Serving an LDS Mission in Vina del Mar, Chile.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Good Things are Happening

Seeing all of you on Christmas was awesome! I loved hearing Grandpa´s song [Sophie and Mecham wrote a song for Grandpa's funeral]. The members here thought that the snow was amazing. I don't think that they have ever seen it so up close and real (well, as real as it can get using a computer screen).

The rest of the week was normal. M** is really excited for her baptism. We talked with her sister-in-law yesterday and her daughter-in-law today and they both told us that she is soo happy and ready. Saturday can't come quickly enough. Oh, and she invited us to eat lunch on Friday. Can't say that an investigator has ever done that yet. She's great and very prepared.

Quick story. I'm pretty sure that I've told you about A** and his son, A** J**, and how the dad hasn't let his son get baptized because he wanted to baptize him but at the same time he said that he didn't believe in the church. Well, yesterday we went over to his house to talk with him about baptizing his son because he has been going to church regularly and is striving to change. As we were talking with him, I saw the Spirit touch him a little (even though it wasn't that spiritual a moment) and he decided to change his plans/goals and to baptize his son on the 10th! WOOT!

I'm really happy because I told the mom that before I leave her son would be baptized and now it's going to happen on the last week of the change! Pray for them. He's trying really hard to overcome his bad habits and needs all of the heavenly help he can get.

Love you all!
Elder Groneman
 
Missionary Concert on the beach

Me with J** F**. Hes the one that I helped activate in Huanhualí. He's leaving on a mission soon!
 

I will now be returning home on July 12 (or something like that). Just in case you're wondering.

So I don't have much time to write because once again we had to travel. Not to Viña but to Villa Alemana! We had a Mission activity for Christmas with 4 other zones! It was great! I'll tell you more about it next week or on Friday!
 
Quick story. Sunday was the last Christmas concert and while we were there I saw my 2 favorite families in the whole entire misión! La familia B** and La Familia F** M**! They are from Huanhualí (my first área). Let's just say that I was extremely happy. I activated and baptized Los F** M** and yesterday they told me that the mom just went through the temple and received her endowments and J** (oldest son) received his misión call to Mendoza, Argentina! He leaves January 28th so it was awesome that I got to see him one more time before he left.
 
M** PASSED HER BAPTISMAL INTERVIEW!! After 5 months she will be baptized! We had to move her date a bit because she received a notice from her husband that he wasn't going to make it for Christmas but was going to be there for New Years. She will now be baptized on January 2! Pray that it happens!!
 
Oh,I  don't know if you've heard but the time for native speakers in the MTC has changed from 2 weeks to 3 weeks. Due to that, all of our return dates have changed. I will now be returning home on July 12 (or something like that). Just in case you're wondering. The office wanted all of us to tell our families that like a month ago but I've forgotten every week until now. Just so you know.
 
I'll be skyping around 3:30 here but it may happen between 3 and 4 depending on how the technical difficulties go because there always seems to be something that goes wrong.
 
See you all then!
Elder Groneman
 
ps: thanks for the boxes! My comp is really happy. He says that he's never gotten so many presents in his life.
 
Pics next week (no time right now)

Monday, December 14, 2015

Interesting week.....

This week was.......interesting.

I worked in 2 sectors this week. Monday, Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday we were in Cabíldo. Everything normal there. Wednesday to Friday we were in Viña. My comp had choir practices so because our sector is so far away from Viña and it's really expensive to make the trip, we just stayed with the mission secretaries. During the day I worked with Elder B** in his sector in Viña. I've decided my mission is just full of random opportunities to work in random areas.

It was awesome working with him. We gave away a lot of BOMs and taught a few people as well. I'll send a pic of a view from one of the house we were in. It's an amazing view of Viña! Gotta love Chile.

Even though we had only a little bit of time to work in our own sector good things still happened. M** IS GOING TO BE BAPTIZED!!!! After 5 months of teaching her and being in every single lesson, she finally accepted a baptismal date!!! She talked with her husband about her baptism and he also wanted to be present (which is why it's taken so long) so she asked when he was going to be home. He's going to be in Cabíldo for Christmas and New Years (which is a miracle because he's never been in town for the both) so we automatically placed the date for the 27th! She is soo happy! Please pray for her! She's been waiting for sooo long!

That was easily the highlight of the week. But other good things happened too. There's a little 9 year old kid -  J** - who really wants to be baptized but his inactive dad - A** - didn't give him permission when he was 8 because he said that he wanted to baptize him but also that he didn't believe in the church. Doesn't make sense, right? He says that he doesn't believe in the church but then he says he wants to be the one to baptize his son which means that he does believe. Ya, I'm confused, too. Anyway, A** has now changed in the blink of an eye. He is now going to church every week and is trying to stop swearing. He even has an awesome idea for an activity in which to invite every investigator and inactive member. Él tiene tanto ánimo! (sorry, there's not a word in English that translates well.) We have resumed teaching J** and are hoping that his dad feels ready to baptize him. Just a little bit more and he will be!

As for this next week I have no idea what is going to happen with me. My comp has to be in Viña from Wednesday to Monday morning and this time I won't be with him. They still haven't told me if I'm going to be with another elder whose comp is in the choir, with the elders in the sector next door to mine (by next door I mean 30 minutes in bus), or with my ZL whose comp just ended the mission. So ya...this week is going to be interesting. But it's all good. Whoever I'm with is going to get to know Cabíldo because I will go there to work. I am not going to lose 5 1/2 days in my area. Maybe we can do a half and half thing....we'll see what happens.

Today I'm also in Viña. (can I just change my sector to here?) My comp has to do the paperwork for his 2nd visa. I am seriously a master at this paperwork thing. With every single companion, I've had to do it. I don't even bother looking at the instructions anymore. I also end up guiding like 4 other missionaries every time, too. Ya, I've done this way too much....

So ya. That's about it. I still don't know about the time schedule for the Skype call. The member that we are going to do it with wasn't in church yesterday because they had to go to San Felipe. I'll tell you as soon as I know.

When telling someone the time, always check it twice before you tell them. You can really ruin someone's day if you get it wrong. (yes, this is speaking from experience....)

LOL (lots of love ;P)
Elder Groneman
 
PS. So the computer is being dumb and isn't recognizing my camera. I'll have to send you the photos later. Sorry!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Changes! Not.

Changes!!!!

I stayed! And my comp left! Haha ya, we weren't expecting that at all. It was deja vous for him because that is exactly what happened the first time he was here. So ya, I'm still in my 3rd sector. Three sectors with 6 months in each. That definitely doesn't happen that often. I've only heard of 1 other missionary with that situation - and only because he asked for it. It's all good though. Looks like I still have work to do here in Cabíldo.

My new comp is Elder P** from Samoa. He actually lives in the States now but lived most of his life on the island. We get along really well because we both love music. We usually are walking down the street singing or whistling and making random harmonies. It's great. He's in the mission choir so when we have time I help him with his music because he doesn't know how to sight-sing and he struggles with parts.

