Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas and Transfers

Braxton had a great Christmas. This is him and Elder Herrera Christmas morning in their pj's. Braxton said that there were transfers but him and his comp are staying put. He's glad and hopes that they will see some success this change.

They were able to go to the Temple and Braxton just loved it. He noticed that the Temple at toto toilets, which are like the best in the world. (can you tell he worked at Durk's plumbing? He notices toilets and plumbing now)
The other night a family asked him to bless the food in English and he had to stop and correct himself because he kept using Spanish. They all just laughed though.

Braxton thinks Mexico is cool. A dad and his boys were on the subway the other day playing their guitars and a whistle instrument. Braxton said it was cool and the kids were like 6 and 10. He enjoyed watching them and said the music was hard and they were really good.

On Christmas there were a lot of drunks that kept coming up to Braxton because they wanted to speak English and because he is white they went to him. He said it was a little scary, but not bad.
This is a volleyball team. I guess Braxton and the other missionary aren't playing since they are in their white dress shirts. *Braxton corrected me and said that he did play volleyball he just forgot to bring another shirt. :)
This is Braxton's gift to himself this Christmas. I wonder how he thinks he'll get that home? I'm sure he will find a way. Pretty cool though!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas and Talking to Braxton

Braxton got his package and I threw in some Holiday Fun!
This is Braxton's tree and gifts. The blue gifts must be his comps. Braxton is sporting a festive holiday look. (love it!)
In Mexico they celebrate Christmas on the 24th, and then do something again the first part of January. So, on Christmas we were able to call Braxton at someones home and he was able to talk for as long as we wanted. We ended up talking for about 4 hours. The family was just playing and preparing things for their little girls birthday that was on Christmas.

Braxton still had a cold, but sounded great otherwise! He has adjusted well and is just working hard. He sounded so good. He was happy that he has received so many cards and letters. That really made his day! He loves letters!

Every time I went to talk to Braxton, Ivy wanted to talk. She understood Braxton when he spoke to her in Spanish. She answered him in English though. Ivy loves Uncle Braxton!

"Surprise!" Larry called Salina and told her we were talking to Braxton so she came over and said "Hello" too. My mom and dad stopped over too and talked to him a bit. Talking to our Missionary was the highlight of the day! It was a great day! We love you Elder Ropelato!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas

Braxton received his Christmas Package! He said it looked like everything was in it. (oh, good) He told us the plan for Christmas, how and when we could talk to him. We will call him and can talk as long as we have calling cards. :) Oh, I can't wait!

Braxton has been sick again, but he reassured me it was only a cold and that he is fine.

The Elders are working hard. This week they didn't find new people, but still worked hard and hopefully planted some good seeds.

Braxton is looking forward to going to the Temple on Tuesday. It makes him realize how much we take things for granted. Because we are so blessed, sometimes we neglect the important things.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Braxton was sick this week! :(

Not a lot happened this week as far as missionary work went. Braxton was down in bed wishing to die. He was really miserable from Tuesday to Saturday. He was suffering from a constant migrain which got worse when he stood up or sat up. And, because he was laying in bed so much his back started hurting too. And to top that off he was visiting the restroom very often. He also had a sore throat just to top it off.

On Wednesday he decided to walk four doors down to a neighbor who has a friend that is a Doctor. The Doc checked him out. (like all the girls do, says Braxton) After checking him out she went to the Hospital to get some supplies. She checked his temp and blood pressure and all that fun stuff. Then she got out the needles. (Yikes!) She put one in Braxton's hand to hold (I think) and then tries to find a vain. She had a hard time and got "good american blood" all over the couch. She finally puts it in the vein in the crook of his arm and about that time Braxton has a real need to visit the restroom. She told him to wait a minute while she taped it on him. (easy for her to say) So, as soon as she is done taping it up Braxton runs to the restroom. He's all hooked up without a free hand and so that causes a bit of a problem in the restroom. Thank goodness for Comps. His comp took the medicine from one hand so Braxton had a free hand. Whew!

Braxton started feeling better after putting two different medications in his arm directly in his blood stream. Now he just needs to take some pills for another 6 days. He still doesn't feel himself, but is improving.

While he was laying sick and complaining he had time to think about Christ and all the He went through for Braxton personally. He realized that he wasn't going through much at all and that he could suffer a little more for HIM! It was a real eye opener and a blessing!

