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, December 26, 2009

DEC 2009

DEC 30 2009

Thanks for talking with me on Christmas!

All is well in Chennai.

We set a great family for baptism this week. They have wonderful desires. Furthermore, we're teaching a large joint-family that has the potential of being a giant group baptism. Fingers crossed.

My stomach is fine. In fact, today I had barbecue beef strips with french fries, nachos and lemonade. It was fantastic. There is an American restaurant 30 minutes from our home. It has stickers and things from the different states and flags and such hanging around the place. It's owned by an American.

Our mission had 565 baptisms in 2009, which is better than our goal of 550! Yay, success. Our goal for next year is 600. Take that India.

I'm happy and healthy.

I'm very interested in your lives. Please tell me about the mundane things and send pictures!

Love, Elder Shep

DEC 23rd: Dear Family,I WILL be calling on Friday.Again, somewhere between 7-8 PM my time.8:30-9:30 AM your time.Please be awake and exciting, as I know you will be!Dad, thank you VERY much for that. Will you and mom please write a book about your life? I would read it. Becoming spiritually oriented causes me to become family history-interested. Malachi promised us it would be so.Mom, thanks for the newsletter. I am printing it out. I read Matt's, it doesn't sound anything like him. Thanks!

I made the gingerbread house, It was delicious. I also *DID* preserve your sister's stitched baby Jesus. I won't get rid of it, I like it.Emily, wow. Thanks for writing, keep doing so.Beth and Marie, I'll talk to you on Friday. I experienced another sick day yesterday, I'm okay now.

I'm going to the McKinley's home (a senior couple) for Christmas with the Elders in the Zone. It should be a lot of fun. Interesting note: I've become better at playing hymns (go figure) and will be playing at the Christmas activity tonight and at the McKinley's.We had a baptism last Sunday. I forgot my camera. I'll get a hold of his picture later. His name is Vimal, Elder Tuscano did the bulk of his teaching.Today we had lunch at the Powell's home today. Their son, Elder Powell was in my district in Hyderabad. Their older son is 1st councilor in the Branch Presidency. President Powell is the 1st councilor in the District Presidency. Great family. Nice people.

I'm excited to talk to you on FRIDAY!I would like everyone to do me a special favor in light of Christmas. Ask the Elders for a Restoration (Lesson 1) pamphlet and a visiting card. Introduce the message to a friend. Have the Elders teach the friend in our home. Baptize said friend. Easy, huh? Try your best, it'll be rewarding, I promise.Love,Kyle

DEC 16th: Yay! Mom!You were the only one to write to me this week. You care about me.I guess I was really boring in my emails last week.I'm better now. It feels good to be better. Seriously.I wasn't able to enjoy the goodness of Bangalore. Listen, they have:1. a Fudge shop (I saw it with my own eyes)2. the ONLY PLACE (international restaurant)3. a GERMAN BUFFET4. International shopping stripsAnyways, I couldn't go to those places. :(Oh well.We have a baptism this Sunday. His name is Vimal. He's a 28 year old driver.Good things are on the way in Chennai. Our Zone Leaders are fun and good to get along with.About your experience on the first day of work... I laughed a little. It does seem like it would be a little embarrassing (not the flat tire, but the keys,) but you're a professional, that happens I guess. You have a good attitude. I feel like I'm patient here in India (in stark contrast to my younger self.) You're right, I'm learning good, eternal skills here.**********************************************************************Phone call for Christmas:1. I will call AROUND 7 or 8PM MY (INDIA) time, Friday DEC 25.2. I believe this will be AROUND 9 to 10AM CHRISTMAS MORNING in FLORIDA.3. Please be awake, I love you and want to have a lively conversation :)**********************************************************************We are working with some awesome investigators here. Our main challenges are the English language and getting people serious about their beliefs. This isn't like the old days when your word was your life. Now is the time when you finish your sermon on respecting everyone and then punch the next person you see. People just have to see that ETERNAL LIFE IS ON THE LINE. Yay!OH:1. I received two packages.2. I opened one, it was a gingerbread house. (AWESOME!)3. I did not open the second, I'm saving it, I hope it doesn't die/rot.4. Did you say there was a third or am I confused?I ask you:1. What years did you serve your mission?2. What areas did you serve in?3. How many native companions did you have?4. Do you still stay in contact with any converts?5. Throughout your life, where did you live? (in order)I'm interested. I love you!I'm excited to build my Gingerbread House today.Kyle

DEC 10th: Thanks for writing!Could you get Emily to write me too?It sounds like you are staying busy and happy.I too am staying busy and happy.Unfortunately, I'm sick now. I've been very very tired and cold. I'm not in pain, I just can't move to much. I'll send some pictures next week.Chennai isn't too hot so far. Actually, at the time I'm in Bangalore for a multi-zone conference. I've been taken care of well by the Nichols.I can't think very well, but I thought I'd do my best to let you know I'm happy and safe.I'll let you know how things progress.I love you!Kyle

DEC 2nd: Awww, mom.Your Emails always end with a beautiful testimony. Thank you.You must understand that the righteous example and the testimony of parents have a deep impact on their children. Good job.

Here's Chennai (so far):My companion, Elder Gantyada, is great. He's a hard worker. He came on his mission 4 months ago, he has sincere desire to share the gospel. He was baptized 2 years ago. Elder Elliot and Cunha are companions in our same apartment. They came on their missions 3 months before me. They are pretty funny. Elder Sakamaki and Mackay. I could be wrong, but I think they also came at the same time as Elliot and Cunha. Mackay did, definitely. They are the zone leaders. They are hard working and a lot of fun. I knew both of them before. I lived with Elder Mackay for 1 transfer in Rajahmundry when I was first with Elder Shahi. Sister Arza and Bomaji. They finish their missions in January. They live in our old apartment, which is why we're in Elder Elliot and Cunha's now. I'm glad they're serving missions. The area is hot and muggy (like Florida.) It is even more westernized than Hyderabad. There are lots of good roads and highways, lots of cars, and a good bus system. There are lots of Christians. There is a place in town where I can by BEEF HAMBURGERS. I plan on going next week when everything is cleaned and organized. The building is a rented space :( It's not nearly as nice as Hyderabad. On Sunday I found 5 American families at church. They are all church members staying here on business. Some of them work for Bobcat, and 1 of them works as a diplomat for the US government and is now in some middle-eastern country. The branch presidency and the quorum and auxiliary leaders are hard workers. For lunch we eat out because it's far from our apartment. We eat meals: rice and curries, sometimes unlimited. I like it. In fact, I'm cooking potato curry today for Elder Gantyada and I.

The appointments are great. People speak English here and, like ANY other place in the world, feel the spirit when they read the Book of Mormon (because it's true.) I'll let you know more when I get organized. I'm still fumbling around with all of the plans and things I need to know as District Leader. I'm not concerned about Christmas. I want anything you send! I was interested in a miniature Preach My Gospel though. If you could look into that... I bet Kinkos could make one. One Elder's mother simply took a new PMG to some place and told them to shrink it but make it exactly the same (page thickness and black spiral binding) and it turned out FANTASTIC. If you want... see what you can do.I love you!Pics are on the way.

Love, Elder Shepherdson

No comments: