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.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

OCT 2009

OCT 28 Hahahahahahahahahaha.Do all dinosoaurs have tails?What a thoughtful question. I have NEVER been irked that way. As far as I and the Elders around me know, yes. Except for the bugs, if they count as dinosaurs.My stomach is fine now.I do cook for myself as often as possible. I like cultural food, my stomach doesn't sometimes. It is next to impossible to keep from eating at homes sometimes, but I consider myself one of the best at keeping it from happening.I wish I could go to a museum. The trip sounded fun.Babies, babies. SHANE had a baby too! Cannon, what a weird/cool name.I love my sisters. I'll impart some wisdom to them if they ask, but I need the issues to address.THANKS for my packages. I've got Fritos, and chocolate. Awesome, I appreciate it a lot.
There is some gospel related allusion here, but when things change slowly for the worse it's sometimes hard to notice until you compare it to something correct. I've also received my new white shirts. I'm looking good. Thanks for sending the razor also. Today I'm going to load up on the pics for you and the fam. Video also. The missionary work is going well. I love being the District Leader and showing my love for each Elder. Our investigators are progressing. We (Elder Tucker and I) had 15 people at church this Sunday and found 16 this week. Out of the 15 were 3 families. Amazing.I love you!Kyle
OCT 21
Your missionary moms activities sound fun. Regarding, the missionary you heard about, I know that we only get the cream of the crop in India, but it's hard for me to really comprehend someone sacrificing 2 years of their life to forsake the Lord through disobedience. I'm a year out now, it feels like it's been 3 months.
Working hard makes it go by fast, almost too fast.
India is crazy. I'm still amazed at some of the things that I see, especially the sacrifice and faith of the new converts. Hyderabad, the area I'm currently serving in, is well on its way to being a stake. There are 4 branches in the city now, and they are growing rapidly. I've discovered that I really really enjoy working hard and getting things done, especially when it pertains to the eternal salvation of those that I work for.
Mark: You should do a "backflips for baptisms" contest. Your investigators should line up in a row and you get to baptize as many people as backflips you can do in a row. I think your investigators will see the logic in that.
Michael: Lets be serious, you are probably the coolest person in Idaho right now. Rub that obedience/awesomeness off on those companions and investigators of yours.
Matt: Hugs are the very best. That's been stuck in my head recently. Missionary work is also the very best. Any more investigators with mullets? I see a lot of those here, India is soooo 80/90's.
Chad: I have heard NOTHING about what's going on over yonder. Wait a second, do you have a car? I want to hear cool stories about you doing baptisms in the water display in front of the Bellagio.
Kyle: Ummmm, what's going on? How do you feel about all this newfangled missionary work? As far as I see it, the beginning is a wondrous time of new things and exciting adjustments. You will probably feel like you have walked into a waterfall of the spirit, that feeling will stay the whole time. Cool, huh?
Danny: What's the deal, are you Chad's Zone Leader or something? From what I hear you're doing great. Besides that... I know very little. Update us!
Okay, that was for the newsletter thing.
Mom, I'm doing fine.
I had a horrible night though. I had to beg to leave an appointment due to incredible stomach pains. They started in the morning and I endured all the way up to 8:00, but then I couldn't concentrate and was sweating all over my body from PAIN. I didn't sleep last night because it hurt so bad. I'm afraid it's acid reflux. I shouldn't have eaten those taco-powder sandwiches. That's something I'll have to remember for my sons. I've been dumping antacids down my throat and I'm doing okay now, though I'm dehydrated and exhausted. Fortunately, I have a good new companion and he was able to follow up with my district and dictate my directions to other needy people. I've gotten sick sooo much in India, but don't worry. I'm still "healthy."
Our investigators are progressing well enough. Unfortunately, our baptism dates are slipping through our fingers, but they will be baptized eventually. Our rule is that they have to come to church on time for the full 3 hours for 3 weeks in a row to be be baptized. It's a good way to ensure retention and obedience, you see, none of the MEMBERS do that, and that needs to change. That is, essentially, the reason we don't have more baptisms, but I'm glad that's the case.
I work with so much money because that's about how much money I need to reimburse throughout the month. Elders pay their own electricity bills, which are about 60 each month, and there are 10 companionships in Hyderabad. There are zone activities that we need to buy things for, travel for registration, transfers, couriers for district and zone leaders, and repairs and things that Elders go ahead and pay for and then I get them their reimbursements. That's why. We take care of furniture and repairs with my CONNECTIONS and the help of senior couples.
I DO enjoy being district leader (haha, some branch members already thought I was the district leader...) My district is amazing, I like all the Elders in it. I like to organize, motivate, and lead.Anger IS an important subject. You probably remember my anger when I was younger. It definitely prevents us from being intelligent. I remember President Hinckley's talk from Oct 2007 was on the same subject. He told a good story and I've still remembered that talk now because it was an important subject. I will continue to teach the Indian people the beautiful truth (it's my job.) I enjoy it too. The thing is: it's true. People like true things.
I've been very bold in my teaching. I basically tell them, either we're telling the truth and you need to do something about it, or we're lying and you need to stop us. The only way to find out is through a simple, heartfelt prayer. This prayer will allow you to save a lifetime of scrutinizing every bit of doctrine we reveal and, if it turns out it's true, will bring you happiness and blessings much much sooner. They like that.I'm extremely grateful for our Savior and the opportunity to spend this time sharing the good news with the people in India!I love you!Kyle

