Sunday, May 17, 2015

Busy Week

This past week has been a busy one, as I traveled to three of our seven major cities to interview missionaries, meet with Church members,  and participate in other meetings.

On Saturday, 9 May 2015 we flew to Hyderabad. The next day, we attended Fast and Testimony meeting in one of the West Maredpalley Wards of the Hyderabad, India Stake. Then, I attended a Correlation Council Meeting, conducted by our new Area Seventy, Elder Robert William. Also in attendance were President Gutty of the Hyderabad Stake, President Mummidivarapu of the Rajahmundry District, and President Sunderraj of the Bangalore District. It was wonderful to have timely instruction conveyed to us by one who received the messages directly from the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve.

On Monday, Terry (Sister Berrett) and I worked in the hotel for the morning, and then took part of the day for a little sightseeing in Hyderabad. On Tuesday, I interviewed the missionaries in our Hyderabad Zone. Sister Berrett flew to Bangalore for some meetings and work on finishing the furnishing of the new mission home.

Wednesday morning I flew to Rajahmundry. Traveling by taxi from the airport, I arrived at the Church about 11:15 am. I interviewed missionaries, and then prospective missionaries, and then met with one of the branch presidents, finishing about 10:45 pm. On Thursday morning I went back to the Church for six more missionary interviews before traveling by car to Visakhapatnam (about 4 hour drive).

On Friday I interviewed the 10 missionaries in Visak, and then conducted several member interviews. I got to the hotel about 8:00 pm. In the mean time, Sister Berrett flew to Visak to meet me and to visit with some of the missionaries.

Saturday we participated in the Visakhapatnam District Couples Conference. We conducted a workshop session on preparing to attend the temple. Our 45 min. session was repeated three times. Following a wonderful Indian lunch including spicy rice known as "biryani", with chicken in a gravy sauce, I lead a discussion for about 40 min on improving family relationships in a way consistent with Gospel culture. After the conference adjourned, we went to the airport to return home. Our flight, scheduled for 8:45 pm departure was about 40 minutes late leaving. Then there were some delays in getting luggage off the plane, such that it was about 12:45 am Sunday when we arrived back at the mission home. Needless to say, we were rather tired.

That said, it was a good week. I was uplifted by the missionary interviews. We are blessed to work with great young men and women. I also was able to meet with a number of prospective missionaries. We are working with them be ready to submit recommendations for mission calls. We have a number of families who are traveling to the temple in the next two or three weeks. While I conducted a few temple recommend interviews, my counselor in the mission presidency who also was in Rajahmundry and Visak conducted about 30 temple recommend interviews.

Here are a few pictures to share with you a bit of India:

Chowmahalla Palace - The building on the left, behind the tree, is the 
where the King of Hyderabad conducted formal meetings.

The throne room in the formal hall. 
The throne sat on the center of the platform.

New friends
  Hyderabad street, with Charminar ("four towers") Mosque 
in the background.

Muslim women patronizing a street vendor.

Hyderabad street vendors selling mangos, 
which are coming to the peak of their season.

Temporary meeting house in Rajahmundry, India. 
We occupy the second and third floors above 
the ground level in a bank building. 
This is the back of the building, showing the access stairs.
There is a lift in the left column.

Baptism font behind the Rajahmundry Church.

Rajahmundry Street vendor selling mangos and other fruits.

Two sisters waiting for the Visak Couples Conference to begin. 
We think Indian women wear the most beautiful saris.

Participants in one of our three workshops.

At the airport as we waited for the plane, I purchased a chicken burger. 
As you can see, there was much more bread than burger.