Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Merry Christmas Week Eighty-two

Hello everyone and a very Merry Christmas!!

I just talked to my family and it was amazing to see them, but even better to hear their voices and to laugh and to make some jokes with them. Some things back home have changed, but some have not changed and never will (that's why I love where I come from).  

This week was a really good week! We have some people who have come down from Northern India to get baptized. They are from a place very close to Nepal and China and want to be baptized. They have some family members here in Delhi and after they get baptized we are going to try and have them start a home group where they live. It's really cool and Elder Basil and I get to teach them. It's just so cool to see how the church grows as people get interested and bring the gospel back to their homes...that turns into home groups...then branches...then wards and stakes an missionaries. We are way excited. Elder Basil is such an awesome companion! He is so cool and we work so much it's awesome. He is just a really good person and wants to do good as a missionary to everyone he meets, so it's really easy to be his companion!

This week I had a lot of cool experiences, but overall I recognized something really cool in my life. I have met so many people here in India, literally thousands upon thousands. Not just Indians, but people from all countries that I have met. All of them, like myself, are imperfect. I have been lied to, cheated, spit on, doors slammed in my face, people threatening to hurt me, and the list goes on and on and on. But through it all I have learned to love them. I have learned to love people through their imperfections. We learn in the Book of Mormon that Charity is the pure love of Christ, and that we can only receive that love as a gift from God as we pray for it and work at it. Well I have been praying and working for a long time, and this week it hit me like a truck. I love these people, I love them all. They have problems, some hate me, some will never listen to me or my message, but I still love them...and I hope only good things for them. This world is full of a lot of problems, and I believe a lot of those problems can be solved through love, true, Christ like love. It's the best Christmas present I could ask for to have the pure love of Christ for my brothers and sisters in India. I hope all of you will pray and work in your own lives to receive this love as a gift from God. It will change your life and although you may think otherwise, it really can and will change the world. 

I love you all...I pray for you. And I hope that your Christmas is wonderful. As I send this mail, I realize Santa is on his way...hope you have been nice this year!


Elder Armstrong

Monday, December 18, 2017

Week Eighty-One

Hey guys!

Sorry today will be a really short email because I have almost no time! This week has been extremely busy and we are going to get even busier today. We just had transfers and Elder Dass is going home to Malaysia.  My new companion will be Elder Basil, he is from Australia and is the coolest guy. We have been friends in the mission since we both first arrived, but somehow we have never served close to each other until now. He is an amazing missionary and I am excited to be with him and help our mission progress. Elder Dass was a good companion and I enjoyed our time together.

This week we had a special experience in doing service. As a mission we had a service project after our Zone Conferences the last few months to make 200 blankets. We then got to go with the YSA's of the New Delhi Stake (feels so good to say Stake) and give them out to people who are outside without shelter this winter. We decided to go to Safdarjung Hospital to give them out. Safdarjung Hospital is a government hospital right in the middle of New Delhi. In India Government hospitals give free health care, and with 27 million people, they are always overstocked with people because many cannot afford to go to a private hospital. So these people wait to be admitted into the hospital, sometimes it takes weeks, maybe even up to a month. They just sit outside in the parking lot and in parks and right in front of the hospital doors waiting for their chance at healthcare. Some don't make it in after waiting for so long. And out in the cold nights here in Delhi it is really nice to have a few blankets. It was an amazing experience giving them all blankets and seeing their faces. It was a very good feeling. Those people are children of God; he loves them and cares about them just as much as he does you or me. I am thankful for my blessings and my abilities to serve others and to help those who don't have the ability to help themselves. I love this church and this gospel, there is nothing better. 

Serve others, nothing will make you happier. Have a Very Merry Christmas.


Elder Armstrong

Monday, December 11, 2017

Week Eighty

Hey guys!!

It's been another awesome week in Delhi; things are in full Christmas mode in my apartment and in our missionary life. We are doing a lot to get the Light the World Initiative going here in Delhi. It's such a good way for members and missionaries to get into the Christmas spirit, especially when some of them are celebrating Christmas for the first time. It's the best time of year and even here in India you can feel that same old Christmas spirit when you start thinking of others rather than yourself. It's the best time to share the gospel with friends and family and that's exactly what is happening here in Delhi, lots of referrals and lots of appointments to go to. 

This last week we had our Mission Leadership Council meeting and this upcoming week we will be having zone conferences. There is always a lot going on...last year I was so homesick at Christmas time, but this year I haven't even thought about home. I looked at the date today and saw that it was the 11th and I couldn't believe how fast time is going. 

I hope all of you will take the time to spend with your family at this time of year. I would do just about anything to be home with family, although I know I need to be here. This is the time of year where we show our family how much they mean to us, and we should do that all year long, but especially during Christmas time. Watch elf, and home alone, and a Christmas story, watch all the family movies you can. Drink hot chocolate and egg nog. Go to temple square and see the lights, have family get togethers and parties. It's honestly not about the money you spend, and that's something we hear every Christmas but it's true. The best thing you can give is time. I cannot tell you how much I wish I gave more time for my family. I know they always did their best to give time for me, but I think I was always a little difficult to work with. Don't be that person this Christmas, give time, be there for your friends and family, serve them and love them, you'll be happy you did. 

