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

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Stay true...

Hey guys!
Sorry this won't be long because I don't have lots of time and my computer is so dumb it's hard to get a group message going now, but anyways, I'm safe here in Guatemala!! IT IS SO COLD HERE!!!! Should have brought a suit because it is freezing inside and outside all the time, at least to me. Every body else (besides Latinos) are west of Idaho and Utah so they make fun of me for being cold. But it is a really amazing group of guys and they are so funny and mature at the same time. I love it so much and the CCM is amazing.

 My companion's name for the CCM is Elder Anderson and he is so cool, just crazy tall. Actually, out of the 120 Americans here I am like one of 5 people who are under 6 foot.... I dont like it but it's crazy! I stand by the Latinos to feel better because I am taller than all 40 Latinos here haha :) The Latinos are so funny and so friendly and I sit by them all the time at lunch and that is really helping my Spanish. I pray in Spanish now as well even though I havent been able to read the scriptures in Spanish. I still cant roll my R's as well :\ But anyways, I took a 30 second walk to the Guatemala temple and did a temple session there and that was one of the coolest things ever! It is so pretty, but way smaller than the Atlanta temple. Guards also surround the temple with shotguns as well as our CCM so that is pretty cool as well.

 The food is amazing just dinner is at 5:00 so I'm always hungry at nightime but getting up hasn't been too bad (those who know me) despite the fact my district (of 6 people) stay up pretty late talking. It still hasn't hit me yet that I am a missionary but wearing the name badge is one of the coolest things ever! Another thing that has changed is they cut everyone's hair when we got here so I have pretty much a buzz cut which I kind of like. I'm going to keep it that way for a while at least. They took our cameras for the CCM so I can't take any pictures but I will show you all when I can. Also if you know anyone who wants to get emails have them email me and I will add them to the group.

 Last but not least we heard this very cool talk from Elder Holland that went something along the lines of this. If ever on your mission you wonder why it's so hard, why people aren't accepting the truth and flocking to the font, why people are spitting in your face, using hard words even though you are just trying to help, why you sometimes feel alone, why sometimes it is too hard to bear...it's because it was never easy for Him. The greatest missionary known who bore the sins of everyone in this world despite how they treated him. The only way to Salvation is through Gethsemane.

 Sorry I can't answer everyone's questions and I don't know what day of the week I will be able to email next week but despite your trials or errors know that Jesus loves you no matter what, and he will help you because he knows what it feels like.

 Stay true to the end and come out conqueror!
 -Elder Austin


P.S.
Also I forgot to say in the email I get to play basketball for an hour and a half every day so that is fun! I think I am getting bigger...at least for now! Great group of guys!

If you send something put a gospel sticker on it. The people won't touch or go through it if it has a gospel sticker on it! The toilets are crazy nice!! I can't even explain. The showers are good as well! Hot water, very hot! Just my bed...I'm too tall and my feet stick out the end but it's not a lot so it's okay! haha

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tender Mercies

Brandon actually being gone was a little more difficult than what we had envisioned. I didn't get in the shower until late this afternoon (it's been a long 24 hours), and these sweet notes were smiling at me...

First email from Guatemala

Hey Family!
 I'm safe in Guatemala! Crazy flight, 9 hours because we stopped in Mexico because someone needed a doctor right away, but I'm safe now at the CCM. They won't allow us to have cameras so I can't take pictures sorry. I flew to LA by myself and then there were around 35 missionaries and 2 sister missionaries on the flight to Guatemala. Great group of guys! Hope all is well!
 Love,
    Elder Austin

*Guatemala is where Brandon will be learning Spanish and training.  He will be there for approximately 6 weeks.  You can email him anytime at: brandon.austin@myldsmail.net

Here's a little more info about the Guatemala Mission Training Center

https://www.lds.org/callings/missionary/missionary-training-centers/guatemala?lang=eng

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Adios Brandon

Today Brandon finished packing, ate a baconator and frosty from Wendy's, and took a quick nap before we headed off to the airport. He is ready for his new adventure.  We will miss him dearly, but are so proud of the choice he has made to serve the Lord.

One of Brandon's favorite scriptures:
"And ye shall go forth in the power of my Spirit, preaching my gospel, two by two, in my name, lifting up your voices as with the sound of a trump, declaring my word like unto angels of God."
Doctrine and Covenants 42:6

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Brandon's Farewell Talk and Open House

Brandon spoke in church today.  He shared his beautiful thoughts and testimony.  So thankful for the incredible man he is becoming!  What a blessing this mission will be to him and our family.
Brandon also accompanied Jefferson on the cello.  They've played together for years with Larry and it was nice to hear them play one last time before they go off on their own adventures.

Brandon was 2 when we moved to McDonough, GA.  Our first Sunday at church, we met the Neubergers and have been dear friends ever since.  We met the Trustys soon after and talked them into moving to the "bubble" with us.  Truly thankful for both families, their friendship and years of memories together.  This was our little "pre open house" and blast from the past.

We have been so blessed to live in the best neighborhood in the world.
To be surrounded by genuine, kind, and generous friends.
Some pictured beneath and some not.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all you do for our family!
Such a beautiful evening to share with many dear friends.
Thank you for loving and supporting our sweet Brandon.
Your generosity has meant the world to us.
He has so many great examples in his life because of all of you!

Could not have done this without Grandma & Grandpa!  Thank you for keeping everyone fed and smiling.  Mom & Dad are incredible examples to us of quiet service, genuine interest, and constant love.  Words can not express how thankful we are for all you do for each one of us.  We love you~

Brandon's Mission Call

video