Sunday, March 17, 2013

Church - Indian Style

I have been able to attend Church nearly every Sunday since I have been in India. It takes about 1 1/2 hours to get there, but it is worth the drive. Before my first visit I had no idea what to expect. I didn't even know there were LDS congregations meeting in India. I am happy to report that congregations are meeting all over India in an orderly fashion under the direction of 2 Mission Presidents, 1 Stake President and around 6 District Presidents. The information I found said there are about 10,000 Latter-Day Saints in the country.

                  Anita and I getting ready to head off to Chennai

                    Entrance to the Chennai Ward Building

India is predominately a Hindu nation with about 80% of the population. There are approximately 13% Islams and only 2% Christians. The Christians live predominately in the southern portions of the country. Chennai is in southern India, therefore you see signs of Christianity all over.

                          The Chennai Ward Building
                            3 Branches meet here.
Except for a 7 Star Hotel that I have seen, this is the nicest building in   Chennai.

Church is conducted in English. It takes awhile to get use to the accent. Probably about the time I leave I will have figured it out. There are a lot of full-time missionaries. They speak and teach in English, but with a Tamil accent. There are a large number of male members. This seems to be a little unusual as it seems there are always more women to convert to the Church. But because not as many women speak English, the men are the ones that lead their families into the Church. Most of the members are first generation LDS. I am impressed with their knowledge and commitment.

                   The Relief Society or Women's Organization

                   Celebrating the birthday of Relief Society

Relief Society is an interesting experience. Women in this country for the most part keep a low profile. But in Relief Society, with no men present, they come to life. There is much discussion and laughter. The lessons are all taught in a combination of English and Tamil. Some teachers are very talented in going back and forth without breathing or pausing. Today I was asked about how we "do" things in America. I said that for the most part they are running there Ward just like in America. It is inspiring to experience the early stages of what someday may be a really big thing. With 1.2 billion people, there is alot that lies ahead for the growth of the Christian community in this country.


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