Monday, December 28, 2015

We Wish(ed) You a Merry Christmas

This week was great! Mostly because I got to talk with my family, but it was just a good week. I love Christmas.

I feel like I just saw you guys so I don't really have much to say, but I do want to say that Christmas is an amazing time of year, and we should truly treasure it, using it as a time to remember our Savior, and everything that He has done, and continues to do for us. He is always there, waiting for us to come back to Him time and time again. And I am incredibly grateful for that. I hope all of you had a great week with your families.

Not much to update here. We had a couple really good lessons this week and found some new investigators, so we're excited about that. Also, la familia Ledesma got baptized on Saturday! They're investigators of the zone leaders, but we have all been over there a lot for intercambios, baptismal interviews, and we spent Christmas Eve with them, so we've all gotten super close with them. It was so great to see them making this step.

Love you all!
Elder Grondel

Monday, December 21, 2015

¡Feliz Navidad!

Hooooooooooola mis queridos, como están?

This week was really good. Out of nowhere on Tuesday, President called one of our zone leaders Elder Moser and asked him to help the new financiero in the office this week so he can feel more prepared, and so his companion Elder Kauffman was with either Elder Sorenson and I or Elder McNeil and Elder Pineda all week. Because of that, we didn't have much time at all to work in our area, but it was still a great week. The point is I still filled my purpose as a missionary, even if it wasn't in my area. But we did make some good contacts in our area and are excited to go back this week and teach them in this Christmas season.

On Saturday we also did a big Christmas activity in one of the big parks here. We got a projector and a screen (my comp's sheets tied to a chalkboard) and showed a bunch of Christmas videos, contacting all around and trying to bring people in to get more investigators, and just bring the Christmas spirit. It was really cool and a lot of fun. But it definitely does not feel anything like Christmsa still. I can't believe that time has gone by this fast that Christmas is already here, and the fact that it's like blazing outside everyday doesn't help at all, but I'm excited nonetheless.

Elder Pineda (Elder McNeil's new comp) is fitting in nicely in our crazy pensh, and we're becoming good friends. He's a super nice guy and really funny too. The new people in our district are also getting comfortable, it's gonna be a great transfer.

I've had kind of a shift of mind this week that's really helped me to enjoy being a missionary more. I've been really worried about my performance as a missionary in terms of numbers, and tangible statistics you can read, especially as a district leader, where I'm expected to set the example for my district. But I've come to understand that yes, numbers and goals are important, extremely important, and help us to complete our purpose as missionaries, and become more effective, but the more important thing is that I'm being a respresentative of the Lord. I'm doing the things he would do, and loving the people as He does. If I try my best to love the people and be a good missionary and we didn't teach any lessons that day, that doesn't mean I failed. If I feel like I really loved the people, and tried to follow the Spirit, then I'm satisfied. I'm still figuring out this whole life/mission thing, but that's something that I realized this week that's helped me a ton.

I am incredibly grateful for the sacred opportunity I have to serve as a true respresentative of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ here in Roca, to dedicate this time to help His children in this area. At this special Christmas season, I want to bear my testimony of Him. A savior has been born. He lived, He suffered for every each and last one of your sins and shortcomings, He died, and now He lives again. He's calling your name, extending His hand, waiting for you at every moment to come unto Him. His love is inifinite and unfailing, and I have felt it countless times in my life, especially on the missionary. "For unto us a child is born, a son is given: and the Government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6) The first gift of Christmas. Remember Him.

I love you all dearly, and hope you have the merriest of Christmas!

Elder Grondel

1. This is a bus that we take sometimes, the dude has it all pimped out because it's his bus haha. Kind of blurry, but you can still see it

2-3. nativity that we went to for a little while at the other chapel

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas in Roca

Hey everybody! How are you doing? Everything's great here.

First of all, we had our baptism this Saturday! Carla finally got baptized, and her husband Eduardo was able to do the baptism and the confirmation, and it was beautiful. She is so ready, and they are going to continue to be amazing members. I wish there was a temple here so I could see them be sealed, but I'm just glad that they made this step together. We're gonna work super hard this transfer to baptize more too, we're excited.

That means that yes I'll be staying in Roca for the next transfer, with Elder Sorenson! We're both excited to stay and work together, we are going to see so many miracles I know it. One of our zone leaders Elder McCarlie left to Neuquén though, which is sad. He became a really close friend these past few weeks, but I know he'll do great. Our zone is awesome, we have some different changes, but it will still be awesome. Elder Moser is the other zone leader here, and this is his last transfer before he goes home! We've gotten really close too and are excited to alll have fun before he goes, and more importantly baptize.

This week we ended up having to do a lot of tramites and things, so we didn't get to teach as much in our power trio, but it was fun. I got to go to Neuquén to do immigration stuff on Thursday and ate at Subway for lunch. It was amazing. I miss American food soooooooo much it is ridiculous. We talk about it almost everyday.

