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 3, 2010

JAN 27 2010

Dear family, Big Papa has instituted a formula for successful emails.I will follow this formula.

1. Daily Activities each requires a minimum of 25 words.

WED: Elders Gantyada, Sorensen, Elliott, and myself visited a place called Snake Park. It was full of Indian snakes (including water snakes,) crocodiles, and giants lizards (dragons!) I have MANY wonderful pictures, yet don't have a cable to upload them. Sorry. We also visited the zoo beside it. I saw hyenas, giants birds, monkeys, deer (I pet one,) and various other animals. I had salt and vinegar chips for lunch, a delightfully rare treat.

THUR: I conducted a district meeting and did my best to get everyone excited. A few were with me, a few seemed to be not to motivated. Our numbers are low (this means that we are not doing all of the things required to result in the desired baptisms,) and I did my best to hold everyone accountable but inspire confidence for the coming days. We visited Reena and Kaleb (amongst others) and helped them receive fellowship from all 3 members of the district presidency, our branch president, and our elders quorum president. They were ready.

FRIDAY: We met an Anglo Indian with heritage from Whales and Spain. He's catholic, but was an intelligent person to talk to. He invited us back. We also taught this awesome Telugu speaking girl who has permission to be baptized. We will set her with a date soon.

SAT: Someone tried to bible bash us in the morning. He wasn't very willing to listen. So we taught a Hindu instead, he was amazing! He delighted in the pictures we showed him and offered to introduce us to a few of his friends. That's what I'm talking about! We finished the day by visiting a returned missionary sister named Rosie. We talked a bit about Abraham, Ancient Israel, and giving referrals. She gave a referral and also made us dinner. Chipattis and tomato curry. Wow, delicious.

SUNDAY: REENA AND KALEB WERE BAPTIZED! It was great. This turned out to be Elder Gantyada's first baptism. Cool huh? I made potato curry for lunch and the 4 of us (apartment-mates) ate it. It was fantastic.

MON: We finished our Planning for the week, got haircuts really fast, ate some pancakes, cleaned some of the apartment and headed out to zone conference. We got to the train station in the nick of time. The train pulled away 8 minutes later. On the train I talked about Job with Elder Mackay (remember, I love him. He was with me in Rajahmundry and is now one of my zone leaders. We always talk deeply about the scriptures while we have some time.) I also sang hymns with Sister Bommaji. We arrived in Bangalore around 8:00 and had PAPA JOHNS for dinner. Wow, awesome.

TUES: Prepared for, then attended Zone Conference. Elder Watson was NOT there :( We learned about baptism, how to teach it and why we're right. Sister Nichols talked about the Pre-Earth life and the Fall. I had recently read D&C 93 so I basically already knew everything she told us about. It was nice though. I DID learn some great things. After that I went on exchange with Elder Thompson and we visited some of his converts. Biryani for dinner.

2: Comments and Question: Please comment on the following questions with nice long answers. a. How many new missionaires are coming into your mission from the United States. We hear .. not many?

Only 1 missionary He is from India though. He hails from Orem, UT and will be coming in the next 3 months.

b. What is your address in Chennai.. I want to look it up on Google?

House of Grace 2nd floorLittle Mount, ChennaiIndia That's all I've got, however, the area is also called chinamalai and is beside the biggest and most popular church in Chennai: the New Life Assembly of God (NLAG) church. Find that, we are across the street.

c. Are the building a new chapel in Chennai...if so when will it be done.. is it close to you? It is right next to us. Two minute walk. Literally. It will be finished in a year. It will contend with the two biggest churches in Chennai. The Catholic church which claims to have hosted Thomas the apostle. Also, The AG church which claims to have 21,000 people attend on Sundays over the course of 5 sessions.

d. Do you ever hear from Matt or Mark... I got a letter from Mark.. He is sounding mature. He asked about you and said he had not heard from you in a while.

No. We don't really write any more. They are going home soon. I expect them to email me at that time.

g: Are you picking up any lanaguge? I think you would be since you are smart?

Not so much of Tamil. I am now forbidden from learning, we don't teach in it... l still know some Telugu. I will finish learning Hindi upon my return (and Hebrew for that matter...)

h: What was the most fun you had this week? When I had a deep doctrine discussion with Elder Mackay about the temple, master Mahan, and the Freemasons last night. Seriously.

i: How was you trip to Bangalore? I'm still there!

3: FREE FORM Now you can write what ever you want... I have to run and do my interview with the Mission President now! It will be amazing! I hope you liked the information, it was time consuming and exhausting.

I love you!


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