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

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