Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Letter from Mission President


Floor 3, F48,
Poorvi Marg, Vasant Vihar
New Delhi 110057, India
Tel: 91 11-2615-0060, Mobile: 844-774-7151

28 June 2016

Dear Brother and Sister Armstrong,

Your son, Elder Preston John Armstrong, has arrived safely to the India New Delhi Mission, and he is already hard at work with an excellent trainer Elder Derek Huskey as his companion.  Elder Armstrong is happy and well and is anxious to assist in the work in his assignment in the Dwarka Branch.

It is evident that you have a wonderful family, and he speaks about you with love and devotion.  He will appreciate your weekly letters to him, supporting and strengthening him throughout his mission.  Receiving letters from family brings joy and encouragement to every missionary.  He will be corresponding with you weekly on his preparation day.

Thank you for sending such a devoted young man to join our team here in New Delhi.  The next two years will be life-changing for your son, and we love him already.

Kirt L. Hodges
Mission President

Monday, June 27, 2016

First Week in India

Dear Family:

Okay, so the travel was absolutely crazy. We were treated like kings in Salt Lake City, and in LA we heard every BYU joke I can think of. And then it got really different. After 16 hours from LA to Abu Dhabi, which was very bumpy and had so much turbulence, I only got 3 to 4 hours of sleep. Then I was in Abu Dhabi and was separated from the other Elders and all by myself. I got lost and went to the wrong flight and had to go all the way across the airport by myself practically running to make it on time. I got the weirdest looks because I'm white, christian and had the name Jesus Christ on my chest. I thought it was pretty cool. Then on the flight to New Delhi I didn't sleep either and going through customs was crazy. I had to fill out cards and visa stuff and they didn't like that I was a missionary for the church and I didn't even have my name tag and tie on the entire time. Oh and I got robbed. A man came up to me in a nice shirt and said he would help me fill out the card so I figured he worked there. And then after he got done helping me fill it out he asked for a tip and because I'm stupid I tipped him, and then when I went to the desk he was gone and had totally duped me. Luckily I was smart enough to put all my bigger bills away and only had a 5. I am 100 percent positive he didn't work there and that he totally used me because I was American. It was nice to learn my lesson that fast. Anyways, I didn't get back to the mission home til like 5am I think and only got 2 hours of sleep and then woke up and went to work.

India is absolutely incredibly crazy. The traffic here is like none other. The lines in the road mean nothing, even the direction traffic goes in is just a suggestion. Everyone has bikes and there are motorcycles and cars and everyone honks their horn. It's so loud and everyone gets so close to each other on the roads and in person. There is trash everywhere, it smells everywhere you go. The pollution and air quality are so bad as well. Everything is dirty. EVERYTHING. It hasn't bothered me too much so far, but one thing has: The heat. I am going to die, it is so hot. The humidity is horrible and everywhere we go we have to have so much water. This place is so big and there are so many people, there is no way they could count them all. 

I have seen almost everything crazy you could imagine. People going to the bathroom on the side of the road. Monkeys and cows cover the whole city. Dying dogs are everywhere on the sides of the roads, they look like they haven't eaten in 5 years. I have not seen an elephant yet, but I will soon because everyone has seen them. 

Everyone comes up to me asking for money, but mostly asking for food, especially little kids. They always run up to me and start putting their hand to their mouth asking for food. Everyone is dirt poor and homeless. And then there are rich people who throw their money around like it's nothing, but there aren't very many. I have seen so much poverty, you couldn't imagine what these people live through. It's amazes me. The U.S. has it's problems but it's nothing like this. 

I am the first American in almost ten years to get a full 2 year visa. My companion however is actually American. He served here for a year, and then was sent to the Philippines like I initially thought I would be. He is now back to train me for his last couple months. His name is Elder Huskey, he is from Northern California. We are the only companionship of two white Americans. There are Indian Americans here too, but only three of us Americans are white, haha. He's pretty cool though and I look forward to learning a little more about India from him. We are serving in a suburb of Delhi called Dwarka. We are living in a place called Patel Garden. And for dad to look up on google maps we live in the Excellence Apartments here in Dwarka I think in sector 18. 

