Tuesday, May 30, 2017

One Year Mark


1 YEAR!!!!!! I CANNOT BELIEVE IT! I don't know how it went by this fast, and I don't know how I made it a year without getting a one way ticket back to Marsh Valley. But here I am and I am happier than ever, just living life in India as a missionary. This week we had transfers and it was tough to leave Noida and Elder Mani, but I am excited to serve in a new area called Lajpat Nagar. (Lodge Putt) I am serving with Elder Karkala as a Zone Leader. We are the Zone Leaders of the Delhi East zone, covering Noida, Lajpat Nagar, and Malviya Nagar. We are already so busy which is nice.  I am excited for the opportunity to serve in this assignment and help the mission progress. Elder Karkala is a longtime friend in the mission and a really cool guy.  He is from Hyderabad. So I now have a Tellegu speaking companion again, my favorite Indian language, and we will be drinking a lot of Thums Up and eating a lot of Hyderabadi Biryani. 

I have a lot to do as a Zone Leader, but I am enjoying Lajpat Nagar. We are in inner Delhi and in a very nice area with more people in the middle class of India. The missionary work is awesome and many people already know and understand English, and a lot of people are just more interested. The Branch is very good and has leaders that can lead without the help of missionaries. We only focus on bringing more people into the church which is weird because for the last year I have been teaching lessons, talking in sacrament at least once a month or more, and helping the branches grow and develop. Now I kind of get to just sit back and focus on being a missionary. There is great food and awesome places to go in Delhi.  We are right in the middle of all the crazy night life and big fancy rich people with nice cars. It's going to be fun.

What else is happening? My MTC companion Elder Stephens and I are living together finally, he is awesome and we have a lot of fun, especially at our year mark together. We are the best at playing this game called Carrom and the Indians who have been playing their whole lives can't stop us, it's really fun. Also, right outside our apartment is a badminton court that we can play on every morning for exercise and every p day too. I have got to get better at that though. 

Things are going great here and I am such a happy person. If there is anything that I have learned in the first year, it's just that I know the Gospel is true. It truly is. I cannot tell you how many experiences I have had to just prove it to me, miracles truly are happening all over the world. I know that what I am doing is worth every hard time and it’s worth walking in the hot Indian sun and not having toilet paper and not watching football. It's worth it all, because the blessings are real. I love the gospel, and am so thankful that I get one more year to serve these people. 

Never give up in your trials, in all things choose the right, be a good person, love everyone, and love Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. If you do these things you can make it through anything, including one year in foreign country with nobody you know and completely out of your element. I'm here because the Savior has been with me at every step, without Him, I would be so lost in this world. 


Elder Armstrong

Monday, May 22, 2017

Week Fifty-One

Sorry for the late email mom and dad! Today was crazy...seriously. We just woke up super early and traveled to this place in South Delhi where there are a lot of hills and trees. It was the highest elevation I have seen in a year, probably about a 200 foot hill. Ha-ha. In these hills were old abandoned Hindu Temples and buildings and statues of their Gods just out in the forest. It was so crazy and really kind of scary. People still live out there in the jungle. You cannot believe how foreign that place was to me even after a year in Delhi. I have never seen India like I just did. It was awesome and I cannot wait to get you pictures and videos sent home. 

Here in India, we American's are always completely fascinated with the way things work. This is the most foreign place in the world to America, literally nothing is the same. The saying the American's use in the mission is "Everything is the exact opposite" and down to every detail everything is seriously the opposite from America. And we love it. Some of the things we do to kind of just stay normal and have fun, we keep records. We keep track of the crazy and cool things that happen in India so that we can always be on the lookout for something awesome and bizarre. That includes how many bricks you see a construction worker carrying on his head (32). And my personal favorite, how many people can fit in a Gramin Sewa (18 plus a baby). So basically a Gramin Sewa is a miniature shelled out work van with benches inside. It's really small and it’s probably the size of a regular minivan from the 90's. These are a part of the public transportation in India and they run routes throughout our areas and missionaries always use them. They cost 10 rupees a piece and these drivers want every last rupee possible so they jam you in like a can of sardines. Trying to go to appointments in them is honestly like trying to catch the last helicopter out of Nam. I have never been so comfortable being sweaty and dirty, with sweaty, dirty people sitting on my lap, and me sitting on theirs. It's a great experience and so we love to see how crazy it can get here in Delhi. Those are just a few of the records we keep. What a place. 

This week was awesome and we made some great progress with our investigators. Priya and Pooja are still progressing towards baptism and things are looking up for Noida. This week we have transfers and the rumors are that I will be leaving, but we will wait until transfer calls until I set my mind on anything. I have loved Noida and don't really want to leave, and Elder Mani has been the best companion, such a big heart and such a fun guy. 

This week I read Article of Faith number 13 and I just love it. I challenge all of you to read it because to me it sums up what being a Mormon truly is. If you can change "We" to "I" and you truly do believe in doing those things and are doing them then you have nothing to worry about. That is what being a good person is all about, it's what Christ wants us to be. Being a Mormon is a wonderful thing, because we believe in being good and there is nothing better than the cause of good over evil. 

We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things.  If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praise worthy, we seek after these things.

I believe those things, and I hope you all do too.  None of us are perfect, but if we strive to follow this and seek after those praiseworthy things, we’ll never go wrong.
I love you all,

Elder Armstrong

Meditation Rock

Monday, May 15, 2017

Week Fifty

Hello Everyone,

I hope you all had a Happy Mother's Day! I just got done talking to my family and seeing their faces was awesome. I just love all of you so much, all of my family and friends, without you guys I would not be here today. 