As for the Skype call on Christmas, I have no idea when we are going to do it. I imagine that it'll happen at like 4ish here so at like 1 there (if I remember right you're 3 hours behind). I'll keep you posted on that.

Overall this week was slow. Everyone here is about to get out of school so all of the parents are ALWAYS in meetings. It's crazy how many meetings they have here! Due to that we barely taught anyone because well, they were never home! This week will be the same (if it goes the same way as last year). BUT it is okay because it is during these times when we usually find the best investigators. No one else wants to talk to you or open their door so if they do it means that they are willing to listen and probably ready to accept the restored gospel. I'm looking forward to those moments this week!

So yeah, that's my life right now. Working like a missionary. Life's good.  :)

Elder Groneman

October Zone Conference [Elder Groneman is on the second to last row, leaning forward]

Monday, November 30, 2015

Fasting on Thanksgiving!

Nothing unusual this week.

So on Thanksgiving we fasted! It was the first (and probably the last) time that that has happened. We fasted because ever since I had that detour in La Calera after my comp ran away, she (M**) hasn't had the same enthusiasm. Well, we finally came to the decision to fast because that was all we had left. That lesson was awesome. It wasn't as spiritual as the last lesson with her but our fast was definitely answered. M** is now 100% sure that she wants to be baptized and, once again, we are only waiting for her husband to return home. She hasn't been able to get ahold of him because of the bad coverage where he is working right now. Basically she will be baptized in December after I leave (we have changes this week and I'm pretty sure I'm leaving).

Slowly but surely the church attendance is growing which makes me happy. When I got here the average was about 20-25. Now we've been having high 30s and yesterday we had 45. Little by little. I just hope that people progress and that they don't go inactive once again....

Cabíldo has a cross situated on a giant hill. Well, today we hiked up to the cross with the elders from a nearby branch and a less active that we are working with (we are hoping that he becomes our ward mission leader because we don't have one). Haha we decided to make our own path. Hiking up the path that everyone uses is too easy, right? What is usually about an 1 1/2 hour hike took us 3 hours and now I'm covered with cuts and scrapes! It was great! For a lot of the time we started following a trail made by the cows and/or horses that roam the hills of Cabíldo then we had to trail blaze until we finally found the top. It wouldn't have taken us so long but there was sooo much mist that we couldn't see anything more than 10 feet in front of us. Not to mention the strong, chilly wind. In the end we ended up coming in from behind and hiking down to the cross. Easily the most interesting pday I've had so far. I'd send photos but I forgot my camera cord.  :/

So ya. That's about it. I'll tell you all next week where I am and who my comp is if I get transferred.

Until then,
Elder Groneman

Monday, November 23, 2015

Zone Conference & Golden Contacts

There's not much to say about this week.

M** now has some doubts about if she is ready or not to be baptized. She wants a definite answer and also wants to feel sure about the decision. Basically the root of her doubt is that she is afraid of failing after she gets baptized. Well, when she expressed that to us we started teaching and testifying, and the Spirit was SOO strong in that lesson. She still isn't 100% sure but little by little she's progressing again. Please pray for her.

So this whole changes we've been having a hard time finding new investigators. We've found a few but no one that is really prepared to hear about the restored gospel. We've been working hard and praying a lot and finally we found 2 people last night! C** (18) and J** (17). We contacted them the other day and set a day to pass by. Usually when we do that with teenagers, they end up not being home. Well, they were different. They were waiting for us and set everything aside to listen attentively. Wow. I haven't had a first lesson go so well since G** (my first convert). They understood everything, understood the spiritual significance of everything, readily agreed to read and pray, prayed at the end without the slightest objection, invited us to return without us asking first, and gave us a reference without us asking. Let's just say that it's not everyday here in Chile when we find people so open to the gospel. I'm just sad that I'm probably going to leave the sector in a week and a half (President Diaz strongly implied it). Oh well, I'm just happy that we found them.

Oh, we also had Zone Conference on Tuesday. SO GREAT! It was all about the strength of the Book of Mormon. I'll send a pdf of just one of the things that Pres Diaz taught us. The BOM is awesome. It contains power that we cannot obtain in any other way. Let's just say that the Lord knew what He was doing when He told Nefi to write on the gold plates.

Love you all!
Elder Groneman
 
16 November 2015, Cabildo Zone Conference--[Elder Groneman is playing the piano]  









 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Gypsies!

This week was really interesting. We had a few....unique experiences.

First off, we taught Gypsies! They are everywhere in Chile (especially in Villa Alemana) but this past month a family of them moved to Cabíldo. We saw their giant tent which is how we knew they moved in. Well, this week while I was in Quillota for interchanges, Elder S** contacted the son, Bryan, and set an appointment. Well, two days later we went to their tent and taught them! We sat on mattresses because they were packing things up because they had to leave the next day to go to Villa Alemana. They were really nice and receptive and wanted to learn more so we gave them my old cell number from when I was in Huanhualí to contact the missionaries there.

They taught us a little about their culture and now I know how to say "How are You?" in Romaní (their language) Sarsán! So yeah, that was definitely fun, but too bad that they had to leave. :( Oh well.

On Saturday we returned to Petorca but this time we visited an area where we had never been before. And guesses as to what area? THE JAIL!!! Yep, that's right! We went to the jail! Definitely NOT what we were expecting.

The Branch President of a nearby branch is the jail´s director so we decided to talk to him in order to see if he would let us teach a member that is there. When we pushed the intercom on the gate "What do you want?" "May we talk to Roberto Gallardo? " "He's not here today" "oh, umm we would like to visit someone then." "okay, come on in" Ya, it was really easy. We left our bags up front and then they led us to a door and walked us through it. Then they turned around and just left us there! WHAT?!?! We looked around and found ourselves in the courtyard (or whatever you call it) surrounded by the inmates. Well, without anything else to do we started talking to people trying to find the guy we were looking for. Thankfully he approached us and asked if we were looking for him. We then sat down on at a table that was near by and started to talk. Meanwhile all of the inmates around us were busying woodworking, watching tv, or talking. They didn't even bother us. As we were talking with him, he told us that the jail was full of people that had been moved there because of good conduct. They have a lot more privileges thanks to their good behavior, such as hot water, tv, they can call home every week. Haha and people from the outside ask them to build furniture and stuff so the majority of the inmates spend their time woodworking and building stuff. Kinda cool. Never thought that I would teach someone in the jail.

Those are the 2 highlights of the week. Oh those and we had Branch Conference this week so all of the members for the first time showed up early to church. Then the first hymn that the Branch President chose was ´Oh está todo bien´ (come come ye saints). The title in Spanish translates to "Everything is okay". I just found it very funny and ironic because not many things here in Cabíldo are "okay".

So ya, that was my week. todo normal...casi.

Until next week!
Love you all!
Elder Groneman

Monday, November 9, 2015

Working, walking, bus riding, teaching, more walking.....I love it!