Umm what else. I don't know everything is crazy I can't even begin to tell you. People seriously poop on the sides of the roads. I have been eating with my fingers for a week and that's new. Oh and yeah, my left hand has been different. So let's just say it's a third world country. I haven't gotten sick yet and the food is pretty good. When we haven't eaten Indian food I have been surviving off of peanut butter and honey sandwiches. The showers are cold, the beds are dirty. We have lizards in our rooms like crazy. Sorry I'm just rambling out facts here trying to tell you everything. 

Now some spiritual stuff. It is insane here. We are being instructed to teach only English speakers, because all the church handbooks are in English and we are trying to build the foundation here and they need leaders and priesthood holders. We are trying to contact 120 people a week and we need 3 baptisms a month. We are trying so hard to build the first stake here in India so that the Church will be officially recognized. We need about 300 more members. I am in charge of teaching an English class twice a week and on Sundays during Sunday school. I teach for about an hour of nothing but English and we invite everyone, but I teach about 60 to 80. It's free. Then at the end I ask if anyone would like to stay for a short gospel message and most people do which is really cool. That's just one of the ways I am serving and finding people. It's so awesome to teach people English I love it. The people here are so nice, especially the members until they ask you for money.    

I can barely understand anyone, English is not English here. And I'm learning a lot of Hindi so I can get around without being ripped off. Everyone thinks I'm a millionaire because I'm white so they charge triple and without the Indian missionaries here to argue them I would be broke or stranded. That's why I'm learning Hindi so it will be awesome when I'm fluent.

Sacrament meeting was hard to understand as well, they would talk in English and then go to Hindi and back to English. But the entire time I felt the spirit so strongly and I could feel Heavenly Fathers love for them and their faith. We have two members who used to be Muslim and are hiding the fact that they are members of the church from their families. The assistants are trying to find out what to do with them because about 4 months ago a Muslim converted and was killed by his family when they found out. Not joking at all. This place is real. The people have such great faith to follow the spirit and the feeling the get when they hear this message. The spirit and this church are definitely strong enough to make you want to die for it. It's amazing to me.

Okay and last message for this week. When you think of Mormons you think of Salt Lake and Provo, Utah and Idaho. You think of temple square and BYU. But it actually goes much farther beyond that. It goes all the way to India. But it doesn't stop there. It goes from Delhi to Dwarka and from Dwarka you can catch an auto for 10 rupees. That will take you to the metro, or train. That train will take you to Dwarka Mor in sector 13. From there you get off and get on an electric rickshaw for 10 rupees. It will take you a couple miles from the metro station and take a few turns throughout the crowded ally ways of the city. Once you pass two Ansh soda stands, you turn and you'll pass the royal blue soda stand. From there you keep on going until you get to the cement store. You get out and you walk about a quarter mile to a like shack in the middle of all of this chaos and you find the gospel of Jesus Christ being lived by the best little family. When you get here you'll meet Abishak and his family, all who are members except his dad. Abishak, or Bobby as he likes to be called, calls his dad an angry man. He actually was just beaten by his dad who undoubtedly drinks. His mom is a faithful member who is so kind, his sisters are sick and his 7 month old baby sister has a really high fever. Bobby is trying to learn English, we are helping him learn English and read the Book of Mormon. He wants to serve a mission like us, and really wants to come to America when he serves so he knows speaking English could help fulfill that dream. He works in a clothing factory where he bags clothes, its basically a sweatshop. This way he can raise money for that mission. He likes clothes and music and cricket. And he loves the gospel. 

These are the people I was destined to meet. This is why I'm here. I love my calling, and I love this place. It amazes me 100 percent that these people are living the gospel in secret, or at least against everyone else's will. Everyone has a picture of the prophet or of Jesus on their wall trying the best they can to live what they know to be true.

I hope I answered lots of questions. I'll do better next week. 
Love and miss everyone. I miss America, but this is my home for now.

