Monday, May 30, 2011

I have officially had my first real missionary poop story

Well I’m writing early sorry but I didn’t get to chose, oh well. Well it’s almost changes time and I’m kinda sad, I don’t want to leave my companion Elder Spilker. Our area is starting to liven up a ton even though not very many people have come to church.

Uhhhhhhhhhh I’m feeling really tired lately, just working it so hard I get fatigued but I’d have it no other way, I love working so hard. We had a cool experience this week with fasting.  This week we have 2 baptisms planned and their father is reactivating in the church, but his work is complicated to where he wouldn’t even be able to, so we talked with him to pray about it, and decided to fast so that his boss or coworkers would allow him to have Sundays off to be with his family and to go to church. When Saturday came we saw him in the street and asked him, he had received the Sundays off and was again able to come to church with his kids! That was a very special blessing from our Heavenly Father.

It always seems like those Mondays after I email you guys something special happens, last week we were able to participate in somebody’s miracle. One of our investigators little daughter was sick so we went to go visit her but upon entering the hospital one of the nurses was a member and ran up to us saying that someone needed a priesthood blessing. We entered into a small room with a wee baby and a very distressed mother, also a member. Her little babe was about to be rushed off to the Capital to undergo other treatments and tests, as it was he was under a respirator machine.  She had been praying that someone would be able to come to give him a blessing before he went and so God answered her prayer with us, who gave a blessing to the poor frail thing and then to her for comfort. We later found that our original patient was doing just fine. I got the feeling that she had just gotten sick so that we would come to the hospital to answer somebody’s faithful righteous prayer haha divine planning I think haha

Oh in other news I have officially had my first real missionary poop story (every missionary is going to have one, just ask and he/she´ll tell ya) we were in the sheet metal shack of Juan Che and his family and I just couldn’t hold anymore, I had never needed to go poo more in my entire life, I couldn’t even keep still and I knew I had to do something. I asked if I could use their little outhouse and if they had paper. They all giggled but I didn’t care. This was an emergency far too great for embarrassment. The only paper they had was news paper, but that would do. I waddled awkwardly about 40 feet to the outhouse through pouring rain to find that it was made of some sticks with plastic covering around it to ¨protect¨ but it was all full of holes. I was going in unprotected. As I stepped in about to very literally explode one of the wood sticks holding up the poop-area snapped under my feet almost leaving me to fall a good 15 feet into unspeakable horror. God was far too merciful and allowed me to stay above. I’ll leave out any grosser details by saying I survived a little shaken but alive. Haha...aren’t you boys exited for your own poop stories??

One last story, Saturday morning we were fasting until lunch but had service in the morning chopping wood and removing dirt from the back yard of some members, by the time we got home we were covered in sweat, dirt and clay...and the water wasn’t working! It was hopefully going to come back on about an hour later, so we started cooking. We were in the middle of grilling up some food...when the electricity went out! Uuuughh we sat there for some time just wondering what we should do. Soon the lights came back and we finished lunch, but we had no time to shower because the water hadn’t come back yet! That was a bit of a stinky day but really it wasn’t too bad.

Well all goes well really here, I’m still waiting on that package, I wonder when it’s going to come. I’m trying to write you guys and (big news) I finished the first tape recording and am starting on a second.

Love you all so much please take care, I’ll talk to ya all next week with news if we have it!

Andrew


Monday, May 23, 2011

One of our investigators had a vision. Of us.

Wow another week has passed, it’s already the 5th week of my change with Elder Spilker, and it’s been amazing being with somebody so cool.

We came through with our planned activity last Saturday, teaching a public lesson on the restoration of the Gospel, it was good for the members too. The only problem was that (and we didn’t even know about it before) there was a marathon right here in Coban, outside our house was the party haha. For that not as many people came as I was hoping but still we had a good PowerPoint presentation and the spirit was a sweet peaceful feeling. We met our goals of having 40 lessons with investigators this week, 26 of them were with a member present.

