Monday, October 31, 2011

contacting in the cemetery passing out pamphlets and talking about the Plan of Salvation hahaha.

Alright my ideas for the Christmas package are a little smaller; I honestly don’t need much here right now with only a little over 3 months left in the mission. Something for my companion maybe, he is from a very poor family and I’m not sure how big any package headed his way is going to be... I would feel a lot better sending him something rather than to me.  Honestly not to be a bummer I’m trying to fight temptation to eat too many sweets, better off losing weight walking here than trying to there in Utah in winter. What a better idea would be to save the money that you would have spent and buy something when I get back.

Halloween in Guatemala was once nearly the same as there in the States apparently, trick or treating but as the years went on the more and more dangerous became the streets at night, specially here in zone 18 that tradition went disappearing. I’m not sure if other places in Guatemala are different because a year ago for Halloween I was also here in this same area with the same people... the 1st of November is a much bigger celebration here, they have a special dish called ¨fiambre¨ which is like a gigantic salad covered in every different type of meat possible from fish to beef to eggs to pork to anything anything anything meat. It’s also the day in which everybody visits the cemeteries, and so all of us me and my district will be spending the better part of the day contacting in the cemetery passing out pamphlets and talking about the Plan of Salvation hahaha.

We had a baptism here Saturday, Alfredo Paniagua Ortiz. He was already very prepared since before we came in, we just helped him put his baptismal date sooner, he was already ready. Elder Mendiz performed the baptism which was super special seeing that he only has about 3 weeks in the mission, can you believe that? I had to wait nearly 6 months for my first baptism! Besides the baptism the rest of the day really stinked, not a single lesson and during the baptismal service I felt sick. This was my second time in the mission throwing up, but this time I had diarrhea at the same time and had to do a bit of a helicopter movement between the two...but the next day I was feeling perfectly fine like nothing had happened so all is well. Yuck....

al pictures show I was able to do some divisions with Elder Lusty who happens to be my Zone Leader also. It was so awesome! we had a blast, but the best part of all was in the night time we stayed awake talking for hours in the dark about spiritual things, and talking about how our missions have been sealed in time, and we felt like God had said ¨it was good¨ kinda strange but the spirit testified to us so strongly that night about it that I wet the pillow crying. I had not felt my heavenly fathers love so strongly since I can remember! I can’t remember anything more sweet or desirable that that feeling of the Holy Spirit. I imagine that in Heaven when I always feel like that I’ll just go around crying all the time for being so happy. hmmmm

I don’t know why but I seem less animated for the work lately, I don’t know if it’s the start of hard times or if I’m just really old in the mission, but I honestly DONT want to feel unanimated, I want to work with all my mind and strength and I will, so there is no problem.
I love you guys so much and honestly miss you all, be smart and safe, I will see you all soon.
Elder Bronson

Monday, October 24, 2011

I just want to ..I don’t know shout Halleluiah and ¨preach the gospel¨

 Wow sounds like you guys are just living life down there in good ol´ Zion haha.
Here isn’t quite the same story for a lot of people. First of all the weather. Thursday it started to clear up and we didn’t have any more rain for the rest of the week.  Apparently there were a ton of little landslides here that blocked roads and a ton of water damage but life continues as normal. Even though we started seeing some sun during the day in the night time it is FREEZING here! Sheesh it’s cold. God continues to further His work here in this poor part of town, we found a good family who wants to listen to us, he is the guard for our neighborhood and is Catholic and she is Evangelical and they both are listening pretty intently. As for the de la Cruz family I’m not sure what more we can do for Martin, the situation seems a bit tough. Last night we came by his house to talk with him and he looked a little bit sad/nervous so we asked him. He basically told us that he was going to renounce the church because he simply doesn’t have time to go. (bull crap) and we asked further, turns out that he has problems with the Book of Mormon, that and he is just very confused with’s a bit strange trying to talk with him because I just want to ..I don’t know shout Halleluiah and ¨preach the gospel¨ but ...heck I can barley describe it, he’s just really confused. We told him that he needs to begin reading the Book of Mormon again and praying about it, and to help his family to choose the right also. His son Wagner is looking much better. He seems to be animating a bit more and his wife is investigating the church. He came to church last Sunday which was great because we didn’t have a single investigator show up.

We are still living in the same house, the one up the ridiculous stairs and the bathroom and everything down below. Really it’s not too bad of a house we have running water and electricity, owners that take care of any big problems that we have and seem truly interested in our welfare. Apparently they also rent a different house a little farther into the neighborhood that’s a little bit bigger but there isn’t such an INCREADIBLE view of the city like this house has. My companion Elder Mendiz is definitely a bit of an odd little duckling, enough said. Its normal for a new missionary to be a little untrained but he’s got a very unique personality, I’m just very thankful that he has an honest desire to follow the rules. Honestly its great working with him I can see that he will become a great missionary later on, even I was really silly when I started.