So we got a surprise this week when we found out on Wednesday that M**´s husband was in town and was going to leave Friday!!! AHHH!!! Apparently he just came down randomly without telling anyone which is why M** didn't tell us in advance. Long story short, M** still hasn't been baptized but will be before I leave this sector. She told us that she will talk to her husband about asking for a weekend off just to come down. She wants me to be in her baptism because I've been the missionary that has been in every lesson with her (with 3 different comps and others while on interchanges). Anyways, she's still doing good spiritually but went to the hospital this week because she has a colon problem. So ya, she's been a bit sick but still loves meeting with us.

Besides that not much happened this week. We went to Petorca, San Lorenzo, and Los Artificios this week. They're 3 of the tiny towns in our sector. Basically right now we are looking everywhere for less active elders. So, they've asked us (and are going to start helping us) to start finding all of the inactive elders who are receptive. It's been interesting. We still have a lot of work to do because the members directory is not organized at all (thank you to ward secretaries who organize information). I'm really grateful to the people who help us when we ask if they know the person we're looking for. Then we contact them. haha It's actually a good way to start a contact.

Oh, I'm actually in Viña right now because we have to do tramites [documents] AGAIN! This time they're mine. AHH!!! I feel old in the mission but I don't want to leave. So ya...enough of that now.

So ya, working, walking, bus riding, teaching, more walking.....I love it! Its so great sharing the gospel message with people! It's sad when they don't even take the time to listen to us or when they automatically reject it. Oh well, my job is to gather scattered Israel and that's what we´re doing.

Love you all!
Elder Groneman

Monday, November 2, 2015

Halloween activity & quick update

So this week was a bit hectic. We found out that the branch hadn't planned an activity for Halloween so with a few less-active members we planned one. Honestly we were soo busy trying to get everything ready that we weren't sure how it was going to turn out. IT WAS GREAT! We had over 50 people in the chapel (which is amazing because only 30 people go to church normally) and the kids had a great time. Unfortunately with all of the things that we were trying to do at one time all of us forgot to take pictures :(  Oh well, I'll remember everything perfectly when I die so until then......

So with such a great activity we thought that we would have a bunch of people at church. NO! only 22 people came (that's including us 2 and 3 visitors so really 17). It's sad though that people don't always remember the covenant that they made when they were baptized. We are working hard to motivate people to be more active every day of the week instead of just on Sunday.

As for M**, no she did not get baptized. Not because she didn't want to or because she wasn't ready but because her husband is still not home! He hasn't come home since the middle of September so he should be due home soon. Oh, and BTW, M** is the mom of that giant family. It's hard to teach the other members of the family because they are always coming and going. We know that if M** gets baptized the rest will follow.

Not much else happened though. Chileans LOVE brownies and no-bake cookies (caca de mono) [monkey poop-apparently that's what the no-bake cookies look like] so when we make them they are always happy. Basically all is going well.We are working a lot because after a few weeks without missionaries, we are having trouble establishing contact with people again. It's all good though because we've found a few new people, and old people who at first didn't progress are now progressing.

So ya. That's it for this week. Love you all!
Elder Groneman

Monday, October 26, 2015

Speed Race Against Time to get to Stake Conference

So my new comp is Elder S** from California. He is the tallest missionary in the mission! 6`8"!!! Haha, everyone laughed in the change meeting when we hugged.....I feel like I need a footstool. He's great though. He's been out for 7 months which means that he is my first comp who isn't finishing the mission!!! I'm very happy about that!

He actually started his mission here in Cabildo but was only here for one change than went to El Rocio in Vill Alemana Oeste (close to my first sector) for 3 changes and now is back here. He's excited to be back but has noticed that a few things have changed in the time that he's been gone.

Anyways. Quick little story. This week we had Stake Conference so to help the members in Cabildo and La Ligua out, the stake arranged for a bus to pick us up at 8 in the morning to get to Quillota on time. Well, that morning we were waiting and waiting (during that time is when I sent the photos) and the bus never came. We started getting worried because the bus driver wasn't answering the phone. We called the Elders of La Ligua and all of them were still waiting, too. Well, in the end we decided to head over to La Ligua to see if we could take a bus from there to Quillota because if we waited any longer we were going to be extremely late (it takes about 2 hours to get to Quillota from Cabildo and a member from our branch was supposed to give a talk). Well, as we were in a bus to head to La Ligua, the Elders call us and tell us that the ride from the Stake just arrived, it wasn't what we were expecting, and they didn't have time to wait for us because they were going to be late. So they left. When we got to La Ligua there were absolutely no buses or taxis that were going to Quillota. In the end, I had to talk to a taxi and ask him if he would take us there. Wow, he charged a lot, but in the end it was worth it because we got to Quillota right on time after a 45 minute speed race against time. Honestly I have no idea how we got to Quillota sooo fast but it was definitely a miracle.

Now we are planning an activity for Halloween because we found out that if we (the missionaries) aren't here present, no one does anything. So now after 2 week's absence, we are pumping up the members´ energy again. Haha I'm so happy to be back in Cabildo again!

So I'm very disappointed because no one told me what scripture they were ponderizing. Anyways for this week I am ponderizing 3Nephi 19:24.

24  Y aconteció que cuando Jesús hubo orado así al Padre, volvió a sus discípulos, y he aquí, continuaban orando a él sin cesar; y no multiplicaban muchas palabras, porque les era manifestado lo que debían suplicar, y estaban llenos de anhelo.

[24 And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus prayed unto the Father, he came unto his disciples, and behold, they did still continue, without ceasing, to pray unto him; and they did not multiply many words, for it was given unto them what they should pray, and they were filled with desire.] 
 
When we pray, we should be listening to the Spirit because he will tell us for what we should ask. We don't need to repeat the same thing over and over, rather we should pray earnestly and with faith.
 
Love you all!
Elder Groneman
 

Elder P**, Elder Groneman, Elder S**

Elder S**, Elder Groneman, Elder P**

Elder S** and Elder Groneman
 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Explanation of Last Week

Okay first of all, What happened to my brothers???? You have the flaite haircut! Flaite = the wannabe ganster teenager that thinks he is too cool and spends all day every day smoking and drinking. What HAPPENED?!?! [His two brothers and his brother-in-law all have the haircut with short sides and longer top--the "hipster" haircut that is so popular right now.....apparently not acceptable in Parker's eyes!]

Okay, so my now ex-comp has had a really hard life. Like REALLY hard. His mission hasn't been that easy as well. Well, as his time in the mission has been getting closer he had been getting really homesick and just didn't want to be in the mission at all. Combine that his fight or flight response (he always flees). So one day he just was done with everything and didn't wake up in the morning until 10:30 and started packing his suitcases. He told me that he was going home. Well, he stopped packing after like 5 minutes and went downstairs to shower. He got out with street clothes on, picked up his backpack, and walked out the door. I was upstairs studying and when I heard the door open. I rushed downstairs to see what he was doing only to find him locking me in. I opened up the window and asked what he planned on doing and all he did was look at me with a cheesy grin, wave, then throw the keys. I called the leaders and everything, and ended up having to climb out a window to retrieve the keys. In the end, I was alone in the apartment cleaning and listening to general conference talks for about 7 hours until the assistants and Pres Diaz picked me up. So yeah, that's basically what happened.

