Monday, November 28, 2016

Six Month Mark

Hello Family and Friends from home,

This past week was great and we had a lot of fun, I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. Mine was weird, I ate rice and vegetables. That's not Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving is eating turkey and pie and watching Dallas win again;) but I am very thankful to be here in India and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. This week I will hit my six month mark in the mission. That is absolutely crazy, I feel like I just left. Time is flying by fast and I want to make the most of it while I'm here. Pretty soon I'll be home wondering where the time went? 

This week Elder Chidithoti and I had a really good time and we saw a lot of really good things happening in our area. Just yesterday we were teaching a lesson and right in the middle of the lesson they kicked us out of the home. Literally just stopped us and told us to leave in very offensive Hindi..I was laughing a little because getting mad just causes problems. So we walk out the door after putting our shoes back on and walking right past the home was a man named Solomon from Nigeria, he had just returned from church and had a bible in his hand and had a sweet black bow tie. I definitely was going to talk to this guy. So we ended up teaching him the first lesson and he accepted baptism on the 1st of January..his birthday. He loves the Book of Mormon and that there is a living Prophet on the Earth today. I look forward to helping him find his path in life even more and helping him reach up to a higher life Our Father in Heaven has in store for him. The fact is we would have never met him without being kicked out of the lesson, maybe the Lord knew who had a heart that was willing to be changed. It's amazing to see miracles so often, even if they don't always end in a baptism or a big success story because just for that little moment, their life is changed and they feel the Savior's love for them, and that's worth 1,000,000,000 rupees to me.

Yesterday I also had the opportunity to confirm Kavita in Sacrament meeting and it was so cool. Last week when blessing the baby I was pretty nervous, but this week I just stayed cool and let the Spirit take over and I could literally feel the Spirit speak through me. I had no plan of what to say before the blessing, but it was amazing and Manisha wrote it down as fast as she could and then translated later in Hindi so she could understand more fully the blessing. It was an amazing experience. 

This week I just want you all to know how much I love you. Really. I just could not be out here without the love coming from back home, I have piles of emails I'm trying to get back to because you all keep emailing me and I love it. So sorry if I haven't emailed back yet..I’m hurrying:) I have a pretty big family back home, and I love you all so much, even those of you who aren't actually family but I would adopt you in any day of the week. 

And I just want to tell you about how important family is. I've talked before about family being eternal, and why that's so true I just want to focus on why family is important. The family is the most basic and necessary base of the Church and the gospel, and also in any community or country around the world. Families are important, more than we can ever imagine. And that is why Satan is attacking them, pulling them apart, and trying to make us think we don't need them. Well he's dead wrong, and he always will be. Because he never got a family, and he wants us to be miserable like he is. One of my strongest sources of testimony of a true and living Prophet on the Earth today is The Family: A Proclamation to the World. That was over 20 years ago, and now we see that everything in there is coming true, and that the Family is being attacked. Brothers and Sisters we need families, families who love and care, who follow the gospel, who have family home evening on Monday nights and who pray together each day. Life is hard enough these days, and without a solid base of family, we don't stand much of a chance. Read the proclamation, understand why it was given, and help improve your family. Each person has a responsibility to help the family grow. 

I am thankful for my family, and friends who are just as much family to me. I'm thankful I came from a family where everyone and their dog was crying when Aunt Patty moved to Arizona, and that not a single one of us can keep from visiting them in Arizona or them coming back to Idaho. That shows that Grandma built a family based on love and the Savior Jesus Christ. Arizona is like two states away, but it seems like a million years away when you love your family. Here in India I have seen families that are torn apart, and families that are strong, families that stay together, and families that just don't care. There is a huge difference the gospel has on our families and like Harold B. Lee said, "The most important work we will ever do is within the walls of our own home."

With all my heart I love the Savior, and I love you, each one of you. Enjoy the snow and the holiday season, I’ll see you in 18 months;)

Elder Armstrong

Monday, November 21, 2016

Week Twenty-Five

Kavita's Baptism!

