Serving an LDS Mission in Vina del Mar, Chile.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Lots of Photos

So not much has happened since Thursday. We have changes Wednesday and it's New Year's too so many missionaries won't get to spend the holiday with members that they know. Ya, tan fome ese día [So lame]!

It was awesome seeing everyone. Really weird seeing Mecham with the family instead of on the other side of the camera. Haha Jeff´s accent is hilarious! And Mecham speaks sooo slowly. It's like he's a snail and Chileans are cheetahs. Ya, the difference is enormous! 

So as a mission we are reading the BOM again. We read it in 3 months and have to mark 4-5 specific topics each time. This time they also gave us a BOM in English so that if the Latins wanted they could read it in English. And as a challenge for the gringos, if we want, we can read them together.... It takes forever!! But it is really helping my Spanish.

Here are a few pics from Christmas. Our tree and gifts Christmas morning and the first course of dinner Christmas Eve. The sister in the photo is the member that sets up our lunches for us

Until next week!
Elder Groneman

Zona Villa Alemana Oeste

Número musical navideño [Christmas musical number. Parker's on the piano.]

[Parker's on the piano]

[Parker is on the piano]


Monday, December 22, 2014

So I can finally breath again.

So I can finally breath again. Yes, everything went well with the zone conference and the stake choir performance. I actually also ended up playing the interlude when the narrator is talking during the stake choir performance. All is well though. It's all over.

So I will be Skyping between 7 and 8 pm Chilean time so like 3/4 in Utah. Yes, a 4 hour difference. If I don't call by 8 don't worry. I should be calling soon if that happens. Chileans don't always have a sense of time. I'ts worse than Mormon Standard Time. So take MormonST, add Chilean ST, and you get 30+ at least. Great fun. Haha it drives my comp nuts. He likes to follow the schedule by the second. 

Yes I got the package. It actually got here before December 5 but after November 28 if that helps to judge the time it takes to send a package. My comp says thank you. He especially loved the beef jerky (thanks Dad). I'll send a photo of our humble Christmas tree...

I honestly don't know how Mecham wrote long letters every week. I literally don't have any stories from this week. It was a normal week. No crazy people, no dead people, no gun shots, nothing out of the ordinary. I was a little sick. That's something I guess? You will need to have a list of questions for me on Christmas otherwise there's going to be a lot of silence....

Eh, Christmas down here is weird. No snow, just deadly heat, yet Santa still wears his winter coat. Oh, and they don't really celebrate Christmas that much on the 25th. Down here is the 24th, specifically at midnight so I guess it's the 25th but still weird. If someone says something about doing something on Christmas they're talking about the 24th. There are Christmas lights though which is nice to see. Haha and since there's no snow how do you think they make snowmen? Haha with plastic cups! I'll send a photo of one. 

Tha'ts about all for now. We can talk on the 25th which I know Mom is anxiously waiting for.
See yall on Thursday!
Elder Groneman
Plastic Cup Snowman

Hey Mecham, recognize him? Elder A**! If you need a refresher - you lived with him in a house of 8 missionaries during your first year. Haha he said that you couldn't pronounce your "rr" or "t" at all. (He also said that my Spanish is better than yours was:P but then he said that you play the piano better - guess I can't be the best at everything ;P) He's one of 2 people now that I have met that know you. They other is Hna B**. You shared a ward with her (I'm guessing at the same time you were living with Elder A**) They both were stuck waiting for visas to Venazuela that never came so they were sent to Viña. Weird huh?

The ZLs and me with H** (he's a recent convert and is a million years old). In the Gospel Principles class for recent converts we had a little nativity play. Elder F** and I were shepherds and Elder B** was the Angel.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Another trip to Viña

Well.....I had another fun trip to Viña today doing the same thing that I had to do with Elder B** - Tramites [Visas?]! The only difference is that this time we actually finished them this week and don't have to return next week. It was funny waiting in the Registro Civil because there were like 18 missionaries standing around the room waiting....for an hour. Yep, another fun trip.

This week was interesting. Our only investigator that had a baptismal date now doesn't have one because he didn't go to church. Correction, he didn't go to OUR church. Saturday night we saw him preaching in an Evangelical Church gathering in our Juntos de Vecinos (Community Building). Apparently we are teaching the pastor of a different church...okay. 

This next week is going to be crazy. Our schedule is already basically completely full (some days are more than full). I have to play the piano for our Zone Conference tomorrow. I just found out that not only am I playing prelude and the hymns but I'm also going to be helping Hna Kahlein with her presentation playing 6 hymns.  Adding on to that I was recruited by the Stake Coordinator of music that lives in our ward to accompany the Stake Choir this Sunday. Yep, I have absolutely no time to practice for any of that because the work must go on. Yes....for the second time that I can remember in my life, I am a little stressed (The last time I was stressed I got Bell´s Palsy). Prayer definitely has been helping a ton. God definitely knows how to help.

That's about all the time I have because the trip to Viña killed our time. I'll write more next week filling you in on the rest.