Even going through all that Braxton say's "I still love being a missionary!"
(oh, and he is feeling a little smaller too. Dropped a few pounds.)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Feeling Good

Braxton got a new comp a few weeks ago. He said he is pretty cool and they have some things in common like being the middle child, dads are Bishops, and they like to have fun. His family lives in the East Mission so it isn't far, but Braxton promised to be good and stay where he should.

Elder Ropelato has been working really hard teaching the people and hopes to see some great results in the next few weeks.

On Thanksgiving they had interviews with their President and meeting in the afternoon. He said the meeting really help him a lot. He had a cool experience about testimonies and how quickly Heavenly Father will bless you, even before you ask. Braxton had a neat experience this week with finding a family. They had a reference and the address was chiquihuite # 176. They were looking down a long road and some how found out the there are actually 5 roads with that name and the houses aren't numbered in order. The decided to walk back a different way after checking all the houses and they had another reference for nino jesus (the name of the street) so they decided to check it out. When they got there they could hear a lady tell the person who answered the door that she wasn't there. Braxton thought that was funny. Then they saw one house on chiquihuite that they hadn't seen and guess what number it was? If you guessed # 176 you are right. The lady was thrilled. She is a member but her husband isn't so the missionaries will start teaching him. Braxton is amazed at how the Lord guides a bunch of unintelligent 19 year olds in the biggest city in the world. He laughs and said "and you thought you were busy!"

Braxton had a drunk come up and shake his hand and then pass out right there on the sidewalk. Brax said he looked dead and then a little girl walked by holding her mothers hand and had the strangest look on her face. Braxton thought is was funny. :)

The people in Mexico think that Braxton is BEAUTIFUL! He doesn't care why they think it. It makes him feel good no matter what the reason is.

Braxton and his comp went to the Heart of the City and Braxton said "holy cow, there were a ton of people." His comp said that was the least amount he has ever seen in the center, but Braxton was blown away. He sure misses Hooper!

Braxton ran into some other white kids doing missionary work or pioneering as they called it. They were all about the Bible and after meeting them Braxton actually had one of his best study times yet. He realized just how much the Bible testifies of the Book of Mormon and the Restoration. It was awesome for him. His testimony is growing all the time and He LOVES BEING A MISSIONARY!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I'm filled with a little too much joy and don't know why

Braxton loves hearing from everyone. He loves e-mails BUT would really love a letter from home. Either use the or just write one and fold it in 3's, tape it and mail it. (no envelopes) He has requested this MANY TIMES! So, if you are reading this go get out a pencil and write him a letter!

Elder Ropelato was teaching a 19 year old that he said was "Golden". The kids girlfriend had chased the missionaries down to teach him. Braxton was enjoying teaching him, but now the boy is moving to another area. Braxton says that happens a lot.

Braxton is working hard, having fun, and really wanting letters! Hey it's Christmas time-make his day and write him a letter!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rededication of Mexico City Temple

Elder Ropelato had a great week. On his p-day they were able to play football (even tackle) and he had a great time. He was plenty sore after but enjoyed it.

Braxton texted me on Saturday night to watch KBYU. It was about the Temple dedication and he thought he was on it. We weren't home but it was so fun getting a text from him. :) He said they had a big (huge) program ath the Aztec Stadium which is the 2nd biggest stadium in the World. Our dear Prophet came and sang a solo in Spanish and Braxton said you could feel the "spirit" so strong! Then at the end of the Program all the missionaries (Braxton said like a thousand) came out onto the stage and sang "Called to Serve". It was so cool he said and the "Spirit" was wonderful!
(this is Braxton's stake for the program)
The next Sunday was the best thoug. It was the Temple Dedication Broadcast and Braxton said
even though they weren't there it was just "WOW"! What a wonderful experience!

Braxton has been out on his mission for 6 months!

A funny thing that a lady said. While Braxton and Elder Cruz were teaching her she asked Braxton if he missed cute kids. Braxton told her that there were plenty of cute kids around. Then she said "no there isn't, look at my son and granddaughter, they are ugly." (and she was serious) Braxton thought it was funny. He said they weren't ugly, maybe not beautiful, but still cute! (he told us that not her)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ivy's Grandparents

This week Braxton saw both of Ivy's grandparents. Braxton was so excited. He saw them in the parking lot of the Temple. He went over to talk to them and they turned off the car, got out and gave him a hug. They talked and then they gave Braxton their phone number and said to call them if he ever needed anything. How cool for Braxton. Ivy's grandparents are really neat! It was really fun for Braxton to see them. Like I said in the last post he was hoping that some time during his mission he would. They don't live in the same mission, but with the Temple, he was able too.
(Elder Michael and Elder Ropelato)
He spent this week in the Temple parking lot. He was able to go inside too and again said how amazing it is. He was helping a lady in a wheel chair and almost dumped her when the wheel got caught. It scared him, but was really glad she didn't fall out.

