Monday, December 27, 2010

Service turns into a teaching opportunity

Wow Scott you’re BIG dang, probably ganna be a lot bigger than me when I get back. I've lost a ton of weight here so far but I don’t have time to work on getting buff, just my push ups and sit ups that I have to make myself do every morning. Wow it looks like it was a great Christmas back home, here it was a fairly normal day filled with missionary work and testifying of the only true gospel.

On Sunday something great happened. A few days ago we did service on the street shoveling a ton of dirt into a house that’s going to put in a concrete floor. We didn’t know it at the time (kinda guessed it) that we were answering the mothers prayers for help, all she had was a small group of rowdy boys, some of them still very young. We were headed for a less active member family early when we happened upon the chance to offer service. The mother, Blanca, wanted us to come back this Sunday so that we could talk to her husband Mario. They had been visited by sister missionaries a long time ago. On Sunday we arrived at the house to see a man behind the doors little window see us and shut the window quickly. We decided to talk anyway. We came to the door where he answered, but didn’t seem very interested in letting us in, we asked if we could talk to Blanca again and he went to get her. We talked to her for a bit, she had talked to him and he didn’t want anything, which really upset her; she wants us to help him really bad. We talked in the doorway for a few minutes when we asked her if we could talk to him again and she went to ask. She returned and opened the door to let us in. Inside the door we sat down on the step and taught them there. We told them how the family is important to God and the Gospel blesses families more than anything. It turned into a lesson one situation where we talked about how Jesus founded his church but it was rejected, and then restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. How they can pray to know if this is true and by the power of the Holy Ghost they can receive an answer. They said that they are going to pray and I think they meant it, at least Blanca did, I could see it. At the end they asked us to come back next Sunday to share a little bit more, I really hope they pray! Their little child is sick with a nasty fever, were thinking of explaining what a priesthood blessing is next time to see if we can give the child one.

As for my companion Elder Centeno, all is awesome. He’s really spiritual and a great hard worker. With him we have really been following the spirit and found some great success. The only thing is that sometimes it’s a little quiet walking together; we should talk a little bit more.

Dang I really miss you guys, I keep thinking of how much I want to call you all again, but I mustn’t be baggy! I must stay strong! BARE TESTIMONY. I hope all goes well in the family, especially for those who are a little sick like Grandpa, he’s in my prayers as well as you guys. Hey keep tabs on Brando, he’s your son too remember.

As for things to send me along with the recorder I haven’t thought of much, I don’t have much necessity right now for anything specific, just your prayers and being active in the church yourselves. I don’t know, surprise me I guess? Haha alright, know that I love you more then I can say, and that I miss you all very, very much. We’ll talk again on Mothers Day, alright?

Love love love,

Elder Bronson

Monday, December 20, 2010

I’m pretty sure we found the location of Heck, right here in Guatemala. I saw the hole!

Wow mom you really do look different with darker hair, the picture with you turned around to see how long your hair is I almost thought you took a picture of Kinsey or Brandyn's girlfriend or someone but the next picture clarified that.

Exited for that Christmas call?? I'll let you know I am but I have no idea what to talk about, I usually talk about everything in my emails, maybe you guys should think up some good questions or something haha. How did we do it mothers day? Or should I call you guys first to give you the number or should I just call on one of the numbers you gave me. I'm thinking Christmas day the 25th, at what time? In the night or the morning. Maybe if you can write me back quick.

This morning was change conference, I thought me and Elder Vindel would both stay in the area but I guess not. He only had 3 weeks in Lomas Del Norte when they called him out again, to Coban! Darn that’s 2 in a row. Well now I’m with Elder Centeno, my 5th Latino companion in a row. We’ve only been together for a couple of hours but he honestly seems like a pretty cool guy. He has 3 months in the mission, this is his 2nd area and I’m his 3rd companion, the first white guy. He’s from Nicaragua (how ever you spell that...) which is a little south of Honduras and El Salvador. He said he used to be a DJ and likes (like every other Latino on the planet) to play soccer and basketball.

Oh something super cool today! Have you guys ever heard of that giant hole in Guatemala? Its in zone 2, look it up. While waiting for the change conference to start we found out that a street down from where the chapel was at was the giant hole! We walked over there and the police who were guarding it said we couldn’t enter the big sheet metal fence around it but we could look through the door. IT EXISTS! I saw the hole. It’s BIG really really big. And smells terrible. I’m pretty sure we found the location of Heck, right here in Guatemala. I saw the hole!

Yesterday we went down into the depths of our area (I swear that every area has some sort of secret place or depth or height that’s fun to explore) in a Colonia called Los Pinos. It gets dangerous at night but its super cool. we visited an inactive family that we found (this is Sunday by the way) and they live in the bottom of the depths, and behind their house it goes down even farther to a little canal of nasty water. They said they needed help so we followed them all the way down there and walked a ways. There were mini waterfalls and the sounds of the creek, tons of trees and natural sounds. We followed for a ways before coming to a path that led strait up a hill through dense underbrush until we arrived at the place. Their family was chopping wood for the fire and were looking for some type of extra special wood, I think it’s the sappy part of the tree trunk, the orangey part. Due to the adventure and the landscape and the prospect of physical service I was completely overtaken by excitement and adventure and forgot that it was Sunday and did a whole bunch of wood chopping work. Jesus said that it’s alright to do good on the Sabbath right? Anyway when Elder Vindel was chopping I sat down and took in the landscape. It was so beautiful! There on the other side of the ravine was a forest of trees, above was a sunset, behind me and above me where hundreds and hundreds of small speedy little birds chirping and flying acrobatically. The smell from the tree trunk was rich and enjoyable and the sounds of the creeks below could still be heard. It was a moment of absolute splendor that I wish I could have taken in for a lot longer, a moment that I hope not to forget. It made me all the more want to go north to Petén or Coban or Polochik! I want to see cool things so bad!

Well tons and tons of love and Christmas spirit to you all, and thank you Kinsey for the dearelder! Thanks to everyone for their love and support and prayers, you’re all in mine. Love you all more than I can say!

Elder Bronson

Monday, December 13, 2010

Much love to all and to all a Merry Christmas

Oohhy yea I had a fun time opening my package, I'm not going to lie the socks might have been the most needed thing, or maybe the music haha. Since buying new socks and new shoes walking has been AMAZING I feel like I could run everywhere and not get tired. The sweets where just far too numerous so I had to share a ton with my companion. Thanks a ton for the music it’s well loved here, specially the CD This is the Christ, it has helped me to feel the spirit a lot more.

Did I already tell you that there was an emergency change a bit ago and I have a new companion Elder Vindel? Another Latino companion without any English but at this point it doesn’t matter at all the language. I gave the stocking to Elder Marquez when he left as a present from me and for Elder Vindel we’ve been sharing all the candy and jerky. Elder Vindel is pretty cool, he’s more serious (by a lot) than Elder Marquez, and at first it was hard because he was a little frustrated over the transfer and the fact that I still didn’t know the area absolutely perfect. I've been being as charitable as possible, cooking breakfasts, always sharing everything and giving complement whenever appropriate and things have been going well between him and me. When he’s mad he doesn’t talk at all but when something spiritual and awesome happens and he’s happy life is great. Were pretty good friends.

For the Christmas party we met at the church in Molino Zone 6 with a couple of zones and it was a big ol zone meeting. Talks from president and a tiny Christmas presentation but I was with Elder Winkle the whole time and with a ton of my friends so we had a blast. The food too was great.

