Serving an LDS Mission in Vina del Mar, Chile.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

El Fin Se Acerca.... [The End is Near]


I can't believe that this is my last letter. I never thought that this day would come so soon. It literally feels like I was a new missionary yesterday.

During my time here in Chile, I have learned many things and how to start talking is something that I have no idea how to do.

I have come to know and love my Savior here in Chile. I thought I knew Him before because I could recite stories from the scriptures and knew all of the answers in Seminary and Sunday School. I now realize that the gospel isn't a list of things to do, nor is it a list of things not to do, rather it is a way to live and to be. In order to really come to know and love our Savior, we must first come to know and love His teachings. There is no other way because He is His teachings.

There have been many times during the mission that I have wondered exactly [why] many people can't realize that true happiness is found only through whole-hearted and consecrated obedience to the laws, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel. If at any time we are unhappy, we lack 1) conversion and 2) consecration. Sure, at times we will feel sorrow for the choices of others but even in the midst of such sorrow, the joy of righteous gospel-living will radiate through our souls.

This life is a life of change. Whether we are changing for the better or for the worse is ultimately our decision. God cannot mold us without our permission - such would be contrary to the principle of agency. As we lay aside our weapons of our rebellion that keep us from rendering our hearts fully to God, we are allowing Him to take control and make of us the servants He wants and needs us to be. In the end, we can do many things by ourselves, but without the enabling power found in Christ, we will never be able to achieve all of our divine potential. Everyone has at least one weapon of their rebellion that is keeping them from fully rendering their heart to God; whether it be a desire to listen to music with inappropriate lyrics, the excuse of being "too busy" or "too tired", annoyance or frustration with church leaders, etc. At some point we will need to bury those weapons; so why not now? In the end, the only way to truly "win" is to lose; lose yourself in the Lord´s will. When He wins, we do, too.

I have seen miracles in the lives of the people I have taught. Watching them change their lives completely just to have something that I have always had, has made me realize just how grateful I am to loving parents who taught me in a gospel-centered home. Many times I have had companions or members or investigators ask me how I know what I know. The only answer I have ever been able to come up with is that my parents taught me. Now I realize why Helaman made a special effort to emphasize that the 2060 stripling warriors were taught by their mothers. That had to have been backed up by fathers and the faithful examples of both parents. Forever more I will be grateful to the faithful example of my parents, for they have shown me the higher way to live.

Above all, I have learned that nothing is worth it if it makes you lose the Spirit. NEVER do anything that would endanger you from losing the Spirit and falling from the grace of God. As long as we have the Spirit with us, we will be okay. Think of it for a moment. God blesses every baptized and confirmed person with the gift and opportunity of having the constant companionship of a member of the Godhead. Wow. Now, answer me this question. What in the world could be more important than living worthily of that companionship? The answer, nothing! The Spirit purifies and sanctifies us. It seals and guides us. The Spirit is the key.

One last piece of random advice. If you ever are praying for an answer and it doesn't come while you're on your knees, please get up and get moving. The answer will almost always come while you're on your feet. A prayer of faith implies action. Now go and ACT.

I love you all. See you soon.
Elder Groneman #2

Monday, June 27, 2016

Random thoughts

Sadly, C** did not get baptized yesterday.  :(    Her great grandma is in the hospital now so the family decided to postpone the baptism. For how long? That's a very good question. No idea.

Nothing happened with our other investigators this week either. They either weren't home or they had family problems. So ya....

On a different note - Haha we made zone t-shirts. My comp designed them and I did all of the administrative stuff so that they could be made. We wore them to our Zone Conference and took a picture in them with Presidente. Haha the other zone was jealous. Now we just found out that next week we're probably going to have a mission 4th of July party because the new housing director of the mission wanted one. Ya, we're going to wear them to that as well.

I never thought that I would become such an expert in breaking into houses during the mission. So far I've broken into an investigator's house, a random person's house, 2 less actives' houses and on Friday I had to help break into the house of the elders in my district. They lost their keys, the zone leaders lost the backup keys, and the housing director's keys didn't work. Therefore, we broke in. Using a broom and lots of skill. The elders are still going in and out of their house by climbing through their balcony door.

Oh ya, just so you know, next week will be my last letter home.

When breaking into a house, watch out for wire gates. They're kinda hard to see at night and crashing into one isn't that fun.

