Monday, January 28, 2013

January 28, 2013

Aye mum,
I love you. I love everyone. I love being a missionary. I love life. I love Heavenly Father. Well not a lot of time today so I'm going to crack down and get into it. First I'll include my letter that i sent to President Reeves:
Presidente Reeves,
This week was really good. I had to go to the doctor on Tuesday and then I was sick all day Wednesday and stayed in bed, I really felt the worst I have in a long, long time. It's ok now though because I feel great and we are working hard and are definitely going to do better than last week. Thank you for your comment about my Spanish being good, that really means a lot to me. Sunday we had lunch with a family and in the middle of the lunch I realized I was talking and chatting and not thinking about how to say things in Spanish. I'm so thankful for the gift of tongues and I pray for it every day. I'm continuing to learn so much from my companion and we are having a great time being companions. Last night I had a very special answer to my prayers. I had been praying for the week to feel happy and enjoy the moment like President Uchtdorf told us we need to do in the last conference. I was writing in my journal and I was completely full of feelings of peace and enjoyment of the work and gratitude for every blessing and that Heavenly Father loves me so much. I'm extremely grateful for you and my leaders in the mission. Thank you for everything President.
Elder Branden Astle

So yup, I went to the foot doctor and they took care of everything now I have a real pretty toe. :P
That night I ate something called Atoli. It's actually a drink, so I guess i drank it. Does that make sense in english? because in spanish I would say that I took a drink to say I drank a drink haha. Anyway, that night at 3 I woke up and ran to the bathroom and it decided to go back from whence it came. then I went back to bed. The next day I tried to work in the morning but on one of the buses I only lasted 30 seconds then I was forced to get off and I threw up all over the sidewalk haha. I looked on the bright side, that's a first for me! The rest of the day I laid in bed after that. I still dont feel quite right but I'm good enough to do the work and thats all that is really important.
So Jose Luis might not be baptized for 2 more weeks. It's hard to explain, we are just trying really hard to make sure he is ready. I really dont want him to fall after being baptized because I love him so much and I dont want him to be unprepared.
This week I have been missing the temple so much. I studied eternal marriage and eternal families this week and I'm just wrecked. I miss everyone so much (let our views equal you). It's pretty tough but I feel the Lord's love so much when I think about my family and how I have the perfect parents for me and how I hope I will be a good dad one day.
I will do my very very absolute best.
There's a cool song called Deeper by Paul Cardall, you should all look it up, i like it A LOT. Elder Knowlton has it on his ipod. Elders are allowed to have ipods with church music and music that invites the spirit on them and also church approved movies. I dont have an ipod though :( oh well I can sing like a professional (not) so it's ok :P
Aaron, you need to go on your mission as soon as possible ok? promise me k?
I was thinking this week about the time we went to Montana Glacier national park and how epic and amazing that was!!! I feel so blessed I feel kind of bummed that i didnt appreciate it more. I definitely appreciate it so much more now. especially with the heat haha.
There's another song where a guy talks about going fishing with his dad and well, Dad, I am so so excited to go fishing with you again.
Finally, mom could you send me the red exercise band? and also in that package could you send me the blue and white soccer jersey? it should still be in my closet i hope, it says "messi" on the back. PLEASE send the jersey? I would LOVE to have that here so much.

Anyway, I'm out of time I love you all so much, I'm so grateful for all of you and i pray for you every day and I'm so proud of each one of you and all the good decisions you make and to be a part of my family. I love you with my whole heart.
Elder Branden Carl Astle

PS - mom Sorry i forgot could you email or send a message to or something and tell the family Elmont that I love them and Thank you so much for the Christmas card the poem was awesommmmmme and also that Alissa stole the way I smile in her picture of them at Bryce canyon? Thank you!


Apparently the district leaders have a bug collection....of all the bugs they have found in their apartment!

                                            Elder Astle preparing for the day!

            Elder Astle said that this is how he felt at the beginning of the week he drew it!

