Sunday, October 20, 2013

Young Single Adult Conference - Rajahmundry and Visakhapatnam Districts

This past week Sister Berrett and I were invited to attend a 3-day YSA Conference held in the city of Rajahmundry. Young adults from the Visak District journeyed about 3-4 hours by train to join. Overall there were just over 200 participants.
Many of the participants at the two district YSA Conference
 We were impressed by the outward friendliness of the group. We must have shaken hands with each participant three or four times over the course of the two days we were there. Whenever a camera would come out (there must have been 500 cameras for the 200 participants), the young people would gather into the photo. A common request was "Just one snap." Then 10 pictures would be taken by five different cameras.
This picture started with two persons getting ready to go to the service project

The participants were neat and well dressed. We love the colorful and modest attire of the women in India.
Sisters serving lunch one day
A particularly beautiful sari
Sister Berrett and I were asked to be leaders of one of four workshops. Not surprisingly, our topic was missionary work. We instructed on preparation for missionaries and then on having courage to invite people to learn of the Gospel. We gave them a chance to practice invitations to read the Book of Mormon.
Teaching about preparing for missions
Practicing an invitation to read The Book of Mormon
Some time was set aside for service projects. One group went to a school for "differently abled" children, where painting was done. Another group went to a home for lepers, where weeds and brush were cleared. The third group went to a dormitory school for elementary age students. Here they cleaned up brush and cut some ditches to carry away rain water.
Painting play equipment at one of the schools
Cleaning trash and brush

After the service project, the groups went sightseeing. We watched native fishermen casting nets into waters around a diversion dam. Terry became well acquainted with a local woman in the fish market near the dam.The woman was practicing English as she was coached by the man just behind her.
Making new friends

Sunset along the river
The cultural high point of the conference was the dance. We were quite curious about how this would happen, as unmarried Indian men and women usually do not pair off or even touch. We were wonderfully surprised to see that the dance was a rousing success. Two songs  - The Chicken Dance and the Hokey Pokey - were played over and over, sometimes two or three times in a row. Almost everyone, including Sister Berrett enthusiastically joined in. There were a few boy/girl couples, but most of the time it was line dancing, with boys and boys and girls and girls. 
Two of our recently returned missionaries doing the Chicken Dance
The Chicken Dance was a favorite
Sister Berrett and a soon to be missionary are "Chicken"

Meals were typical Indian. We are learning to use our hands as fork and spoon.
Can we do this in Provo?

Overall, we had a wonderful experience. We love the wonderful young adults who are members of the Church in India.


  1. So, you leave Utah and all of a sudden Mom is behaving like a barn animal and eating with her hands? Didn't you spend the first half of my life telling me those things are wrong?

    (Love you and miss you - thanks for opening presents with us last night!)

  2. Love this - the pictures are fabulous! Thanks for documenting all of this for us whose lives are a little more routine! Terry, I admire your "jump in and chicken dance with the locals" attitude! You'll never regret it!

    And is the food as good as I am imagining? Some fabulous curry, I presume?

    We had a missionary conference on Thursday, and I met the guy who is responsible for getting you (David) through law school. I thanked him for his efforts, acknowledging that you would not be where you are today without his help!

    Keep the posts coming. Lynnette