Love you all!
Elder Groneman
Zone Conference, June 7


Monday, June 20, 2016

Here's a bit of advice - NEVER GO INACTIVE

I can't think of a way to start this email. So I shall start it by saying that I don't know how to start it. Makes sense, right?
U** finally got confirmed this week! After almost of month of being baptized....Gotta love Stake Conferences but they really throw things off schedule sometimes. But in the end, all is well. His older sister C** came to church as well so, assuming that she passes her baptismal interview tomorrow, she should be getting baptized on Sunday! Yay for saved souls!
Our other investigators aren't progressing that much. We are probably going to drop a few of them. It's really sad when we do that because we know how much their lives can be blessed by the gospel but they just don't want to accept it nor act upon it. I always hope that in some future day, when the situation is right, the Lord will guide other missionaries to that person again and give them another chance.
Here's a bit of advice - NEVER GO INACTIVE. It's a lot harder to reestablish gospel habits afterwards. We are currently teaching a lady and her disabled daughter who have been less active for about 6 years. Long story short, she went inactive after separating from her husband. When she went inactive, she dragged her 4 children with her. Now, years later, only 1 of them wants to return with her. She laments her past decisions and is now realizing exactly what her decisions have cost her. Pres Monson has repeated many times that "Decisions determine Destiny". How true that statement is. If our choices that we make now aren't in accordance with our goals, we will NEVER reach our goals. Are our day-to-day choices leading us to where we want to go? Hopefully the honest answer is yes. If not, there is still time to change and get back on course. It may be hard, like this lady has come to realize. But in the end, it will be worth it.
Happy Father´s Day  - yes, I know it's a day late but I don't have that many options of when I can use email.  ;)
When using a needle and thread, it would be wise to not do so while seated on your bed. If you happen to lose the needle, a midnight acupuncture treatment is imminent.
Love you all!
Elder Groneman

Monday, June 13, 2016

Meetings, Meetings, Meetings

This week was just full of meetings. On Tuesday we had a zone meeting. On Friday I had a District Leader meeting with President and on Saturday we watched a broadcast from Elder Bednar (the same one as before but this time we got to watch it completely). I actually like the meetings because I always learn a lot. President Díaz, being the Seminary/Institute Coordinator for Chile (or the whole Area, can't remember), is a very good teacher. Every time we have a conference or a meeting with him, I always leave with a greater desire to dive deeper into the scriptures. There are soo many truths and lessons that we can learn from the scriptures if we just only take a bit more time to analyze them. Think about how they apply specifically to our lives and the situations that we face every day.
For example, everyone basically skims over the war chapters thinking that there isn't that much spiritual worth in them. WRONG! The war chapters are in the BoM because they teach us how to live the gospel during hard and difficult times and what we need to do to prepare ourselves so that we can withstand the war we face with sin and temptations every day. Maybe the answers aren't 100% obvious all of the time, but they are there. You've just got to be looking for them as you are studying. KEY WORD = STUDY *not read*.
I found 2 great quotes this week in the June 2016 Liahona:
"The best way to help those we love - the best way to love them - is to continue to put the Savior first."
"In measuring success, we recognize the profound truth underlying all else - that our lives belong to God, our Heavenly Father, and to Jesus Christ, our Redeemer."
Think of the magnitude of these statements. Many times we can get distracted by the needs of others so much that we start to put aside our covenant obligations, not even realizing it. Or thinking that we are helping loved ones by tolerating decisions contrary to the Savior's teachings. Nope. If we really love someone, we will show them the better and higher way of living - the Savior's way. The second quote reminds me of King Benjamin's teaching that we will always be debtors to God because literally everything we are and have is thanks to Him.
Here are some fotos to enjoy:) I finally found a cord that the computer wants to accept.
When going through the maze of life (or a labrynth of chairs and tables), it's a tad bit easier to listen to the correct voice (the Spirit and prophet's) and not to the voices that try to throw you off course.
Bruised ankles and shins are never fun results of a mistaken step or turn.
Love you all!
Elder Groneman

Monday, June 6, 2016

Staying in Valparaíso

So for my last change I am staying in Valparaíso. Yes, 4 areas each for 6 months. I stayed with my comp so my "son" is killing his "dad" and receiving the "inheritance" (all the stuff that I'm going to leave). We're pretty happy about that. All is going good here.
The other day my comp made me avocado milk. Every Latino loves banana milk (milk, banana, sugar) and they drink it quite often. In Brazil they also love avocado milk. If you ask any Latino about it, they will immediately have a repulsed look on their face and ask if you are crazy (even though they've probably never tried it). Here they use avocado with salt. In Brazil they use it with sugar - hence the instant rejection from Latinos. Well, it's actually not that bad. Interesting, yes. Bad and disgusting, no. I think I'm just too used to salty avocado now....
This week one of our investigators basically told us her life story. Wow, I haven't met anyone that has had a harder life than she has had/having. We hope that she really starts to apply the gospel to her life. She really needs it but due to her situation and background, it's been hard for her to follow.
I love how the gospel and the knowledge of God´s plan gives us hope. Such a small, cliche (I think that's how you spell it...) word but it is sooo important. We can only have as much faith as we have hope. Hope is the confidence that God will fulfill His promises. It's the energy that makes us move. Without hope we cannot have faith because there won't be anything to have faith in. It's sad to see someone that has lost all hope because I know that God will always fulfill His promises. We can always have that assurance.
The rest of the week was fairly normal. Not much happened. We couldn't get a hold of the majority of our investigators so ya.
Please double check that the lid is on tight when using a blender to make avocado milk, banana milk, or whichever drink you choose. A single punch of a button could result in a tasty beverage or half an hour of clean-up duty.
Love you all!
Elder Groneman

Tuesday, May 31, 2016


BAUTISMO!!! U** got baptized yesterday! It was also quite a normal baptism. Not quite as calm as the last one but once again nothing went wrong. I could get used to this....
C**, U**´s older sister now wants to get baptized as well. She keeps saying that this next Sunday is going to be her baptism but can't be. 1 because it's Stake Conference. 2 because she doesn't have enough church attendances. She will easily be baptized in June though. Oh, shes 10. Needless to say the Primary President is very pleased with the growing numbers.
We've been finding a few very promising new investigators and others that seem like they will progress but we still haven't been able to find their houses or them in their houses. One challenge of Valparaíso is finding people´s houses. Lots of times 5 families live in the same plot of land and every house has the same number. Then there are the houses that are in the gullies in between the hills and the ones that you have to travel through other houses and down/up stairs just to get to them. Haha it makes me think of the computer games in which you build houses. They never let you build houses on steep hills or really close to other houses, right? Ya, I don't think that the makers of those games ever visited Valpo. It is very possible to build houses on very steep hills.
Here are some fotos from the baptism.

