Friday, June 14, 2013

District Conference

This past weekend we had District Conference.  For those not familiar with our meetings, District or Stake Conference is when all the congregations in a geographic area (they are called branches and wards) meet together to be instructed by our local leaders.  In New Delhi, because of the cost of land and construction, we don't have a building where all the members of the district could attend, so we rented a building for the day.  The building is generally located in the center of the district to minimize travel and cost for the members.  Even with this, most of the time the district hires buses because members are generally too poor to pay for transportation.

Angela with the Mission President's wife and
the daughter of our mission office finance employee
at District Conference
We met in a large auditorium that held about 1500 people.  Our group of 400 seemed small in comparison.  Members are excited to be asked to speak in District Conference (???).  One of the sisters (what we call women members in the church), said it was her lifelong dream to talk in district conference.  So as you would expect, the 4 speakers before the district leaders took an hour and 15 minutes of a 2 hour meeting, leaving little time for the entire district presidency (3 people), and the mission president and his wife.  A new member of the district presidency said he had never spoken in District Conference in the 22 years he had been in the church and was disappointed that he could not speak the 30 minutes he had planned (he was given 10 minutes). 

We also had a choir that sang one number (first I've seen since we've been here).  Angela and I decided to sing with them.  We started 2 weeks before the conference with no music (the song was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir version of "Have I Done Any Good in The World Today").  It's a pretty song, but doesn't follow the hymn book.   We thought the other members were singing it wrong because they had no music.  Wrong - most don't read music and were singing the hymnbook version based on memory.  Right before the meeting our pianist (who is very good), hands me a microphone for the men (We had 4 in total, the one on my left cannot read English well and the one on the right is tone-deaf).  I just gave him that look that said "you've got to be kidding".  I took it and when he left, I laid it down on the seat in front of me when we stood.  We didn't need any more "help".  Overall, we did okay for only 3 practices and different people showing up at each practice.  Another memorable experience we will take way with us when we leave India. 
Me with the John family.  There's a lot of
picture taking after District Conference

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