Monday, December 26, 2011

I love you guys and hope you have an EXCELLENT new year. 2012 baby!

Ah-ha! Camile took my spot I see how it is...
just kidding how was Christmas for you all?! I love you all so much and miss you all a ton. Christmas day was definitely a happy one; the call was definitely my favorite part. Work-wise it has been a bit rough. EVERYBODY IS DRUNK and that means there is no contacting, nobody in their houses, and/or nobody has time for missionaries. Just members haha members and all their tamales. We ate way too many tamales!  Three each Christmas eve and ponche with each one (ponche is a hot fruit drink with all the fruit chunks inside of it, you spoon out the chunks and eat them than drink the hot soupy juiciness). Our fridge is stuffed to the brim with extra food that people gave us; we aren’t even going to buy very much this week for food.

This week has been a funny one. Companion relationship is likened unto a cloudy day. Cloud and then sun and then cloud and then sun. I’m getting all confused but I am at least grateful that there is a little bit of warmth. Not going to lie, I hope we have a change, my sanity will not likely last another month and a half of this partly cloudy companionship weather. I hope that I am not called upon to test that sanity theory of mine.

Last Wednesday was eventful, my companion passed out during district meeting while we were standing up talking about our investigators. We began talking about a certain investigator and it became a discussion about the practicality of being completely obedient to all the rules under all crazy circumstances and it was basically 4 on 1 with everybody telling my poor companion that it’s better to stand up for the rules that it is to make exceptions for every other situation, when suddenly he dropped and started flailing. WE FREEKED OUT!!  We all thought he had some sort of seizure but the doctor said that its natural that someone who passes out is going to jerk around a bit and it’s not a seizure. That sure ended district meeting. Thursday we had a doctor’s appointment to see what’s up with Elder M. We took a nearly half hour taxi ride for 75 quetzals to the area office and 75 more to get back, and for what? So that the doctor could check him and say that the only problem is he isn’t drinking any water. 150 quetzals for a bottle of water! That’s nearly 20 dollars in taxi transport.

Like I mentioned on the phone call our Christmas activity was pretty cool. WE all got there early, the first thing was to listen to some inspirational Christmas talks from the president, and then we filled up plastic bags with things to donate to needy people in our areas. Afterwards we went out and played football, soccer and basketball. Lunch was turkey with mashed potatoes, apple pie being the dessert. We proceeded to watch a Disney movie woohoo! Tangled, haha! It was an excellent movie I loved it. A little more instruction from President Watts and we ended at around 4:30ish. After I had an interview with President Watts to get a new temple recommend. WORTHY! I told him about extending my mission and he said he would talk with the Lord to see what we would decide on doing, we weren’t going to do anything without asking you guys first. I know you aren’t too fond of the idea but if it’s the Lords will? Imagine the difference we could possibly make in the life of somebody. Who knows, only God.

One of the sunshiny moments of the week was Christmas Eve when I bought a plastic chess board for Elder M. and he told me he really cares about me. I wonder how long that will last, hopefully until changes I don’t want to have any more problems with anybody right now. I love you guys and hope you have an EXCELLENT new year. 2012 baby!
Ill see if the computer will let me send photos next week because this one doesn’t want to cooperate, sorry! Much love!
Elder Andrew Bronson

Monday, December 19, 2011

I want to extend my mission.

My my my...My beloved Family!!
Holy cow December went by fast, it’s already Christmas. I’m feeling these next two weeks are going to be a bit harder work wise...everybody’s ganna want to leave home and visit family and the poor missionaries are going to be talking to the dogs in the street for lack of people to teach the Gospel. Unless the dogs go on vacation too I suppose. Everything is possible here in Guatemala...