Love yall!
Elder Groneman

Monday, December 8, 2014

Just the life of a missionary

So the scripture thought for the week isn't actually a scripture. I'ts a quote from Elder Packer.
   "The true success of the gospel of Jesus Christ will be measured by the spiritual strength of its individual members."
Are we hurting or adding to the success of the gospel? What do we need to improve?  How?   A few questions for thought....

So I just about melted like the wicked witch of the west every day this week. No, it's not because I'm wicked. Nor was it because someone threw water on me (though that would have been a blessing). The Sun is the reason. I now know what raisins feel like as the sun sucks the water out of them. 

Besides that the week was very calm. Not much out of the ordinary happened. No dead people, no gun shots (though as we were teaching a guy, his 18yr old son walked in, pulled a gun out of its hiding spot, then walked out), just the life of a missionary.

It's a little weird to me that some parents have such strong opinions / biases / grudges that they won't let their kids choose for themselves what they want. For example - A less-active lady and her super Evangelical husband wouldn't let their son go to church yesterday. We haven't even had a lesson with him yet but he has read part of the BOM and wants to go to church. It's going to be hard to teach him because his parents want nothing to do with the church and since he isn't 18, he has to have permission from his parents to be baptized. We are going to be working super hard and praying a lot so that his parents' hearts will be softened. 

I don't really have much more to say for this week. So until next week!
Love y´all!
Elder Groneman

Monday, December 1, 2014

Show de Talentos

So this week has been a little crazy. On Friday our ward had a Show de Talentos. Well, each organization had to preform a talent - including the missionaries. Um okay?...we don't really have time to put anything together. Haha What we did ended up being awesome! I'll forward you a link that someone sent me so you can watch it (I can't send videos -too big).

 Well...I had a scripture thought for the week but now I can't remember it. I'll try to remember it for next week.

Yes, my Spanish is improving a lot now that I have a native Spanish speaker as a comp. Haha on Pday I was trying to tell a story in English to another missionary and randomly I started using some words in Spanish. Ya, that was weird but kinda cool.

The reason why we didn't go check on the dead guy was because he was already surrounded by people and then a little bit later an ambulance came. We wouldn't have been able to do anything more than what those people were doing already.

(Mom - don't read this paragraph)
So one day this week we were talking to some people in their doorway because we were trying to find their mom who is inactive. Well, as we were talking we hear a ton of sirens and a couple police cars fly by. Right after that *BANG BANG* like 10 times. Ya, we don't know exactly what was going on but it was happening in the area where we live. Gotta love living in the most dangerous part of your sector! Every day brings a new experience;)

I don't really have much more to say. Every day is basically the same with a few random moments of excitement. Everything is going well here. Yes mom, we are being obedient. Oh, what is Mecham's story with the machete? I'm intrigued.

I believe that is all for this week. Chao! (no, we do not say adios here. It is always chao......and the 10 other ways to say goodbye before you can leave without offending the person)

Chao! Que estén bien. Que les vaya bien. Cuidense......[Goodbye. Things are good. Things are going well. Take care....]
Elder Groneman

Monday, November 24, 2014

Staying through transfers

First off. Why did no one tell me that M** B** was getting married? Please tell her congrats for me.

Okay. Cambios. Elder B** left and I stayed. I am just a regular missionary still. I am not training nor am I DL. My comp is Elder M**. He is from Peru. He only speaks a little English so we basically just speak inS panish though I am helping him with his English. 

Scripture for the week: 2 Nephi 31:10  Take notice of the word "Willing" What does that mean? We can only follow Jesus Christ when we are WILLING to keep the commandments. That means that we not only need to obey the commandments but we also need to WANT to obey the commandments. Remember that we will be judged according to our works and the desires of our hearts. If our hearts aren't in it then we won't receive all of the blessings that come from keeping the commandments.

Okay, funny story for this week. We were looking for a menos activo [less active] and when we yelled at the house a lady came out. Ya....she was super crazy and super Catholic. We ended up talking to her for about an hour because she wouldn't let us leave! During the whole conversation she barely let us talk and when we did talk she would cut us off when we said something that wasn't Catholic - so basically we were listening to her preach to us for an hour. She jumped topics a lot too. One of the topics was infant baptism. According to her people need to be baptized by immersion unless it's a baby. If you're baptizing a baby a few drops of water is sufficient. Okay? Oh, and apparently Jesus was standing in between me and my comp shaking his head and asking what we were doing. After about the 6th time trying to leave I just started baring my testimony. Of course she tried to interrupt me because what I was saying she didn't agree with. Well, I just kept on talking and then she asked if I was going to let her speak. Was she going to let me finish? Haha after that she asked me for my testimony and I thought, "didn't I just give you my testimony?" Apparently not. She wanted my life story. She wouldn't even let me finish that. Oh, apparently my eyes are full of sadness because she is the 2nd person that had told me that (the 1st was also a crazy lady that is now in a mental hospital) and everything will be better if I just cry.....okay? At the end, after trying to leave about 12 times before I finally just said "Yo sé que El Libro de Mormón es verdadero y sé que un día usted va a saber lo mismo [I know that the book of Mormon is true and I know that one day you will know the same]" then we walked away.......and down the road there was a dead guy. No joke. He was either dead or almost dead. We have no idea what happened.

