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, February 25, 2009


Haha, thanks for the advice. Surprisingly, I haven't seen a 
single snake in India yet. I'm told that's an anomoly. Thanks
for loosening my strings and for thanking Sis Dickson.

I love you!

-----Original Message-----

Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2009 19:08:30 -0500
Subject: Snakes in India


Don't play with snakes in India.... I read this the other night.

"There are over 270 species of snakes in India out of which about
60 are venomous. In size, color and habits they can be very
different from each other."


Well. That was a good email. It's really hot in India, and this keyboard is really bad. Anyways, yes, I'm allowed to join a gym and it has been great. The gym is not very good, but for 2 dollars a month, who can complain? It's great to get a good work out in the morning.

It's great to hear that pens are coming... and some sort of care package, I'm not sure what that is, but I'm excited. I feel bad that I don't write any letters home. I can't remember, did you get that one with my testimony? Oh, and don't feel like I'm unable to get any comforts, that's only Raj. There are many Western items in most of the other areas (chocolate brownie with chocolate ice cream with chocolate syrup and a wafer and cherry in Visak (yeah, it was amazing (for 60 rupees ($1.25.)))) And some church member ordered me some Vitamin waters from his uncle in America... we'll see what happens with that.

It's good that you'll have a great friend close by in the Neighborhood and it seems like you are keeping up your friendly and service-ready attitude. I'm grateful to have such a charitable and intelligent mother. I'm also grateful for Dad, he really is a wonderful father. And yes, my sisters are amazing too.

I'm doing the same old thing. I teach lots of people and the time goes by sooo fast because I'm doing the Lord's work and doing my best to do it diligently. My testimony sure grew a lot out on my mission.

I love you verrrrry much. I apologize that I don't have many pictures with me in them, but it's because I'm the one using the camera. I'll try to focus on getting me in the pictures. Anyways, these pics are of a holiday festival and the people are right next to our apartment. It was a really fun day.

Love, Kyle

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Tell me how the superbowl goes. Maybe the teams don't matter but it sure is fun to
watch and be with friends and eat junk food. What's going on at work? It sounds like
you're working very hard, but you're changing jobs? I'll continue to pray for you
and family of course.

Pongal is... I'm not sure. A full week of holiday for some Hindu reason. It means
that nothing gets done... more. There are tons of holidays and plenty of days for
taking off of work and not going to school. Which is sometimes good for teaching,
but sometimes it means that everyone leaves Raj. My companion is excellent. He's
been out for 13 months now. He's a relatively new convert so his testimony is strong.

I've notice that for relatively recent-converts that they tend to either be very
gung-ho or pretty passive. They have strong testimonies, but sometimes they like to
say things very boldly and quickly. They don't realize that they were taught slowly
and line upon line. Haha, they challenge the beliefs of others quickly and love to
demand that investigators believe instantly.

The most recent letter that I've received from you was a drawing of myself looking
much thinner than I actually am. It was quite entertaining. I also received a package
from sister Dickson. Please tell her thank you very very much and the contents were
delicious (what was left of them, seriously, the Indian postal people opened the box
and ate half of the butterfinger bar and a package of koalas (this is a fact, it
wasn't rats.)) And for mom: they sell or sold those koalas in America also, some
people had them in their lunchboxes in elementary school, they were good enough to
have remembered them that far back.

I'm working hard of course. We've *almost* moved into the new apartment, we'll be
shopping for a fridge, washing machine, and stove today, so hopefully we'll be in
later this week.

I love you soooo very much, and I'm working on humility every day.
Keep sharing the gospel!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

MORE love!

Weird things that happen in India (you have to be prepared to read this)

1. Large groups of children run in packs, they're about 8 years old and can only say "Hi how are you fine." and attack missionaries and prevent them from moving for five minutes.

2. Ocassionally, random people on the street will try to hop onto my bike.

3. Ladies or children with a monkey that looks 100+ years old try to make me give them money. They say "monkey!" and point at it thinking it's a good reason for me to give them money.

4. People of all ages pooping in the street or on the side of the road. It's gross/ridiculous.

We usually do lessons with recent converts in the morning, then visit with lucky new investigators mid afternoon and at night we run frantically trying to visit all of our progressing investigators. We are working closely with people who are mostly students because they actually know english. Most are from the ages of 15-25, although we sure wouldn't mind teaching a family. Our finding is always in areas that we have already been to, since we have suuuuuuch a small area. We generally just find more young people while the older people just scowl at us or smile, either way in Telegu. Most of what I see is people on motercycles weaving through traffic on small roads, I see cars that have no regard for the lives of those on the road and will cut off anyone and ride all of the way to their destination on the wrong side of the road. I see countless people pooping in the streets and I see lots of old people begging for money. I see hundreds of cows that wander around the roads and go for a nap in the middle of intersections. I see hundreds of tiny shops that all sell the same thing and I wonder how any of them get business, since you could buy that stainless steel plate at any of the other 30 stores in a 50 yard radius (this is not a joke nor an exageration.) I also see a lot of the different political parties fighting for power. An election is coming up and the anti-Christians are up against the neutrals who are up against the "People's pary" which is headed by a popular actor (kind of like Arnold in Cali.) For the most part that's what I see. My comp worked in the American embassy in Nepal before coming and also at a NorthFace factory. He had a motorcycle, had long hair, played soccor, and was a recognized judo fighter. Our first approach when trying to snag anyone is go for the family. In our lesson if they're Christian then we'll sail through and focus on the Apostasy and then Joseph Smith. It's pretty easy.

Elder Shahi is the short dark one in case you didn't recognize him. I still really enjoy our companionship

Thanks so much for your love and support, keep sharing the gospel!
Elder Shep