Love you all!
Elder Groneman

Monday, May 23, 2016

A Good Week

This week was a good one. Nothing extremely exciting happened but good things still came to pass.
J** y F** were confirmed yesterday so all is well there. M** (J**´s mom) came to church finally. She's also an investigator. We are hoping that now that J** got baptized she will have more desires to follow his example.
This week we finally were able to teach a future investigator that we've been trying to teach for a couple months now but every time we've passed by she's been extremely busy. When we passed by she was actually about to tell us the same but then my comp (we were on interchanges) asked to use her bathroom. Yep, we entered the house. Anyways, as I was waiting for my comp, the husband comes up to me and asks me if we are busy because he wanted to talk with us. We always have time when you ask like that! We then proceeded to teach him and his wife (haha at the beginning she actually tried to leave the room to finish washing the dishes but he made her stop and sit down - yes!) He apparently is a less active (now very evangelico). They both felt the Spirit big time and she accepted a baptismal date immediately and then said that she wants her whole family to be baptized! They have 5 kids living with them and after passing by so much we already know them all. The oldest 3 will be a challenge baptizing...   :/ Impossible no, but with them it will be hard. Yay for the gospel! Life´s one-size-fits-all problem solver!
Sunday we should have another baptism. U** - 9years old. Ya, I told you we were going to baptize the primary. If we can finish teaching him everything, he'll be baptized. The only problem is that with his family the parents are very flakey and even when we pass by for appointments we set they usually have an excuse. That's why the oldest daughter still hasn't been baptized either. As of right now it seems that everything will go well but well, you never know. One thing that I've seen over and over again is how Satan loves attacking families and especially people about to be baptized. Lots of prayers would be a giant help  :)
Please make sure that you always have a way to access the roof when you play soccer with a bunch of white gringos. Turns out that soccer balls have a strange attraction to roofs.....
Love you all!
Elder Groneman

Monday, May 16, 2016

Bautización (Baptization)

J** and F** got baptized!!!! It was the most uneventful, calm, normal baptism I've had my whole mission. NOTHING WENT WRONG! It was a weird but nice change. The font worked perfectly, the kids and family arrived on time, the mission leader actually put together the program, no one forget anything, we didn't have to run anywhere, and the font drained fine as well. Wow, so that's how it should all work....weird....

We should also have another baptism on the 29th with the kid whose parents are less active. We started teaching him and if all goes as planned - which it rarely does - he should be baptized on the 29th. Then we are going to work on the older sister. Then hopefully the parents will actually be willing to get up early on Sundays to go to church because nothing else seems to have motivated them yet.

Update on E** - his dad is now avoiding us and we have no idea why. Almost 2 weeks ago now he told us that he wants to baptize E** and that we were going to work together to get it done. Well, ever since then he has been avoiding us. Ya, we are a bit confused with the whole situation. Lots of prayers are needed....

Oh, as for the title of the email - Bautización (Baptization for all you English speakers). J**, for some reason didn't realize for the longest time that you could just call it a baptism. Instead he would say things like "At what time is the baptization?" Haha he's great.

The random tip of the week is more serious this time - DON'T WALK THROUGH TEAR GAS!!! It is not a pleasant experience just in case you were wondering....

So ya, Love you all! Enjoy the photo of the baptism  :)
Elder Groneman

Sunday's baptism

Monday, May 9, 2016

Short Letter after Skyping

Yay! Short letter because I basically told the basics of what has been happening here. [We were able to Skype with Parker for Mother's Day. Best. Present. Ever.]

Oh, just to let you all know, the tradition continues - today we went to Viña to do Elder R**´s first tramites! Ya, I think we made record time finishing in less than 2 hours.

Okay, quick recap. J** and F** are going to be baptized this Sunday (assuming all goes well)! Haha the Primary definitely got a lot more.....energized...with J**. Think of Jacob´s energy and humor with Mecham´s habit of pestering. Now put that into a 10yr old kid. That's J** in a nutshell. It's definitely a party every time we teach him.

We got permission from the less active family to teach and baptize their son who is about to turn 9. He always goes to church with his uncle and gma. We are hoping that this will finally help the family to reactivate. Hopefully....

Ya that's about it.

Please remember that your feet stink. Be courteous to others and don't take off your shoes in public. I'm pretty sure becoming the world's first mass murderer for death by feet odor is not on anyone's bucket list.