Love you all. Welcome home Mecham. Have fun being an awkward RM ;)

Till next week
Elder Groneman
Elder M** and Elder Groneman
Elder M**

Monday, November 17, 2014

Time's Flying

Four months down and 20 to go! It's really weird. I don't feel like I've been gone for that long. Time flies when you count in increments of 6 weeks.

So we would have had to go to Viña anyways even if Elder B**'s tramites [processing] had worked because we had to go pick up Elder G** from the offices because his comp is dying with Elder Groneman 1. So now I'm in a temporary trio and we have to go to Viña AGAIN on Wednesday to pick up Elder G**´s new comp and possibly to pick up our new comps. We never find out if we are being changed until the morning of changes - unless you're being called as a DL, ZL, Trainer, AP, or one of the office Secretaries and then you get a call on Tuesday. It is death waiting to find out what is going to happen during changes. Elder B** and the ZLs are basically placing bets that I'm going to be called as a Trainer and DL. Ojalá [I hope] that doesn't happen! I think that Elder B** is going to go to a different area though. Ehh, vamos a ver [we'll see]!

So you know you're in Chile when you see kids playing in the water of a fire hydrant that they opened up. Ya, no idea how they open them up or how they close them but somehow they do it. Oh, and some of the adults join in on the fun instead of stopping it. Ya, it happens all the time during the summer.

To answer a few questions.....I live in an apartment. It is only Elder B** and me. Most of the missionaries in this mission only live with their comp. There are very few areas where 4 missionaries live together. I can get most things. I do know that I can't get brown sugar though. Besides that I don't know what iI can't get because I haven't tried looking for those things yet. Oh, thanks for the lump of chocolate and caramel that I think once was Rollos (they melted and meshed together - still good though:) ) A flash drive would be nice to have. I can get one down here but they're a lot more expensive. Spanish is getting better but I still can't understand everything. My vocabulary is ridiculously small. At least it feels that way. Pulga [Flea] bites are sooo annoying! But I bought bug spray and coated my mattress and since then I haven't gotten any new bites. At least I don't think I have. It's hard to tell sometimes because they don't go away after 2 days like mosquito bites if you don't itch them. Even if you don't itch them for a week then accidentally brush them it's like you just barely got bit. Ya, super annoying....and itchy.

That's about it for this week. Give the soon to be ex-Elder Groneman a hug for me when he officially dies. 

Love y´all!
Elder Groneman 2 (soon to be the only)

Monday, November 10, 2014

All is well

Yes, I got the package. Well, actually I don't have it yet because the ZLs haven't given it to me (they'll give out the mail on Wed). I have no idea when exactly it got to Chile but it got here in time for the ZL Conference which was on Friday. You don't really need to worry about anything being stolen. That rarely happens with missionaries in Chile. The postal service here is pretty good (so I hear - I haven't been here for too long)

Scripture Insight!
So you know how the Lord completely wiped out all of the Jaredites because they were so wicked? Have you ever wondered why He didn't do that with both the Nephites AND the Lamanites? And the reason why the Lamanites will be blessed in the last days? Read 2 Nephi 4:3-7 for the answer. I´ll just say that Lehi was a powerful priesthood holder.

Mom, you keep asking me for details about where I live and what it is like. Please pause and remember that you told me to not tell you all of the scary and/or dangerous stuff about my mission......I'll let you think about that......

So this week in general went by really fast even though absolutely nothing happened. Basically all of the lessons we had fell through, there was nobody in the streets to talk to, and Elder B** got sick so we spent a day in the pensión. But we got a lot done too. I made a map of our sector because the map that we have is missing streets and is basically impossible to read, stopped by a ton of members' houses to see if that member actually still lives there (nothing ever gets updated when people move), and earlier today we went all the way to Viña to work on some papers for Elder B**´s last carnet (ID card). That trip took 4 1/2 hours (9-1:30) and at the end we found out that we have to go back next week because the people who were supposed to activate his last carnet forgot so this week they are going to work that out so by next Monday we can finish all of the papers and stuff. Yay for another 40+ train and bus ride! (yeah, that's only one way...) 

All is well though. Later today we're going to eat homemade pizza at one of the RM's house that will be made in his clay oven! Yeah, this ward has a ton of awesome people.

Love yall!
Elder Groneman

Monday, November 3, 2014

"No tendrás otro Dios delante de mí" [You will have no other God before me]

I bet you're wondering why I have titled this email the way I have. The answer is quite simple. I now know what it feels like to be prayed to. Haha! So yesterday in Sacrament Meeting an old lady that has been a member for centuries went up to the pulpit to say the opening prayer. Well, I think she forgot what she was doing exactly because she started praying to the congregation! Ya, don't think that had ever happened before......The ward secretary got up and said the prayer right after so it was all good. Oh, also yesterday I was the pianist. Usually one of 2 members plays but both were gone so yippee for me I got to play! Haha ya....I haven't played hymns in a long time....It was actually not bad though.