Monday, January 21, 2013

January 21, 2013

Aye Mumm,
I love you, I hope you know. I love everyone so much and miss everyone so much too. This week I have recieved a lot of comfort that although this time is tough being away from you all and everything it's ok because I will be able to be with you all forever anyway. So you better be righteous or I'll come hug you into repentance, you dont want that do ya? Didnt think so. This week was really good, we taught and taught and contacted references and taught and it was just great and the week flew by as we did so much work. I love doing work!!! So something rough is that we have been trying to get in contact with LuzMaria but honestly we feel she isnt interested anymore, we feel like something happened and she now doesnt want to continue being taught. It's sad but we wont give up until she actually tells us not to come back haha. Also we found 7 new investigators this week which is so great. Our prayers are being answered. Jose Luis is looking good for his baptism this Saturday the 26th. We might change it though, it depends on how this week goes. Well almost out of time, I'll go ahead and list it off now.
- My companion is hilarious. I tried to tell him about an experience I had but I couldnt quite describe it right and he says "Being vague is almost as fun as this other thing" hahaha I still laugh every time.
- The other day we had an amazing lunch... La Hermana Manzano made us porkchops with apple sauce!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I didnt even request it!!! I was in heaven. Also we had home made mashed potatoes almost as good as from home, but not quite.
- I ate cactus, it was kind of weird.
- SOoooooo I went to the Dentist the other day. We get there and we are looking at this garage wondering if we had the wrong address. Nope it was the right address. I went to the dentist in a garage. The doc was pretty smart though no worries there. The only thing is... well I thought i had a cavity between two teeth because every time I flossed there was some pain in that spot and there was a spot on the side of my tooth where is hurt. Well I couldnt quite understand everything, but before I knew it... now i have a new filling yay... My mouth still hurts and I cant eat beef jerky or it hurts, also the spot on the side of my tooth is still there.
- Can you thank President Alston for me for his letter from Christmas? It was the only letter i got during Zone conference when i thought i wouldnt get any so it cheered me up a bunch when everyone else was getting letters too.
- Mom one of the families said I can make lunch at their house, can you send me the recipe for the Spaghetti, I cant remember it completely.
- I remembered the song "Yo, my name is joe, and I work in a button factory" this week. I laughed a lot.
- Finally, I was talking to my companion about my family this week and _I told him about Matthew and how funny Matthew is and "This is my 'finkin' face" Oh boy I miss matthew so much.

Well thats it, I hope you aren't upset about the dentist or anything, tomorrow i go to the foot doctor! yay! I'll try harder to understand dont worry, I'm just sad that fillings are permanent and I might have this problem forever now : /
I love you all so much. The Church is so true! We need to strive to feel the Spirit in our lives every single day and ALWAYS be like Christ as much as we can. Don't forget to repent, it's essential, a blessing, and it allows us to return to Heavenly Father.
Love, Elder Branden Carl Astle

                                               Sometimes a mother just has to smile!!

                                          Elder Astle and the local ice cream vendor!

                                                      Elder Astle Cheetah head!?

Monday, January 7, 2013

I just wanted to tell everyone that I was able to post the pix for the previous two posts. I had to switch to Chrome to upload the pix. Apparently I was not the only one having this issue. So enjoy the pictures!

Last Day of Training

Aye mum,
I love you with my whole heart and miss you so much.  I love everyone, I just wish I could figure out how to love more and more, I'm trying.  Thank you for your letter mom especially your last lines "I want you to know that when I think of your name I think of someone that I love very much, someone with a BIG heart, someone who is very smart, someone who is very funny, someone who has always made me very proud to be his mom! Right now whenever I think of your name Elder Astle I think of someone who is following in our saviors footsteps, someone who is "Trying to be like Jesus". I love you Branden....keep up the valiant work! Love, Mom" That means so so so SO much to me and it fills my heart to the brim.  I am trying really really REALLY hard to be like Jesus.  It's hard, but it helps me realize how amazing my savior was and is when I feel how hard it is to be like Him.  I love my Savior, i can't describe it.  So to start I'm going to post the letter I sent to my mission President this week.