Hmmmm spiritual experiences. You said you had a dream about me? Saturday morning was just like any other, I think I might have had a dream too, and you mom were in it. For a part of it you were here with me. It was a pretty fun dream a lot of secret passages and it was mission related. As for sad and grim things I don’t know...saturday-sundayish I was feeling pretty frustrated over not having any investigators or any baptismal dates, especially on Sunday morning when NONE of our investigators came to church, not even the awesome ones. We were expecting a ton to come and none did. It continued until Sunday night when we were able to meet with some investigators and help them to accept a baptismal date. Hopefully we will be able to put a couple more and actually find some success and baptisms in this hard area! I invite all to pray haha

Saturday night I had a pretty cool experience. We were with some recent converts Marco and his wife MariaJosé and also Eric. This was a story that I haven’t heard. Eric and MariaJosé were married and had some kids but after a while came another guy (Not Marco, someone else) who pretty much destroyed their marriage and they separated, where MariaJosé later married with Marco. Eric still lives very nearby and visits extremely often to watch after his kids. He and Maria don’t have any problems anymore together. He’s pretty confused about temple sealing for his kids, for if Marco and Maria are sealed in the temple would all the kids be sealed to them and him left out or would they be sealed to Eric and Maria as blood children. When it was just us two and him I had a thought come into my mind, a phrase of my patriartical blessing where it says that people will come to me for advice and basically I will help perfect the lives of a lot of people. It that point I felt like I should almost act like a councilor to Eric, and as we were talking we felt the spirit very strongly. I told him to start again to do the small things like read the Book of Mormon and pray, pay tithing and go to church and he would find happiness again in his life. I hope I helped him.

Today was really fun too, we went to a place called Tikal Futura and played bowling! I played a very fair game and actually won, all with plenty of divine help. Afterwards we went...to Chili’s!! Oh how tasty! I bought a mushroom swiss burger and fries and decided after the Christmas season (or after I run out of chocolate) I’ll eventually be healthy again. I’m still doing 30 pushups before breakfast lunch and diner as many days as I can minus Sundays.

Once again, I’m sorry, these computers here in Meta Terminal just don’t like to use my camera so I can’t send any pictures this week but I’ll get on that. My memory card is nearly chock full of pictures all the way back to Juana de Arco with Elder Vargas!! When that finally fills to its bursting point I’ll send it home to you guys, I’m sure you will enjoy that a bit ;D. The other memory card I’m working on putting a ton of videos on it just for you guys, that will be done...when it also gets full.

Much love to all and to all a Merry Christmas, I’m super exited to talk to you all! That will be a wonderful present for both of us. I miss everyone a ton and just want you to know that all is going well here, I just hope all is super well at home, I have to be careful not to let my mind wander to me being home with you guys for Christmas, that would be dangerous. Gatta focus!

I truly love you all with all my heart, be safe and be strong, please; it’s the biggest present you could ever give me.

Elder Andrew Bronson

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My new companions name is Elder Vindel

Oooh Wesley had a professional shave mmmhhhhmmm. I remember my fist shave...out of 3... Yeah I just don’t have a hairy face. And as always I'd like to say DANG you all look so different ahhhhhhhhhh...but that’s understandable because I look a bit different too.
Alright question time!

Have you fixed your shoes????? Please take care of your feet. 1. Yup I bought shoes just a bit ago, right before emails I decided it was time when the last pair I owned started putting holes in all my socks and started eating my toes to a nice brilliant red chaffing.

Please re-size your pictures before you send them. Your last email didn’t arrive at our house until 9 pm and your pictures were 1 or 2 MB in size. . Alright I didn’t think about it earlier but I’ll start resizing them for y´all.

Share with us some Guatemala Christmas traditions that you have learned so far. Christmas traditions in Guat? Tamales. And more tamales. everything tamales. There’s eggnog down here did you know that? Not a single person knows what the heck it is but its here. Really Christmas is nearly the same after all the tamales. Lights on the rich peoples houses, Christmas trees and Christmas hymns. Santa everywhere and big 'ol wreaths and all. A merry Guatemalan Christmas to you all! Ho ho ho!

It’s been an interesting week I’d say. Tuesday… on Tuesday the owners of the house decided to repaint where we live so the house was all messy and things where everywhere when we got a call at 2 o’ clock telling Elder Marquez that he has an hour to pack his things, he’s headed for Coban on an emergency change. It got really chaotic after that and we rushed to do everything and get down to the bus station where we were put with other elders for a bit. I was with Elder Seppi my missionary brother (Elder Bowman was his dad, or first companion, and Bowman was also my second trainer, or my missionary mom) we’re great friends and it was awesome being legitimate companions for 3 hours. We all met up in Zone Alemada with Elder (Michael) Smith the holiest elder of them all and another personal friend of mine. He told me ¨hopefully you can help your new comp out a lot.¨ Wheee… another elder with something to solve. Does President think I help people that much? Personally I'm not so sure but it’s the Lords way right? I was put with a new elder and sent back to Lomas. My new companions name is Elder Vindel, my fourth Latino companion in a row that doesn’t know a single spot of English but by now I can communicate just about perfectly in Spanish anyway. He’s from El Salvador and has 4 more months than I do.

The week was rough. Elder Marquez knew when people would be home and the whole ward too, I know the names and the places but not the times so we were left to wander without direction quite a few times. I could feel he was frustrated with me; he hardly talked and always walked behind me instead of next to me. On Friday night it came down to it. He told me that he wanted to call the President and go home and when I tried to motivate him he just said quietly under his breath that he didn’t want to even talk to me anymore. Just a moment after we entered into our appointment. This family needs alot of love right now, their son of 10 years wanted very badly to be baptized but President said he has to wait for his family to be baptized with him; the problem is that they can’t for a divorce issue with prior spouses. We could tell they were all disappointed and I didn’t know what to do, but Elder Vindel stepped in and showed some real concern and love for the wellbeing of their family that really touched them and me. The rest of the night we were both filled with the spirit and incredibly happy to be here helping people. It was one of the best nightly planning sessions I've ever had and since then we’ve been working more in tune with the spirit, having more success and much more cooperation and companionship between us.

That’s my missionary story of the week hope you all are filled with love. How was the Christmas devotional for you all? I thought it was INCREADIBLE. I guess when your on your mission everything spiritual is amazing as so.

Have a merry Christmas everyone, this Wednesday I’m opening my Christmas package, it just so happens to be the same day as the missions Christmas party so it will be an exiting day. I love you all and I know that this is truly the work. The Gospel is true and really fixes and gives purpose to our lives. I know the Book of Mormon to be the literal word of God and Joseph Smith truly a man called of God to restore the plenitude of the Gospel of Jesus Christ here on the earth. I love you all more than I can say and wish you always the best. I’m always praying for you.

Elder Bronson

Monday, November 29, 2010

I had my fist tuktuk ride the other day

That’s a ton of snow holy cow; right now here the weather is just about normal. Not too cold and not too hot, a little hotter than cold I think...ha. I was tempted to buy Christmas lights for our room but my companion (it’s his first mission Christmas too) said he’d probably cry every night of sheer bagginess if I did. Oh well maybe next year. And that’s a ton of hair too holy cow it’s a house full of skater boys.

Well............yeah so I already received your Christmas package and the one from the Grigg family, I received them on Thanksgiving Day and have decided to wait on the big package at least until the 8th, the smaller one from the Grigg family I already opened and have already almost eaten everything in it minus the socks haha. My companion Elder Marquez is exited for his stocking too. It just really hit me today that this is my first Christmas of 2, I have an entire year left it only now seems like so much more! Dang...nonetheless I'm not going to be baggy.

I did send you that side bag and it has a couple of last minute things stuffed in too. I hope you enjoy them. Ohh here’s a story; I had my fist tuktuk ride the other day coming back from divisions in Canalitos with Elder Busto. It was too late at night for the buses to be safely running and there was no other choice. Elder Marquez made me a little nervous about riding one by saying that he was scared of doing so. They are small and kinda rickety, in a recent letter I drew you guys one. It’s like a motorcycle with three little wheels that looks kinda like a little baby jeep. They work kinda like taxis but not as expensive. Honestly on some of the turns it was a bit frightening but overall a pretty cool little ride through the jungly Canalitos at night.

Today was a bit fun too. We celebrated Elder Whited´s 20th birthday eating at a member’s house. While waiting for the food we played Jenga and I didn’t lose; I felt pretty good with myself. On one of my turns I took like 3 and a half minutes trying to remove one precarious block. After we started playing ¨Scum¨ which is a Boy Scout camp card game with face cards that was pretty intense. We eventually started playing with added rules and it got even more so. I was king one time and scum the last two rounds, ouch my cards stunk. It was all fun though. We had ice-cream and chocolate cake too it was yummy.