He taught his companion what a raisin was. His comp had never heard of one before. Oh and Braxton met some guy that we met at the Senior Olympic, and he also met his cousin Jeff's mission president.

Braxton is doing good and knows how to iron, wash his clothes by hand, and even fold them. He does chores and studies his scriptures. (What a catch he will be)

Braxton saw Ivy's (his neice) Grandma

Braxton has been at the Temple this week from like 6:30 in the morning until 9:30 at night. He said the Temple is really cool. He saw a few friends from High School there and some from the MTC. He said the Temple is kind of like the Ogden Temple as far as the lay out goes, it's just square and a lot bigger. And he saw Ivy's grandma who lives in Mexico. She was helping at the Temple too and when Braxton saw her he asked her if she was Daniel's mom. He was so excited, he really was hoping that some time in the two years he would get to see them. This is a picture of them together.

Some crazy things this week, or at least random things:
*He drove a truck in Mexico City, he was doing service and he said it made him feel cool.
*He saw a spider eat a fly.
*They shut the door for the first time at night because it was cold.
*He was asked if he wanted candy, and said "yes" and was given a cough drop.
*A parrot lives at their house. It's a members and bites Braxton's finger.

Braxton informed me again that Missionaries really do like letters! So if you are reading this feel free to write him. Use the it's free and easy. :)
The people are nice. They were teaching a lady the first lesson and even though she didn't want anything to do with it she gave the missionaries some really good bread and coffee. They told her they didn't drink coffee so she heated them up some milk.

Church goes over time on Fast Sundays. Everyone wants to share their testimonies and so there is always a long line. (how cool)

At a dinner the people had to tell Braxton to eat with his hands. I was so hoping he wouldn't be sent anywhere like that. He loves eating with his hands.

Elder Ropelato is working hard even though the results are slow. He loves being a missionary!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Good Manners

Well Braxton informed us this week that he has really good manners and that I'd be proud of him. He said that everyone always eats with their fingers and talks with their mouths full. Either he isn't or he is fitting right in. I'm not sure, but either way he is fitting right in.

There are little street stores all over and they are ran by even kids. Braxton saw one the other day where a little 9-10 year old was running it. Braxton thought it was kind of cool, but at the same time felt bad that the kids really don't have much of a childhood.

Braxton has been teaching a lady named Brenda, and every time they set a baptismal date (they've set like 4) something weird always happens the day before. That is so how Satan works. He does not want us to do the things that will better ourselves or others. They are not giving up on her though. They are also teaching a guy names Louis Alberto. He actually contacted the missionaries and they have been teaching him. After the first lesson they had him pray, which of course they had to teach him how first. Braxton's comp freaked out because he thought it was so amazing and marvelous. Braxton thought his comp was funny for getting so excited. He said you would have to be there. Braxton said there are other cool families too.

Braxton loves being a Missionary!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Working Hard

Elder Ropelato is still working really hard. They aren't seeing a lot of success right now, but continue to plant the seeds. At one of the mission conferences Braxton's Mission President complimented him on his Spanish. It made Braxton feel good since he thinks the progress is so slow. Braxton really enjoyed his President because he could understand him. (I don't know when this picture was taken, but it is in an old pool hall, something you'd see in a movie Braxton thought)

Braxton has decided it's the grease from the taco's that is making him sick, not the brains and intestines.

Braxton's Bishop is a clown and was showing them magic tricks and stuff. Then he took them to get hamburgers. Braxton really likes his Bishop and thinks he is a cool guy.

The funny thing for this week is that Braxton fell out of his bed. He said it was like 4:00 in the morning and he just fell out. His comp woke up and looked over to check on him and then they just both laughed and went back to sleep. Braxton said that hasn't happened since like kindergarten and it kind of hurt because it is just tile floors. (this is Braxton in a school uniform. He bought it because it reminded him of Colin Cox,)

Elder Ropelato is doing great and he is having fun!

Monday, October 13, 2008

More Cow Parts

Elder Ropelato and Elder Cruz are working really hard. They are hoping for baptisms, but Braxton says as long as they are doing what they can he feel good. Elder Ropelato is having a bit of a problem with the different foods they have in Mexico. He likes most of it but he is having some that isn't so great. He had another interesting taco. It made him sick, really sick. I wonder if it was because it was cow intestine. Of course that is why, how gross!