I love you guys,

Elder Armstrong

Monday, December 4, 2017

Week Seventy-Nine

The Apartment Christmas Tree

18 Months Burning Pants

Hey guys,

This week was quite the week! We have been very busy and have had a lot to accomplish, but we came out of the week strong and the mission is having so much success right now. We really are ending the year on a strong note.  We will be starting off 2018 in the best way possible by having lots of baptisms! The work is growing here in India and it is growing fast. It's very noticeable to see the blessings the Lord is sending to our new stake and its members. This week we had some new missionaries come in half way through the transfer because of visa problems with the Philippines and India. India sure likes to mess up the way missionaries come and go. It's always a struggle, but somehow I never had a problem. 

This week was also exciting because I got to do what very few American missionaries get to do, go to Mumbai, India! Mumbai is a part of our mission and it has been for about 9 years, and we can only send Indian missionaries there because of the visa problems and problems that can arise from the religious and political groups in Mumbai. But, if you're an American assistant they let you go for a few days because there most likely won't be any problems in just a few short days. So I flew down with Elder Dass early Thursday morning and spent two days before coming back on Saturday. Mumbai is awesome! It is such a great place and I had so much fun doing work there. There are hills and small mountains and lots of trees, there was a breeze and it was mostly fresh air! The ocean was right there by us and there was even a lake! It was the most nature I had seen in months!! Delhi is just this cement and dirt filled city in the middle of a desert and it was so refreshing to be in a place like Mumbai. There are even big sky scrapers and the city is really nice, something Delhi has none of. It was just a completely different experience than I have ever had in India. Everywhere you go here things are so different. If you go to a different state or city they will speak a different language, the autos and buses are so different and the food is a completely different style. India is just such a great place, and I love being here and the opportunity I had to go to Mumbai and serve there for just a few days. I am so excited to go back.

Work here in Delhi is going great, we have two investigators on date for baptism. Rajesh and Nithin, I have high hopes for both of them and I think they will be getting baptized on Christmas Eve if everything goes as planned! I love being a missionary this time of year. It is very hard to be away from family, last year was so tough. But I know this is where I am supposed to be, and being out and working everyday with a fun companion makes it much easier to just focus on the work and help others find the truth. I try not to think about the NFL, or NBA, or college football bowl season starting soon. I also am doing my best not to think about snow, but those things are hard not to think about unless you are always teaching and finding! So that’s what we try to do.

I know this time of year is so special, it's a feeling you don't have any other time of the year. I hope we all enjoy the holiday season and celebrate it by giving.  Giving more than just presents, give time and effort and help and attention to other people. Use this time to look around and help those you love, and even those you don't. If we are truly celebrating the birth of our Savior, the entire reason we have hope and happiness in this life, we will do it by following His teachings and Serve one another. We can do this really effectively by following the #LighttheWorld Initiative. I saw it do so much good last year in the lives of the people who followed it and the lives of the people who shared it. I hope you'll share the gospel this Christmas! 

Love you all and have a good week!

Elder Armstrong

Arabian Sea with Mumbai in the background

Arabian Sea

An Actual Auto Ride
Lake Powai

Lake Powai

Train Ride in Mumbai

 More of Lake Powai

Mumbai Smoothie
Famous Mumbai Vada Fav

Monday, November 27, 2017

18 Month Mark

Hello everyone!

Another week down and another P day has come, time is really starting to go fast as this week I hit my 18 month mark! Hard to believe I am 75% of the way done, I have so much more I want to do here and so many people that are still waiting for me that I know these last 6 months are going to be really busy and really fun! 

This week was really awesome.  I got to go to a Thanksgiving dinner and have all the stuff I would have back home in America, it was really awesome, but it wasn't as good as Grandma's and Mom's cooking and I can't eat American food like I used too. I'm going to come home and not be able to eat anything, but I'll be missing my curry. Ever since our dinner we have been in full Christmas mode! I love Christmas and am so excited for Christmas this year and to Skype my family. We have started a Nativity and Caroling at the Mission office every Saturday night for all the wards and branches here in Delhi. Elder Dass and I are in charge of it and it will be every Saturday evening for the next 4 weeks.  We already had one this past Saturday, so we are full of the Christmas Spirit! We have been singing and playing Christmas hymns and we even got a Christmas tree from the office and put it up in our apartment! Now if somebody can send me about 10 gallons of eggnog I would be the happiest person in India.

This week we had something really cool happen, we saw and walked with Elephants!! We were just out in our area finding and there they were walking down the streets! It was the coolest thing ever and I have seen some before but this was the first time I had my camera or could see them long enough to take a picture. They are so legit and I even touched one as it was walking...they are kind of fuzzy ha-ha. Definitely a moment I will remember for a long time, I love my mission and the things that can happen any day in Delhi.

This week I have been trying to study more from our living prophets and apostles and I found a couple talks online. If you go to speeches.byu.edu you can find tons of talks from all the devotionals they do at BYU and I also get talks from General Conference off of lds.org. This week I read a talk called, The Blessing of Work. It was a really good talk and I learned a lot from it, I am so thankful that I was taught from a young age to work. I never thought that it was a problem in the world because where I come from and in my family you are expected to work, and to work hard. But throughout the world, there are a lot of people that don't know how to work. Heavenly Father wants us to work; in fact it's a commandment to not be Idle and waste our time or to rely on other people. We are supposed to earn our bread by the sweat of our brow. I learned something interesting from the talk that said, "God chooses to work, he has all power and all wisdom, but still he chooses to work." God has a plan and he is working continuously at it. I truly believe that work is such an important thing in a person's life. I am thankful that I am able to work and that I was taught by my amazing parents to work. I also am thankful for the teachings of our Prophets and Apostles and I invite you to listen to them and to read their talks and their teachings often. BYU speeches or General Conference talks, read them and read them often, you will be blessed by following their teachings. 

I love you all.

Elder Armstrong