Monday, November 20, 2017

Week Seventy-Seven

Hello family!

I hope everyone is doing well and that you are all excited for a wonderful thanksgiving week!! I hope the feast has begun and that you are all ready to enjoy the holiday season. This year I will not be eating rice and vegetables for my thanksgiving dinner, I have found a way to get a dinner appointment with an American family who is here working at the U.S. Embassy. We are going to have some imported turkey and I heard there will be pie! I just wish I could get some of my mom's sweet potatoes with that brown sugar stuff she puts on it...I would do anything for some of that right now. But I am really excited and it should be a fun time, if anything I hope I don't start missing home and American food.

This week was extremely busy and crazy. There have been a lot of late nights and early mornings. We had some new missionaries come in this week and we had to get them in at about 3 am, that was an adventure...they are just about as shocked to be in India as I was...someday they'll be used to it. ha-ha. We have a lot to do and just not enough time in the day to do it all, but it keeps me busy and going strong. Last year around the holidays the work got a little slow and it was real easy to think about home...this year I think they will fly by without any problem. Elder Dass and I are excited for Christmas...you can already hear David Archuletta and the Motab choir singing Christmas hymns in our apartment...super excited!


The lady I talked about in last weeks letter, Sister Shakuntala and next to me her son Maneesh (now sober) Sister Shakuntala reminds me so much of Mrs. Vaughan

This week I don't have much time, I have to go eat lunch with some of the other Elders! I'm starving! But I do want you to know that this week is a special week. There is nothing better than being around family this time of the year. Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday to be with family and friends and to give thanks for all the the Lord has given us. I hope all of you will take time throughout the week to think about your blessings, and to thank the Lord for them. I also hope you'll take the time to thank the people in your life who bring so many blessings to you and your family. The holidays are a time of love and service and I hope all of you can share that with the people you love. 

This year I am thankful for my mission, and the wonderful opportunity it has been for me to be a missionary for this church, in this place. I love India, I've said it since the day I got here and I will say it until the day I die, I was sent here by my Heavenly Father. I have seen and felt and experienced things that have changed my life forever, and I will come back home a different person because of the mission I served. I am forever grateful for this chance I have been given to teach the gospel to the people of India. I am extremely grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the strength that I can receive from accessing it through constant prayer and study. I am thankful that tomorrow I can be better than today, I am grateful for the opportunity the Lord has given me to come closer to Him, and I hope we can all feel a little more grateful for the Love the Lord gives us. 

Have a great week, eat tons of food, and enjoy this wonderful time of year!

Love,

Elder Armstrong

Me and Elder Dass

Monday, November 13, 2017

Week Seventy-Six



Hello Family! 

This week has been busy and exciting and fun to say the least! We had transfers on Thursday and after 4 transfers and 6 months in Lajpat Nagar, it was time for me to leave. I loved my time there and I loved being a zone leader, I learned so many important things and I saw a lot of success in the work in the New Delhi East Zone! However, I will still be able to help East Zone progress and improve because I was called by President Hodges to be his assistant in the mission. I am now companions with Elder Dass. He is from Malaysia and has Indian ancestors, and is really cool. We have known each other for a while and he is a really good guy, I am excited to be his companion. I am also excited to be an assistant. The work is hard and busy but in my mission there is a lot of cool perks. I get to work closely with the Pakistani missionaries and the Elders in Mumbai. I also get to Skype teach people from around Northern India and if they are ready to be baptized we get to go find them and baptize them, we just got a referral to teach a man in Jaipur, India. There is just a lot that I get to do and probably the best is working alongside President Hodges. He is seriously so awesome. I have learned so much from him in the last year and a half and I am excited for the opportunity to learn and grow as a leader and as a person. 

I am now serving in the Munirka ward. We live right at the mission office building here in Vasant Vihar and we travel to our area that is like 10 to 15 minutes away. So far my area has been great and I love the families already. We have this one sister named Sister Shakuntala who is amazing! She is so faithful and such a nice lady, but my first night here we got a call for help from here as her son got drunk and started to hit her. We had to rush to their home and stop the problems, after the police had already stopped by and did nothing. She was freaked out and he was in lala land because he had been drinking so much. So why Elder Dass talked to sister Shakuntala I controlled the son. We finally got everyone calmed down after a little bit of shouting in Hindi and we able to share a message with sister Shakuntala to help her, too bad her son didn't understand anything though. Right before we left he had passed out on the little make shift mattress on the floor of a side room. So I asked Sister Shakuntala if she needed any help, she was so happy because she really needed some chores to be done. On the top shelf high up in her small kitchen she had a big barrel of oil she uses for cooking and she needed someone to help her get it down. We got it down and helped her with some other things and she was so happy, you could just tell some of the stress had gone away and that she could relax and figure life out for a moment. I am grateful for the opportunity I have to always be serving others; you never know how much you can help someone just by asking if they need anything. 

