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.


Monday, August 17, 2009

AUG 2009

AGU 26th: Wait, did you JUST get that letter that I sent like 1 month ago? I paid extra money to get it to you in a week. Has dad gotten his letter yet? I sent that one 1 week ago and paid extra. Did BETH get her birthday letter? I sent it 1.5 weeks before and paid for 1 week delivery so... I was hoping.Anyway, it's nice to hear how much you mothers care about us missionaries. It must be tough to lose half of your children. It happens, and Emily isn't that far away. The adoption work seems fun.

I've been visiting this one family (Vikas) where his sister JUST had a baby. She is tiny. Babies are amazing.Your activity ideas are interesting. We can suggest them!Unfortunately, dances are against the Law of Chastity here though. We've heard daunting stories of people who have been asked not to come back to church because they (a girl) text message boys. There are some problems with boy-girl relationship ideas here. When cultures conflict with the gospel, the cultural traditions should be put aside, but that's tough.Thanks for using the bag! Keep remembering me!There is a baptism this week! Also, zone conference. We have 6 elders staying at our apartment now. As promised here are some pictures from last week, enjoy!I love you!

AUG 19th I can record a video of me, but I'd have to upload it on a site that you may have difficulty downloading from... I'll look into it next week. I haven't forgotten that you wanted me to send my memory card with pictures over, but it's still not full and some elders have told me that their memory cards have been empty when they send them in the mail. So... I'm not sure. I can make a cd and send that over. I'm planning on sending some things over in the coming weeks. I've acquired some... unnecessary junk... that I want to keep. Mostly shirts. I AM healthy again. Fully.

My weight is still fluctuating like it did in the US. Like 5 pounds a day. Crazy. I'm eating very healthy and working out with my makeshift weights and things.You can tell if someone is Christian if they:1.Have a sticker of Jesus, a cross, or a scripture passage on their door2.Have a cross or sticks, metal, or dried grass by their door3.They name their home "Eden" or "Bethel"4.Their name is John, Peter, Paul, Andrew, etc.

Bike riding with Elder Sekar is fun. He's getting MUCH better, and a little more confident.I've seen that error on Windows XP before. I'm positive that it is NOT anything to worry about, though it's annoying. DON'T send the error report, it will waste time and won't help. How often does it come up? I'm not sure of an exact solution.Service brings happiness, that is true. Good work with that family.Haha, Beth would be fun to see behind an American Eagle counter. Tell her not to be scared and see if she can open up and enjoy talking to people. I've opened up a WHOLE lot. It's fun to talk to new people! She should provide for her own gas, definitely. It's crazy to see how much parents provide for the unnecessary desires of their children. I was spoiled, but I still worked for gas and repairs... small sacrifice.

I'm SO excited to hear about your 8 o'clock devotionals. I'm glad the girls enjoy it. I'll continue your tradition when I return. Thanks for praying for my companion, we need it. We get along, but I get frustrated, as I would, sometimes. Oh, and Radhika was baptized! Hilkias will be baptized in the week after next. I too am pleased that I chose to come on a mission. I enjoy it!

This morning Elder Sekar, Cranney, Lofgran and I went to Charminar. It's an old Muslim tower with a mosque in the upper section. We explored it and took pictures. There are some amazing pictures I want to send... next week. My camera is out of batteries and this facility doesn't have a card reader :(I wanted to let you know that at my year mark I plan on reworking my wardrobe. I'll probably need new white shirts and I'll definitely need new garments. I want to try out a mesh top but would continue drylux bottoms. We DO have a distribution center here, but they only have ridiculous cotton ones. The bottoms are fine, the tops aren't. We'll talk more about it in the coming weeks, but my requests are serious ones for my next package. Additionally, I need a replacement razor for my electric razor. It is a Phillips Norelco type 7310XL and I think the type of replacement blade is type HQ8. Look into that if you could, please. And my selfish request are the Honey Barbecue Twisty Fritos for 99cents at any gas station. Thanks! Keep being amazing

AUG 12th MOM!DON'T EVER DO THAT TO ME!PLEASE, tell me the GOOD NEWS first before you make me read the whole article and find out that he's NOT dead.WOW that was scary.I'm glad he's okay, that's a story he's going to have for his children.

About the IM'ing, you can call president Nichols and ask if you really want, but it hasn't been approved, and I'll call you on Christmas anyways. If you ask questions I'll answer them. It will take a week, but I'll answer them. Now, you haven't answered MY questions, how is your computer?Any problems?It's nice to hear that Beth has a license and that she's got some rules to protect her, don't let her damage your car anymore.

I told Dad, I'll tell you also: the missionary work is going fine. We have a baptism this sunday and another one coming up at the end of the month. We have some good investigators that will start paying off with baptisms soon enough. We're also trying to get better relationships with the branch members.Do you have any ideas for activities?We need to get the branch to have more fun together.Our plans for this preparation day are thus:1. To have a delicious lunch prepared by the senior couple that lives in the same apartment as us (the Kaspers)2. To watch the Work and the Glory in their apartment (we got permission from president Nichols)3. To climb an old British water tower and take lots of pictures4.

THANKS SO MUCH FOR LECTURES ON FAITH!THANKS FOR THE PICS OF THE TEMPLE AND PRESIDENT MONSON! The investigators love them. And I love my doctrine. This church IS true. I love to live in a time where sooo much knowledge and guidance is given in preparation for the second coming.I LOVE YOU

AUG 5th It's much nicer to have a mother that thinks highly of me that it would be otherwise. I love you. I'm going to keep trying to live up to your ideas about me. I DID receive the packages.I DO appreciate them very much.It was exactly what I wanted and needed.The socks are great, the different type of socks are also very nice and snug, just like I like them.I don't remember saying I was planning on having Chinese for my b-day, only Mexican. But that doesn't look like it's going to be the case.

I'll have to fill you in on a secret...I got dengue fever.What does that mean?It means I was in bed for 2 full days (sat+sun) and for 2 half days (mon+tue.) It means indescribable weakness, aches, and fluctuating body temperatures. Anyways, I'm mostly better now. Don't worry.The Mexican restaurant is too far for me right now, we'll go across the street and get some KFC. COOL!McDonalds only sells chicken products. But I don't like McDonalds anyways, so I've only been once

Friday, August 14, 2009

July 8th Vikas Baptism

So, we baptized Vikas last week. (By we, I mean me.) Funny story: So, we realized about 5 minutes before the baptism service started that the baptism font wasn't filled. Well... it fills very slowly. We delayed as we tried to get it filled, but it was tough, people don't want to wait and we didn't really tell anyone what the situation was. We hoped that the introduction and the talk would take some times... but it was really short. When it was time for the baptism the water still wasn't as filled as we had hoped. It looked fine though. Long story short, Vikas and I went into the water and found that it went knee high (wow.) I went ahead and tried it the first time but his KNEE came out of the water (even though his feet were planted on the ground.) I told him to lay his legs out straight, the second time it worked out fine. Well, Elder Ward had a baptism next (his name is Tarrak.) He's not as small as Vikas. As we were changing we heard some loud splashes a few times and then a smack. I figured that they had either succeeded or died trying. It took Elder Ward 4 dunks to get Tarrak fully covered. The last time was a *little* forceful. Haha.

Zone conference was amazing, I learned great things about the spirit and how to follow it. I LOVE serving a mission. I LOVE you too!