In the work all seems to go alright... we only have one sure baptismal date for this Saturday a young boy named Ever. His whole family is ready except his parents are struggling with a divorce with previous spouses and a remarriage! not all that rare in Guatemala... our other interested investigator had something happen in the family in which he had to move away and only visits randomly once a week. DANG. Pray for new golden investigator families aright? Haha we really need the help the area is very rich and everybody knows ¨Los Mormónes¨ and how to get them to go away. Still trying though!



Well as always super much love to one and to all, hope thanksgiving was great, mine we just ate more than usual and called it good. Take care of yourselves I love you way too much for anything to happen. I dearly want to see you ALL when I get home ;) but I know you are safe, God is watching over you and we have already seen evidence of that right ha. Stay strong in the family prayer and scriptures alright? It’s the basic things that bring the big blessings. Prayer, scripture study, church, tithing. Don’t forget the others but those 4 are pretty important.

Can’t wait till Christmas when I can call you! What a present right?

AMOR
Elder Bronson


Monday, November 22, 2010

It was the jungle adventure I’d been waiting for


SO MUCH SNOW!!! Dang that seems so weird. Here we're having a cold front but por su puesto no hay neive (obviously there isn’t any snow) and wow you all have grown up so much in the past almost year. 9 months haha. Yeah it is true that Christmas time makes missionaries baggy. I'm not a baggy missionary, but a couple days ago I was listening to some amazing Christmas music coming from the members that live in the same house as us and the day was all cloudy and grey. That morning we went to help a member family paint their house (this was Saturday) and everybody was still sleeping in all nice and cozy. It made me want to be home all warm and happy for Christmas but alas, my duty is here and there is nowhere else I’d rather be. Other missionaries would look at a plane and think Oh I only have 7 months left! I think OH DANG I only have 15 months left, let’s GO elder!


Martin De la Cruz
Last week I didn’t have a chance to send you guys pictures so this week I got you some good ones haha about 26 or so lets see. Some of those were from a very exiting adventure we all had. The first two are from my last day in Santa Elena visiting with the De la Cruz family, and the second is a picture of when Martin was back in the Army being all buff holding a chain gun and wearing gun belts...that’s my convert! We spent a lot of time there that night looking at everyone’s baby pictures and getting ready to miss them like family.

Alright for this adventure. Tuesday, the day after I emailed you we did service in Canalitos with the rest of the zone chopping up with machetes. After all was chopped we walked around the property a bit and there was a path going down the side of a big foresty mountain. We felt very adventurous and went down. At the bottom there was a little passage way with a cave and everything. It was the jungle adventure I’d been waiting for since receiving my call over a year ago, it was amazing! There were even bats in the little cave. I hope to do more of that kind of stuff up north when I go.

Questions

* Tell us about your new area and your new companion
Last week I told you all about my comp and area, Elder Marquez, and Lomas Del Norte. It’s a very rich area that’s very hard to contact but theirs a lot of members there and a ward mission leader. Even the bishop seems pretty cool. Me and Elder Marquez laugh a ton and always are joking around but working so hard! Saturday when we were contacting when trying to find investigators we started laughing so hard that we actually had to stop and sit down for a couple of minutes.

* How are your shoes? Are they fixed?
No I haven’t done anything about my shoes but hopefully I’ll have a good opportunity tomorrow.

* Do you have any new investigators?
New investigators we taught one and he even came to church on Sunday. We put a baptismal date with him even. His name is Hugo. Besides him we only have so-so possibilities.

Well I’m going to use some time trying to work photos so I’ll end here. Love you all and pray for you every day and night, hope you all have a good thanksgiving! Christmas is just around the corner!

Elder Bronson

Monday, November 15, 2010

I feel like a missionary again!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MOM! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MOM!

Much love
Ahhh bueno, another Monday and another email! Haza, again happy birthday!

Alright the moment you have been waiting for...transfers...

I..
...
...
Got a new area! And a new companion too haha.

My new area is called Lomas Del Norte, and Mrs. Winkel might recognize that name. Elder Winkel served in this area for nearly 6 months and now it’s my area.

It was really a surprise to me to hear that I was the one with the change I expected to be in that area for a lot longer to help out the family De la Cruz. I was kinda sad because by the time we got the call and had the chance to visit everyone I wasn’t able to see Martin and tell him goodbye, only over the phone. Tuesday when saying goodbye to everyone we stopped at the De la Cruz house for a diner goodbye where we had hotdogs! We ended up spending nearly 2 hours there; they really are my family away from family. We spent some time going through baby pictures of Angelo and the family, it was awesome! One of the pictures was of Martin maybe 20 years ago or more when he was back in the army. Holding a chaingun and being buff! Yup, that’s my convert. I was so sad to say goodbye but I had a reassuring feeling that my next area would be good for me, better.

From Juana de Arco up the hill to Santa Elena back down to Lomas del Norte, back to zone Atlántico. My new companion is Elder Marquez (mar-kez) who was one of Elder Winkle’s companions and has the same time as us both, 9 months. Oh ya! Change conference was our 9 month mark, 9 MONTHS MAMA. Last Sunday was your birthday, which also means that it’s my 1 year mark for having my endowments out.

Elder Marquez is from Honduras like my first companion Elder Vargas, he’s super humble and super fun. He reminds me a lot of Elder Winkel because he’s so happy all the time, sure easier to be happy when your companion is too. The house is nicer and bigger, the computer isn’t being very nice and isn’t letting me use my camera to send you pictures so hopefully next week. I remember how the computers here in this area kinda stink...anyway. We found a ton of church pictures and put them up everywhere. In the kitchen there is a sink, and in the bathroom there is also a sink!! We have a ton of pots and pans and cockroaches...yea dad remember before my mission you always joked about cockroaches everywhere? Well in Juana de Arco we had a fruit fly problem and almost a cockroach one, in Santa Elena almost as well with the flies and mosquitoes and now it’s a big cockroach problem! I constantly have to squish em. Eww.

The area is nice, it’s big and really much more beautiful than all my others because it’s much richer. Contacting is hard but there are a TON of members and the ward leaders seem really nice too. Instead of begging for help announcing stuff we just suggest it to the ward mission leader (who in this area is active) and he takes care of it and really helps us out. The colonia lomas del norte looks just like a suburb with LAWNS and everything! It’s incredible! Already I am loving the area and my new companion, we constantly are laughing and teaching, obeying the rules and PLANNING. I feel like a missionary again!

No I have not repaired my shoes and now even my spare pair have wholes in the bottom, lots of walking ha! Today we are going to check out this little shop we saw in our area with a few shoes so hopefully something.

I've been healthy, healthier and healthier trying to eat to a better diet and now my companion was to try eating healthier, I just need some good healthy food meal ideas. We bought another blender so things should go easier. The only thing is just today after our pday activity of dodge ball my stomach felt kinda weird...then I ate taco bell and that didn’t help! I was at one point in the bathroom wondering if I was going to throw up but all was well nothing happened and I'm feeling better. The power of prayer!

I already told you that my new areas hard for contacting, lately we’ve spent a good deal of time looking for new people and nothings been happening. We hardly have ANY investigators right now and we’ve only really visited less active members lately and been asking for references. Hopefully some news soon! Last Thursday when getting to know the area during the day we were offered cake four separate times!

Hmmm I can’t remember really if there was something awesome to tell you guys or not, I'll have to write it next week if I remember it later. Once again sorry for no pictures, dang computer. Oh! One thing is I’m sure you will hear soon from Elder Smiths mom is that he’s going to Polochik! To learn KEKCHI!! You know what that means don’t you? It means that he’s going to be there FOREVER AND ILL NEVER SEE HIM AGAIN. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

We will....eventually...well in the meantime I express my love for all of you, there’s a scripture that really hit me yesterday Moroni 8:16, ¨un amor perfecto desecha todo temor¨ or a perfect love casts out all fear, a great one for missionary work! Much love siempre, más que puedo decir. Please take care of yourselves, I love you.

Elder Bronson

Monday, November 8, 2010

You could imagine a whole bunch of grandpas and grandmas and how they would react to a couple of handsome young men, one from their native country


Andrew's Artwork
 What do you want for Christmas?
Christmas...well my list isn’t that big so you’ll have to be a bit creative filling it up but here goes, mostly just silly things
-more music from Jon Schmidt
-more socks ;D
-a booster pack of awesome yugioh cards for my ever geeky companions...and my ever geeky me.
-an English hymnbook
-lots of prayers for the people in this area

Did you get your shoes repaired?
As for my shoes I haven’t had them resoled, I did look for new ones today but they hardly have Americanly sized shoes here and the ones they did have weren’t up for a year of walking or were just plain weird so I'll keep looking and get a pair resoled. My socks are dying too because of the holes in the bottom of my shoes that let nasty water in and when it dries it hardens and is really kinda gross. I'll get right on fixing em if I can find a place.