This Saturday we will be having a baptism. Alfredo was already prepared by the other missionaries here but we put his baptismal date a little forward (from the 12 of November to the 29th of October) because he’s already ready to do it. We don’t know who is going to do the baptism, he are honestly hoping that Marvin our ward mission leader does it. He is the one who gave us the reference and is also his next door neighbor and a great friend shipper so it’s only smart to do it that way. Contacting in this area is really difficult but we are working it alright. I don’t remember if we have been able to get into more than one door in our time here...

As for the cassette tape I guess I never sent it.  I'll look for it this week, I forgot to look for it last week sorry. Don’t you worry...
My temple recommend is about to expire, can you imagine that? It’s been a while right? My driver’s license already expired a while ago.

Well my beloved and bountifully blessed family I wish with all my heart the guidance and protection of God in all that you do, stay faithful I can’t wait to see you all again!
Elder Andrew Bronson

Monday, October 17, 2011

It’s true, I know it’s true. The Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ, everything. It’s all true.

Haha your sunbeam class looks fun, that Milk and Cookies book brings back memories. And you got my package! Whoo! Sorry for not sending the cassette tape I don’t think it’s finished yet...wait I think I finished one and there is another in the workings? Did I ever send you the one from when I was in Lomas Del Norte? If not I’ll go look for it and see if I can send it on back.

Well the changes were very surprising this time; it was COMPLETELY different than what I was thinking it was going to be. It looks like I will be spending the next 3 months (or ending my mission) in Santa Elena. Remember good ol' Santa Elena? I’ve been there before...ONE YEAR AGO. I was there with Elder Segura and Elder Velasquez, and now I’m there training Elder Mendiz, from Peru. He’s a loveable little character and wants work. He learns quickly which is good because there is a lot to learn, on both ends. I have now been called to be a District Leader over a district entirely of sister missionaries, 4 of them. And the phones don’t work yet so we are trying to work around that problem.

It’s definitely weird being in this area again I recognize a ton of people and am trying to remember names and places. The harder part is looking for the newer investigators that the other missionaries left and the recent converts. Remember Martin de la Cruz, my first baptism? Well he long since went a bit off the path but now that I’m back I’ve made it a personal mission here to help him come back to the church. Him and his family.

This week has gone a bit slow, I’m not used to not knowing a ton of people to visit, and the rain. THE RAIN. It’s been raining loco here all week and it’s been 10 times colder than Coban. Today I went to the supermarket and bought another blanket...and a watch, just not having good luck with those nasty watches, but so essential! Man this week has gone by a little ¨lento¨ it seems like last Monday was FOREVER ago. Haha coming down from Coban we stayed with the office elders in their big nice house. Upstairs they have a ton of beds for missionaries that stay the night in such occasions and I’ve always been a bit of a ¨top bunk¨ guy. I guess one of the top bunks was old and weak and when I jumped up on broke and fell! I’m sure glad I just happened to fall on a mattress haha. I’m even happier that nobody was below me.

I want to share a special spiritual experience that I had this week. Last Friday we were visiting the de la Cruz family and talking to them about the Restoration of the Gospel, knowing that if they can find a testimony that will help them more than anything to reactive and go to church on Sunday. I offered the final prayer. I have heard of instances when the missionaries would pray together with their investigators to help them receive an answer from God about the message, so it came to mind when I was praying. In my prayer I asked, ¨Father, is the Book of Mormon true?" Was Joseph Smith a prophet? ¨ even before ending my question I felt inside me, for the first recountable time in my life that great peace. I’ve felt the spirit a thousand times but never an answer like this.
It’s true, I know it’s true. The Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ, everything. It’s all true. It felt like something in my chest, a peace that rose from within me and filled me from the inside out. I could tell that they could feel it too, in the way they smiled after the prayer. I spent the rest of the night with the largest smile that my face could possibly fit, and a little bigger. Now it’s time to really testify to these people, I hope you all do the same. Ask God, if you have never really received an answer, ask him with all sureness of heart, confirming  your faith, not asking in doubt but already believing, just asking for a confirmation, and remember, that once an answer is received God requires that you share that testimony with others. I advise and invite every one of you to ask for yourself if you never have, and if you have to share it whenever possible, it’s the greatest joy you can feel.

Well with that I think I’m going to end, I’m hoping to have plenty of crazy stories for you all next week, I love you all
Elder Andrew J Bronson

Monday, October 10, 2011

a TON of young men got up to bare their testimony of missionary work and how strong was their testimony!

I’m writing a bit early today because...

They called me yesterday right after lunch to say that I’ll be headed to the train a new missionary! My fourth child, second son. Who will it be...?