Stay happy and live the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Love Elder Armstrong
 Me and Elder Huskey
 Me and Bobby and his mother
A typical day in India

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Arrived in India

Preston was able to make a quick phone call to Doug and was only able to talk for a minute, but said he was with his mission president and tired, but glad to be there.  It was 4:30am there.  He also said that he is the first American missionary for this mission president.  Can't wait for his email!


We received this email this morning at 12:15AM. 

Hello Brother and Sister Armstrong,

This is Sister Hodges from the India New Delhi Mission. President Hodges and I are anxiously awaiting the arrival of your son, Elder Armstrong, to one of the most wonderful missions in the world.  He will love his mission to India just as we do!  We are excited to pick him up at the airport in about fifteen hours and we will bring him to the mission home for a couple of hours of rest, if he desires.

Thank you for preparing such a fine son to serve the Lord. His missionary experiences will bless him the rest of his life.  He is arriving at a fruitful time in this country and the work is accelerating rapidly. Many doors have opened and are opening to the church.

As you know, President Hodges and I are from Idaho Falls, and we were raised in Preston.  We like Elder Armstrong’s first name!  We have driven through and stopped in Arimo many, many times throughout our lifetime. We feel blessed to serve with such a fine missionaries as Elder Armstrong.  Please know that we love him already and we look forward to our service together for the next two years.

Sister Hodges (and President Hodges)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Week Three - Off to India

Dear people from home,

I am freaking out! I leave to India in less than 24 hours and I couldn't be more excited to see what the Lord has in store for me! Whether it is teaching English classes, doing service, or actually getting to proselyte I have no clue. Whatever He wants from me I will do. The plane is going to be loooong. The airports are going to be crazy. I will be flying with two elders going to Bangalore, one of them is Elder Shuman from Preston Idaho. We have been super close here at the MTC and we never knew each other before this. Crazy. But yeah from Abu Dhabi to New Delhi, I'm on my own. But who gets to do something like this, serving The Creator of the World and my brothers and sisters all the way on the other side of His world, and have their parents pay for the entire thing?;) It's going to be amazing.

This week has been like any other week here at the MTC. Super Awesome. Since the last time I emailed I went to the temple and heard about Orlando when they prayed for the people there and the flag was half staff. That is horrible. The Second Coming is closer than ever, in fact it's one day closer today than it was yesterday;) The world is beginning to be a very sad place and it honestly has been so nice to be tuned out from all of that horrible stuff and just feel peace here at the MTC. I don't have to listen to Donald Trump be an absolute idiot, and I don't have to hear Hillary Clinton lie to everyone's face, while they know it's happening, and then nobody do anything about it. So yeah, it's been nice in Spiritual Prison;) And also, I love the Provo Temple. Man is it cool.

So throughout the week I've also met Elder Carrasco from Aberdeen and Elder Eborn from Highland, both really good friends I grew up playing football against. It was nice to see them and see that even beyond sports there is a bigger purpose to life. 

I've had so many cool experiences and it kind of all blends together so it's hard to remember them. But I promise to keep writing very informative letters. 

We finished teaching in the TRC this week with the different investigators. The lessons are so powerful and I loved TRC. I loved the investigators I came to know and cannot wait to love the people of India. I know there is someone there waiting just for me. Heavenly Father has been preparing me my entire life to invite others to come unto His Son. While this has been going on he has also been preparing someone to meet me. Last night we had a devotional and the speaker asked for missionaries who were converts to come up to the front. There were four of them and all of them had been worked on by Heavenly Father up until the point the missionaries met them. And I know that He is preparing others to meet me. And if I follow the Spirit, and the Will of the Lord, it will happen. Teaching in TRC is different though, everyone I taught says they have read the bible before or grew up Christian, so it's easy to have similarities. In India they believe in Cows and I don't know exactly how to relate that to Jesus Christ yet! Maybe if I tell them the parable of the lost sheep I can relate it through some kind of farm animal story...I'm just kidding, but really I have no idea what teaching will be like there. Good thing I'm not the teacher, and that all I have to do is invite the Holy Ghost to be in the room and he'll testify of truth. But don't get me wrong, I'm ready to serve the people. I'm ready for a new challenge that doesn't hurt my elbow to accomplish. 