Did you get to baptize the other Martin?
No the other martin I didn’t baptize, during the week they picked somebody from the ward to do it and that’s fine with me, I hardly knew him. On Sunday it turns out that he didn’t even show up, either sick or nervous I don’t know. The sister missionaries didn’t seem so happy that day.

Tell us a spiritual experience you had this week.
I'm using my new agenda now so I don’t have all my spiritual experiences that I’ve written down during the week.. Hmm alright I have one for ya. I was doing morning divisions with Elder Davis and he was playing some music that was so incredibly amazing, it wasn’t specifically church music but it was talking about Christ and I felt the spirit so strong! Afterwards I went home and after eating lunch I was pondering about Lehi's dream and the iron rod. The words of our last general conference came into my head I can’t remember who but the sister said to ¨hold on the to the rod with BOTH hands¨. I remembered something that they talked about in seminary like picturing yourself there with the numberless multitude holding on to the rod. I instantly had an image jump its way into my mind of me holding on to the rod with all my might, both hands held firm, then me reaching up and partaking of the fruit of life when the spirit hit me so strong with a confirmation that if I hold on to the rod like I am doing right now I WILL PARTAKE of that fruit. I sat there at my desk with tears streaming down my eyes for a good few min.  That experience has definitely been a huge help to me lately, now more than ever, I KNOW that this gospel is true. I KNOW with all my heart and feeling that God loves me, and so does his Son. I want so much to give this joy and happiness to so many others that I thank my Heavenly Father every day for the opportunity to be here.

There is a ward member in our area that owns a taxi so he gave us a lift to the area office pretty far away from where we live, down in the big city. We got to the building and inside saw my first bishop from Juana de Arco who commented on how much weight I've lost. He told us the doctor was on the 3rd floor so we went, and they told us that he was on the fourth. We get up there and they said the he is on the fifth floor teaching a Spanish class so we went. On the fifth floor was a small office type thing that said that he wouldn’t be in the class and he might not even have arrived yet, so we could go into the class to wait for him if we wanted. We entered and it was a group of senior missionaries learning Spanish. You could imagine a whole bunch of grandpas and grandmas and how they would react to a couple of handsome young men, one from their native country. The teacher was one of the teachers from the CCM and she had us come up and tell where we were from, what mission we were in, and after bear our testimony having the older couples listen for words that they recognized. Their Spanish was so little that it reminded me of when we were in the CCM and didn’t know a thing, I kept almost wanting to correct them but I decided not to look dumb and interrupt and make them feel inadequate so I didn’t but it was a great experience and there was a lot of love and a good spirit in that room, people really wanting to serve the Lord. We went back down to the 3rd floor and found the doctor and he fixed everything up within 5 min and we were out again.


I love you all so very dearly and hold that each and every one of you will work so much harder on holding on to that rod! God loves you and wants the best for you, always trust in him and you will never truly be sad, even Lot had that eternal peace when he lost everything, and in the end everything he had was literally doubled.

Please keep yourselves strong and safe, follow the spirit, strengthen your
families with the gospel, it’s the greatest thing you could ever do, and after my two years in heaven are up and I will see you all again.

Until then my God be with you, I love you,

Elder Andrew James Bronson


Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween exists here but they don’t do much because it’s so dangerous at night!

Yay another pday and time to write my beloved family...


Halloween exists here but they don’t do much because it’s so dangerous at night! ...and nobody has a ton of money to spend on candy. Instead they have some sort of holiday today the 1st of November. I'm not sure what it is but it makes the guys running the bus demand double. A whole 2 quetzales! That’s like 25 cents!! Sheesh.
Drawn while Elder V. was bible bashing with an
investigator about angels
I am not always sure what to say about my comp because one day it will be terrible and the next it will be just fine. This is the first relationship in my entire life where when we fight we get along better with each other. This has happened twice. I've honestly learned a ton because of him (I don’t know if I'd say from him but because of him maybe) about how to improve and be more Christ like in even the little things that don’t seem to matter, but really make all the difference. Changes are about a week and a half away and I’ve already received secret news from Elder Davis that he’s going to get a change and I’m going to stay here. I really like this area and there is SO much more I need to do here so I’m super exited to stay longer.

Last Saturday we had another baptism! Could you guess who it is? Angelo de la Cruz, son of Martin de la Cruz whom I baptized about a month ago. And who performed the ordinance? HIS FATHER. The kid is incredible. He was the only one of his family besides his mother who hadn’t already been baptized and he might be the most faithful next to his dad. The water was cold and his dad had to do the ordinance a number of times because he didn’t have to prayer perfect (he only has a month being a member so I don’t blame him). Nonetheless by the time they got it Angelo the poor little guy was shivering like crazy. What a real trooper. the next day on Sunday they weren’t planning on being able to make it to church for some super big thing with the family (martins very first time being absent since we found him about 2 months ago) so bishop Paredes wasn’t planning on doing it, but Angelo came to church anyway, just a bit late for a usual confirmation. The bishop knowing he was there didn’t do anything about it and even though Angelo was present they didn’t confer upon him the Holy Ghost. (Our bishop isn’t very helpful...even to the sister missionaries) when Elder Davis heard he was MAD. He told me that even though Martin and everyone were in a super hurry they where running to church and when they got there (E. Davis was outside) his dad told Angelo Go! Go! Hurry for your confirmation! Run!..But the bishop didn’t do it. Ugh. Angelo the incredible spirit he is didn’t murmur or anything, what a trooper.

During church also one of the Sister missionaries investigators, also named Martin, told me he wanted me to be the one to baptize him (sister missionaries don’t have the priesthood and so cant baptize), his baptism is scheduled for next Sunday early in the morning.

Questions?
I am using the oils from time to time specially the roll on oil for acne. It has been helping a ton. As for more essential oils right now I think the supply is still good, no need to worry.

Something funny or awesome hmm? Well I just continue the email I guess

So! One thing, on Tuesday 2 things really. One was my companion doesn’t know the meaning of COMPANIONSHIP even after 22 months. He abandoned me 3 times in one morning going over to a neighbor kid’s house to do who-knows-what. One minuet studying, the next I’m alone and he’s nowhere to be found. I tried to talk about it and he got MAD. Aye-aye elder...2, when we were walking the hill back home in the night there’s a bus that parks up there and they gave us a lift up the hill, a small act of random kindness. Saturday 2 things as well. 1 I spent the morning with Elder Davis while both of our companions went on a little division to help somebody repair their car (Elder Plata, Davis´ companion is a great mechanic) me and Davis talked a ton, he’s an incredible missionary and I’m SO glad he’s here in the same district as me. The other, when we passed by Martin to walk with him over to the church for the baptism we came in the sheet metal door and the first thing he said when he saw me was ¨ah! mi salvación!¨ haha it feels incredible to have helped someone come to the knowledge of the restored gospel, I really feel like I already accomplished a lot on my mission, and I still have like 15 months. SO EXITED!

Alright one last thing I think, buying groceries today was a little different. When I was talking to Elder Davis part of it was about how he’s trying to keep healthy, and has replaced all his nasty foods for healthy things, like fruit for snacks and stuff. I went shopping with him today and tried the same. Practically all I bought was fruit, veggies, granola and oats, yogurt and all sorts of deliciousness. And a cheap blender. SWEET. That and I’m working out every day now minus Sundays haha! I’m hoping to really change my body and get fit and healthy, maybe when I get back we can have a ¨who is the healthiest¨ contest ha!
Well love you all and keep it safe please, I always pray for you. An interesting scripture to look up is D&C 35:13. Oh and I have a question for the day:
¨according to Lehi, what flavor was the fruit of knowledge of good and evil? ¨ the answer is in 2nd Nephi 2:15

MUCH LOVE

Elder Bronson

Monday, October 25, 2010

Really the work is going alright

Ha! What attractive young men...so ready for a mission! Haha I like the ¨Mr. Happy¨ and ¨Mr. Happy on Eggnog¨ pictures. The picture of the snowy yard and the burb made me think about home...and snow! That will be weird in a year and a half. For the past 3 or 4 weeks now it’s been nothing but sun sun sun here and I love it! Both of my pairs of shoes have holes walked into the bottom so I’m not so exited for rain, one little puddle and DANG my socks wet and I'm subjected to a day of ¨squish-squash squish-squash¨. I swear my socks work better as sponges than anything else. Oh and I'll need to buy a new umbrella; I tossed my old nasty broken one about 5 weeks ago when it decided to bite me when I opened it. Grumble grumble. Who needs you; you don’t protect me anyway! Darn rusty thing. Haha...I mean thanks for working for 1 week mr. 30 quetzal umbrella.