While his comp was talking to some crazy guy, Braxton talked to another guy and was able to teach him the first lesson and gave him a Book of Mormon. He's hoping things will go good from there.

It rained so hard the other day, harder than Braxton has ever seen before. He said he couldn't have gotten more wet if he would have jumped in a lake. He says it's "fun".

Braxton's spanish is improving all the time and the time away is going faster. He said it feel's like he just talked to us all. (he actually said y'all) He's excited to talk to Kevin in Spanish at Christmas. He believes they will be able to communicate even though there are a few difference between the Spanish from the DR and that of Mexico.

One last thing that he told us was that the bus drivers are young. At least the ones he's seen this week. He is sure the one was younger than him, like maybe 17. Crazy Fun in Mexico!

(Here he is in his hammock. It looks like he is studying)

Cow Brains

Braxton has had his first taco of Cow Brains. (yuck-I'm gagging just typing this) The people in Mexico don't waste any part of the cow. He said the thought of eating it was the worse part though. He really misses our steaks from home. He was talking to the people about deer hunting and rabbit hunting and they just didn't get it. They are saddened by the thought of killing animals. The cultures are certainly different he says "they kill people without eating them".

He has been studying alot and loves the stories in the Book of Mormon. Braxton loved Conference. They were having English classes on Saturday and told the students if they wanted to learn more English they could watch the Conference in English. Some of them chose to and that was "cool" to Braxton. Braxton's comp had scheduled an appointment at the start of the Sunday afternoon conference and so Braxton paid another Elder $5 to take his place. (that is so Brax, he use to try to bribe me to do his dishes) Braxton didn't really want to miss Conference. The appointment ended up falling through and the Conference didn't come through in English. Braxton thinks it was probably because he paid someone to do his work. Braxton mentioned the talk about sending letters to the missionaries. He would like everyone to really consider that one, he says letters are a real boost to the missionaries. (so bring them on)

Elder Ropelato is working hard and loves being a Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Braxton What?

At the first of Braxton's letter this week he said "I'm a sewing fool". He made a pillow from a shirt and thought that was pretty neat. He forgot how I showed him to make a knot at the end, and I tried to explain it again via e-mail, but I am sure he'll figure it out. (he's a smart boy!) (here's the finished pillow! Good job Braxton)

He never ceases to be amazed of things and conditions in Mexico. He said that they have soccer fields painted in the roads.

Good news about Guadalupe, the lady he has been teaching, she was baptized on Sunday. Elder Ropelato said it was really cool, the Spirit was strong and the members where very supportive. (this is Elder Ropelato, Guadalupe, and Elder Cruz.)

Braxton has become less picky as far as food goes. He says that the food is good especially when the members feed them. He tries everything now and even said sour cream on banana's is pretty good. I think this is corn on the cob with other stuff on it.His comp told him that he talks in his sleep alot, and Braxton said that he was glad his comp doesn't understand English. :)

Braxton is counting his mission by the Hunting Season's and only has one more to go. :) Time Flies in the Mission Field!

Braxton loves being a missionary and is learning a lot!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Elder Ropelato is still Braxton

Braxton is still just a crazy and adventurous kid, making fun happen. After some rain, Braxton and his comp were walking down the street and when the walks were narrow and his comp had to follow, Braxton would grab a branch from and tree so his comp would get wet. :) ("ah, good times")
(Elder Ropelato and Moreno)

His foot went through the floor of a taxi. A rug was covering it up so he couldn't tell there wasn't a floor until he stepped down. (conditions are great)

The Elders were assigned to pass out flyer's announcing an open house for a new chapel in the pressa. Braxton said there were like 3 thousand so they were busy. They just started handing them out to everyone. Then the missionaries got on a bus (there were 5 of them). There are people that always get on the bus and sell stuff, they yell to everyone and then walk down the aisles. So, Braxton thought he would try using that technique. He was the only one that isn't fluent in Spanish, but no one else would do it. (only Brax) Braxton walked to the front of the bus and explained about the open house and then passed out the flyer's. He said it was kind of crazy, but fun. Braxton thinks he handed out the most flyer's, because some of the Elders just stood there, but Braxton had fun regardless.

"So, Justin thought he saw the Leaning Tower of Pisa (while on mission in Italy)?" "There are a ton of buildings here that are leaning and what not. Okay, not as bad as the tower, but let's just say they wouldn't pass code in the US."

Braxton has been teaching a lady named Guadalupe, and she is getting baptized Sunday and is loving everything about the church. Braxton says it is really cool to see her excitement and love for the Gospel.

