Monday, March 19, 2018

Week Ninety Four

Hello everybody!

As all of you know I love my mission very much and I am so thankful for the place in which I was sent by Heavenly Father to do His work. I am also thankful for the time in which he has sent me to do his work. From the time I hurt my arm in high school to this very day, Heavenly Father has had me right on time to be in a place where I could have unforgettable experiences on my mission. I was called to serve on the very day I was ready to leave for the MTC. I was the first to ever come straight to India on a two year visa, without waiting in the states to get it.  The last 20 months I have been exactly where Heavenly Father wanted me to be in every area and with every companion. I was here to see the growth of the church, as Delhi created their first stake and wards became branches and presidents became bishops. And this week I saw another miracle, which just makes my mission an even more wonderful experience. I was transferred to Mumbai. I am, along with Elder Steele from Washington State, one of the first two non overseas citizens of India to serve in Mumbai. Basically that means foreigners could serve here before if they had Indian blood and Indian citizenship, but never could a full on white American serve here full time. Even when I was an assistant we came on exchanges, but could not stay here for an extended period of time. That has now changed and it is now possible for us to serve here without there being any issues with my foreign registry. I am so blessed and the Lord has truly given me so many wonderful opportunities to see his hand in my life. Before we had 6 Elders in Mumbai, but now there are 12 in two separate districts. Our hope is to split the branch into two branches as Mumbai continues to grow. I have been assigned to be the District Leader over the Ghatkopar District and I will also be training a new Elder, Elder Ravi.

Elder Ravi is from Bangalore, or Bangaluru whichever you want to say. He speaks Kannada, Tamil, Telegu, English, and Hindi. He is going to be a great missionary. Before the mission he was in his branch presidency as the second counselor and he is just 22 years old. He is excited just like me to be serving in Mumbai and to be out preaching the gospel and baptizing! 

Mumbai is great so far. It is hot and humid, there are cockroaches everywhere, and my bed is broken so I sleep on a mattress on the floor. The apartment is really nice though, we are lucky to have it. But life is great and I love this place. I love the branch already and I am excited to be here to baptize and help them grow. The food in Mumbai is better and cheaper than Delhi. I think I might sweat all my fat off this summer if I don't eat too much Vada Pav and Shwarma. Life is great and I look forward to telling you many stories from my time here in these last few months. I love you all and I am thankful for your prayers.


Elder Armstrong

Monday, March 12, 2018

Week Ninety-Three

Hey guys!

This week was legit. I went on exchange again to the Mumbai Zone and had a great time working there. It's a wonderful place to be and it is super hot there, humid and muggy and sunny. I was never dry and it was the best. I love the members there as well. It was a great experience going there for a few days and then it was back to Delhi for the regular work in my area, which is also amazing, I can't get over how lucky I am to be here in India. We had MLC this week and that's always a great opportunity to train and to help our mission leaders grow. 

