First of all I want to wish all of you a happy 4th of July! It's going to be a good one for me, my last in India. We are having a big party today at our apartment, 6 Americans will be there and a lot of the Indians as well. We have what we think might be beef, but the actual source of the meat is truly unknown, other than the fact that we got it from the scariest place in the world. Down a dark ally in a very sketchy part of Delhi. I love this place, but Mom I promise I won't go back, because I won't have to buy anymore beef (we got 8 pounds for 15 dollars what a steal). We are going to fry french fries, make a fruit salad, drink tons of Coke...no Thums Up on America day, and we will eat ton's of potato chips and just enjoy with all the Elders. I even drew an American flag on my white t shirt just to wear today! The only thing I am missing is fireworks, which will just have to wait until next year.
All I want to say today, is kind of where my thoughts have been lately, especially around this big party I am trying to have. And that is, I know I will come home, and I won't be the biggest spiritual giant that ever went on a mission. I didn't start as that person and I don't think I will end as that person. I have grown so much spiritually, and I know the church is true, and I will never fall away, my testimony is firm. But I just feel like I have learned so much about the world being here in India. I understand now, how the world really is, and a whole lot more about life. Keep in mind, I love the people of India, I love them so much, and I love this country.
But after one year, I still remember the feeling of taking off over LAX and realizing that I wouldn't step foot in America for 2 years. That's not an easy thing if you knew me growing up, my dad taught me to take pride in my country. And it's still not easy today. America has problems, big problems. But we have absolutely no idea, the blessings that God has given us in America. I have only been to India, but I am convinced there is not a place on Earth that compares to America. There is no caste system, there is no communism, there is nothing that can stop you from going after everything you want, worshiping how you please, or even choosing where to live or what you can eat, there is safety and there is actual freedom. I hope you will take time to recognize on the 4th how much our police officers, our firemen, our doctors, our soldiers, and our everyday citizens do, to keep America such a great place. I promise you it will be on my mind.
There is no other place the Restoration of the Gospel could have happened. It had to be in a place founded by men like our Founding Fathers, guided by the Holy Ghost, to make it possible for a young boy to search for the truth and not be compelled to believe anything he didn't want to. To be able to pray to God from his heart, and to bring back the true Church of Jesus Christ, and to assemble themselves each Sunday, so that we could be blessed for Eternity. There is no other place in the world quite like America, and I hope you truly realize how many blessings you have in the Promised Land.
I love America, and I love India, and today I'm going to eat as many mystery burgers as possible. Oh and pray for Gordon Hayward to stay in Utah with the Jazz, I hear he is supposed to make his decision this week...please pray!
God Bless America, The Land That I Love.
Love, Elder Armstrong