Monday, July 31, 2017

14 Month Mark

Hello family, 

This week was bittersweet,  a lot of good things happened and some bad things happened also, so I'll start with the bad. I got extremely sick again, I thought I was over the whole "Delhi Belli" phase. But this week just proved that even after countless times of being sick, spending over a year in Delhi, and being confident that all the sketchy food I eat is okay, you can still get wrecked. It started with a fever of 103 and right then I knew it was going to be a rough week. I spent a few days inside and after the sickness left I was 5 pounds lighter and all the members at church were saying "So thin you are!" So I guess I'm looking better, but I'm warning you if any of you want to come to Delhi, you will get sick and it will try to kill you. 

In India there is tons of traffic, you've seen the videos, and so when buses come along they either don't stop at all or they slow down just barely. Every bus I get on is with a running start to jump on and catch it, they don't slow down for children or the elderly, and about 100 people are getting off while you and 1000 people are getting on, it's the closest thing to football I get these days. I love it, but it can be really stressful especially in the heat. Anyways about a month and a half ago as Elder Karkala and I were doing this to go out to our area, we met a nice kid named Siyon. As we invited him to learn more, we had about 20 seconds of actual speaking to him, so we didn't think much of it.  However, he called us a day later and was interested, we ended up teaching him and his only struggle was to give up some tea, and after that he's been golden! Yesterday he got baptized and he is a great guy with so much potential. He has a very big heart and was really shy at first, but is now really open with all the Elders and most of the branch. It was a great service and I'm really proud of the last two baptisms we have had, they are going to be great members.

This week there isn't that much other news, I am just trying to recover and get back out working. I am giving a few trainings this week and that has kept me busy while I have been sick, and in only 3 weeks Elder Christofferson is coming! 

I'm sort of in a hurry to get out of the cyber today, so I'm sorry if my message today seems short or scrambled.  I wanted to just share a message on prayer, and how it helps so much. This week as I was sick there were countless prayers being said and so I think that's where this came from. But it's so interesting to me to see the religions of the world like I get to see and how prayer is strong in all of them. We all have our different methods and beliefs, our different languages and traditions. The one thing that is in common with all of these religions, including Mormons, is that it's an act of Faith in a higher power, and a human understanding that we need help from someone stronger than we are to help us. Everyone needs help, everyone needs comfort, that's what makes us humans. And I think we're all just a bunch of humans trying to find our way on this crazy Earth, praying at every chance for a little bit of help. I'm thankful that my entire duty is to help people learn to pray, to trust in God, and find their way. 

Elder Armstrong

Siyon's Baptism

Looking pretty thin after being so sick! 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Week Sixty

Dear Family,

What a wet, humid, hot, sweaty week it has been in Delhi. One day it was triple digit heat, one day the floods came and we could barely even work. Rainy season is coming in hard, but it still hasn't let summer go yet. This week I went on an exchange back to Noida where I served for 4 and 1/2 months and we woke up to the entire street being flooded. I went and got my breakfast by wading through water above the knee. It was so fun, but the water was absolutely disgusting. So much dirt and trash, but it was quite the experience. The next day it was so hot I thought I was going to die, there was so much water in the air and I am just wet all the time. Delhi is a great place.
Rainy Weather in Delhi
 This week the highlight was the baptism of Rabina, I've told you a lot about her, and she just really is the coolest. All baptisms are special and we get so happy for everyone to make that promise to God, but Rabina’s baptism I will never forget. She has a testimony, and she doesn't even really know how big it is. If you could see how much she loves the church.  Singing hymns, praying, and reading the scriptures, you would think she has been a member for years. But she found the gospel a little over a month ago. It's just such a blessing to see the gospel work in every life that it is applied to. When someone gives it a chance, that's all it takes. I grew up in the most Mormon place in the world and I just thought the gospel is what we do, that it worked for us and that's why we do it. But then I came to one of the most non-Mormon places in the world, where the smallest percent of people live the gospel and I saw that it still works, that it still changes lives and makes people happier. And that's when I realized why we do missionary work, because it works for everyone who has the smallest bit of faith to try it.

Rabina's Baptism!  Baptized by Elder Karkala

Rabina and her brother Rakeesh and their mother

I don't have much else this week, we are about to go to do some cool stuff around Delhi, next week I should have more cool pictures to send. Football season seems to be just around the corner, I would do anything to be in Idaho on Treasure Field on a September Friday night. But that's a sacrifice I am being asked to make right now. We have to sacrifice a lot for the gospel, I have sacrificed a lot, the missionaries I serve with have sacrificed a lot, and every faithful saint in the world sacrifices for the gospel. People in India have to change so much to be baptized and to follow what they know is true. They give up more than just tea and coffee, although that is tough too. They give up thousands of years of traditions, ideas, and practices, to be a Latter Day Saint. Today is Pioneer day in India and all of them are pioneers, in every sense of the word. I appreciate what the early Saints did for us, and I hope you will too. I also hope you will recognize how lucky and blessed we are because of them, and that's the vision in India right now. Someday the Church will be big and strong and it will bless millions here, but it starts with them. Years later I will look back and see where India used to be and compare it to where it will be then, and I will be thankful for the pioneers of India, who made it possible for people just like Rabina to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ. This church is so true, and that's all that matters.


