Monday, January 31, 2011

The Spirit of God like a fire is burning in Lomas del Norte

Wow it’s pretty cool that you guys all have such strong interests, what’s Wesley up to? You guys already know what I'm up to...THE WORK OF THE ALMIGHTY GOD. Yah, a pretty cool hobby, I do enjoy it. And yes, I have started on the tape recorder, but I don’t have a ton on it yet. My cameras card is nearly full; I took a TON of photos today in the morning. We all went down to Elder Hatch's area in Canalitos and hiked a beautiful trail up to a small waterfall, it was a blast! Just now we got to internet after Pizza hut. YUM!

Goodzies and badzies
Goodzies changes come today and the conference is Wednesday. This is a good thing because if we had any more time together me and my comp might have gotten in a fight, well and that’s the bad thing. I hope we have changes. You guys already know me, I wouldn’t fight with the nastiest person but this isn’t my doing. I guess just from being an imperfect guy he hates me. He absolutely hates me. I have never said a word against the guy nor done him wrong but I guess just not being Latino is something that I can’t really fix. He’s the kind of guy that makes quick judgments, and firm ones. He’s a really funny joker with everyone else but when with me it’s but dead silence. If I so much as speak he gives me the nastiest look. I’m honestly clueless to what could have been the cause of so much hatred! I've cooked for him, cleaned for him and said great things about him to other people; the beginning of our change was great. after our days at the temple he turned a bit rebellious and started sleeping in just to bug me, and as for these supposed last days of our companionship he won't even work for himself but has become even as a shadow to me. I will tell it to you strait, if he forgave me for the wrongs I already told him I was sorry for and gave our companionship another chance it would be my dream, I honestly don’t have a thing against the guy.

Alright REAL goodzies.
Yesterday was the most successful day of my entire mission, I fasted about the work in this area and we found 12 new investigators within 2 or 3 hours. We did divisions (I have to this point never had a bad division) but with the new ward missionaries, I was with Jose Barillas and Elder Centeno went with Jenner Goddoy and Jose's bother Luis Barillas. We took off for an appointment planed, that fell leaving us to a plan B with Ruby, an extremely intelligent collage student who was a reference from some awesome members. We taught about the plan of salvation and what happens after this life is over.  At the end we asked Ruby if she would pray to know if it were true and she told us that she didn’t have to, she already knew it was true. She told us that she didn’t know you could ask God questions and receive answers and said that she’s going to pray and ask God what direction she should take in her upcoming studies instead. How awesome right? Next we left for the street and Jose led me to a house of someone he knew, Ronny. We talked at the door a little bit when I asked him if he knew what the purpose of life was. When he said no, we asked "would you like to find out?" he let us in and we ended up teaching his sisters too and found 3 new people to teach.

The star highlight of my day, week and change was later. A couple days before a man stopped us in the street, Edwin Scott asking if I could speak English, and if I would be willing to pass buy and teach a bit to his kids so we accepted an appointment at 7 on Sunday. When I arrived with Jose we found his kids and their grandpa but he wasn’t home quite yet so we talked in the street teaching English when Edwin and his wife came. They straightway invited us in and we sat down to see a family of 9 people, the youngest being about 9 or 10.
and cousin
Jose didn’t have any idea what or how to teach so it was up to me. Edwin told us that they are Catholic (the main religion down here) but when they saw that worshiping idols was against Gods commandments they continued to worship all except for that. I could tell right away this was a humble Christ-centered family. Each one of them down to the kids had their own bible! Alright spirit time, truly guided by the one true God. I started by telling how God loves his children and knows them/us, how the gospel blesses families more than anything. I wasn’t sure if I should go strait into a lesson about the restoration but I followed the spirit and that’s where it led me. I taught the most guided spiritual perfect Lesson 1 that I have ever taught in my entire mission. When I used a scripture from the bible they all turned and were nearly fighting over who got to read it. I shared an example of the gospel that Christ taught was like a precious shining plate, that when the people rejected it and crucified Jesus (with a throwing motion) it fell and broke into many pieces or many truths, that people used to make certain churches, all with a part but none with all. Some with good intentions, some not, none with the authority of God the Priesthood. I told how God restored his gospel through Joseph Smith and about the Book of Mormon. I felt the spirit so strongly when I shared the first vision that I think I nearly cried. I knew that they felt it. In the end after the final prayer I gave them a chapter of the BoM to read 3 Nephi 11 and told them to pray in the family to know if it was true. We invited them to church next Sunday and they asked US when we could come back and share more. They are so golden I can’t believe it! They let us go with a cup of hot chocolate and sincere gratitude. When arriving in the house that night I gave mighty thanks to God for being able to be his instrument in such a grand cause! That one day we had 10 lessons (usually five) and 42 contacts, 2 contacted references and 2 new families to teach making up 12 new investigators!