Love you all!
Elder Groneman

[Sort of strange with Parker creeping over Mecham's shoulder]

Monday, May 2, 2016

Normal Week

This week was fairly normal. Nothing big or exciting happened.
The kids are almost ready to be baptized. They lack one lesson and their interview which will happen this week. Haha when we taught then we used the game we created to teach E**. At the end we reviewed all of the cards to make sure they understood everything. When we pulled up Thomas S Monson we asked them if they remembered his name. The older brother (member) said it but apparently the little sister (investigator) wasn't paying too much attention because she quickly raised her hand extremely enthusiastically and shouted "Matias S Mismos!!" We all burst out laughing (us, the brothers, the gma, and the cousin) because she was soo focused on remembering that she didn't even hear her brother and then blurted out a random name so rapidly and excitedly. Don't worry, she didn't get offended or mad. She kinda started laughing too when we told her why we were laughing. Haha, teaching little kids is definitely interesting sometimes.
There is also this young couple that aren't married.... Well, long story short, she wants to get baptized so about 6 months ago they were going to church, receiving the lessons, and even had a marriage date. But her parents were opposed to the marriage so in the end they didn't get married and stopped complying with their commitments. Well, the other day we confronted - with love and the Spirit of course. We talked to them about what the most important thing for them is. Of course they said their family (they have a 1 yr old daughter). We basically asked them if they were really focusing on what would help their family or only themselves. In the end they finally woke up to what they were actually doing. Now they are once again going to church, praying, and reading the BoM. We are going to start reteaching them the lessons so that when they get married (we still don't know if they've set another date yet) she can get baptized right away.
Thinking about that whole situation made me realize exactly how easily we can be distracted by things that are good but can impede us from achieving what we really want. They were distracted by school and work. Two good and necessary things but they let themselves become distracted, losing sight of what mattered most and where they wanted to go. I've decided that we need to take a step back and remember where we want to end up and if we aren't acting according to that vision then make the changes needed to get back on track.
So, about Sunday and Mothers Day.... Presidente Diaz told us that if we are in our last 2 changes (which I am) that we won't be able to call home. He doesn't want us to get unfocused and become trunky. Sorry Mom!
Okay, mean joke. I will be calling. I'll probably call between 4-6 Chile-time so like 1-3 home-time. I think it's 3 hours behind....  Please send me my username and password just to be sure that I remember it  :)
Love you all! Please be sure to brush your teeth before the Skype call. I don't think smelling someone's bad breath through a Skype call was a feature that they intended to add  ;P
Nos vemos el Domingo! [See you on Sunday!]
Elder Groneman

Monday, April 25, 2016

Baptizing a Primary

This week was amazing! Haha I think that my comp and I are going to end up baptizing a whole Primary......
This week we found lots of new investigators. One of them is the ex-mother-in-law of a recent convert that is now living with her. The RC landlord asked for the house because she needed a quick option so she is now living with her ex-mother-in-law. We helped her move some stuff into the house on Tuesday and afterwards we took advantage of the situation and taught G** (the ex-m-i-l) We've been trying to teach her for a while now because we contacted her about 2 months ago. Well, we finally got the chance! She accepted a baptismal date but it fell through because she didn't go to church :( Its all good though because with the RC living with her she's for sure going to get baptized!
Some of the other news are part of a family of 13. Only 3 of them are members. The mom met with the missionaries a few years ago and really wants to be baptized but can't because she and her husband both need to get divorced so that they can then get married. BUT, in the mean time we are teaching her granddaughter, niece and the son of the niece. The two kids are 10 and they both want to be baptized. The niece wasn't 100% sure so we have to work a bit more with her; but when she sees her son get baptized, we think that she will want to as well.
We also are activating an inactive lady who has a granddaughter living with her who is also 10. She wants to be baptized too and the gma is all for it!
This week we found that there is a grandson of a family who wasn't registered after he was baptized. He turns 11 today. If they can't find all of the necessary info, he will have to be baptized again.
Yesterday a member came up to us wanting us to teach his nephew that will now be with them every weekend. He is 8 about to turn 9 in a couple of weeks.
Then there's E**. He's 10.
So in total we are teaching four 10-yr-olds and will probably start teaching a 9 and an 11 yr old. Ya, we're going to baptize the Primary. The Primary President is happy.
So ya, that was a brief recap of this week  :)
Please wear shoes while jumping rope. That is unless you want your toes to be smacked by a tube of plastic whirling around at a million mph. If such is the case, I advise to keep band-aids and ice close at hand.
Love you all!
Elder Groneman

