El Salvador San Salvador West/Belize Mission Spanish Speaking July 2015 - July 2017

Monday, December 28, 2015

SANTA VACA!!! (translation - Holy Cow!)

I can't even explain this week!!! hahaha it was so amazing and I have so many things to say!!! WE HAD A BAPTISM!!! And our leaders who have been yelling at us for not having success, all their baptisms fell through because ellos son mentiras!!!!! but I was so happy!!! At our Christmas event though we had 16 baptisms fall through and only 6, 3 from the hermanas, one from us, and one from two other groups of missionaries so I felt really good!

I got spoiled from my family and my companions mom on Christmas and it was so good to Facetime my family!!!! :) Also I don`t know how but we received a tender mercy and our shower was mysteriously warm on Christmas!!!! Really cool present from God!!!

Christmas eve I ate at 5 families back to back to back to back to back...and at the last dinner, we couldn't even take a bite. We took home so much food but I'm not gonna lie we gave most of it away or threw it along the side of the road. I still feel full from it! Tasted natural chocolate from a big seed and we also have started running, me and my comp. Bought Cherry Coke and Doctor Pepper and we drank that on our hammock for Christmas!!!

I have so many pictures from this week but follow my moms blog to see them!!! Christmas here is different!! It is just like new years! Everybody does fireworks and everybody stays up so late!! Way different then the states! But presents really aren't a thing here! Also missionaries are the ultimate party crashers :P Especially when people are drinking haha. People just leave and end the party when we come. But we had tons of drunk people offer us coke and we tried to refuse but they wouldn't let us. We had to carry so much coke because they would yell at the tienda lady to give us more coke hahaha! Crazy drunk people...lol.

Also last Monday we played basketball!!! And not only that!! Basketball and the rims had nets and our background was palm trees and volcanoes!!! Don't think you can play basketball in a cooler area than that! Playing soccer at a stadium today!!! But also Saturday I had a sweet suprise...hahaha took another gringo out teaching with me that I think I recognize from somewhere :P It was really fun!!!!

But with our baptism there was such a change in him after his baptism. Sometimes as a missionary we just see a baptism, and it's just an act. Maybe we don't feel different after but the person who is baptized definitely does. He wants to serve a mission now! So I hope in a year that I can go with him to the temple!!!

I love you all!!!! Hope everything is going well and you guys are the best!!! I`m sorry for your Presidential Canadates but good luck with that!!! This was such an amazing week!!!!! :)

CJ ?

This is our cook!

 Christmas Day


 Christmas Card Picture :) It`s not just a drunk guy, but a drunk guy with a Santa hat :)

Some more fun pictures from Elder Hallman's Mom~

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Face-time!

Best Christmas gift was face-timing with Brandon - he looked and sounded fantastic!  He's enjoying his hammock, Coke (the only mission in Central America where it's okay for missionaries to drink Coke), the cooks who make him lunch and dinner daily, and lots of hard work.  Brandon said the time is flying by and he can't believe next month he'll be 1/4 of the way done.  His Spanish sounds great.  
His advice to the brothers was to be obedient.  There are things on the mission he wasn't sure about, but he smiles and says okey dokey.  Obedience is a top priority to Brandon.  He told them to make sure they have a testimony before leaving, that has truly given him strength especially during the first month when he said it was the toughest.  Lastly, to learn about the beliefs of other religions.  Brandon said it's nice to know about other religions so that common ground can be discussed.
Brandon's not fond of the wild dogs, but has learned how to deal with them and appreciates belts.  He doesn't like the "snakes" either.  Apparently those are girls who hit on the missionaries.  He's getting used to the hot weather, but misses hot showers.  He loves the people, loves his companion and loves the mission ~ we are truly blessed!

Monday, December 21, 2015


So today was a great week I feel like!!! We got a new district leader (Holy cow I'm so happy I can't even start) and had changes with Elder Ostler again which was really fun actually :) I bought a new backpack because the other one I bought is already ripped up and ruined, and also someone in my ward gave me this really awesome tie for Christmas! :) Just estoy engordando bastante and it's not even Christmas yet!

Just the bad news is my companion has been feeling a little sick all week, not bad sick and we have still been working so very hard, but if you guys could pray for him I would love that! And pray that we can watch out for snakes...cause wow...haha holy cow we need to be careful. But everything is going good!!!

Got a letter from Thomas S. Monson :) My companion came up with a cool quote that I liked... "You pay before you get your McDonalds" hahaha and I have liked that! So up till now, out mission has had 1,060 baptisms this year and we have about 100 for this Christmas...and I was thinking, I took part in 4 of those.  Yesterday we talked to this guy, "How are you looking for the 27th, are you ready to be baptized?" He was really unsure and didn't really want to be baptized and he said "No, I don't want to be baptized this 27th, I want to be baptized on the 25th with that stake "Blanca Navidad" that you guys are doing"..... AHHHHH!!!!!!! WE ARE SO HAPPY!!!!

Elder Hallman and I have been working so hard, unbelievably hard being so obedient and we really haven't been having outward success, but we just got blessed for our work and not giving up!!!! I am so happy and he has his interview today and he is really shy and nervous so please continue to pray for Eric.