The rest of the week doesn't really have a story. A lot happened but none of it was out of the ordinary. The week felt like it lasted all year. Speaking of years, it's kinda trippin' me out having a full year of summer and having the seasons flipped. I'm like, "It's November, where is all of the snow and cold??"

Oh, and holidays are not as good here. Halloween was definitely a disappointment. There were absolutely no decorations anywhere until a couple hours before dark and once it got dark there were barely any trick-or-treaters. AND the candy was not as good. Yes, we got candy. One guy gave us some because we "are dressed up as missionaries". I'm not sure if he realized that we dress like that every day.....(Sarcasm doesn't really exist down here. I'm kinda dying without it - Not that I could speak it in Spanish anyways...)

So ya. That was my week. Nothing big or exciting. Just the usual. 

OH! They have Mac&Cheese down here!!! It's not everywhere but the store we go to just happens to have it (The store is actually now owned by WalMart). Yes, I am very happy if you're wondering :D

Okay, that's it for my stream-of-consciousness this week. Stay tuned for next week´s episode.

Elder Groneman
Photos from last week's BBQ

Monday, October 27, 2014

Ordinary Week

Not much happened this week. It was super hot every day besides yesterday. The temp may not be too high but the sun is the killer. The ozone basically doesn't exist here because everyone uses propane for everything (water heater, heater, stove..) so all that gas pollution has destroyed the ozone and therefore "all of the concentrated power of the sun" shines on us every day. Yay Skin Cancer!!! (Yes Dad, we use sunscreen - SPF 50 because there's nothing higher here). Oh, funny story. When I first got here, one morning I heard music coming from outside that sounded like an ice cream truck. Nope. It was one of the propane trucks that drive around selling propane. Ya, I was very disappointed...

The reason why this letter is a lot later than the others is because we had a BBQ with the ZLs and 3 RMs in our ward that are awesome. That was fun. Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera so no pics. But C** (one of the RMs) supposedly is going to send us the pics that he took, so wait for next week.

That's about it for the week. Nothing out of the ordinary happened. Heat, Sun, Rejection, Happiness, Exhaustion, Laughter, Walking, and Walking, and some more Walking....Oh the life of a missionary:)

Love yall!
Elder Groneman

Monday, October 20, 2014

Short and Sweet

WST (weekly scripture thought)
3 Nephi 11
When God was trying to speak to the Nephites they were too busy to hear Him. It took Him 3 times to finally get their attention so that they understood what He was trying to say. This is like us and the Holy Ghost. Sometimes in our lives we are way too busy with all of the things that we have to do. During these times, the HG may be trying to talk to us but we are too busy trying to complete everything on our list of things to do that we don't hear it. We need to slow down our lives a little so that we when the HG talks to us we are able to hear. It is okay if we don't finish everything on our list because Heavenly Father doesn't care about all of those things. He wants us to listen to Him so that He can guide our lives.

Not a lot happened this week. We did find R** again (the guy that had the heart transplant) but he was drunk out of his mind. He really wants to stop drinking and smoking though because he knows that it is just damaging his new heart. 

Yeah, besides that not a lot happened. Same as usual basically. We had interviews with Pres. K this week and he told my comp and me that we are no longer allowed to speak English at all. The only English I am allowed to speak is when I am asking what a word means. Por ejemplo "Gato significa Cat?" o " Qué significa Gato?" o "Cómo se dice Cat?".....Yeah, that is driving me crazy but it is really helping my Spanish.

So yeah...that's it. Sorry no photos. Maybe next week....maybe ;)
Love y´all
Elder Groneman 2 (the better one)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Best week we have had so far!!!

Best week we have had so far!!! Three days into the week we already had done as much as or more than last week in every aspect! Ya, it was a good week.

So story for the week...
   We were on the way to a teaching appointment with a less active lady when these two guys in their 20s say hello (hola) to us from their front yard. Not unusual because everyone here says hi as we walk by. Either that or we say hi first. Anyways, we continue to the lady´s house. We arrive but she says to come back later because her grandkids just got there so she was going to spend time with them. Okay, no big deal there. As we´re walking back down the road the 2 guys call out to us again. We don't have anything in our immediate plans so we decide to talk to them. One of the guys invites us into the yard (every house is surrounded by a gate - lots of crime here) then we start sharing with them. Long story short (sorry, I'm not going to give a play-by-play of the whole conversation) He (the other guy was just a friend) has been wanting to talk with us for a while because he recognizes that Mormons are different. We talked with him for a bit and he seemed really excited to learn and read the BOM, pray, and go to we also invited him to be baptized. He accepted! Sad part of the story. He has recently had a heart transplant so he can't do many things (like have a job). Well, he was going to go to church yesterday but ended up going to the hospital in the morning because he didn't feel good. End sad part. We have another cita [appointment] with him later so it's all good. 
     Ya....I am terrible at telling riveting stories..... :)

Scripture Study Insight
- I am restarting the BOM because I finished so I am in 1st Nephi. So basically everyone knows about Jacob 5, the longest chapter in the BOM, is all about the analogy of the olive tree. But, did you know that Jacob did not come up with that himself?? He actually got it, or at least a major part of it, from Lehi. Cool huh. It's amazing what little things you can notice when you actually are paying attention to what you are reading.

