Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Letter from the Nicaragua Managua South Mission President

Elder Bronson,
You sound like you are excited to get here to Nicaragua! Keep studying the language.  In the beginning you probably won't understand much, but that is NORMAL.  Learn all you can now, practice and make mistakes now.  It will all help you when you are here.   Are you learning a lot in Preach My Gospel?  We use it extensively.
Nicaraguans speak quickly and drop the "s" in their words.  You will get the hang of it after you are here a little while.  Don't worry too much.
As for the first day, each of you will need US $10 to enter immigration at the airport.  You won't need to worry about money after that.  We will take care of your food and housing. Every missionary will get a debit card with their monthly amount on it.  It will all be explained the first day at orientation.
The North mission does things a little differently than we do.  But all Nicaraguan Missionaries, north and south, love their missions!
You arrive on Monday and have a day of orientation training and an interview with the President.  I suggest that you pack the day before so you can get some sleep on Sunday before the early ride to the airport. You will work with missionaries in Managua on Tuesday and meet  your companion on Weds at the cambios (transfers) meeting.
You wear your suit coat to any meeting where the chapel has air-conditioning (not all do) and you wear it to multizones and all interviews with the President.  By "wear" I mean that you bring it with you and put it on when you arrive.  It is too hot to wear it on the bus to get to the meeting.  The Assistants will go over all of this at orientation.  And feel free to ask them any other question you may have.
We are excited to have you with us soon.
And I like that you are always working hard.  That's the sign of a real Nicaragua Managua Sur missionary!
Hermana Russell

Just some news on what I will be doing in two weeks!

Bad News, Good News

I am finally healthy again!  I started to throw up blood and they wanted to take me to the hospital on Friday if I didn't start to get better, but I was feeling much better by Thursday.
The good news is we get to watch all of conference (in English), but the bad news is that it is in the burning hot gym.  The good news is it has really good cushioned seats that are nicer than our beds!  The bad news is being comfortable will make it hard to keep awake!  We are an hour ahead of you, so we have Conference at 11.  I am really excited for the priesthood meeting and it will be the first one I have taken notes for.  I have been practicing taking notes for like the last two weeks or so at every devotional, so I hope I can get a lot out of this conference!
I sort of had a dream about the family; it was really strange.  It made me miss you guys. It is weird to think that I have been gone for a month, but I still feel like I can just go home and walk in the front door and take a seat on the couch and turn some Netflix on or something. I think of home and miss home and sometimes I wish I was there, but it has not ever crossed my mind to go home, so that is a blessing that I have. I know that I am doing the right thing here!
To get some good quiet study time, I have started doing additional study and writing in my journal in the bathroom. It gives me some alone time that I need really bad and then my district is like why are you in the bathroom for so long? So I have been telling them I am constipated.
Also, I received the card reader. Sorry I didn't write the other day in the evening, but time got away from me.  On the plus side I did win the volleyball tournament thing here, so there is a plus.
I will see you in a little bit! (give or take 23 months)

Elder Jordan Bronson

Elders Bronson and Hoffman

Chilling at the Mexico City Temple visitor center

That is one big Book of Mormon

Viva Mexico
Jordan wonders how they got the likeness so close to him
Nicca South Elders

Elder Bronson hanging with his homies.

Fellow Hillcrest Knights:  Elders Jordan Bronson, Hunter Shepherd, and Brian Brower.  (Pic taken by Elder Parker Erickson)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Halfway done in the CCM

Today we (my District) went to the temple, so that is why I am writing a little bit later.  From here on out, I get to write for like two hours on P-day, so you can write as much as you can and I will be able to read it all! Since we just returned I didn’t have time to grab the letters you sent me to respond to your questions so I will go from memory.  Dear Elder letters work.  They arrive the day after you send it, most times.  Other times it will take like a week!  I just received one from you, Sister Wixom and Dad all crushed onto one page.  It was really confusing.
 At the temple today, we went to the visitors center watched the movie we saw at the St. George Temple’s visitor center this summer, it was sad.  It made me think of you guys!   It was really fun watching it all in Spanish.  They had a little store there and i picked up two more ties.  I also bought two ties from the tie store here, but they are crap, but they were 50 pesos. Last night I traded both of the crap ties for a really cool colorful one, so I was pretty happy.
So much has happened in the last week, but I feel like I just wrote.  It is so crazy how time works here. We have started to teach two investigators now and one has a few problems.  So yesterday, we planned out a chastity lesson and had some pamphlets.  We had everything ready to teach her, but when we went to teach her, she only wanted to talk about the Word of Wisdom.  So my companion and I gave a 30 minute lesson on the Word of Wisdom, in Spanish, impromptu.  So I think that is a sign we are getting much better speaking Spanish!
In all the personal study I get, I have been reading about charity and the true love of Christ.  Through this study, I have been receiving blessings of the ability to love others more fully.
On a sad note we, haven’t received any new natives in our casa. Right now it is my district and four other guys in the casa.  That leaves us with two empty bedrooms and two empty bathrooms for the last two weeks. At first it was really nice because we could all shower faster but then a problem has happened.  We have gotten used to having all the extra room, especially the extra bathrooms, so the new natives are going to hate us. 
Also on a negative note, I have been deathly ill the last couple days.  I had a cold on Thursday and by Saturday; I was coughing up blood and had a terrible sore throat.  I took a spoonful of cayenne pepper three times a day, to try to cure the sore throat.  You would have been proud of me though, because I was where I was supposed to be the whole time, I didn’t miss class once.  I wanted to and I almost did when my teacher was kicking me out of class saying you need a doctor, but it was Saturday, so there was no doctor at the CCM, so I stuck it out.
Also, our first investigator has become our night teacher!!!!!! What?????  It threw me off when I saw her. The last time we taught her, she was crying because we had such a spiritual experience her.  I asked her if she was faking it and she said no you two elders gave an amazing lesson! That was nice to hear!
Back to today.  When we were driving to the visitors’ center, which was about an hour drive, we saw many many many crazy things.  Mexico is definitely a different country.  Sometimes, Ii forget that I am in Mexico, but then I look up and see that I am surrounded by abject poverty.
Today before we left for the temple, we were hanging out by the wall which is our back yard.  We saw a big circular metal bin that we put it upside down and stood on it to see over the wall.  There was this really old Mexican lady there that asked if we were in prison.  We said no (well at least we think she said prison), we are missionaries.  She rolled her eyes and got in a taxi.  It was so freaking funny, we were all busting up.
In the letter you sent me, you asked about money.  I am doing just fine.  There is a money exchange place here and if I needed to I can get some Mexican pesos.  A week before I leave from here, I think I can order some Nicca money.   There is district that left yesterday for Nicca north and they said they would email us about it.  My district leader and best friend here has a friend in Nicaragua north right now and he says that it is like every day you have to swim to your appointments because it rains so much and is so humid.
The Hermanas are really grateful for my big umbrella because it rains almost every day here.  The four of them only had 1 umbrella so I gave them mine.  They stay dry while I get soaked, but it is okay because that is the nice thing to do.  This past week my goal was to be nicer and less sarcastic to everybody and now the Hermanas think I am the nicest person aliveJ.

The Spanish is coming along a lot better.  My district says I am most improved. I can understand it so well; it is just that I have a hard time with any tense that isn’t present.  Half the words in the Spanish language mean three things, like que.  It is what and that.  Por que is for what, why, and because. When you have a fight with a brother or something they might just say why? Because. Because why? Which in Spanish would be; por que, por que, por que?  Which I think would be pretty funny!!
To answer your question, my whole district is going to the same mission except for two Hermanas are going to Chicago.

Elder Bronson

 After TALL Technology Assisted Language Learning
 Si, podemos (yes we can)
 "Sketchy" Mexican elevator
The District

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Week two in the CCM (MTC)

Last night I was laying in bed when it occurred to me that we have been praying for my trainer in Nicaragua and we didn't even think about my companion in the CCM!!  We live and we learn. We will be more prepared for my younger brothers!!
Last night was the Mexican Independence Day.  Mexicans were up all night blasting music, singing and setting off crazy loud fireworks.  My casa didn't go to sleep till like 2 am, but it was kinda fun.  We climbed on top of the roof of our house and we could see over the wall.  Everybody was just getting drunk so it was pretty cool.  Right before I came to email, we climbed up this ladder up to the top of the three story Thomas S Monson building.  We could see everywhere.  I got some sweet pictures, but the bummer is I cant get the card reader to work on these Mexican computers.  I am taking lots of pictures, and yes, my journal is pretty sweet right now.  I have written a lot! 
My Latin friends, from my casa, left yesterday.  It was sad, but we got all their emails and stuff and soon I will be able to talk with them in perfect Spanish. 
So Sunday I wrote a talk about prayer which was the topic for the week.  I was freaking out and worked so hard on it , but I didn't even get to give i.t I had an awesome personal story in it...which leads into your question about the food.  The food is good, but I am getting tired of cheesy bean bread for breakfast everyday!!  So I was complaining a little about the food for dinner and I said all i want is a ham sandwich!!  Then that night, I prayed for better food.  I did not even say ham sandwich and on Sunday, for breakfast, we had a ham sandwich. For lunch, we had some sort of meat sandwich and for dinner a hot turkey sandwich with MASHED POTATOES!!  It was the best day of my life. I was so going to use that in my talk!!  
When do i have time to prepare a talk?   I try to put like 10 minutes a day into writing one a day so on Saturday I don't have to waste all my study time to writing it.   
I haven't really been homesick yet, but sometimes when we are laying in bed I think of home and when I wake up I think to myself, "hold on this isn't my room", but i am surviving.
The most spiritual thing happened on Thursday. I was tired and my companion I were going to teach our investigator.  I had worked hard on my part and Elder Hoffman on his and were really ready. We weren't feeling the Spirit that much, so we prayed and I asked for the true love of Christ and all that kinda stuff.  Then when we went into teach her, we gave our lesson and at the end of it, we asked her to read a scripture.  She started crying so hard and she started thanking us. Like she isn't a real investigator, but she said the Spirit was so strong! I almost cried and all of you know I don't cry, like ever!  So it was way crazy. When that happened, my companion and I were happy for the rest of the day. 
Oh I almost forgo.  Last Wednesday, I was super sick.  I couldn't move and my companion was just gonna leave me at the casa by myself. I was like I can't stay her by myself and I can't come to class.  So, we went on splits and the district leader stayed with me till noon.  He is the coolest guy ever and he is super nice.  We go on splits a lot together.  
I think I have said everything I have to say, so I will write next week and maybe find out a way to send pics some time!! 
Love you 
Elder Bronson
Elder Bronson & Elder Paulino from the Dominican Republic