Also have a sweet photo...hehehe but I don't have my cord so I will probably have to send it next week. I have so many photos to send haha. Have had some really amazing ice cream and pupusas, just wanted to throw that in! But I hope all is going well and I hope you guys have an AMAZING Christmas!!!! :)

This week has flown by and next week will be even faster! It's crazy!!! I am having such a great time with Elder Hallman and I`m so glad you were able to talk to his mom!!! I love you mom!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Early Christmas Blessing

Brandon asked me to connect with his companion, Elder Hallman's Mom.  I had the blessing of talking to her tonight!  So excited to hear what an incredible young man Elder Hallman is and that Brandon has the privilege to serve with him.  They sound like two peas in a pod:)

Anita also sent some fun pictures of our cute boys that I haven't seen before.
YEA for more pictures and a new friend,
the mission blessings are truly countless!

Monday, December 14, 2015

water = feel so much better!!!

This week was really amazing!! Don't have a lot of time so sorry if I don't email you!!! I hope everything is going alright!!! I'm going to the beach today!!! I'll try and be fast so sorry if it's confusing and choppy!!!

Elder Hallman and I were eating dinner one day and Elder Hallman was about throwing up because he couldn't eat it (it was pretty gross) and so I decided to help him out! I distracted the lady and then he hid the food in his backpack and threw it away when we got home!! hahaha Also I drained a liter straight without stopping of water and I FEEL SO MUCH BETTER!!! I'm definitely only drinking water when I get back!!!

Today I had exchanges with another gringo and it was so fun!! Just their area is HUGE!!!! And it has so many hills and I was dying walking!!! hahaha but we ran and made french toast in the morning and it was so amazing!!!! Their area is so pretty and way richer!! haha Also made pupusas at the Cordova family and we showed them what were root beer floats (just with coke because they don`t have root beer here!! But it was so amazing!!!!!

When I came back our shower had no water, actually nothing had water except where we wash clothes it was like a little stream! So I went outside, filled up a bowl SLOWLY and kept dumping it on myself for a shower hahaha! But I loved it because the water was actually warm from that thing!!!!

Went to the temple for a nativity thing with investigators and less actives so that was cool!!! Just I stood up on the bus the whole way there but it was fun haha! And at our stake conference it was SO COLD!!!! I had to leave for a bit I was so cold!!!! But everything here is going good!! I`m eating so many pupusas with my new companion! I'm so sorry you guys didn't have them! But I love you all and thank you for all your support!! Take care guys!!!! Don't freeze :) Keep praying for Eric please!!!!

Do you ever drive anywhere or do you walk everywhere? Anybody ride bikes? 
No No one rides bikes and I think they are taking bikes out of Belize in January so I am sad :( We ride lots of buses to get places when we leave our area but besides that we just walk. The AP's (assistants to the mission president) have cars though!!

Monday, December 7, 2015


THE TEMPLE HERE IS SO PRETTY!!!!!! The prettiest temple that I have honestly ever been in!! And there is black snow everywhere!!! haha burnt sugar canes and it doesn't stop. It is still crazy hot here and those of you who want to change weathers PLEASE!! hahaha Take it!!!

But everything else is going good! We are working hard without lots of visual success but I feel really good about what we are doing!!! Just it made me so baggy after going to the temple because we went there, then went to Wendy's, where there was basketball on the TV, and then watched Parent trap on the way back (there is always a movie on the bus to San Salvador and back).

But if you guys could, please pray for Erick. He is really our only investigator who comes to church but he has lots of problems with commandments, but the people here are so nice and friendly and can talk forever, and I am definitely eating enough haha! I hope all is well there!!

And also yesterday I didn't know we were going to or it was on, but we were walking by our church and they had the Christmas Conference playing so we called and asked for permission and they said we could watch it, and that we should! AND THAT WAS AMAZING!!! and the music was unbelievably pretty!!!

But anyways, I hope all is well for you guys!!! Thank you for all the emails and support and hope you all have a great December!!! :) Don`t forget to wear a coat :)

ALSO I GOT THE PACKAGE!!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH MOM HOLY COW YOU SPOIL ME LIKE CRAZY!!!! And thanks to Nick and Justin I have music and I am addicted to the bouncy ball!!! hahaha

Monday, November 30, 2015

Things here are going great!!

So I hope everything is doing alright with you!!! Things here are going great!! Just can't get anybody to come to church so please pray for us!

Elder Herrera left me a 35 dollar hammock and we hung it up and every time I lay in it with my coke I feel like I am on vacation hahaha! Ate lots of Pupusas with Elder Hallman and we haven't had a single problem with Spanish, we just need to shoot up our vocabulary A LOT!

This week I have been the most tired but besides that everything is going good!!! It has been raining sugar cane pieces because they are burning them and they are getting everywhere!!!! It is annoying! It's still crazy hot, I don't think the weather changes here but besides that everything is going good!!

I started eating froot loops in the morning and starting to eat breakfast and I feel a lot better throughout the day haha. But besides that this was a pretty normal week.

But I'm really excited to go to the Temple on Wednesday!!!! Hope your Thanksgiving was good and please pray that our investigators will come to church or we will be able to find more! Our area is really small and I feel like I've talked to everybody I can! But thank you all for everything and I hope it all is going good!!!! I love you guys and until next week!!!!!


picture of fire is: clothes that the ants destroyed
and it put off so much smoke it was ridiculous!
I don't even know what that was but ew hahaha!

This was before we were companions!!! hahaha we had no idea!!!!!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Elder Hallman

So this week was crazy!!! It started off with me winning in basketball of course (still working on this pride thing) and then Tuesday we had a meeting with the president where we had a thanksgiving lunch and that was so good!! It was American type of food for thanksgiving!!

Then I found out that my companion was going to Belize that next morning at 3 we had to wake up, and since I didn't have a companion I was called to be Zone leader with Elder Ford and Talledo. Wednesday and Thursday was really easy because Elder Ford was leaving that Friday so we really just went around saying goodbye and taking pictures.

