Monday, May 13, 2013

May 13, 2013 The Day After Mother's Day

Aye mum,
I love you so much, I hope you had a good mother's day. You really are the best mom I ever could have had. Seeing you all yesterday so so great I loved it and I loved smiling and laughing so much. I love smiling and laughing in general EVEN THOUGH I have learned that my smile makes me look really chubby, well chubby-er, and my laugh sounds like a donkey. Trust me we hear donkeys going off every morning, the roosters dont know about the rule to wake everyone up at sunrise and so the donkeys do it for them. They are LOUD.
Well first I wanted to write about the letter you sent me. I really am so proud of you for doing so well in not drinking as much soda. To be honest I mostly want my kids to be able to hike and run and play with their grandma and grandpa. That means you need to help dad lose a bit too haha. I love you mom I really do. Thank you for your testimony that you shared with me. I loved it. I was a little bit sad because yesterday I didn't see jessica or ty or kaden or bryer or matthew. I really wanted to but Christmas I'll see them for sure right?
I'm going to include the letter I sent to president this week again:
Presidente Reeves,
Thank you for your letter. It helped me a lot and helped me understand a lot of things. I now can explain what I should say much better.
President this week was good. We taught a lot of lessons this week it felt like. I'm not sure why but almost none of our plans or appointments fell through. I'm of course very thankful for that. The other day, Saturday I think, went very well. For the whole morning we were on time in studying and exercising and praying and that helped us have a positive start. I felt a very strong peace come over me in the morning during all of my personal prayers that that day would go well. It did go well too. We taught very good focused lessons the whole day. I'm confident it was for the positive start we had that day.
The district is doing very well, I found out in the week that we have a new missionary, Elder Adrian, and he is very very welcome and doing very well and is happy. I'm happy too president.
The other day I got to thinking about my assignment and who I am and how I am. I still feel that I'm very inadequate and there is so many things that I have to repent of. I'm trying but I still feel weak and that I lack so much. I will keep doing my best of course. No, I'll do even better than that. I want to I just get caught in disobedience so easily and it bothers me so much when I realize it. Again, I'll do better than my best. Thank you for everything President.
Elder Branden Astle

To end I'll send you the words to the songs:

Bomb Mom Song
(1) My mama, my mama
is so great (oh yeah)
She's the best
Mom in
The whole world

(2) My mama, is so great
She can cook (oh yeah)
She makes
the best

Her spaghetti, is so great
It will blow (your mind)
you wont
be able to stop
Once youve started
(or until your stomach hurts really bad because that's the only thing that keeps me from eating more)

My mama, is so pretty
And she's also (so smart)
She's educated
And she can tell you
All sorts of things
(She could probably almost be a tour guide in all of the places in the whole world where her video games have taken place)

It is true, My mom's the best
I love her (so much)
There's no
better mom
I could have had
(I could probably even prove it mathematically if you wanted it would just take me a really long time)

number (1) again

He'll lift you up:
Sittin on the sidewalk
Thinkin bout the walk home
Now it's harder than you thought
Walking towards the unknown
Take this chance
before it's too late
It only gets harder
the more you wait
Things to be done
Now dont you run
your soul
He has already won

Bring your burdens to Him
Just let Him in
When He says "you're forgiven"
Believe Him

Now you're trying to begin to walk
The steps are hard
Dont be afraid to fall
Help is never far
Then you trip
now youve fallen
you pound your fist
So much fighting this sin
But then He says come
I'll lift you up
But you need to lose those fists
to take my hand and trust my love


Look at how far
You have come
You're walking again
Towards the Sun (or son, it should be both)
Youve done your part
and He's done His
Walk with Him and talk with Him
But dont forget that you are His

2nd chorus:
You brought your burdens to Him
And you let Him in
He said " youre forgiven"
And now you trust Him

I love you so much mom, so this was so long haha. I'll talk to you soon mom.
I love you all so much and miss you all too but I am enjoying being a missionary so much.
Elder Branden Carl Astle
Side Note: This morning I was watching GMA and there was a news story about a volcano in Mexico that scientist think are getting ready for a major eruption. They said that the volcano was spewing steam, ash and some lava 1/2 mile into the sky on Saturday. They talked about closing the area off for seven square miles around the volcano. Police and military are setting up shelters and standing by in case they need to evacuate the towns. Branden sent me some pix of last Saturday and the precautions they took. Not too sure if I'm completely comforted with these precautions..
Branden said that they had to wear masks to protect them from contracting...(are you ready for this?)      pnuemonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis  (yeah I cut and pasted this word!) He said it is a real word!

                                                   Dinner while Popo is erupting?!

                              Just a little ash on the streets after the eruption on Saturday..
A new Elder, Elder Adrian. Don't ask me about Elder Astle's look....he's a man of many faces?

