Monday, December 26, 2016


Elders I am serving with, we all stay in the same apartment.

Dear Family,

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Mine was amazing, much better than I expected. I can definitely say that the Lord has blessed me and the missionaries here in India and we are grateful. I just got done speaking to my family and reading all the letters and seeing the videos and pictures from you back home. Thank you for your prayers and your love, I feel it every day of my mission. I hope your families are well and that there is lots of snow. Everything here in India is going well and I don't have much time to write so today's letter will probably be a little shorter. 

I hope that you all got as good of gifts as I received from the Elders serving with me. I got funny clothes and pictures and candy and a lot of laughs. I also had packages sent from home that were amazing to get. And when we were sitting around talking about our favorite Christmas gifts I just thought of so many Christmases in the past that were just awesome. 

The one that stuck into my mind the most was I remember when I was like 7 or 8. And I can remember that on that Christmas Eve night I could not sleep to save my life. I woke up like 20 times and finally I just gave up and sat at the top of my stairs looking at the presents under the tree. There were so many of them and it was all lit up and I was so excited. I wanted to open the gifts so bad, but it was still like 5 in the morning and my dad would have killed me if I would have woken him up. So I just sat there waiting for the next two hours to open up the gifts. And I can now see since being in India that I was a very privileged kid, and I had many blessings that I didn't know I had. But even to kids in India who don't get any gifts or even to kids in America, there are so many gifts that our Heavenly Father has given us. So many blessings are there for us just like they were there under my tree. Heavenly Father has given us gifts that Santa Claus could never have his elves make in any toy shop. All of us have gifts and in Doctrine Covenants 46:11 it says:  

"For all  have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God." 

We all have gifts, we are all good at something.  We all have something to offer those around us.  Some can sing, some give good advice, some can cook, some are good listeners.  But as gifts are intended to bring joy and happiness to the lives of others, and bring them closer to Christ, you can change people's lives by looking to share your gifts and talents with those around you.  I hope you appreciate your gifts, both spiritual and temporal.  I promise other people need you and you need other people.  If we all keep trying to light the world I know that the gifts we have received will help us accomplish those goals to help others come unto Christ.  

I hope you all had a wonderful, white, Christmas.  I love you!

Love Elder Armstrong 
Me and Elder Openshaw displaying some of our $1.50 Christmas gifts
and white elephant gifts the Elders in our apartment gave to each other.
Poverty in India:  Be grateful for your home
Street in India

Monday, December 19, 2016

Week Twenty-Nine

Hey family,

One week closer to Christmas and I am so excited to see my family next week you have no idea. It is going to be so great to see my mommy and my dad and talk football with him just like we used to. We usually would try and stay focused on the work this upcoming week, but it will almost be impossible. We are basically the interim Branch Presidency for an indefinite time period starting now because they will all be out of Delhi with work. So we have to plan two nights of caroling, a Branch Christmas Party, and Church on Christmas Sunday...but we always take care of church. The experience we get here to lead and to help the leaders learn and grow is unreal, it will be so good for me for the rest of my life to get this experience. But when you put that all together along with trying to celebrate your own Christmas with the mission party and Skyping family it will be a crazy week.

Just yesterday we had a baptism and it was awesome. Elder Chidithoti baptized Suchat and he is such a good kid. He comes from a part member family, and his family is one that I used to think only existed in movies. His mom is in Kulkatta and his father is in Punjab, so right now he is living in a two bedroom home made of cement on the third floor of his building. They have one bathroom and a small kitchen with a small gas stove and they sleep on the floor with only blankets. He lives with his Aunt Divya who is a 20 year old member and is divorced with a 2 year old baby, and their Auntie lives there also. But they usually have most of the neighboring family stay with them and so trying to have a silent and peaceful lesson is unbelievably hard. But Suchat kept every commitment and always wanted to be at youth activities and is going to be a great young member. I'm excited for him.

This week was a fun one just like always and yes the American food has been awesome. It's a nice switch of taste even though I love Indian food, I could eat French toast for the next six weeks. This week I cut a little snowman out of Styrofoam and we bought some Diwali lights so our apartment is looking a lot more like Christmas. Each missionary in our apartment (6) is buying each other a 100 rupee gift (1.5 dollars) and we even pinned some of our socks to the wall of the apartment. So everything is going good here in Dwarka, my second home. That's how it feels when you are about to spend 8 months of your life in one proselyting area.

