Monday, August 14, 2017

Week Sixty -Two

Hey guys!

This week was an awesome week in Delhi. Great work was done in our zone and Elder Openshaw and I found many new investigators, I mean, who wouldn't want to meet with two very handsome white guys who want to help you live a happier life? I guess not many people. The work was great this week and transfers are coming this week. I don't really know what will happen, but it would be awesome to stay in Lajpat with Elder Openshaw and this branch. I just baptized Rabina and Siyon and Elder Karkala is already gone, if I leave that would be sad for them, I think. But we'll cross our fingers. Everything is going great, life is awesome.

Everyday Elder Openshaw and I try to have fun while working, and this week we had a lot of fun. I don't think I've ever climbed as many stairs and knocked as many doors as we did in the tall buildings here in Delhi. My legs are so dead. It doesn't help that its 1000 degrees outside at 1:00pm in the afternoon and that we have to run through the middle of traffic to jump on a moving bus. It's such a fun place to live as a missionary. We even had a guy open the door without pants on and yelled at us to get away. One night as we were exploring deep into our area to find new people and places, we came across this Muslim colony and went into the market. While trying to make it through the market, out of the corner of my eye I saw an Afghani food place and we had to eat there for dinner because Afghani food is the best thing ever. Anyways we walked in and they just had these full chickens slow roasting in a Tandoori barbecue. It was way too tempting, so Elder Openshaw and I decided to sit down and eat an entire chicken together. He got left and I got right and we pounded an entire chicken with some Afghani roti's and it may have been the best meal ever. Crazy things just happen with fun American companions. 

This week I don't have much, Elder D. Todd Christofferson will be here this week and man are we excited to see him. It will be such a great experience to learn from him. We are so blessed to have Prophets and Apostles in our day. If you follow their counsel you can't fall off the straight and narrow path. If you look at the simple things like the Family Proclamation, the teaching they give in General Conference, and the constant counsel they give the members of the church throughout the world, it's easy to see that they are inspired by God and that if we follow them, true peace and happiness follows. I'm thankful that this week I will be able to meet and shake hands with a living witness of the Savior. I hope all of us recognize the blessing it is to have them in our lives, and act on that recognition by reading their teachings and most importantly, following their teachings. 

I love you all...Go's that time of year again.

Elder Armstrong

Monday, August 7, 2017

Week Sixty-One

Happy Rhaki! 

This week was one to remember that's for sure! It all started when last Monday after emailing we went to Vasant Vihar and played an intense game of soccer. We found this little dirt park maybe 50 yards long and 30 yards wide that was just abandoned in the middle of nowhere. It started raining about half way through the game, and it was serious rain. I was so wet and muddy that we just stood in the rain longer for the mud to wash away. Then we walked to lunch through the back alleyways of Delhi that had basically turned into rivers. There were points where I was walking in water up to my knees. It had to have been full of human and animal feces, and it smelled pretty bad. But lunch was really good;)

This week something else extremely crazy happened as well. There was an Emergency transfer across the mission and Elder Karkala had to leave to help be one of the Zone Leaders in West Zone, so I got a new companion. His name is Elder Openshaw, my best friend in the mission. I think I've written about most of the things Elder Openshaw and I have done together, but some stories are best saved for after the mission. We just embrace the craziness of Indian life and go out of our way to do as many crazy and fun things as often as possible. We work like you can't believe and it is fun to work because I have someone that I can actually talk football with as we are walking to appointments and inviting people on the streets. He's from Boston so obviously things are tense right now because the Celtics took away Gordon Hayward and the Patriots won the Super Bowl.  We play one chess game every night and so far I'm in the lead. Anyways things are going great.  We are working hard and have a lot of good plans for our zone to improve. 

Siyon was confirmed yesterday and Rabina is doing really well, she got admitted into a school that teaches English so we are so happy for her. She speaks English okay, but now she will have such a bright future. Tonight we will go to Rabina's home and since it is Rhaki she will tie a beaded bracelet on my wrist, and put a bindi on my forehead.  I will eat the special sweet, and then I will be her brother and her protector. I can't believe it's been a year since last Rhaki, time is flying and I love the traditions of this country. 

This week I noticed something that was pretty good for me to notice, and I think maybe it could help some of you as well because we all make this mistake. So every night when we get home we do the usual, shower and clean the junk off of us, send numbers, call district leaders and then play chess. But sometimes, like this week we go to this shop to buy food and see the shop keeper who is our favorite man ever. He is like a 5 or 10 minute walk away and you have to go through this pretty cool dark alley to get there (just like all of Delhi) And on the way, there were so many people sleeping out on cots and on the ground. I realized quickly that they were all auto drivers, and they were homeless. Then I remembered the auto driver who earlier that day I was arguing with over 10 rupees. (10 rupees really isn't that much money). I wanted the correct price but was upset because he was charging more than we thought was correct, and it happens literally every auto ride...the Hindi I know the most is the words that help you bargain and get cheaper prices because I'm so used to "white tax". But now I realize that that's just a little dumb, of course they should be honest and get the money they earn the right way. And of course I should try and get the correct price, but there is no need ever for me to haggle the man and cause him grief and to annoy him, when he could be one of the ones who has no home. I just feel that we never know what people are truly going through in life, I have no idea what that man's life is like, and we often get angry or upset at people, or make judgments about them, and we have no idea who that person really is or what they go home to at night, if they have a home. 