Hmmmmmmm ya last week I was talking a lot about my companion, well things have somewhat calmed down but he still is a little...I dunno. He's been reading this big old report or book or something about these two missionaries in a conference with leaders from a ton of other religions. The entire thing is super bible bashing and what we call in Spanish pelear, or peleando, kinda just like your religion is so wrong because of this and this and this! Oh no YOUR religion is untrue because the bible this and that. He likes to pelear. It’s incredibly frustrating. He has SO much time in the mission but it seems to me like he doesn’t know how to effectively work with people and help them learn. I’m just saying if anyone came to my door and taught me how the Mormons did all these things wrong because Joseph Smith this or Book of Mormon that I wouldn’t listen at all and just tell them to get out of my face and not come back if all they want to do is bite me about my beliefs. We were contacting not to long ago, and came upon a house with an old man. I started out and all was well; he seemed to give just a little interest in what we were saying...until E.V. started to give his shpeel.  I'll skip the rest and say that for and hour and a half he fought with this man saying Catholics this Catholics that, Book of Mormon prophets blah blah blah. He laughed at the man's beliefs and was like ...WHAT?? whenever the man said anything of what he believes. I was dying; so how was he? I’m just sad because now he’s going to think badly about the missionaries and the church FOREVER. So many times it’s ...oh those missionaries only want to throw their religion at me and baptize me! To say the least it hurts.

Really the work is going alright. We have 7 baptismal dates, one with Angelo, Martin's son, for this Saturday. One for the family of Bother Peque and one for a newly found family who is so incredible. They are a very young couple, Alex and Diana, they have one little boy Alonzo (he’s actually the 3rd, but the other two died). They aren’t married and he’s looking for work but they are trying so hard. When we taught them the Plan of Salvation, Alex talked a lot and Diana was so perfectly focused and interested in what we were saying, I guess hearing that you might see your children again would do that. Just a few days ago we taught them about the restoration and after asked them if they would read and pray to know if it’s true, Diana responded that we’ve done SO much to help them already that she already believes what we are saying is the truth. How incredible it was to hear something like that! When we talked to them about their divorce so that they could be baptized we heard the next day that they were already well on their way to doing it. Elder Davis a few days ago saw them and talked briefly. They told him that they were there working on their papers of divorce to they can get baptized. They are golden! I can’t wait to help them change their lives.
I think that’s the biggest news for this week folks, thanks for tuning in. I love you all so very much and I know that the Lord loves you. Keep it strong, I pray for you all by name. Have an amazing week! Go play in that fluffy white stuff that doesn’t exist here!

Les amo mas que puedo decir,

Elder Bronson

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It really hit me with a strong feeling of how real the gospel and the plan is

Today was amazing, we went to the temple! Oh how I love to go to the temple! This temple here in Guatemala is really small but the spirit is the same, though I do have to say that I miss my home, the Oquirhh Mountain Temple and look for it every time there is an article in the ensign about temples, I saw it and also the bountiful temple and it made me a bit baggy... I wish I could go more often but there is work to be done here and I will have time later. During the session the spirit was incredibly strong and it helped that by now I could understand nearly every single word of the Spanish session. I had some sitting down before the session began and so pondered a bit about profound things and it really hit me with a strong feeling of how real the gospel and the plan is. I had a feeling of my importance as a child of God, and all those sitting with me as my spiritual brothers and sisters that I knew before this world was, now sitting with me in a holy temple ordinance doing the Lords work of redeeming the dead. Oh yeah and before we even entered the temple we saw Elder Falabella walk in and I shook his hand (for those of you who want to know why this is noteworthy is because he is the president of the quorum of the seventy for this part of the world, Central America)
 
After the session we all walked over to Quiznos but it wasn’t going to open for another half hour, so we walked to McDonalds, which was serving only breakfast until the same time. We kept walking until we came to a restaurant Pollo Campero which is like a Guatemalan version of KFC but really expensive for only a little bit of food, and not the tastiest food either but all was well.  Chicken sandwich with fries, water and an ice cream cone. Pday is my day to eat unhealthily; all other days are set aside for oatmeal, granola, fruit, sandwiches and whatnot. Yum!

Sigh...unfortunately not all goes well with my companion Elder V.  He just simply doesn’t like me and to be honest, I don’t know why. I can’t say I'm perfect of any wrongs but I can’t think of a single instance that would have dampened our relationship, but its kind of just been that way from the start. Just a few days ago I asked what he was going to study back at home because he’s been so set on studying lately (even though he only has 2 months left on the mission). He asked me why I wanted to know and I responded for curiosity, and for something to talk about because it’s quiet. He told me then that he doesn’t want to talk to me and that I should stay to my own business. Ouch. I tried to talk to him about it because there seems to be little unity in our companionship and want to be his friend honestly so that we can work together and feel the spirit. He told me that he doesn’t want to talk to me or even try to be my friend, that’s not what his mission is about, it’s about preaching. ... I continued to try, or at least figure out if there was something I could change to improve our relationship, if there was something I was doing that bugged him. He said to me that if I don’t know what I’m doing wrong by week three then there was no hope of me ever figuring it out, and refused to tell me anything, or hardly speak at all afterwards. It’s been a hard three weeks as you can probably guess. He sleeps in, we don’t study together, and his teaching methods are more of an attack than sharing a Gospel of love. I don’t know what to do; the Zone Leaders have even talked to him about it. Ugh... Honestly we work hard, we had 30 lessons last week and some new investigators, but without the companionship unity and spirit there’s nothing productive, I’m not seeing our investigators progress very much.

Ok time to find some better news....I saw a clown the other day. And a guy in a gorilla suit and skull mask wearing a magic Mickey Mouse hat. That was fun. For souvenirs I only really have my machete WHICH IS AWESOME and my new leather bag WHICH IS ALSO AWESOME. I’m thinking of looking for some cool wristbands soon if I can find some but I dunno, I'd have to find some first!
Christmas we are going to have some sort of super awesome activity with ALL of the missionaries of the Guatemala North Mission. ALL of them. MEANING ELDER SMITH TOO. I’m exited! I don’t know about work that day, if missionaries (for example we will say Jehovah Witnesses) showed up at your door on Christmas would you talk to them or say, another day, today is for my family? I can’t see much happening that day. As for a Christmas list I don’t have much right now but what I am thinking of are the following English Hymn Book, Reese’s, more later.  I'll try to write it down for next week.  The little gifts for kids are kind of fun, I think they like it. I gave the rings to little girls and some of the necklaces to cute little kids, bouncy balls for the boys.

Tons and tons of AMOR!! gozo y paz sea dado a cada uno de ustedes! les AMO!! sed fuertes en la fe y tenid vuestra unidad y caridad siempre!