So ya....Elder B** and I made it through changes but one of our Zone Leaders didn't. (We share a ward with them so we know them really well). The new ZL is from Argentina. Haha it's funny because basically all Chileans HATE Argentines. He is awesome though. 

So ya....that's basically it. Love y'all lots. Don't die while I'm gone because that would be unfortunate ;)

Elder Groneman

Monday, October 6, 2014

General Conference was ´really really good´! ;) It faithened my strength ;)

But really, all jokes aside, Conference was great! Thank you Mom and Dad for being my prime gospel teachers!

Eliza and Jacob - you both fail
Sophie - Thanks for the update, but you also failed
Mom and Dad - you both receive a B
;) Love y'all

Soooo......Elder Scott's talk was the best that I have ever heard him give. And now for the invitation to my wonderful family. Actually act on what he talked about! Now that Dad is out of the Singles Ward you can have FHE EVERY week (emphasis on the EVERY in case you didn't catch that). AND start having DAILY family scripture study (Emphasis on the DAILY and take note of the word STUDY - it does not say READING nor does it mean that you can accomplish it in 5-10 minutes). Since Mecham and I are on missions and cannot be physically present for those studies I will be sending in my email a little snippit of my studies since it says daily FAMILY scripture study.

Mecham - Le invito hacer la mismo hasta vuelva en Noviembre [I invite you to do the same in November.]

Sophie and Jeff - I imagine that you both stop by the house a lot still (or at least Sophie does) so when you do, share a little snippit of your studies, or, better yet, join in a family study right then.

Anyways.....eso no más.

Couple questions/answers/requests

1- yes conference was in English and yes we watched the Spanish talks in Spanish
2- my shoe size is 10 1/2 wide USUALLY. I never know for certain cuz every Brand is different. I am not familiar with J**´s boots, sorry. And I have not asked the other Elders what boots they have.
3- Is A** D** on a misión? I'm pretty sure I saw him in the missionary choir twice. Please ask Sister G** for info.
4- for christmas (or before) please send a really good flashdrive with a lot of space on it, like a 64 gig if those exist. Super useful for lessons and other things cuz everyone here has a tv that you can plug one in and show a talk or something.

This week was extremely difficult lesson and contacting wise. Definitely our worst week yet. Yes, worse than last week which is saying something. But, it's okay because Conference ended the week and one of our investigators went to the Saturday morning session which is literally a miracle. She only made it for the last talk, Uchtdorf´s, but it was perfect for her. The reason why it was a miracle is because she said that she would never go to church because when she was 14 she went to a Mormon activity with her member friend. Well, when she got home her parents beat her for leaving. Since then she has never gone to church (she's currently somewhere around 60ish). After the session she asked when church started and it sounded like she was going to go! Yay for the Holy Ghost touching hearts!

Besides that the week was blah. Nothing at all. This week will be better. I finish my first change and first 6 weeks in the field. Hopefully Elder B** doesn't get changed because that would mean I get a step-father. Elders and their trainees are fathers and sons. If an Elder gets two different trainers (you train for 2 changes) the second is the step-father.

So the talks. Have weekly FHE. Study the scriptures every day as a family. Pray together every night. AND go to the temple every week. Not hard at all, right?

Love y'all!
Elder Groneman
Villa Alemana Zone


Monday, September 29, 2014

Hard Week

First things first. I am very disappointed with all of you. Only dad bothered to update me on his efforts with inviting someone to conference and it was not a positive response. Do better!;)

Anyways, question answering time.
- The boots are for both warmth and to keep the water and mud out. I can't get a good pair down here. Every missionary that has says that they get trashed very fast and only last a couple of months at most. Before next winter (your summer) would be nice to have them, so like April-ish. 
- The fleas aren't really around in the winter so I haven't had any problem with them yet but according to everyone you will get them no matter how had you try to prevent it from happening. If you want you can send the oils down but I can't promise that I will use them. 
- The language is still a pain. Yes, every day I understand more but it really depends on the hour if I understand anything or not. At times I catch almost everything, then at other times I have no idea what anyone is saying or what the topic even is. Ya, those times are frustrating. But all is going well.

M** and J** were baptized on Saturday and confirmed yesterday. We had the baptism at a different chapel because our font is still being dumb, so the water was clear and warm. G** was supposed to be confirmed yesterday too but he didn't show up. We stopped by later and it turns out that he had to go to work. He still doesn't have the job secured yet because he has to pass training. After that though he will be able to go to church every week without the worry of being called in. 
Besides the baptisms, the week was hard. Basically all of our teaching appointments fell through and no one would stop and talk to us either. It is okay though because this week looks like it is going to be a lot better. Even if it's not it's okay because General Conference is this weekend!!! Ya, never have really been excited for it before but now I am. AND the missionaries get to watch it in English! ya, I was kind of worried about that but it's all good.

