We went to Bangalore the first week in December.
This is a picture outside a restaurant at a small mall where we went to dinner with President and Sister Berrett and senior couples Sister and Elder Grundy and Sister and Elder Bedke.
We went up the street to a small shop and found a small Christmas Tree and started decorating...
Michael, Laura and the children sent Grandpa Larry a Christmas train--with sound, lights and smoke...
Wow. Like home.
We added bells and stars...
We found a large clear star that we added a light to and hung it in our front window. We are on the top floor of our building, so it is a beacon to the world. We turn it on at dusk and off at dawn.
Darla began baking cookies and filled the apartment with the great smells of Christmas.
Peanut Butter cookies...
A Christmas box from home brought letters, cards and snowflakes from our grandchildren and other family members.
They all are displayed on our doors.
One of the traditions here in the Rajahmundry District is the Annual Joseph Smith Memorial Cricket Tournament. Each branch competes in a double-elimination tournament. They draw a big circle field boundary, set up the wickets, and the tournament is on!
They take cricket pretty seriously in this part of the world! The ball really screams from the "bowler" (pitcher) to the batter.
The Old Guy tried it...
Eye-hand coordination is important, and it was tough for him!
OK, he hit it once.
We were asked to go to Visakhapatnam to provide a Missionary Christmas Devotional for the missionaries there.
It is about a 3 1/2 hour drive to "the City of Destiny"--commonly referred to as Vizag...the15th largest city in India with 1.9 million people.
We watched the First Presidency Christmas Devotional, did a Nativity reading with songs and scriptures, ate home made cookies and had dinner at a nice restaurant.
President Muppidi and his wife just built a house and had an Open House. It is a day-long event that everybody gets involved in!
President and Sister Muppidi in their new house.
Christmas Devotional with the Rajahmundry Elders at our apartment
We went to Dolphinns for dinner.
This little lady has a street-side shack and food stand that we walk by almost every day. One day we saw her chair was broken. We gave her a new one. She always jumps up to say "Namaste" and bows to us. We gave her a blanket for Christmas. She was so very thankful.
We went Christmas Caroling with the 3rd Branch. We visited inactives and part-member families. The branch would carol until 3:00 a.m. three nights of Christmas week. We went home at 10:30.
On Wednesday of Christmas week we gathered at 9:00 p.m. to sort clothes to give to the poor and homeless street people of Rajahmundry. By 2:00 a.m. we ran out of fruit, clothes and blankets way before the need ran out. It felt good to give but sad that we did not have enough.
Helping Hands giving to the poor of Rajahmundry
Over 800 people attended the Christmas Eve program behind the rented church building.
Here the group is assembling
Sister and Elder Newton were asked to talk about what Christmas meant to them.
The choir sang.
There was singing, dancing, skits...and, oh yes, we ate curry at 9:30 at night!