Monday, April 18, 2016

Mi querido familia. ¿Cómo están? Espero que estén bien

Mi querido familia. ¿Cómo están? Espero que estén bien. Se escucha como si todos.............[My dear family. How are you? I hope that you are well. You'll hear if all...] 
Ya, okay I won't write in Spanish. I should send a message in pure Chilean Spanish just so that when you send it through Google Translate it won't work    ;P
Anyways, all's going well here. It's rained the past few days here, so, of course, every Chilean hid inside their home and made scones (the Chilean version). Now I am very aware of how worn out my shoes are. Haha the good part of walking all day is that the water in your shoes eventually gets warm and keeps your feet warm too   :)
E* went to church yesterday! Finally! They haven't been going for the last few weeks. Haha it made me laugh that of all the weeks to go, they go when it rains which is when the majority of the other members don't go to church. Oh the irony. The gpa said that starting in 2 weeks they are going to start staying for the 3 hours sí o sí. If all goes well and there aren't any random surprises (which there always are) E** should be baptized some time in May.
Last night the rain actually helped us. We were walking down the deserted street and we see this guy just standing calmly under the overhanging of a building. Yes! Someone to talk to! We started talking to him and he told us that he was waiting for the rain to let up so he could walk to his house (he didn't have an umbrella). Haha he´s trapped - perfect! We start teaching him and he actually got really excited and wanted us to go to his house another day so that we could teach his family. In the end we walked with him to his house so that we would be able to find it in the future because he didn't know the direction because they had just moved there. Hopefully we can find it and teach the whole family!
When there is rain and wind, please be sure to secure the ends of your umbrella. It's not that fun when it flips inside-out and instead of blocking the rain, it acts as a personal resoviour (ya, spelling. I know.....)
Les Quiero! [Love you!]
Elder Groneman

Monday, April 11, 2016

Short & Sweet

Sad News: E** did not get baptized. He passed his interview and everything. The problem is his dad and grandpa. They kept up with their problems, excuses, and doubts; so, in the end, E** did not get baptized..... We´ll see what happens. Now he won't be able to be baptized until May at the soonest  :(

That was the main thing that happened this week. We walked a ton because basically all of our appointments fell through for some reason. But we did have some good contacts.

One of the few lessons we had was with an investigator who co-habitates with a less active. We taught him the Plan of Salvation. Wow, I've never seen someone get soooo excited about the Plan of Salvation. Usually there is some excitement but this guy, wow, he was really excited. Like more excited than Pepper [our dog] when Dad gets home. Ya, really excited. What called his attention most was the Resurrection and the fact that everyone will be resurrected - the good and the bad. Also, he loved the thought of the Celestial Kingdom. He told us that he is willing to do anything to be able to go there with his family. Little does he know that he just committed to getting married! Anyways, it was great seeing the light in his eyes as we taught and testified. It really was something else. Like a little kid on Christmas morning (one that's not getting coal in his stocking).

So ya. That was my week. Short and Sweet - like one of Mom´s mini-cupcakes   :)

Never underestimate the power of bubbles. They can turn any adult into a little kid again :)
Love you all!
Elder Groneman

Monday, April 4, 2016

Gotta love the missionary equivalent of Christmas!

Well, like always when we have baptisms planned, Satan throws everything he's got at us and the investigators. Two of the 3 won't be baptized this Sunday as previously planned. The other one hopefully will but it's not 100% certain right now. He still wants to and is ready but the problem is with his gpa and father. Ya, giant story there that I do not want to take the time to write because it would take forever! So ya, pray for E**!!!
HAHA so I feel like I'm in my training again. With my compañion we are now speaking 3 languages each. Portuguese in the mornings, Spanish during the day, and English at night. Ya, let's just say that in the mornings I don't talk as much as I do during the rest of the day. It's a work in progress but slowly I'm getting the hang of Portuguese. I'm still nowhere near being able to speak fluently though. I'm good at reading it out loud though.
General Conference was great! Gotta love the missionary equivalent of Christmas! It was sad seeing Pres Monson give such short talks. Powerful, but short. Actually, his talk Sunday morning was just parts of like 2 or 3 of his past talks. I have those talks on my pen drive and have listened to them enough that when he was talking, I recognized every word. Elder Hales basically said goodbye :( We may have 2 more Apostles soon......On the bright side, I really like Elder Stevenson as a new Apostle. His talk was a great way to explain priesthood keys and their significance and importance.
Now, the question is this: What are you going to do with all of the counsel and advice that you received this weekend? (I'm assuming you all watched/listened to GC, if not, go repent and watch it.) Many times people ask "why are they saying this again? They've said this a million times now". To answer that question I pose this question, "How hard have you tried to apply what they've said?" The reason why the prophets repeat the same counsels over and over again is because we, as human beings, are naturally stubborn and lazy in nature and don't like working for the change. News Flash! We are not with God. If we are comfortable with how we are now, it means that we are comfortable not being with God. God is found outside of our comfort zone. Now go and ACT! That is all.
So ya. That's about it. Please be careful of witches offering some of their brew. If you drink it, it may be the last thing you do.
Love you all!
Elder Groneman

Monday, March 28, 2016

Lesson on Faith

Okay so yesterday we had a lesson about faith.
On Saturday we found a new investigator and committed him to baptism the 10th of April. He told us that he would go to church the next day. Well, the next morning we left Ward Council early to go by his house and walk to church together. We arrived at 9:25 and yelled at the house (yes, we do that because not everyone has a doorbell and the gates impede us from knocking on the door) a few times and he didn't come out. We called the house phone and no one answered. We called again with the same result. At this point the majority of people would give up and leave, sad that the investigator wouldn't be going to church and wouldn't be able to be baptized on the set date. We did not give up. That morning in our prayer we told God that we would show our faith and go pick him up so that he could progress and keep his baptismal date. The scriptures tell us that if we ask in faith, if our desire is righteous, God will give it to us. We put that promise to the test. We yelled again and again, called a few more times and even threw little rocks on his roof (yes, another weird way to replace knocking on the door). At 9:50 we finally heard him inside and at 9:55 he came out and we started off to church. We arrived during the first hymn. Our faith was put to the test and we weren't going to leave his front porch until he either opened the door or church started. God fulfilled his promise. Our prayer of faith was answered, but only because we ACTED. Many times we pray faithlessly which does nothing. For example, phrases such as "please help the people not here so that they may attend next week" or "please bless those that are sick so that they get better" are faithless (Those are Elder Bednar´s words, not mine). A prayer of faith implies that we are going to ACT and not just sit back and watch. It isn't God´s job to bring people to church or to help the sick and needy. It's our job. Next time you pray please analyze your prayers to see if you really are willing to ACT instead of just ASK.
Love you all. Happy *late* Easter!
Elder Groneman