Yesterday there was another really big rainstorm, were even a bit of hail fell. It’s always trying to teach a message under a sheet metal roof in a hailstorm haha. Not much happens... it turns out that the storm knocked over another tree near our house and for the rest of the night we didn’t have power! We planned by the light of my camera and a head flash light that Elder Spilker had to go rummaging for.

Hmmm really not too much exiting stuff of spiritual stuff happened. Saturday was kinda a bummer before the activity. We did divisions for the entire day up until 5...AND I DIDNT TEACH A SINGLE LESSON maybe that’s what it must be like in some European missions...it really stunk haha. Uhhhggg

O my gosh how could I have nearly forgotten??
We did have a VERY special spiritual experience
One of our investigators had a vision. Of us.
Juan Che is a man of very humble livings; even the sheet metal house he lives in isn’t really his but belongs to someone else. For work he has to go find firewood to sell to the many people who need it to make tortillas here. We found him on his bed all bandaged up and asked him what happened. He told us that while he was out, up in a tree cutting off branches for the first time in his life I guess he got hit or something, but fell out of the tree. When he hit the ground he said he had a dream of two men in white that came and took his arm and side away. He told us that he asked them why, and they said that more would be coming to help him. He then saw us, Elder Spilker and I who came to... sew(?) his arm and side back up, to make him better.  He told us how when he read the pamphlet that we have him it gave him strength to go on and that he wants to come to our church reunions. We are hoping that this spirituality and drive last a while, heck, forever haha we can only hope.

Nothing else too big happened. We almost made a full grown really buff guy cry by the spirit haha that was fun and awesome. I got insulted by some crazy guy, it didn’t anger me that he was calling me horrible things, just the fact that the amount of racism that I’ve seen has really hurt me.  Don’t they know that racism is an offence against God himself? Don’t they know anything of His plan of happiness? A returned missionary comforted me by telling me a story of when he was in the field. They knocked on a door and the guy just opened and gave him a strong punch strait to the jaw (apparently he was fighting with his wife and the first person to take a blow was an Elder in the wrong place at the wrong time) the blow spun him and knocked his nametag off. After all this....he later got baptized!

Well with that I’m not sure much more to write for this week, please don’t worry about me I’m doing fine and strange things like that don’t often happen. I love you all and I hope that you are all doing well, reading the scriptures and praying. Until next week!

p.s. the picture was from zone conference


Monday, May 16, 2011

It was truly a testimony builder for the both of us

That stinks to hear that Justin is having companionship problems, I might be Abel to comprehend heheh. What’s his email, maybe I could keep in touch with him through out the mission.

Alright I have had a couple of spiritual experiences this week that I would like to share with you all.

1- We were on our way towards the stake center for a pday activity last week when a man from across the street waved us over, and we came. He explained to us that he was just getting out of the hospital from being attacked by thieves that left his right hand wounded and swollen. He needed money to buy more of the prescription he needed and didn’t know who to turn to so seeing us in the street he decided to ask. The medicine he said was going to cost maybe 115 quetzales, about 13 dollars, but here that is a good bit of money. We decided that we better help the poor man. We walked him to the nearest pharmacy and bought the pills he needed at a much lower price for about 40 quetzales. We offered to come by and teach him but he didn’t live in our area, and seeing how there is no such thing as an address here in Coban we left him hoping that he would find his way alright. The entire time I have my baptismal covenant running through my head...

Last Saturday was our baptism of Victoria Chen, the 74 year old Kekchi woman, and who was to show up but Julio, the same man that we helped buy medicine for! By some ridiculous miracle he found the sister missionaries in our district that serve in his area. Since then he has come to church, accepted a baptismal date and his hand is healing. He always tells us just how grateful he is for our help. I'm so happy to have been a part of that conversion.