I also made my first pupusas with the Cordova family and that was so amazing!! The family I just baptized! I'm in a really crappy computer area because our zone leaders lost the keys to the good computers and I have 89 pictures to send so I don't know how that is going to work! But I love this so much and hope all is well. Elder Herrera also left me a $35 dollar hammock so that was amazing.

But then there were changes, and my name popped up as the SENIOR COMPANION so I was crazy scared..and then, ELDER HALLMAN!!!!! We had to be the loudest companionship ever yelling and saying no way and we ran up there screaming and that was so amazing!! Elder Hallman is this guy I found on Instagram before my mission and we talked a lot joking "I can't wait to be your companion out in the field" and we have talked a lot since. We came to the CCM (Mission Training Center) together and talked a lot and he is a really cool person! Just we are known as the gringos bajos because we are both short haha! BUT HE IS SO COOL!!!!

And everything has been amazing with him and we are working like crazy and haven't had a single problem with Spanish although we are both relatively new. We definitely have help. He gave me a CTR (HLJ) ring in Spanish so that is really cool and we are working and following the rules and I just could not be happier!!!! Ever since I've had him I have not wanted to leave my mission! I love this so much and this is so fun with him and we are working so much harder!!! I just hope I can have at least one baptisms with him so please help pray for us!

Saw a guy on a bike got hit by a car and there was an iguana running around our house and I got a video of Elder Hallman chasing it around with a broom haha, just wish I could send it. Also though we got lost in a bus and Elder Hallman said a prayer and this random member said "wait you aren't the missionaries here right?" And we told her we were lost and she helped us get back and ughh this is so amazing!!!!

And I get to go to the temple December 2nd!!! I'm just hoping since things are so perfect right now it doesn't flip soon!! But I hope you all have had a good week and that things are okay!!! Thanks for all your help and I hope you have a great week!!!! -Elder Austin!

The beach was so pretty and the food there was so amazing!!!!!!

 Making pupusas!
The kids had the camera so there are so many pictures haha
Had lunch at the stake and the HLJ ring Elder Hallman gave me:)
Iguana in our house haha (I think it's an iguana) and last picture!!!!!

Monday, November 16, 2015

I learned not to bring a fan in the bathroom...

Sorry it's late and I can't really email a lot today because we have been searching for a place with internet for the past 3 hours and finally found a place but it is really slow.

Everything is going good and I HAD THREE BAPTISMS!!!! :) 3 kids of a non active family and I have lots of pictures of the beach and baptisms but I can't send them this week :( But the kids names were Hanz, Paola, and Natalia and I baptized Paola and Natalia and my comp baptized Hanz. Really cool!

I bought my companion beats ear buds to be nice to him for when he leaves for his house soon... :) And also helped this lady set up and decorate a Christmas tree! The beach was so amazing I can't explain and the food there was so good! I will have to send pictures soon just this week I went without bugspray but I have some this week so I`m very grateful! Played soccer and I scored a pretty cool goal :) Also played dodgeball with a stressball I bought with my companion in the house and I got to peg him in the face so many times and it was so fun hahaha and he can`t throw so it was amazing.

I'm being challenged to basketball today so I'm excited for that this week.  I learned not to bring a fan in the bathroom to go pee if you are going to stand up...so glad I just bought toilet paper...but anyways..about the soccer, the missionaries beat the best team in the stake so that was very cool thanks to gringo power.

I'm really loving the food here just ready for changes or a new companion. Could possibly be training this transfer on Friday but I will see.   Hope all is going well and so sorry it's so short and late!

I love you all and have an amazing week!!  Also if you have any questions or curiosities feel free to ask!!! -Elder Austin

I decided not to buy anymore soft drinks because they are killing my body, haha you were right all those years ..hahaha!
It's amazing what you figure out the more you learn - garbage food makes you feel like garbage:)
But it does taste really good haha just all my muscle is leaving. Haha I have found out you were right about everything you have ever told me I just don`t like admitting it hahaha!

Oh also my water bottle broke and the one Sister Cardon gave me is AMAZING!!!  Tell her thank you so much and it's saving my life!

Monday, November 9, 2015

be careful what you listen to!

So this week has been a good week. We have had 5 birthdays and counting so I have had lots of cake! haha. Also I've heard a lot of the new songs over there and wow...be careful what you listen to!

Also watched another gringo snap a chickens neck and watched this lady clean the chicken and I ate the liver and the heart and some other parts and ughhh...haha. But everyone at my ward says I´m getting fat hahaha! And they all say it at different times. They say my cheeks are getting really chubby haha.

I BOUGHT PEANUT BUTTER!!! For 8 dollars!! When everything here should be cheap but it is definitely worth it. But my companions birthday present was I forgave him and tried to have a new start with him..haha but I´m going to buy him beats headphones today...it was just his birthday was on a Sunday.

Here I was thinking..everybody keeps telling me how dangerous it is here but honestly I would feel 20x safer walking through here with a hundred dollar bill in my hands than walking through Atlanta with a half empty coke bottle. Really the only dumb things are the dogs and mosquitoes nothing else. 
I saw on a bus some guy with his intestines out of his deformed stomach and his intestines were hanging out in bags and ughh!! Almost threw up.

Sorry this message will be so short, I have the crappy computer this time and I don´t know if I´ll get the pictures out even though I have so many but I hope all is going well!!  Have a baptism this Sunday so I´m excited for that!!