Zone Conference

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Dog bite explained

Okay, about the dog bite. No, it didn't bite my butt. It bit the back of my leg hence the reason why the rip was below the back pocket down to the knee. Yes, it did break skin. Yes, I did clean it. Yes, I'm keeping it clean. No, I did not go to the doctor because the dog had its shots up to date - yes, including the rabies shot. Yes, I did call Hna Diaz to let her know (because the mission nurse just finished the mission so we´re waiting for the next one to arrive). Now stop worrying. I'm not going to die! I had bites from Pepper [our dog] that hurt more - less damage yes, but they hurt more.  :P
Now, on to this week. We walk a lot. Tuesday and Wednesday we didn't teach anyone! Pure contacting all day. On Thursday we contacted all day until 9 which is when we finally found someone to teach! She's a neighbor of members that just re-moved back into the neighborhood. We're hoping that she progresses because she is really receptive.
The other days were normal. One of our investigators is a 10 year old kid whose dad and gpa are less active but reactivating due to the tragic, unexpected death of the gma. Skipping over a giant story, E** is very shy but now we have gained a ton of confidence with him. He actually talks and responds to our questions. This week we created a game in order to teach him lesson 4, the commandments. Wow, it worked better than we thought! He stayed focused, didn't get bored, learned and remembered everything. We are now currently creating a game for lesson 5. We are just waiting on the gpa for him to be baptized. The gpa needs to talk with the bishop and receive permission in order to baptized E**. The only problem is that they now haven't gone to church for a few weeks because they go to the cemetery every Sunday and spend the whole day there. Before, they would go to sacrament meeting then leave but for some reason these last few weeks they been going straight there. But that'll end this next week because they only had that self-made commitment for 3 months. So, we're working with them so that E** can be baptized in April!
Also, on Saturday we found a 16 year old, J**. He is really receptive and actually accepted a baptismal date during that first lesson, went to church yesterday and today we are going to teach him again. If all goes well he´ll be baptized on the 10th.
Other than that there are 2 other investigators that are now progressing - finally! One of them still needs to get married. The other needs to confront his dad and tell him that he wants to get baptized. He's been meeting with the missionaries for a year now. Yesterday we were talking with the member family whose daughter is the gf. They said that the other day he finally decided to be baptized but that he needs to talk to the dad. Well see what happens with that. The dad is an Evangelico fanático. In other words, he's extremely religious and against every church - especially the Mormons-  that isn't his church.
So ya. That was the week. No, I still haven't received that package but we have Zone Conference this week so if it's arrived, I'll get it on Wednesday. It hadn't arrived on the 12th so hopefully now it's here.
So...... When one's personal space is violated by fleas, wear white clothes. It's a lot easier to find them, grab them, then kill them.
Love you all!
Elder Groneman

Monday, March 14, 2016

On the bright side, I can finally say that I'm a missionary in Valparaíso!

HAHAHAHAHA so this week had a surprise coming that I did not know was going to happen.

So. Last week we decided to explore a street that I had never been down. We knocked on a few houses, got rejected, and kept walking. This street had some nice dogs. They all wanted to be pet and were so nice that they decided to share their fleas with us! We contacted the very last house and it happened to be an old investigator from years ago. She told us that she didn't want anything to do with us but was going to invite us to pass by just to be nice. So, on Saturday we started on our way to her house for the appointment we had set. As we were walking down the street, the friendly dogs came up again wanting to be pet and in return share their fleas. Then, from a distance we see a 12ish year old kid chasing his dog which is running towards us rapidly. I recognized the dog, it was one that gave us its fleas. The dog reaches us and pauses. The kid catches up and then the dog lunges at me and bites me! After the initial shock that I had just been bitten - twas a very good bite - I just started laughing. Why, I don't know. I just found it funny. Then my leg started to hurt. Not too much though. I looked down to see that the dog had successfully ripped open my pants from just below the back pocket to below the knee. I asked a lady standing nearby for a needle and thread in order to quickly sew up the pants enough so that on the way to the pensión everyone wouldn't see my Gs.

The bite wasn't that deep, to my surprise. And my G only had a small little hole. My pants on the other hand were destroyed. Now my hamstring area is bruised and swollen. It hurts sitting down as well. On the bright side, I can finally say that I'm a missionary in Valparaíso!

That is the great story of the week. Oh, and yesterday Chile had a multi-skate conference. Pres Nielsen from the 12 presided via satellite. Turns out he speaks Spanish. Huh, who knew?