2-We were looking for people to teach and contact (we reached our goals by the way!) and we came across an investigator named Juan Che and his family. Apparently they needed to find a new house to live in and had to move these GIANT wooden poles from their house in the mountainy part of our area to his new house right next to the church, about a 20 min walk away through the city area. We took the giant poles one each (a nice coincidence) and put them on our shoulders. Man, they were heavy! To carry mine I had to use so much strength I could hardly breathe and had to switch shoulders every couple minutes. Throughout the entire time I had the same scripture run through and through my head over and over. Mosiah 18:8 more about my baptismal covenant ¨willing to share their burdens one with another that they may be light¨ I finally decided to ask my companion Elder Spilker to share his load with me, our two poles over our 4 shoulders. WOW! The load was so light we felt that we could run and jump! It was truly a testimony builder for the both of us.

Those were the biggest for this week, along with the many that happen every minute of every day haha. In the end our goals and results were:

(Achieved / goal)
-baptismal dates 7/5
-contacts 202/300 (the goal was discontinued halfway through the week but we kept going a bit...)
-references received 16/15
New investigators 30/20

We met and overcame every single required goal! This next week the goal is 40 lessons, 20 of which with a member present while having interviews and zone conference in the same week, nearly 2 days lost of work!! Its ganna be a toughy but I have faith that God gave these goals to President Torres by revelation, and as we all know 1 Nephi 3:7, big testimony in that one. NOTHING IS IMPOSIBLE so long as it is the almighty will of God. I know that He lives and that He loves us and makes all these things possible for His children. I never need to fear, just do, what thing is more simple could He ask of us?

I love you all very much and with all my heart, I want only the best for you. Please don’t worry about me, I know that God has me in His hands, and what gives me peace of mind is that He has you all also. I know that if we are doing all we need to do, we won’t even find ourselves in those situations. (Andrew is referencing the massacre that just happened in Peten).  I want you all to read the scriptures this week, one chapter of whatever book of scripture, personally or in the family, just open the scriptures, don’t be afraid they are your best tool to find the salvation God has waiting for you. He will never lead you astray, its just not part of the plan. He loves you just far too much.

With all the charity in my heart I want the best for you all spiritually, physically and in all aspects. Gods plan is perfect as Jesus´ love for you all.

Have a good week, until next Monday and its stories,

Elder Andrew James Bronson



Monday, May 9, 2011

Life is so full of blessings I can hardly count them all

Well it’s been an interesting week; the call was a happy event.
It’s always a nice experience to hear your guy’s voice.

So this week was a fairly normal week for the work, I don’t remember anything CrAzY happening except that we are working so hard! We had a mountain of lessons and found a good 2 families worth of new investigators. Last Saturday we did some more machete-service and my arms are still a little bit sore, it was great, the pictures will be with this email. sweet sweet sweaty work! We had a total of 5 investigators in church this week, and we have 2 baptisms planed for this weekend, Sister Victoria and her granddaughter Nidia, and they are exited haha so am I.

This week will be one of some serious work, and I and my companion are super exited, we have been given those big goals and we are ready to talk to EVERYONE. 300 people in about 6 days, that’s missionary work! Helping 5 to accept a baptismal date. Some super focus required. We are planning a missionary activity like the olden times. I was watching a video about a member of the church in Joseph’s time name John Tanner, part of it was these two missionaries putting up posters and fliers advertizing something about What the Mormons Believe and they had a big old congregation where they found a whole bunch of people, we want to do about the same. Spend a week or two giving fliers and this Saturday the 21st borrow the church building for about an hour and hope a bunch of people come. We are going to give to members to pass out and also have them invite other full families.  We are going to teach about the Restoration of the Gospel, Gods love, how the gospel blesses families, prophets, apostasy, Joseph Smith, Book of Mormon, praying to know, then have refreshments and a table in back offering more pamphlets and stuff where people can put there name to hear the missionaries haha! Yup, I'm hoping it all goes well; the Bishop is exited to do it.

What else is new what else is new...maybe...hmmm

Wow it’s always a bit harder after calling you guys; I’m not sure what else to write. Life is so full of blessings I can hardly count them all, good companion, good area, good house, good food, I have no health problems; I’m working hard and am full of the spirit all the time. We are finding new people to teach all the time and some that we have been teaching are progressing nicely. I’m becoming a better teacher and Spanish is becoming so easy for me now I understand it as if I were talking in plain English, sometimes I can hardly tell the difference haha!

