Monday, October 22, 2012

Elder Astle's first letter from Mexico!

Aye Mum,
So i miss you a bunch and i miss everyone a bunch.  I loved your last letter, i dunno i just love hearing about home and everything.  It's pretty tough out here.  We walk miles every day and I can barely understand anything right now.  Sorry i'm not being super interesting, i'm kind of trying to avoid talking about really deep things like home, or how much i miss you, or dad, the family, and Nicole, and everyone.  I have been trying to take pictures but it's tough to find time, every second of every day we are pretty much doing something.  I did take some though.  So to start the way of life is really.. interesting here. All the cars and the clothes and those kinds of things are pretty much really nice for everyone, but only the real wealthy have nicer homes.  Our apartment is very.. humble haha.  It's all we need though so that's really good, more time to focus on the missionary work!  It always smells like.. something here :) I really dont want to say anything bad about Puebla because I really do love it here and I love the people here. It's pretty much hot all the time, but not really hot just kind of and the best thing is that when it gets real hot there are breezes that come through and feel amazing!  OK so! My new companion is . . . . .Elder Ramirez! And guess what!! He doesnt speak English to me pretty much ever!! haha it's great though it is really helping me learn the language a lot faster.  He is also a district leader which is pretty impressive because i dont think there are any other trainers with a leadership position like him.  I was especially excited after I  was assigned to be his companion a lot of american missionaries came up to me and told me how he is pretty much the greatest companion in the mission, which is pretty much true.  He's super funny (when I can understand) and patient and loves missionary work a ton.  Oh quick story, so there is an Elder named Elder Prosper who started talking to me about table tennis (he only speaks Spanish too) and he asked if i wanted to play him sometime on a p day and i said YA! Five seconds later his companion told me that he is the national Table Tennis Champion of Uruguay! SO COOL! I still want to play him sometime haha.  Anyway (sorry do i say that a lot? I know Nicole doesnt (she'll understand haha)) So a teacher in the MTC said that anyone who wants to get a message to me can either send a letter or they can send an email to you, mom, and then you can send it to me in the email. (could you tell Nicole?) So, my Pday is today! Monday! Unfortunately I havent gotten your package yet sorry mom, I heard we probably will only get packages something like every 6 weeks.  And I found out that my debit card does work here but i will only use it if i really need to, no worries thank you though! I'm almost out of time :( I loved ALL of the ties so much and all the little notes and everything just made me cry a lot haha but i loved them all so much thank you so much.  Since I'm almost out of time I'm going to include the letter I sent to President Reeves:

Presidente Reeves,
I'm loving my first week, it has been really hard for me.  Really hard in a good way though.  I feel like I'm growing a lot under the pressure.  It has definitely been a change from the norm but I like it.  This last week was good we had a lot of appointments, unfortunately not all of them were able to happen.  It seemed like more than half of the people we went to see weren't home.  I feel I'm doing a good job of not getting discouraged though.  Elder Ramirez is helping me a lot with everything; learning the language, depending on and listening to the Spirit, and working hard and being positive.  We did a bunch of contacting yesterday and he helped me get out of my comfort zone more which helped a lot too.  One investigator that I really love, I love all of them more than I expected to love the people, is Jose Luis.  He is older and super humble and he really wants to do what is right but it seems like he is having a hard time keeping comittments.  Plus he needs glasses to read and he doesnt have any right now.  My favorite part about Jose Luis is that he is trying hard to learn and remember what he learned and he really wants to do what's right.  I'm loving the work President! Unfortunately I'm real sick today, I hope I feel better soon so I can do more work.  I want to say thank you to you and Sister Reeves for our loving welcome that we received here in the mission.
Elder Branden Astle

   Ok so fun stuff: The first night we went out teaching, which was tuesday night, right after i got my companion and right after we dropped my things off at the apartment, We taught a guy named Julian.  He is questioning a lot of things right now but at the end of the lesson I invited him to be baptized.  Unfortunately he isn't ready yet. 
   But I think it was Tuesday night we met with Jose Luis and I invited him to be baptized and he said yes!! Right now we are working on helping him strengthen his testimony. 
   On thursday night there was a surprise thunderstorm! whooo!! we had to go to the church building which was about a mile away and we walked the whole way in the POURING rain and lightning. It was SO fun, at one point Elder Ramirez was like, with faith we can walk on water like Jesus did! and he started walking on the sidewalk where the water was so high in the street that it came up on the sidewalk.  The street was literally a river though, we had to cross it at one point and the water was above my ankles haha it was really fun. 
    Church yesterday was AMAZING, i love church every time (they invited me to give my testimony in the beginning of Sacrament meeting and I did awful haha) but i could definitely feel the love in the ward, it is so strong.  Oh one last thing, everyone in the ward seems to be tone deaf so i fit right in, i feel like an singing pro! haha
    I love you all so much, please try to be missionaries, it's so incredibly rewarding.  I miss you all a ton.  Pictures are coming.
    I love Heavenly Father so much i'm so thankful to be a part of the work.  I'm thankful for all of your support, everyone, in getting here, mom, dad, my family, bishop, Nicole, President Watkins, everyone. Thank you so much

Elder Branden Carl Astle

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