Elder Groneman

Monday, March 7, 2016

A Less Stressful Week

Yes, this week was a bit less eventful. Nothing that random happened.
We found a few more investigators this week. One of which is M**. Haha, she literally had a look of shock on her face when she opened the door. Ya, backstory:
Her mom is L**. About 10 years ago she was meeting with the missionaries and eventually got baptized. At this time M** was 14ish and a rebel. She didn't want anything to do with the church. Her younger sister on the other hand started listening to the missionaries. Well, both missionaries were taken out of the area and little by little the family lost contact with the church because they had a few problems that limited their ability to attend. In the end the mom and daughter that almost got baptized moved. Years later M** started talking to the missionaries. She told us that they would always pass by and talk but that she never went to church or got baptized. Well, 4 years ago she moved and lost contact.
When we knocked her door asking for her, she literally was in shock. I understand why. After not talking to the missionaries for 4 years and moving and then having them randomly show up at your house......HonestlyI  don't know how we have her name and direction. Elder G** found it somewhere. I still haven't taken the time to look in all of our stuff to see if it's there. All I know is that God knows who she is and where she is and He led us to her and her mom and her sister (who now is the kind of rebellious one). Hopefully we can help them return to church and be baptized! There's definitely a reason why we just "randomly" had her name.
Another new one we found was the mom of a guy we've been teaching. He was a hardcore drug addict so we think that messed up his brain a bit. His mom is all good though. We've always invited her to join in on the lessons but this week was the first time she actually sat down. We shared the Restoration and she definitely felt the Spirit. She immediately accepted a baptismal date - it already fell through though because she couldn't go to church yesterday. We're going to keep working with her and her son. She could be a very strong member.
One last thing. The bishop is great. Thanks to him we are now entering into every organization to teach them something for like 10mins at least once a month. Yesterday we taught the primary and the RS. Haha in between we went to EQ and ended up teaching how to give a health blessing. Then after church a bunch of people had to talk to us for the first time! Also, randomly they decided to put together a ward choir for ward conference on the 20th. Guess who's the pianist? Yay!
That's about it for the week.
Please don't yell at the computer when it decides to not work. It can't hear you - either that or it's pro at the silent game.......
Love you all!
Elder Groneman
So the ZL called right when the camera was about to take to picture. therefore you have this photo
the Zone from last change

the Zone from last change

Monday, February 29, 2016

Gotta Love the Sabbath Day

Yes. I'm training a new elder. Elder R** (pronounced ***) from south Brazil! I'd send you a picture but unfortunately I left my camera cord in the pension. oops. Haha I didn't know that the mission notified the parents of the assignments we receive. Honestly I was thinking about not even mentioning it  ;) Well, if you already know that, I should probably mention that I'm also a District Leader.
That's the biggest thing that happened this week. After that NOTHING went according to plan.
On Thursday we went down to the plan (downtown Valpo. It's called the plan because, well, it's plano (flat) Ya, the creativity of the name shocks me) to buy some food for Elder R**. First we had to take out money. Ya, we searched for a bank for about half an hour because the grocery store ATM is now not accepting our cards for some reason. Last time I took out money was over a month ago and I did it on the other side of the plan. While looking for a place to take out money, we ran into the 2nd Counselor of Huanhualí!!! I talked with him quickly about the ward. Apparently Elder Bednar went to V.A.O. to preside over the stake conference there. And guess who gave the final prayer? Hna M**!! The mom of the family I helped activate there!!! She's also in the RS Pres now!!! YES! In the end we took out money in another grocery store and returned to the other. Yes, doesn't seem to make sense why we wouldn't just buy food there. The other grocery store is cheaper. Simple answer.
The next day, Friday, we had interchanges. I obviously stayed in my sector because Elder R** still doesn't know it. In the morning, a random lady knocks on our door asking for the bishop's number. Apparently her brother had committed suicide and she wanted to have the funeral that day in the chapel because the Catholic church doesn't allow funerals of people who commit suicide. Also, turns out that the guy was an inactive member from Santiago. Long story short, Elder G** accidentally took the church keys with him to his new sector so we didn't have them and while I was talking to the bishop we were leaving the pension and in the commotion of the conversation I forgot our keys inside. Without the keys we can't get in because the door automatically locks. Great. First time I've ever left without the keys and it just happens to be when I start training... So we go and change comps then head over to our mission leader's house because he has an extra key. We eat lunch with him and then return to the pension to grab the extra church keys we have BUT they don't have the key to turn off the alarm. We met up with the bishop to open the church because he misplaced his keys to open the church but had the key to the alarm. Haha funny how that worked out. In the end they had the viewing and the funeral and everyone rejected us. We tried talking about the plan of salvation to people but they were all die-hard Ccatholics. Oh well, we tried.
Saturday we had District Meeting. Haha the new sisters got lost in my sector so we had to go out to find them. We ended up starting over 30 mins late.
Yesterday was actually a great day. Nothing went wrong. Gotta love the Sabbath Day.
In between all of that we taught and found new investigators (FINALLY!). Oh! I almost just forgot. On Friday I was told that I had to give a talk on Sunday. Apparently Elder G** forgot to tell me. At least I had some time to prepare. 
In the end, everything is all good. The Church is true, so no matter what happens it's all going to work out in the end.
So ya, that was the random happenings of the week. Please try not get mad at the cotton swab when you stab your eardrum as you are using it. The box did warn you....
Love you all!
Elder Groneman

Monday, February 22, 2016

Once again I'm in Viña doing tramites (legal paperwork).