Espero por una buena semana por todos, hasta proxima semana,

Elder Andrew Bronson

Monday, October 11, 2010

I'm trying to work hard enough for 3 people

Well with my new companion Elder V. things go alright... he’s not the most perfectly obedient or hard working missionary (for example he’s on facebook with headphones on right now...I betcha I could find both those things in the mission manual pretty quick) but we get along fine and I’m trying to work hard enough for 3 people ha! I think I've said this but he’s Guatemalan, really short and his way of teaching is more like a frontal attack than sharing the gospel, and we don’t have companionship study and some days even a morning comp prayer. I too still have a lot to improve but little by little right? When I was with Elder Vargas we cooked for each other for a while, with Elder Bowman we were together lunches but breakfast and dinner were separate. With Elder Segura and now with Elder V. we eat separately, its just easier that way because I like my things and he likes his things, and really after working hard and walking so much we’re too exhausted to cook a big meal so we cook our separate small quick ones. Life here has improved just a little bit with the addition of a Microwave in our kitchen! Really I enjoy better using the stove but the microwave has a timer that lets me know how much time left I have to munch! I haven’t had really any companions who like to tract (or as we say here more often Contact) but we do our share, there’s a new rule that president Torres indicated just last Wednesday that every contact should and needs to include an invitation to be baptized! This will lower our new investigator count and contacting but will result in investigators who are ready and willing to comply with commitments and aren’t a sad, but true waste of time. It’s sad when people don’t receive us but I believe it’s more like we are a gift, and if they don’t want it now there will be other missionaries later.

As for cake or the things you guys sent me I haven’t had a chance to make anything because I don’t have an oven, but the muffin mix said it can be used as berry pancakes with flour and eggs so I'm going to try that. The toys I haven’t had a change to hand out, maybe I’ll carry some around in my bag in case of an opportunity.

That’s incredible with the call! Congratulations Justin! And what a mission! I suppose its English but alls well haha Honolulu, that’s almost a good a call as mine! Sorry pal but mine has Book of Mormon sites, jungles, volcanoes, Spanish, drunk guys and stray dogs. Can’t top that. ok Ojalá Brandyns next, that kid needs to get his big fat bum on a mission! I’ll be reading his email next so I don’t have too much news for on that subject, los siento.

Hmm what else to write...random stuff that comes to my head I guess. I can do a pretty good set of pull ups now; I don’t have anything to do it at home but when I have the chance its pretty fun to do so. Oh work wise, in our area there lives a family, Peque (peh-kay) who has listened to the missionaries for a good long time now, since maybe 3-4 transfers ago that were progressing but stopped, and now with the help of the Lord and Elder Davis during divisions they have been a bit more animated. The father Edy hadn’t come to church for a good long time. He works making things out of leather and baking a bit of bread on the side to support his family of 3 kids. Luis doesn’t come to church because he likes to play soccer on Sundays and doesn’t want to give it up just yet. The other two are daughters, Dairin and Joselin of around 9 and 8 that have come to the church about 14 times and attend English class regularly, but they can’t be baptized without the permission of their father. So during divisions with Elder Davis we finally got in to talk to them and we talked about baptizing his two daughters. He said that since he’s not at this time attending the church he wouldn’t be comfortable with his daughters being baptized, separating the family religiously. We talked about it with him and clarified some points of doctrine, some doubts, and for the first real time he accepted a baptismal date to work toward. Later we visited with Elder Valasques and taught him about the Priesthood and invited him, if only for an hour, to come to church with his kids this Sunday. Came Sunday and we didn’t have time to pass by to remind them or bring them, just pray for them a bit haha. Lo and behold we found him at the church with his daughters before we were even there. I believe they are very close to being ready for baptism, just have to clear any doubts and worries.

Also Angelo, Martin’s son is attending the church and I heard from his teacher later that he wanted to be part of passing the sacrament! This kid is incredible and I can’t wait to teach him more.

That’s all for this week folks I still have to attach pictures and email Brando, essential. Love you more than I can possibly write or say, pray for you every moment. Have a good safe spiritual love filled amazing week.

Elder Bronson


Monday, October 4, 2010

I nearly fell out of a speeding crazy bus

Bronson Baggy
Oh man that first night with the package, looking through the pictures of not only you guys, but us made me BAGGY (term for homesick, in most other missions its Trunky). With all the pictures of Brandyn Josh and Kinsy, all of you guys and haha all the random stuff it was like a weight on my heart that I could physically feel. I just now got done watching the videos; unfortunately they didn’t work on my camera so I had to wait till today to watch them on the computer. Yeah that first night was rough; I had to say a pretty good prayer for help from my Heavenly Father to focus on the mission, luckily that came pretty quickly. I miss you all and love you guys a ton, thanks for the package and haha for the Pokémon cards its good fun.

Ok changes. Elder Segura left for a different spot in the capital in Zone 6. I'm not sure exactly where that is but it’s in the cap. My new comp is Elder V. and he’s....hmmm well I hope we get along. I haven’t had too much of a problem with him and he seems alright to me.  He’s Latino and has a good 21 months in the mission, senior companion.  He says ¨freak¨ but that’s fine by me. Throughout his whole mission he’s been moving from one area to the next very fast, almost 1 area per change and I've heard (but don’t know) that it’s because he has problems with girls. HE BETTER NOT or he might just have found the wrong companion because I’m not wasting a single second of my mission chasing women. NOT HAPPENING. He sleeps in but so did Elder Segura I’m used to it and know what to do to help them get out of bed. Blast the music and be REALLY noisy making breakfast haha! This change and the next will be his last and if he stays here for the two and so do I, I might be here a whole 6 months. Nearly everyone I know has changed to far away areas. Winkle as an office, elder Bowman somewhere else, Smith in Petén. I do have a new district leader though, Elder Davis. He reminds me a lot of Dad. He’s a really big American with a football players build and we already know each other a bit so it helps. Tomorrow we will be doing divisions and I will be with him. I don’t think this change will be so bad I’ve already had a couple good days.

Conference was AMAZING. I was able to watch every session IN ENGLISH and we even had 2 investigators come to the first session. I can’t remember how many pages of notes I took but they were fewer than last time. Maybe...1,2,3,4,5,6? Maybe 6-7 pages of notes more or less. I absolutely love listening to all the sessions it was incredibly spiritually empowering! I hope you guys enjoyed it.

I don’t have much of a Christmas list quite yet but I have been craving peanut butter cookies or Reeses; there isn’t much peanut butter down here. OH and an ENGLISH hymnbook would be spectacular haha. Thanks for the music and the packages they really help.

Oh something random this morning I nearly fell out of a speeding crazy bus. It swerved in between a couple of cars going top speed and I didn’t expect it I lost my footing and nearly fell out the door! Luckily I have a pretty strong grip so all was well. I am pretty sure there was divine help there too. Dont freak mom I’ll be more careful haha.

As always I love you all more than I can say and I miss you. Can’t wait till Christmas your voices seem so much different in the videos, deeper. Much love Elder Bronson

Elder Spencer Karr, Elder Bronson, and Wendell & Debbie Karr
neighbors and friends

Monday, September 27, 2010

The most festive thing I did was wear my ¨Tie of Special Occasions¨

Famy Famy Family!


Ok I guess ill start with the questions

(How are Martin and his family doing?)
-Martin and his family are doing great, we are still trying to get the rest of his inactive member family to come to church, right now its only Wagner, his most helpful son haha. There was some confusion on who in the family really was baptized and who wasn’t so we went to the records and though we thought his daughter Yaquelin and two youngest sons Haward and Angelo weren’t, it turns out only Angelo hasn’t. We have taught him one time so far, during divisions with Elder Hess the District Leader. The lesson went so well we put a baptismal date on him. If we had taught him with his dad I think he could have been baptized too, but this way is better for sure because when Martin is ordained a priest he will be able to baptize his own son! Just yesterday I got a hymnbook for him, he’s been asking about how to get one lately so I just asked the ward any they gave one to me. Before our visit I opened the hymnbook and wrote a message to him and his family saying how grateful I am to them and how much I hope they enjoy the book. Also, I've asked a ward member to stop by the distribution center to grab me a triple combination with D&C for Martin and his Family. A sad note is that their dog Scooby died yesterday too...he was such a nice dog! Poor poor Scooby.

(Do you have any new investigators?)
-for new investigators they come and go, its hard sometimes to find ones that are truly interested, but when I was getting a haircut today I talked to the barber about the plan on salvation and we are going to go visit her another time.


(What kind of interesting foods have you eaten lately?)
-interesting foods ahhhh mmmmmmm honestly for the food here I’ve been eating pretty normal nothing tooooo weird to report. Oh this morning Elder Segura bought me a little snack. I looked like a hotdog bun with chocolate filling and frosting. It almost tasted like a zinger...on a hotdog bun. The cartoon guy with a huge afro on the front was funny though.

