and Roll

Before we go on with more Christmas we will take time out for a bit of our December trip to Bangalore. We were able to enjoy a great missionary zone conference meeting and do a little shopping for things to take home to grandchildren. Last time we were in Bangalore we met an auto driver that many there used and he took us around this time. Since we had seen him last he had been able to buy his own auto and he had customized it in a way that we had never seen before here. It is reminiscent of what young high school guys did to their cars in the fifties and sixties when they customized the upholstery and headliners in their vehicles.
Of course the American style was subdued, but when we saw this "tuck and roll" came to mind. Sorry about another side ways photo. I even went in first and turned this so have no idea why it came through wrong but am having lots of trouble all of a sudden getting pictures to upload so since these did I just grabbed them with gratitude.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

All Because Of Them

A symbolic tribute was paid to our grandchildren by posting pictures of just three of the twenty-five. Thank you to all of you. During the two years of our mission these children both old and small have not had birthday and Christmas presents from their grandparents. Their doing without has made it possible for many children who have never had a toy to be able to receive a special Christmas surprise.

A Tribute To All The Girls

A tribute to our granddaughters for their kindness to others. We have nine special girls. Posted by Picasa

A Tribute To All The Boys

A tribute to our sixteen grandsons for their caring and generosity.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Surprise

One day when I left on an errand I noticed two little boys sitting on the curb across the street. An hour later when returning I noticed that they were still there. I didn't get right out of the auto but was visiting with the little girl who is my friend and had been riding with me. After a few minutes I noticed that the little boy in the green shirt was standing on the driver side of the auto. He waited for a few minutes and then leaped over the bars on that side of the auto(you can only enter from the left) stood straight and grabbed my hand and shook it as he said "I am so very pleased to meet you." I was surprised!!! It turned out that he and his brother were the cousins of the little girl. She ignored him so he finally made sure that he met the "American lady." Needless to say with all that charm he got on my Christmas list.