I love India and with 5 transfers left I am trying my best to not take each moment for granted. I have been here so long it feels like home, but I never want to get used to all the fun and crazy things that happen in my day to day life. I love being a missionary and know that God called me here for a purpose. I pray for all of you.

Love,

Elder Armstrong


Serving as an AP with my new companion Elder Dass

Monday, November 6, 2017

Week Seventy-Five



Hello everybody! 

We are officially the India New Delhi stake! As of yesterday we have become a stake and are now working towards the next one! Our first stake President is Suresh Rama Krishna, an absolute stud. I love the guy and he is really the man for the job. We are excited for what he and the first stake presidency and leaders can do to continue the work of the Lord here in New Delhi. I am so happy for these people and the entire conference was just filled. We even had tons of return missionaries from South India come back to Delhi for the stake formation, so it was great to see all of my old friends again!

This week was full of meetings and lessons and mission tour and mission anniversary meeting I don't even know what to tell you and what to keep to myself. It was great learning from Elder Funk and his wife all week, they are great people and we learned a lot. So much of the things you learn as a missionary are intended to help you for your entire life, and I know that this mission is going to bless me for eternity. I love where I serve and the opportunities that I have been given. Sadly this week is transfers and I will definitely be leaving again. Lajpat Nagar was a great branch (now ward, I’m so excited to start using these terms, haven't said bishop in 17 months), I had a lot of success here and was able to do some really great things. I will no longer be the East Zone leader with Elder Openshaw, but I have no idea where I will be going next. It was so fun being a zone leader and I feel like through the last 6 months I was the most effective I have been on my mission. But now I'm staring down the end of my mission and I got to keep on pushing myself to be better.

If there is anything that I have learned from this week and all the things we had going on, I learned that the Church will continue to grow and grow and grow and it will never be stopped. Never ever. I seriously cannot tell you the odds that have been stacked up against New Delhi from day one. This isn't an easy place to serve or for the gospel to be preached, it's not the hardest either. But there are a lot of problems that we face in moving the work forward. No matter what though, the church will grow. There will be new stakes, new temples, new members, new everything built upon the Gospel of Jesus Christ until every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is the Christ. Places we never thought the Gospel would be preached will be opened to missionaries. The church is growing strong in Pakistan, a place I bet most thought would never be possible. But you wouldn't believe how much work is being done and how many baptisms they have each week. The church truly is today the vision that Daniel saw, a stone cut out of the mountain without hands that shall roll until it has covered the whole earth. I promise the church is true, and I promise you that we are on the winning team. It may not feel like we are winning most days, but we are. We have God on our side and if we do as he asks us, we will never go astray, we will teach all nations and baptize them into the true church of Jesus Christ.

Love,

Elder Armstrong




Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Seventeen Month Mark

Happy Halloween family and friends!

It's currently 90 degrees here in Delhi...cooler than usual, but not quite November in Idaho. I miss cold weather. I'm sweating as I type...ceiling fan in this little cyber cafe is broken. It's good for staying in shape though, gotta get married soon;) 

This week was awesome! Work was great, it was busy, it was fun, and it was tiring. Exactly how it should be. This week will be the last week that New Delhi is a district, and the next time I write you we will be a Stake. I can't believe it...it's seriously such a good feeling. I love the people of this city and I love the Saints here, they deserve it. This week is going to be another busy one though. We have tons of meetings. MLC and the India New Delhi mission 10 year anniversary meeting, stake conference, zone conference and interviews. I will be extremely busy, but I am so excited to learn from Elder Funk who will be with us and teaching us all week in our meetings. Giving a training in front of him will be pretty fun, too. It's an exciting time to be a missionary in Delhi. 

This week I hope all of you can pay attention to the Spirit. In my mission there has been no better companion than the Holy Ghost. Life is completely different without him there. I've learned that if he is with you, you are living right. He literally is a member of the Godhead and if he can be by your side, you are worthy of so much. Living life everyday to have the Spirit with you is a tough thing, but all we need to do is keep the commandments and follow the teachings of our Prophets and apostles. We make a covenant every week at Sacrament that if we do those thing we will have the Holy Ghost by our side. I can't think of anyone better to help me through this difficult life we live. I love all of you so much, thank you for the prayers and the love. Things are great in India, and I hope they are going great for you back home as well.

Love,

Elder Armstrong

Monday, October 23, 2017

Week Seventy-Three



Heyyyy Guys!!

A Marsh Valley Playoff berth, a trophy for the MV girls soccer team, a good week for the Jazz, and a big win by the Dallas Cowboys is a lot of great news to see in my emails today! Sounds like things back home are going pretty well. I wish I could feel some of that cold weather and maybe have a piece of pumpkin pie, but for now Roti's and Curry are doing a good job. Things here are seriously going really well here in India. We are preparing for the stake formation and doing work as usual. Missionary life is a busy life, but we somehow always find time to make it fun. This week we had Diwali and it was awesome! Not as many fireworks as last year but still, a lot of fireworks. I knew India couldn't actually ban something soo awesome, even if it is killing our lungs now.

