Monday, January 11, 2010

Mission Week 17/Panama Week 8: Emergency Transfer

Hola Familia,
Some of the things that have gone down out here...Members like to feed us out here. A lot. In fact, in any area where members like to feed us, I've resolved NEVER to eat 'til I'm full again. Ever. Not 'til I leave Panama. Because one day we ate pizza and I ate a very healthy share. I was quite full. Our next appointment? She fed us just because she wanted to. She gave me four Ojaldas, which is basically the words for fry bread tortillas, a fried egg, and a slab of beef. I ate what I could but I felt like I was going to puke. A couple hours later, because she WOULD NOT let us leave, we headed out for our last appointment. Dinner. Three more ojaldas and another egg. Never have I eaten this much food. And it's no wonder that any elder that goes to Concepcion gains weight. I really like Ojaldas, especially with salchichas (vienna sausage type things), but not that much. But, it turns out I might not have to worry about gaining weight. I might actually lose a lot in my next area.

Whatever they had in mind that was special for us, I now know part of it. I'm getting emergency changed. I don't know where to, my guess is San Blas or the Office, but I haven't been told yet. I've already got my bags packed. Just waiting to be told if I leave tonight or tomorrow. I kind of have to laugh because my companion Elder Oakley has been telling everyone that he was going to get sent to San Blas. And now, it's me. He was in absolute shock when we got the phone call. He was really hoping he could get to go to San Blas, too.

Now, just as a warning, because I don't know if I'm headed for San Blas, if I am and I don't get the opportunity to write again before I leave, you won't hear from me for the change. San Blas is basically a series of islands off the northern coast of Panama where a lot of the Indians here live. No internet or stores or anything. We have to buy everything we'll need for the change before hand. But I might not be headed out there, I don't know.

One thing we do out here in Concepcion is we just recently started teaching English classes at the Church. I really like the idea and I think it's actually a little fun to teach English as it helps me practice talking with people and I get to learn all the connections between English and Spanish. I'm a little disappointed, though, because my fellow teachers are a little more interested in using it solely for missionary purposes. Which is the whole reason to begin it, but I disagree with how they want to teach English. Especially since we basically don't have more than one investigator and a couple members attending. And the investigator is well on her way to being baptised, it looks; we even have a date set. But it looks like I won't be around to see it. Right now, I'm writing from a place in Panama called Volcan. I'm not going to be able to climb the mountain like I'd hoped, but it's still really nice up here. Because of the ridges, "mountains", clouds, and how much cooler it is up here, it actually reminds me a lot of Oregon. I think Mom would like it a lot down here. It's really quite cool. At least in comparison to the rest of Panama. Now, I have mail waiting for me back in Concepcion, I don't know if it's your package or a letter or what. I also don't know why the Zone Leaders didn't just bring it up when they knew they'd be meeting me and I might leave today. So far, I'm not in need of much. I'm managing my money out here a ton better than a lot of the other elders, so I should be able to cover about anything I'll need for now.

Right now, I hear the Beegees playing. It's so weird hearing American music playing out here.

I'm not sure if I have much more to write about out here. The work needs . . . work. At least out in Concepcion. But I'm headed somewhere else for now. Well, I might get to e-mail you later, I might not. I'll make sure to fill you in on all the details and if I'm headed for San Blas, I'm not getting on the plane without malaria medicine. I love you all and keep you in my prayers. I hope everything back in the States is going well.

Your Missionary in the Field,
Elder Austin Michael Ascura


  1. Austin,

    1- I will say that I am very impressed with how well spoken you are and the concise nature of your written communication..Very Impressive!

    2- Do you have the book "500 verb conjugations" in Spanish? If not I would like to send you one as it was very helpful to me on my mission to Spain.

    As I wasn't fortunate enough to get my son on a mission and my daughter got married prior to her going I eagerly follow your adventures and your dad is right to be so very proud of you and the work that you are doing.

    The blessings of work are amazing! It is what helped change my attitude for the better on my mission when I just dug in and started doing my job as a missionary.

    I have always wanted to go to Panama and have heard it is a beautiful country.

    Best Wishes,

    Randall Wall

  2. Brother Wall,
    First, thank you very much for the compliment on my writing. I´ve taken writing as a bit of a hobby and take a lot of pride in how I do it. Second, I made sure to pick up that 500 conjugations book as soon as I could find a copy in the MTC. Thanks for the offer. It´s especially helpful with the odd irregular verbs. Being a missionary has certainly been a very interesting experience to say the least. I would have missed out on a lot of things if I hadn´t been here for even the first four months. I´m glad to hear that you´re monitoring my mission progress out here and hope that it provides some spiritual inspiration, especially for missionary work. Panama is a very beautiful country, but also very hot. Thank you again for your generous offer. I will keep you in mind if I should need anything in the future that might help me as a missionary.

    Elder Austin Michael Ascura

  3. Dear Elder Ascura,

    You should keep a detailed journal that you can draw from in the future..

    I have had several articles published in national magazines that were less concise and well written than your posts. That is the honest truth!

    Vaya con dios!