No, Elder Bednar didn't visit us :´(   It's all good though  :)

Wow, another change flew by. We have changes this week. We expect that Elder G** will be leaving because he's been here for 7 months now. I guess we will see - you never know what could happen.

So besides walking up endless hills and stairs, this week was a good one. We were able to teach a few more people but thanks to it being the 2nd to last week of summer vacations, the majority of people weren't home! Yay!!! [I'm assuming that's a sarcastic cheer.] But that'll all change next week when everyone goes back to work and school. Thank goodness!

The bishop here in O'Higgins is the best one I've seen in my time here in Chile. He helps us a ton and is working towards getting all of the auxiliary organizations to being more focused on missionary work. Very soon this ward will be one of the strongest in the mission if the other ward leaders continue responding positively. They are already helping us more and we are going to start entering their classes to give brief "training sessions" or a brief lesson of sorts in order to help them know how to work more in missionary work.

Oh, just so you know, once again I'm in Viña doing tramites (legal paperwork). Yep, the tradition of doing it with EVERY companion continues. How does this always happen???

So ya. That's about it for this week. Not too many exciting things happened. Oh, today I read a scripture that I really liked. D&C 132: 5.  [For all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing, and the conditions thereof, as were instituted from before the foundation of the world.] It explains so simply that in order to receive a specific blessing we must obey a specific commandment. AND that every commandment was paired up with a specific blessing in the premortal life. Which means that before this life we already knew what the commandments were and how to obtain certain blessings. A part of us choosing to come to the earth was accepting the fact that we would have to be obedient in order to obtain blessings. I just love how simple and logical the gospel is. It's a lot easier to understand that way.

Love you all. Please try not to lock your keys in the car. Freezing to death while lamenting your forgetfulness is a sad way to spend a day.

Elder Groneman

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Great Week!

This week was great! Elder Texeira visited us and wow, pure power. His wife is also pure power. Haha his Spanish is a mixture of Spanish from Spain and Argentina with a few Portuguese grammer elements thrown in. He gave a few new standards to measure our work level and also to help us elevate our faith and trust in the Lord. Then he, his wife, and Pres Diaz and his wife answered a lot of questions that we as missionaries in Chile have. Let's just say that it was one of the most inspiring and Spirit-filled moments in my mission.
We have found a few more new investigators this week. Hopefully they will progress because we literally still can't find any of our other investigators. Hopefully we will be able to find them soon because the summer vacations are about to end soon.
Well, I don't have too much time left because we are going to have a zone activity today because in January we met the zone baptism goal!! Hopefully I'll be able to send photos next week. The computers here in the Ciber don't want to recognize my camera for some reason.
Love you all! Don't stick gum wrappers in plug outlets. Burning down walls is not always a pleasant experience.
Elder Groneman

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


One word describes this week -- Ouch.
So we are all pretty dang sure, at least I am, that the giant worldwide missionary training broadcast was a giant prophesy that was supposed to warn us that finding new investigators would be a lot harder if we didn't get their names from a member. I say this because ever since that training conference we have found a total of 2 new investigators when usually we find about 10ish. And the 2 we found were old investigators. Now none of our investigators are progressing and we can't even find a few. Le'st just say that this week we have literally spent hours walking up and down hills trying to find new people to teach while trying to motivate the members to start sharing the gospel with the people they know. There's been a few days that we never even entered one house.
It is all good though. We are learning a lot of patience, diligence, perseverance, and love for the people and the Lord. I'm actually kind of happy that we aren't finding anyone easily because it means that when we do find someone that they will be ready to receive the gospel. It's also putting to the test how much I really want to help the people and serve the Lord.
On a brighter, happier note, this week Elder Teixeira for the 70 is coming to visit the mission! We are all really excited for that. AND Elder Bednar is going to be here on the 20th. We know that he is meeting with the stake and ward leaders but still no one knows if he is going to visit the mission. Let's just say that there will be many missionaries that will be very sad if he doesn't.
Oh, reading the Book of Mormon, I found a scripture that I really like. Alma 56:27. [And now it came to pass in the second month of this year, there was brought unto us many provisions from the fathers of those my two thousand sons.]  I feel that Mom and Dad can best apply this scripture  ;P
HAPPY late BIRTHDAY to Eliza and Jacob. Weird....18 years old. That means Mom and Dad are finally free!
Love you all. Please be careful with the vacuum. Putting the end part on your skin may cause embarrassing hickey-looking marks  ;)
Elder Groneman
[I received an email from a sweet sister who I have never met: "We are in Chile visiting where my husband served in  Valparaiso 34 years ago.  While driving around and getting very lost, we ran into these two awesome missionaries out doing what they do best.  They stopped to chat and had fun comparing missions then to now.  They are good strong Elders and they work real hard. The hills they walk up and down are incredible .  It has to be exhausting but they smile and love what they are doing. We loved meeting them and thought you would like a quick peek at your boy.  I have a son serving in Kentucky and miss him like I'm sure you are missing yours.  Be assured he is healthy and doing well."  
Missionary Moms are awesome!]