Here's a few pictures Braxton e-mailed this week. A few are action shots, can you guess which ones? (j/k)

(Man I love that smile!)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Elder Ropelato is a "Teacher"?

Braxton was excited that he got to eat at "Burger King". He said it was was really good.(Someone was having a little party with a lot of balloons)

Every one wants to learn English and so Braxton feels so smart because he gets to teach them. :)He said little kids are always asking him questions and he is helping a neighbor with her English class. He loves it. He is even teaching piano lesson every Saturday. (say what?) Even though he doesn't know much himself, he is willing to share his knowledge with others. It is helping him with his Spanish too, because they didn't learn the words you need to teach piano. He is loving it! Good Times!

They had 6 investigators at Church on Sunday and Elder Rope says they are cool and they even have more that they are teaching. He loves sharing the Gospel. One lady, Guadalupe even asked for Braxton and his companion to teach her. :) (cuz he's so cute!) She loves going to Church and loves everything the Elders say. It is Great!

Spanish is coming along. It will still take some time, but Braxton said he can follow almost all the conversations, except the lessons in Church are hard to follow because they aren't talking right to you. It's coming along though.

Braxton likes most of the food. There is one item he's not a big fan of though and it's "a cactus leaf thing". It's slimy, green, and gooey.

Braxton has realized the importance of "Family". He didn't really realize it until we weren't right there for him. He loves explaining the importance of family to others. He is slowly figuring out how to get lost in the work and so everything is great.

Brax says the weather in Mexico is always great. However, he admitted he will miss the changing of the seasons. He loves being there though!

Being a Missionary is Wonderful!Elder Ropelato and the City!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Answer to Prayers

"Wow, what a turn around this week. Like the answer to my prayers all came. The mission is still crazy hard, but it's okay though and I'm loving it."

Braxton said that Alma 26:27 was him in a nut shell. So I though I'd share this scripture here. It says: "now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst the brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with Patience thine afflictions and I will give unto you success." It's awesome when the scriptures speak do us.

Elder Ropelato had a bit of a scare last week. While he was sleeping, it was around 3:00 am, a pet ferret got loose and was running around. Braxton wasn't in the mood for it, because he just wanted to sleep. A few of the Elders caught it though and put it back in its cage.

Elder Ropelato admitted to being a bit "home sick". He said things were just slow and hard and some baptisms had fallen through and he got just a bit discouraged. He did alot of praying and was blessed so much. Even his spanish took a huge leap and he is able to communicate with his comp better.

The Elders ususally share taxi's when they need to go places, like after meetings to get back home. Six will cram into a taxi (to save money) and when they hit the speed bumps the taxi will hit the ground. They think it's funny. After their last meeting the Taxi driver would only let 4 Elders get in at once. So, Braxton and Elder Cook put out their thumbs and got a ride. They were taken all the way home and Braxton thought that was cool, because it was for free.

Braxton thinks the way they do road work is a bit strange. They dig up the roads with picks and then shovel it into a backhoe. Now Braxton has worked with his grandpa alot with the backhoe and wonders why they just don't do everything with the backhoe. He thought it was funny.

Elder Ropelato and his comp are getting free pop by collecting the bottle tops that are left in the road. The caps say free Sprite and so they pick them up and redeem them, and Braxton thinks that is just wonderful

They found a really cool family that seems very interested with lots of questions. Braxton is excited to work with them.

For p-day the Elders went rock climbing and had a blast. Braxton is understanding the conversations better when they eat at people's homes. He says the people are hilarious or maybe it's his own imagination that is going crazy. Either way it's enjoyable.

This week he signed his letter with: Elder Ropelato IV and "I love being a Missionary"

PS - The candy in Mexico isnt any good and Braxton teased us by reminding us that we can talk to him in person at Christmas. (funny boy)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

New Area "Ticoman"

Last week when Braxton was writing home he lost everything on the computor and his time ran out so we got: "Well I just wrote a huge letter and went to sent in but it got deleted and I'm now out of time, so I'm alive and all is well. I'll try to write it all again next week. Love ya'll and I love being a missionary!"

This week we got a letter with an update for the last two weeks. Elder Ropelato said that on his forth day in the mission it rained all day ("like no other") The Elders live with members on the bottom floor of their house. It rained so hard that the drains couldn't keep up and it flooded over the front step and flooded the apartment. Braxton was living out of his suitcase because the apartment was so small and because it was on the floor everything got soaked, books, clothes, everything. He did have his scriptures with him and had just put his pictures on the desk the night before. :) He said it was miserable at the time. They had to get the water out with buckets and it wasn't fun having everything soaked, but he did say it was funny now and just part of the mission experience. He also opted for the floor instead of the couch. He said the floor was just more comfortable.