This week we got new Elders and one of them on his first morning here jumped out of the top bunk and landed with bare feet on a picture of his girlfriend. A piece of glass went into his foot three inches and at 6 a.m. we were up trying to stop him from bleeding out as he was in shock and unconscious half the time. It was gross and the dorm rooms still have blood stains everywhere. He seems to be doing really good now and he didn't have to go home, he has a little scooter for now and will find out later. We also have Elder Shumway, and he's the man. I don't have a picture with him but just imagine a giant football player who has a full ride scholarship to play for the University of Arizona. Because that's him. He plays linebacker and it's way cool to play basketball against him and we get pretty intense just like me and Elder Bockenstedt did. We aren't supposed to be competitive or keep score, but that's impossible and lame. So we release our stress out on the court and go all in it's great. But really he's an awesome guy and he is straight out of high school as well. I look up to him for having the strength to do something that I couldn't have done. There's no way that I could have went on a mission if I had a full ride to any college. 

We've been learning a lot about The Savior lately. We studied the paintings of him in the front hall of the MTC today and I just want to share with you what I have learned. 

Christ is often looked at as loving and kind and softhearted. All of those are true, but when looking at the pictures closer a good amount of them He didn't look that way, he had a more determined, certain, look on his face. He knew His purpose in life. He knew what he had to do for us and he was serious as well, we Have to Follow Him. He is the only way back. He is the entire reason we are here, without His Atonement there would be no hope. There would be no life. I've understood that here at the MTC more than ever before, and I know my purpose in following Him and testifying of Him so that others can choose to Follow Him as well. I thought that throughout my life I wasn't a very good follower of The Savior, especially my earlier years of High School. And I wasn't the best that I could have been, but it was always there somewhere. It was hidden but I always knew what was right and I guess I just have always been tough on myself for not being the best. But today as we looked at those pictures there was the one with Christ calming the storm. And I quickly remembered being in primary and I remembered how cool it was that The Savior walked on water, and I wanted to be just like him and walk on water as well. That was so awesome to me from the time I was a little kid. It was then I realized that I have Always wanted to Follow Him. I just didn't always believe I could. 

My message this week is to Follow Christ. He is the Way. He is the Light. He is Everything that matters. You can Follow Him, even when you think it might be hard. He wants you to come to Him. He loves you and he has a purpose for you in this life. 

I am excited for India, I know I have someone there for me. I know I have been prepared for this and that it's what I am supposed to be doing. I know India will be hard, the hardest thing I have ever done. But when Joseph Smith was tarred and feathered, his wife Emma asked when the trials and sufferings would stop. The Prophet responded to her saying, "Perhaps I am meant to swim in deep waters, better deep than shallow." 
I'm ready, and excited.

I will never forget my where I came from. Next time you hear from me I'll be in India. 

Love you guys. Always Be Happy.


Elder Preston Armstrong
Third Floor, F48
Poorvi Marg, Vasant Vihar
110057 New Delhi

EMAIL:  preston.armstrong@myldsmail.net


Me at the temple and me and my district. The girl up front with the white name tag is our teacher Sister Widmer. Her maiden name is Wrubell and her dad is "The Voice of the Cougars" at BYU! So shes basically famous!

And the older couple in this picture are from our branch presidency.  They are so cool and have been such an impact here at the MTC!

Thursday, June 16, 2016


Hey real quick not anything huge, but I just found out that I will be flying to INDIA on Tuesday!! I'm so excited and I am the only one that knows they're going so far. So I may be the only one, who knows. The rest will find out Friday, but my Visa is in Salt Lake ready to go. I will let you know more later.