This week went well and the work just continues to roll on. I am loving where I am in life and I enjoy everyday no matter how tough it gets sometimes. This week we got a lot of work done, but it’s summer vacation for most people so it's been pretty quiet. Vacation time is when a lot of people in India go back to their hometowns and villages from where they first came, so that was the case with most of our members and investigators. 

We had our New Delhi District Conference yesterday, and I am happy to tell you that it will be the last time that happens. In 6 months, we will have the first stake conference for the newly formed India New Delhi Stake. We are so happy and excited.  There has been so much work to build the Church up here. I am so grateful that not only was I here to help build the foundation, but that I will live to see the rest of the building. Nothing could make me happier than to be 60 or 70 years old and look at India with multiple temples and millions of members and to say that I was there and that those are my friends.

That's kind of my thoughts for this email, how important friends are. I have thought about my friends who are out serving with me, all of the friends I have made here in India, and all of my friends back home. I am a firm believer that you are a product of your environment, where you come from, and the people you are surrounded by have such a huge influence on who you become in life. I am so grateful that I had good friends growing up, who helped me come on a mission. I am thankful for brothers and parents who were my best friends. Since being in India I have made the greatest friends in the world. Some of those friends are members, but a lot of them are the missionaries I have served with and lived with for many months. Their testimonies have strengthened mine, and I have learned so much from them. The sacrifices, the faith, and the strength it takes for these Elders to come and serve is unbelievable. I could, and in another year I will, sit down and tell you stories about every missionary I have served with. I can tell you about their families and about their hometowns and their favorite foods. I will be excited to tell you everything, because I love my friends. The ones that raised me, the ones who helped me, the ones who left Marsh Valley to serve missions too, and the ones who live here in India. Every single one of them has had an impact on me that will last forever, and so will your friends and the people you choose to be around. So choose wisely, and be a good friend yourself. Because the Savior taught us best to be a friend, I know that He is the Ultimate Friend and I hope he will be the best friend that each of you will ever have.

Love you, 

Elder Armstrong

District Conference with Elder Vickie

District Conference with Elder Chidithoti

District Conference with Elder Webster from SLC

District Conference with Elder Openshaw, Elder Chilli & Me

Teaching Boys in the Park

District Conference


Monday, May 8, 2017

Week Forty-Nine

What's up guys? India is awesome!

Happy birthday Grandma Norma! I hope you had a good day and hope that my dad bought you a nice gift;) If not make sure he does ha-ha. Thank you so much for all the letters and in the last one you had a question about where I cut my hair. I get my hair cut at this place called Sunil's. It's like an old school Indian barber shop...but most of them are like that. They are awesome and the haircuts are really nice, but my favorite part is when they give me a head and face massage. They start by dumping about a liter of coconut oil on your head and they just massage and smack you on the head for like 10 minutes and you don't know if you are getting beaten up or a massage. Then he shaves my face with a straight razor and cleans my ears out for me and I feel like he's going to touch my brain ha-ha. I get the whole deal for 150 rupees so that's a dollar fifty for the best experience of the month. Also I'm learning to shave with a straight razor which is really cool and scary. Also, congrats on the mission call to Farmington, New Mexico, Hunter!! You're going to love it there and I promise we are sent where we are suppose to be, by Heavenly Father, you will soon realize that to be true. Proud of you man! 

This week was amazing guys. It was one of those weeks where I just continued to fall in love with this country. I am so grateful my visa was accepted and there were no problems, I couldn't stand to leave here or come here late. I need every second of India. It was also a week where you just see miracles all over the place, and I'm serious we saw miracles...so I want to tell you a story from my week. (one of three miracles)

Saturday night we had two new girls show up to our English class, Pooja and Priya, and none of us Elders had invited them. So I asked them how they learned about our class and Priya responded "God told us." Elder Mani thought they were crazy and I was so confused, so we asked how that happened. Then they pulled out this invitation card that was ripped and torn and battered. They had found an invitation card that was given to someone who threw it on the ground and whether it was the way the wind blew or the way the uninterested person threw the card, it landed with the Salt Lake City Temple face up. From there Heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost went to work to inspire these two girls to pick it up. That's only half of the miracle, with only our address and number on the card, they walked right to our church building at the exact time we had English class. There was no English class information on the card, they came to learn about our church. That is the only time of the week we are at the church except Sunday, and they just happened to walk in at that time. You can say it was by chance, you can say it just happened, but I believe in miracles, and I know that it was a miracle. They are both now being taught and are on baptism dates. They live in the other Elders Area, but it was Elder Mani's handwriting on the card, and we handed that card out. I have had so many rejections in Noida I have no idea about which person threw it away, but with every rejection your patience gets tried and you just have to have hope and faith in the next one, and sometimes that's an even bigger rejection. But the fact that God knows everything is an amazing relief. I find comfort knowing that Heavenly Father knows when we leave the apartment every morning to go finding in the heat, and He knows when we get rejected, and He knows when we are tired, and He knows how to bless us when we continue with Faith. 

Miracles will only stop happening when Faith stops. God knows each of us one by one, he knew Pooja and Priya would feel the Spirit when they saw the temple picture, and he knew that we needed the reassurance that no invitation is wasted. 

I LOVE INDIA. Now I've got to go burn my Utes tie with Elder Openshaw. 

Love, Elder Armstrong