Braxton says the food is okay and they have a sweet bread that is amazing. For all that know Braxton, bread is a favorite food of his. He'd eat it all the time as a snack.

The mormon standard time is a little different in Mexico. Braxton says you take mormon standard time and and then double it and then you are in Mexico. He say's that the Mexicans are never on time, but they get mad if the missionaries are late for lunch. :) LOL (he's said they're still cool about it though)

They have small buses called micros and the drivers pimp them out with black lights and crazy sound systems but the buses themselves are crappy as can be. Braxton thinks it's awesome though.

Braxton has played the piano in sacrament (happy moment for mom) and said that the sad thing about it was that it was the best sound there was. The members sing really loud and off key. But even that is cool to Brax. :) (at least the members sing)

Braxton got really sick one night and the next day Jeffery Holland was coming to speak. So Braxton tried to hurry and shower and have his comp, Elder Robinson, give him a blessing. Then he gave Elder Robinson a blessing, but had to make it quick because he got sick and as soon as he ended he turned his head and lost everything. Elder Robinson cleaned up the mess for Braxton (what a great Elder) . Braxton wasn't able to go listen to Elder Holland, he stayed with the member upstairs. Braxton has learned that the only working medicine is "Coke". If he eats on the streets he needs to drink a coke with it and that seems to help him from getting sick. (funny, he didn't drink coke before his mission)

Funny stuff: People just steal electricity and the wires are everywhere in a big mess and hanging down like head level. Probably not the safest thing, but oh well, it's Mexico.

Braxton claims he is a pro now at crossing the streets. He says: "you just have to time it right. It's just bad when cars slow down, because it messes up your rythmn and you have to like suck in."

Elder Ropelato is now in Ticoman. Braxton said that Ticoman has the biggest hill he has ever seen. His comp takes the longest route to where ever they are going. Braxton doesn't say anything of course because he doesn't know where they are going or how to get any where but when they do get to where they need be he can tell they have went in big circles to get there. He thinks his companion is great though. He is 27 and lives in Southern Mexico just above Guatamala. His name is Elder Cruz and Braxton says he is good.
(this is Elder Cruz)
They use cement for everything in Mexico. Even the telephone poles are made of cement and they don't even use cement trucks. Everything is done by hand.

Braxton saw a newspaper the other day for the first time since being in Mexico. In the paper was a picture of four decapitated bodies. It was pretty gross. Braxton's new zone leader was actually reassigned to Braxtons mission because the mission he was suppose to go to had like 4 or 5 white peoples heads washed up on the beach and the mission President said that only natives should go there. (ya think?) Braxton said not to worry though because we would be able to identify him by his thumb. :) (good thing he has a crooked thumb) Then he reassures us that the mission really is safe and there is nothing to worry about. :) (okay)

They have English classes every Saturday and Braxton is in the advanced class teaching with Elder Cook. Basically they just practice talking and so the Elders have given the class the English Pamphlets of the Gospel that they got in the MTC. The class reads them and then they talk about the Gospel.

Braxton ends with: "I love being a missionary, but it is flippin hard"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Linda Vista, Mexico

Braxton is in Mexico, and his first area is in Linda Vista. He is serving with the zone leaders because they got there in the middle of transfers. He will get to serve with them for a week or so. Their names are Elder Robonson form North Carolina, and Elder Moreno for Northern Mexico (right below Arizona) He says they are both awesome and are teaching him a ton.

Now a description of Mexico in Braxton's own words: "Wow, Mexico is so crazy! I didn't even know a place like this existed. There are so many people. It's like as packed as Disneyland everywhere you go. The traffic is crazy. I'm not even sure if they have traffic laws. They just drive where ever they want and apparently it's okay. Speed bumps are the only thing that there is to enforce the law here, and police cars....weird, the police cars always have their lights on and they are all over the place. It is just a totally different world! I got tapped (hit) by a car but it was just barely."

"There are so many people, dogs, and cars and it's absolutely crazy! But, I love it! The rats are like small cats. I saw a huge dead dog on the side of a (river?) The river seriously looked like tar, just black and really thick. It was gross and stinky!" (I'm (mom) pretty sure the 'river' was sewage)

"Under some of the overpasses in the middle of like three streets there are basketball courts. It's like the only place they could put them. Their soccer fields are just dirt and the game is played a little different."

