Tuesday, July 9, 2013

July 8, 2013

Aye mum,
I love you. I'm so thankful for you. I'm so thankful for Dad. I'm so thankful for Jessica, Bobby, Kim (thanks for sending me a cookie), Brian, Aaron, and everyone in our family. My brothers and sisters mean so much to me it's hard to describe it without tears.... and i'm wearing a nice tie so I wont try, haha. As you know mom, I'm cutting myself back on how much time I spend in emails to be more obedient. Just always know that I'm safe and I love you. I'm going to be able to respond to your letter next week, but I saw that you sent me one and thank you so much for that. Also thank you for the pictures of kim and me with jessica, they mean a lot to me. My sisters are the BEST!!!
Well I have a few things to tell you about this week,
- This week I did two baptism interviews. One of them was for a 12 year old named Luis Angel. I was going to teach him but later the areas got changed so I wasn't able to. The interview went great, it's incredible how smart he is. During the baptism interviews that I do, at the end before the very last question I always pause for a moment to ask Heavenly Father if His child is ready. In this moment I was filled with the Spirit. Also, at the end of the interview I always ask the person for their testimony or how they feel about being baptized and Jesus Christ and things like that. With Luis Angel I felt the Spirit so strong when he shared how he wanted to follow Jesus Christ and do everything he can to be like Him. It was really one of the strongest feelings of the Spirit I have had on the mission. I love being a missionary and I love when Heavenly Father communicates with me.
- Lately my eyes are being opened, I'm seeing the bigger picture in things. I'm growing and learning to be better. I'm coming closer to Heavenly Father and I wouldn't trade this experience for anything.
- Thank you for the PACKAGE!! I kind of was super crazy excited when I saw all the beef jerky inside. Thank you also for the cards. Aaron is incredible. His quote blew my mind. It's just more evidence that he is better than I am in so many ways. But it's ok because I want him to be the best! I'm excited for the day when I can say my brother is a prophet.
- I have been thinking about my siblings a lot lately. Jessica has shown that she is incredibly strong. Bobby is incredibly willing to help. Kimberly is incredibly loving. Brian is incredibly dedicated. Aaron is incredibly talented in so many ways. I'm so thankful for all of my incredible brothers and sisters. It makes me so happy to be able to say that I'm their brother. I'm so thankful for that privilege. At times I feel a little left out but I feel like I'm incredibly good at being average :) that's good enough for me. I just want to show Heavenly Father that I love Him and I'm thankful for what I have been given, incredible parents and brothers and sisters.

I love you so much mom, Thank you. For everything. Everything.
Elder Branden Carl Astle

                         So Elder Astle said that he got lost in a corn field!  He's so funny!

                                       A beautiful picture of Popocatepelt Volcano last week.

Monday, July 1, 2013

July 1, 2013

Aye mum,
I love you so much and everyone from home so much. Thank you for the letter you sent me about your "boring" week. I loved it, it made me feel real happy! There are so many changes happening there at home. I feel I will come home and it will be a totally different place and everything will have changed. Right now I'm just putting every ounce of trust I have in Heavenly Father. I'm trying my best to be a good missionary and help people and I know if I do my best He will help me and He will help me in the future too. Maybe one day He will even trust me to be a councilor in the high priest group like Dad. Maybe. I hope to be like Dad so much. That's one thing that wont change, I will always have the best parents in the world. I haven't gotten a package yet and now I haven't found a suit yet, I'll let you know, but thank you for helping me pay for it... and for helping pay for everything else too. I love you. Aaron is incredible. He has always been an amazing example to me and to be honest I have always wanted to be more like him too. I don't think Aaron realizes it either. He is one of the people I admire most in the world too. Except his beard, hahaha. Thank you for loving me so much mom, thank you for being my mom.
This week was really good. We had two amazing baptisms and we taught a bunch a bunch of lessons too!!! Also ward conference was GREAT! Every year after ward conference they have a big ward lunch all together! Isn't that awesome? Also, I already told dad about this, in the adults combined class the stake president was teaching the class and I found myself following dad's example. The Stake President would ask a question and people would answer then I would give an answer that was correct but also was funny and everyone started laughing, I'm learning more and more why dad likes doing it so much.
Just two more things I wanted to tell you. Friday, Hermana Luz was baptized. The morning of the baptism I was standing by the window looking up at the sky and I just started crying. I just felt and still feel so grateful for the opportunity to be a missionary. That morning in particular I was so thankful for the opportunity to witness the miracle of Hermana Luz being baptized. They said over 100 missionaries have tried to teach her and said no to all of them. God let me be here when he softened her heart. I dont feel like I did anything, I taught the lessons with my companion and God did everything to help her come into the fold. This morning I learned it's ok to cry, and to cry when preaching too. Read Acts 20:31. Paul did it. And Paul was free from the sins of all men. That's another reason dad is so great. It's ok that I say so many good things about dad too because he's really really humble and it wont go to his head. But he'll probably make a joke about it hahaha.
I love you all so much,
Elder Branden Carl Astle
Hermana Luz, 91, was baptised!

               Close up with Hermana Luz, Elder Vargas, Elder Astle, President and Sister Reeves

                                                      Jose Franco was baptised!

                         They closed the road to make room for the after baptism luncheon.

                                               After ward conference ward luncheon!

                                                              Graffiti...Mexican style!

              Elder Astle described this pix: I'm holding one of those spinning things, I can't
              remember what its called! I answered him back: It's a grinder!

                                                                Shrimp time again!