Sunday, October 10, 2010

Coimbatore, October 3

We got 'grounded' for a couple days this week because the Ayodhya mosque decision finally came back. Nothing happened in Coimbatore but we were a bit worried so stayed inside.

As a result, on Thursday I had the chance to make chicken curry and chapattis to feed 6, it tasted reasonably well but took like two and a half hours. Probably because it was my first time (I normally don't have time to try). Luckily, I've seen my native companions prepare enough, and tasted enough dishes, to figure out what tastes right.

Also on Saturday it was Gandhi-jayanti, which is a national holiday so there was an activity at church. It started with lunch potluck, but only men were allowed to cook. (The branch wanted to give the sisters the day off, so they were officially not allowed inside their respective kitchens).

Yes, the food tasted good, and there was enough, though I heard in a couple houses the wives had to sit outside the kitchen and give their husbands detailed instructions. I made egg salad sandwiches which had two perks. One, no one had ever tasted it before and two, all I needed were eggs, mayonnaise, bread, and salt.

The main highlight of this week was a wonderful family we're teaching. The father and the mother are named R. and S., they have a 19yo daughter named R. and a 23yo son named P. The daughter is studying aeronautical engineering and the son is doing his MBA. The other elders had been teaching them but they got transferred, so I met them first in about the beginning of August.

Their native place is near the south end of India, a city called Valparrai about 3 hours from here. Studies are better in Coimbatore so after R. finished her 10th they sent their children here for studies and then moved here with them. (How many people would do that in America?)

They have obligatons in Valparrai; S. is a councillor in Valparrai -- it's a politician job, elected office, but not very work-intensive. R. owns some sort of a gas distribution center. Both of their duties seem to go on fine with occasional visits. (Usually one of them will go to Valparrai for half of the week.)

Elders have been meeting them for about eight months. They love us coming, they have great understanding and whenever we give them a scripture reading assignment they do it eagerly.

Since I met them we've been having a lot of spiritual lessons; they had been contemplating moving back to Valparrai in a couple of years, where they have their own house. To continue learning and growing in the church, however, they would have to stay in Coimbatore, and we talked to them strongly about that several weeks ago, and then left it -- they understood, and it's their decision to make. (And for them, it makes some sense anyway; their children are only going to get jobs in big cities; there is no market for their skills in Valparrai.)

After a particulaly spiritual lesson a couple of weeks ago, S. said unprompted to the member we brought on exchange, "We will stay in Coimbatore -- for this church only." They have come to church about 12 times now. Today we were especially excited because they stayed for all 3 hours, it was only the second time they had stayed, and then they met the branch president after church. They are going to be out of station on the 10th, and then their baptism will be on the 17th, Elder Riley's last Sunday.

Because elders have been teaching them for so long, like six or seven different families have come with elders to their house. Last night we were sitting at the church talking to a church member couple named R.and D., that we had brought over there before, and they asked us, "R. and S. are getting baptized on the 17th?" Yes, we said, shaking our heads, sorry, we forgot to tell you the news. We're excited about it, and it's exciting to watch them tell all their church member friends about it.

Thus is life,
with love,
Sam

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