Saturday, July 31, 2010

Letter dated July 13, 2010, Missionaries can have fun too!

Querida Familia,

I want to start off by saying working hard as a missionary is one thing, but playing hard as a missionary is another. We can walk constant hours and miles up and down huge hills while carrying heavy scriptures, pamphlets, umbrellas and all sorts of things and be perfectl fine the next day, to do it again. That’s everyday life. Capture the flag, or capturer la bandera as a P-day pastime will chew you up. We played best out of 5, teams of 8. Elder Smith and my companion Elder Bowman were on my side, Elder Winkel was on the other, which made things difficult because that guy CAN RUN! The field was split in a parking lot of rocks and weeds, with muddy slimy grass in the back of each side.
Drawing included in his letter
To get to our flag they had to run up a hill, to get to theirs you had to slide down a slippery slope, so it was fairly even. We won, they won, we won, they won. 2 – 2 last game me and Elder Smith sat back both guarding the flag…and pretty much chilling. We were main contenders in the other 4 rounds but decided to play a bit of “king of the hill.” Whenever someone from their end would run at the hill, we would run back at them giving them no where to get ground at the top. At one point in the match we held off nearly 5-6 guys by stratagem. In the end we got most of them out and freed our prisoners, making it 8 on 2, with them sitting on top of their bottle-flag. We, by a little bit of personal sacrifice, got our prize and won the last game. What? Missionaries can have fun too.

Unfortunately, being it a somewhat rainy day I forgot about sunscreen and am now thoroughly red on the face, neck, arms, and legs. Ouchies. Not just that but my legs are sore as rocks. Still, I will press on. I had my fun-time to work whether it hurts or not. I’m fine, really, all is well.

Speaking of playing hard! Lacrosse, skating, soccer! Not to mention I keep hearing Scott, you seem to be finding all my friends! What happy and lucky blessings huh? Keep getting buff you guys so we all will be when I get back, ok? I run, or do push ups and sit ups every other day, not to mention the 20 hills we scale a day. Now all I need to improve is my eating. More I switch cookie or chip snacks with lettuce, apples and bananas. Every week I buy a big fat carrot, an onion, oatmeal, yogurt and awesome stuff. I NEVER buy soda, only on occasion on P-day for lunch. Always tons of water, some milk, eggs, beans, rice, ham, tortillas, and plenty of healthier yummy stuff.
(The rest of Andrew's letter was Spanish lessons for us.)

Letter dated June 30, 2010, The most delicious rice ever

My beloved family,

Woohoo you have received yet another letter from your soldier from the front. Though the adversary has a strong grip upon this piece of land we continue valiantly to fight for the cause of righteousness. Your provisions have been help and from the frontlines of good vs. evil we give thanks and salute you.

I’m not quite sure why I’m so happy and energetic today but it’s great. Every single ounce more of the Spirit makes life 100 X’s better. Another thing that makes life far more enjoyable is finding humor in random circumstances. Today I finally bought a bed cover and it was exactly what I was hoping for. One with tigers on it in remembrance of Brandyn and all his awesomeness. I was enjoying the new look and feel of my bed when beginning to write this letter, and in came Elder Vargas “compa!” I had enough time to look up as a blanket got me in the face. The members above us heard I needed a blanket so they bought me and my companion blankets. (to be returned later) Mine is pink and purple…with puppies on it! I spread it out on my bed, stood for a second, and burst out laughing! The thing is all the puppies look like Charly! Hmm, puppies and tigers…Elder Bronson all summed up.

About packages, I am just finishing up the last craver’s cookies from Aunt Vickie’s package and am tomorrow or Wednesday, going to possibly get your guy’s. Qu’e divertido (what fun). Packages and letters are like motivational fuel for missionaries, a week or more without them is a sad thing, truly tragic. Another Elder in our zone, Elder Davis said that eventually people will forget you. Sad day…you guys won’t forget your soldier far from home will you??

I’m really having a hard time thinking of what might help you guys in 3 weeks. Maybe an excerpt from my journal? June 25, 2010: I just made the most delicious rice ever known to man…it’s really easy to make too. You start by taking your 3rd world propane-and-match stove. Put a little cooking oil in your pot, add rice according to your hunger and/or body-mass index, stir, add water about 2x’s higher than the rice. Let soak, stirring and adding seasonings. Later, add your love, apple and whatever else slices (ham and onion is great all diced up). Let cook until water has all been soaked up. Eat like a pig. Enjoy thoroughly…other ingredients include bouillon cubes, salt, pepper, all-around seasoning, love and a little prayer. In a later journal I tried the same again for my world famous “apple-rice” I started by cooking up the apple slices (all cubed up), onion chops and ham slices in butter and cinnamon. Apple goes well with cinnamon. And rice surprisingly. This idea to put apple chunks in my rice was a spur of the moment creativity impulse. I had apple slices on my plate as my plain boring rice was cooking. The idea to add something hit me…but what? Would apple make the rice taste better? Heck, why not find out. I decided to keep the momentum going and added ham. In the end it was SO GOOD because of the apple that even though I was stuffed beyond healthy, I was wishing I made more. You guys should try it (the rice part, not the eating an unhealthy amount of food).

