Serving an LDS Mission in Vina del Mar, Chile.

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


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.


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)


Elder Groneman

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