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, February 15, 2010

FEB 11 2010

Hot dang! Today was awesome (I have the sunburn to prove it.)

7:30 met at church in my red sumo wrestler shirt and jeans
9:00 arrived at an old Hindu Temple, ran straight for the Elephants (there were three) and begged the caretaker to get us on their backs. I was the first of the 14 of us and was blessed with the longest RIDE!
10:30 saw a silk weaving factory and purchased a 100% silk tie of purple and white. It's awesome.
12:00 explored a bunch of rocky places. I got some awesome pictures and did some great wall running and climbing.
3:30 played some football on the beach.
4:30 went to a crocodile farm. They had American Alligators there (haha.) We purchased meat and threw it into a pit with over 100 crocodiles. They went CRAZY. I have a long video of it. That's the big deal.

My memory card is now full. Therefore... I'LL BE SENDING A DVD WITH ALL THE PICS!YAY!
The missionary work is doing well. Elder Gantyada is a stud. Our work has been far above the standard, so we're setting a good example for the other elders in the district. Also, Elder Gantyada has agreed to keep running with me on tue, thur, and saturdays. We have run twice before. It's so nice to get some good workouts in.

Mom: That's awesome that you're giving zone conference talks! I hope it works! What's the mission president's name? What's he like? What are the elders like?

Dad: Haha, Elder Sorensen is sooo excited that the Saints won. He can't stop talking about it. He's originally from New Orleans. Are you meeting clients there?

Sisters: I love you! Keep studying hard!
Oh, here's my new direct address:

H/NO 618,
11th street
Nandanam extension
Chennai 600035India

Send me a letter to commemorate my new apartment! The sisters are going home on Monday and transfer calls are coming on friday... change is coming.

Our mission is doing great, though we REALLY need those visas to come. I'm so glad that I was blessed to come to India. Really. I'm now confident that this is the place for me. My testimony has grown so much. What has started as a hope and built-in way of life has turned into a strong faith proved by answers to prayers and results of trust and obedience. I have learned to love the gospel in a whole new way and to desire making covenants and seeing them through in the correct light. I remember reading something Joseph Smith had said. It went along the lines of: "The prophets of old sacrificed everything and will be rewarded with all that God has. How can we think of obtaining that same glory unless we sacrifice as they did?"And on a separate occasion: "Any religion that does not require the sacrifice of everything cannot produce the faith necessary to reach exaltation." Or something of that nature.

I now love service and sacrifice. It's so weird, but it happened. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, that God is our Heavenly Father, that they have a plan for us. I know that the Book of Mormon is exactly what it claims to be. I love it. I'm thankful for the priesthood restored today. I know that Thomas S. Monson is our living prophet. I fear for the many people who don't know about or listen to his counsel. I'm thankful for a beautiful family. I love you all.


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