Yes, I will be going back to Cabildo. Pres told me that specifically. I'm happy about that because M**, our awesome investigator has a baptismal date for the 31st (yes, Halloween). She's doing great and has been reading the BOM while we haven't been able to pass by. I'll be in Cabildo on Thursday so we are going to pass by her that night.

So, here´s a question for all of you. What scripture are you ponderizing this week? I expect answers next week. I am ponderizing Helaman 14:30--

30  Así pues, recordad, recordad, mis hermanos, que el que perece, perece por causa de sí mismo; y quien comete iniquidad, lo hace contra sí mismo; pues he aquí, sois libres; se os permite obrar por vosotros mismos; pues he aquí, Dios os ha dado el conocimiento y os ha hecho libres.

[30 And now remember, remember, my brethren, that whosoever perisheth, perisheth unto himself; and whosoever doeth iniquity, doeth it unto himself; for behold, ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free.]

It's always good to remember that we are free to act. Satan doesn't have power over us unless we allow him to. We can't blame him for anything that we do because in the end we make the choice.

So I've actually really enjoyed being in a trio this week. We've gotten really good at teaching and working together. It'll be sad to leave them but I have to go to Cabildo to help the people there.

Love you all. Hope that you are all reading your scripture DAILY!
Elder Groneman

Monday, October 12, 2015

Just a short note...

Haha so this week has easily been the most eventful week in my mission.

Long story short I am no longer in Cabildo. For the last 2 weeks of the change I am in a trio in La Calera. During the change meeting I will get a new comp and return to Cabildo.. All I can say now is that our apartment is spotless, and cleaning while listening to general conference talks for 7 hours is a great way to pass time along.....

Anyway, I am with Elder S** and Elder P**. Elder S** and I were in the CCM together. Haha Dad knows his dad (both dentists). It's great here in La Calera but I miss being in Cabildo. I just keep thinking about our investigators that we can't visit for 2 weeks. I hope that the Lord and the members will help them while we aren't there.

So ya, this week it's been interesting. I don't have much time to explain everything because today is a holiday and the store where we are writing is about to close. Sorry.

Please be careful of pianos falling from multiple-story buildings. 
Elder Groneman

Monday, October 5, 2015

Really Good Week

Gotta love General Conference in the mission! It's like Christmas for missionaries. You just can't get enough of that spiritual high!

Three great new apostles. I remember a talk from each one of them which was amazing. Men definitely chosen by the Lord to help guide the world in these last days. When Pres Monson was almost falling on Sunday morning a scripture popped into my mind. The scripture of when King Benjamin says that he is being sustained by the Spirit. Pretty sure that we saw an example of that scripture in real life yesterday.

Besides GC, this week was really good. We returned to Petorca in order to find a bit more less actives and start finding people to teach as well. Well, a less active there gave a reference of one of his neighbors that had been asking for a copy of the BOM. He asked us to visit her so we did right away. She has been prepared a lot. When she opened the door she immediately asked us to come in before we could even say a word (that doesn't EVER happen here in Chile). As we were talking she started crying and was extremely receptive. Hopefully she`ll be able to make the journey go to church in Cabildo.

We also found an 84 year old lady who, when she opened the door, exclaimed "My brothers have finally come back!" and then proceeded to hug us tightly. In her prayer she said "Thank you for sending me my own brothers again in answer to my prayer that I've had for so long now." People have definitely been missing the church there for some time now.
Haha we also talked to a guy in pure English. He is one of the English teachers there. Wow, who would have thought that it would be sooo hard to teach in English! First time doing it and I literally had to think hard in order to find the words. It's definitely much easier to share the gospel in Spanish.

Our investigator finally accepted a baptismal date! She had been telling us that she wanted to wait to be more sure and that she wanted to learn more AND that she wanted to wait for her husband to be home so that he would be able to attend (he's only home 5 days a month and sometimes he's away for more than a month). We literally had no ideas left for how to help her progress. Well this week we decided to watch the hour-long video of Joseph Smith´s life and the restoration of the gospel. Well, that did the trick! It helped her gain a real testimony of JS and take the decision to be baptized. Now we are just waiting for her husband to come home which should be around Halloween. We're hoping and praying that all goes well so she can be baptized.

So ya, that was my week. Todo tranquilo [quite calm]. Please always have your shield of faith ready to block the fiery darts that Satan likes to throw at us.

Love you all!
Elder Groneman

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

More relaxed week

Okay, so once again I am writing from Viña. My comp had to go pick up some medication for his high blood pressure and something else for his heart. So ya, we have another 3 hour bus ride back to Cabildo soon......Yay for road trips!

This week was a bit more relaxed. There weren't any earthquakes, only aftershocks. We did get rain one day though. Thank goodness that every time we were outside it decided to stop and while we were inside teaching it decided to pour.

On Saturday we decided to take time and go to one of our many towns that belong to our area. We went with the Branch Pres and his wife and the Elders Quorum Pres and his wife to Petorca. That town actually used to be a branch of its own about 10ish years ago but the stake closed it down because people stopped attending. Well, I'm pretty sure that the missionaries haven't worked there for YEARS because no one knew who we were and many times they asked us if we were JWs. Uh, no. We are Jesus´s Reps and we've returned. Did you miss us?

We passed by a lot of the people on the branch directory and unfortunately many people have moved and now are lost. But we did find many members that have missed going to church and now have kids that haven't been baptized. We also found one lady who shouted at us that she wanted to have her records taken out and had been asking for that for years. We tried to talk to her but she didn't want anything to do with us. That and she was busy preparing for a parade for the Virgin. Ya, she's Catholic now. It's really sad when we find members that don't want anything to do with the church. I just think, ´how could you turn your back on the single most important and precious thing that God has given you?´ Without the Gospel your family won't be eternally together. You won't be able to be truly happy. You won't be able to have guidance or direction in your life. How can people do it???

Anyways, my comp and I have decided to take a day every week or so to go to that town in order to start lifting the members up again. The town is about 40mins from Cabildo so for the members there it's a bit hard for them to attend. Hopefully we can get a group of members really going so that every Sunday they start working on building up a branch there again.

Yesterday was the Primary Program in the branch. There are only about 8 kids but it was great. Every song that they sang I still could sing (in English of course) and their testimonies were so pure. Easily the best sacrament meeting since I've been in this branch.

So ya, that was my week. Please watch out for phantom vibrates. They like to play games with your mind when your phone is on vacation.

Love you all!
Elder Groneman
 
Elder Groneman is 2nd from right on the third row.
 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Earthquake story

Okay, now for the stories that you have all been waiting for!

