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 6 2010


Things are going well in the Zone Leadership.

The new District Leaders are doing well. They are new. We are attempting to get 15 baptisms with 5 companionships for the month of June. In May we had 9. We currently have 14 people set with baptism as a Zone, we will need 16 more if we go by the statistics. We can do it. It will take some training for our District Leaders and some loving pushes by us, but we can do it.

Our companionship is now the official missionary representatives of Chennai 3rd Branch. We get the whole Branch to ourselves! Our area has gotten larger (though we won't expand our actual proselyting efforts, rather, consolidate.) We picked up an area right behind the rented Church building that will make it very easy for people to get to Church after we find them. Furthermore, our timings have changed to 2-5PM, which removes some of the obstacles that prevented some investigators from attending Church and will prove to unmask false excuses for non-attendance from others. I'm excited. Our new Branch Mission Leader was the Assistant BML before. He's fantastic.

I'm sad to lose President Nichols, I respect him and his leadership a lot. I'm excited to get President Funk though. I've noticed that change on the missionary front generally results in getting back to basics and re-evaluating ourselves and leads to more obedience and more solid results. I'm excited for what President Funk has to offer and to be able to counsel with him on the needs of the mission. There has been no update on whether he has a visa or not, but there's no point in asking because the Area Presidency is taking care of it and keeping it under wraps.

My companion, Elder Jenks, is from Idaho. He's tall and prefers light fruity-colored ties. I've served near him at all times on my mission. We have attended the same Zone Conferences our whole missions. He goes home in 2 months. He was the District Leader of Hyderabad 1st Branch when I was there in 2nd. Since we met in the same building we often saw and collaborated with each other. I like him, we will get along well.

Mom: Good luck on your exam! If you study well like you seem like you would then you shouldn't have a problem. I didn't feel any earthquake. I'm not concerned about any natural disasters, none of the locals have talked about anything dangerous. Good luck through the Hurricanes!

Dad: Great! It's exciting to hear that your company is expanding. What part do you play in relation to this new company? They speak Tamil in Chennai. Actually, my companion can understand a lot of Tamil (his previous Branch spoke Tamil for all of their Church meetings.) He picked up a lot, I can understand some, but since the First Presidency approved the English-only policy proposed by President Nichols I have not attempted to learn the languages here. I'll have to do that later. I'll keep Grandpa in my prayers.

Sisters: I love you! Write me.


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