We also had a great P-Day change to Wednesday so we could go to some sights around Delhi...we chose to go to 2 temples. One is the Lotus Temple of the Bahai faith, very nice people and an interesting religion. Then we went to Akshardham temple, which is a Hindu temple I have been to before, but the Elders in my district hadn't been and so I took them. It was a really great time to see the other religions of the world and learn of their beliefs, which is one of the best things I could have experienced as a missionary. Back home I thought the whole world was Idaho Mormons...there is so much more to the world when you start talking about religious beliefs. Ever since coming here the whole subject of religion has really captivated me and I love to learn about other's beliefs through meeting them and hearing their stories. From all of these experiences piled up over the last 20 plus months I have learned a few things. Number one, it is very clear to me to see that at one point, at the very beginning of the world, there was one Faith and Truth. But through the agency and mistakes of man so much of that truth has been lost over time. Even Hinduism, a religion that looks very different from Mormonism has small similarities that to me, point out that at one time it was all one truth. The other thing I have learned is that Religion is very very important. I don't care what religion it is, I don't care who or what you worship, I don't care where or why you worship, but Faith in a higher power is a very important thing to society. Religion teaches us to be kind and loving and to hope for something better. I meet people who believe in everything as God, and I meet people who believe very strongly in one God or religion, and yes they are tougher to teach about Jesus Christ but they are always better people in the end, because of their belief that they are accountable to God. I meet many people who are atheist or agnostic and I respect their beliefs but I also know how much it can help to have a belief in God and a trust that he is there watching over you. I want all of you to know that I believe that we have a Heavenly Father, who created us in his Image, and that he knows us and loves us perfectly. I know that he has a plan for us and that he truly cares about us and the decisions we make. I hope everyday that I can find someone who I can help learn more about God and help them to develop a relationship with him because I know how important it is to have faith. Faith is a wonderful thing that changes lives. I hope all of us will follow the teachings of our modern day prophets who teach about religious freedom more frequently than ever. Being religious is a wonderful thing, but it's going out of style quick and faithful latter-day saints are to "hope for a better world". I believe we have the ability to change the world, and I hope you'll try to do that this week.


Elder Armstrong

Went out to eat to celebrate Sister Gil going home


Elder Basil's depiction of me after my mission.  Ha Ha!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Week Ninety-Two

Dear Family,

What a great week we have had here in New Delhi! I love my time here and I am working really hard with Elder Basil. This week we had the wonderful holiday of Holi! The Hindu color festival of India! It is such a fun festival, but as missionaries we don't get to celebrate. However, we do get to see a lot of Holi colors and water balloons and eggs being thrown. Just like any good holiday: Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Super Bowl Sunday, the celebrating starts early. So all week we were being pounded with water balloons from the rooftops of Delhi and color was everywhere. It's such a cool tradition. Anyone can hit anyone with water and color and eggs and no one gets mad. It’s unreal. The water balloons were a nice surprise on the hot days, but the color ruined a few of my last remaining white, well mostly yellow, shirts.

This week we have had the opportunity to continue to teach a man named Aakash from Kolkata over Skype. He is really an awesome guy and is understanding really well. We set him on date for baptism on March 31st and he will be such a great support to the small branch of only 15 to 20 Saints. It is so cool to teach over Skype, it's amazing how the technology the Lord has given us can be used to spread His gospel. I hope we can all use the internet for a good reason. A reason that uplifts ourselves and others and is far away from anything Satan would have us use it for. 

The George family came back to church this Sunday with Ahman and Nirmala, they traveled all the way down to Delhi for one day, went to 3 hours of church, and then went right back for work the next day. Amazing! The best part was watching them willingly pay their tithing and hand the slip to the bishop...lives change when the gospel touches hearts.

I have had so many experiences on my mission that have changed my life. Each week I do my best to share one that could change yours, but with such a busy schedule I haven’t had the time like I used to have to write good emails and share as good of experiences in good detail. So I apologize for that. But today I wanted to share with you how I feel about being on a mission. Missions change lives. I have seen it time and time again. I am still for the most part the same Preston who loves sports and loves his friends and family, always trying to make every situation a little more fun. But I will never be the same spiritually, my testimony has grown, I am a better, kinder person now, and I have also grown as to things of the world. I understand the blessings we have in America; I understand how to spend money and have a budget and how to take care of myself. So the blessings are unbelievable really, my life has been forever changed. But the most important thing is that because of missionaries serving, the people they serve have the opportunity for their lives to change as well. I have seen so many people who have turned their lives around in a complete 180 degrees. It all starts when they hear the gospel and take a chance on it, giving place in their hearts for the Spirit to teach them, and being open enough to repent. When people do this, they are never the same, and that is a priceless thing to be a part of. I hope you will encourage many people to serve missions and to share the gospel, in all my life there has been no greater joy. No touchdown, pin, game winning buzzer beater by the jazz, could beat the feeling of seeing an Indian I love accept the gospel. It's changed my life and I know that anyone who serves a mission can feel the same.


