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 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