Oh also I got really sick Thursday I think from mosquitoes. Every single joint hurt in my body and I have never had a headache as bad as that before. But everything is fine now! I didn't get any rashes or anything like that so that was weird. Just it lasted like 2 or 3 days but everything is going good. 

Going to the beach today for P-day :) But anyways, hope all is well and take care everyone!!!!

 Birthday, a lady gave me that bag as a gift too! Crazy cool car!
twisting the neck of a gallena

It´s really hot...haha really really hot but it´s going good. Finally figured out the washing my clothes process and nothing really is bad except the mosquitoes. Doesn't really rain much so everything weather wise is really going well
So how do you wash your clothes?
Put them in water and soap for a while, take them out scrub and rinse haha

I played for the primary program here! haha just they didn´t know how to follow a piano because they have never heard one but I tried haha.

Monday, November 2, 2015

the Atonement is right in front of us...Use it!

 First of all I would like to say whoever is praying for me to be safe from dogs but forgot yesterday, PLEASE DON´T STOP!! hahaha Last week was perfect dogwise except yesterday but nothing bad happened just keep that up whoever is doing that haha!

 Also whenever I get a package they take $5 out of your monthly account so for Christmas don´t send me a ton of packages haha or any at all I´m okay.

 But I found out this week that it is almost easier to understand an Elder Holland talk (favorite apostle btw) (https://www.lds.org/church/leader/jeffrey-r-holland?lang=eng) in Spanish than English haha. He uses such crazy words that they don´t have down here. Also in the translation they actually pronounce their S´s unlike here. Here they say Jalud pue, or Dio or vamo a jalir instead of Salud pues, Dios, and vamos a salir and those are only a few examples.

 So we have two little kids pretty much set on baptism for the 15th and two maybe and one more very unlikely but please pray for these people. José Daniel, William, Familia Cordon, and Carlos Hernandez.

 This week was cool. Helped carry water to people´s houses because the water in some houses has been shut off so that was kinda cool. Also saw the championship church soccer game against the biggest two wards (congregations) in our stake (group of congregations in an area) and that was crazy! haha!

 I need you guys to especially pray for me tomorrow. It´s my zone leaders birthday tomorrow and this family invited him and my companion and I to dinner and they are a recent convert. A mom and a daughter. Just the daughters dad is coming to their house tomorrow for the first time in forever and he apparently is a strong Catholic and he doesn't know about their baptism and we are just gonna show up. But I´m pretty sure everything will be okay.

 We were fasting yesterday and Satan was tempting us at every house, they all brought us food. But the hardest one was Hermano Siro, my first baptism, prepared a huge special meal for us Saturday while we were fasting and my companion said "actually my companion has to tell you something" so I had to to the honors of telling them we were fasting. But we said we would eat tomorrow and felt really bad and trust me, we ate yesterday...

 But everything here is going good it´s just hot and I have a ridiculous tan line already. But something interesting was we were buying food at a grocery store type place and there was this HUGE line and this military person came and grabbed me and said "here Elder you can go to the front" and when I got to the front the couple people ahead of me said "Go ahead" and I tried so hard to argue no but they made me. So after I waited like 30 minutes for my companion because they didn't let him go ahead haha! But I felt kinda bad but ya it's weird and cool being a Gringo missionary here.

 But funny dream my companion told me was he had a dream he brought a girl to this members house after his mission to marry her. And his sister asked him why he brought here to a member's house and he said she is more likely to make covenants with a member present lesson than a non hahahaha!! He has been a missionary for too long!

No we didn't do anything for Halloween although we did get two pieces of candy randomly, but not for Halloween or anything but I´m counting it. Just we were fasting so couldn't eat it haha. But I hope you all had a good week and a good Halloween and we will see who eats more for Thanksgiving!

Take care everyone and a quote I thought of, "Are we sleeping when the Atonement is right in front of us?" Use it!
Love you all and have a good week! :)

Are you enjoying your mission thus far? What do you like or not like?
I love the food here but I hate mosquitoes and dogs. Without animals my mission would be pretty easy but that´s not the case. I like it though and pupusas are amazing just my companion doesn't ever let us eat any but my next companion I´m eating a ton!

Monday, October 26, 2015

we are very blessed

This week has been amazing successful wise!!! Have 12 dates for baptism but I´m only counting on two because none of them can or will go to church, but at least they are accepting the truth for the most part.

So my companion tried talking to the president in English for the first time and I spent lots of time preparing him to do so, all we do is talk English in the streets and house. He knew almost none when I became his companion and now he knows so much. Usually people don´t go to Belize for their last change, actually, it is really rare. But for a person to go to Belize they have to know English and Spanish and my companion has never known English so he has never been to Belize, and this is his last change. Most Latinos don´t go to Belize but the president said he was really impressed and he can either go to Belize for his last change, or be zone leader, and he picked Belize! So I don't think I'll be with him next transfer but I´m so happy for him!!

Also I was walking down the street one day and thought about what it looked like and it reminded me of district 12 from Hunger games. It´s a little bit different though because the houses are even more poor than district 12 but they don´t have a scarcity of food..haha trust me. But so if you watch that movie just imagine the houses aren't even that good.

I have won the ant battle in my clothes, at least for now, but there are more battles. The water here has been shut off for the past 4 days in my area, except my house and a couple houses around...we are very blessed, but even our water is iffy. But it has been raining so much that my companion and I have been microwaving clothes to dry them, but that smells AWFUL!! haha!

Also this week I learned the slang voz form for El Salvador and it's pretty cool. For those of you who know Spanish it's even more informal than the tú form, but I have learned that I speak Spanish too fast, which I never thought would be a problem. But I like to speak as fast as them but with my accent they can't understand me when I do that haha.

