Serving an LDS Mission in Vina del Mar, Chile.

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 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.