Monday, November 26, 2012

November 26, 2012

Hi mum,
Well I miss you and love you all so much like always, also I'm sorry because I'm short on time again ayayay. That's my favorite Spanish phrase haha. Well This week was tough but again the Spiritual blessings keep flowing. I love my mission so much and everything about it and I'm so grateful to everyone who helped me to get here. All my good examples and all the support from family, friends, and the ward. So I'm done with my first exchange today! Crazy right?!?! One more and I might be getting a new companion or a new area even! Wow. I can't believe it's already going so fast. Well it's time to get listy:
1. First off I have plenty of money right now don't worry mom but thank you so much. I'll be sure to wait until closer to Christmas time to buy myself a present... I'll try anyway.
2. Something hilarious: Elder Lopez from the picture is from Columbia and his companion is Elder Olson who is helping him learn English, his english is really pretty good. The other day he taught him something so funny: Elder Olson told me to ask Elder Lopez how is english is. Me: "how's your english?" Elder Lopez: "kind of" hahahahaha I was dying laughing.
3. So i tried ceviche this week.... look it up... it was interesting... I covered it in ketchup haha
4. There's these clowns that perform infront of the lines of cars at the stop lights whern the lgiht is red and sometimes they are pretty good. but it's weird seeing the clowns smoking on the side of the rode.
5. Sometime bad, sometimes i forget to put on sunblock before i leave. Luckily i havent gotten sunburned yet!
6. The saints for October 5 are Flor and Tulia, I have 2!!! super rare :P
7. President Reeves says hello, our interview was really good!
8. For aaron: Look up the Chrysler AMV 10 NICE!

Answers to your questions
1. no package yet :(
2. We can barely see the volcano off in the distance
3. The weather here is still really warm during the day and cold at night
4. Elder Ramirez is really patient and helps me a lot but sometimes thinks im really weird haha he's right
5. My Spanish is good but i dont want to talk about that i dont want to start thinking its good and then get prideful and then fall like the great and spacious building!

I gotta go I'm so out of time. I love you all so much, I miss you, I'll talk to you in a bit!
Elder Branden Carl Astle

 La familia Villegas, an AWESOME family in our ward.
 Also I bought Chicharon to give them, that was the half size!
 This one's for you dad

                                                               A scary hallway!

             A family in the ward are paper makers and they gave us all they awesome paper things!

                                                             (The three amigos?)
This is a picture of a recent convert in our ward his name is Jose Luis and he is in the middle if you didnt guess that Im on the right haha but we saw some luchador masks the other day in the street and I wanted to buy one but they are super expensive so Im not going to, but we told him and he pulled out the three he has and we put them on for the picture.

             Left to right, Elder Lopez, Elder Olson (from so cal, today is his very last day in the mission,
               he was an assistant and was there when they picked us up from the airport in Puebla),
               Elder Westsideguy, Elder Ramirez

                                           That's a river! In fact its a river of sewage


Friday, November 23, 2012

                                   Elder Astle with his mission President and Sister Reeves

Monday, November 19, 2012

Aye mum :)
I love you all so much and miss you all so much. Thanksgiving is going to be so different without me.... It's gonna ROCK!!! :P Wait did thanksgiving already happen? I have no idea... I'm just SUCH a good missionary and SO lost in the work haha (I still cry every night cuz i miss you all)... Anyway, so first things first i'm going to paste the letter i sent to President Reeves this week, it has a story from this week that is really special to me.
Presidente Reeves,
This week has been up and down. We have such good experiences with our investigators and our less active members and I feel so certain they are going to keep their commitments and come to church, and then they don't. I love all of the spiritual experiences I am having, they really make all the hard times worth it. The thing is that I feel like I'm not doing something right. Elder Ramirez and I are trying our best and working so hard, I give it my all every day I feel like, and we keep each other motivated and from being discouraged, but sometimes I feel like I'm holding Elder Ramirez back. I look up to him so much and I know he has so much knowledge and experience and he truly is teaching me so much too. I'm really thankful to have him as my trainer and for his patience. One thing that I wanted to share about this week is that we visited a less active family and the mother was very sick. It was a prompting to Elder Ramirez that we should. We had stopped by the day before but we didnt see her (we didnt know she was sick). She told us the day before that she had been praying for help from Heavenly Father. Whne she was telling us this I had the realization that we were the answer to this Sister's prayer. I don't think that has ever happen to me, with me knowing about it anyway. It really felt so special and amazing to be in the moment where Heavenly Father is using me as an instrument, the thing I pray for every single day. I love the people, I love the mission leaders, I love the work President, thank you for everything you do.
Elder Branden Astle

