Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Week Eighty-Five




Hello!!

I hope all of you had as good of a week as I did! I hope the snow is falling, the Jazz are winning, and the NFL playoffs are exciting. I hope all of you are healthy and happy and enjoying the new year.

This week I had the opportunity to go to Mumbai on exchange again! It was such a great time! I woke up in Delhi at 6 a.m. to get to the airport. The pollution, fog and cold here was horrible on the way to the airport. Then we got off in Mumbai just a few hours later and I couldn't even walk to the cab without sweating and feeling the humidity. Delhi is such a desert compared to Mumbai. This time in Mumbai I tried some new food. I had some Shwarma Rolls from an amazing Muslim Dargah. Muslim people are the best cooks in the world. I love their food. I of course had Vada Pav again; it's not Mumbai without it. We also ate at a member’s home one night and she made awesome South Indian food. The members there don't get to see white missionaries like me very often....like once every two years maybe. She was surprised at how much I could eat, and how spicy it could be, and then she offered to find me a South Indian wife ha-ha. Such a fun night, I just love Indian people. I don't know if I have ever told you this before or not, but they are the funnest people on Earth. They are just looking to have a good time, all the time. It's just a good place to be on a mission.

This week I have one experience that I would like to share with you. We taught a man named Mohan, we have taught him before and have known him for weeks but this lesson was just awesome. We were on the roof of his building at the very top. You could see all the buildings in Delhi for miles, all painted bright colors of every kind, filled to the top with Lakh's of people. Every building has Sarees and clothes out drying in the wind and big tanks on top to collect the water. The sun was shining and it was just a gorgeous day. You could see all the Hindu temples from Chattarpur to Qutob Minar and there we were, just two missionaries on the roof teaching a random guy who had become a friend. He used to be Hindu, but gave up on religion when he was about 20. He had questions such as, "Why do I need faith?" "Does God even live?" and, "Does He know me personally?" We were able to answer all of the questions, and to help him start to understand. We gave him a Book of Mormon and he said he would read it. 

The main point of this story that I want to tell you is that he is not the only one. Those buildings are filled with people, all of them with questions. Some will ask them, others won't. There are thousands and millions and lakh's and crore's of people who need and want the gospel in their lives. Delhi is full of them, Mumbai as well. All of India needs the gospel, and we are working at it. But while I'm over here working on these people, I hope you're joining with us. There are people in Robin Idaho that need help also. There are many people in Pocatello that could use the gospel light in their lives. Their circumstances will be different than the people of India, but the questions are all the same. The confusion is all the same. Yeah, maybe they won't listen to us, but we will never know unless we try. Maybe they have heard it before and didn't accept, but that doesn't mean we can't be a friend. Maybe they don't want to give up coffee or alcohol, but that doesn't mean they aren't good people.

I hope we all can see the people around us in a different way, and look and pray for opportunities to share the gospel. How selfish it would be to keep it to ourselves. 

Love,

Elder Armstrong
Pollution and smog outside the door of my apartment

Monday, January 8, 2018

Week Eighty-Four


Love my Mission!
Hello family and friends,

What an eventful week we had. It's so sad to hear of the passing of President Monson. The first Prophet I knew was Gordon B. Hinckley, but I grew up listening to and loved President Monson. He was a very happy and cheerful man, always ready to make a good joke in his talks; he told amazing stories and connected them to the Gospel. I remember his story of starting a canyon on fire and the time he wiggled his ears in conference. He was always serving and looking to help others, I know he was a Prophet of God. We got the news right during my training in MLC this week and everything just stopped as we talked about him and his life. It was a cool little moment, but it was a shock. 

This week Elder Basil and I had two baptisms. Their names are Nirmala and her son Ahman. They are part members to the church and are the family I told lives in Rishikesh, India. Sister Nirmala was a devoted Hindu all of her life even while her husband Raju was a Mormon. They had been married for 21 years and Raju was praying for his wife every day. She finally had a change of heart and was ready to accept the Savior and his gospel; she made time, came to Delhi, and was taught and baptized. They have committed to coming to Delhi once a month for the Sacrament, which is a huge sacrifice for them to make. Then we hope to start a home group there in the coming months. I grew to love Nirmala and Ahman so much and it was so amazing to hear them bear their testimonies after the baptism. The best sight ever was seeing Ahman come out of the Bishop’s office with a smile on his face and a stack of scriptures and youth pamphlets and all the materials he needs to learn and grow in the gospel. He was so excited to show us his new Bible and Book of Mormon and we are so happy for him.

This week I just want to bear my testimony that President Monson was a Prophet of God, and so will our next Prophet and our next and our next and it will never end. We have the Priesthood of God on the Earth today and it will never be taken away. We are led by leaders who have been called of God, your bishops, stake presidents, and home teachers were all called of God. We receive revelation in this church. The Church of Jesus Christ is a perfect church, the people may not be perfect, the leaders may not be perfect, but they are called to the position they are to serve. Love your leaders, follow our prophets, and trust in the Lord. I promise this church is the True Church of Jesus Christ, and you will be more happy and blessed than ever before when you decide to give yourself to Him.

Love,

Elder Armstrong

Me and Ahmen (notice the Sweater, I am actually cold)



Tuesday, January 2, 2018

HAPPY NEW YEAR Nineteenth Month Mark

Dear family,

Happy New Year!! Life is going great and I have completed my "mission year". The entire year of 2017 I was a missionary. I started the year finishing my time in Dwarka as a trainer, I then had the wonderful opportunity to serve in Noida, our mission's toughest area as the district leader. I loved my time there and learned so much. One cool thing about that, I was the last American to serve in Noida because of the increasing political problems and the area not being very safe. You can see now why I loved it there;) I then served in Lajpat Nagar in the center of Delhi as a Zone Leader. I loved being there and I had so much fun, that was a great learning experience and I have some really great memories from that time. Next I came here to the Munirka Ward not long after we became a Stake! I have loved every second of this ward and area and being an assistant to President Hodges, he is the coolest and I have learned so much from him and this leadership responsibility. I am so excited for 2018 and for the last few months I have in this mission.