Mother's Day Skype

Well I just wanted to drop a few notes here about our Mother's Day Skype and share a few pix from that. I just wish I could upload some videos here because Elder Astle played on the guitar and sang two songs that he had wrote. One was the "Bomb Mom Song" (say that five times fast!) it was hilarious! Then he sang and played another song he wrote called "He'll Lift You Up" a beautiful spiritual song. While I can't upload the video, in tomorrow's letter he includes the lyrics to each song. Unfortunately, you cannot truly appreciate them without hearing him sing them!

         As District leader Elder Astle still had to conduct business even on Mother's Day! It was so fun to listen to him speak Spanish...I couldn't believe my ears!

                                           Elder Astle and his companion Elder Bello!

         Elder Astle asked us if mustaches are popular in the states right now? Apparently
    kids will walk up to him and put there fingers under thier noses like he does in this pix!

                                      Elder Astle said that this was his favorite pix of all!

Monday, May 6, 2013

May 6, 2013

Aye mum,
I love you so much and miss you so much too. I thought about you a bunch and how grateful I am for you a bunch this week. Thank you for being the best mom ever. I love everyone at home and miss them too. Yet again though, no time to write. :(
First I wanted to write that in our district we have a new district leader! And he's also training!! Me... To be honest I was really scared when I found out. I'm still kind of wondering why and trying to be positive that it will be a learning experience I just really need to try my best. We had one district meeting so far that I lead. It was good but I know I can improve it so much. This week was a bunch of work and we had a cool experience yesterday. I'll include the letter I wrote to President Reeves that explains it better:

Presidente Reeves,
This week was really good, as you know it started out rough but after repenting got a lot better. We were able to visit a lot of people and maybe they weren't lessons but we felt we were helping make a difference. I had a question about that, should we teach a lesson every opportunity that we have or are visits ok?
We had another baptism this week and two of our converts from the last week received the priesthood. They were both really awesome moments and they are both excited to go to the temple in the future. Javier really wants to go visit the temple to do baptisms for the dead too so we are focusing on that with him right now.
The district is doing great, I'm really proud of all of them. Elder Altamirano already has a lot of the basics down really well of how to teach people, not lessons. I'm proud of them both and how they are working on opening this area. Also, the Zone Leaders are working really hard and are a great example to all of the missionaries here. They really fulfill what the Mision Manual says about having your area be an example for the others.
President, yesterday we were teaching a woman about eternal families. She asked if a man can seal to more than one woman and if a woman can be sealed to more than one man. We told her a man can and a woman cannot. I had the impression to tell her about the ratio of men to women in the world but I ignored it at first but then it came again two times more. I began to explain that there are more women than men in the world. God wants all of His children to have the opportunity to gain exaltation and to gain exaltation you need to be sealed in the temple. If men couldn't be sealed to more than one woman then some of the women in the world would be left without the chance to gain exaltation and that would be against who God is.
Well I was wondering if that is correct? The truth is I had no idea what I was going to say and it all just flowed out, I feel it was an impression but I want to be sure.
Thank you President for everything.
Elder Branden Astle

So that gives you a little idea of what's been happening. I also wanted to include my little list of things to write home.
- The bread shops here are amazing!!!!!!!! the smell will call out to me from 3 blocks away and I have to use every bit of strength that I have to resist going to them. They have normal bread and so many kinds of sweet breads.
- Mole isnt that great anymore
- OH!! a couple weeks ago there was an earthquake here. We felt the house shakin!
- Mom could you send me my baptismal date, it's sad that I dont have it memorized
- Could you tell dad we had a training meeting about Psalms 139 the other day, the scripture he sent me, but the meeting was a couple days before. But still thank him please?
- Mom, could you send be beef jerky... it's SO GOOD!
I think that's everything, thank you so much I'm so excited to see you this week on Skype!!
I love you so much, SEE you soon!!
Elder Branden Carl Astle


                                                         Bryan was baptized!

                                                                   ?Ironman 3??

                                               The results of last weeks hike!


Saturday, May 4, 2013

April 29, 2013

Elder Astle did not really have time to write a letter last week, instead he did sent many pictures. I will post the pictures with his captions below. If you did not read last weeks letter you should so you can read about Javier's story. He is the gentlemen in the first picture.

                                   Javier was baptized. Elder Astle has never looked happier!

                                         Elder Astle helping Thomasa in to the font..

                              Elder Bellos, Thomasa's friend, Thomasa and Elder Astle

                                       Rigoberto was baptised! That's a happy Branden face!

           P-Day! Germain drove them to the mountain at 6:00 am so they could go hiking!

One of the elders had a hard time carrying his backpack so Elder Astle came to the rescue!

                                                                 Saddle Pass

                                               Sitting high up on the mountain!

            Branden said his hair looked really red, I wonder why? Maybe because it is red!

                                                                     On the mountain!

                                                               Lunch time Elders!!

                                       Branden said "Now that's a Cuban cemita...So Good!!

I don't know what Branden's face is doing in this pix, but he said "A Super Cool family, the family Castillo Castro". They are so cute!

                                There are many different modes of transportation there!

                                                                Lunch time...again!

                                   Yeap... Elder Astle's muscles are getting bigger! LOL