As of 8:00 pm last night Elder Astle is in Puebla, Mexico. We were so excited because we knew he was going to call home during his layover in Houston. We were expecting his call around 2:45. You can imagine this mother's surprise when I answered my cell phone at 9:10 that morning, not recognizing the phone number and hearing the word mom on my phone left me feeling a little confused for a moment. I finally realized it was Branden!! It was so good to hear his voice! He was a little nervous, but excited to be flying to Puebla. He had told me that he, and the approximately 11 other Elders with him, wanted to go share the gospel with the people around them at the airport while they waited for their flight....but they were, well a little scared.. He told me how much he missed everyone. He also expressed how much he missed his home ward. I only spoke with him for about 10 minutes, then said goodbye, both of us in tears. It is such an amazing blessing, the old saying that "Absence makes the heart grow fonder". I know from my own life's experience that when we are away from those we love, our appreciation and love for them is felt so strongly. I have witnessed this with Elder Astle the last couple of months. He loves his family and friends so much. If you are reading this, it means you!
Later that day some of his family and friends were gathered in eager anticipation of his phone call. It was his dads birthday too and he had expressed to me earlier that he couldn't wait to tell dad Happy Birthday. unfortunately dad didn't make it home in time so he had to settle on a one on one conversation with his son. I think that worked just fine!!
When Elder Astle called he told me that after speaking to me earlier he had approached a customs agent at the airport and began to share the gospel with him. After a few minutes he asked the gentleman if he knew any Mormons? "Well, lets see? Me, my wife, my parents..." What can you expect when asking people at the Salt Lake City Airport! He noticed a gentleman sitting in the airport who had really, really cool Italian shoes on. Branden sat and asked the man about his shoes. It turned out he was from Italy. He was a "Fluid Dynamics Physicist" I'm sure Branden was really enjoying the conversation since he loves that science stuff. Before the conversation was over Elder Astle had given the gentleman a pass a long card with the churches internet address on it. He felt good about that. I will keep you all posted as news comes in. I don't know at this point what his P-Day will be, but I will post it when I do know.
I think the best way for everyone to write Elder Astle, and he does love getting letters, is through the dearelder.com site. It is simple and they ship the letters in a pouch to Mexico. Packages are expensive to send. Approximately $40.00. I will be mailing packages from time to time. If you ever have something you would like to send to him, you can get it to me and I will cover the cost. Please remember Elder Astle in your prayers, I know he remembers you in his..