The world needs a lot more love, and maybe an extra 10 rupees could help show that, or maybe patience while I get the correct price, and most importantly, a smile and a thank you, would probably be the best way to show that love. Please think of others, you're actions will change dramatically and so will your happiness.

Elder Armstrong

Monday, July 31, 2017

14 Month Mark

Hello family, 

This week was bittersweet,  a lot of good things happened and some bad things happened also, so I'll start with the bad. I got extremely sick again, I thought I was over the whole "Delhi Belli" phase. But this week just proved that even after countless times of being sick, spending over a year in Delhi, and being confident that all the sketchy food I eat is okay, you can still get wrecked. It started with a fever of 103 and right then I knew it was going to be a rough week. I spent a few days inside and after the sickness left I was 5 pounds lighter and all the members at church were saying "So thin you are!" So I guess I'm looking better, but I'm warning you if any of you want to come to Delhi, you will get sick and it will try to kill you. 

In India there is tons of traffic, you've seen the videos, and so when buses come along they either don't stop at all or they slow down just barely. Every bus I get on is with a running start to jump on and catch it, they don't slow down for children or the elderly, and about 100 people are getting off while you and 1000 people are getting on, it's the closest thing to football I get these days. I love it, but it can be really stressful especially in the heat. Anyways about a month and a half ago as Elder Karkala and I were doing this to go out to our area, we met a nice kid named Siyon. As we invited him to learn more, we had about 20 seconds of actual speaking to him, so we didn't think much of it.  However, he called us a day later and was interested, we ended up teaching him and his only struggle was to give up some tea, and after that he's been golden! Yesterday he got baptized and he is a great guy with so much potential. He has a very big heart and was really shy at first, but is now really open with all the Elders and most of the branch. It was a great service and I'm really proud of the last two baptisms we have had, they are going to be great members.

This week there isn't that much other news, I am just trying to recover and get back out working. I am giving a few trainings this week and that has kept me busy while I have been sick, and in only 3 weeks Elder Christofferson is coming! 

I'm sort of in a hurry to get out of the cyber today, so I'm sorry if my message today seems short or scrambled.  I wanted to just share a message on prayer, and how it helps so much. This week as I was sick there were countless prayers being said and so I think that's where this came from. But it's so interesting to me to see the religions of the world like I get to see and how prayer is strong in all of them. We all have our different methods and beliefs, our different languages and traditions. The one thing that is in common with all of these religions, including Mormons, is that it's an act of Faith in a higher power, and a human understanding that we need help from someone stronger than we are to help us. Everyone needs help, everyone needs comfort, that's what makes us humans. And I think we're all just a bunch of humans trying to find our way on this crazy Earth, praying at every chance for a little bit of help. I'm thankful that my entire duty is to help people learn to pray, to trust in God, and find their way. 

Elder Armstrong

Siyon's Baptism

Looking pretty thin after being so sick! 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Week Sixty

Dear Family,

What a wet, humid, hot, sweaty week it has been in Delhi. One day it was triple digit heat, one day the floods came and we could barely even work. Rainy season is coming in hard, but it still hasn't let summer go yet. This week I went on an exchange back to Noida where I served for 4 and 1/2 months and we woke up to the entire street being flooded. I went and got my breakfast by wading through water above the knee. It was so fun, but the water was absolutely disgusting. So much dirt and trash, but it was quite the experience. The next day it was so hot I thought I was going to die, there was so much water in the air and I am just wet all the time. Delhi is a great place.
Rainy Weather in Delhi
 This week the highlight was the baptism of Rabina, I've told you a lot about her, and she just really is the coolest. All baptisms are special and we get so happy for everyone to make that promise to God, but Rabina’s baptism I will never forget. She has a testimony, and she doesn't even really know how big it is. If you could see how much she loves the church.  Singing hymns, praying, and reading the scriptures, you would think she has been a member for years. But she found the gospel a little over a month ago. It's just such a blessing to see the gospel work in every life that it is applied to. When someone gives it a chance, that's all it takes. I grew up in the most Mormon place in the world and I just thought the gospel is what we do, that it worked for us and that's why we do it. But then I came to one of the most non-Mormon places in the world, where the smallest percent of people live the gospel and I saw that it still works, that it still changes lives and makes people happier. And that's when I realized why we do missionary work, because it works for everyone who has the smallest bit of faith to try it.

Rabina's Baptism!  Baptized by Elder Karkala

Rabina and her brother Rakeesh and their mother

I don't have much else this week, we are about to go to do some cool stuff around Delhi, next week I should have more cool pictures to send. Football season seems to be just around the corner, I would do anything to be in Idaho on Treasure Field on a September Friday night. But that's a sacrifice I am being asked to make right now. We have to sacrifice a lot for the gospel, I have sacrificed a lot, the missionaries I serve with have sacrificed a lot, and every faithful saint in the world sacrifices for the gospel. People in India have to change so much to be baptized and to follow what they know is true. They give up more than just tea and coffee, although that is tough too. They give up thousands of years of traditions, ideas, and practices, to be a Latter Day Saint. Today is Pioneer day in India and all of them are pioneers, in every sense of the word. I appreciate what the early Saints did for us, and I hope you will too. I also hope you will recognize how lucky and blessed we are because of them, and that's the vision in India right now. Someday the Church will be big and strong and it will bless millions here, but it starts with them. Years later I will look back and see where India used to be and compare it to where it will be then, and I will be thankful for the pioneers of India, who made it possible for people just like Rabina to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ. This church is so true, and that's all that matters.


Elder Armstrong
Three American Amigos!

My eggs for breakfast