The Beatles

CCM District

View from the roof of our casa

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Jordan's temple trip before he left

Jordan and his good friends, Alex and Aaron, visited a few temples in Utah the week before Jordan left for Mexico City.  All three of these men are going to be awesome missionaries!!!  I thought I would post a few of their pictures from that trip.

Jordan, Alex, and Aaron at the Provo Temple

At the Mount Timpanogos Temple

Mount Timpanogos Temple

Salt Lake Temple

Alex, Jordan, and Aaron at the Salt Lake Temple.

Selfie at the Jordan River Temple

At the Oquirrh Mountain Temple

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

One week down!

Wow the CCM is crazy (CCM=MTC). My companion is Elder Hoffman and he is an interesting guy. He is definitely who I am supposed to be with.  On the first full day here, Elder Hoffman and I taught our first discussion to an  investigator, all Spanish at about three o clock on Thursday. By then I was practically fluent, so it went really smoothly. No it was quite rough to tell the truth, but the next day we taught her again and it was 100 times better. The gift of tongues is real, I just don't have it.  I was blessed with the interpretation of tongues. I can understand just about everything that is said or at least get the jist of it. My companion can speak pretty well but not understand Spanish very well.  So I listen and tell him what to say and he says it. Yesterday, we taught Enya for the third time and Elder Hoffman and I were mad at each other. We had prepared very well for that lesson, but it was complete garbage because there was no spirit present. It really helped me understand why we need to have the spirit with us at all times.
So Elder Hoffman and I, along with three other companionships all live in the same casa. It is a great blessing because we have heard the dorms are really crappy. Every night before we go to bed, we hear at least three gunshots that are close, then some machine guns that are a little farther away. Mexican Independence Day is coming soon, the thirteenth, and we have heard from our teachers that things get pretty crazy! haha Also, there are ten people in my district and so far 4 of them have been really sick and had to go to the clinic. That is no good, but I am feeling healthy and fine. I'm so busy and love my district so much, that I haven't gotten home sick yet, which is a blessing in itself. 
My district is awesome!  The Hermanas are super sweet and nice, we all get a long very well. We have gym time everyday, except for Sundays. We play a lot of sand volleyball with the district that our zone leaders are in. They all leave next Tuesday which is sad because they are super sweet to us and they have really helped us and taught us. Right now, the thing I am most worried about is my Spanish, but when you have the Spirit with you, you find yourself saying things you didn't know you could say. It's crazy, I have only been gone a couple days, but I have had the most spiritual experiences I have ever had. Last night, my casa mates all got together with 8 companionships of native speakers and one companionship of english Elders, that are really cool, and we had a Family Home Evening.  We all bore our testimonies in our native tongue, which was way cool because even though we didn't speak the same language, we all understood through the Spirit.  The native Elders have been teaching us so much; they are a great blessing to me. I will send a pic of some of them later, but I can't do pics right now. 
I love you guys and I have been missing you guys a lot, but I am doing the right thing!
Elder Bronson
PS P-day is Tuesday for me

Luke and Logan, there are some beautiful birds here, bright blue and green ones, that will talk back to you. It is pretty crazy!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Jordan's First Email from Mexico City

well i'm at the mtc mexico is crazy! i only have five minutes so i will have to be quick so that means no capitalization or spell check. dad sent me that picture and you look pretty good mom but of course i look pretty slick in my suit. i gave the first discussion today on the plane to Houston it was crazy there was this catholic guy that wanted to know everything he could about Joseph Smith and it was kinda scary but we talked for the whole time and i didn't even get to sleep so that was interesting but on the way to mexico i slept the whole time. then when i woke up i was in a whole new world there are no stop signs in mexico or sidewalks so everybody is everywhere but  we survived we only just got in to a couple accidents instead of a lot! but me and two other elders made it! i didn't meet them till i was out of the mexico airport and into mexico i had to fill out the fm paper but i also had to fill out a questionnaire that is really important that was in all Spanish luckily i had made a friend that spoke Spanish in Houston and she translated it and helped out! i saw Morgan Joeys friend at dinner today and his nose is huge. we bought candy off the side of the road and it has just been overwhelming really surreal but i need to go so i love you guys and i will write more.i think tuesday is my p day 
Elder Bronson

I'm leaving on a jet plane...see you in 2 years

 Made it to the airport.
 Goodbye Grandma and Grandpa Hopkins
 Tender Goodbye
 Time to leave
The long walk to security.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Everyone wearing our Fast Sunday Ties

Mom, Dad, and me
Me, Grandma and Grandpa Hopkins
The Bronsons

The brothers