Monday, October 16, 2017

Week Seventy-Two



HAPPY DIWALI GUYS!

This week is going to be legit, everything is ready for Diwali! We have multi-colored lights, and our landlord is giving us gifts and the whole city is ready to blow up. Everyone has their lights out, candles lit, color is everywhere, and my favorite Indian holiday is just a few days away. If you remember from last year...it’s the day India blows up about ten trillion fireworks, but they call them crackers. And because of the pollution last year and how bad it got, the Government decided to ban all crackers this year. But if there is anything I have learned about India, at least in Delhi, is that no government issued cracker policy is going to stop these people from having a good time. In fact, I bet Delhi Police are even buying crackers. It's sad that we can't....but while everyone else is enjoying it we'll be out on our rooftop drinking Thums Up and eating some Chicken Curry watching the skyline of Delhi blow up. I love India.

Yesterday at church we got the long awaited announcement! On November 5 we will officially be the INDIA NEW DELHI STAKE! That is the first stake in Delhi, and the first stake in my mission. It's the 4th stake in India and we have been working on this since the day I got here, and many many years before me! It's really exciting and I am so happy that I could be here to witness the work of the Lord go forward. So much missionary work and so much work by the members, the Faith of these people will always inspire me! Elder Funk will be coming and so will Elder Robert William, the member of the Seventy from India. We have tons of meetings that week including MLC, and a special mission conference for the 10th anniversary of the India New Delhi Mission. It's crazy how young the church is here, I never realized back home that everywhere was not like Marsh Valley ha-ha. I love it and am so excited! 

Work is great here in Delhi and I am loving every second of my missionary life here. Time moves fast....too fast. I don't want to leave Delhi, and so I'm living it up every day. I don't really know how positive of a person I am...I just like looking on the bright side of things. I think most of all I hate things holding me back from doing something fun or being happy. That's probably why missionary life was tough at first because I thought I was being held back from things that made me happy. I never realized until my mission that commandments never hold you back, they free you. The only person who truly wants to hold you back is Satan. He knows your potential and the things that you are capable of doing; he also knows how to stop you from getting there if you let him. One of his most effective ways is using us. He knows just how to stop us; he makes us think that we can't do something before we even try. If he gets us to give up before we even start, it makes it a lot easier of a fight for him. I know a lot of faithful Indian members that understand this. I know people here that ten plus years ago were dreaming of a stake, and a patriarch, and a temple even farther down the road. I know that it probably would have been easy for them to say "yeah right, a stake in the Hindu capital of the word where we don't even have missionaries yet" I know the thought would have crossed my mind. I also know of everyday members today here in Delhi that continue that fight of believing and not getting down before they start. For some, the thought of paying tithing is absolutely crazy. Others can't think of how to make time for family home evening, and others just struggle like all of us to read and pray each day.  But they don't get down on themselves before they even start. They look forward with Faith and look on the bright side, because only Satan would want to hold them back from the wonderful blessing of a stake. I love the people of India, and I love that they believe first, and then rely on the strength the Savior gives them to move forward. 

Love,

Elder Armstrong 

Go MV, Go Jazz, Go Cowboys....and Elder Openshaw says to pray that the Yankees don't win the World Series.
My crazy Jazz shirt
Diwali lights


My district with the pollution in the air.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Week Seventy-One



Hey guys!

This week was really great. We got some great new investigators and our current investigators are doing well also, some people just learn the gospel quicker than others. It depends on how long it takes to feel the Spirit touch your heart and inspire change. Even after teaching for weeks and months some people still don't get baptized, but we can always be a positive influence for good in their lives.

Things in Delhi are great, the evenings and mornings are much cooler now as winter is coming soon. It's actually probably 70 degrees when I think it's cool, but I’ll take it over 100 degrees any day. This time of year the pollution starts to get an all time high...here in the coming weeks it will be so bad. Diwali is coming up and there will be so many crackers going off and the pollution is going to be terrible, of course I am super excited! Indian festivals are so fun. Overall, Indians as a whole are a very fun people....they absolutely love having a good time. It's one of my favorite things about being here. This week there was nothing exciting or crazy. We had our monthly leadership meeting again and that went really well. Elder Openshaw and I gave a training on how we can create a Christ Centered Culture in our missionary lives. Next month we get to have our MLC meeting with Elder Funk of the Asia Area presidency which I am pumped for. I love giving talk and trainings and I'm really excited to learn from him!

