Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mission Week 29/Panama Week 20: Personal Revelation That Changed My Life

As you read through Austin's letter, we wonder if you could see the big changes in his tone and personality from previous letters.  We could feel alot of humility; a change of perspective as a member of the church, missionary service and future as a result of this flash of image, perhaps a personal revelation of  his future family.  It is a wonderful turn of events for Elder Ascura, and a blessing for his family to watch it unfold, when previous letters hinted at him possibly ending his mission abruptly.

Hola Familia,
I'm glad to hear that you all had a good Easter.  Easter here is a little different and makes it a little hard to teach as everyone's partying and getting drunk or already drunk, and we all know how fun it is to try and talk with a drunk guy in a different language.  Also good to hear that the youth conference went well. 

As for things out here, I got to watch all the sessions of Conference and took notes on every session.  Although, I must admit it was a little hard for me to find application with so much of the emphasis on parenthood and families that they had.  Needless to say, Elder Holland has yet again, been a crowd favorite with his charisma, humor, and faith.

As for new people to teach, there have been a couple new families spread out here and there, but with all the fun duties of scrambling around to show the Sisters where to do things, it sometimes cuts into what we are permitted to do as missionaries.  But the conditions of the mission work here in Chorrera are improving.

As for me and my area-mates, over the last week, some interesting developments have taken root and I'm betting that I'm starting to get a glimpse at what's going to go down a couple weeks down the line.  The Nicaraguan Sister, with her overboisterous attitude, has quickly set herself at odds with nearly the entire zone, especially my companion.  My companion is so mentally sharp and on the ball that you couldn't win a verbal fight with him if your life depended on it.  She's even starting to get a little distanced from her companion.  I'm trying to remain civil and take as many opportunities to show kindness and love when I can.  And I don't doubt that there will come a time when she'll end up turning to the one person she berated the most, for comfort.  But that's just a guess; we'll see what happens.

As for my companion and I, we are getting closer and getting to know each other better.  He and I get along well because neither of us is out to kill the other and we're both pretty chill guys.   Plus with all the interesting things he can teach me, I'm eager to learn and listen and he's perfectly fine with teaching me.  He's proven to have had a very interesting history in Costa Rica before his mission and I hope to get the most out of my time with him.  There's a lot to learn.

Now, as for this experience that I've left you all on the hook for three weeks, I hate to say it, but you might not be as impressed with it as I was.  Its effect on me is only dramatic to me because of how small and simple it was, and slightly embarrassing it is to recount.  But we had gone to the Temple to help the ward with ordinances because there was insufficient priesthood holders and I was marking names as they were confirmed. As we were doing this, and I was making an extreme effort to focus on my task as my mind easily wanders, I saw for a glimpse a pregnant woman in my mind.  Now, I don't remember many details, as it was no more than a flash of an image, but I feel like I saw for a moment, my future wife and child. And I only say that becuase of the wave of admiration and adoration I had in that small moment that stayed with me for days.  For someone who had felt that he didn't have a very strong connection with family, like me, it left me to wonder about a lot of the issues and concerns I had on my mind during this time.

Well, I'm not sure there's very much else I can say right now.  Being a leader is becoming less strange; I'm learning, progressing, and although it's not easy, I'm fairly satisfied with the prospect of working through it, especially after President Uchtdorf's talk on patience.  I'll make sure to get my pictures organized a bit.  Oh, Dad, please send me a list of my priesthood lineage in the next letter.

I hope you all are keeping well and working hard.  You all are in my prayers.

Your Elder in Panama,
Elder Austin Michael Ascura

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