Presidente Reeves,
This was my last week of training and I honestly feel so much different than when I arrived.  It feels like so long ago when I got here but still only yesterday.  I have learned so much and grown so much and a lot of that is thanks to my companion.   I did have a worry in my mind for the last few weeks, when I prayed to know the Book of Mormon was true after finishing it, I felt scared when I didn't receive an answer.  In the end I feel a lot better now because in my personal study I found D&C 6:22-23.  I remembered back to when I received my testimony and I felt comforted.  I want to say thank you for having awesome assistants. One day when I was having a hard time, without them knowing they complimented me a lot and really lifted my spirits.  To end, I wanted to ask if I could listen to a CD my family sent me.  It's a soundtrack, purely orchestra, but it's from an old video game.  Like you know, I want to be as obedient as possible so I can have as much help in the work as possible.  Thank you President for everything.  Thank you for the perfect trainer for me who would love me and work with me and always be patient with me.  
Elder Branden Astle

Yup, training is over for me.  And guess how it ended? Jose Luis was going to be baptized this last Saturday, my first baptism. Everything went great.  An hour before his baptism, he decided he didnt want to be baptized anymore, he's not ready yet.  We didnt find out until 20 minutes after his baptismal service was scheduled to start.  It was so hard not to ccry infront of everyone there.  Everyone comforted me and we closed up the church.  Then we went home.  I was so confused and full of sadness so i decided i was going to eat.  I got out a bunch of food.  I started to pray and then I cried.  And I cried some more.  Then I ate a little bit.  And I cried some more.  Then it was time to go out and teach again, so that's what we did.  It's still hard for me to think about, we are not giving up on him and we will continue to help him understand, but thinking he might not be able to live with his Father in Heaven breaks my heart.  I get a new companion tomorrow, so now I'm going to have to explain that to him,  Ok almost out of time, i'll list now.

- I met an American guy the other day, his Spanish is not very good, I felt awesome haha
- Ok 1 Kings 19:6 up to the word "coals" it's so awesome, share it everyone mom.
- I played the national champion of Uruguay today! I won!! no seriously i won.  It was really close but i won 9-11 points, it only took 29 games of losing to tire him out first, that's my strategy, ENDURANCE!

Ok that's it not much this week, next week is going to be interesting with a new companion, wish me luck.  I'm going to be lost in this big city for a couple weeks haha.  I love you all so much and am so thankful for all of you.  I miss you all.  Do missionary work and help the missionaries please! Offer your help to them that's the key!! please do that? for me? I love you, I trust you.
Elder Branden Carl Astle

Elder Astle, Uruguay's National Champion, Elder Ramirez
and three other amazing Elders.

                                       Elder Astle entitled this picture "Yeah Mexico!"

                                     New Years Eve dinner with the Familia Balbuena

                                           Elder Astle says they love POGS in Mexico!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

It's a New Year! 2013

Aye mum,
I love you so much. I love Heavenly Father so much. I love the Savior so much. I miss you all so much too. Well I'm super short on time again this week :( But i wanted to say that i loved the skype call so much and it really was so hard being away from everyone for the first time for Christmas but i love you and i'm glad and feel so blessed to be able to be a missionary. Sorry it was hard to speak in english, I speak spanish all the time so it's tough to transition. Also, I promise i know more Spanish than i showed you, I just couldnt think of anything to say. Mother's day will be a lot better I promise. So on Christmas eve I ate something called Vacalou look it up :P it's some delicious fish dish. Also we found out my bad cough was from the volcano ash that was falling on Christmas. I think it's funny that all the stores and shops are guarded by a guy with a huge shotgun, like if someone stole something he's going to start shooting off rounds into the crowd... no. I also realized that there is only one type of cheese here, from a cow. seriously though 1 kind. Thank you mom for buying that gift, the statue of the black guy, for Nicole for Christmas from me. I was leading elder ramirez the other day and he asked if I was lost but I just said, "Im not lost, Im just hiding... and I'm so good at hiding that I dont know where I am" Mom could you send me pictures of my baptism? please please please I'm trying so hard to remember it and it's so difficult to remember anything I dont know why and that makes me really sad. Or if not could you at least send me the dates of my baptism and confirmation? please? Also PLEASE ask dad and send me my line of authority? PLEASE that one's important. Sorry Im out of time. But everyone, especially Aaron needs to look up and read Doctrine and covenants 35: 13-15. I want to tell everyone to please try to remember the importance of feeling the Spirit, when we feel the Spirit we recieve a remission of sins, we have to have to HAVE TO strive to have the Spirit in our lives always so we'll always be prepared. Also, dad write me back about my idea of being a finacial advisor haha also what do you all think about me being a professional photographer? I really have been thinking about that one a lot, I dunno it's an idea for now.
I love you all so much, talk to you in a bit,
Elder Branden Carl Astle