So thank you all for the Christmas wishes and the support and prayers from home. I promise you that your prayers and love are felt and appreciated. And I know my dad will hate this because he's stubborn and doesn't like attention, but please pray for my dad to have a healthy recovery to his back surgery. We've got a football season to get ready for and he can't be laying in bed;)

This week I was reading in Luke and I came across the perfect scripture for this time of year. In Chapter 19:10 it says:

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

I love this Scripture because it tell us exactly why the Savior came to Earth.  He came here to seek us, to reach out to us, to help us.  Because we are lost and don't know the way.  He came to show us the way that we could follow Him, so that we could literally be saved from our every sadness and hardships.  I remember times in my life where I just felt lost and confused, usually about a lost football game or a biology test.  I remember the 17 hour flight on the way here where I just felt so far away from everything that I had ever known.  I was scared and honestly lost in the Middle East somewhere, but nothing comforted me more than praying and just telling Heavenly Father that I knew that what I was doing was true and that I needed comfort.  I found that comfort when reading about the Savior in the Book of Mormon.  He comforts me every day when I need Him, that's why He came.  He came to seek us, and to save us from being lost.  No matter what life situation you may be in, He came for you, to seek you, and to save you.  Show Him this Christmas season why His efforts weren't wasted.  Find Him, Seek Him, Allow Him to save you.  Give to others and be happy!

I wish you all a Merry Christmas from Dwarka India...that sentence still kind of freaks me out...I'm too far away;)


Elder Armstrong

Christmas Shopping

The Stockings Were Hung

Suchat's Baptism

Monday, December 12, 2016

Week Twenty-Eight

Me and Elder Openshaw from Boston

Hey family,

I'm just emailing from Dwarka. It's so weird to think that at this time of year last year I was singing at Temple Square with the Marvals, seeing the lights at Temple Square, going to Utah Jazz games, and then in California for Christmas with my family. Time goes by too quick. Things going on here in India that might be interesting is we are helping create the first branch choir to sing Christmas carols at the Christmas party and it is actually working out well. We are hitting like mid September temperatures, but everyone here thinks they are freezing to death.  Me and Elder Openshaw are walking around with short sleeves loving that the weather isn't 100 degrees. 

Also, me and Elder Openshaw are taking a stand and making sure this Christmas is an American Christmas. We have recently been doing everything possible to make American food and it’s going great. American food items cost a lot here so we have had to improvise a little, but so far our creations are: French fries, pasta, baked potatoes, crepes (grandmas thin hot cakes), pancakes, and we are working on buying beef from a Muslim shop...we just hope it's beef. Elder Openshaw is from Boston and he's the man...we have a good time and he's only a transfer behind me and so we’ll be doing crazy stuff for the next year and a half trying to make India a little more interesting than it already is. If any of you have any ideas of what food to make with rice and pollution email me...thoseare my main two ingredients;)

Our attempt at American food
Enjoying our meal
Pollution has to be good for something!
 Anyways the Christmas spirit is really coming around and I'm not feeling so homesick anymore. The families I have been working with for the last 6 months are pretty much my family now, so I feel at home when I am at their homes. We will be having a baptism next week. His name is Suchat Dhawan and he is from a part member family and is 12 years old. He has a pretty bad home life and lives with like 3 different families all mixed together in a two roomed cement home, he is excited to be baptized though and has a great testimony. He has seen the gospel change his older sister’s life and he really wants that as well. He wants to pass the Sacrament too, so we are excited for him to eventually get the Priesthood. 

This week I was able to learn something that I hadn't ever really thought of before. While me and Elder Openshaw were making a delicious plate of pasta with noodles that had weevil and a bag of chicken soup for the pasta sauce, he told me to read an article from the December Liahona. It was in the apartment and it was by Jeffery R Holland. So of course I was going to read it. It is titled “The Nature of God”. So, I have always thought, and maybe you have too, that Jesus Christ is the merciful and loving and perfectly understanding older Brother and that Heavenly Father is the more strict one that you are a little afraid of or scared that he is disappointed in you for your mistakes. I have always thought that, I almost thought it was a good cop, bad cop kind of relationship, and to be honest for a long time in high school it made me a little apprehensive to pray and build a relationship with my Heavenly Father. But it is not like that at all. Everything Jesus Christ did while he was here on earth was an exact representation of His Father, he came here to do the will and the works of the Father. Everything he learned, he learned from His Father, our Father. We have a perfectly loving and understanding Heavenly Father. He loves you more than any of us will ever know, so I invite you to build your relationship with Him and pray and ask for help to have him play a bigger role in your life than he already is. I promise He will answer, he won't leave you behind.

I love you all, please stay safe and have a good Christmas season. Those Idaho snowy roads are almost as dangerous as Indian roads with no traffic regulations and 30 million people trying to share the same road. 

Elder Armstrong 
Tired Friend on a Rickshaw
Still Sleeping
Making me tired too!  Ha Ha!