It was a normal, sunny Wednesday here in the small mining town of Cabildo. We had been walking all day because all of the appointments we had planned had fallen through. So yes, it was a very normal day. At 7 we headed over to our investigator´s house for the appointment we had set with her. We talked for a little bit and then invited two of her kids to join us. The teenage boy denied the offer but sat close by because he just wanted to listen. The 21 yr old daughter joined us. We said a prayer and started teaching the 10 Commandments.

They are a Catholic family by tradition so they are familiar with the 10Cs but as we were talking about the first 2 (1 God and No idols) they brought up the question about the Virgin and the Saints. This was actually the first time I've had to explain to an investigator why we don't worship the virgin or the saints. Why it was the first time, I don't know. It's just never come up before.

Quick cultural note - Here in Chile they have what they call Los Bailes Chino or in English, the Chinese Dances. Why they are called that I have no idea. Basically they are dances that people perform to the Virgin. They dress up in extremely colorful outfits. Just imagine the winter clothes of Indians (like in the movie Pocahontas) but instead of browns and grays there are brilliant yellows, reds, blues, and greens. So ya, dressed like that they dance to the Virgin. Where that tradition comes from I have no idea.

Well, the daughter participates in the Chinese Dances to the Virgin. Right as we were explaining why we shouldn't do that, the ground began to shake. It wasn't anything new because Chile shakes all of the time. We just kept talking. But the shaking didn't stop. Then after a few seconds it got really strong!!! Nothing like I thought it would be. Haha I thought it was awesome but everyone else was freaking out. The lights went out leaving us in total darkness because the sun had already gone down. We were all huddled by the door and after 4ish minutes the shaking stopped. The mom then hugged me tightly and said "Oh thank God you both were here". Everyone calms down and we start cleaning up the few things that fell from the shelves. The grandpa then came out of a back room shining a flashlight. That's when the first aftershock came! It was almost as strong as the first if not of the same magnitude. It didn't last as long which was good but a few more things fell which we then started cleaning up. The grandpa then pulls out a generator out of nowhere and hooks it up to a lamp that he had rigged to work with the generator. That old guy is awesome.

After that nothing really happened. A lot of family members came and went, checking to see if everyone was alright. We cleaned things up then they drove us to our pension.

In front of our pension there are apartments of 5 floors. A few members live in those apartments (including the dad that just got baptized) and we found them outside. We asked where the dad and son were because we didn't see them. They were up on the fifth floor helping someone whose roof fell in and now her apartment was filling with water.

When we got to our pension everything was completely intact except for a plastic bowl that belongs to one of the members. It had fallen and was now chipped. Our makeshift bookshelf had thrown up its books which was to be expected. Besides that everything was fine. Nothing broken besides that bowl.

Now we just feel a lot of aftershocks which we hear are going to continue for up to a month.There have been over 300 aftershocks of magnitudes of 4.0 and higher. Now we are so used to them that we barely notice them. They're less frequent now but in the morning we felt one during our studies.

Besides broken dishes there isn't any damage here in Cabildo. All of the Chilean buildings are specifically built to be earthquake-proof. How things are in Illapel I don't know. Here everything is fine, so no, we aren't spending any time doing service.

Haha every time I say that I enjoyed the earthquake people think I'm crazy! I can't blame them. During the whole thing though I wasn't scared or worried because I knew the Lord would protect us. Therefore, I just enjoyed the ride!

So, ya. That's the big highlight of the week. It kind of killed the September 18th celebrations a little (Independence Day for Chile). The branch had an activity which due to the circumstances was good.

Now we are just working like normal. I can now say that I've lived through an 8.4 earthquake!

Advice for the week - When talking about the Virgin, try not to make her angry. She likes to shake the ground  ;)

Love you all!
Elder Groneman

8.4 Earthquake in Chile!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Dear family of Elder Groneman ,

There has been a large earthquake here in the limits of our mission. We are happy to inform that ALL missionaries are safe and accounted for. We appreciate your patience in receiving this news. All missionaries have access to plenty of water and food. Their homes and things are all safe and sound.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at **.

We appreciate and feel your prayers on our behalf.

Elder Webster
Executive Secretary
Chile Vina del Mar Mission


Friday, September 18, 2015

Okay, I only have a little bit of time to write right now. Apparently a lot of parents are freaking out and calling the mission office. I can't even imagine why. So, Presidente Diaz told us to write home and tell everyone that we are okay.

Honestly, it was AWESOME!!! My first real earthquake!!! WOOT!!! I'll tell you the whole story on Monday but it was great! Not anything like I thought it would be.

Hopefully mom got the photos I sent a few hours ago. We took them about 30 minutes after the 8.4 quake. The people in the photos are some of the members of the giant family that we are teaching. Haha all of the stories will have to wait til Monday.

Know that I'm okay and everything is fine.

Love you all! Talk to you on Monday!
 



Elder P** and Elder Groneman
 

Monday, September 14, 2015

DON'T GOSSIP OR SPREAD RUMORS!!!

Okay, so remember how I said that things were getting better here in Cabildo? Well, I was wrong. So long story short, about 8 months ago the Elders here started a war with the members.Well, thanks to gossip, rumors, and lies the branch is barely holding on. So, Elder R** (my new comp from Argentina) and I now have the task of putting everything back together. We are asking everyone for their side of the story, including one of those elders that started this, just to find out exactly what happened here. Awesome. So ya, that has been my week and it will be my whole change here.

Anyways, my new comp, like I said, is from Argentina. Elder R** goes home in November which means that once again I'm with a comp that is about to finish the mission. (How does that keep happening???)

There's not much more to say because for the first half of the week I was working in a trio in a different area because Elder P** finished the mission. It was great but I'm glad to be in my area once again, even if it does have a lot of problems.

Advice for the week (this time it's actually serious): DON'T GOSSIP OR SPREAD RUMORS!!! They only cause problems which are extremely difficult to fix.

Elder Groneman
 
Elder R** & Elder Groneman
 
Auditioning for the Mission Christmas Choir


 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Lots of good things happening here in Cabildo.

¡¡¡SE BAUTIZÓ!!!

It is always awesome when someone makes that sacred covenant with God. Especially the change in their lives that you can see as you are teaching them. All of Fast and Testimony Meeting people were mentioning how happy they were that he was going to be baptized and how happy they were that now his wife wouldn't be sitting alone. Oh, he told us that he is going to make it so that the rest of his family comes to church. Two of his kids aren't members and the oldest is inactive. When we told his wife that he told us that, she literally burst out in tears of pure joy. The 19 years of fighting alone and waiting for her husband to join her has finally come to the end. They are soo happy!

That was definitely the highlight of the week but other awesome things happened as well. Some of the members of the branch are finally waking up to exactly how bad off they are right now. They are going to start working again, doing their visits, having their meetings, and we are actually going to have a branch fast and during that time we are all going to go to a town that belongs to the branch where all of the members there are inactive.

