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 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


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


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 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 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!



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 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

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Another round of pday emailage

Alright family here we go, another round of pday emailage.  Pday this week is on Tuesday because of an activity planned, I'm in the process of writing a letter right now that explains it further, it was alright.

Care package received! Only yesterday too, it’s incredible! Thanks so much for the music, the piano stuff and the Called to Serve are amazing, as well as the pbnj haha I have peanut butter right now and jelly even but they just don’t taste the same as the ones from the states. Thanks too for the batteries, but now I have 3 different battery chargers! Maybe when Elder Karr goes home I'll send some back to ya guys I don’t need all 3, I don’t have that many batteries or things that even need them. The CD player is really nice too thanks. Of coarse the pop tarts are well received...IN MY BELLY

My companion now is Elder Segura, he is from Costa Rica though he appears more Chinese than fully Latino, from his mother’s side I think? Anyway he’s a nice guy and kind of a dork. I find myself talking about anything from Pokémon to Naruto with him and he seems really distracted by television and movies...and his bed. If ever there is a moment extra he’s napping. He’s a really hard worker, and though he’s been a bit sick on and off we have been hard at work looking for new people to teach. He’s a really nice guy and we get along well. Not as much of a leader type though, I find myself having to take the first step or the lead in a few things like planning.

As for mudslides I haven’t even heard anything about them here, here its just extra rain. It’s rained at least once a day here for the past week or so and my umbrella has been in great use. I hope all is well in the other parts of Guatemala.

It’s good to hear all things go well at home.  Here on the 15th is Guatemala’s Independence Day so maybe that will be exiting. What’s more exiting this month is that I will be turning TWENTY. The big 20 a whole new level of manly adulthood. Mama, your boy’s a man. And he speaks Spanish. I might say that I’m fairly fluent in the language here; if I had to live here on my own I could easily do it linguistically. Any words or phrases you want to know in Spanish?

As for the work we are getting ever closer to Martins Baptism, it’s scheduled for the 18th, Elder Jordan Smiths Birthday. It will be my first time bringing someone to the waters, and hopefully will result in the activation and furthering of his family too. His wife and smallest child aren’t members and we have yet to teach them. If Martin is Baptized than he himself might be able to baptize his family, how great a blessing!

I feel a very strong feeling of love and appreciation for the opportunity to email you all every week, it’s a great stress reliever to talk to the ones you really love. Know that I am praying for you in every prayer I am looking forward to Christmas when I can hear your voices.

I love you,

Elder Bronson

p.s. the last picture of the is part of a painting in a national museum here, Missionaries! Complete with little blue Books of Mormon