Tuesday, October 26, 2010

M:59/P:48: New Companion -- An Amercan...Finally!

Hola Familia,

On the topic of your job, Dad, I can´t really say much. I don´t know what it is the Lord wants for you. And really there´s only one way to find out and it involves getting on your knees (referring to contemplating life beyond the Army).  But that´s kind of what life´s about. Out here in the mission, I´ve had to pick up the pieces from so much. So many plans just have the bottom fall through out here. So, we pick up the pieces and try for the next best option. Especially right now´, but I´ll let you know more about that a little later. I hope everything goes well and that you figure out what it is the Lord would have you do.

On Halloween, Mom, they kind of do celebrate it here. However, it´s an American influence thing, like Christmas in Japan. It´s more commercial. Here, the "Walk to Portobelo to Worship the Black Jesus" thing that they did here about four or five days ago is bigger. I don´t really know what it´s all about but a lot of foreigners came to participate. I´ll try to get a picture of the Black Jesus of Portobelo. In any case, I would appreciate the Peeps. And a picture of Elise as Mushu.

I´m very pleased to hear that everyone´s doing so well in school. Although I can´t say that it should surprise me given that their study habits have always been so much stronger than mine were.

I´m glad that you´ve all been enjoying the family time together. I was beginning to wonder if you were going to get lonely, Dad. I look forward to joining in when my time comes.

As for business out here, another transfer has begun and a lot will obviously be changing this transfer. My new companion is Elder Bryson Alley. He´s from Bountiful, Utah and this is his second transfer out here in Panama. He´s a very obedient elder and his Spanish is remarkably developed given his time here. I hope to learn from the example he sets in his dedication.

With all the new ideas that Elder Falabella gave in the last conference, we will be trying a lot of ideas out this change. I´ve almost forgotten how much people just don´t like to talk with missionaries sometimes. They´re so skiddish that it´s obvious that they´re trying to ditch you. It´s frustrating but it makes me chuckle. We´re hoping to get the ward very involved with us this change to really open up the gold mine of teaching. Pray for me that I don´t botch this.

With all the new things going around, what all with a new companion, new ideas, new levels of obedience, and new challenges, I´m hoping that this change will prove to be very fruitful. Already many people have appeared out of almost nowhere to teach. I´m hoping that we can be the teachers that they need. I´m just hoping I can be patient and dilligent enough to endure to that point. We´ll see what happens, I suppose.

We had a baptism two weeks back, I forgot to mention that. She´s a very strong convert and her story is the classic diamond in the rough story. We´re trying to teach part families and friends and neighbors of the members here in our effort to find people to teach. 

Well, I´m doing well, although, I´ll admit I´m a little stressed. I´m sure that things will even out soon, though. Things here are going to be difficult, but I´m looking forward to finally being able to improve the work here a little bit. I´m hoping that everything there goes well and that you all keep moving on and progressing. I keep you all in my prayers and think of you often...but not too often.

Your Elder in Panamá,
Elder Austin Michael Ascura

PS My companion seems to have something called impetigo or something. It´s a skin infection or something. Mom, do you know what it is and how to deal with it?

Monday, October 18, 2010

M: 58 / P: 47: Bad Timing

Well, Family, I don't know how much time I have left. Thirty minutes doesn't allow for much talking so if I wrap up quickly for some strange reason, you'll know why.

Wow, that's an interesting exhibition. And a ship that went down for weather? That's peculiar. Well, maybe not in Sweden. But it is strange that the crew was still fairly preserved. (Referring to a Shipwreck in Sweden that I sent him pictures of)

Enjoy Hawaii. It's like Panamá in weather (Heading to Hawaii for a conference in Nov).

I still keep Grandpa in my prayers. I don't figure I can really comment much on what's going. I hope for the best for him.

Riss with a boyfriend? I imagine he's a pretty nice guy. You can give him the father-boyfriend talk cleaning the pistol, right? I heard it works like a charm. She looks good in the photo. I'll have to hide it away from the other elders.