Less than 2 months now, it certainly feels like I’m counting someone else´s time and not my own. Can the mission ever end? Does one ever stop getting up at 6:30 to go and preach the Gospel all day? What else would you do, you can’t watch TV right that’s a sin. But there´s something that I wanted to talk to you guys about, maybe a little bit more extensively over the phone. Last Sunday (yesterday in fact) Mission President Watts visited our ward to come and talk to me and Elder M. about how we are going in the work, and all went well, but there was something that came to me during that time...I have something to come forcefully into my mind and I want to know how you guys feel about because I’m going to be praying and fasting about it.
I want to extend my mission.
Well in truth I don’t know if I want to, but I feel something about it, like my Father in Heaven will be SOOOOOO happy if I were to do it. Even as a write you guys about it my heart feels exited, but I don’t know! Will I be able to do it? How will you guys react? I’m so not sure but the more and more I think and ponder about it the more and more...well, better I think about it. I’ve heard that one can only extend his mission 30 days, but I’m starting to feel so strongly about it. What is it that my Heavenly Father wants me to do in that extra month; I kinda want to do it. I want to talk to you guys about it first on the phone so don’t worry. We´ll talk.

Sooo... This week has been a bit of a failure work wise, we only found 2 new investigators in the whole week, and only 12 lessons to investigators. Ouch. O well, I suppose it’s better in different places. Things with my companion are getting just a tiny bit better, a sliver of sunshine. We are at least praying together to plan and to leave the house now. He told me when we were fighting that he didn’t want anything from the Christmas package but now that he’s brightening up a bit I’m hoping that he actually does take it. This change ends in just 2 weeks, Christmas and New Years and it’s over. Where will I end my mission, and with whom will I end it?

Our Christmas plans are basically just hope that some people invite us to eat. On Friday we will be having a Service Project as a Mission and a Christmas activity. Saber lo que vamos a hacer. Something good I do so hope! I also hope that the family Christmas party went well, looks like a ton of fun and junk food. Speaking of junk food, we did an activity of visiting the less active members and delivering them donuts, brownies and cookies. The brownies and cookies we made ourselves, us and the sister missionaries and the ward mission leader. It turned out really well and we ended up eating a bit of it too. I hope I don’t get fat again when I go back to eating USA food. yummmmm.

Saturday night we did a something really cool for a less active part-member family. We had planned to cook pancakes with a member family as a Family Home Evening with everyone but things didn’t work out so we ended up being in the street with a frying pan and everything necessary to make pancakes. We passed by an investigator to do it with his family, not home. Other members house, nope. Recent converts house not quite. We finally ended up at the part member family´s house. They were in some need, too many things to be cleaned, husband just got home super tired and without diner even started and kids everywhere. My companion washed the 1000 dishes while I made 10,000 pancakes!! Well not quite that many but they did the trick and we really ended up helping the family. They came to church the next day wooo!!

Well that’s a lot of email right there, please don’t be too shocked about the mission extension idea, chill, everything will be perfectly fine, exactly how the Lord wants it to happen. And there is the chance that I even ask and they don’t do it so we will see really how the Lord wants to work this out. I love you all so much more than I could ever possibly say to even attempt to describe. Please have an absolutely marvelous Christmas one and all, stay safe, stay spiritual, I’ll be talking to you on Sunday. I can’t wait to hear your voices!
Just too much love,
Elder Andrew J Bronson

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

the Lord has little by little kept His hand in things reminding me that I am not alone.

...ugh. Companion problems suck. It’s not going well.
Alright today was temple day but I didn’t do a session because my temple recommend expired and I haven’t had a chance to get interviewed. The time was well spent relaxing in peace with my old buddy Elder Segura, remember him? He was my companion HERE in this area a very long time ago...Him and Samuel. Samuel got baptized last Saturday to go to the Quetzaltenango Temple dedication. It’s seriously been an incredible experience with him. Definitely an example of how baptism cleans, and the Holy Spirit sanctifies. He has pulled his life around and hasn’t stopped telling his testimony to everyone he talks to. He is inviting friends to the church, coming out with us to our visits and making the big difference in a lot of our lessons. I honestly love him so much; I am so exited for his future.

Mmm I’m feeling a little down this week, especially today. I admire Elder Loaisiga my zone leader; the sacrifice he made for me this morning has honestly moved me nearly to tears. This morning I and my comp had a clash that ended in him getting really upset and refusing to leave the house to go to the temple. I called the Zone Leaders to come and help me and they came. They tried to convince him to go but he continued to refuse and refuse. So that I could go to the temple, Elder Loaisiga stayed in my place with Elder M. I feel really bad still that I wasn’t even able to get in, seems like a waste for him, I hope to get him something to make up for it. I love him so much. All of today has been really calm, quiet, without contention or stress of any kind. The only thing that has been pressing on my mind all day in the fact that tonight I will have to go back to face him and see how it happens...