Elder Openshaw also had his birthday this week and we were able to go out and eat at pizza hut, which drains our pockets so that's why it's not a common thing. But it was really good and we ate so much. We also got an ice cream cake for him and that night we got into a pretty awesome, but cold, cake fight. Elder Openshaw is a great friend and companion! India would be a very different experience without him here!

Life in Delhi is good, I wish I had some cool or crazy story to tell you, but this week was pretty laid back and normal. We got yelled at by a man in a market the other night for being Christians. He said because we eat meat and animals we don't love God and that we are evil people. We shook his hand and said thank you for sharing his thoughts with us, then walked away and ate some chicken. That was about as exciting as it got this week! Lots of appointments and visits. We spend a lot of our time meeting with members and helping them. Tonight we will go to a family home evening, and we visit families all the time and try to help lift and support them. That's been one of my favorite parts of my mission is getting to know and spending so much time with these families. I think its so important to build those relationships as a missionary. It helps with the work and it builds their testimonies as you help them learn to live the gospel. I know I was sent to be with the people of India by God. I don't have much of a message today, but I hope you all love your fellow ward members and stake members. Be there to serve and help one another, that's the reason for the structure of the church. Love your neighbor as thyself is the second greatest commandment for a reason, because it shows whether or not you actually keep the first and greatest commandment of loving the Lord with all your heart. 

Go Eagles

Love,

Elder Armstrong

Cake Fight

Elder Openshaw

Pizza Hut with Chicken Pepperoni

Monday, October 16, 2017

Week Seventy-Two



HAPPY DIWALI GUYS!

This week is going to be legit, everything is ready for Diwali! We have multi-colored lights, and our landlord is giving us gifts and the whole city is ready to blow up. Everyone has their lights out, candles lit, color is everywhere, and my favorite Indian holiday is just a few days away. If you remember from last year...it’s the day India blows up about ten trillion fireworks, but they call them crackers. And because of the pollution last year and how bad it got, the Government decided to ban all crackers this year. But if there is anything I have learned about India, at least in Delhi, is that no government issued cracker policy is going to stop these people from having a good time. In fact, I bet Delhi Police are even buying crackers. It's sad that we can't....but while everyone else is enjoying it we'll be out on our rooftop drinking Thums Up and eating some Chicken Curry watching the skyline of Delhi blow up. I love India.

Yesterday at church we got the long awaited announcement! On November 5 we will officially be the INDIA NEW DELHI STAKE! That is the first stake in Delhi, and the first stake in my mission. It's the 4th stake in India and we have been working on this since the day I got here, and many many years before me! It's really exciting and I am so happy that I could be here to witness the work of the Lord go forward. So much missionary work and so much work by the members, the Faith of these people will always inspire me! Elder Funk will be coming and so will Elder Robert William, the member of the Seventy from India. We have tons of meetings that week including MLC, and a special mission conference for the 10th anniversary of the India New Delhi Mission. It's crazy how young the church is here, I never realized back home that everywhere was not like Marsh Valley ha-ha. I love it and am so excited! 

Work is great here in Delhi and I am loving every second of my missionary life here. Time moves fast....too fast. I don't want to leave Delhi, and so I'm living it up every day. I don't really know how positive of a person I am...I just like looking on the bright side of things. I think most of all I hate things holding me back from doing something fun or being happy. That's probably why missionary life was tough at first because I thought I was being held back from things that made me happy. I never realized until my mission that commandments never hold you back, they free you. The only person who truly wants to hold you back is Satan. He knows your potential and the things that you are capable of doing; he also knows how to stop you from getting there if you let him. One of his most effective ways is using us. He knows just how to stop us; he makes us think that we can't do something before we even try. If he gets us to give up before we even start, it makes it a lot easier of a fight for him. I know a lot of faithful Indian members that understand this. I know people here that ten plus years ago were dreaming of a stake, and a patriarch, and a temple even farther down the road. I know that it probably would have been easy for them to say "yeah right, a stake in the Hindu capital of the word where we don't even have missionaries yet" I know the thought would have crossed my mind. I also know of everyday members today here in Delhi that continue that fight of believing and not getting down before they start. For some, the thought of paying tithing is absolutely crazy. Others can't think of how to make time for family home evening, and others just struggle like all of us to read and pray each day.  But they don't get down on themselves before they even start. They look forward with Faith and look on the bright side, because only Satan would want to hold them back from the wonderful blessing of a stake. I love the people of India, and I love that they believe first, and then rely on the strength the Savior gives them to move forward. 

Love,

Elder Armstrong 

Go MV, Go Jazz, Go Cowboys....and Elder Openshaw says to pray that the Yankees don't win the World Series.
My crazy Jazz shirt
Diwali lights


My district with the pollution in the air.