Sunday, April 19, 2009

Chennai, April 15

Well another week is gone. Life is pretty well, nothing nearly as new or
exciting to report as last week. We had a conference with everyone in Chennai
(President Nichols came) and then there was General Conference, which is a
churchwide conference, video-d in from Salt Lake twice yearly for ten hours over
two days. Our schedules are getting pretty busy, honestly I’m not sure how
we’re going to have time to teach all the people we’re currently teaching.
Not much to complain about really 

Met a pretty interesting woman on Monday, her name is Salima*. Muslim background, as you can
probably guess, and 11 years ago she married her husband Jonathan, a love
marriage. She had to go to the police to ensure her safety, and she hasn’t
talked to them in 10 years. I knew she had a Muslim background but didn’t
think too deeply, Elder Siyyadri asked her. Her husband just got back from Dubai
and she’s so happy, we just went to check up uplift her (we read some
scriptures about family) and encourage her to come to church. She won’t come, we
think because of her Muslim background, it’s already un-kosher for women in
India to come with out their husbands, let alone a woman with Muslim traditions. Six
months ago during the last churchwide videoconference a pair of elders got her
to come by stopping by and hiring two autos (one for them and one for her and
her 8year-old daughter). I was pretty amused when I heard that.

Also met an interesting guy named Swaroop we’re teaching, he’s in real
estate and complains at length about how corrupt India is, but declares it’s
his country and he won’t go to America or let his children go (he’s had the
chance).

Also I’m learning how much of this work is just understanding people, getting
to know and genuinely care about them, and showing that. Part of that is making
inferences from what you know and what they tell you – like I knew the
love-marriage/Muslim background with Salima but I didn’t think too deeply. Or
another guy we’re teaching - 25year-old, only child, father expired, lives with mom
who works 60 hour weeks. We’ve seen him playing with the nearby children, but
the building he’s living in isn’t really one with his density. Of course –
he’s lonely! My companion realized this, I didn’t. Other families I’ve
been able to figure things out though, which is good. I’m getting better. One
of the things that inspires me is how genuinely empathetic President Nichols is
– he says it’s something he’s learned over time as he’s met tons and
tons of people (he was a bishop, then a stake president, with the role of
supervising 8 or so wards and their bishops, now this).

Not much else to report. With love,

Sam


*Editor's Note: Name has been changed.

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