Sunday, April 28, 2013

April 22, 2013

Aye mum,
I love you so much. I hope you're always my mom... oh wait you will be :D I hope you always are so super great, I know you will be. Thank you for the email you sent me, I realized that I need to thank you more for everything you do for me. First I want to thank you for everything you have ever done for me. Thank you for loving me and our family so much and being the best mom and best wife to dad. Thank you for always being an amazing example of love, I hope one day I can love like you and dad. Thank you for sending me packages that really lift me up and make me feel so great. Thank you for sending me pictures every week to keep me seeing everyone. Thank you for your testimony and how you always strive to have the Spirit in our home. I love you.
I love everyone from home so much, but I also love everyone here too. I know I shouldn't play favorites but I think ... ok no I shouldn't say, nevermind :P (haha actually I'm just saying that haha sorry). Thank you for your email again, don't worry I am keeping a journal of course, I write in it every day. One day I want to turn my journal entries into epic stories for my family, I just need cool things to happen first :P Thank you for the story about Brian, I don't know why but it made me feel real happy but kind of sad that I wont be there. I liked the pictures of Brian on Sami's telephone. I like the picture of Brian on his face hahaha I feel weird though because Brian from those pictures seems so different, happy which is good, but different too and I'm kind of scared that everyone's going to be so different when I get back and no one will like me anymore. I guess we'll find out though.
I hope one day I can figure out what I want to be. This week we taught Diezmo (I dont know how to say that in English :( it's the thing where you pay the church ten percent on what you gain. My English is so dead :( Tithing! Ok anyway, we taught that and I shared my testimony of how I want to have a successful job after my mission so that I can be completely devoted to my church callings and do whatever the Lord wants me to do if He calls me to that. I trust Him.
One last thing, I'm pretty jealous dad went to a fly fishing tournament without me, but I'm also happy that he's having fun.
Thank you for praying for me mom, I need it.
This week was fun and good and I'm going to finish this letter with an amazing investigator we have right now. The other day we went to the Zone Leader's house, they set up a ping pong table. It was tough but we finally left after I beat everyone once. The other thing I can remember to tell you about is that I'm getting super muscly and you might have to send me more shirts because these one's are getting tight haha no actually don't worry about it! :P OH!!! The other day I found an original Kaka jersey out in a tiny pueblo so I bought it for 20 bucks (more or less). It was also great the other day when one of the less actives I have been working with told me they miss when I come over, I try really hard to help people feel that I love them, I hope I do a good job.
Mom, I don't know how you do it. My "son" Elder Bello is being trained right now and I tried to give him a trial to overcome the other day to help him grow and he ended up getting mad and basically saying I'm the worst companion. I'm so sorry if I ever said anything like that to you or anyone. You and dad helped me grow so much in so many ways and it's so hard because I want to be able to do it too but I don't know how. I want to be a good companion and I want to be an amazing parent like you and dad are. I'm still trying.
Sorry this letter is really long, but I'm going to wrap it up now.
This last week we started teaching Javier. He is a very successful business man working in Nealtican right now. He said everything we teach him is something he is already living in his life because it is basic but extremely true wisdom. We invited him to pray about our message and he said he didn't feel he needed to because he already feels that everything is so true. I insisted and he accepted and I promised him that Heavenly Father would answer him. In the lesson yesterday I verified if he prayed. He got quiet then he got a really big smile. He said he received an answer. He said after he prayed he got ready for bed and while laying there he heard a voice ask him if he doubted what we were teaching him and he began to think about that question. Then a powerful, warm peaceful confirmation came into his heart. I'm so thankful for the answer that I have received in my life and that I have the opportunity to be here to be a part of others receiving their answers. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.
I love you mom, I'll talk to you soon,
Elder Branden Carl Astle
Another where's Wald....I mean Elder Astle
They got to help with the Primary Dance Festival
                                             Another perspective of Popo!!

April 15, 2013

First of all Branden was not able to email last week because the Internet was down.

Aye mum,
Well I love you so much and just love the life and being alive and speaking Spanish and teaching people and being obedient to the commandments of God. God blesses us more than we can imagine when we are obedient with exactness. I love you mom. I love everyone from home. I'm learning to love more and I realized maybe I didn't do a very good job at that when I was home so I hope you'll forgive me, I love you all so much, I'll be better I promise. Well these last two weeks were really good, apart from not being able to email or read every one's emails either. First, mom I want you to know you are beautiful. Second, tell Kimmy she's beautiful, and that Scott's really blessed :P I'm so thankful for Kimmy being my sister and Scott being my brother. That came to me while I was looking at the pictures. I love my family and I love the girls and THERE?S GOING TO BE ANOTHER ONE!!! I'm so excited I started laughing from being so excited when I read it was a girl and everyone looked at me funny haha. And now I'm crying because I have the best family in the whole entire world.
This week we had my first baptism. Jimmy is a 9 year old. He is amazing. He's quiet but he wants to do what's right so much. His dad passed away not too long ago and his mom isn't a member but she doesn't feel ready for baptism yet. Jimmy smiles so much since his baptism, I know it's the Holy Ghost blessing his life. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to be a missionary.
I got the package from Easter mom thank you so much, I really love the ipod I put Mormon messages on it and some of the conference talks, it's really great and thank you for the music you put on it.  I loved Matthew's card so much, he is SO good at drawing! and Bobby's made me laugh so much, we had exchanges with the Zone leaders and me and elder Leifson read through them all and we were laughing the whole time. And I understood your letter and loved it mom :) and dad's was so good too and actually all of them made me really happy thank you. I did give away the headphones to a member though, we aren't allowed to have them. But don't worry because in exchange he bought me a backpack, I needed one SO much.
Hey mom I was thinking, do you want to be a missionary? Of course you do. What do you think about Dillon Forbe's mom? I think they would be great.
Lately I have been learning a new dialect and I'm learning to speak it pretty well, it's called nauatl. It's tough because there are a lot of "tl" sounds which is hard to pronounce but I'm getting the hang of it.
The other day we ate 5 times in one day. That's meal and dessert too.
I found a deodorant that smells like snowboarding.... it's dangerous haha
Do you think you could hook me up with singing lessons from Tim? The guy in the Tabernacle Choir. I still want to join one day. I also played during conference haha.
Finally, to end, a story!
We had exchanges the other day with the Zone Leaders. Elder Leifson came with me, he's one of my good friends. In the morning I went to do my language study and I wanted to do it on the roof so we went up. After I finished after a few minutes we went to leave. We got locked on the roof. We tried everything to get down, I turned off the water to the building to see if anyone would come up to turn it on but no, I was even going to use a garden hose and tie a harness and lower myself down to our house's window because it was unlocked. We were stuck on the roof for an hour and a half. Luckily a little boy in our ward was passing by. He went and got his brother who then went and got the hermana who lives beneath us. She came and let us out and said we were really lucky because she was going into the city for the whole day in 10 minutes. We would have been stuck on the roof all day. :D Then we went and made that fancy breakfast. I also have some other stories from this week that I can only tell you when I get home :P
I love you all so much, thank you for being my family and loving me. I'll talk to you soon,
Elder Branden Carl Astle
Jimmy's Baptism
I SPY Elder Astle?!
Hermes Boot Cloud!
I bought tortillas for the Zone conference!