...we cleaned the house today? Not too much out of the normal just lots of being happy. I have a lot of friends here in Coban, the ward is awesome, my testimony is growing and we see people making changes all the time. I almost have the feeling all of this sweet is going to have to pass pretty soon through some bitter, that’s what always happens. Nevertheless I will be strong, there’s nobody stopping me from doing what I know I need to do, save some soul!

Maybe you guys could do me a favor and just make sure you guys are doing all that you know you need to do, prayer and scripture study, church and tithing, being good examples to others and being patient in your afflictions. Service, it makes people happiest when they are serving people.

With the package just surprise me with whatever you want to do, pictures, CDs, pop tarts, lots of love and maybe something about Jesus.

I love you more than I can say and I miss you, only one more phone call left and I’m coming home, 9 months haha, you can do it! Take care of Brandyn; I hope all is well on his side too. Well then famy it’s until next week, love you miss you stay strong and do your stuff, pray, ok? I love you

os amo!
√Člder Andrew James Bronson


Monday, May 2, 2011

I HONESTLY LOVE COBAN SO MUCH

Pizzas and parties and blessings all around eh?

...well me too!
Can you guys guess where I am..?

I am in...
Coban!!!

I'm out of the concrete and into the jungle haha. My area is called Coban 2; part of it still is city, but only a small portion. The rest of the area is fields and hills and trees, lots of ups and downs and greenery. We have 2 baptismal dates and another woman who is close to accepting one. One of the dates is a woman of 75 years, and only speaks Q´eqchi! The family she lives with is a member family and they know Spanish and Q´eqchi so it’s all good. My companion is Elder Spilker, my very first white skinned companion of my mission haha, Elder Bowman is from the States but he’s dark-skinned so he doesn’t count haha. To the world we are the two ¨Canches¨ Canche is like a guy with clear hair, or white guy but there are plenty who like to shout it out haha.

Well it has been a VERY eventful week here in Coban, change conference was Wednesday and I had to say goodbye to Elder Letner who finished his mission, and Elder Whited who would be staying in the cap, as well as many others. On the bus I was talking with Elder Jensen, a Canadian elder who’s a really great guy truly devoted to the work. We talked for the near 5 hour bus ride. On the bus they showed Step Up 3, we couldn’t hear a thing but it was still incredibly tempting not to watch all the break dancing awesomeness haha. When we arrived it was really dark, I met my companion Elder Spilker and we were off to the house. The area is beautiful and the people are SO much more receptive, within three days we found 11 new investigators, as apposed to Lomas del Norte where we would contact for hours to maybe find 1 person to ¨come back another day¨. A lot more people here (I think up to 80%) are indigenous, pure Lamanite haha, a lot without much education.

My first day included my nametag snapping in half, seeing a lightning bolt hit a tree causing it to fall into power lines knocking out power for some homes and an enormous rainstorm that trapped us in a random kind tortilla-makers home for about an hour.

I HONESTLY LOVE COBAN SO MUCH I feel like a started my mission over again that I finally got sent to the mission field that I saw in my mind as I opened my call package. Rainy jungly simple Coban... my second day was pretty neat too, I studied some Q´eqchi and it’s a beautiful language, among seeing other things.  Today was amazing, we went cave exploring in Rey Marcos caves and I took a ton of pictures, then we came back and we ate dominos pizza and soft serve ice cream. Yum!

Well life is great, I feel almost overly blessed just by being here. I have a companion who is an honest hard worker who loves the work, my area is my dream mission, I’m healthy, the ward is awesome and big and I feel the spirit in great abundance. I just hope that you guys are doing all that you can do to beware of pride, pride was the fall of the Nephites, as well as the devil himself. Read the scriptures, love one another, pray to God to help you do his will, and I know that if you search with all intent of heart and with real desire HE WILL HELP YOU in whatever you are doing. I love you and wait to hear from you this Sunday at 8! (My time). Help somebody come to church this week.

Elder Andrew Jimmy Bronson