Elder Armstrong

Elder Basil and I skyping Aakash from Kolkata

Trump sign in India

Monday, February 26, 2018

Twenty-One Month Mark

Hello Family and Friends!

Life is good in Delhi...the heat is coming and it is coming fast. I'm back to swiping my debit card across my face to get the sweat off my forehead, I used to carry a towel but it just gets too wet too fast and then it's no use. I also am going through a stage where I am tired of Indian happens like once every few months. Right now I just want a piece of real American pizza. But in a few days I'll be good with Roti and curry again.

This week was awesome. We found great people and so many blessings were obviously handed down to us. Yesterday we were finding between appointments and we were just going around our focus area looking for buildings to get into. Most of the buildings here have guards, and they never let you in. But yesterday we saw that there was one guard sleeping so we pounced on the opportunity to go into the building. Just as we were walking up the stairs on the second floor the guard noticed and he, as the Indian elders would say "scolded us nicely". We immediately told him that we were visiting the Christian family in the building, not knowing at all whether there would be any Christians there or not. He then thought about it and in Hindi sent us directly to door 304 (theen so char). The family opened the door, spoke great English, had a Christian background, and was interested in Prophets and the Book of Mormon. Pakka (for sure) we were led there by the Spirit and met the family Heavenly Father had prepared for us. I love having experiences like this, it never gets old. 

After that we went and taught another Christian man. He had some interesting beliefs about salvation and agency. It's interesting to me to see so many different beliefs and different ideas, I love to learn about others points of view, but in the end all it does is build my testimony of the Restored gospel of Jesus Christ. It's true, I know it with all of my heart and I know this work is real. I invite all of you to be a part of the Restoration and to help in the Work of Salvation.


Elder Armstrong

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Week Ninety

Hello everyone!

What a long and busy and crazy week I have had. I hope yours has been a little more easy going. Life here in Delhi is starting to get hot again, and I am not that excited for it. I am, however, excited to sweat off all the weight I gained over the last two or three months. I'm positive that by the time I come home I will be skinny and ready to put down a burger and a shake. This week I was sick again, but not as bad as I have been before. I thought over time I would get stronger, but I honestly think that when living in Delhi you just get progressively worse and the food and water just eats at your immune system. It's all in good fun though.

This week we had the wonderful opportunity to conduct a Ward Missionary Activity. It was a blast. Indians are some of the most fun people you will ever meet, and they love competition. I mean I'm a very competitive person, but some of the ward members are right up there with me. I'm talking about Relief Society president's Primary teachers, young men and women, and even the Bishop. They all want to win, and that makes simple childish games at a Ward activity the best night of the week. We had relay races and scavenger hunts and way more and you would have thought they were playing Pakistan in cricket. After the games we sat them down and talked about the new Stake Vision for 2018 which is based off the scripture in Matthew 6:33. "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all things shall be added unto you." We talked about what our priorities are and about how if we all put God first our newly formed stake can rise and reach out to many many people in need of the gospel light. 

The members here in the Munirka ward might be my favorite in all of Delhi. I mean I can't really choose a favorite I don't think, but I truly love this ward and its members. They love us and we love them, they give us referrals and we eat their food. It's just working really well;) But it all starts with having a great relationship with them. I truly care about these people. I care about my Bishop and his family. I care about the less actives across the ward. I care about the Primary kids and what their favorite color or favorite chocolate is. The lesson here, which is for everyone not just missionaries, is that when you truly care about and take interest in other people’s lives, you build true friendships that will last a lifetime. You don't do it because you have to, you don't do it because they are the family you home teach, you do it because it's the right thing to do. Love your neighbors and care about them, they will do the same for you, and that's when your home, ward, or stake will become as Zion. Where everyone is of one heart and one mind. That's the dream.


Elder Armstrong
American Toilet

India Taco Bus