This week as always in India we watched General Conference a week late. There were many good talks that I loved including Elder Ellis who talked about "Hard is Good", and Elder Callister who defended the Prophet Joseph Smith and talked about how he translating the Book of Mormon was through the power of God. But of course my favorite and the one that I feel I learned from the most was Elder Holland’s talk. He is awesome, and I thought I would write a little about his talk.

Growing up I fell in love with the sport of Wrestling, although basketball had always been my first love in the winter time I quickly learned that Wrestling was my sport. Wrestling was right up my alley because of one thing. Competition. There is nothing better than going out onto the mat, having trained your guts out, literally, to be in the best position to win a match, and being right across from a kid who did the exact same thing so that he could beat you. In wrestling there are a lot of factors, but ultimately, the best man wins. Being me and as competitive as I was, losing was never fun. I hated it. But in time I learned how to react to losing, and learned that the more upset and down on myself I got, the worse I got as a wrestler. I lost focus of the good and worried too much about the bad, and that led me to making more and more crucial mistakes. And when Elder Holland talked about the Lord's commandment to be perfect, this is what I thought of. Too often in life we want to be perfect so bad, we do so many things right, we prepare, we learn, we keep commandments, to prepare ourselves well against the enemy of us all, Satan. That desire is a wonderful thing, and we should never lose that, especially after defeat. Because the truth is, Losing is Understandable, but it is never Acceptable. Just like in wrestling its okay if every once in a while you lose a match, things happen, nobody expects you to be undefeated, that's rare. But you should never be okay with losing when it happens. In life we will fall, Heavenly Father knew that, that's why we have a Savior. He Understands that some battles we will lose. But while he understands that, we learn in the Scriptures that God cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance. Falling to Satan is understandable, but never acceptable. It is about how we react too when we fall, do we storm off the mat and into the locker room like an 8th grade version of myself would do. Or, do we step off the mat, talk to our coach, watch the film, and improve. Knowing that we control the outcome of the next match. Life is a lot about how we react to our struggles, and I promise you if you keep striving and keep fighting you will see a day where the wins stack up and Satan literally cannot take you down.  

There is a lot at stake in this life; it's much bigger and broader than state championships. It's Eternal Salvation, and every day we have to wrestle our way back Home. But true disciples, just like true wrestlers, know how to come back from a loss. We will never be perfect in this life, and just as Elder Holland said perfection and Eternal Life with our Father will only come to us eventually...as a gift. We will not earn it. But we can prepare for it, we can train for it, and the only way that is possible is through the Savior Jesus Christ. The only one who was ever Undefeated, and he's in our corner as our coach, and that makes me pretty confident. But we have to listen to him, and rely on the best source of strength he has given us. The Atonement of Jesus Christ. 

Love,

Elder Armstrong


Texting an investigator while training with Pakistani elders.

October Mission Leadership Council

Monday, October 2, 2017

16 Month Mark



Hey Family! 

How is everything back home? India is great just like always and this week was really fun, except for the fact that I got strep throat. All week long I couldn't swallow anything and it hurt for even water to touch my throat!  I guess I wasn't as immune to sicknesses as I used to think I was because India has been whoopin' on me these last few weeks.

So this week was my birthday and my two-thirds mark on my mission. One day while walking through a crowded market trying to find some food, Elder Openshaw and I were going through this giant clothes section in a back alley. In India, clothes in Markets are super cheap and super fake. All the shirts have misspelled English words and ripped off logos from every brand you can think of. I could buy a Nike shirt with the Adidas symbol on it, here in India, nobody knows the difference. So as we were walking along out of the corner of my eye I spotted the best logo of all, the Utah Jazz and J Note. The shirt was tan and red, with a basketball on it, and the J Note, Adidas Original just how I like it. We asked if they had any others and I found one that was a dark green and light blue and figured that was close enough, then I dropped 250 rupees on the ugly thing as a birthday gift to myself. So now just in time for the preseason I have my Indian Jazz shirt.

My birthday went really well and I had a lot of fun, we had KFC for lunch and ate a ton of food, but the best part was coming home to crappy birthday decorations and a nice big cake. The Elders in my apartment are the best, Elder Openshaw my comp, and Elder Stephens my MTC comp. Both of them thought it would be awesome to get me a nice cake for my birthday and so they went all over Delhi behind my back to find a man in this country who knows how to bake actual cakes, you know, the ones that don't have chili pepper in them. So they found a guy, and bought me a nice big RED VELVET CAKE. It was awesome! Tasted just like home, once it got past the strep, and it made my 20th birthday pretty legit. 