Changes tonight and I got wind of them taking both me and my companion out of our area, I HOPE NOT! I doubt they would do it they really don’t have a reason to, but I guess we will see and by next week I could even be in Petén! Who knows who knows, but I really, really wish to see this family baptized.

The Spirit of God like a fire is burning in Lomas del Norte/Hills of the North, and in my own testimony. I have never known so strongly and so unshakable that Jesus is the Christ, and he has reestablished his kingdom here on the earth once again, that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of the Lord and that the Book of Mormon is the true and living word of God

You know how much I love you, please stay strong in the faith and never give up the little things. Prayer, scripture study, church and the others like tithing and fasting they work miracles and will give you the peace and happiness you might be missing in your life. If ever you feel empty, thirsty or hungry the gospel of Jesus Christ is the Living Water and the Bread of Life, and all those who partake of it shall never hunger nor thrust again. These things I say in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Elder Andrew James Bronson

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 349 in the field

Wow I guess my year point is that close! Only a pair of weeks and its back down the hill, wow that was fast...

Well our work has been getting better and better every week, these last days have been so-so for the work but pushing forward and following the spirit we have found some new investigators. I'm still with Elder Centeno and we will be going to the Temple tomorrow, HOW EXITING!! The only thing I can really comment on in our companionship is that he’s really quiet in the streets. when we are with people he’s making jokes and talking it up all happy but when we are alone its quiet and lonesome, kinda angry without words sometimes I feel but were getting it back together, its all good.

No baptisms yet, but if I stay in this area another change there definitely will be some. Someone we are teaching, Hector Clavaría, just recently has made some progress. He and his family were old investigators of Elder Winkel and Elder Marquez that we found in the street one day. His wife has already joined a church group (evangelical I think) and until this point hasn’t wanted to talk to us for fear of us trying to change her religion, but she has been opening up more are more when we visit. Hector supposedly has a problem with drinking smoking a coffee but we talked to him a day or so ago about the Word of Wisdom. He told us that he doesn’t drink too much nor smoke too often, things that he could quit if he wanted to but the coffee is something he drinks a ton of everyday. He explained that our bodies are like temples, about setting an example for his teenage sons and gave him some commitments. When we put the commitments I really felt the spirit, when we asked him if he would be willing to keep the word of wisdom he smiled and told us yes. At this point both he and his wife want us to talk to their kids who so they say don’t really want much to do with God but want us to try with them.

Last Thursday we had a super special conference with Apostle, Elder M. Russell Ballard. The conference was in English with a Spanish translator. He talked about the worth of just one soul, and like always told a TON of stories. The spirit was strong and we all left the conference really edified and with a new excitement for the work! Then, on Friday I received your package! At this point nearly all the chocolate is gone haha. It didn’t make me TOO baggy but it was really cool to hear all of your voices. You guys were right, part of the tape was in fast forward, and I slowed it down as much a possible but you all sounded like chipmunks anyway. I can’t remember who it was that started crying, but to tell the truth when you hear them start tearing up in chipmunk it sounds so funny!

Sorry guys but no pictures this week the computer doesn’t like my camera, when I can as always I'll send you some alright? Have a good week and keep the faith. I pray for you all nightly and in the morning, and think about you all the time. I love you all so very much and wish you the more than the best.

Elder Andrew James Bronson

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I felt just like Joseph Smith!