Also I learned that the first baptism was really all mine, the guy before me just contacted him once but I helped teach all the lessons and get a date and everything so I feel amazing for that, just it felt too easy. I can really see the Lord´s hand in things. Like this new family just moved into our area about 5 days ago. We were walking but decided to change directions and ran straight into this family. They talked to us for a while and said they have been inactive for years, but with their new move they want to become active again and want us to teach their 11 and 10 year old children and see if they want to be baptized. It was so amazing!

Also, it started pouring so my companion and I ran into this random house because you can do that here, and later around 15 more people. They were joking around and said "preach to us the word of God" not really thinking we would...but, of course we wouldn't miss out on that opportunity so that was amazing!

But the biggest challenge and the biggest miracle has come from dogs. The past two days I have had SO MANY problems with dogs when really before I didn't have any, but it has been over 20 times in the past two days. Let's just say I'm glad I wear belts now and there are rocks on all the paths. My companion got bit on the shoe and we have been snapped at so many times I can't explain, and it's for no reason, they just see you and start barking and chasing you down and I'm terrified of them. But anyways, there were about 7 dogs and they aren't little dogs...at all. And we were surrounded in a circle like a movie or something and they were all closing in and we had our belts out but that just gets them more mad, then all of a sudden they all just stopped and walked away. I am so grateful someone up above loves me. But ya so that is even scarier than telling my mom I had my first kiss...haha. But anyways, so if any of you have any ideas about what to do in those situations I would LOVE to hear! and it would help me more than you could know!!!

Thank you all for all you do and btw I can throw a football farther than anyone here :)
Take care and have a happy Halloween :(

Monday, October 19, 2015

I am very blessed

So changes were this week!! But, neither me or my companion had changes..but all is going well. So the past two nights I have been dreaming in Spanish and about my mission, the very first time I have done that!! Every single other night has been English about home and I wake up and realize I'm not there... so this is good!

This week I have really missed air conditioning holy cow! I realized I haven't even seen a building with air conditioning in a long time and it has been HOT except the past 3 days because it has been raining non stop which I kinda like. And I heard in other missions in Central America they get houses with air conditioning... but anyways.

We have this maybe baptism but he married a girl and had kids with her about 10 years with her, but ever since 10 years ago he has been living with this other girl and has a family with her so it's kinda complicated so please pray for this situation!

So some funny teaching situations were that this one mom we were teaching, and she asked me, "So you live in the states? Have you seen Joseph Smith?" haha it was funny and we also had to explain to her that the Bible wasn't written in one day and ughhh, haha. And this week was the very first time I got rejected at the door on my mission. People in the states would die for that to only happen that often haha!

Also I am kinda changing, for those of you who didn't know me before, now I like reading, beans, writing, walking, running, and the guitar haha. But some bad things this week, I went out to wash my clothes and there were ants and ant eggs EVERYWHERE in my clothes, so much that I spent an hour trying to wash them all out and I couldn´t make a dent. But I left them in water overnight and it is a lot better now, just actually have to wash them. Also the ants were everywhere chewing holes in all our food.

But some cool things, I used the only scripture mastery I actually memorized in Seminary haha! Matthew 25:40 (see below). To teach though usually I use scriptures I wrote in the back of the Bible and Book of Mormon haha. And a tender mercy was I was jumping across a river and as I jumped both of my backpack straps snapped, but my backpack landed not even an inch away from the river. I am very blessed haha.

Also I was thinking about the differences of this church and my church at home besides building wise. First, we had graham crackers for sacrament so that was cool, you have to bring your own hymn book here because the church doesn't have any, over 3/4 the people here are less actives or recent converts so you say the word atonement or priesthood and they have no idea what you are talking about, and also it starts 30 minutes late and ends on time, opposite of my church at home haha.

Funny things I talked to a parrot and it was really cool. It sounds exactly like a human just it can roll it's R's so it got me mad haha! And also my companion was talking to this girl at a door and gave her a pamphlet thinking it was a restoration pamphlet. Told her to read it and pray about it to know it´s true and set up a return appointment and as we were leaving and she shut the door he realized he gave her a pamphlet about the law of chastity haha! So that will be awkward to go back. But besides that everything is going good!

And HAPPY BIRTHDAY JUSTIN!!!! For your birthday I'm going to buy a cake and I will give you it all if you come here, but if not I will have to eat it myself :/ You are such an amazing brother Justin and you are smaller than the rest of us right now but man you can fight!! I miss you and how much you made me so happy and made me feel so good and happy all the time, and how you were always there to just make me feel loved! You are such an amazing person Justin and I hope you have a wonderful birthday! I also hope middle school isn't treating you too bad! haha! Wish I could be there but I will buy something here to give you in two years! Just have a great day :) Love you lil J! Can't wait to see you again and do some fun stuff with you when I get back!!!

Love you guys and until next week!

We had a birthday for a less active and it was pretty cool!  Also, I got charged at by a cow but everything is all good haha!

Matthew 25:40 ~ And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Monday, October 12, 2015

do what matters most

This week went alright just felt really long. But I got cards on Wednesday so thank you all so much for the cards!!! :) Also the voice of Elizabeth Swan in Pirates of the Caribbean 3 is so annoying, haha possibly saw a part of that at a members house for dinner. Also I've been thinking about the quote "When you can´t do what you have always done you only do what matters most" and that really applies for missionaries not just the elderly :) I miss a ton of stuff but it is helping focus on what matters most.

We got 3 new investigators last week but no one will come to church and it is so annoying because you have to have someone go to church 3 times to baptize them, but they all work on Sundays (like everyone here) and so they want to be baptized, but never go to church. But something that has made me happy is when I walk by the church there are Latinos playing soccer there because that is the only field here, and they see me and yell at me to come over and change and like taking turns guarding me in basketball and it is so fun! haha Usually I can´t because I´m busy but sometimes I get the chance for a bit and that is really fun making them look bad! Just so glad they don´t try me in soccer haha! 

But Saturday was a hard day. First we were fasting, it was hotter than the hottest day in GA, and we were walking from 1 until 8, and not a single person let us in. We must have stopped by at least 100 houses, members, non members, and nothing. But it was a good day over all and my companion and I just kept singing "Don´t worry, Be happy" haha!

Also this really cool missionary I like, Elder Ramos, tore his knee a week or two ago and hasn´t been able to walk. The mission president said he might be able to walk later so he is still on his mission, but now he isn´t able to and they are sending him home this transfer, one before he was supposed to finish (he has 23 months) but they are still counting it as a full mission and stuff but I feel kinda bad for him. I went on splits with him one day and we couldn't do anything, but I figured out really like to play the guitar. :) So I practiced a lot and I really like it haha.

But one more story, the piano guy I met, we were teaching him the Restoration then randomly, out of no where (he is old and kind of gets side tracked a bit) said "Elder, is Joseph Smith in heaven or hell" and we said he was in the spirit world waiting to be judged and then he yelled and said no Joseph Smith was in hell, after a while of talking my companion and I started packing up but something said "Don´t close your book Elder" I looked at the Spanish scriptures and decided to read a verse. After reading the verse we talked for another 30 minutes and it was all positive and he was agreeing for the rest of the Restoration and even gave us 20 lemons from his backyard...haha :) So that was cool! I am going to send a poem shortly,

BUT WAIT!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BEST FRIENDS IN MY LIFE!!! GABE I LOVE YOU SO MUCH AND WHEN WE HANG OUT I AM SO HAPPY!!! Thank you so much for liking all the things I like and making music, playing games, food, everything!! GA was so fun because of you man and I hope you have a great day young man!!!! Wish I could be there and hope to see you in about 3 years!! If I had more time I could write forever about you but thank you so much for being in my life and helping me enjoy life while still living the gospel! Stay you man!!!

A smile on my face is the only makeup I've got
I helped with everyone elses problems, but mine I forgot.
I think I took care of them all, but I´m not entirely sure
Forgetting by helping others seems to be my only cure
Preaching repentance, telling other people it´s easy
but have I been forgiven? not knowing makes me queasy
The spirit shoots out of my mouth to the people whom I speak
But when I´m praying to my Father, my words seem very weak
Up on the pulpit, people say I look like I have 100% spiritual health
Just sometimes I wish I could see. I just can´t see myself
Why do I feel like I´m struggling but people look up to me?
what do these people find in me that I can´t seem to see?
I look down below, and think other people should be up here
Thinking that I´m going to be a disappointment is one of the things I fear
I talked to the mission president, feel a little more at peace.
Why can I puzzle other lifes together but mine I can´t find a piece?
I know how to answer other other peoples questions, the answer is always on my mind
but when asked how I´m doing, I don´t know? that wasn't on the study guide
I don´t know what to do so I´ll just keep on being the leader
Teaching other people to believe, and I´ll keep trying to be a believer
Leading by example isn't what I really should do
If only people knew about my past, more sins than a few
"Remember them no more", Why can´t I do the same?
How do I make others feel better when all I feel is pain?
I got home that day and decided to look in the mirror
Saw the name tag on my chest. This time I didn't feel inferior
That day I realized everyday just try to do my best
Even if I mess up one day, God will help me do the rest
If I rely on Him, He will work through me
He went through everything. He overcame Gethsemane
With Him on my side there is nothing I can´t do
He told me not to worry, just try, I will work through you
I´ll put the words in your mouth when you need them, remember they are mine
Don´t worry about being the best, you are because you are humble, now is the perfect time
The testimony which you have born has cleansed you from your past
Stop worrying about yourself. That should always be last
Keep being a leader, keep helping other men
You are serving me when you do this as well as them
Your pains shall be but a small moment, keep pushing on
Your challenges and afflictions will shortly be gone
People say that I am coming, but I have already come
Inside your soul and inside your heart have I already come from
Keep preaching my gospel, hang on there dear friend
Keep being you, and you will receive so much joy in the end
The next district meeting I had fire in my eyes
I said full of the Spirit "alright listen up guys..."
That day I felt His love and I know I did my best
I know God is here. His spirit took care of the rest
Many are called, few are chosen. I was chosen to be leader
Because of my sacrifice and humility, and I have faith in my Redeemer
Through losing myself I found myself and now I know who I am
I am His brother. He is my shepherd. And I am His lost lamb
Now I find others, other lost sheep of this fold.
This is my calling, this is who I am, this is what I've been told.
I look in the mirror, and now I see more than my reflection.
I see Jesus Christ beside me. Now I don´t see imperfection.

Also Every Pday today I play the piano, One person on the top, one in the middle part, and one on the end and we make up a song with randoms chords and free style sing and it is so fun! Tell Nick and Justin to practice so I can do that with them haha!

WAIT CAN SOUTHWEST FLY TO BELIZE NOW??????? CAN WE GO THERE ALL THE TIME AFTER MY MISSION?????? And where exactly is the airport and Dad´s schedule...heheheeh Kidding!!!

Monday, October 5, 2015

conference was so amazing!!

Hey guys I hope all has been well for all you! I´m gonna be kinda jumpy but I hope you all get what I'm trying to say.

First of all, conference was so amazing!! (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/?lang=eng) And so cool we got 3 amazing new apostles :) It was a great conference and what made it even greater was I got to watch it in English with 4 other gringos and tons of food and snacks and we ordered pizza on Saturday :) Even though I miss the molten hot lava cakes my dad usually takes me too I tried to make up for it haha!

Also Jeffrey R. Hollands talk about Mothers...wow. I could just imagine my mom bawling her eyes out and I was trying very hard not to do the same. My mom has carried me for over 18 years, much more than the 9 months she had to. She definitely has divine love and this mission has made me see that so much more clear.

Also, I started reading books and I opened the Jesus is the Christ Book and realized it was my dads from his mission! It was so amazing having something from his mission for me and a really cool golden A bookmark :)

I heard the "let it go" song from frozen in Spanish which is "Libre Soy" haha so that was cool! Last week after emailing I kicked a soccer ball over the fence and in a group of the backyards of these houses and businesses so the Latinos were very mad at me so I´m gonna try not to do that this time haha! But the Good news is the gringos were happy because we could play basketball instead!

My companion and I aren't having much success and we need to work harder, but I had some very cool experiences! And bad ones haha! Our water pipe in our house broke so our house was kinda flooding so we spent 4 hours one day calling people and getting that fixed and it didn't help that it was pouring rain harder than even in GA!

I had the wonderful opportunity to help catch the chickens and roosters and carry them across a house into another cage outside in their other side of the yard. Holy cow that is so hard and when they peck you that hurts and there is no where where you can grab a rooster or chicken where it can´t peck you. And they were so dirty and ughh hahaha it was cool and fun though.

Also a guy came up to me talking fluent English and said he wasn't a member of the Church but he hates this place and Spanish and wanted an English book and asked if he could have a book of Mormon in English. He said he got kicked out of the states for drugs and crimes which he made clear he still does but wants to read the Book of Mormon haha so that was interesting.

I had the worst food I have had yet. The person I baptized pulled out all of these sea turtle eggs and we tried them. Just how we ate them was so gross. It´s like taking an egg you are going to make scrambled eggs with, but you don´t heat it up or mix it. You drink it straight from the egg and I threw up in my mouth but luckily/unluckily I kept it in. It was the grossest thing I've had here but pretty cool to say I've tried!

Also if anyone wants an idea to be for Halloween, be a missionary! You will be so scary people won't even open the door haha and then I won't feel as bad because I won't be collecting candy either haha! But candy is crazy cheap here.

But I hope you all have had a great week! If any of you have any questions please ask!! :)

I love you all and hope you all got as much from conference as I did!
-Elder Austin

I might have broken someones finger because they were playing goalie and all the Latinos dared me to try and make a goal from half court. None of the Latinos did and when it was my turn they were joking like "Is this your first goal" I kicked the ball HARD and it nailed his finger (possibly broke it whoops) and went straight in!!! hahaha Can´t wait to play soccer with you J!

Oh! Also, we were arguing and Bible bashing about the Bible and gift of tongues with some random investigator haha! (I know you aren't supposed to do that) and I was talking really fluent Spanish and it was really cool and showing him that the gift of tongues was learning languages fast. Then at the end he offered a prayer and said "this is what the gift of tongues is" and started in Spanish, but in the middle of his prayer he started shaking and saying all these random words and phrases and yelling for like 5 minutes! haha it was really scary but all is well! :)

Do you ever see or hear from your mission president? 
We Email him once a week but that´s about it.

Monday, September 28, 2015

teach me piano?

So I have started to write down stuff to email and wow I have a lot! This will be very choppy but so many cool things to say!!

So my companion has Chicken Gunya (not sure how to spell it but that´s how it sounds) see below and he has been so funny lately! Like he will say funny phrases in English in front of our investigators like he hates me or she is snake, watch out and he says it out loud and it is just so funny I can't explain. Also he called our zone leader to report numbers and in his call (It´s a gringo and they like to try it in English) My companion started "Hey, how are you", "I'm dying", "You´re what?", "I'm dying!", ...... "Oh okay very good very good" (He didn't know what that meant) "ELDER HERRERA I´m DYING!" "One sec I need search dictionary", ..... long pause "ohhhhh dyinggggg. I feel bad for you bro" And it´s just so funny!

Also there was a tarantula in my room and holy cow they are aggressive and fast, not friendly and slow like most people like to think.

Just some sad news, we have been teaching this old man who lives in a junk shed thing outside of his families house, and he had a baptismal date. We came to teach a lesson to him and his shed was torn apart and his family said he moved out. We saw him at the house a couple days later and he told us that his family kicked him out because we were visiting with him and I feel so bad :( But he said he is living with his other son and going to have the missionaries come over to him then so it is all working out for the good.

Also, I am getting so fat and eating so much! I look forward to the next time I'm going to be hungry which is never likely...haha! And I have found out I have gotten pretty ruthless.  This dog was kinda sniffing around me and just instinctively I kicked it in the face and then paused and said "what did I just do" so I´m feeling pretty mean :(

But my Spanish is going really good and I had two cool miracles! And a sweet vision. First was I was studying and kinda having a very spiritual time and then my companion came in and started singing and being really loud and disrupted my train of thought and was being so loud and annoying. I went to my room and said a prayer that he would stop and he didn't know I was praying, but before I finished he stopped and didn't make anymore noises.

Also we were contacting and this guy was being rude and told us to walk away and never come back. As we were leaving, he said "Wait. I feel like I should ask you something. Do any of you know anyone who can teach me piano?" We turned around and told him I could and would and he let us in and we are going to go back once a week to teach him piano and the gospel. Also he wanted me to prove I could play and he had a little electric piano that his daughter from the states sent him and so my companion was talking to him about our beliefs and I was playing background music haha! So that was a really cool coincidence :)

Also I was thinking, what if I never really convert anyone else or baptize anyone in this high baptizing mission. I would be disappointed and I just want to baptize one more person. And then the vision came into my head of me baptizing this cute little girl and it was so vivid and I realized that that was my daughter. Even if I don´t have any daughters it was still the coolest thought that I would get to baptize my kids someday and it made me so happy and emotional!

Another cool thing was I played basketball against Latinos 20 versus 1 (me) and I won! hahaha! And I was making them look so foolish like dribbling under their legs and around their back and it was just so fun! And looked good in a tie while doing it :) Then I got a cool prompting to walk outside so I did. I saw some papers and they were our water bill that we should have gotten last week but we just never checked our box! And if we didn't pay that day our water would be shut off so I´m very glad I looked!

So many cool stories and I will start writing them down to email this time. They are all in my journal I just forget and I have missed a lot of stuff the other weeks! I´m gonna send a poem as well but this is one of my least favorite but the next one that I will send in two weeks is amazing!!! :)

I love you guys so much and hope all is well!! -Elder Austin

Sorry I was typing really fast and I don´t really like this one but my next one is one of my favorites :) 

No one understands, today is the worst day out
No one has had a day like me, no one without a doubt
Walking home in the rain, here, I´ll tell you about my day
sit back and relax, I have a ton of bad news to say
My companion was being mean, trying to be strong, he pushed me and I tripped
Then laughed at me and wouldn't help me up, I went the whole day with a bruised lip
We had lots of appointments though, but none of them fell through
No one on the streets in the storm, therefore, nothing to do
No letter from my mom today, everyone has forgot about me
Companion won´t do anything I suggest, so I learned just to agree
Someone stole all my money today today, so today I had no food
I wasn't planning on fasting today, I wasn't really in the mood.
Plenty of water! But none of it safe to drink
Felt the worries flooding up, my life has began to sink
I did get a letter today though! From a girl I used to know,
Let´s just say when I ask her on a date when I get back, it will be a big fat no
These dumb mosquitoes though are the only thing that won't leave me alone
I´m scratching all the time, man, why do I feel so alone
Got a call from the mission president saying stop playing and get to work
I can already see the looks of the other missionaries giving me the smirk
My legs hurt from walking, and I have blisters on my feet,
Haven´t showered in 4 days, man I sure smell sweet
Why does this suck, why do I have to be living this nightmare!
Why won´t anybody listen? Does anybody care?
Wait, outside my apartment, a man lying in the rain
Why is he crying? Can someone feel my pain?
I´m going over to talk to him, tell him about my story
This one will be a baptism! He will have pity for me, don´t worry
After I told him my story he cried and said "feel better
You look like you could use some help, here, here is my sweater
I´m outside your apartment because this is where I was thrown
My parents are dead and I turned 18, my siblings decided I´m on my own
I´m sorry I can´t move, I would but I have no feet
One day dogs got loose and everything waist down is now meat
I´m sorry you lost your money, if I wasn't broke I´d give you some
I haven´t anything left in my bank, I don´t even have a one
I bet heart breaks stink, but I wouldn't know, haven´t even had a kiss
I´m short and I´m ugly, and acne is one thing that never seems to miss
Why would anybody love me, what can I offer to share?
I have nothing, I´m a cancer survivor, so I don´t even have my hair
I hope you have a good rest in that nice apartment you've got
I also hope that it has AC. Man here it sure gets hot
I also get criticized for not working well enough
I wish I had a companion to be with, even if he was rough
I guess we feel the same, I have no friends to talk to either
Even back at home if I offer friendship and love, they laugh and always say neither
How long can you go without food, because I´m thinking that soon I will die
I've gone 5 days since the last thing I ate, which was someone else´s fry
If I die I´ll watch over you so you will never again have it this hard
I´ll send you my prayers and if God will let me, I´ll even send you a card."
That was the last thing he said before life went out his blind eye
A note was in my room somehow, and it said "I forgot to say goodbye"
Today was the most sad day of my life, but now I´ll never say I have it rough
The friend that I met today, now his life compared to mine was tough
Be thankful for what you've got, because someone out there has zero
Shout-out to the man who didn't give me money, he gave me more. he is my hero.

You're eating beans and like them?!?! 
yaaaaa...hahaha beans are really good :) I eat them all the time and love them! hahaha idk why...

Guessing this is what Brandon's companion has: 
Chikungunya (chi-kən-guun-yə; Makonde for "that which bends up") is an infection caused by the chikungunya virus. The disease features the sudden onset of fever two to four days after exposure. The fever usually lasts two to seven days, while accompanying joint pains typically last weeks or months but sometimes years.  The virus is passed to humans by two species of mosquito of the genus Aedes: A. albopictus and A. aegypti.  The best means of prevention is overall mosquito control and the avoidance of bites by mosquitoes in areas where the disease is common. This may be partly achieved with the use of mosquito nets. No specific treatment is known, but supportive care is recommended, including rest, fluids, and medications to reduce fever and joint pain.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Love when pictures show up in our email midweek
because Brandon was in a wifi zone:)
Guessing these are the volcano and baptism that he wrote about Monday.