Serving an LDS Mission in Vina del Mar, Chile.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

El Fin Se Acerca.... [The End is Near]


I can't believe that this is my last letter. I never thought that this day would come so soon. It literally feels like I was a new missionary yesterday.

During my time here in Chile, I have learned many things and how to start talking is something that I have no idea how to do.

I have come to know and love my Savior here in Chile. I thought I knew Him before because I could recite stories from the scriptures and knew all of the answers in Seminary and Sunday School. I now realize that the gospel isn't a list of things to do, nor is it a list of things not to do, rather it is a way to live and to be. In order to really come to know and love our Savior, we must first come to know and love His teachings. There is no other way because He is His teachings.

There have been many times during the mission that I have wondered exactly [why] many people can't realize that true happiness is found only through whole-hearted and consecrated obedience to the laws, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel. If at any time we are unhappy, we lack 1) conversion and 2) consecration. Sure, at times we will feel sorrow for the choices of others but even in the midst of such sorrow, the joy of righteous gospel-living will radiate through our souls.

This life is a life of change. Whether we are changing for the better or for the worse is ultimately our decision. God cannot mold us without our permission - such would be contrary to the principle of agency. As we lay aside our weapons of our rebellion that keep us from rendering our hearts fully to God, we are allowing Him to take control and make of us the servants He wants and needs us to be. In the end, we can do many things by ourselves, but without the enabling power found in Christ, we will never be able to achieve all of our divine potential. Everyone has at least one weapon of their rebellion that is keeping them from fully rendering their heart to God; whether it be a desire to listen to music with inappropriate lyrics, the excuse of being "too busy" or "too tired", annoyance or frustration with church leaders, etc. At some point we will need to bury those weapons; so why not now? In the end, the only way to truly "win" is to lose; lose yourself in the Lord´s will. When He wins, we do, too.

I have seen miracles in the lives of the people I have taught. Watching them change their lives completely just to have something that I have always had, has made me realize just how grateful I am to loving parents who taught me in a gospel-centered home. Many times I have had companions or members or investigators ask me how I know what I know. The only answer I have ever been able to come up with is that my parents taught me. Now I realize why Helaman made a special effort to emphasize that the 2060 stripling warriors were taught by their mothers. That had to have been backed up by fathers and the faithful examples of both parents. Forever more I will be grateful to the faithful example of my parents, for they have shown me the higher way to live.

Above all, I have learned that nothing is worth it if it makes you lose the Spirit. NEVER do anything that would endanger you from losing the Spirit and falling from the grace of God. As long as we have the Spirit with us, we will be okay. Think of it for a moment. God blesses every baptized and confirmed person with the gift and opportunity of having the constant companionship of a member of the Godhead. Wow. Now, answer me this question. What in the world could be more important than living worthily of that companionship? The answer, nothing! The Spirit purifies and sanctifies us. It seals and guides us. The Spirit is the key.

One last piece of random advice. If you ever are praying for an answer and it doesn't come while you're on your knees, please get up and get moving. The answer will almost always come while you're on your feet. A prayer of faith implies action. Now go and ACT.

I love you all. See you soon.
Elder Groneman #2

Monday, June 27, 2016

Random thoughts

Sadly, C** did not get baptized yesterday.  :(    Her great grandma is in the hospital now so the family decided to postpone the baptism. For how long? That's a very good question. No idea.

Nothing happened with our other investigators this week either. They either weren't home or they had family problems. So ya....

On a different note - Haha we made zone t-shirts. My comp designed them and I did all of the administrative stuff so that they could be made. We wore them to our Zone Conference and took a picture in them with Presidente. Haha the other zone was jealous. Now we just found out that next week we're probably going to have a mission 4th of July party because the new housing director of the mission wanted one. Ya, we're going to wear them to that as well.

I never thought that I would become such an expert in breaking into houses during the mission. So far I've broken into an investigator's house, a random person's house, 2 less actives' houses and on Friday I had to help break into the house of the elders in my district. They lost their keys, the zone leaders lost the backup keys, and the housing director's keys didn't work. Therefore, we broke in. Using a broom and lots of skill. The elders are still going in and out of their house by climbing through their balcony door.

Oh ya, just so you know, next week will be my last letter home.

When breaking into a house, watch out for wire gates. They're kinda hard to see at night and crashing into one isn't that fun.