 Dear Family,

This week was one for the books..literally.  It's one of the ones I'm going to be grateful for keeping a journal on my mission. Thanks for the advice Grandma:)

We had solid lessons and new investigators all week long. I love telling you about investigators but so many come and go and I don't want you getting attached to their lives and stories and then hearing that they turned the gospel down and didn't want to change. Because that's what I feel like I go through on a daily basis, and sometimes it's tough. I have met so many great people and I've seen a lot of lives change. Just yesterday one of my first investigators ever, Varun, called me asking me about a name in the Book of Mormon. I haven't talked to him in months, and he couldn't be baptized because traveling to church would cost too much money and he is still young and his home life isn't ideal, but he is still reading the Book of Mormon. That was a great feeling, it made me feel like the work I put into him and his family wasn't for nothing. I meet lots of people all the time, and I can remember just about every one of them and their stories, so it's hard to make these friends and watch them feel the Spirit and then struggle to keep going. But I'm okay with planting seeds for the future, it will all pay off soon enough. 

I don't have much personal stuff to say today, just out here fighting the good fight. I'm not sick anymore! That's a blessing. It also is starting to get cold here and when I say cold it's like September or October weather....but the Indians think it is Antarctica and it's kind of funny to watch them bundle up when us Americans still have short sleeves on. But then they laugh at us in the 125 degree heat, so it evens out. Oh sorry, I mean 50 degrees Celsius, or whatever language they do temperature in outside of America. Also, the metric system is am I supposed to make food without cups and tablespoons...I don't know what a milliliter is. It's like learning Hindi twice. But with the cold there is way bad pollution and the homeless people are burning things to stay warm at night and the sky is just thick with soot. We decided the correct terms for the pollution is Viscus and Palpable. Great word usage I know, and wearing the masks is getting annoying, but I don't want black lung when I'm 20.

This week I just want to share with you how the Gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives. 
In Mosiah chapter 5 verse 7 it says: 

And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.

Simply what this is saying is that after baptism and making covenants with Christ we become the Children of Christ, we become His people. And your hearts are being changed..through Faith on his name. This week that has been more apparent in my life than I ever had noticed before. This week I realized just how much the Gospel of Jesus Christ can change someone’s life. 

Yesterday I had the opportunity to baptize Kavita Singh, an investigator you have heard a lot about I think. I have been working with her since my first two weeks in Dwarka and she has grown to be a very good friend of mine. In the beginning of teaching her she didn't know any English, and she was a pretty devout Hindu. But as the rest of her family was member we wanted to teach her and help her. He husband is less active with Word of Wisdom problems, sometimes severe problems. She was forced into an arranged marriage with him and has been living with the Singh family ever since. The parents of the family are old and can't get around very well and Manisha, the greatest blessing Kavita and missionaries have ever had, is always at work providing for the family. So Kavita is always at home cooking and cleaning, even while having a one year old child and while she was pregnant with another. She probably didn't plan her life to go like this, but that's how it was. And from the beginning I could tell, she wasn't happy. She just wasn't.

But about 4 months later, a new baby, a husband that is doing his best to give up alcohol, a sister in law with Manisha that will do anything for her, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ...she is happy. Yesterday in sacrament meeting I saw her laughing with her husband as their one year old, Sanat, was running around and their new baby was waving her arms in the air. It was a great experience to be able to bless the baby and to baptize Kavita yesterday, and to see the deer in the headlights look on her face after coming out of the cold water. But the best thing to see is that her life has been changed, completely. Everything is turned around, and her heart has been changed, through Faith on His name. Kavita will always be a great friend, and I've barely had even a full conversation with her in English, usually in Hindi. But more than a great friend to me she will be a better mother and wife, with a better husband and father by her side, because of the Gospel. She has many sacrament meetings ahead of her with wild children, but I think she'll always be laughing like yesterday, because life is now starting all over for her.