Oh, update. We found C** again. Turns out she has an extremely bad memory. She barely remembered who we were and didn't even remember that she said that she wanted to be baptized. She reads the BOM every night (for some reason she remembers that) which is awesome! It's hard to get another cita with her though because she says that everyday something new comes (which she probably just forgot about) so she´ll never know when she will be free.  But it's okay, we found her again and we now know that she wasn't just telling us what we wanted to hear.

Yep, that's about it for the week. No pasó mucho.
Love yáll
Elder Groneman (not the older, just the better;) )

Monday, September 22, 2014

Great Week!

So it won't let me send a video right now of a stake activity we had for dieciocho [the 18th]. Turns out 18 isn't even their independence day. It's basically the day that they won the war and defeated Peru and Bolivia like 200 some odd years ago. Ya Chile is better than Bolivia:P There are actually a couple of jokes about Bolivia here but they don't work in English sorry.

¿Por qué Bolivianos no pueden casarse? Porque no tienen derechos amar!!!

For the nonSpanish speakers...´amar´ means to love but ´a mar´ means the sea. So basically Chilenos are rubbing in the fact that they took Bolivia´s land that was next to the ocean. Ya, Chile is better:P

Anyways, yesterday was G**´s baptism! And it was crazy! For some reason the drain had stopped working so there was still some water in the font. I have no idea why but there was. Then, once we got that working the water started coming out dirty and cold. We still don't know why because the water for the last baptism (which was a couple weeks ago) was clear and warm. Hopefully they get that fixed before Saturday which is when M** and J** are getting baptized. If it's not fixed we will probably just go to another building that is close by. The actual baptism went great. I didn't mess up his name or the prayer at all and he went all the way under easily. The water was dirty and cold but oh well. Yep! It was awesome! Then while we were changing G** started singing! That shocked us because usually he has absolutely no expression on his face at all and the only way we know what he is feeling/thinking is by asking him. Well, not this time. He started singing. I have no idea what but he sounded happy! The ward was also extremely supportive which was a giant blessing because G** had no friends or family to support him. His family is atheist and his friends don't like the idea of him changing. Well, G** is basically breaking his ties with his friends and hoping God will bless him with new friends from the church. He is going to be confirmed on Sunday and has an interview to receive the priesthood that day too! He was actually really bummed when we told him that he would have to wait a bit to receive the priesthood because he needed an interview. He also is excited to put his mom´s name through the temple. Growing up in Utah we don't always recognize just how special the temple is because we have like 7 within an hour's drive and 4 within 30 minutes. But the temple is such an amazing place!

Something else that happened yesterday. We found a less active that just moved into our sector so we had a lesson with her. Well, there wasn't an adult male in her house so she went to her neighbor's door, knocked, and asked him to share with us too. Turns out he is like her ex-husband's brother-in-law or something like that. Anyways, the lesson went really well and we are going to meet with him (J**) later this week! Members can open doors that the missionaries would never be able to! I think that most members think that they are helping the missionaries by referring their neighbors or friends when really in addition to that, they, the members, should take the initiative to share the gospel with their neighbors and friends FIRST! Its not just the missionaries´ job to preach the gospel, its everyone's.'s the missionary in me coming out......These next two weeks find someone to invite to listen to General Conference and then bug them until they accept. Then go a bit further and invite them to watch with you just so you know that they did it. Persistence is the key to half of what missionaries do, so members need to be persistent too. Everyone knows someone that they can invite even if they can't think of someone. Pray to find out who to invite and how to invite them. God always answers prayers, especially about sharing the gospel because He wants ALL of His children to have it. 

So ya. In your emails next week I will be expecting an update on your efforts. And that means an email from each person. Yes Eliza and Jacob, that includes you too. 

Well, that's about it for this week. I love being here in Chile and I know that there is not a better place to be....even if you [Mecham!] don't want to be here....cough cough.

Love ya all!
Elder Groneman

Monday, September 15, 2014

The week was pretty much normal.

To answer some questions first...

The sleeping bag is great! I sleep amazing every night with it. I would like some more long sleeve shirts and a pair of boots (not for snow) for next year though. We only get mail once a month because that is when the ZLs have their conference and collect all the mail for their zone that came that month. Dumb? yes, but I can't change it, so oh well. The language is coming slowly because Chileans use tons of slang and have words that only they use and then different definitions of other words. Like Palolo means bug but in Chile it also means boyfriend. Stuff like that makes it more difficult. That and the fact they they still talk freakishly fast. It literally sounds like mumbling. Yes, lots of less actives. It's hard reactivating them though because they are never home or, if they are home, they don't answer the door. Oh well, we keep trying.

