Monday, March 14, 2016

Time to Teach

Elder and I both love to teach and have had quite a few opportunities to do so since coming to India—though often it’s the kind like last Sunday when I walked into the YW room in Dwarka and the YW President looked up and saw me and said, “Sister Allen, can you take the lesson because I thought my counselor was taking it and she thought I was.” And yes, here in India you don’t give lessons, but take them.

However, these last two weeks, we have started team teaching two on-going classes. Every Saturday night we are teaching an Intermediate level (American) English Class in Dwarka, following a curriculum from Cambridge with workbooks, teacher’s guide, homework and quizzes. It is being taught in each of the branches in Delhi, preferably by a native speaker, followed by an optional spiritual message by the missionaries.
This is being done as community service and attended by both members and non-members with the hope of helping the members improve their English and also finding people who might like to hear more about our church. A week ago we had 18 people register for the class with a few observers/auditors in the class as well.
This Saturday it was threatening to rain so our numbers were down a bit, but we still had 16 in the room by the end of class with just a few attending both weeks. It is too early to know how many will attend with any regularity and if everyone who has come either week were to all show up the same week, we would really have a crowd. And we did have one unexpected creature attend the first week--a friendly gecko!

The other class we are teaching is Temple Preparation in Noida Branch every other week (since that is how often we are there) right after the regular meetings. (Well actually right after the pot luck lunch they have been having ever since the new Branch President was called—it’s a big hit with the members and makes it much easier to stay after for Branch Council Meetings and now for our class.)
The Branch President’s wife loves to cook and usually brings the most food to share, but there are usually 3 or 4 other people contributing as well including some investigators. Plus if anyone is celebrating an anniversary or birthday, there can even be a cake!

Attendance at the branch is up, regularly in the 30’s now, but we were concerned about having enough interested people for the class. However, yesterday we had 3 of the 5 couples invited to attend, plus the wife of another invited couple, one invited single man, and two RM’s who acted as translators for us, for a total of 12 including us. It takes quite a bit longer to discuss things when you need to translate back and forth between the teachers and the students but it was good. I am excited to teach this class and share my love of the temple with these members here. And also yesterday was the last Sunday for one of the couples in the branch who are shifting to Idaho to attend BYU-I. He is a counselor in the District Presidency and a previous Noida Branch President and an RM from Nepal. In fact, you can read about his mission experience in a talk Elder Funk gave in General Conference in October 2013: They will be greatly missed but we all wish them well!
We are also helping organize some Self Reliant groups and train branch specialists. Here is an Education group in the Dwarka Branch. They meet for 2 hours a week for 12 weeks, learning principles of self-reliance and making and keeping commitments. They are also eligible to apply for PEF loans to further their education/training here in India.
 One Saturday while in the Dwarka building, I looked out the window to see several families disassembling their homes. You can see them taking the metal roofs off from over their brick walls and piles of their belongings waiting in the dirt.

The next week I took another picture for comparison. Nothing is left. I wonder where they all went.

I'll add a few more comments and pictures from the domestic side of life. Did you ever wonder how bathtubs are installed? We got a glimpse one day last week about how they are supported here in India when 4 workers showed up at our door and informed us that our bathtub was leaking a little and they needed to replace a pipe underneath.
So out it came, resting on its side for a day while they made the repair, replaced it and recaulked all around it. However, since the geezer (small hot water tank) is broken, I still can't take a bath unless I want it to be a cold one.

A fun discovery we made a while ago was red carrots. They are much sweeter than orange ones but are only available in the cooler months, we are told. We will miss them this summer.

I finally got a real haircut. Elder has had several for about $1-2 dollars each. The mission president's wife warned me that the local beauty shop here had tried to charge here the equivalent of $40 for a haircut so I have cut my own sides and tops a couple of times. However, the back had 5 months growth and was beginning to look really shaggy. So a friend from Dwarka who is a professional beautician came to our home last Monday and gave me my summer cut. It definitely isn't too long anymore--and much cooler!
In closing, I'll share a couple of street scenes. This first one is repeated every few blocks--a place people dump trash and the local cows and pigs eat whatever they want.

The last one is taken from an elevated Metro Station of a typical street scene.There are vendors underneath all those colored tarps on the left selling all sorts of things. One thing we have enjoyed about the several rains we have had lately is that the air is much cleaner now. Yeah! Know that we are both very busy but enjoying our mission. Thanks for your interest and prayers. There is much to be done here and throughout the world.


  1. I really like to see the pictures of everyday life there in India. Your new haircut looks great!

  2. Lots of teaching! That is a lot of people at English class--much more than came to the ones that we taught. I love seeing all the pictures of the people and the street scenes. And how strange to just pack up and move your house!

  3. Your experiences mirrors much of what we experienced in Russia. It was so hard teaching through a translator and I often wondered how much of what I said actually came through. Wonderful blog!