In addition to all of that, half of the giant family we are teaching came to church! The youngest son (who is 17) came and they all told us that that was a miracle because 1) he NEVER wakes up early 2) he NEVER goes to church. So we asked him what he thought and he told us that he liked it because he felt tranquil. Then as we were talking about our names on our missionary tags he said, "so mine is going to say Elder Molina" Huh? Did we hear that right? "going to say"  The last time we taught him he was barely paying attention. Apparently he felt something....

So ya, lots of good things happening here in Cabildo. Baptisms, Working Members, and Progressing Investigators. Let's just say that this new change is going to be good!

Be careful when petting bunnies. Not all of them are as friendly and cuddly as they look.....(cough cough..... Zoey)

Pictures!

Elder Groneman


One day our light bulb base broke, so this is what we did at night......

Monday, August 31, 2015

Finally something weird to eat!

So the highlight of this letter is that I can finally say that I have eaten something weird! Yes, I'm excited about that. It wasn't even too weird but hey, I'll take what I can get.

But before that....tehehe....a different story. After church yesterday the Branch President took us to his house to eat lunch. He lives 20ish minutes from Cabildo in a little town called Las Puertas. Well, due to all of the traveling we have had to do, we have absolutely no money now (I'm literally using the last of it right now to write you all). So they gave us money to take a cab back to Cabildo because they weren't able to drive us back. After an hour of waiting for a cab to pass by, an old man that lives in front of the stop gave us some juice because he had been watching us waiting for such a long time. Sometimes you just find kind people.... Anyways, after another hour of waiting (2 hours now) we decided to start walking. Oh, we have a rule that we aren't allowed to hitchhike but we can accept rides offered to us. Therefore, we were praying that someone would pass by and pick us up. After 40 minutes of walking, a couple of firefighters did just that. As we were talking with them one of them said "bueno, como dice mi hermana, hay que apoyar la obra misional" ["well, as my sister says, we must support missionary work"]. Huh?? You're members? Yep! Both of them were less actives that decided to help a couple of missionaries. After we got back to Cabildo I did a little math and it turns out that we would have been walking for 4+ hours! That would have been fun!!

And now for the food story. The other day we were eating lunch with our mamita. Everything normal and delicious like usual - then she served us dessert. At first we thought it was shredded apples in expired milk but then she told us that it was apples in homemade yogurt. The weird part is how she makes the yogurt. With worms. Yep, that's right. She puts a few worms in milk (not sure what type of worm) and then after a week or so she has yogurt. She then strains the yogurt to take out the worms which she then puts into another bottle of milk. She told us that the yogurt that she gave us didn't quite finish in time which was why it was a bit liquidy still. Apparently she has given worms to other people (some of them members) as well because they obviously have babies too. So yeah, I ate worm yogurt. Yum....it was very acidic.

Those were the highlights of this week. This last week of the change is going to be hectic because we have to travel a lot (again) and Elder P** has to prep all of his stuff to go home, and we have to finish prepping our investigator for his baptism on Sunday. He is extremely excited btw. The other day we were teaching him about tithing and with his wife (who is less active) they decided to start paying it together!

So ya, advice for the week comes from Mom: "Don't be dumb".
Love you all!
Elder Groneman

Monday, August 24, 2015

Learning Portuguese, Testimony of the Brownies

Let´s see.....what happened this week.......

So after calling the mission nurse because my cough was a persistent little bugger, she told me to go buy some Amoxicillin. Yep, that's right. Here in Chile you can just go to the pharmacy and buy a drug like that. Well, after a few days on that there was no difference so when she called again to check up on how I was doing she decided to send me to a doctor. On Thursday we had a 2 hour bus ride to Quillota and it turns out that I have obstructive bronchitis!!! YAY!!! He told me that after 5 days on the meds I should be good but if I contract a fever it means that I had pneumonia. ¡Que Bueno! I'm on day 3 of the meds and still no fever so all is looking well......
 
Right now I'm actually in Viña. Elder P** had to go pick up his ID card so we woke up at 5 to take the 3 hour bus ride at 6. Yep, definitely slept the whole ride. It's actually a good thing that we are here because I haven't been able to find a Portuguese book anywhere. Oh, Pres Díaz told us that if our Spanish was good enough that we should start studying another language. Well, he told me that my Spanish was good so now I'm going to start learning Portuguese. I'm really behind because that was almost 2 months ago and his wife told us that in 3 months every person learning a language would have to bear their testimony in that language. In other words I have one month to learn enough Portuguese to bear my testimony in that language. ¡Tengo que ponerme las pilas! [I have to get my act together!]
 
As for the branch problems we decided to put the Testimony of the Brownies to the test. Here in Chile everyone LOVES brownies so what a lot a missionaries have done is give brownies to people during the week or during church in order for the people to go to church. Well, we decided to try it. The family brownie recipe has entered Chile now and people love it. Hopefully this will help people get into the habit of going to church and then staying for all 3 hours....
 
Basically that's it for the week. One of our investigators is soo excited for his baptism on the 6th. It's funny because our District Leader was in this sector at the beginning of his mission and he told us that when he was there the investigator (husband of a less active) barely paid any attention to them at all. Well, turns out that he is now prepared and willing to follow the Savior. We are really excited for him.
 
Love you all. Please take time to rest your fingers when Facebooking or web surfing. Finger Cramps are never pleasant experiences.
 
Elder Groneman

Monday, August 17, 2015

Good Experiences, Lots of Photos



Cabildo, Chile

Okay so like usual, nothing big or unexpected happened but overall it was a good week.

So we had a zone replica [meeting?] this week and because we are 2 hours away from the stake center we had to wake up at 4am in order to get ready and take the bus at 6. Haha well apparently the bus driver had a lead foot because the bus arrived at 5:30 and we made it to Quillota at 6:40. Well, after walking to the chapel we find it locked so we call the ZLs. They tell us that they won't arrive at the chapel until 8. So for a whole hour we sat, freezing, in a nearby park. That was fun. Haha the replica was awesome though.

So we had 2 really cool experiences with 2 of our investigators this week. The first is M. He is really looking for the true church so he asks us a lot of questions, which is awesome. Well, during one of the lessons he started asking us a lot about Joseph Smith because he told us that if he was to accept him as a prophet he should know basically everything about him. After answering a few questions we redirected the lesson to what the real focus should be - Jesus Christ. We explained how we don't worship JS and that he is important because he restored Christ´s church. After teaching a few other things he told us he hopes that his family listens to us too because he wants to be united as a family in terms of religion. In comparison with how he was at the beginning of the lesson he had changed a lot. He now understood exactly what our purpose was and what his purpose was too. He is definitely a good investigator.

The other story is when we were teaching the mom and little brother of a recent convert. We started talking about the restoration while other members of the family started sitting down at the table in order to eat 11s [lunch] (the table was in the other half of the room). When we got to the part of the First Vision, we started to watch the 20min video about the restoration. Well, one by one everyone at the table started to pay attention. By the time that the First Vision happened in the video EVERYONE was completely attentive to the tv. Even after the video had finished and we were talking again they all were still listening to us. We are going to start teaching them all (family of 11)!!