Anyways....G** is getting baptized on Sunday and he asked me to perform the baptism!!! Barely a month in the field and I get to baptize! So next week expect photos of that. But no photos this week, sorry.

Funny story. This is when I was on interchanges so I wasn't there but it was with one of our investigators that had a fecha so ya....My comp and Elder H** (one of the ZLs, I was with the other in their sector) were on their way to J**´s house. Well, as they were walking they see her little brother, who´s like 6, and mom outside. The little bro looks and them and says ´´Mom! The Mormons are coming!´´ She then calls him inside and quickly slams the door. Well, they go past the house so they don't look stupid and go check on a recent convert. After that they go back to J**´s house and call it. No one comes out. They try again with the same result. So Elder H** decides to use the Magic Hand. So, he waves at a random window and smiles like he can see someone in it. Well, after that they came out! J** said that she prayed and felt like the Bible was the only word of God and didn't want use to visit her any more. End Story. AHHH!!!  ..... We know that her mom convinced her not to meet with us anymore because she never liked us to begin with and the lesson we had with J** before went amazingly! And we know it wasn't her dad either because he was the reason why we went to the house in the first place and he was open to the message too! That was frustrating when I heard that. But oh well. You can't take away people´s agency even when you want to. 

The rest of the week was pretty much normal. Found a couple new investigators, one of which accepted a fecha! So ya....all is well.

 Oh, and a less-active and part member family we've been teaching (la familia F**) came to church again! The dad still doesn't want to have anything to do with the church anymore though:( The mom however, is loving church and said in one of the classes that ´to start going back to church is hard but once you do, you never want to stop again´!!! The two boys that aren't baptized are going to be baptized on the 27th and we wanted their older brother to do it but he hasn't gone to church again so we doubt that the bishop will let him. The mom really wants to be sealed as a family but that can't happen unless the dad becomes active again or she divorces him. .... I really hope the dad comes back to church but my comp and I can't do much about it because he won't even talk to us. The push will have to come from his family. 

Yep, that's about it for the week!
Elder Groneman

Monday, September 8, 2014

It's just been a really good week.

Sad news first. C** has dropped off the face of the earth. We can never find her at home and she didn't go to church this week. Ya sad....We think that she only committed to baptism so that we would leave her doorstep that day. Oh and we're pretty sure that she has her little brother lie to our faces that she wasn't home because we heard people talking before we called out. Oh, I never explained that. Basically no one here has doorbells and everyone has a fence so to ´´knock on their door´´ we have to yell at their house. We yell ALO and then hope that they heard it which they usually do because all of the walls here are super thin. Which brings me to the next thing that I never mentioned. Our pension is always cold because the cold seeps through the walls and we have no heating whatsoever. The only form of heating we have is one of those small heater fans like we have in the basement. But we can't even have it on the whole time because we have to keep our bill under a certain amount and it racks up the bill a lot when we use it. So we're cold most mornings but it's okay cuz we just put on our coats and keep working.

Happy news now. So on Wednesday we were having an okay day. Our citas (appointments) had fallen through so we were just randomly knocking doors, or yelling at houses;) Anyways, my comp randomly called at this house that was at the very end of the street. Out comes G**. He is better than a golden investigator. He is platinum! He opened up to us right at the beginning and told us that he had been waiting to talk to people like us because he had a lot of questions and doubts. (Keep in mind this whole time I'm still only catching some of the conversation but I could understand a lot from how he was intonating words and his body language) He said that he thought God was a punishing god because everything in his life wasn't going well for him and he thought it was because God was punishing him for everything bad that he had done in his life. While the babble (That's what it sounds like half the time) was going on, I just thought, ´´Hey, the Atonement helps with everything. I wonder if he knows about it.´´ So I asked him. He said what most people say. Jesus died on a cross and suffered in the garden. I then had him read Alma 7:11-13. After he read it he received personal revelation right then and said ´´Oh, so God just wants me to be near to him´´ That scripture never said that and neither of us had said that. That was an amazing moment. Then he continued to surprise us. He gave himself the commitments to read the BOM, pray, and go to church before we could give them to him. Ya, this guy has been sooo prepared by God to receive the gospel. Oh, his house and breath reeked of smoke when we first met him. The 3rd lesson we had with him was on the WOW. (Oh, and during the 2nd lesson he realized that he had to stop smoking before we told him) He accepted it right away and then Elder B** offered to give him a blessing to help him quit. During the blessing Elder B** was impressed to say that the smell and taste of tobacco would be offensive to him. Well, the next day the smoke smell was completely gone (his house actually smells like Grandma M**´s perfume. Ya, apparently there is an incense scent that smells like her) and all of the cigarette stubs that littered the ground outside were cleaned up. He said that he had no more desire to smoke (and he smoked 20 times a day) or drink tea. Wow! The power of God and the Priesthood is real! He went to church yesterday and really enjoyed it. His baptism is scheduled to be on the 21st of September.