Love you!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Week Two

Dear Mom and Dad and everyone else who cares about me;)

This has been another great week in the MTC. But big news first. If everything goes as it seems to be going, I will be in India in one week!! We got our flight itinerary and mom you're gonna die. If my visa is truly ready to go I will be flying from Salt Lake to Los Angeles, and then from Los Angeles to Abu Dhabi of the United Arab Emerites, and then from Abu Dhabi to New Delhi! I am so excited!! Hopefully it all goes as planned because the people at the travel office said I won't know for sure if I'm leaving until about two days before the flight whether or not my visa is 100%. Because they can always cancel flights, but they expect us to fly out Tuesday at noon. If I did my math right we would fly for 26 hours and be in the airports for close to 10 or 11 hours. There are five of us out of ten who got flight itineraries, and everyone but me was assigned a temporary mission on their mission portal in case they couldn't go to India right away. And the other five have already been notified that they are going to the states. Out of everyone it looks like I have the best chance of going right away. The other missions that have been assigned are Arizona, San Antonio, and Salt Lake. So if nothing else those will be some pretty cool places to serve.  They also said that if you serve state side, once your visa is ready you leave on the next flight no matter what!  You don't have to wait until the end of the transfer. The only thing that scares me about all of this is that I will be in charge of getting everyone there, and that's a lot of responsibility for these huge airports. I hope I know what I'm doing. Also if I'm the only one who has a visa the travel office said they will send me alone, and that would be crazy. No matter what though I'll be out serving for real in one week and that pumps me up so much. 

So I love writing you and telling you about my week! I guess I'll just start at the beginning from right after I emailed you last. Tuesday we went to the temple, and it was awesome. I loved the Provo Temple and I never thought I would because on the outside it's just not as nice to look at as the others. But the inside is so cool. I also think it helped that it wasn't my first time and I could kind of pay attention to more detail than I did before. But seriously everything about the temple was awesome. Then when we got back we were in the Choir for Elder Bednar. We sang the song he wrote called "One By One" and his whole talk was about how the Savior knows us, loves us, and died for us, One by One. It was so powerful and at the end of the song his grandkids were singing with us.   It was amazing. I felt the Spirit stronger than ever the entire meeting, but the time I felt it most was when at the end he stood up, and everyone stood up in unison and he walked out. It was then that I knew he was truly an apostle of the Savior Jesus Christ. It was unreal, he is such an amazing guy and next to Elder Holland I don't know if there has ever been a better speaker. He even walked out and was gone for like 3 minutes and no one moved an inch. No one made a sound. It was dead quiet except for the music playing and we all just stood there and I can't even explain the feelings. The whole event was an International Broadcast to the Worldwide MTC's. The song was performed for the first time by us publicly as well, it will be released next month as well as the talk in the New Era magazine so look for that. 

The rest of the week was just missionary business as usual. They keep you so busy that every time you look at the clock it seems like it's either time to eat again or time to go to bed. We finished teaching our first investigators and Bubba who I told you about last week has seriously changed my life. He has a Mormon video called "Gang Member to Good Man" you have to watch it. He's the guy I taught here at the MTC and he is so cool.  We knew he was already a member who was just volunteering his time here, but his story was so real. We went in thinking that his literal Eternal Salvation was on the line and we taught him and showed him how much we cared and loved him and when you feel the spirit so strongly, even when he has been changed for so long, and it still brings a grown man who used to be in a gang to tears. That's real, that's not an investigator, that's a real person. I honestly love that guy and he comes here to help missionaries become better because he understands the importance of the work and what it did for him. 

However, now I think we have a real investigator. He goes to BYU and looks exactly like Gordon Hayward, so you can imagine it wasn't hard for me to show him that I loved him. But we tried all the tricks in the book to see if he was a real member or not and he didn't even have garment lines. Haha! That was another amazing lesson and telling him that he could see his mom again and live together as a family was awesome. We easily take for granted how important the blessings of Eternal Families are. 

But through this lesson me and my companion learned a very valuable lesson. At the end of the lesson, we both felt so strongly to invite him to be baptized. But being the first lesson with him we both got scared and pushed it off. I regret that so much, and I felt horrible after the lesson even though it was amazing, we didn't do what we were supposed to do. It felt awful. I promised myself to NEVER ignore the Holy Ghost again, it's something you cannot afford in the mission field, or in life. That could be a real investigator, and even if it's not, they all will be in about 9 days. That could be someones eternal salvation and happiness and the Holy Ghost always knows, he testifies of truth.

