Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas 2015 in Rajahmundry

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.

Snicker doodles...

Chocolate cookies...

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.

Great times!

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!

Happy Christmas!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Visit to KLR Industries in Hyderabad-- 4 Dec 2015


KLR Industries has about 400 employees and delivers product all over the world—including the USA. They manufacture well drilling accessories such as drill bits, drill stem, hammer drills, etc. for bore wells, horizontal drilling for mining operations and regular water well drilling.

The owner of the company (center in the picture above) picked us up in his car and took us to the plant. He was dressed in black—a symbol of a Hindu cleansing process. For 45 days he is not allowed to wear shoes so he had to hand us off to an employee to go through the plant because there are a lot of metal shavings all over the concrete and packed dirt floors. He has to sleep on the floor with no pillow outside his house; he must take his shirt off when he eats and can only eat one meal a day; he must wash his legs whenever he uses the restroom—plus lots of other rituals.

We also saw how they harden the drill bits and how they make up to 12-inch diameter rock-roller drill bits; some bits were carbon, some steel, some were carbide.

Hardened rock-roller bits.

 It was interesting to see state of the art CNC controlled metal lathes, cutters and finishers being operated by men with sandals—no safety gear anywhere in sight!

The heat hardening system they had looked like it was built in 1950 and has never been updated. We were amazed!! Incredible India.

The interesting part of the tour was that they also build the drill rigs from scratch—everything except the truck engine and frame. We saw drill rigs going out the door with all the labels and decorations that the customer wanted; we saw rigs that will drill down to 2,000 feet; we saw rigs mounted on small trucks, large trucks with multiple axles and a trailer. Each had the drill tower, an air compressor with diesel engine, hydraulic controls of the drilling hardware as well as giant stabilizers to keep it all upright! 

While in Bangalore, we Visited the Association of People with Disabilities--APD--8 Dec 2015

We were surprised by the size of the facility and the scope of the programs for people with disabilities. They have five or six large buildings, a K-7 school, an applied technology school for job training, long distance education facility, library, plant nursery for growing and selling plants, physical therapy facilities, a prosthetics manufacturing and fitting department and a wheelchair customizing and fitting department.

They serve all persons with disabilities except the blind.

We loved this sign!

Stake Conference in Hyderabad--5-6 Dec 2015

We had Stake Conference on 5-6 December 2015 in Hyderabad.

It was beautiful--we think it was the 
"First Best Marigold Hotel"!


Of the total thirteen blocks (several village areas) in the Cuddalore district, the incessant rain and flash floods affected eleven blocks; about six were severely affected. Fifty-three Village Panchayats (village governing bodies) comprising 219 hamlets were severely affected by the rain and flash floods. 

Due to heavy flooding, accessibility to villages across the district was harshly affected. About 2,0164 hectares (about 50,000 acres) of crops were submerged due to flash flooding and incessant rainfall. 

The number of families reporting cattle loss was more than 300. Damage to shelters was reported by 4,804 families.

Bringing in the supplies for packaging.

This is what was put in each pink food bag.

 A total of 1,700 food bags were packed and shipped in two trucks-- 640 to Chennai Church members; 1,060 bags to families in small villages south of Chennai who were especially hit by the storm.

Members and missionaries working together to load the trucks.

Along with food bags oil, bread, and milk were shipped.

It took a big truck to get the last of the food bags on their way.

The last truck pulled out Monday afternoon at about 4:00 p.m. and arrived in Chennai the next morning.

Members from the Coimbatore Branch--located about 320 miles south of Chennai--and missionaries distribute food and supplies in Chennai.

All food and supplies made it to their destination safe and sound. 
No relief volunteers were injured.