So that part of the week was really good. Thank you for your letter mom, your Spanish was great :) I can play DVDs but i dont think we can play any dvds that aren't from the church sorry. But we can listen to CDs!! Oh real quick my Christmas list: first off a lot of stuff here is way cheaper than there so if it's ok i would like to just be able to take out some extra money to buy some things here (like an electric razor, honestly shaving takes so much time and those electric ones with the three circles and stuff are super fast i tested one out in the mtc) also i had some other ideas for things to buy here, also could you send me some music like some cd's or something (one in particular is the golden cd that came with Zelda Skyward Sword it's the Zelda soundtrack or something PLEASE send that! I can listen to soundtracks and music that invites the Spirit), you could google "presents for missionaries" or something i dunno. AYE short on time!
It's list time:
-So everyone here loves FLAN! Flan is the most popular dessert. I even saw Jello brand flan mix at the store today haha. At first it got me real sick but now im used to it and its actually pretty good.
-We are visiting a lot of less active members lately, one of our less active member families that we havent been able to contact yet is la familia Mesamundo. I love it because it basically translates into table world, so every time we put their name in our planner i shout TABLE WORRRRRLD!!!
-Could you send me those dates i asked for mom? and also i need some stories about our ancestors please? i dont really have any :(
-The other day we taught la familia Piñan. (pinan with an n-ye) this family is SOOO quiet i loved it. The food was super good that the hermana made for us but the entire time it was so quiet haha I dont really feel awkward in those times so i had fun. It wasnt fun when i showed a magic trick to the daughters who obviously liked the trick but they had no sound in their reaction at all. 

Well interviews with the Mission President are tomorrow wish me luck! I love you all so much. Sorry im out of time! time to go write a hand written letter :)
I love you all... always and foreverrrr (Napoleon Dynamite)
Elder Branden Carl Astle

Elder Astle's new home away from home.
They have these kinds of hedges all trimmed up in different shapes all over the place, the other day I saw one that was a penguin!

Shoe on the right, the beginning of the day, shoe on the left, end of the day!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Just a quick note. Branden said that his Mission President gave him permission to look at his blog today. I don't know if he will be able to again, but I was thinking if you would like to leave a comment he may see it, if not now then definately later!
Elder Astle said that there are beautiful flowers like this one all along the streets in Puebla.
                              Elder Astle said that this was a very cool picture of the inside of his
                           church building taken while he was waiting for some investigators

