Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Elder Mani's Email Home & More Pictures

This is my companion's weekly email. I thought you would enjoy reading how my companion's English is.  This is actually pretty good for most of them, maybe middle of the pack. And there are some pictures.  Love ya!

Preston's Companion, Elder Mani.
Hi all!!!!!

I am happy to mail every one after so long. I been blessed very much for my service to God and i always pray for bless my family friends you all every one. 

I got transferred to Delhi 3 week before from Mumbai. I am now in UP(uttar pradesh) Noida branch serving with Elder Armstrong he is from near utta. He is good companion we both understand and working to gather he is nice. Noida branch is few years before opened so very few member's only and the sacrament attendants is 20 to 30 only some times 6 also. I understood this branch need missionary help so we are doing our best to in-cress member string. 

I want every one to pray my investigators because we have three investigators but some reason they cant fix baptism date. 

I would like to share a last week experience happen to me. I and Elder Kollapu traveling by metro to meet one family which is very far from our place. While traveling in metro one old man trailed with us and suddenly the old man got stomach pain very badly he can't control, in metro no one help him to take hospital. I spoke with Elder Kollapu that we will take him to hospital then we both went near to him asked him to come with us we will take by auto but he said we are very near to AIIMS hospital so when the metro came we took him to the AIIMS hospital. AIIMS is government hospital i had very bad experience we went emergence ward but it took 2hour to meet doctor then the doctor send us to New emergence ward which is different place in the hospital. when we went to the ward big queue to meet doctor patient, mean while we inform his son he came then we left the place to meat according to our plan to meet member. They both thanked us but i am really sad about the hospital because if any one have really emergence they will die before try to meet the doctor. And so many incident i say in that hospital it make me very sad. But the good part is yesterday i got call from the person who we helped himand his name is Susil. His son called and thanked us and he said his father doing good. He ask as to come to their home for dinner. I know this family prepared by God to share the gospel we carry. we are going to meet and share the gospel. 

Our good thinking and actions are will blessed our life. 
I ask all of you give referral to missionary.

Love you all take care. 

Love you,
Elder Mani.

Elder's Mani & Kollapu

Enjoying McDonald's Ice Cream on a Hot Day!
Having a Great Time!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Ten Month Mark

 Hello again, it's 100 degrees here in India and I'm already tired of summer...but I have 4 or 5 more months until the rainy season. The heat makes me miss hotdogs and hamburgers on the grill, I miss bonfires and jumping into 24 hole and going boating all summer with friends. I even kind of miss moving pipe, I miss manual labor. We don't have enough of it. But life here is good and always interesting, it's foreign that’s for sure. How's March Madness? I hope it's madness and that everyone is hitting game winners and hopefully there is a Cinderella team this year. This week was great, we are just having a tough time here in Noida. Meenuka was definitely prepared by God and was ready to receive the gospel, no one else in Noida seems to be ready or willing to listen. But we work and do our best, it's rewarding in so many ways to be in Noida. 

The streets here are full of tractors and cows, BMW's and Audi's. It smells like curry and incense and feet, I can hear the prayers of different religions over loud speakers, I see people from different nations and different cultures. I have met Monks from Tibet and China, I have met with Christian people from Kolkutta, I have shared our beliefs with Sikh people about Prophets, and I have even shared thoughts and taught lessons with Muslim people about Christ and how we believe He is the Son of God. I have met hundreds of Hindu people and talked with them about Faith. And overall I love these people, I love that they believe. I have an amazing opportunity to live in a place where people believe so much, they have unbelievable Faith in a higher power. You have no idea how much I admire that, in a world where most people don't care. And all I want to do every day is share with them my Faith, and how maybe they can find something that helps them increase their Faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Over and over again I share with them the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon has always been the rock of my testimony. And I have seen and heard and felt, countless times, that it is true. To all these people I recommend reading the Book of Mormon, because I know it's true. It teaches plain and simple truths that so many people need. But most of all I ask them to read it because of the feeling I get when I read it. I can open up to a random page and no matter where I am or how far I read, I close the Book feeling closer to God. There is a special power that comes from reading the Book of Mormon, and I hope you have a desire to feel that feeling. These people I meet have unreal faith, but they don't have the Book of Mormon to build that Faith. But we do, and why I am out here sharing the Book of Mormon with them, I hope you are sharing it back home, and reading it personally. Cherishing it, and thanking Heavenly Father for the direction it gives us. 

The Prophet Joseph Smith gave his life for the Book of Mormon, I hope we treat it as more than just a book. 


Elder Armstrong

Monday, March 20, 2017

Week Forty-Two

Hello from Noida, the strangest place on Earth. 

This week we found rats in the apartment. They are big too, and I think we scared them out, but we are trying to secure the place like Katrina is coming. Yuck. It's hot here, and our swamp coolers and ceiling fans are going 24/7 to keep us cool. I get cold at about 65 degrees though...Idaho winter is going to kill me when I come back. What else? I explained where I live to the Indians and I explained Robin, it blew their minds. When they think of America or even Idaho they have the idea that it's all like New York City, but the fact that my school had 300 students and that Robin had practically 70 residents was crazy to them. Their "villages" have like 50,000 to 500,000 people in them. That's a village here. I wish I could show them the Google Maps version so they could see how open it is. Also when I told them we own cows and that I have worked on farms it was a big shock.  Farmers here are very poor and it’s a job that is looked down on, not much respect for farmers. Just a very big, different world. 