We also have 2 other investigators with fechas that day, and possibly 3 after we talk with another one of our investigators today. So ya, this week has been full of miracles. And not all of them have had to do with G**. It's just been a really good week. The sun finally came out again, found new investigators, got some of them to go to church, set fechas (Baptismal dates), and ya. It's been good. Still can't understand a lot of things so sometimes I find myself zoning out. Especially during almuerzo [lunch]. It's slowly getting better though. Very slowly.....

To answer mom's questions.
1) I think it's in my cubby because you were going to glue it back together but, if I remember right, never did. 
2) Villa Alemana Oeste is the stake and Huanhualí is the ward. The chapel is on Huanhualí. 

Elder B** and Elder Groneman

Monday, September 1, 2014


Wow....I have no idea of how to start this email.....

So the plane ride down didn't feel that long. Probably because I slept most of the time. After the picture at the flower clock the president gathered us around and pulled out a box of Book of Mormons and pieces of paper with an address on them. He then proceeded to tell us that he was going to put us in companionships and then we had to do 3 things. 1) Talk to someone and give them the book. 2) Get that person´s contact info 3) figure out how to get to the mission house (the address on the paper). Then he drove away leaving us in the city. Haha ya that was a fun experience. Everyone my comp and I tried to talk to either said they were busy or just didn't want to talk. There were a couple people who we couldn't even understand because Chileans all speak soo fast. We finally found a college-aged kid to talk to and we got his info and gave him the book. We didn't have much time to talk with him because he was about to go to class. The whole time we were walking away from him my comp kept looking back muttering ´Don't throw it away. Don't throw it away.´´ From what we saw he didn't which was good. Finding the house wasn't difficult at all. Everyone we asked was happy to give us directions. I felt so bad for one of the companionships though. Most of us arrived at the house after an hour or so. One of the companionships didn't arrive back until after 3 hours had passed. Turns out they couldn't find anyone to give the book to. 

Okay, so now for the rest of the week. My comp is Elder B** (and no, his name is not J**). I'm in a city called Villa Alemana (GermanVille in English). We share a ward with the Zone Leaders, Elders H** and B**. Funny thing is that one of my friends (J** C**) asked me to find Elder B** when I got to Viña. Well, out of over 200 missionaries in the mission he randomly ended up as my zone leader. Kinda funny. Oh, my comp is also the District Leader. It's his first time being a trainer and being a district leader so he's learning two new things as he's trying to train me.

Anyways, Chile is AMAZING!!! Soo much better than the CCM. The food is fantastic. We actually eat lunch with the members every day because we don't eat dinner here. There's not a time in the schedule for the missionaries to eat dinner so if you want food then you bring a little snack with you. But the lunches are ginormous! So I haven't been hungry for dinner at all. As for the language....haha ya.... I am slowly understanding more and more of every conversation but I still miss about half of everything. Everyone speaks so fast it's hard to catch everything. And then like Utahns with their t´s, they don't pronounce their d´s half the time and for someone who is learning a new language that is super tough to work with. But it's okay. All the members are funny because when they start talking to my comp I must have this look on my face that says ´´I have no idea what you are saying´´ because then they either purposefully start talking way faster to me or they slow waaay down. Then they proceed to laugh when I still don't understand them. Ya, it's great. And I love how Chileans stay up late and wake up later too! MY PEOPLE!!! Because of that we get to wake up later and stay out later too which I am completely fine with!

So story for this week. My comp has been trying to find these two people who were a reference but he hadn't been able to catch them at home. We passed by their house on Saturday and again they weren't home. So we started talking to their daughter. The whole time we were on the doorstep while she half hid her face with the door. (side note) Earlier that day my comp was saying how he hated that everyone thinks they have to work on Sunday just to get money and then be happy. (end side note) So  we start talking to her (C**). When I say we I mean my comp starts talking to her and I jump in only when I actually understand what they are even saying. So, he starts talking to her about church and then invites her to church. She said she couldn't because she works every Sunday. So, my comp pulls out a scripture saying how Sunday is a day of rest and we need to keep it holy. (Meanwhile I want to laugh because he was complaining about this very thing about 10 minutes earlier). Anyways, she says she´ll come to church.  Then my comp keeps talking to her and I have no idea what is being said. Then my comp looks at me with a face that tells me he's waiting for me to say something. I had no idea what to say because I had no idea what they were even talking about. So in English he tells me to invite her to be baptized. So I did and she ACCEPTED!! We continued talking then set a date to return and teach her then we left. The next day, Sunday, we didn't see her at all at church so we were wondering what happened. We stopped by her house and asked her. Apparently she didn't understand our directions very well because she got lost and couldn't find the chapel. We were sad about that so next week we are stopping by her house and walking with her to church.

The giant rain storm in the CCM. (there's a full on river down the walkway) All the grass fields were lakes. YA, that was fun.

My district with our branch presidency

Me with Elder F** (friend from Hillcrest)

My district in the CCM with one of our teachers

My district

Viña del Mar
At the airport

At the Flower Clock in Viña del Mar

Me with Viña

Viña del Mar

My comp (Elder B**)

My comp and me