Life after Many Missions
By Gina Randall
Friday, the 1st of November 2013, marked the first day in many years that Kenneth S. and Muriel Dorothy Armstrong were not on a mission. President Armstrong served as a counsellor to Johannesburg Temple President Peter Bowen starting in 2007, and then became temple president in November 2010. Sister Armstrong was at his side during all those years of service. They have been replaced by Robert and Pamela Anne Eppel.
The Armstrongs’ temple service did not start with their six-year stint. In 2003 they served as ordinance workers with President Alan Hogben until, in 2004, they were called to serve in the South Africa Missionary Training Centre in Roodepoort. As president and “mission mom,” they nurtured the missionaries in their care until early 2006. Many of these young men were raised by single mothers. President Armstrong was told, “You are the only father I have ever had.”
From 1993-96 President Armstrong served as president of the South Africa Cape Town Mission. While at the MTC in Provo, Utah, USA, he was trained and reminded that the mission president’s duty was to teach the gospel to his missionaries. At every zone conference he spent time analysing and explaining Church doctrine to the missionaries. Some missionaries recorded these discussions, had them typed, and distributed them to other missionaries.
Christina Stewart Randall, a sister who served in the Cape Town mission during 2001-03, said: “While I was on my mission, zone conference talks given by President Armstrong were still circulating amongst the missionaries. I got a copy of a copy of a copy. They were still around many years later. I remember attending a “Missionary Evening” organised by the ward mission leader. He was using one of President Armstrong’s talks. When I finally met him, I was really excited to get to know the author of those insightful talks.”
When asked which of their missions was the most enjoyable, President Armstrong replied, “They have all been great in different ways. ‘Living’ in the temple is a very spiritual experience. You become very close to all those you work with.” When asked how she feels about their mission drawing to an end, Sister Armstrong said, “I will miss getting to know those who visit the temple. They share their stories and spiritual experiences with you. It has been a very special time.”
Their lives will continue to be full. President Armstrong plans to do family history work and start painting again. He has always been artistic and used to be a display artist. He has been a training manager in the automotive field and later started his own training consultancy.
Sister Armstrong has been employed as a nurse but quit when they had their five children--Russell, Glenn, Sheree, Lyann, and Brett. In 1967, after much saving, the couple travelled to the London Temple with their two sons to be sealed. The Armstrongs celebrated their 51st anniversary this year (2013).
President and Sister Armstrong have given many years of dedicated service and financial sacrifices. No doubt there will be other opportunities in the future for them.