You boys are nuts you know that? Man I miss you guys, but the work here has been going faster and faster since being with Elder Centeno. We have personally been going kinda rough though, I don’t know why it is exactly that no matter how much I serve, how much I try and how many times I say HELP ME TO BECOME BETTER Latino companions of mine always hate me for small and stupid things. He’s a good missionary, a little new and untrained but sometimes its really hard to even get him to talk, other times he talks to much to the members and we lose a ton of time but really I shouldn’t complain because every time I am with someone who seems hard I learn more than if I was with someone who would easily work with me. So far in this change we have worked 4 weeks, at the end of every week we add up our new investigators lessons and people contacted to make a ¨animo¨ percentage basically how hard and/or effectively you’ve been working. this has been our progress
week 1 75%
week 2 72%
week 3 80%
week 4 92%
 The numbers look good in our area and we are definitely doing the best percentage wise but still no baptisms, our truly interested or pure hearted investigators have a bunch of strange problems and were trying hard to fix em. One family is super active in the church and love everything but can't because were married earlier and it’s the OTHER wives or husbands who don’t want to give the divorce without a ridiculous ransom of money.

Saturday we did some service trying to pull out this HUGE tree trunk, but that’s not coming out without a chainsaw. Afterward we walked by a garbage dump down in Elder Hatches area. People come with their wheelbarrows full of junk and it’s basically a public place to say ¨not my problem anymore¨ it’s also the reason that there are like 500 vultures in the sky everyday. They are huge but they don’t harm the people.

Oh! One of the apostles is coming down to Guatemala and we have a chance to see him! One of the members in our ward was putting together a presentation for him about the EFY they had down here and they call me to help do some translating work! I felt just like Joseph Smith! It was incredible to feel the spirit as I translated the whole thing, I can definitely say there is a gift from a higher power without which I would have been helpless. We also helped put up a sheet metal roof (or finish doing so) for service. On Tuesday I finished to book of Mormon in Spanish for the first time! Yea! Everything else is the usual finding people and teaching them the restored truth. Its life to me now. Sometimes ill think about home and it will just seem weird. Just something that other people do.

Alright gatta go, love you all more than I can say and you are all in my dreams prayers and thoughts. Work hard and keep yourselves pure!

Elder Andrew James Bronson

Monday, January 10, 2011

11 Months!! Bam I've been out here for a while huh?

11 Months!! Bam I've been out here for a while huh? Still got 13 more to go or I guess I should say I only have13 more, gatta start running to appointments now ha! Not much time left! There is a lot of mission activity in the ward here in the way of people coming and leaving. This week the third member of the ward to leave on a mission during my time here will go, and in the family that we live with their son just came home from a mission. It seems like everyone who’s leaving on a mission from Guatemala is going to Peru.

We were suppose to go to the temple tomorrow, but me and Elder Centeno aren’t, so today is still our Pday (it would have been tomorrow) that is kinda a bummer because I was hoping to go 2 times in one change! Elder Centeno will be being sealed with his family on the 25th so we will be going our 1 time then. His entire family have been members for about 10 years but after being baptized his dad began smoking again, until his youngest brother left for a mission, which motivated him and his older brother to go also. All this helped motivate his dad into finally dropping the habit, allowing them to finally be sealed in the Temple.

The drama isn’t that intense with a companion who is not only willing, but wanting to work. We still haven’t achieved a baptism here, nobody can see far enough past their wallets to see the benefit of spirituality in their family lives. This last week has been our best so far with tons of lessons and contacts, but still no one who is quite ready for the water. Out of our investigators that is. Yesterday I had the opportunity to perform a ward baptism for Lusbin Joel Figeroa Galves who turned 8. It was really nice to see that font fill up...I hope we can do it more often! Pray for success!!

Alright time for a list of strange and unusual things for the mission! Last week I...
was bit by a parrot
threw up for the first time in the mission
conquered my fear of a strange old lady.

The first two weren’t nearly as bad as the last. It may sound mean but I was honestly a little weirded out. She lives in the nicest residential of our mission, in a shack of sheet metal and junk between to nice houses, speaks what seems to be nonsense whenever we pass by (for example one time she was talking with someone when we passed and she started shouting and pointing at us saying ¨there go the kids of the president!¨) and has a humpback.  She comes up to my waist. Whenever I'd pass by with Elder Marquez who knew the area he was always just walk and tell me to do so, saying she was a strange one.  Even the bishop said that she sells drugs or something, but I decided we were going to find out for ourselves. Not much happened, she seemed pretty normal when she talked to us, I even helped her move a couple buckets full of water a few feet for her. She told me I had the face of a baby.