(Did anything fun happen on your birthday?)
-on my birthday I didn’t really party or anything. The most festive thing I did was wear my ¨Tie of Special Occasions¨, the one EVERY SINGLE PERSON comments on. Yeah...pretty sweet. the next day for my birthday an amazing part family of members gave us breakfast of Chocó banana pancakes and lunch of tasty meat and mashed potatoes, and in the night we had pizza with martin and his family and watched a movie with them, To This End Was I Born about Jesus and his Atonement.

(Do you have transfers this week?)
-Yes we have transfers this week and my comp has nearly 5-6 months in this area so he’s going for sure. I like the area so I’d be happy to stay. I REALLY hope my next companion wants to work!

(Tell us about something funny that happened.)
-oh hmmm something funny...Crap I cant think of anything funny right now I might come back and say something.

(I edited part of his letter where he replied to the news that a friend of his has left the mission and gone home.)  If Elder Winkel or Elder Smith were to leave I don’t know what I'd do. Man I miss Elder Smith...do you know his email or could you get it for me? These Smith-less Mondays are starting to wear on me.
Well time to
upload some pictures!
LOVE YOU ALL with all my heart
 Elder Bronson


Letter dated August 31, 2010

(I received 3 letters in one day, dated August 11, 25, & 31.   What a happy day for me!)

Tuesday August 31, 2010

Blessed, blessed family,

This morning has been one of joyous excitement. Our running water was working! First real shower in nearly, if not over two weeks, and it was warm! It was so incredible.

This morning we went out to get our hair cut because we didn’t have time Monday. When we got there the shop hadn’t opened yet. As we were waiting a nearby school was doing a parade on the same street so we watched for a bit. There was a torch, dancing, percussion and a little brass as well as some Guatemalan instruments. It was pretty cool, and while we were watching a man Elder Segura knew came up and talked to him for a bit. He is a security guard at a nearby building and works from 7 am to 7 am, rests the next 7 am to 7 am. DANG, well that’s work here in Guatemala. I’ll think twice before complaining about my next 8 hour shift.

Our work in this area is steadily getting better, little by little. Oh, I figured out what Santa Elena means. Saint Helen. My first area was Juana de Arco, or Joan of Arc. Things are alright here in Guatemala, raining at least once a day, some days hard. We’re lucky for the most part. Many times we make it home for lunch right before it hits, like it’s waiting for us to get to safety first.

Being a representative of Jesus Christ, I find myself almost having the same feelings He (I imagine) would have. Today we were visiting a family, Perdomo, who for whatever reason, are also listening to things from someone else of another church. This has led to them asking us some pretty funky questions about things anywhere from tithing, even to baptisms for the dead. When they were explaining what she taught and from where (always Psalms or Proverbs in the Bible) I would get mad. How dare she confuse and teach these people such ridiculous things. Look, here are 10 scriptures in the Bible that teach this subject, and if you want, here are 7 more in the Book of Mormon that teach it twenty times clearer. In this last bit she taught about not needing tithing because we all have our own salvation. She used a scripture in Psalms that said something like “the heavens are Jehovah’s and the Earth is not yours.” What does that have ANYTHING to do with tithing? This among other doctrine of men shows how wacky beliefs can get when going upon your own knowledge. I like to use the example of a clock when describing the Book of Mormon and the Bible. The Bible is like a minute hand of a clock, spinning quickly. Alone the minute hand can’t tell us time. If we want to know the exact time we need the hour hand too, the Book of Mormon. Now when we look at the clock, oh, it’s 4:30, instead of, oh, 30 minutes past the hour. Many times people go by what their pasture tells them, some if not many don’t know a single thing even about the 10 commandments! And nobody knows anything about the Plan of Salvation (especially the Jehovah’s Witness).

Just, please guys, stay away from false doctrine, it’s stupid. You don’t know until you hear the strange theories of the world just how right we have it. I can’t even imagine going only by the Bible alone; how can any church do it?

Keep safe, keep strong, keep smart. I love you.

From the front lines,

Elder Andrew Bronson

Letter dated August 21, 2010

el 21 de Agosto 2010

 FAMILY!!

So much luv. So much mushy luv.

Haha…anyway, como estan? Here is your weekly letter from your man in Guatemala, preaching the Gospel of Christ.

I’m writing this my first week in my new area, Santa Elena. The circumstances ward-wise are a little harder here but I can see the good from just a little bit of stress to push me. It really is impossible to realize how much humbler your conditions can get. If I ever thought Juana de Arco was a change, it’s nothing like here. The biggest part for me right now is forcing myself to take cold showers in the morning. I still don’t have the courage to stand under the water, just my head and limbs and let it drip over me a bit. It’s so hard in the morning!

In my last email to you guys I mention that I was reading Jesus the Christ. Today I read a page that stood out to me because it concurred so strongly with my own testimony. It’s titled, “Pleasure verses Happiness.” I would write the whole of it but it is a bit long. Still, I feel impressed to share some with you. In this part of it, it is comparing the two to different things, like so: (remember that this is solely a small part of it, the ending few paragraphs.)

“…happiness is true food, wholesome, nutritious and sweet; it builds up the body and generates energy for action, physical, mental and spiritual. Pleasure is but a deceiving stimulant which, like spirituous drink, makes one think he is strong when in reality enfeebled; makes him fancy he is well when in fact stricken with deadly malady.”
“…happiness leaves no bad aftertaste, it is followed by no depressing reaction; it calls for no repentance, brings no regret, entrails no remorse; pleasure too often makes necessary repentance, contrition, and suffering; and if indulged to the extreme, it brings degration and destruction.”
“…True happiness is lived over and over again in memory, always with a renewal of the original good; a moment of unholy pleasure may leave an barbed sting, which like a thorn in the flesh, is an ever-present source of anguish.
“…Happiness is not akin with levity, nor is it one with light-minded mirth. It springs from deeper fountains of the soul, and is not infrequently accompanied by tears. Have you ever been so happy that you have had to weep? I have.” From an article by the author – Improvement Era, Vol. 17 pp. 172,173.

You should find a copy of Jesus the Christ and read the rest of it; it’s very impactful. It goes right along with my own testimony of being happy and spiritually clean and just thinking that you are. I will tell you that I am so happy here I don’t miss TV. I don’t miss computer or movies or heavy music. The feeling I have just sitting here writing my loved ones and listening to truly wholesome music brings me peace, something so many unfortunate people hopelessly look for without avail. There is just an indescribable feeling that comes from living a righteous lifestyle. 2 Nephi 1:23 is a very powerful scripture. Alma 29:9 is one of my recent favorite finds. “…And this is my joy.”

The longer I’ve stayted in Guatemala, the more I’ve noticed my tastes changing. For example:

HATE                           CAN EAT                        LIKE

Tomatoes - - - - - - - - - - -X
Oatmeal - - - - - - - - - - X
Granola - - - - - - - - - - -X
Lettuce -- - - - - - - - - - -X
Cold Hotdogs - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - X
                                         X - - - - - - - - - - - Ramen
Pineapple - - - - - - - - - - -X
Warm rice milk - - - - - - -X
Tamales - - - - - - - - - - - -X
                          X - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Cookies, Chocolate, & Junk
Coconut (still hate)
Olives - - - - - - - - - - - - - X

That’s a pretty good chart for now. A lot really has changed in these past few months; even on your guys’ end. Hey mom if you really want to miss me, read Mosiah 28:7, and listen to “In the Wink of an Eye” from the Best Two Years soundtrack on my computer (or Wesley’s computer now).

Love you all so very much, every one of you and am so proud of my amazing family back home.

Amor inquebrantable,

Elder Bronson

Letter dated August 11, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


FAMILY!

Como estan? Les extrano mucho es verdad. Ojala que TODO esta bien en Utah. Estan viviendo como REYES de veras. (I hope I translated that correctly)

Scott, I have a huge favor to ask of you my little Nephi…can you, in email or better, a letter, write me some German? Lo Nesesito!! Every day at least two or three times someone will come up to me and speak whatever little English they know and drop all their deportation problems on me because I’m American. Well I’ve decided I am no longer an English speaker, I’m from Alemania (Germany), but in order to pull it off I need some German. Could you write me up a couple of phrases brother? Much Love.

