This blog is produced by the Shep Family... we post letters and photos that Kyle sends us from time to time...

A resident of Chennai is called a Chennaiite. As of 2001, Chennai city had a population of 4.34 million, while the total metropolitan population was 7.04 million. The estimated metropolitan population in 2006 is 4.5 million.In 2001, the population density in the city was 63,926 per mi, making it one of the most densely populated cities in the world. The average literacy rate is 80.14%, much higher than the national average of 64.5%. The city has the fourth highest population of slum dwellers among major cities in India, with about 820,000 people (18.6% of its population) living in slum conditions. In 2005, the crime rate in the city was 313.3 per 100,000 people, accounting for 6.2% of all crimes reported in major cities in India. The number of crimes in the city showed a significant increase of 61.8% from 2004.

The majority of the population in Chennai are Tamilians. Tamil is the primary language spoken in Chennai. English is widely spoken especially in business, education and white collar professions.

According to the 2001 census, Hindus constitute about 81.27% of the city's population, and Muslims (9.37%), Christians (7.63%) and Jains (1.05%) are other major religious groups

Chennai is a major centre for music, art and culture in India.[77] The city is known for its classical dance shows and Hindu temples. Every December, Chennai holds a five-week long Music Season celebrating the 1927 opening of the Madras Music Academy

Among Chennai's festivals, Pongal is celebrated over five days in January, is the most important. Almost all major religious festivals such as Deepavali, Eid and Christmas are celebrated in Chennai. Tamil cuisine in Chennai includes vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Many of the city's restaurants offer light meals or tiffin, which usually include rice-based dishes like pongal, dosa, idli and vadai,


Chennai has a tropical climate, specifically a tropical wet and dry climate. The city lies on the thermal equator and is also on the coast, which prevents extreme variation in seasonal temperature. The weather is hot and humid, for most of the year. The hottest part of the year is late May to early June, known locally as Agni Nakshatram ("fire star") or as Kathiri Veyyil,[32] with maximum temperatures around 38–42 °C (100–108 °F). The coolest part of the year is January, with minimum temperatures around 18–20 °C (64–68 °F). The lowest temperature recorded is 15.8 °C (60.4 °F) and highest 45 °C (113 °F). The average annual rainfall is about 51 in. The city gets most of its seasonal rainfall from the north-east monsoon winds, from mid-October to mid-December. Cyclones in the Bay of Bengal sometimes hit the city. The highest annual rainfall recorded is 2,570 mm (101 in) in 2005.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

(6 elders, including me, and their luggage in 1 auto going home from Visak)

It's Christmas Eve. Awesome. It hardly feels like Christmas (it's like 85 degrees outside,) there aren't any Christmas lights up, and I haven't heard a single Christmas song on the radio (then again, I don't listen to the radio,) but it just so happens that it will happen tomorrow whether it feels like it or not. Nevertheless, (that's scripture speak) I'm excited. We get to eat dinner at Naresh's house tomorrow and I'm really excited for that too. His mom made chipatte(sp?) and chicken curry for us last time and it was soooooo good. I'm really liking the food here now. I though at first I was going to get really sick or crave food from back home... but I'm doing just fine. Right now my favorite food is butter nan with... maybe butter chicken. It's not as buttery as it sounds. It is, however, delicious.

I recently got a haircut, it looks fine. I'm wearing my contacts more, which is really nice because wearing a bike helmet with glasses has proven to be really obnoxious. I've acquired some new ties, and I'm anxiously awaiting the completion of this burlap tie that a member is making for me. It should be amazing.

Transfers came! My current companion and I will be split up, but at the same time, we won't be. Here's the deal: there are currently 6 elders in Rajahmundry. In Rjy 1st branch there are 2 elders and in 2nd branch there are 4. Rjy 1st is getting an additional 2. I will get an elder from NEPAL named elder Shahe as my follow-up trainer and Elder Addagabottu will be getting another greenie to train. Cool. One of my batchmates is transfering from Chennai to Rjy and will be in the 2nd branch. His name is Elder Chagoya and I'm excited to see him again, we really hit it off in the MTC.

Now that the temporal things are out of the way, here's the update on the MISSIONARY WORK. We have about 8 groups of progressing investigators and quite a few with some pending baptismal dates. I'm not sure if I told you but the rule in this mission is that an investigator must attend church for 3 hours for 3 sundays in a row in order to be baptized. It's worked wonders for retention, it's worked frustration for many an elder. Nevertheless (scripture speak again,) we are working with some investigators and their baptisms. The fact is: we haven't had a baptism for 2 weeks :( No problem though, we've been working hard. Abhishaik is getting baptized this sunday, and I'm uber pumped for him. He went from denying commitments to excelling in participation and effort. He's been hanging out at church every day and befriending church members. He's doing so well. Chaitu and Mani, we're still working with them. Mani should be ready soon, and Chaitu is *still* working with her father for permission. We're praying a lot for help. Silaja, Amar, and baby lucky are doing AMAZING, their family is sooo much happier the more they learn. Anyways. We're working hard over here. It's good stuff.

Testimony wise: I've definitely increased in my love of the prophets. I've been reading conference talks and loving them. "You Know Enough" by Anderson in the presidency of the seventy is really good. Also, I really like Uchdorf's talk on Hope, I forgot the title. And of course, Monson gave really good talks. I'm prompted to make everyone look up Elder Octaviano's talk given in the second session of November 2007. I still remember that I really like that one. The Church is true!

Elder Shep

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