When sitting next to a camel......Watch out, they spit!
 
Elder Groneman
 
La Serena Zone Conference-July 2015

La Serena Zone Conference-July 2015

La Serena Zone Conference-July 2015

La Serena Zone Conference-July 2015

La Serena Zone Conference-July 2015

La Serena Zone Conference-July 2015

La Serena Zone Conference-July 2015

La Serena Zone Conference-July 2015

Elder Groneman w/President Diaz

Elder Groneman w/President Diaz and companion, Elder H**


 
Gathering for transfers-July 29, 2015

Elder Groneman and new companion, Elder P**

Elder Groneman, Elder P**, and peanut butter and syrup

Monday, August 10, 2015

Rain!

Okay, I literally have like 2 minutes because the internet died on us.

So this week it has rained a lot! A few weeks ago all of Chile fasted and asked for rain to end the drought that has lasted for years. Well, now there are problems because of soo much rain in soo little time. Santiago is now a lake, for example. In Viña we have heard that the waves are about 10 meters tall and are pulling cars into the ocean that are parked 2 blocks away from the coast. Here in Cabildo everything is okay. There's a river that's been dry since ´87 and there is finally water so everyone is fascinated by it, especially the kids.

Besides that not much has happened. Trying not to get soaked. I've had a cough for about 2 1/2 weeks now but I don't feel sick at all. Weird. I'm too stubborn to call the mission nurse because she'll just tell me to bundle up and go home early which I don't want to do. So instead of being disobedient I'm avoiding the possibility completely and not calling her :) Can't be disobedient to a command that doesn't exist!

So ya, next week I promise pics, unless something random happens which seems to happen a lot to me.....

Please do not run with scissors. It's very dangerous. Please jog, skip, or do yoga with them instead.

Elder Groneman

[Here is a link to an article about flooding in Chile. Parker is far enough inland that he hasn't been adversely affected. Valparaiso and Vina del Mar are part of his mission.  http://buenosairesherald.com/article/196075/floods-in-chile-kill-at-least-five]

Monday, August 3, 2015

Transferred!

Okay, so I'll start with the information that you all are waiting to hear. I am in a mining town called Cabildo (written kbil2 in the language of graffiti). My comp is Elder P*. He's from Lima, Peru and this change is his last which means that I will have a different comp in 6 weeks. Haha it also means after this change all of my previous comps will have finished already besides my current comp. But I guess that's what happens when all of your comps have been out for 1 1/2 years or more when they become your comp....

I love the view here. Cabildo is situated in a small valley so there are mountains on all sides and because it's been raining everything is green! I never thought that I would miss that color so much. Apparently Las Compañias were a lot browner, drier, and sandier than I realized.

There is a small branch here which is struggling a bit. Our goal is to get the branch up and running again because some are already traveling 1 hour to go to church. We've got some work to do.

That's been my week. I'm slowly learning my sector (there's not really a map that's accurate) and meeting people. I love being in a new area. It's great.

Please remember that paper must be treated with respect. No one is happy when paper lashes out and cuts you.

Elder Groneman

Monday, July 27, 2015

Changes this Week

So this week is changes and I am 100% sure that I am finally leaving La Serena because this morning one of the assistants called and informed us that our sector was going to close. So now instead of 4 missionaries here there are going to be 2. (if one of us ends up staying it would be Elder Hidalgo because this is his last change in the mission. He's been here for 2 changes and I have been here for 4. The other companionship has been here for 2 and 1 changes so it's extremely unlikey that I'd stay, especially after how the assistant phrased what he told us.) Therefore we get to deep clean our pensión today...yay. This is the 3rd pday in a row when we haven't been able to do anything that we've wanted/needed to do.
 
So for the zone activity we went bowling again AND we got to go to the historic Lighthouse of La Serena.....which means we got to go to the beach!!! Apparently the ZLs had to pull a lot of strings in order to get permission to go there but they did it! That was awesome and now I have pics of me and the ocean in Chile! I'll send some....
 
As for the baptisms, after having the whole world working against us and a ton of crazy things happen, J. and I. got baptized!!! That was awesome! We weren't going to be able to finish all of the lessons on time because Elder H* is sick and the mission nurse commanded us to return home early at night. Well, we ignored that command and finished their lessons Saturday night - talk about cutting it close. But it's all good now because they got baptized!!! That has to be the best part of the mission - watching/helping people make that sacred covenant with the Lord. There is literally nothing like it.
 
Well, due to the fact that we have to deep clean the pension, I'm out of time. Next week I'll be writing from a different area!!
 
Love you all. Please be careful when walking outside while it's raining cats and dogs. I don't think it would be too fun having one of them fall on your head with their claws, teeth, and all that fun stuff.....
 
Elder Groneman
 


Baptism of J* and I*
 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Short Update

Okay, so our ZLs decided that we were going to have a random zone activity today so I don't have any time to write because our ward mission leader invited us to breakfast in the morning. Literally we should be leaving internet right now in order to barely make it on time to the activity but none of us have finished writing our families. So sorry. This is going to be really short.
 
J is awesome. He almost didn't go to church yesterday because he is in a soccer club that they pay a lot for, especially due to the fact that his parents are separated and his mom isn't working right now because she needs to stay home and take care of his sick 1 yrs old sister. When we passed by Saturday night he told us that he had changed his mind and that he would be going to church!! YAY! Yesterday in the afternoon he told us that the club kicked him out because he had missed too many practices (becuase he has been going to church). He was a bit bummed but he said that it was okay because he wanted to go to church instead.
 
The Zone Conference was awesome!!! Presidente Díaz and his wife are soo different from Pres Kähnlein. We all decided that pres K taught us like a giant corporation while Pres D like students. I learned soo much! Hna D played games with us and analyzed Enos with us. Oh my, I have never learned so much from that chapter in my life. It is literally loaded. I don't have time to explain it all so you'll just have to wait another year when I'm home.
 
So ya, that's the short update for the week. Love you all. Be careful of wild bed sheets. They like to entrap you in their warm softness.
 
Elder Groneman
 

Santiago Chile Temple

 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Day Late, But Worth The Wait

Okay. So yes, I'm alive. This week was a little crazy. I'll start from the beginning...
 
Monday -
     Nothing unusual happened
 
Tuesday -
     Our investigator had his baptismal interview.....and didn't pass! Le'ts just say that my comp and I were EXTREMELY sad. We were so excited and he was too but he drank tea on Monday and in order to be baptized you have to obey the WOW for at least one week :( Therefore, no ocean baptism.
 