Elder Astle says he doesn't like group pictures....

                              He said he doesn't know just scares him a little!

The Volcano Popo

                                          Popo and Elder Astle.....yeah, thats his nose!

This Should Have Been Posted December 24th

Aye mum,
I love you so all so dang much and miss you too. It's Christmas time and well this is my first one away from everyone and it's way way way way harder than I thought it would be. Dang it... I need to not think about that because I'm starting to cry again. Well not a ton of time this week again, but dont worry because I will being SEEING you tomorrow and we can talk more then :D I'm going to type out my list after these brief messages. So Jose Luis missed church the Sunday before last so we had to move his baptismal date, but he came yesterday!!! Oh I was so happy to see him and I also gave a talk on missionary work. I was pretty nervous but I feel that I did pretty well actually :) As far as the work goes this week, it was pretty tough to find anyone to teach. When we did find people though, we took advantage of it and taught with everything we had and ended up teaching really good lessons. We have an inactive man we are going to trying to start teaching every day. His name is Hermano Gonzalo and we are going to go by every day because he is always drunk. We have tried to teach him before but it just doesnt work because he's so drunk. What we are going to try to do is spend an hour every day with him reading the scriptures, it's the only idea we have. It's sad because every time we see him he always asks us to help him and save him. We are not losing faith though and we are going to keep trying with him. Ok list:
-Last Monday after the computers and after I had eaten 3 kilos I challenged a young inactive man and his friend to futbol (I call it fut now, it's soccer mom :P), Elder Ramirez didnt feel good so he stayed back and played goalee. I won.
-So I have been thinking about Dad a lot a lot because he's is one of the best examples I could ever have in the world and I want to be so much like him. I realized wow I am really really lucky to have my dad and also im lucky that my dad is one of my best friends.
- There is an elder Sperry here in the mission from the USA and he is SOOOOOOO much like Austin Staker, SOOO much like him haha.
- Thank you for the 2 packages and the letter from home and the 2 letters from Nicole they made me feel so loved and happy and just made my whole week. Elder Ramirez almost had a heart attack when he saw how much peanut butter we have now hahaha.
- I gave a blessing.... In Spanish.... It was awesome. Giving a blessing is an experience unlike anything else. We visited a care home and met an older woman named Esparanza (hope) and she asked me to give the blessing. To be honest it was a huge blessing for me to be able to do that.
- One of our families we teach, la familia Tlatoa, is amazing they live in super humble conditions and the mom makes scarves to sell and she gave me 2 for free! and this treat called Bolboron, super tasty. its like pecan sandy but better
- I started liking lemon juice on everything haha elder Ramirez says it's a sign that im slowly becoming a mexican hahaha i'm not dont worry, but lemon sure does taste good.
- Hey dad, what do you think about a career in Finacial Advising (is that a word?) Like you do now, only is there a way where i can go straight to doing that? haha
- I met a family in a store today from Utah and they spoke spanish but they were super white haha it was kind of strange speaking english to someone like that.

Ok i love you all so much i gotta run, I miss you im so excited to see you all tomorrow!!!
With love,
Elder Branden Carl Astle
Sorry Everyone, This website is not letting me upload pix right now, I will try again later! - Danita

                                          Elder Buendia and two native dancers and Elder Astle

                                                            Christmas Presents!

                                                             Elders can dream!

                                                         Another Elder Astle doodle!

                                                              Merry Christmas!!

                                    Elder Astle says, "I don't know why I like dark alleys?!

                                   The Christmas Tree....those wrapped presents are...socks!