Oh one more experience yesterday we were contacting and came upon another sheet metal house. We began talking with a man who whipped out his bible and said that he had spoken with ¨Mormónes¨ before and wanted to hear what we had to say about certain passages of scripture. This man was VERY catholic. Up until this point I thought the catholic bible was pretty normal but I guess not. His first question was about what John said about someone going before him that could come after him (Jesus Christ) and said that is was the Holy Mother Mary.  He read from John chapter one where it would say the Word was with God and the Word was God and that all things that were made were made by him. In his bible it said ¨Her¨ instead of Word. I felt a strong impression...almost a permission to testify with power and authority, so I did! I read the first few verses and also the 14th verse where it said that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld the glory of the word like unto the glory of the Father. I testified that it was our savior and redeemer Jesus Christ who created all things. He was quieted and began to talk some strange gibberish about Job and his wife or something (none of what he was trying to get at was anywhere in the bible) but he felt to read us the whole fist chapter. We told him we might come by another time.

Last thing was that we had interviews with President Torres and I told him that I would be absolutely fascinated by going up North to Petén or Coban. He told me thank you for sharing that Elder Bronson... and wrote something down in his notebook. I might be going to Petén? I guess we’ll see.

That’s the extent of my memory for this week; I am always praying for you all and will continue to do so. You guys also have my permission to hit Brandyn for not emailing my 2 weeks in a row. Curses...

MUCH LOVE stay safe, healthy and spiritual!

Elder Bronson

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It’s warm and sunny as ever here, and all things go great.

Blizzards and birthday parties eh? It’s warm and sunny as ever here, and all things go great. The work is picking up with Elder Centeno, he’s a real worker and we get along great but for some reason it’s still a little quiet walking from place to place.

We have a baptismal date for this Saturday with Manuel Lemus, a great guy that has bin investigating the church for years but has never gotten baptized for one reason or another. His son is a return missionary who’s really active in the church but the only member of his household. The only one we were able to get a baptismal date on was his Father Manuel, were hoping that his baptism will help the rest of the family to follow. They attend the church nearly every week and already know all the members. I've heard he’s fallen through with a couple of baptismal dates before...but I really feel good about this time. I’ve already fasted and am thinking of fasting again for his cause, I guess well see.

I’ve only really just realized what it is that makes this area just so hard. We’ve visited with a lot of less active and inactive members, and even some active ones all say the same thing. The ward is a really rich area, and people have a bit of a pride problem that has yet to be solved. A lot o the investigators that we bring to the church see it and some don’t want to come back. There’s a great difficulty trying to friendship people, even though were starting to receive more references. It’s because a lot of the old members have already had high positions in the church and think they don’t have much more to learn from people. some of the members have realized this problem and are getting better, even (and specially) our ward mission leader Raul has been really strong and active about the work, were going to keep trying to clean the glass from the inside before intending to fill it with ´´new wine´´ as says the Savior himself.

It’s great to hear you are all doing well, the boys should be back in school now, and it’s about the same here. Hope their studies go well. Its still cool that their being more active with skateboarding and lacrosse. hmmm I don’t know things just seem so normal hear there’s nothing really super new to report, except I'm always dreaming really weird things. Brandyn is always in there somewhere, and sometimes were together for the entire dream. I guess I'm just really anxious that he would leave on a mission.

Wow I’m really blank right now, there’s not much new to write. I made my own chess set last Monday out of cardboard its pretty sweet.

I am sending you some pictures. Some are from a really poor part of my area known as Los Pinos or The Pines(tree) gutting the piggy! Others are of Elder Vindel and Elder Centeno, one is of little kids in my area with new Christmas presents of bouncy balls you sent me, and one is a Baggy entry for Elder Snell. I like to write in baggy because it’s my chance to be artistic!

Tons of love! Do something crazy for me at home, I miss you guys a ton, stay safe and stay spiritual. Have every boy (including dad) to find a favorite scripture to help them through the hard times and next week I want to hear what they are ok? It helps trust me.

Elder Bronson