Love you all!
Elder Groneman
Zone Conference, June 7


Monday, June 20, 2016

Here's a bit of advice - NEVER GO INACTIVE

I can't think of a way to start this email. So I shall start it by saying that I don't know how to start it. Makes sense, right?
U** finally got confirmed this week! After almost of month of being baptized....Gotta love Stake Conferences but they really throw things off schedule sometimes. But in the end, all is well. His older sister C** came to church as well so, assuming that she passes her baptismal interview tomorrow, she should be getting baptized on Sunday! Yay for saved souls!
Our other investigators aren't progressing that much. We are probably going to drop a few of them. It's really sad when we do that because we know how much their lives can be blessed by the gospel but they just don't want to accept it nor act upon it. I always hope that in some future day, when the situation is right, the Lord will guide other missionaries to that person again and give them another chance.
Here's a bit of advice - NEVER GO INACTIVE. It's a lot harder to reestablish gospel habits afterwards. We are currently teaching a lady and her disabled daughter who have been less active for about 6 years. Long story short, she went inactive after separating from her husband. When she went inactive, she dragged her 4 children with her. Now, years later, only 1 of them wants to return with her. She laments her past decisions and is now realizing exactly what her decisions have cost her. Pres Monson has repeated many times that "Decisions determine Destiny". How true that statement is. If our choices that we make now aren't in accordance with our goals, we will NEVER reach our goals. Are our day-to-day choices leading us to where we want to go? Hopefully the honest answer is yes. If not, there is still time to change and get back on course. It may be hard, like this lady has come to realize. But in the end, it will be worth it.
Happy Father´s Day  - yes, I know it's a day late but I don't have that many options of when I can use email.  ;)
When using a needle and thread, it would be wise to not do so while seated on your bed. If you happen to lose the needle, a midnight acupuncture treatment is imminent.
Love you all!
Elder Groneman

Monday, June 13, 2016

Meetings, Meetings, Meetings

This week was just full of meetings. On Tuesday we had a zone meeting. On Friday I had a District Leader meeting with President and on Saturday we watched a broadcast from Elder Bednar (the same one as before but this time we got to watch it completely). I actually like the meetings because I always learn a lot. President Díaz, being the Seminary/Institute Coordinator for Chile (or the whole Area, can't remember), is a very good teacher. Every time we have a conference or a meeting with him, I always leave with a greater desire to dive deeper into the scriptures. There are soo many truths and lessons that we can learn from the scriptures if we just only take a bit more time to analyze them. Think about how they apply specifically to our lives and the situations that we face every day.
For example, everyone basically skims over the war chapters thinking that there isn't that much spiritual worth in them. WRONG! The war chapters are in the BoM because they teach us how to live the gospel during hard and difficult times and what we need to do to prepare ourselves so that we can withstand the war we face with sin and temptations every day. Maybe the answers aren't 100% obvious all of the time, but they are there. You've just got to be looking for them as you are studying. KEY WORD = STUDY *not read*.
I found 2 great quotes this week in the June 2016 Liahona:
"The best way to help those we love - the best way to love them - is to continue to put the Savior first."
"In measuring success, we recognize the profound truth underlying all else - that our lives belong to God, our Heavenly Father, and to Jesus Christ, our Redeemer."
Think of the magnitude of these statements. Many times we can get distracted by the needs of others so much that we start to put aside our covenant obligations, not even realizing it. Or thinking that we are helping loved ones by tolerating decisions contrary to the Savior's teachings. Nope. If we really love someone, we will show them the better and higher way of living - the Savior's way. The second quote reminds me of King Benjamin's teaching that we will always be debtors to God because literally everything we are and have is thanks to Him.
Here are some fotos to enjoy:) I finally found a cord that the computer wants to accept.
When going through the maze of life (or a labrynth of chairs and tables), it's a tad bit easier to listen to the correct voice (the Spirit and prophet's) and not to the voices that try to throw you off course.
Bruised ankles and shins are never fun results of a mistaken step or turn.
Love you all!
Elder Groneman