Elder Armstrong
Three American Amigos!

My eggs for breakfast

Monday, July 17, 2017

Week Fifty-Nine

Dear family and friends. I love you guys, and I thought I should say that first today.

This week has been great, just really busy and running around Delhi. I have a lot to do, but I'm just enjoying my time here. This week I got a call from the mission office and they needed me at the FRRO (foreigner registration) building as fast as possible, I guess there was a problem when I was working with my visa for the next year and we were all super worried I was going to be deported or something. I have never went so fast through these crazy streets to get an auto and then get to the office. After a while all the problems were okay. On the way back to my area I got on a bus from probably the 1980's, it was packed shoulder to shoulder with no a/c, I stood surrounded by people just staring at me and an old homeless man got on the bus with a little bongo and started singing and playing for money( he was actually good). And the whole experience from the phone call to the bus ride cost me about $1.50. On the way home we went over a tall flyover in the middle of Delhi and you could see most of the city and I just thought to myself "I love this country".

Teaching has been good, and we are having great success as a companionship and as a zone. Elder Karkala and i are expecting two baptisms this week. Rabina and a guy named Siyon are both ready to be baptized and they are both really excited. I am so excited for both of them and the change I have seen in their lives is incredible. Rabina is going to be a baptism I remember forever. Her and Rakesh are just awesome. 

This week I got a call from a member in Dwarka, I answered and she said that it was Sister Suman. I didn't recognize the name which was weird because I spent 8 months of my life there and I love those people. She told me that I was the first Elder to visit her home, and then I was even more confused. Then after explaining, I realized that I found this sister door knocking with Elder Chidithoti a week before I left, we had taught her the first lesson of the Restoration and then I left. Since then she has been baptized and is not only an active member of the branch, but she is the newly called Primary president. I was so happy to hear that, and I could hear how happy she was through the phone. It just goes to show that blessings are all around us, and that no effort of doing good will ever go wasted. My dad told me last Christmas when skyping that the blessing will always be there, it may not come until you've got kids and you are able to put food on the table for them, but the blessing will be there. And I truly believe that, we may never know the result of our good actions, or maybe we will get a mysterious phone call months later, but we shouldn't do anything looking for a blessing, we should do it because it's what we should do. I know that that's what Christ did, and that's the ultimate reason to do anything, to become more Christ like. 

Love you guys, 

Elder Armstrong

Monday, July 10, 2017

Week Fifty-Eight

Hey guys,

Right now I'm in a small cyber cafe in AmarColony, it's hot, it's sweaty, I'm hungry, I smell bad already and I showered 2 hours ago, and Gordon Hayward left the Jazz. So yeah it's not going to be the best P day ever, but I will just keep on going. Some day the Jazz will win a championship, and that will be the day I will literally just sit back and cry tears of joy from all the years I cheered them on. Never give up on your team. But seriously, I'm such a little kid at heart about my teams. 

This week was an awesome week, there's a lot of stuff keeping me busy and I barely even notice the days going by. The 4th of July Party was awesome; I didn't get sick, and the mystery meat tasted amazing! (kind of) It's really hard to eat meat, I don't know why, but it's just hard. I'm so scared I'm going to be messed up and not be able to eat beef for a long time. I miss America and it was good to celebrate, but before I know it I'll be back home crying to come back to India. 

This week we were teaching Rakesh's sister, Rabina, and she is doing so good. She is such a cool kid and truly is starting to understand the gospel, she has found some friends in Young Women, and she is enjoying church. She even asked for a hymn book because she wants to learn to sing the hymns, which will be awesome cause she needs help improving her English. So Elder Karkala and I are going out of our way to get a little hymn book for her, she'll love it. Rakesh is doing great as well; he might be my favorite member in all of Delhi. He is totally committed, he loves the gospel, he helps all the Elders, and he gives referrals like crazy. He is starting to save up for a mission, and he bought a laptop for his studies, which is a big deal. The first thing he put on his laptop was all the bible videos, Mormon messages, hymns, and any other video made by the church. He's the perfect example of what the Gospel can do to change a person's life. 

This week I have just been thinking about how lucky we are to have a Father in Heaven, and to truly know Him. One thing that has been a big lesson in my mission is the fact that God knows everyone of us, personally, inside and out. He hasn't forgotten anyone; no one has been left out. I think of India which has 1.3 billion people, and after living here I think it's not true. I think there are actually more than that, there's just no way you can count everyone, and even if you add a little extra to the total…you just can never know. I doubt they count everyone in all the villages or small towns, or people like the nice man with one leg who sits on the stairs of the tunnel that goes underneath the highway between our apartment and the church. The world just doesn't count those people, we don't count everyone, and we don't think about everyone. I spend days at a time without even thinking about Robin, Idaho. It's just how it is, but God, the Father of us all, does not forget a single one. He knows everyone, he loves everyone, and his entire purpose is to bring us back home. God will not forget you, the Savior Jesus Christ will not forget you. You are their most important priority, and just having that knowledge in a world like this brings a lot of peace.

Love you,

Elder Armstrong (Go Jazz..)

Missionary Fireside