Church was good this week. We had about 26 people...but then subtract missionaries and branch presidency members and you only have 7 or 8 normal members. So the work continues on and we are getting some people to start making progress. If you can get an investigator to Sacrament Meeting you have a real chance of getting them to accept the gospel. The Spirit felt even in a small quirky Sacrament meeting is enough to help someone find the truth. We are working with members to be missionaries by introducing their friends and family to the gospel. I just love the members here. I will be honest, I have met a lot of really bad people in India, but it's amazing to see how big of a difference there is between Church members and regular people. When you have values and morals and a sense of humility and understanding of where you stand in the big picture, your actions are so different. You become more loving and patient to those around you, it's a wonderful thing. 

How is March Madness? I hope BYU wins ;) ha-ha maybe in a few years when they can win and actually get in the tournament. How about my Jazz? I keep hearing good things so I'm rooting for them. 

Yesterday I went to less active man's home. He is an older guy and his name is Romi Hukil. He has a pretty amazing story. He has been to the States, Australia, and Canada.  He was baptized in Canada and came back to the church here. His kids are lawyers and studying in America. He's a brilliant man and his wife Sheela is extremely kind. But they haven't been coming to church and Romi is smoking again. He gave it up to be baptized years ago, but he relapsed not long back and he is having a hard time quitting. He gets chest pain and he knows that he's hurting himself, but he can't stop. He calls himself a chain smoker and his wife is begging him to stop. It's a sad situation and if the only good I do while I'm in Noida is help Romi then that's what I'll do. He trusts missionaries and he loves to sit and talk with us, so if we have time we'll be at his home every other day to just sit and talk, and help him pass time while he tries quitting. We will share scriptures and help him do his best. It's just a reminder to me that the best of us have problems, and that no one is perfect. This life is a giant battle between the desires of the flesh and the desires of the spirit. We know that the Natural Man is an Enemy to God. And it's those natural desires that Satan uses to pull us down. Whether it’s the word of wisdom, or the law of chastity, lying or not paying tithing, our natural desires are not the desires of God. Part of this human life is do our best to not be human and to not choose the easy route that leads to temporary happiness. It's harder to choose the right, it's harder for Romi to not smoke. It's harder for all of us to give in to desires of the flesh, but it's not the right choice. We can choose the harder right. We can pray. We can read. We can exercise, we can do anything we choose. But it starts with a choice, and you make that choice. 

"If you're on the right path, it will always be uphill."  President Henry B. Eyring

Love you, be happy this week.

Elder Armstrong

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Week Forty-One

Dear Family,

First off I'm sorry to mom and dad for emailing late and to those of you who have emailed me, I won't be able to email back so I hope you're reading this. We're short on time and it has been a crazy weekend. But I have a lot I want to say. This weekend was the Holi celebration in India and I was full of color all week. We were on lock down yesterday because they want us safe in this crazy city, but people celebrate the full week so staying out of the celebration is impossible. I ruined two white shirts and everywhere we went people would throw water balloons and then colors at us. It was awesome! 

Such a fun culture. Such a fun time. I wake up every day and throw on some flip flops and walk to the shop down the road. I see parrots and monkeys and cows. I buy yogurt and milk, biscuits (cookies), and a banana...all for less than a dollar. I walk back and do a small work out, and then I shower in dirty water and eat my food. I then study and leave for the day, never knowing what will happen and it's a great life. 

This week we helped a member "shift" which is just moving.  In India they don't have Uhauls, so we loaded everything from their small house into a small truck with really tall sides in the back to keep everything in. When we moved it all to the other house across Noida they had me sit at the very top of the truck in the back on all of their belongings. They drove all the way through Noida with me being paraded around. I took pictures and videos and people took pictures and videos of me. They couldn't believe it and I was just blown away, you never know what to expect in India. It was so awesome; I can't wait for you to see the pictures. 

This week was great and my companion Elder Mani is awesome, but there is just one problem, he is really good at chess. So good that I'm no longer placing 10 rupee bets on each game, at least not until I can learn to beat him. Also I am loving the families in my new area here in Noida. They treat me as if I'm a son and it's really nice to have that.

I was going to write to you about a different topic this week, but on the way to the Cyber my thoughts went to something different as I watched the local police trying to load a man into their car who had passed away. This man was homeless I believe, and you could just tell that he had had a rough life, and I was shocked because I have never seen anything like that. It was really sad. Sometimes I just think life is unfair, but I have to be trusting in the Plan of Salvation. I don't know why I grew up in Marsh Valley and have an amazing life, full of blessings. I don't know why I have grown up with the gospel, and was born into a loving family.  Many people I meet will never even know what my life is like. They will never know what it's like to get an education and have a life of comfort and peace. I see babies on the roads and kids that are begging for food and I just ask why? But I don't know why and I will probably never fully understand how Heavenly Father chooses where and how his children live on Earth. But I do know something, I know that he has a plan for each one of us, no matter whom we are or where we are. And I know that he gave us all a giant hug before we left his presence, fully knowing how hard it would be for many of us. His love is unfailing and it's faith in that that helps me get by. It's faith that in the end all will be well and all of our brothers and sisters will get a chance to accept our Savior and feel real happiness. It's faith that can help us help others so that maybe they can feel that feeling here on Earth.

People need us, it's that simple. So we need to be there for them.


Elder Armstrong