These last 6 weeks with Elder Bowman have been some of the fastest 6 weeks in my life, even though success here is still a little bit low. Yesterday I celebrated my 6 month mark by finally getting you guys some pictures (2) Hurray! Afterwards I did get a happy excited energeticness that I can only suppose emanated from Mom upon receiving them. Dang that connection is strong. I want to thank dad right here for sending me an email himself; it really brightened my day to hear directly from him too. Sorry for not replying very long but I had to get mama her pictures. I love you Dad, thank you so much.

I don’t have any pictures printed out to send in this letter but I hope that my drawings are good for you guys. The dragon is for Wes, Angel is for Scott and the logos are for Shane. I heard Wesley was putting for a skateboarding logo too so Shane gets first pick and total authority but if Wes wants to use one of the leftover ones, he is free to use one.

You guys have fun on your vacations? Maybe for a letter idea you boys could write me your thoughts and experiences. You know how much missionaries love handwritten letters…P.S. thanks for the postcards they look really cool. Awww, Oceanside…

You guys are still doing your family stuff right? Family prayer always and scripture study at night? Read maybe 1 chapter as a family per night and you will see the unity grow.

Love you all a ton!

Elder Andrew Bronson

Monday, September 20, 2010

I am so happy to have been the humble hand to lead Martin to the water.

Yeah almost 20!
Bigger news, Martin de la Cruz Enriquez was baptized yesterday at around 6 o’clock pm, making eternal covenants with his Father in Heaven and is so happy about it. I know that I was put in this area for a reason and that reason is him. I have to give credit to Elder Vargas for teaching me to always look for and offer service on every occasion, if I hadn’t, I would have never found Martin and his family.

7 and a half months into my mission, and 6 months in the field and your boy has saved his first soul, better yet? Martin wanted ME to baptize him! It was truly an unforgettable experience, one that I will treasure for my entire life. When he came out of the water, I also felt clean, as if spiritually washed as well. ¨Martin de la Cruz Enriques, habiendo sido comisionado por Jesucristo, yo te bautizo en el nombre del Padre, y del Hijo, y del Espiritu Santo, Amen.¨ In the end after the Bishop had given an official welcome, Martin stood up and bore a strong bright testimony of the Gospel, even quoting Nephi from the Book of Mormon. I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for the many blessings he’s given me and am so happy to have been the humble hand to lead Martin to the water.

Now that you are all teary and spiritual, time to tell you about my week. First off, we killed a chicken. A BIG chicken. We were contacting and met a nice old lady named Piedad and through offering service and all she told us to come back the next day to help her. I don’t know if any of you have killed a rooster before but it wasn’t all that delightful. For those with weak constitutions, this following section is one not for you. Sorry.

-First you tie the chickens feet together and hold the chicken by them, next you have the native woman who actually has the guts to do it grab it by the head and pull downward, hard. After the first few neck-pops the chicken will begin to violently freak out and flap its wings, to which you start ringing the neck like a little towel until all is done and the poor helpless creature...is dead. Yum! Next taking the chicken to an appropriate spot wash it in boiling hot water and proceed to rip out the feathers, and the skin off the chickens feet. next, take a large butcher looking knife and chop off...certain parts of the chicken including the head and neck, the legs at the knees and...Well other parts. Make a large incision under the neck area and spill the chicken. This is the part where I decided to watch no farther. I just listened to her say ¨and this is the chicken’s heart, and this is its intestines¨ followed by my companion saying ¨Compa!
Did you know chickens have testicles??¨ ...yes compa, it’s a boy chicken...

That’s the biggest news of the week me thinks. Haha hope that didn’t make anybody sick...it made me feel so.

Well I don’t have much more big news to write, you got the big stuff. I think I'm going to use some time and send you some cool pictures!

Alright?

LOVE YOU ALL

Elder Bronson

Monday, September 13, 2010

The whole situation with Martin has me so high with the spirit

(I started the tradition of asking Andrew questions in my email that I want him to answer in his.  My questions are in italics.)

Alrighty another Monday, ya know before the mission I didn’t like Mondays much. That changed fast.


Do you want me to send anything in particular with the Karrs?
Sending things with the Karrs...dang I can’t remember what I was I was hoping for....one minute...I dunno any more music you feel like sending :D ha! Pictures, anything little and silly that would remind me of home. Surprise me? Dang it I can't remember anything that I was thinking of...I'll remember after I leave.

What kind of news do you want me to tell you in my emails?? ( I was feeling like I send the same news week after week)
News in your letters huh... well I like how the boys write me a little paragraph that’s fun to see how they are doing. Maybe a little something from Dad too once in a while? :D Oh if you can see if you can capture the mysterious Brandyn creature and send me a picture of him. As for weekly news I think you are doing pretty well, I prefer a mellow email with news of a regular week to one where something a bit intense or dangerous happens haha

Tell me a little more about your mail system. (I have not received any letters from him since mid July)
Alright this mailing system, I'm not too informed on the workings or very confident in it even. I have been writing one a week for a little while at least and some good letters too. On my end I write the letter, put it in the envelope, address it and hand it to the District Leaders along with Q6.50 for postage and that’s the last I have power over it. There used to be places here that you could send things through the Guatemalan national mailing system but for cause of some missionaries acting foolish in ways uninformed to the common Elder, a lot of those places are for the moment off limits on pdays.

Speaking of letters, guess who I got a letter from! Elder Parker McCormick! I received a letter with all sorts of sharpie art on it and understood who it was from. He wrote the letter on July 5th to be received on September 10th (which was my 7 month mark so kinda cool) also the same night I got a small package from Elder Vargas containing about 5 ties, and one from Elder Bowman of my little scripture case that I accidentally left in Juana de Arco. Those and some Dearelder from Elder Smith’s mom and aunts and cousins. It was a happy night.

Martin news. On Saturday we visited him on one of our last opportunities before his bap. date next weekend to teach him the last principal needed for his baptism, the Word of Wisdom. Luckily he has no problem with tobacco or alcohol or any of that, but when we mentioned coffee he confessed that he drank it. He sat for a moment, looked up and said, Looks like I still have a bit more to change. I won’t drink any more coffee. It was incredible how strong the spirit is, he in honestly the most amazing person, so willing to change to follow God. It’s hard to describe but every time after something spiritual is said or something happens he looks up and says a quiet ¨gracias¨. He really thinks of God in everything. In that same lesson we were talking about the Holy Ghost and he almost got a bit teary.

He’s constantly praying and seeking the Lords guidance in EVERYTHING I can’t wait to see how he sees life with the Holy Ghost. In our next lesson the day later we asked him the baptismal interview questions and he professed a strong faith in everything. It was incredibly touching to me when we asking him about Joseph Smith as a prophet and the Book of Mormon and he immediately answered with a testimony that he believed them without a doubt. in our prior visit we gave him a chapter to read in the BoM 3Nephi 27, and in our last meeting he told us that he had kept reading and reading and even went back to the beginning of the Book and read 37 pages! He said that as he read it he felt the spirit incredibly strong and so kept reading! He is so incredibly amazing. Even during the lesson when we were demonstrating how a baptism is done I stood up and did a demonstration on his son, after ward he stood up to but as we sat down so he did. I think he wanted a demonstration with him haha he later said directly to me...that he wanted me to be the one to baptize him. As I write this I get teary. He’s so full of Love and sincere repentance! Hopefully next week will be a report on his baptism! Oh one last thing about our lesson on Sunday, all the way up to this point he still was praying like a evangelist, I'll explain another time, but this time we came strait to him with how to pray, to the Father, in the name of Christ. He offered to say the prayer and acted on what we said. How Incredible!

As for stories I don’t know what else, the whole situation with Martin has me so high with the spirit it’s hard to think of little occurrences.

Oh! One funny thing was we were visiting a really old man named Juan who has received nearly all the lessons and likes them, but has a hard time coming to church. He has a friend that visited him a few days before and told him that the missionaries of the Mormon church...where American spies! HA! What was funnier was his reply to him. ¨what about when they are both Latino? ¨

Very very very much love. PLEASE stay safe, keep the works, without which there is no faith! Much Guatemalan Amor, Elder Bronson



Andrew's companion Elder Seguro




Andrew drew this of his friend Elder McCormick
Elder McCormick drew this for Andrew