Fancy Lunch Time!

Fancy Lunch!
Not so Fancy Lunch!
 I love the gentlemen's face in the back ground!

April 1, 2013

Not a real letter this week, he was very short on time, but he sent a lot of pictures!

                                               A special guest in Sacrament!

                                           We went cave hunting today....we found this one!

                                                       Standing inside the cave!

                      Elder Colmenares trying to make fire by rubbing sticks together!

                             Branden says Elder Colmenares is happy here because it worked!
                                 (notice the unburnt sticks he's holding...umhummm)

                                             Branden calls this one "Me and the Volcan"

                                    This one is "standing on the cliffside! (sorry pix didn't load well)

Branden calls this one, up in a whomping willow tree!

                                        Branden said the Pina Colada was very yummy!

Sunset in Mexico

March 25, 2013

Aye mum,
Well this week I'm WAY short on time, but guess what, I love you so much and I'm so thankful for you and everyone that supports me. Oh guess what again! General Conference soon!!! Ok not too soon but I'm so excited for General Conference it feels a little strange but who cares, I'm a missionary I can be weird! haha Ok so today I feel a little crazy no idea why, probably because I only have a few minutes to write. Well first, I'm a dad, Elder Bello from Mazatlan in the state of Mexico is my son. He's super great and we have already had some really good lessons and I'm excited to have a companion as great as him, plus I get to teach him english mwahahahaha! I only have taught him dog, puppy, very good, and RUN! just in case of emergencies he can say very good puppy dog! Run!! :P It's actually one of the best and most humbling experiences being a trainer, I'll include my letter to president that describes a little of what it's like:
Presidente Reeves,
Thank you so much for your support. I feel so blessed to have the best mission president in the world. This week has been really good, I also am so impressed by Elder Bello. He really follows the Spirit and has demonstrated his desire to be obedient and do his best. He isn't shy to invite people to repent and has taught me already how I can do so much better at that. I'm so thankful for him and for the opportunity to train a missionary. This week we had some really good lessons and although our numbers weren't the highest I feel we are on an incline as far as progress in this area, I'm excited.
President, one thing I have learned lately is that I need to show the people that this is a message of happiness. What I mean is when we teach and I get to bearing my testimony or explaining the effects of the atonement I teach them with a smile. I really am so thankful and so happy to have the Gospel in my life and I should show them that.
Thank you President for everything, I love you and all the mission leadership.
Elder Branden Astle

So ya this week was good. Elder Bello received some sweet revelation to go teach a family about prayer and so we did and it was perfect because they said they have been having trouble saying their prayers and by the end everyone shared their testimonies and we just felt the Spirit so strong. Also we went and taught a less active family about the atonement and how much Christ loves us. Everyone cried and was happy :) I loved it. I love being a missionary. I wanted to share some stories with you that I heard in Sacrament meeting yesterday.

the first one is called "Careful Where You Walk":
In africa there was a daddy lion and a cub walking together. The dad looked back and decided it was a good time to teach his son a lesson. They were in the middle of a field and the dad lion said to his son careful where you walk son, there could be danger out here. The cub looked up to his dad and said Care where YOU walk dad, because I'm following in your footsteps.

"you didnt look up"
A dad and his son were walking by a field and the dad was hungry but they didnt have much money. The field had corn in it and so the father thought I'll just take some corn their is an entire field here. He looked into the field. no one. He looked on all sides. No one. Just when he was about to take some corn his sons said "dad, you forgot to look up."

I love both of these. I really want to be the best father in the world when I have a family, And I'm so thankful for my parents who have raised me in the best way. I hope one day to be a parent like them. I love you all and I'm so thankful for everyone who has had a positive influence in my life. I love you mom, talk to you soon,
Elder Branden Carl Astle

Elder Rameriz, Branden's first companion in Mexico, and Elder Bellos, his newest companion (or his son as he calls him) because Branden is training him.

                                                Elder Astle learns to weld!

                                                      Yes it is Elder Astle!

                              Elder Bellos and his Lemon Head! Mexico has the biggest lemons!

Clouds over Nealtican, Puebla, Mexico

                                                  P-Day.. he made it to the top!