This is why we preach the gospel. For the longest time I thought it was for World Domination and so that we could have everyone be a Mormon. There's a lot more to it, we're trying to change lives for the better, we're trying to help people be happy. Share the gospel with everyone, live it in front of everyone, they'll notice the blessings and want them for themselves. 

have a good week, #CowboysNation #AmericasTeam

Your loving Elder Armstrong;) 
Mom sent me my pillowcase!  "It smelled like home, it smelled like America, I almost cried!"
Public Restroom

Filling the font!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Week Twenty-Four


It's me again from Dwarka, the place where half of my branch works at call centers for customer support for people in America. So if you're ever calling Expedia, iPhone, or Nike customer support ask them if they know an Elder Armstrong. The chances are they'll say no because there are 7 trillion people in India with the same job, but you might get lucky;) This week was a crazy one, full of more sickness, lots of it. Also there was so much Black Money here in India they pulled a surprise on everyone and all of a sudden one day just said the 1000 and 500 rupee bills don't work anymore. They just cancelled them. So everyone in the whole country is trying to get new money and the new bills they printed out..but there's a shortage, and you have to stand in line for like 6 hours. And the money literally looks like monopoly money. So we are broke and sick, it's a really great combination.

We had a visit from Elder David F. Evans this week and that was pretty cool. He is the second counselor in the Asia Area Presidency and gave us some really good trainings and I learned a lot. He was here for the mission tour and also for our District Conference. District Conference is just like Stake Conference, except totally different. Here in India, we wake up super early and get our branch on a very old grey hound tourist bus that I would have bet my last useful rupee that it was going to blow up. We barely made it to the conference and all the branches in the Delhi area met together in an auditorium that was about 1/4 the size of MV's. It was really spiritual and uplifting, it was good to meet the other Saints here in the Delhi District, soon to be Stake. Elder Evans was great and it was cool to learn from both my amazing mission President and a General Authority.

Now on to my Boys in that Silver Helmet. Go Dallas, America's Team. I am so happy, even in India not able to watch their games...I still feel my love for my team, same with the Jazz. You guys better throw a big party for me when they go to the playoffs.

I think the thing I'm missing most right now though is just the feeling of home. I miss that home for the holidays feeling. I miss the fall weather in Idaho, and the snow, oh the snow. I can feel Christmas and Thanksgiving coming up, and there will be no turkey, there will be no football, no snow or hot chocolate. And that's okay, I understand the full reason why I am here, but I miss my valley. I'll miss neighbors plowing driveways for each other, grandma's stuffing, home teachers coming in clutch with cookies and treats, and buying gifts for family members. But as this time of year comes around and I don't get to be there, I hope to encourage you to do the best you can to keep in mind the Reason for the Season and remember the Savior in your lives. The Holiday Spirit is so much greater when you keep Him in mind. And to keep Him in mind more often we need to have a greater relationship with Him. 

I once heard this simple story about judgment day, and whether you have heard it or not, it's never too late to relearn an important principle. I may have even shared this already I don't know. But it starts with a man walking in to the judgment room and there is a man who asks him what he knows about the Savior. He replies, He was born in Bethlehem, He is the Son of God, He saved us from our Sins, He loves us, He was crucified, He had 12 disciples, and He even visited the America's and Joseph Smith. And then the man asked him "is that all?" And he said yes and was then directed through a door out of the room. The next man came in the room and immediately fell to his knees and cried out "My Lord, My God!" 

The first man knew about the Savior, But the second man “knew” the Savior. Which relationship are we willing to settle for? The Christmas season is just around the corner, get to know the Savior, personally. Your holidays will be happier and less stressful, and the food may even taste better. I honestly want nothing more than the best for all of you and I know from the bottom of my heart the Savior is standing there with open arms..but we must first Seek Him. 

I'm sorry I don't say much about investigators or experiences here in India that will change next week. Kavita will finally be baptized next week and I get to do that, along with naming and blessing her daughter Diviyanshi when she is confirmed the following week. I love that family and they have changed my entire view of the gospel.