                                   Elder Astle said that there are dogs on a lot of the roofs!
Elder Astle's Update:
Hi Mum,
I love you and miss you. Our P days are always too short haha So i'm going to kind of have a list again sorry.
So I heard about Obama winning the election, we aren't supposed to talk about politics but the American elections are a pretty big deal here i guess, everyone was talking about it. One of the ladies in our ward said that she is glad that Romney didnt win because if he did win and bad things started to happen the people would blame all the bad on the mormons. So I guess she's kind of right. Mom could you send me a few things? I would like a calendar for 2013 if those exist as some kind of joke :P Also can you send me my line of authority (ask dad) and the date i was baptized and the date I was confirmed. Also please dont send me my watch, it's way too nice and i dont want to ... lose it... haha Also could you have Brian look up or make a good workout for how to tone muscles, specifically thighs, but whole body is good too. I just wanna look like Nephi and Ammon when i get back!!!! So the other day something funny happened. We went to the house of an old investigator. We rang the bell and waited and as i looked over to the window i saw the top half of a little old woman's head peak up and between the blinds and then slowly drop back down like nothing happened. Then we watch as the shadow being cast from a back light onto the door walks up to the door and slowly tries to the lock the door quietly and thereafter we watch the blinds close nice and slowly... visiting houses that are haunted by spirits is weird.. hahaha So something tough about the language: i feel like my language is doing a lot better but every once in a while i find words like "rendir" which means "to conquer" but it also means "to surrender" haha sometimes it's tough, a lot is based on context. The other day we were having a lesson and i look down and see this bug kind of like a cricket thing crawling across the floor followed about a foot behind by a spider with super long skinny legs. The whole time i was picturing the spider roaring like a monster as the other bug is screaming and they are both moving at about .01 miles per hour haha. So something to help me not get bored while walking places is that i snowboard all the time. I use the terrain around me and pretend there is snow and visualize myself doing cool stuff on a snowboard haha it's pretty fun but i miss snowboarding. Also, i am excited to come home and snowboard with dad and nicole and my friends :) Nicole is going to be so good when i get back! I had mole a few times now and it was good but it wasnt like WOW until Saturday we had mole that was WOW it was soooo good.
So the missionary work is pretty tough, not going to lie. A lot of times discouraging things happen, a lot of times. But the important thing that we remember is that we cannot get discouraged and we just need to keep pressing, "seguir adelante!" as they say here. We had a few lessons this week that were really really good. Something important that im learning how to do right now is testifying with conviction. It's so important that i pour my whole soul into my testimony and hold nothing back. That's when I can really invite the Spirit and that is what will do the real work for our investigators. I have to say those times that i have had feeling the Spirit so strong and loving the people so much and wanting them to be happy so bad are some of the best times of my life. I'm so lucky to be here. Those times make all the really hards times worth it. I love it here. I love the people. I love missionary work. I love all of you so much, it's still hurts. I love the Spirit. I love my Father in Heaven and my Savior with everything that I am. Talk to you in a bit,
Love forever,
Elder Branden Carl Astle
Another little note:
So we have only been hearing about the earthquakes but we havent felt anything.
Apparently Elder Astle got a little hungry.....
and a member had something
                                                                  BOA!! Yumm!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Sorry everyone, this posting is a day late. Elder Astle told me that he and Elder Ramirez decided to do the emails at 4:00 instead of 9-10:00 am, and I had a little Eloise's second birthday at my house last night so yes, things got a little busy! So here you go:  (the letter is split up into pieces as I was online and kept asking him questions while he was trying to type):
 I got your package! I guess it came in on the 1st of november. its the one with all the candy and peanut butter and nuts and jerky thank you yummmm
Please tell Eloise happy birthday and i love her and i can't wait to see her and that i hope she has fun. also tell her to tell her mommy and daddy that she loves them and to say thank you and smile. She has such a cute smile in those pumpkin patch pictures you sent in the package.
Also everyone read Matthew 13: 53-56 it's SOOOO interesting!
Aye mum,
So yet again, in the ways of my father, i'm at the brink of tears before i really begin. I just miss you all so much and love you all so much, it's pretty tough. So i'll start by answering your questions and then writing about my week and stuff like that. I dont have much time though :( I have not played ping pong yet, que triste. We havent had a chance to visit with that little family and the sister, we went by but they were busy and i guess the people that they share a little area with dont want to be bothered by us coming over so we invited them to meet us at the chapel some time. So we met with Jose Luis twice this past week. He's pretty old and i guess he has a hard time hearing us knocking because his hearing isnt too great but he just installed a door bell so we can come by more often. We also taught a woman named Graciella, she is middle age and lives with her daughter in this little tiny house with one room and a bathroom. She is so amazing though, she wants to feel relief and be happy from her mistakes so much, it makes me so happy to have the Gospel in my life and be able to share it with her. Oh and guess what i invited her to baptism and she said yes and i invited her to be baptized december 7th and she said yes! AND that's her birthday!!! whoooo!!! I'm so excited to be a missionary! I asked the mission president about others sending emails to me but i wont find out until next week. I have not gotten any letters yet, but i did get the dear elders you sent a while back! Those were really good thank you for those. There are probably at least 100 people in our ward, and probably 200 people who are inactive i would guess, that's our main missionary effort right now, reactivation! Happy Birthday Eloise!!!!
So some interesting things about my week!
It will kind of be like a list because i have been jotting down the things i want to write home about.
I found out that Niel A. Maxwell was an astrophysicist!!! That is so totally cool!!!
The other night i was kneeling praying before i got into bed... I fell asleep in under a minute, it's a real tiring work!
Oh mom could you order me 5 pairs of walk socks? they're amazing but i only have a few pairs.
We had some changes in the missionary work in our mission: no tocar puertas y no contactar - basically we dont tract or talk to people on the street or anything anymore, we really need to rely on the members and to do reactivation work.
So food time: Last monday we had american hamburgers... SO GOOD! we have lunch every monday with la familia Balbuena who are an amazing family, and today we had spaghetti and tacos haha lots of people try to make spaghetti here but its so not nearly what yours is mom, i miss yours so much. Last week we had a chili soup with two great big meatballs... the meatballs had boiled eggs inside! yay! ... it was pretty strange, but i guess it could be and will be a lot worse in the future. I had molé! it was pretty good but it wasn't AMAZING. There is this one rich family in our ward and one of the sons takes us out to any restaurant we want twice a month, we went to a pizza and pasta restaurant which was pretty good and REALLY fancy, the crazy thing was that the real "expensive" pasta they had would only be 4 american dollars.
Mom could you send me the words to songs like "if you could hie to Kolob" "Come thou fount" and things like that in a dear elder or in a package? thank you i love you, it's hard without an english hymn book here.
Well i gotta go we are going to go prep for Family Home Evening tonight because we are teaching! and guess what we are teaching the whole ward!!!! I'm kind of freaking out a lot.
I love you all so much, thank you for all your prayers, love, and support.
Elder Branden Carl Astle

 We went to watch a young single adult performance of the life of the savior and the young adults were supposed to bring their non member friends and things like that and we would meet the ones from our area there and get a first little get to know the missionaries thing after the show.