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, July 19, 2010

JUNE 16, 2010

Dear Family,

Wow. Great responses this week. I'm glad that everyone enjoyed my last email.

The last two days have not been the most pleasant for me. I got a sore throat, headache, and body pains. Like a Shepherdson I wend out doing missionary work anyways. Somehow we ended up with really good days too. We had a brother pass his baptism interview, found 5 new investigators, and had some effective member-present lessons too.

Kesavan, our baptism candidate, is a 29 year old Hindu man who came to Chennai for his work. He is a software engineer for a company that is trying to analyze a person's eyeball to track early eyesight loss for patients with certain diseases. He ran up to us on the street one night and told us that we need to come over to his home and teach him English for an hour every night. We told him to come to an activity on Saturday and Church on Sunday. He came to both. My recent convert, Suguna, then proceeded to challenge him for baptism. Having done all this, we went to his home for the first time, taught him the Restoration and the Gospel of Jesus Christ and set him for baptism. He had previously recognized that his former religion could not have been true and decided that Christianity was most logical. After our lessons he was convinced. We're happy for him. He will be baptized this Sunday.

Unfortunately, the other baptism we had intended to have this Sunday has been postponed because Vikram will be leaving to Hyderabad for a week. We'll just wait until July.

Elder Jenks and I are doing well together. The new Branch is doing okay. Attendance has been relatively low, and our investigators aren't coming like they were before. That just means that we'll have to do more and work harder, but the transition is somewhat hard. Fortunately, the leaders in the Branch are doing fantastic. Things are getting far more organized than I have ever before seen in India. Our Branch Mission Leader is on top of his job. He only has 1 companionship to worry about, but he's taking it to the next level. I appreciate him.

Congratulations on finishing another year of school, Beth and Marie! Marie is going into highschool... that will be fun. How is the new school coming along? Now that the first year is complete at that new highschool have they got things working better than at first? Marie, you went and burned everything? You're crazy.

I have been taking good notes of what President Nichols has told me. I'm pretty good at writing in my Journal daily, though I have to go back through it sometimes and fill in missing days.

Mom: Take it easy. If you passed, you passed!

I love you all very much,

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