Serving an LDS Mission in Vina del Mar, Chile.

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