OCT 14th : I don't think that Stewart is old enough to be on a mission yet. Didn't he just finish his Senior year? Anyways, I hope the shirt cheers him up. I didn't play piano for the whole conference or congregation. The senior couples play better than I. However, the senior couples are leaving and won't be replaced until they can get some more visas for India! The Kaspers (who live a few floors above us) leave today. They gave us TONS of food, expensive, imported, and delicious food. The Ladukes will be leaving in mid November. :( I like the senior couples.

I was assigned to choose/direct the musical number after the zone leaders heard me playing Moonlight and decided to spruce up zone conference. I'm getting a lot of special responsibilities dumped on me, which I enjoy. It helps me feel appreciated for my talents. I sent you a package. The flags are both political flags that I snagged during the election. The yellow one is the "Telugu Desam Party." Haha, they promised TVs to everyone who voted for them if they won. They were basically a local party that would have turned their votes over to the BJP (Satan's party) if they got any.The white one is the "People's Party." It is lead by Chirunjivi, a popular actor in the Telugu speaking film industry. They had a good following, but were beat out by the Congress party. The train is supposed to represent the middle/lower class being the focus of their politics.

Thanks for sending the packages!Don't worry about them coming late or anything, that's what I told you to do anyways. I will appreciate them all the same!Please make sure that replacement razor comes, I feel like my electric razor is just a paperweight until it arrives.Update:1. I'm staying in Hyderabad, same area.2. Elder Sekar is leaving our companionship but staying in the district (and the branch.)3. My new companion will be Elder Tucker 5. I'm also in charge of the housing, furnishing, and repairs in the Hyderabad Zone. 6. I've been moving Large amounts of money as my "financial custodian" job has required. I have the equivalent of $1,000 in my possession. I'm being safe about it.7. I have NOT purchased a white tuxedo.8. I HAVE purchased and currently have a red superhero costume that I had custom-tailored. I will send a picture next week.9. I will be measured so that I can have 7 or so new white shirts produced. Each shirt will be about 5 dollars and custom fit. I love the textile market in India.10. I'm still working hard and loving it here!I love you a lot!Kyle

OCT 7th: It's Thursday now, and I have to be quick.> > We're working hard! Our investigators are getting SO close to baptism!

OCT 7th: I AM working hard, though I took a short break yesterday. In fact, our whole zone took a break yesterday and went to RAMOJI FILM STUDIO, the biggest film studio premises in the world (they claim)!It was a lot of fun. I did many many things, like: watch a ridiculous "wild west" stunt show, get lost in a hedge maze, do backflips on a bungie slingshot (like you see at the fair), and ride on a mechanical bull. I'm not sure why I was allowed to do all of those things, but I was, and I enjoyed them. I got some awesome pictures, and an ADORABLE pic of my companion hugging a pole painted like a child's toy. I will have to send it next week.I apologize for not sending any attachments this week, I simply don't have enough time. I'm emailing on Thursday, we got permission because we couldn't get it done yesterday. However, I don't want to waste preaching time. We also had zone conference two days back. I always love zone conference. I learned much about my purpose as a missionary and remembered a whole lot of things that will make me less of a robot and more of a loving, caring, dedicated missionary. I appreciate being able to work with Elder Sekar, though transfers are coming in a week and we'll have to see if I stay in Hyderabad.I'm loving the work and serving the Lord. I've recognized that hard work brings great accomplishment and with it, happiness. The best part is that my work will be eternally long lasting. My art will crumble and music forgotten, but the impact I have on these beautiful (and goofy) Indian people will last with them into the eternities. I CANNOT wait to see these people in the Celestial Kingdom. That will be crazy. I love you and appreciate your work. LOVE YOU!!!!Kyle

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