This week we have been blessed immensely by the Lord in finding people who are interested. We have been welcomed into the homes of so many people and we have felt that we are literally being led by the Spirit to places and apartments where we can have success. Yesterday we went to a home and taught Aki and his wife the Restoration. They were so prepared that before we could even invite them to be baptized they invited themselves and asked if we could baptize them. They have been wanting to be baptized for a long time now, but random things kept stopping them, and now they found us. After the lesson which was seriously amazing Elder Basil and I left with just the biggest smiles on our faces and gave each other a huge hug. It's the coolest feeling in the world to see someone accept the gospel and have a desire to follow it because they know it will make them happy. Better than any touchdown I have ever scored or wrestling match I have ever won. I absolutely love it. 

This week we have a few baptisms on Saturday for Nirmala and Ahman from Rishikesh up in North India. It's a state called Uttarakhand and it's close to Nepal, a few weeks later we will baptize a family from Dehradun which is also close to Rishikesh and they will hopefully start a home group together in the coming months. It's so cool to see the work come together and to see the gospel spread. 

Right now I am just lost in the work and it's the best thing ever. I think that as true disciples we will all lose ourselves in the service of our God, the service of our fellow men, or any other true or worthwhile practice. Follow the Saviors example and "go about doing good", be "anxiously engaged in a good cause" I promise you your time will be spent well and you will look back as a much happier person knowing you gave your all to something that changes lives. I hope all of us will start the new year with awesome goals that will bring us closer to our Heavenly Father. 

Love,

Elder Armstrong

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Merry Christmas Week Eighty-two



Hello everyone and a very Merry Christmas!!

I just talked to my family and it was amazing to see them, but even better to hear their voices and to laugh and to make some jokes with them. Some things back home have changed, but some have not changed and never will (that's why I love where I come from).  

This week was a really good week! We have some people who have come down from Northern India to get baptized. They are from a place very close to Nepal and China and want to be baptized. They have some family members here in Delhi and after they get baptized we are going to try and have them start a home group where they live. It's really cool and Elder Basil and I get to teach them. It's just so cool to see how the church grows as people get interested and bring the gospel back to their homes...that turns into home groups...then branches...then wards and stakes an missionaries. We are way excited. Elder Basil is such an awesome companion! He is so cool and we work so much it's awesome. He is just a really good person and wants to do good as a missionary to everyone he meets, so it's really easy to be his companion!

This week I had a lot of cool experiences, but overall I recognized something really cool in my life. I have met so many people here in India, literally thousands upon thousands. Not just Indians, but people from all countries that I have met. All of them, like myself, are imperfect. I have been lied to, cheated, spit on, doors slammed in my face, people threatening to hurt me, and the list goes on and on and on. But through it all I have learned to love them. I have learned to love people through their imperfections. We learn in the Book of Mormon that Charity is the pure love of Christ, and that we can only receive that love as a gift from God as we pray for it and work at it. Well I have been praying and working for a long time, and this week it hit me like a truck. I love these people, I love them all. They have problems, some hate me, some will never listen to me or my message, but I still love them...and I hope only good things for them. This world is full of a lot of problems, and I believe a lot of those problems can be solved through love, true, Christ like love. It's the best Christmas present I could ask for to have the pure love of Christ for my brothers and sisters in India. I hope all of you will pray and work in your own lives to receive this love as a gift from God. It will change your life and although you may think otherwise, it really can and will change the world. 

I love you all...I pray for you. And I hope that your Christmas is wonderful. As I send this mail, I realize Santa is on his way...hope you have been nice this year!

Love,

Elder Armstrong

Monday, December 18, 2017

Week Eighty-One



Hey guys!

Sorry today will be a really short email because I have almost no time! This week has been extremely busy and we are going to get even busier today. We just had transfers and Elder Dass is going home to Malaysia.  My new companion will be Elder Basil, he is from Australia and is the coolest guy. We have been friends in the mission since we both first arrived, but somehow we have never served close to each other until now. He is an amazing missionary and I am excited to be with him and help our mission progress. Elder Dass was a good companion and I enjoyed our time together.

This week we had a special experience in doing service. As a mission we had a service project after our Zone Conferences the last few months to make 200 blankets. We then got to go with the YSA's of the New Delhi Stake (feels so good to say Stake) and give them out to people who are outside without shelter this winter. We decided to go to Safdarjung Hospital to give them out. Safdarjung Hospital is a government hospital right in the middle of New Delhi. In India Government hospitals give free health care, and with 27 million people, they are always overstocked with people because many cannot afford to go to a private hospital. So these people wait to be admitted into the hospital, sometimes it takes weeks, maybe even up to a month. They just sit outside in the parking lot and in parks and right in front of the hospital doors waiting for their chance at healthcare. Some don't make it in after waiting for so long. And out in the cold nights here in Delhi it is really nice to have a few blankets. It was an amazing experience giving them all blankets and seeing their faces. It was a very good feeling. Those people are children of God; he loves them and cares about them just as much as he does you or me. I am thankful for my blessings and my abilities to serve others and to help those who don't have the ability to help themselves. I love this church and this gospel, there is nothing better. 

Serve others, nothing will make you happier. Have a Very Merry Christmas.

Love,

Elder Armstrong