"I didn't ever think I would say this but, I like the City." "It's really cool!" "There are drunks and homeless everywhere, but everyone is really nice." "The members are awesome, they are so nice and friendly and just fun to be around."

The missionaries eat a lot. Braxton thought that once he got to Mexico he might loose some weight, but he says the members feed them a ton. More than he's ever eaten in one meal at home. He said he has ate some different things, but isn't exactly sure what because his comp just told him to eat and not ask. The members are always giving the missionaries referrals and all sorts of stuff. Braxton already has a great love for them.

Braxton's apartment is like the size of Jaydan's room. The missionaries need to fit three Elders in it. There are only two beds so Braxton gets to sleep on the couch (which is old and crappy).

"I love Mexico and the work is cool. I walk so much in a day it's scary. We walk more than we are in houses. The majority of the day is just spend walking."

"The storms here are crazy. They come out of nowhere. One day we were walking and I said to my comps-wow, it's a beautiful day, and not five minutes later it was pouring rain and hail. It was bigger than any storm I have ever seen in my life!" "The hail was huge and the rain drops were crazy big as well."

Braxton's says he loves everyone and HE LOVES BEING A MISSIONARY!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Braxton is Headed for Mexico

Braxton is leaving for Mexico bright and early August 13th on Delta Flight 912 at 6:00 a.m. He just recieved the information on the 12th. He spent an extra month in the MTC, but he enjoyed it and had some really good experiences. He is really excited though to leave and get to Mexico and experience all that is waiting for him there. He has to get up early because he is leaving the MTC at 3:00 a.m. His Grandpa is also leaving his house at 3:00 a.m. to meet Braxton at the Airport. This is kind of a tradition for Gramps to go to the airport and see his grandsons off. He say's it's because he's not sure he'll be here when they get home. (you never know) It's his time with them, as short as it is, and he likes to do it. He always asks me if I want to go and I quickly reply "no". I already said "good-bye" and couldn't handle doing it again. :) Braxton is an awesome missionary, and a great example to everyone. He'll love Mexico and Mexico will love him.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Phone Calls from Braxton

Wednesday, August 6, Braxton called and told Jaydan (because I was at Youth Conference) that he was going to be reassigned to the Provo mission until the visa's were okayed. We got another phone call today, August 8th and things have changed again. I guess they (The Consolate) are going to let 10 more missionaries come and so now Braxton gets to go to Mexico instead of Provo. He will have his flight plans on Monday. He sounds wonderful and has a great attitude about everything that has happened. He has found the bright side of this situation and is happy because of it. He listened to alot of Elders complain and he just didn't. He's excited to move on now.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Leaving Soon

So, I think Braxton got his visa. He said he got his "permisa" and is going to send home letters and a few things so I'm assuming he's preparing to go to Mexico.
He said being there (in the MTC) for a week extra weeks hasn't been bad. In fact, he says it was actually great! They have been working in the the RC all day and he's had some great experiences teaching the investigators and being able to be an instrument in changing their lives. The other day he made 330 phone calls plus a few chats, and sent 6 or 7 missionaries to homes. He mentioned talking to an awesome Catholic lady for an hour, in fact he's even calling again on Saturday (last week). With the good always comes some bad (or trials) and he got a call from an "anti" trying to get him to go home and know the "truth" and she even said she would testify against him in the the last day. She even told him that Christ would say "Braxton on July 26th 2008, so & so, tried telling you and you wouldn't listen." (Wow) Braxton felt really bad, but it was for her because it will be the other way around. He's really hoping she will have a change of heart and that his testimony will touch her some how. So, he say's "there are ups and downs, but the ups out way the downs."

This is Braxton and his friend from Australia that he met on the cruise. Elder Raife Cambell.

He mentioned that he loves everyone, and He Loves Being A Missionary!
Captain Who? And to end with Braxton being a Lemon Head! :) (he has a big mouth huh?)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Spending time in the R.C. (referral center)

(I realize this picture has already been posted, but we didn't get pictures this week, and it fits the letter this week.)

Braxton is doing good. He's hanging in there while he waits for his visa to Mexico. They have him and his group spending alot of time in the referral center. Braxton says it's cool though. He gets to call people in spanish and talk to them, even though he he doesn't understand everything completely he is getting the gist of things. He sent a Spanish Book Of Mormon to a lady and thought that was pretty cool. He said his district is actually having quite a bit of success in the R.C. which of course he thinks is neat.