Yesterday was spent saying goodbye to everyone and that took all day, the area is really big and there were a lot of people to say goodbye to. Even just saying goodbye to everyone I found more people to teach than my companion (we were doing divisions with some young men in our ward). It’s incredible to see how much the ward has changed since Elder Opazo came in; I swear he has some sort of gift as a missionary. We did an activity with the young men giving a prize for those who come out the most with us. One star for coming out, 2 stars for all day and 3 stars for Sunday all day or nasty nasty weather. We had some good competition going! We had been doing it for one full month now until today, and yesterday something incredible happened. It was fast and testimony meeting, and a TON of young men got up to bare their testimony of missionary work and how strong was their testimony! Some of their testimonies were so strong in fact that some of the investigators whom we sat by were amazed at just how animated and strong our young men are. It really touched me because some of them really had tough times when we left like not finding investigators all day or horrible weather, but man! and it’s such a difference that what it was before...before we couldn’t get any of them out with us but they keep on asking us now, ¨when are we leaving next? when are we leaving next?¨ last night I was with one of the young men named Emerson and all night he was telling me that now that I was leaving he needed a new companion...awww I'll miss him. I hope to do some cool missionary action at home, I wonder how differently missionary work works in Mormonville.

This change has been super fast, but this last week waiting to hear changes has been super slow, I can’t believe it already ended. Off to the cap again! Who knows maybe in change conference they will send me to Petén still or if I’m destined to die (end my mission) in the capital city of Guatemala. honestly it doesn’t matter too much to me where I work, I had my time outside the capital and it was absolutely fantastic, I’m going to miss all the green for sure...owwww

Can you guys believe that I only have 4 MONTHS left in the mission? Only 3 changes and 2 of those will be with my new companion who I will be training. today I leave at 2 on a big ´ol bus called Monja Blanca to the cap for like 5 hours to sleep in the house of the assistants and the office elders to (hopefully) eat a ton of pizza, and tomorrow....TEMPLE oh how I miss the temple...

Hey Wes,
Officially a MAN. Congratz little bro, I can’t wait to see you again. Tonight, I party for you.

Alrighty alrighty alrighty, you all know my love, my peace be with you, my peace I give unto you ¨CHILL¨. Hehe hey I love you guys a ton and can’t wait to see you all including you Charly, will you remember me little buddy? I bet ya so...

Take care everyone, till next week
Elder Andrew James Bronson

Monday, October 3, 2011

One of the most important skills I have acquired is that of recognizing the spirit, and following it.

Kinda fun how all of Gods children have such distinctive personalities, and His ability to love everyone´s without exception.

Well I was thinking of something to say but the internet place I’m in just started playing Blink 182 (a rock band) and I lost my train of thought. Sorry guys, missionary or not, I’m exited to listen to my music again. I love mo-tab and everything but there is something about drums and guitar.  There is some stuff that I still won’t be listening to though... it’s a lot easier for me now to discern what’s good from what’s bad now that I've been away from such nasty stuff. Ok I’m done, sorry. Spirituality.

Ok! General Conference! I took my 15 pages of notes, a little less than usual. Can you believe this was my LAST ONE?? Does my email sound really baggy right now? I shouldn’t, I wouldn’t give up the mission for the world. I want my full two years and nothing less. Bring me some investigators! G.C. was really cool, the thing that got me deepest was when one of the apostles was talking about following the Holy Spirit. He said that in life we will all make mistakes, but when we are about to make a giant one, the spirit will ALWAYS warn us, we NEED to be attentive to that voice and follow it. During my experience in the mission one of the most important skills I have acquired is that of recognizing the spirit, and following it. Lessons have absolutely no effect on the people if they don’t feel and recognize the spirit testifying.

Throughout G.C. I was thinking a lot about you guys, and investigators, I’m so glad we have the opportunity to listen to all those talks, they are so inspired I can’t believe it. I hope everyone listened to them. This week has been kinda tough, lots of walking in the rain; it’s been raining everyday down here without fault. And now my umbrella died but there’s no problem, I’ll just buy another. The problem with rain is that there aren’t as many people in the streets, or even home, and if they are they don’t much want to get soaked talking to some missionaries. Their loss heheh.

There is so much that happens throughout the week but I never remember it during email time, it all just seems so natural now. Spiritual lessons, crazy stories, good people, crazy people. Oh! I did receive a letter from you Mom, and the package of the CD player. I specially got a kick out of how it’s the old one I used to use at home. The music was nice too.

Well guys it’s about time to head out, I love you all and I ask God that he keeps you guys safe and sound. I’m waiting for the day that I will see you all again...and speak only Spanish!! ¡¡Jajajaja!! ¡¡solo español saldrá de me boca, y risa!!

Take care, till next week
Elder Andrew Bronson