Today is our official HUMP Day. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, it marks the middle of our mission based on the day we left. So starting tomorrow, we "officially" have less time to go than we have served. This is really only important for those that are anxious to go home and we're not. We are still enjoying all aspects of our mission service (although I am having a hard time getting excited about compiling the 2012 mission history that needs to be submitted next month). We didn't do anything special - just another day in the office - literally...
Monday, February 11, 2013
It has been very interesting to watch as they remodel the 4 story building that will be used as the church, mission office and mission home. When constructing walls, there are no studs and sheet rock. All interior walls are brick and then covered with a concrete "mud". With no hollow walls like in the US, any wiring and plumbing that is not part of the original construction is either run on top of the wall or the wall is chipped away to put it in. In this building, the exterior basement walls were also just bricks with no exterior coating, so workers hand dug down 10 feet all around the entire building so they could coat the wall with a rubber/concrete mix, so the basement would not leak. When they were digging out around the basement, all the dirt was carried out in buckets. Fascinating to watch, but extremely labor intensive and very hard work. I'm not sure what the workers make but it's probably $2-3 US equivalent for 10-12 hours a day - and they're happy to have the work.
|Adding Plumbing between floors|
|Trench around the building|
|New Classrooms (bad Iphone shot)|
Posted by Elder and Sister Stevens at 7:09 PM
About 2 weeks ago, a man came in to see President Sackley to invite him to the Annual Kanwal Public School program. I remember thinking at the time (while President Sackley was being so gracious and said that he would be there), that I was glad it was him and not me. I should have known that that kind of thinking almost guaranteed that I would be going. Sure enough, President Sackley had to make an unexpected trip to Pakistan the weekend of the event and he asked me to "fill in" for him. It was on a Sunday, so Angela quickly bowed out because she didn't want to run the risk of not getting back to teach her Sunday School lesson (that was convenient), so I went by myself. When I arrived I was given the royal treatment. They marked my forehead with paint, gave me a bouquet of flowers and invited me to sit on the first few rows for the dignitaries (right in front of these huge speakers).
|Very colorful outfits. Most presentations were students|
from kindergarten to 8th grade
|Yes, this is a man.|
Posted by Elder and Sister Stevens at 6:01 PM
Friday, February 1, 2013
|Admission ticket - Rs50 (about $1)|
My "extensive" knowledge of this event comes from Wikipedia, which seems to be fairly accurate. "The Beating Retreat in India officially denotes the end of Republic Day festivities. It is conducted on the evening of January 29, the third day after the Republic Day. It is performed by the bands of the three wings of the military, the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force." The event is held close to the President's Palace. It reminded me of going to high school band competitions when Bryan was in the band, although the formations were not nearly as complicated as what HS bands do today in the US. Each band took it's turn playing familar Indian songs (not familiar to us, but still good). The most surprising song was the Christian hymn, "Abide with Me" played by all the bands combined at the end of the event. Especially when you consider India is predominately Hindu. From Wikipedia - "A regular feature of this pageant is the last tune played before the Retreat, when the National Flag is lowered. It is the famous Christian Hymn written by Henry Francis Lyte, Abide With Me set to music by W. M. Monk and one of Mahatma Gandhi's personal hymns, has remain part of the ceremony over the years when many other foreign tunes were phased out to make way for Indian tunes, especially during the 2011 ceremony."
|Camels at the Beating Retreat|
until at the end of the ceremony when they walked off. I found this close-up picture of them.
To sum up this "exciting" blog post, I quote from the local newpaper - ''Beating Retreat'' marks a centuries old military tradition, when the troops ceased fighting, sheathed their arms and withdrew from the battlefield and returned to the camps at sunset at the sounding of the Retreat. Colours and Standards are cased and flags lowered. The ceremony creates a nostalgia for the times gone by. It sounds like this writer misses the days of good old-fashion war...
Posted by Elder and Sister Stevens at 4:39 PM
About a week ago, Arjun Radhakrishnan finally left for the Mission Training Center (MTC). We thought this day would never come. We have been working with Arjun since October to get him on his mission. He is among the last to go that submitted their mission papers in May before they had a passport. As a result he got his mission call to enter the MTC on December 15 before he had applied for his passport. (we now require all prospective missionaries to have their passports BEFORE they submit their mission papers). Every week we would encourage him to apply for his passport, and it seemed every week it was the same story - essentially no progress. First he needed to get a birth certificate and that took several weeks. Every time he saw me, he told me his birth certificate was coming and asked when he would enter the MTC, and each time I told him he needed a passport. Finally he got the certificate and applied for his passport, and each time he saw me, he asked when he would enter the MTC. To make a long story short, he finally got his passport and we got a new MTC date for him of January 26. Of all the missionaries that have left from New Delhi recently, I think he was the most excited. I know he will be a great missionary in the India Bangalore Mission (the other India mission in the south).
Posted by Elder and Sister Stevens at 2:37 PM