It's sad to hear that Elder Hales has passed away, and I will get to watch conference next week, but I know President Monson didn't attend. This week we had an Elders Quorum activity and Elder Openshaw and I always come with the best games and activities. One was about watchmen and how we need to be watchmen for our fellow brothers and sisters through home teaching and how our Prophets and Apostles are also watchmen for us. I hope we will all listen to their inspired teachings from this weekend and use them to help us progress. The thing they teach us and the Spirit you feel is what can continually guide us in our lives. If you follow the Prophets you really don't have to fear anything. So study their teaching and apply them to your lives!

Beat Snake!

Love,

Elder Armstrong


Lots of American KFC for my Birthday Lunch

Happy Birthday to Me

Elder Openshaw

My awesome red velvet birthday cake bought for me by my awesome comps!




Monday, September 25, 2017

Week Sixty-Nine



Note from Mom:  HAPPY 20th BIRTHDAY PRESTON!!!   WE LOVE YOU!!! Don't know where those 20 years went, but I am so proud of you!  



Hello family and friends!

I'm just sitting here in a cyber cafe humming the tune of Piano Man by Billy Joel, I can't remember any of the lyrics anymore, just the la didi da's. I can't help it because I was raised by good parents in the greatest country on Earth and so on any good day a good song can come to mind. And yes today is a good day because I am feeling much better than last week. I am still recovering, I have no idea how it's possible to be so sick, but with many of our missionaries having both Dengu fever and Typhoid fever, I consider myself blessed and lucky to have only had intense food poisoning. 

This week was great though, a lot of great faith building experiences and moments I'll never forget. On Friday we received a call from our investigators that we have been teaching for some time saying that their mother was sick, and they asked if we could give a blessing. We loved that because it can be such a testimony builder to see a Priesthood blessing in the home of an investigator. So of course Elder Openshaw and I ran out of the apartment to make it down to where they live in a village area called Gautampuri. We took the metro and it started to rain, and that's when we realized we had no umbrella or plastic bags to protect our scriptures, so we were going to have to improvise. After riding the metro, we had to get off and get a pedal rickshaw, and I always feel bad taking them, but they are the only mode of transportation sometimes. I feel bad because these guys who drive these little tricycles are seriously 80 pounds, and when Elder Openshaw and I get on combining for about 400 pounds, it's not the easiest task for him to pull us about 2 miles, for a cost that would blow your minds. So we always try to tip the man, he needs the money to support himself and his family. The guy we had was probably in his late 50's, should be at home retired and spending time with grandkids or something, but that's just not even close to reality here. But he was a nice man as we conversed back and forth a little in Hindi and tried to stay warm and dry under his cardboard roof above us, unsuccessfully I might add.

Finally we had reached the little village area of Gautampuri and it was now a complete downpour of what we believe may have been acid rain from the pollution in Delhi ha ha. Then we had to make it into the colony to the correct house, which proved to be a challenge in the rain. You see, in India, in these small low caste areas where there is a lot of poverty, even in some higher caste areas they have completely different plumbing systems than the USA. Basically what happens is there is a pipe that just comes out of the front of your home and empties the waste into a little canal about 8 inches wide to a foot deep, and it all runs above ground, to a destination I never want to find.  The funny thing is, in the rain those canals just rise up and run wherever it pleases, making it very difficult for us Elders to walk through the small alley ways without ruining a pair of shoes. Long story short, after multiple hops, skips, and jumps, I ended up with some smelly shoes and a pair of pants that might not see another proselyting day.   
Look Closely and you can see why I can't wear these shoes anymore!


The best part is that the blessing was administered and our investigators are doing well and so am I. Life in Delhi is fun and exciting, interesting and sometimes unpleasant, but there is no place I would rather be and I love having experiences like these. I know I was sent here by our Heavenly Father, and I know that the Savior directs this work. Two years ago I wouldn't have walked through what I did for all the money in the world, today I understand that those people are my brothers and sisters and that if Christ could suffer everything for us I can suffer the smallest portion for Him and His work. If needed I would walk all over India and get every sickness possible if I was asked, and I hope all of us can learn to sacrifice for the Savior and for the support and service of our brothers and sisters.

Fight, Fight, Fight, Team Fight, Go Eagles!

Love,

Elder Armstrong