Monday, June 6, 2016

Staying in Valparaíso

So for my last change I am staying in Valparaíso. Yes, 4 areas each for 6 months. I stayed with my comp so my "son" is killing his "dad" and receiving the "inheritance" (all the stuff that I'm going to leave). We're pretty happy about that. All is going good here.
The other day my comp made me avocado milk. Every Latino loves banana milk (milk, banana, sugar) and they drink it quite often. In Brazil they also love avocado milk. If you ask any Latino about it, they will immediately have a repulsed look on their face and ask if you are crazy (even though they've probably never tried it). Here they use avocado with salt. In Brazil they use it with sugar - hence the instant rejection from Latinos. Well, it's actually not that bad. Interesting, yes. Bad and disgusting, no. I think I'm just too used to salty avocado now....
This week one of our investigators basically told us her life story. Wow, I haven't met anyone that has had a harder life than she has had/having. We hope that she really starts to apply the gospel to her life. She really needs it but due to her situation and background, it's been hard for her to follow.
I love how the gospel and the knowledge of God´s plan gives us hope. Such a small, cliche (I think that's how you spell it...) word but it is sooo important. We can only have as much faith as we have hope. Hope is the confidence that God will fulfill His promises. It's the energy that makes us move. Without hope we cannot have faith because there won't be anything to have faith in. It's sad to see someone that has lost all hope because I know that God will always fulfill His promises. We can always have that assurance.
The rest of the week was fairly normal. Not much happened. We couldn't get a hold of the majority of our investigators so ya.
Please double check that the lid is on tight when using a blender to make avocado milk, banana milk, or whichever drink you choose. A single punch of a button could result in a tasty beverage or half an hour of clean-up duty.
Love you all!
Elder Groneman

Tuesday, May 31, 2016


BAUTISMO!!! U** got baptized yesterday! It was also quite a normal baptism. Not quite as calm as the last one but once again nothing went wrong. I could get used to this....
C**, U**´s older sister now wants to get baptized as well. She keeps saying that this next Sunday is going to be her baptism but can't be. 1 because it's Stake Conference. 2 because she doesn't have enough church attendances. She will easily be baptized in June though. Oh, shes 10. Needless to say the Primary President is very pleased with the growing numbers.
We've been finding a few very promising new investigators and others that seem like they will progress but we still haven't been able to find their houses or them in their houses. One challenge of Valparaíso is finding people´s houses. Lots of times 5 families live in the same plot of land and every house has the same number. Then there are the houses that are in the gullies in between the hills and the ones that you have to travel through other houses and down/up stairs just to get to them. Haha it makes me think of the computer games in which you build houses. They never let you build houses on steep hills or really close to other houses, right? Ya, I don't think that the makers of those games ever visited Valpo. It is very possible to build houses on very steep hills.
Here are some fotos from the baptism.

Love you all!
Elder Groneman

Monday, May 23, 2016

A Good Week

This week was a good one. Nothing extremely exciting happened but good things still came to pass.
J** y F** were confirmed yesterday so all is well there. M** (J**´s mom) came to church finally. She's also an investigator. We are hoping that now that J** got baptized she will have more desires to follow his example.
This week we finally were able to teach a future investigator that we've been trying to teach for a couple months now but every time we've passed by she's been extremely busy. When we passed by she was actually about to tell us the same but then my comp (we were on interchanges) asked to use her bathroom. Yep, we entered the house. Anyways, as I was waiting for my comp, the husband comes up to me and asks me if we are busy because he wanted to talk with us. We always have time when you ask like that! We then proceeded to teach him and his wife (haha at the beginning she actually tried to leave the room to finish washing the dishes but he made her stop and sit down - yes!) He apparently is a less active (now very evangelico). They both felt the Spirit big time and she accepted a baptismal date immediately and then said that she wants her whole family to be baptized! They have 5 kids living with them and after passing by so much we already know them all. The oldest 3 will be a challenge baptizing...   :/ Impossible no, but with them it will be hard. Yay for the gospel! Life´s one-size-fits-all problem solver!
Sunday we should have another baptism. U** - 9years old. Ya, I told you we were going to baptize the primary. If we can finish teaching him everything, he'll be baptized. The only problem is that with his family the parents are very flakey and even when we pass by for appointments we set they usually have an excuse. That's why the oldest daughter still hasn't been baptized either. As of right now it seems that everything will go well but well, you never know. One thing that I've seen over and over again is how Satan loves attacking families and especially people about to be baptized. Lots of prayers would be a giant help  :)
Please make sure that you always have a way to access the roof when you play soccer with a bunch of white gringos. Turns out that soccer balls have a strange attraction to roofs.....
Love you all!
Elder Groneman