Serving an LDS Mission in Vina del Mar, Chile.

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


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