Wednesday -
     We find out that the Stake Pres talked with our Mission Pres (haha both are Pres Díaz) and convinced him not to have the baptism in the ocean :( That was a bummer for the whole zone because we had all worked hard in order to convince Pres to let us have it in the ocean. Oh well. In the stake center! Then later we find an investigator that was actually a reference from a member. We had been trying to contact him for a while and we finally found him! He accepted a baptismal date for the 26th immediately!!! Oh, he's 13 yrs old just like our other inv. that almost got baptized
 
Thursday -
     Fairly normal day. Taught the new inv. (he is now going to be refered to as J.) and he is awesome! In his prayer he basically invited us to teach him every day and that other people would let us teach them as well. At night we find out that Chile changed another law and now all of the Colombians have to re-do their paperwork. So of course, like with every one of my comps, I get to go do tramites [processing their papers] again. The only difference is that this time we have to go to Santiago!
 
Friday -
     We are on interchanges with the ZLs. I'm in my area and we place 2 baptismal dates. One is with Ig. (the investigator that almost got baptized) and the other with a different investigator that will soon be moving to the ZL area. Both dates are for the 26th. We now have 3 investigators with baptismal dates for the 26th!
 
Saturday -
     We find out that Pres Díaz will no longer be traveling up to La Serena for the zone baptism for 2 reasons. 1) he has to do zone conferences so he has to go travel to another area. 2) so many investigators lost their date that now instead of 12ish being baptized, only 7 are going to be baptized :( Then at 9:30 at night when we are about to enter into the pension a member calls us and asks for our help without saying with what. We sprint to his house and get there in 10ish minutes (record!) and it turns out that they needed my help with the piano because the mom and daughter were going to sing in sacrament meeting the next day and had just barely found the music. So I played the piece a couple of times and then the member drove us home. Haha I know the Lord helped me because I have never in my life learned how to play a song as fast as I did (like 15 mins).
 
Sunday -
    Yet another testimony of fasting!!. So last Sunday all of Chile fasted for rain. Well, one week later it came, in abundance! But before the downpour started we went to the member's house again to practice a bit more on the song. After that we called J just to make sure that he was awake and ready for church. Turns out that he woke up with a sore throat and wasn't going to go to church (Chileans are like that. Even if they are minimally sick they don't go to church or school or work and immediately go to the doctor). We were somewhat freaking out because if he didn't go to church his baptismal date would fall through and he'd have to be baptized the next change and i'ts possible that one of us will be changed. We asked him if he remembered what the Priesthood was and he responded, "of course. It's the power of God." We then explained that we have the Priesthood and could give him a blessing to which he agreed. We told him to get ready for church and we would pass by to pick him up and we´d give him the blessing in the chapel. All of that works out as planned. During sacrament meeting is when the downpour started. The other Elders had to leave in the middle of the meeting to run to the house of one of their investigators because if he didn't go to church he wouldn't be able to be baptized that day. Haha they came back soaking wet! But their investigator went to church so it was worth it. At the beginning of priesthood meeting our Ward Missionary leader ran out looking for someone to drive him to the flea market because he had to go save his mother-in-law. She was there with all of the stuff she was selling and thanks to the downpour everyone and everything was getting soaked. Well, we overheard that and convinced him to take us with him to help (in our suits). Well, that was fun! Haha let's just say that my shoes are still soaked inside and out almost 3 days later. After lunch we had an adventure crossing rivers of water and mud trying to get to the church in order to fill the baptismal font. Due to the downpour the zone baptism was changed to everyone having the baptismal service in their own buildings :/ . Long story short, the usually 5-minute walk turned into a 30-minute dirty dash :) J went to the baptism and brought his friend! After the service we taught him and his friend and set a baptismal date with the friend. We will now be teaching them together.
 
Monday -
      2am we leave the bus station of La Serena heading for Viña. 9am we arrive in Viña and get the instructions from the Secretary. 9:45am we leave for Santiago and arrive at 11:30am. We finish all the paperwork at 1pm. We find a member and with him we walk to the Santiago temple. That was awesome! It's actually really small but still beautifull. It was crazy to walk into the gardens and hear the difference in the outside noise. It was a lot quieter even though the street was close. 3pm we leave Santiago and arrive in Viña at 5pm. Give the Secretary everything then we head to the bus station again only to find out that all of the buses to La Serena were completely full besides the bus with beds as seats which was almost full. Well, without another option we take that and we leave Viña at 6:45. We arrive in La Serena at 2am. Yay for 24 hours of traveling!! We are still dead.
 
So now you know why I didn't write yesterday. I was a bit occupied sitting in a bus for hours doing nothing.
 
So that's the jist of my crazy week. I didn't include a bunch of details because I don't have much more time but just imagine the rest ;)
 
Love you all! Please check under your bed every night this week. The Boogy Man like to hide there.
 
Elder Groneman
 
I promise pictures next week

Monday, July 6, 2015

Crazy Weekend

So not much happened at the beginning of the week. The weekend, on the other hand, was crazy! On Saturday in the morning we found out that Pres Packer had died. Well, looks like Elder Nelson is going to be the new pres of the 12 which is weird because for as long as I can remember Pres Packer had been the pres or acting pres of the 12. Elders Hale and Holland have now graduated to the first row of the 12 pictures.

Right after we found that out, a member called us to tell us that the sister of our High Priest Group Leader had died. That was interesting because the elders in the other ward were going to have a lesson with her that day and had eaten lunch with her the Thursday before. It was pretty sudden. I mention that because we had lunch with him and his family Saturday even though his sister had just died. They did a BBQ for us Gringos which was awesome.

Pres Díaz gave us permission to watch the final game of La Copa America (Chile vs Argentina) which was a grand surprise. None of us were expecting that. We watched the game with our HP group leader as well because he invited us to do that. So Saturday we didn't teach at all. We had lunch, stopped by a few investigators who weren't home, then returned to watch the game. It was AWESOME!! Let's just say that everyone went crazy when Chile won because Chile hadn't ever taken 1st place before.

Sunday was also full of surprises. One of our investigators came to church which was awesome because now he is going to be baptized the next Sunday....in the ocean! Our ZLs talked to Pres Diaz and he gave them permission to have a giant baptismal service with the whole zone! Apparently Pres Diaz is going to come up here to attend it, along with his Assistants who are going to bring one of their investigators to be baptized as well. That's going to be awesome!

The biggest surprise was 4 members from my first area, Huanhualí, came to church in my current ward (about 7ish hours from Hualhualí). That was amazing to see them again. Especially because one of them is waiting for his mission call to come and so when I finish the mission in a year he probably won't even be in Chile. So I got to see him one last time! They also told me that one of my first converts who disappeared for a while is now completely active now because he changed jobs. Apparently he also gave a powerful talk on repentance recently, too!

So yeah, I'm extremely happy right now due to all that happened this weekend (except for Pres Packer and the member´s sister of course).

Love you all. Please don't look too closely at the sun. It likes to burn peoples´ eyeballs.
Elder Groneman
 
President & Sister Diaz and Sister & President Kahnlein





President & Sister Kahnlein saying goodbye at the airport.