Monday, April 29, 2013

And Now There Are 8...

We have 4 American elders going home this week.  Two of them had parents that came to pick them up to see some sites in Delhi and the Taj Mahal.  The picture shows their backs. I was trying to show their white shirts which are far from white (except for the one on the far left who saved a new shirt to go home in).  You can see the ingrained dirt from their backpacks and the yellow-ness of the shirts from the multiple washing here (in real life they look a lot worse than this picture)

With these elders going home, we will be down to 8 US missionaries, with no new ones scheduled to arrive.  With visa restrictions, we are noticing an increased delay in getting new missionaries from anywhere other than India (with an occasional one from Nepal).   There are a couple of missionaries that were "temporarily" assigned to Colorado in September, that we hope will be able to come here the last year of their missions, but it's not for certain.  We're even seeing delays for couples.  Three couples have been called to come to New Delhi - all from Canada.  One couple is temporarily serving in Canada (since December), one was permanently reassigned to Sri Lanka and the third is still awaiting word from the Consulate.  So at present, we have us in the office, a couple from Humble (Elder and Sister Black) serving as Public Affairs missionaries, and one Indian couple serving for 6 months from Hyderabad.  We seem to have some luck getting couples from Houston, so if anyone from there wants to have a great time (and see one of the 8 wonders of the world), let me know and I'll put in a good word for you to our mission president.     

PS - Sister Stevens is looking for a couple with good office skills to replace us.  I'll take two warm bodies - we can train you. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Christmas in April

Angela ready to ice some sugar cookies
Shortly after Christmas, Angela was asked to plan an activity for the Relief Society sisters about Christmas traditions.  They had the activity on Saturday.  Angela did a lot of preparation and cooking.  The activity was a huge success - by the end about 28 sisters were there.  Angela came in a Christmas-y dress and made banana bread, no bake oatmeal cookies, cornflake and marshmellow "christmas wreaths" and lots of sugar cookies that were decorated by the women who attended.  She also put together a "12 Days of Christmas" book that included stories of Christmas and a Family Home Evening lesson that taught about the symbols of Christmas.  They also played "pin the star on the Christmas Tree" (they love games here), and each received a Christmas cookie cutter (thanks Julie for finding and sending these).  They also watched Mr. Kruger's Christmas courtesy of You Tube.  And how could we have a Christmas activity and not sing the Twelve Days of Christmas, with the associated gestures (somehow I got to lead this).  As Angela always says "a good time was had by all..."


RS sisters learning about Christmas traditions

Book and FHE activity Sister Stevens prepared

And the winner is.... 


Thursday, April 18, 2013

It's Election Time

From what we hear from the locals, you can tell when elections are coming, because they start paving the roads.  About a month ago, we were headed to Church and sure enough, our perfectly paved road was half repaved.  They don't close the road, or use construction workers to help control the traffic.  They just roll down the road and let all the cars, auto rickshaws, bikes and pedestrians fend for themselves.  Over the last several weeks, they finished our road, with a lot of very late night banging, using antiquated equipment and producing lots of noxious tar and diesel smells.  I thought you'd enjoy some pictures.   

Construction occurs day and night

"Modern" India construction equipment
Night workcrews set up temporary
shelters on the sidewalk and sleep
during the day

At intersections, the tar roads are topped
with another layer of  mixed tar with
rocks embedded in them to "strengthen" them


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Our First Earthquake

Yesterday, I was working on my Institute (Bible Study) lesson at the desk at home, when I noticed the chair start to wobble.   The chair is not very good and little wooden braces were added some time ago to make it stronger.  I got up, checked the chair, sat back down.  It was still wobbling.  I got back up went to the window, didn't see anything.  So I stopped working on my lesson, got out my screwdriver and tighten all the screws on the braces of the chair, then sat down again and there was no wobbling - I fixed the problem.  Angela came home from the office about 30 minutes later and asked me if I felt the earthquake.  From the news we learned that a 7.8 magnitude earthquake occurred in Iran close to the Pakistan border and was felt all the way here in New Delhi.  Next time I'll know it's not the chair.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Holi War

Colored ink added to water, adds a special touch
to the normal water fight
Holi is one of about 2 dozen religious holidays celebrated in India.  It's a Hindu holiday that has a lot of religious mythology associated with it, but I'll leave it to you to learn more on Wikipedia.  In general, Holi celebrates the beginning of spring's abundant colors and saying farewell to winter.  Quoting Wiki "during this event, participants hold a bonfire, throw colored powder at each other and celebrate wildly."  That statement is so true.  If you go out during the day, you run the risk of perfect strangers throwing colored water or dry paint at you.  In the night, it's not safe to be out because of all night partying.

Anil, the mission driver, taking a header.  Somehow he
got turned around and went in feet firs
If you know anything about boys, this sounds like a perfect holiday - sort of like extreme paintball.  So continuing a tradition started last year when President Jackson was here, the mission organized an activity so the missionaries could throw paint at each other and shoot each other with ink-stained water.  Sister Stevens and I opted out, but got some great pictures from our apartment balcony overlooking the church lot that use to be "the hole" (that has since been filled up and fenced).  The paint for the most part washes off, but can stay on the skin for up to a week.  The clothes are goners. 

Elders throwing the dry paint powder

Sister Sackley, the Mission President's wife
was a prime target for most of the missionaries

Our Mission President, - just one of the boys