Date

September 3, 2018

Sent By

Miranda Ashton

Elder Ashton, Esnake Charmer, Missionary, and Much Much More

Hola hola familia y amigos, Elder Cooper Ashton coming at you here live AGAIN from one of the coolest places in the world, Aguilares! Today Elder Gustafson and I got up early today to go fishing with our buddies Elder Hernandez (from Missiones, Argentina) and Elder Rojas (from Bolivia). We caught absolutely nothing, but it was mostly fun and super tiring and definitely not the best way to prepare for another week of the mission life. But, it was good to get out a little bit and breathe some fresh, not super polluted air. The air quality here in Aguilares is so bad because of the sugarcane factory. Literally everyday is just smoke everywhere. I'm probably gonna have smoker lungs by the time I switch areas.
Ok bueno so I suppose I should explain what exactly an "esnake charmer" is. So here's the lowdown on this part of missionary slang: So esnake really just means snake but we all say esnake because the Latino elders for some reason cannot pronounce snake without throwing an "e" in front of it. And what is meant by snake is a person who listens to our lessons just because they think you're pretty, or "lindo" here. And all you need to be to constitute as "lindo" is basically be white and have blue eyes -- and guess what missionary fits that description? Me:) So yeah, my companion has gotten into the habit of calling me the esnake charmer. Sometime we can't even get through our lessons because the Argentine women interrupt to tell me how pretty my eyes are, or how lindo I am. I heard that the mission is supposed to humble you, but really I'm just getting confidence boosts every other visit we have (hahaha no that's a lie the mission has humbled me a lot).
So, I'm slowly becoming accustomed to the culture here. I'm almost eating as much food as my companion. I really have to fight off the urges to take a siesta like the rest of society here. I keep thinking how weird it's gonna be getting back from my mission, and coming back to American society. A society where we eat 3 balanced meals a day, don't get a break from work in the middle of the day, don't burn our garbage right in front of our houses, and where there's not flipping 7 dogs on every street corner. Dogs that for some reason really love to chase the poor foreign white boys who are just trying to give people salvation haha!
But yeah, I know I'm forgetting stuff. But honestly, I'm in kind of a haze right now. I'm fighting off a sickness I think I developed as a result of fasting this past Sunday. Combine that with the fact that I read everyone's sweet emails right before writing this which always get me a little choked up, and yeah all that equals memory loss:) Thanks for all the love and support! I was thinking the other day, where I would really be without the great influences I've had in my life like family and friends. I decided I wouldn't be anywhere without you guys. So thank you!
Love,
Elder Ashton (pics are attached)

(p.s. only 2 more weeks left in my first transfer!!!)
Fun Facts:1. Cooper can't wait for general conference this next month . Being a missionarybasically makes the general conference like the spiritual super bowl.
2. Aguilares is the location of the regions important sugar mill. This along with a dynamic agricultural area, account for the city's economic cornerstones.




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