Braxton said "even if I had to serve my whole mission in the MTC I wouldn't be the first." He has met an Elder that is serving his two years in the R.C. because he's not physically able to go in the field and Brax says he is awesome. (good attitude eh?)

He has a teacher, Brother Littlefield, who was the mission president in the Mexico City East Mission a few years back. A friend from our ward was serving in the mission at the time, Jace Schneider. Anyway, Braxton was talking to him and Brother Littlefield knows Ivy's grandparents that live there. (such a small world, and so cool)

While on the cruise before his mission, Braxton met a family from Australia that had a boy ready for a mission. Well, Braxton saw him just the other day at the MTC. His name is Raife Cambell. Braxton and McKay really bonded with Raife and his family. They spent alot of time together.
(I found this picture of him from the cruise, maybe not the best but that's him! :))

(Oh I found another one with more of the kids. Raife is in the back with the sunglasses)

Friday, July 18, 2008

News from the MTC

Braxton is waiting in the MTC for his visa to Mexico. Hopefully he doesn't have to wait too long.

Braxton had a few cool and funny experiences while working in the referal center. First, he said he was doing confirmation calls, outbound, english, and he got this spanish speaking lady. He said "hello" like three times before he realized she wasn't speaking english. So, when he noticed he told her in spanish...oh, one moment... and then he put his teacher on. Then, he got a chat that was cool. The referal center had called this guy named Austin Pace earlier about a video and going to church. Austin said they could send the video, and then he started an internet chat with Braxton asking about the video. Austine wasn't sure what video they were sending so Braxton told him about the two most common. He said he had got a bible from the LDS church and loved it. Then Braxton told him about the Book of Mormon. After hearing everything Braxton had to say he wanted both video's and a Book of Mormon. Braxton let him know how he could get them, and Austin remained on the chat for like 20 minutes without saying anything. Braxton thinks he was on the site. Braxton thought they were through and it was time for him to leave and prepare for bed, so he left the building. His teacher yelled for Braxton and his companion to come back because Austin was back on chat. While he was there the phone rang which was unusual that late and a lady asked "is this the true churck of Christ?" They had a little talk about politics. She was afraid the church would will fall, but Braxton reassured her that God wouldn't let anything happen to the church. A few more interesting things came up in the conversation and Braxton told her that he would pray for her and asked if she would do him a favor. She said okay, and Braxton said "will you have a good night?" she laughed and said she would and then said good-bye.

The Elders in Braxton's room were sick the other day and so they all decided to give each other blessings before they went out into the field and he said it was really cool. The 1st counselor in their branch presidency had told the missionaries that blessings were happening to little and not given enough. Braxton thought it was great.
Things are going great, and the spanish is coming along. He is having some cool experiences and feeling the spirit.

"I love the Church, the Book of Mormon is sweet!" "I love being a Missionary!"
Elder Cox, Elder Ropelato, and Elder Hadley. (good friends)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Getting ready to leave the MTC

Well Braxton has his flight plans and is suppose to leave on Monday, July 14, but he's not sure because the visas from Mexico are taking longer than expected. ***NEWS ALERT! BRAXTON'S WILL BE DELAYED FOR A FEW MORE WEEKS BECAUSE OF THE VISA'S***

He misses the fields and everything from home. He requested that I send him pictures of the cows. I thought that was a funny request, but the field is full of bailed hay and so I think I'll send him a picture and maybe he'll be glad he doesn't have to haul it.

Braxton said "the Book Of Mormon is amazing, it's not just a book any more, it's incredible!"
(here Braxton is with Samuell the Lamanite)

His district is the oldest one at the MTC now, and that feels a little weird to him. (time flies)
(Elder Ropelato and Elder Mann)

Braxton's spanish has improved alot, which he thinks is sweet. He realizes he won't understand anything though when he gets to Mexico.

This is something I've been waiting for. BRAXTON THANKED ME FOR DOING HIS LAUNDRY! (he doesn't like doing his own) (happy day for mom)

I love the pictures Braxton sends and the ones this week are great!

Elder Ropelato and Elder Hadley (friends before the MTC)

Watching Braxton "grow" in the MTC.

This is a picture of Braxton when he first went in the MTC his suits were a little big (of course this is exaggerated a little)

this is at 3 weeks...his buttons are tight! (ya, kind of)

These next two are at 5 weeks. I think he eats a little more at the MTC than he did at home.

Braxton at the Temple. He does look a bit bigger than when we dropped him off. :)

The hills are alive! (I know what you are thinking)

And this picture was so we wouldn't forget him. Who could forget the "cock-eyed" thumb of Braxton.