I’ve been learning a lot of cooking skill since the beginning of my mission. If there is anything Elder Vargas is good at, it’s cooking. Maybe after my mission I will cook for you guys, maybe.

As always, I hope things are well at home, by the time you get this you guys might already had your vacations, hope those were great. Fun and/or tropical perhaps? Remember to thank the Lord in all things for you have many. Pour your soul out to him in personal prayer and in family prayer also. The Lord listens and will answer faith with many blessings. Love you all so very much,

Elder Bronson

letter dated June 15, 2010

Familia Amarosa,

Happy Birthday Shane! I know by the time you get this our birthday will have been like 3 weeks ago, but I still love you so Happy 12th Birthday brother.

How’s life for you all in the states? I miss the states I really do. I still have the “Freedom Run” 5K shirt with me and it has an American Flag on it so there have been a few nights I’ve put it on along with a smile. It’s hard to be patriotic when your wardrobe consists of 12 of the same white shirt and 6 of the same black pants, but I can pretend I am while wearing PJ’s in my own home.

You wouldn’t believe some of the crazy stories I hear from the other missionaries! Yesterday another Elder was saying how protected we really are, by God, if we are truly obedient as Elders. He told me of 1 missionary in another part of the world that got shot in the head and lived. The bullet ricochet off of his skull. The most he had was a minor concussion. A bullet. Wow, haha.

In your email yesterday you said you sent my package with pictures of Jesus all over it and from “the law office of Ken Bronson.” I don’t know why but that cracked me up. I’ve heard of the Jesus picture trick but no the law office, haha. Law office of Ken Bronson…can I get a job there?

Speaking of jobs, Wesley is 16 now, isn’t he? Well a little advice, I’m sure you’ve heard it from mom and dad but school is more important, it really is. A summer job is not a bad idea though if you can still get your credits made up. Also read and ponder, sincerely this scripture from the Book of Mormon Jacob 2:18-19. Don’t bother trying to get loaded now just work sparingly enough that maybe you can pay your phone bill and see a movie now and then. Now is not the right time in your life to be looking for a serious career, worry about school, and be ready for the ACT test – it’s a monster that needs serious prep for. Trust me, my math score on it was pitiful. Oh and BTW it’s a good idea to start working for savings, last minute jobs aren’t fun.

Well, Dad, there are a lot of cockroaches here, but we don’t eat them haha. They actually make a fulfilling CRACK sound when you step on them, like 10 mph bubble rap with legs. I bet Charly would have a fun time chasing them, they’re fast!

Well I don’t have much time to write this week, but I love you all so very much. Keep yourself clean, be productive, don’t sit around and be lazy all the time, ok? After working so hard for so long it’s really weird to see people sit there staring blankly at a TV or computer screen. What a silly waste of time to do nothing for so long. Find some constructive hobbies, make stuff, learn something, become good at stuff besides videogames. I’m so proud of you guys who are doing sports. The physical effort will be great for your body and your mind. Don’t be afraid to pray for help in your games and your training. I’m excited to see you guys when I get back! We’ll see who has the best six-pack (besides Scott). I think if he continues in Lacrosse I will not have much of a chance haha.

Well I gotta go, Love you guys, pray for me and the people here, like I pray for you guys. Be strong in the Church, its more important. Trust me.

Love love love,
Elder Bronson

Monday, July 26, 2010

Isn’t the priesthood amazing?

As for new investigators I don’t know if I told you about Tere she is amazing and is just soaking up the lessons and I can tell that she knows it is true, the problem is that her husband doesn’t want to listen as much and we would like to have them be baptized together as not to cause future contention.

My compañero is Elder Bowman. He’s from America so we just speak English to each other all the time and it’s harder to get back in the Spanish mode when we do that. The great thing though is that since he speaks Spanish and English expertly he can easily help me with mine and at this point I can understand everything that someone says to me in Spanish but I need to work on talking myself haha. Really though Elder Bowman is a blast and we are always laughing our heads off and having a great time at the home.

OH OH OH! STORY TIME! Elder Smith and his comp one night heard some tapping in the middle of the night that woke them up, and the next day the member that they live with asked them what they were doing to make that tapping at 1 in the morning. They said it wasn't them and it was him either so they were kind of weirded by that. The next night when they came home they felt strangeness in their home and had some sort of fear and that night there was that tapping again. By the next night Elder Smith was having nightmares and waking up to see crazy things and feeling bad presences in the room. When he couldn’t sleep for fear he realized something...he had the priesthood! He got up; put his arm and CAST THEM OUT. How awesome is that? No more dark spirits! Isn’t the priesthood amazing?

Well gatta go my times up on the computer LOVE YOUR ALL SO DANG MUCH!!

Elder Bronson

Monday, July 12, 2010

Scary moments

I've had a couple scares in the past few days, but honestly I'm happier than I have been in a long while. My new companion Elder Bowman is a blast. He’s North American and thus speaks English. He’s an incredibly funny guy and eats a lot, like Brandyn. Planning lasts longer, I understand a lot clearer; we get along and work in unison.  Companionship study isn’t a nightmare anymore, but an honest time of learning...aside from some silly topics sometimes haha. As for those scary moments....