Braden is certainly still as vain as he was when I left. But he is more ripped. His work is paying off. His grades don't surprise me. And you're probably right, he probably didn't study.

On the thought of photos, I need a mailing address to send them to. I don't know where you guys live. And I'd appreciate a family photo sent through e-mail to show you guys to the families here. My other photos got worn out.

This week Elder Falabela from the first Seventy came to our zone conference. From what I understood, because I had to leave for the majority of the zone confere

FREAK. times up.

Love you all,
Elder Austin Michael Ascura

Monday, October 11, 2010

M: 57/ P: 46: Finally, A Testimony

Hola Familia,

Okay, first things first, apparently the person who was going to send the photos wants to FedEx it now because he gets a good deal on it. So if you want photos, as you all undoubtedly do, you'll have to send me a mailing address.

As for Sweden, I can only imagine how a Guamanian guy would do over there. You're completely out of your elements. And eleven bucks for a Big Mac meal? That's ridiculous! But I imagine that's because everything's in Euros.

I'm glad to hear that Mom's doing well and that Grandpa's a little closer. It's a pity, though, that he doesn't seem to be improving at all.

As for Braden's Chem exam, I'm thoroughly impressed but not at all surprised. That kid's got a good head on his shoulders and has always had an easy time breezing through scholastics. He's just got to make sure he doesn't slip up. As for the ref's bad call (referring to BYU-San Diego State where Braden is an SDSU Fan), I hear a lot of that here talking about soccer. You wouldn't believe how many bad calls there were in this World Cup. And I didn't even see much.

Beethoven's house, huh (Referring to Mike's trip to Bonn, Germany where Beethoven grew up, followed by a week in Stockholm, Sweden, where Mike is currently located)? Interesting. It's kind of interesting to see the place where all that music was made. I listen to his stuff a lot out here.

As far as testimony's concerned, it's been a hard fight but I've finally got it nailed down. I've got one. What more can I say?

As for the baptisms, every mission has its challenges, Dad. You went to Hawaii. I'm here in Panama. They're very different places. I'll try to keep things moving smoothly out here.

As for my companion, I think he's going to try to write you all a letter. We'll see how that rolls out. And I've heard they might try to send him home still for treatment. I'm going to try and find out and I'll keep you all posted. I'm sorry not to have written much this week, with thirty minutes I can never seem to get everything done that I want to. I hope things at home are still going well. Keep working hard and don't let things get too crazy. President Uchtdorf gave a very good talk on that Saturday.

Love from your Elder in Panama,
Elder Austin Michael Ascura

M: 56/ P: 45: Companion Stays Despite Medical Needs

Hey, everyone!

My companion is very relieved to remain here in the mission. But now the trick will be getting him to work hard. He´s very in with the members but he also likes to "stay in with the members". He´s a good worker, though.

I keep Grandpa in my prayers. I don´t know if there´s much else I can do for him. I think the trip for Mom would be good for her.

I, too, warned Braden about letting his guard down. That was my mistake my last semester up there. And I paid for that one. I´m very surprised to hear how busy he´s keeping himself up there, though. You bought a PSP? Well, Dad, I would have absolutely no problems with inheriting that either. Although I´m not too sure, myself, what all the great games series to get for it are.

This week we´ve had a number of people show potential for baptism. Our hopes are high and we´ve got three baptismal dates set. Our challenge with that will be to follow through on those dates and to help our investigators with whatever challenges that will arrive.

As for Conference, I hope you all watched it. Every session was amazing. I took a lot of notes. I even had to listen to one session in Spanish. Although, I didn´t understand nearly as much, though. I was very mentally distracted that session. But it was a very good experience for me.

Well, my time is almost up, so I´ll wrap up. I did get the E-mail from Miu. I´ve already written her. As for the photos, I guess I´ll have to take a look into what´s going on. I hope you all continue working hard and staying true. I love you all and think of you all often.

Your Elder in Panamá,
Elder Austin Michael Ascura