Sunday was bittersweet, we had an awesome day and walked to the temple. Sacrament meeting was really good, but it was also Elder Bockenstedt's last day here at the MTC before he went to Arizona. He and his companions Elders Brown, Johnson, and Williams are my newest brothers. They can't compare to all my friends back home, but we all got along so well and someday I hope they could see each other but that's another story! Anyways I love those guys and they truly were so good to me and my companion and we all had such a good time. The MTC is an awesome place and you meet so many people, I'm going to miss it that's for sure! Sunday night Elder Lusvardi came and spoke at the devotional and it was an awesome talk. He talked a lot about obedience and how it is vital in life and the mission field. 

It's nothing but a nonstop spiritual high here. I love it!

We just got done doing laundry and playing ball. After we got ready for the day we went to the MTC store, there was a Down Syndrome worker vacuuming the floors really slow. We walked past him and and said Hi and he stopped everything he was doing to take out his temple recommend and show it to us. He was so excited and inside the recommend holder it had a saying that said "Heavenly Father knows my voice." He was so happy to tell us that and it made my whole day!  He taught me something as well. He told us that Sunday was Father's Day and that he loves ties.  As a district we're going to try and find him and give him a few ties. 

Yesterday was the first day I got homesick though, it only lasted about 20 minutes because I checked my email and Styrling (Steelo) had sent me an email about going to Buffalo and I missed everything from back home so much. I miss my friends and I miss you family. I miss SJ. But I was quickly put back in my place when I read in Matthew, the Savior teaching the Sermon on the Mount.  There is a verse that says, and I'm paraphrasing, "For where your heart is, that is where your treasure will be also." I realized then that no matter what, this is where my heart is, I'm set on serving the Lord. I miss everything back home, but it can't beat what I'm doing here. But still, send me emails about everything. I can handle it now! I want to know everything that is happening.

Thank you to everyone who has emailed, I'll make sure to email you all today. Thank you grandma for the letter, sad to here about Ervin Simper, he was a good man and he's in a way better place walking and talking now. Joyce has always been so nice to me. I'm glad to hear grandpa had a good time in Yellowstone, I hope he counted all the trees;) And I love all the updates on the Finals. You guys know me so well and it's hard to not be watching sports. If Lebron wins another championship I'll be so mad. Better keep up the good emails once Marsh, BYU, Dallas, and the Jazz start playing again. 

Anyways I'm back off to the temple, possibly for the last time in two years. Which scares me because "You're never lost when you can see the temple.";) But I know I won't be lost because like my new friend from the MTC store said, "Heavenly Father knows my voice."

I love you guys.
My heart is here in the mission field, but it thinks about you everyday. 

I can email you again once when I find out for sure about flight plans and stuff, so I know what to do on money and I can even call you from the airport.
Price go kill something in the mountains ya hick, Parker go shoot some hoops, lift some weights and quit touching my bedroom. Also, quit kissing girls at Youth Conference.

I'll be sending personal emails throughout the day.

Stay Happy 
Love, Elder Armstrong

#1 Me in Grandpa's Tie Preaching the Good Word

#2 Me and my newest brothers (from left to right) 
     Elder Brown - Montana to Scottsdale Arizona
     Me obviously
     Elder Bockenstedt - Iowa to Scottsdale Arizona
     Elder Johnson - can't remember to Scottsdale Arizona
     Crouching Elder Williams - Nevada to Columbus Ohio

#3 Me and my man Elder Bock

#4 My District (left to right) 
     Elder McCollum - Colorado to Tallahassee
     Elder Jones - Scranton Pennsylvania (seriously) to Tallahasse 
     Elder Southway - Colorado to Tallahassee
     Me again
     Elder Stephens my companion - Vaccaville California - India
     Elder Stettler - Heber Utah to India

My Intinerary