Til next week, Go Cowboys, Go Jazz. #PlayoffBound

Love a Sick Elder Armstrong

Mission Conference with Elder Evans of the Seventy

Monday, November 7, 2016

Week Twenty-Three

Hello from the Other Side...of the Planet,

It's me again here in Dwarka. I hope you aren't tired of reading my emails, because this week I have some interesting things to tell you. Number one, this was one of those weeks where nothing wanted to stay in my stomach. As you know I love street food here in India, but this week I went out of the adventure zone and got into the danger zone of the Indian roadside dirt and germ filled cuisine. The zone where most Indian people won't even go...I got out of hand. I need to repent. Also, I ate a dog this week. Worst feeling in the world. I know God can forgive men of almost all sins, but I think this one in Unpardonable. I thought it was beef at a Muslim shop, then we looked in the back at them cutting up a dog. Gross! And this wasn't any pure bred dog on Dog Chow or eating table scraps like you see in America. This was a street dog from India, the kind that have diseases and that you don't pet or even let get near you, but don't worry the sickness wasn't from the dog, it was from a bad batch of butter chicken. And I'm feeling much better now. The sickness is just a part of the whole experience in India and I am used to it I think. I hear it stops about the 6 month to one year mark and then you have an Iron stomach..can't wait to see what I eat then.

This week we had a lot of fun and we got so much work done. Elder Chidithoti and I are working well as a companionship and I love the way he teaches. We have a lot of fun. I also am having a lot of fun with Elder Openshaw who is from Boston and new to India. This week we did English class finding as a district and literally just held up a white board that said free English classes on it on the side of the road. We about caused so many wrecks and about were run over a million times but we had the highest attendance at English class than ever before. I tried teaching the whole time and towards the end I was just too sick and had to sit down. I said a prayer and asked Heavenly Father to help me stay strong so I could give the spiritual message I had prepared. He gave me exactly what I asked for and I endured just long enough and after class I was nonstop throwing up all night. What a great experience.
Looking for Someone to Teach
Elder Openshaw from Boston is the tall one.  He reminds me so much of Parker
Also yesterday we had a baptism and the water wasn't working at the church and we had to impromptu the whole thing by filling the font bucket by bucket. We had a great video I'll try and have my dad put it on the blog. We slaved for a solid hour and could barely get the font to fill up to my knees. It was the lowest water for a baptism ever and they almost had to roll her on the floor just to get her completely immersed but it was successful, she now has Salvation. That's about the closest thing we get to Redneck in India. 

Anyways I'll get spiritual now so I can actually help you feel the Spirit and uplift you like I am supposed to. This week I was reading in Ether chapter 12 (great chapter). And I came across verse 27:    

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.                  
And I love this message. We have weaknesses in life, all of us do. We all have our own personal cross to bear, our own individual problems that bring us down and try and stop us from progressing in life. It is a part of life, a very important part of life. We learn here in this scripture that we have problems so that we will Humble Ourselves and Come Unto Christ. Sometimes we just have sins and problems and things that we just can't exactly solve on our own. And no matter what we do, those weaknesses cannot be solved by our own genius thinking and all the Internet articles and Dr. Phil TV shows. We need the Savior, and we need to humble ourselves and realize that He is the only way of defeating those weaknesses, and becoming stronger. We need to have Faith and allow Him who paid the price for those weaknesses holding us back, and allow Him to take them away from us. We cannot overcome everything on our own, and we aren't always as strong as we think we are. But He is stronger than any of us will ever imagine.

It starts will sincere and fervent prayer asking for help. It starts with acknowledging that we are Nothing without Jesus Christ. And then taking our Faith and turning it into actions that help the Savior take those weaknesses away, so that He can make weak things strong unto them. 

Stay Strong and be Happy. Good luck with the elections. Pray for America, God will protect the righteous no matter what happens. 

Go Dallas Cowboys, Utah Jazz, and Parker and MV Basketball.

With a whole lotta love from Dwarka,

Elder Armstrong

This is where I got the Butter Chicken that made me very sick!