Even though I have been going though this tougher time of my mission that doesnt mean I haven't been greatly blessed. More than with just Samuel, the Lord has little by little kept His hand in things reminding me that I am not alone. He is incredibly present in my daily doings and has been very generous with His blessings. This week I was given free lunch almost 3 times, that and a number of tender mercies.

Ok here’s the story of the week- I attended an Evangelical Church last Sunday hahaha. Some of our investigators were getting married and did it in an Evangelical church, the church decided to go ahead and do their entire reunion in the middle of it all. They even went and collected offerings in the middle of the wedding. un poco loco digo yo. Lots of singing and Glory Halleluiah! And the people seemed nice enough, but there was none of that familiar peace and tranquility that we are used to. I felt a little uncomfortable after the first little while and wanted to leave but we stayed for the sake of the wedding. I can honestly see why some people don’t want the pressure of changing churches though, lots of stress and people to leave behind. Samuel himself was approached by his old pasture who asked him why he had run off with the Mormons and he defended himself with his testimony. Way to go Samuel!

Alright to answer your question Mom, Elder Smith is on the opposite side of the mission as I am. In the mission there are two ¨Santa Elena¨ areas, one here in the Cap, the other up at the top of Petén, the both of them are Santa Elena.  As for the video conference call I’m not quite sure that’s a go. The mission president wants you guys to call us from your numbers to ours so that the mission doesn’t have to pay for 200 missionaries´ hour long Christmas calls. I can understand.
I love you all so very much and can’t wait to hear your voices and a little after see your beautiful faces! So much love, take care!
Elder Bronson

Elder Segura & Elder Bronson

Monday, December 5, 2011

10 weeks before it’s over, and only 20 days until the call

Well well well...ANOTHER P-DAY!! Whoo!!
Oh my, Elder McPhee just told me that we only have 10 weeks before it’s over, and only 20 days until the call. What a change right? Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years all in the same change. I’m not a baggy missionary so I have nothing to fear, the only thing I do sometimes fear is getting disanimated for lack of companionship help. Yeah, the situation isn’t getting much better, in fact it’s gotten much worse but before you know it all these hard times turn into valuable memories, stories and sometimes council. I’m just wondering what is it that the Lord can see that I can’t? What am I going to be prepared for by passing through this right now? Keep on working...just keep on working. I have honestly been feeling better today; I started putting my mind on better thoughts and started to push out the natural criticism that jumps into my thoughts for every stupid thing that happens. I need to do MY best in keeping the spirit, and invited him the best I can to do the same. I just wish he wouldn’t criticize me in front of all the people that we are around.

If you want to hear a funny story here you go:
This week we were visiting an investigator, John, and he was outside his house. He was getting ready to leave on his motorcycle. Elder M. knew that he shouldn’t as much as touch the bike, but what does my odd little duckling do? He gets on and gets it fall down a cement decline about 10 feet deep. Some sort of angelic protection left him unscratched and the bike left in good condition with the exception of a nasty looking scrape all along the left hand side. Investigator not so pleased. Only afterward did Elder M. say ¨so that’s why they don’t let missionaries ride motorbikes...¨ yup. That might be why.

Another funny happening has to do with that same investigators family. Max, his brother is a super cool guy and gave us some early Christmas presents. For me, a singing Christmas stocking, for Elder M. a grenade. What, didn’t you know that here in Guatemala grenades are what you give the naughty children? Joking by the way. About the naughty kid’s part, Max literally gave him a grenade. He is a police officer and had one in his house. 2 actually. The thing was disarmed and harmless but afterward my companion went around showing it to everyone...

Last night was pretty cool; it was the First Presidency´s Christmas Devotional. I liked President Uchtdorf talk about keeping Christmas focused on Christ. Also, President Monson's story about the man and the heavenly mansion.

p.s. I got my Christmas package, 20 days until I can open it. least that’s better than last year, I got it on Thanksgiving Day, only last time I opened it on the day of the family Christmas party.

Alrighty I think that’s it for today. Next week we will be going to the TEMPLE!!! That means that we will be doing internet on Tuesday. Stay safe and happy for me! I love you all so much more that I can say,
Adios Muchachos!