One day last week, I nearly got eaten by dogs. Twice in the same day.  Both times contacting new places. One was an area, a circle at the top of a hill where we have investigators. There was a big dirt space that kind of overlooked a bit of our area and we decided to check it out. Off to the side was a tiny chain link gate where my companion decided to knock...nothing at first but then came a dog. Then another, then a couple more. They weren’t very friendly dogs. They began uproar and charged for the gate. My first instinct instead of running was to close the gate and block them off, I went to close it and...Dang! It didn’t have anything to keep it closed so I let it fall open as I backed off. My luck it was a rainy day earlier and I had my long umbrella. The dogs streamed out of the gate and I fended them off with my closed umbrella like a sword. As they were trying to circle me, Elder Bowman picked up a sizable rock and threw it at them making them back off. As we were nearly out of the situation, the owner, an old rather plump lady, came out and right when the dogs saw that she was not hostel to us there was an instant eerie calm, and all the dogs left back to the house. All is well under the protection of the lord, but there will always be open opposition.

The second was just a jump scare; I was knocking on a big metal gate which at the upper half was barred. The house was a ways back so I knocked loud and rang the bell...I didn’t see the dog there, no wonder the gate was locked. A moment later BAM dog head and fangs inches from my face!  BAWRAWRRAWR!! YIKES. But honestly that didn’t scare me NEARLY as much as what Brandyn said in his email this week. I’m not going to tell you what he said, he was joking but it wasn’t very nice of him haha. Please if I may ask you to show him what for me. Dang that guy. Haha.

I have a couple questions for you guys, well first I got your package and that’s why I have a camera cord. Thanks for the pop tarts I will be enjoying my last one tonight most likely, and the prayer rug is INCREADIBLE. I love it much. I also got a Dear elder from Trent Garner just today, but I can’t remember his email and our mail system is REALLY messed up right now so I can’t really send any letters. Could you please find a way to tell him my email here? It would be mighty kind ;) honestly haha I cant spell Alex’s last name. Skouzen or something.

Adam is planning on a mission? How exiting I hope he really plans to.  What joy it is to hear my friends getting ready to serve! Definitely get on Brandyn for me; it’s been nearly 5 or 6 months!!

pues hermanos, adios hasta proxíma semana, les amo, bastante. (Well brethren, goodbye until next week, I love you all very much.) ELDER BRONSON

Monday, July 5, 2010

My eyes were red with spiritual tears

ALRIGHT let’s see if I can get some pictures to you guys! I'm sure you’re exited to hear that. I do have a bit of bad news...I can’t find my first memory card! Oh snap! I filled one memory card completely already and am on my second of 3, but I can’t find my first! The first has my sunset pictures mom so you might have to wait a week until I find it or wait until I find more sunsets! Lo siento. I have 322 pictures on this card right now, 2 of which I think or super short movie clips. Hurray

Some good news?? We have transfers today!! I’m no longer with elder Vargas (It was about time for a change too...oy...) now my companions name is Elder Bowman, North American born in Hawaii and recently before his mission moved to Texas. Went to BYU and likes pizza. I don’t know him all to well, I just met him this morning, but so far as I can see we are going to get along 100 times better than I did with Elder Vargas. I’m still in the same area, the capital. The area is called Juana De Arco (Juan of Arch).

As for juicy bits about my mission?

Hmmm I did divisions with Elder Smith’s companion...Elder Smith. I swear I've never met someone so incredibly spiritual. Coming into the mission I expected all the missionaries to be super obedient and focused on Christ, but in my very first district meeting there was talk of halo, football, and who knows what else. Not until I met Elder Smith did I met someone who really has lost himself for the work.  Lost himself for Christ. Within the first half hour of working with him my eyes were red with spiritual tears. The entire day we followed the inspiration of the spirit and were led to those who where ready to hear more. One woman was a devout catholic and she only opened her door about 3 inches to talk to us. we were about to say goodbye when Elder Smith asked if she knew anyone else who was sick or afflicted, need help or would be interested in our message. I don’t know what all happened but the spirit did something. She opened her door, was completely receptive and actually asked us for an appointment to talk to her again. Wow. Just a bit after, we were contacting on the street when we came across a family sitting on a park bench. We were impressed to talk to them. The contact turned into a discussion of about 40 minutes, including questions about the word of wisdom, Joseph Smith, prophets, church, tithing and in the end we gave them a Book of Mormon with a pamphlet marking a page to read (I don’t remember the page). They were exited to come to church the day or so after also.

The next day I had the most spiritual study session of my time here. I shared many stories and examples with him and him to me. At one point I was so overcome with the spirit I broke down for about 4 minutes trying to get my breath back.

Dang sorry I don’t have any time left so I want to say that I love you guys all so very much I hope the pray the best for your. Remember how important it is to do the small things like church and prayer.

Stay safe; love each other like Jesus loves you.

Elder Bronson