We found two new investigators, Junior and his brother whose name I could not understand when he told us, and they are fantastic. Neither of them have a Christian background, which makes things interesting, but they're both super sincere and really just want to learn more. I could easily see them being baptized this transfer.

Also, I bought a guitar! Just something simple to have here with me to do talent shows and have fun, but it's awesome. It's so great to have something to unwind with at the end of the day at the pension. My comp and another missionary we live with just bought ukes too, and we're gonna do something for an upcoming ward activity, should be fun.

Well that's about it for this week! Everything is great and I'm just loving life. Can't wait to see what this transfer holds. Love you all so much!

elder grondel

Steak we bought for like a $1.50 each



Our zone leaders with their tennis shoes and their suits because Elder McCarlie's shoes broke

Monday, December 7, 2015

My Father's Return

Hey hey hey everybody how's it going? Todo piola acá.

This week was pretty crazy, a loooot of stuff happened. First of all, we had our interviews with president this week, and it was great. President Casariego is a truly inspired man, I feel uplifted literally every single time that I talk to him. He told a great story about when we whitewashed in his mission and baptized 20 people that transfer, so I hope that he won't put me to whitewash next transfer and have that as his expectation hahaha but we'll see. He's great.

We also had Stkae Conference, which means I got to see a couple members from Choele Choel and Lamarque this Sunday, like Hermana Sandra! It was so great to see them again! The conference was really good, but very different than Stake Conferences in the states, everything is just different here.

Our investigator Carla finished all the discussions this week, and will be interviewed and hopefully baptized this week! We're just waiting on an interview that her husband has with the Bishop this week to check for worthiness stuff, but I think it should still work out! We're super excited.

On a sadder note, our beloved Elder Blanco went home this week. He has been talking with President a bit the past couple weeks, and he had to go home, at least for a little while, which was really sad. But I know he'll be back soon. But that means that now Elder McNeil is my companion again in a trio with Elder Sorenson and I! It's really fun to be with him again, and we all get along really well. They give me a lot of crap, but it's all in good spirit. We're hoping to get a ton done this week since we'll have three in two areas. But all is great! Transfers are next week, and I hope that I stay here in Roca for Christmas, I love it so much here, but we'll see what happens. Christmas is an amazing time, even if it's the middle of summer right now.

Love you all and hope all is well with you all!

Elder Grondel


1. Last pic with Elder Blanco

2. Sunscreen protection

3. Huge spider

Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving Dinner (pizza)

Hey everybody, this week was pretty great! We didn't get to teach a ton which was disappointing, but we still had a ton of good experiences.

Unfortunately we weren't able to talk to our investigator Jazmín much this week, so she didn't get to be baptized this week, but we're going by tomorow and hopefully we can get a date set for this transfer, because she's super ready. Already knows everything it's awesome. But we did get to teach her neighbor who we've tried to go by a couple times, and it was amazing. We had given her and her son restoration pamphlets and she already read them, and as we went over the lesson, eventually she just started crying and talking about how she wants to change her life, and she knew this is how she's gonna do it. It was extremely powerful, especially her closing prayer when she was sobbing, pleading with God to change her life. The Spirit was so strong it was aweome. Haven't seen her since then, but we're super excited.

We also got to do intercambios this week, which was great. I went with Elder Bush, another gringo that got to Argentina with me, and we had an awesome time. It's always super fun to go out with other people. The night before was Thanksgiving, so we made a bunch of pizza of course, and had a great feast. I didn't think I would miss Thanksgiving as much as I did, it makes it even weirder that they just don't celebrate it at all. But I am super thankful to be here. I'm loving every minute, and learning so much. My district and zone are both awesome, and the ward is great too. I'm super lucky to be here.

Unfortunately we had to end those intercambios early, but it was so I could go do the baptismal interviews for the zone leaders' investigators, which was also really cool. My first time doing interviews, but their investigators are so awesome it made it really easy. They are teaching a family of 7 kids, 4 of which are baptismal age, and the parents already got married about a month and a half ago. And so I interviewed the four kids, and that family really is special. The baptismal service the next day was extremely beautiful, and it was the first one I've been to on my mission. It made me super excited to work hard, and reminded me of my ultimate purpose. The joy I felt and that I saw those kids feel was so powerful, I can't wait to have that be my investigator.

Everything is all good here, can't believe it's December tomorrow! It'll be 5 months for me out here, it's going so quick. I love you all and hope all is well for you guys!

Élder Grondel

preaching repentance to the people of Roca

Monday, November 23, 2015

It's Good to Be Alive

This week was great! We had a lot of fun, and saw a lot of miracles.

Yesterday was the second half of elections here in Argentina, and so we had to stay inside again all day. The difference this time was we live with two other Elders, and the zone leaders came over too. We made A TON of pizza, like literally three bags of flour worth, and banana bread, and ate a bunch of peppers for fun. It was crazy and fun.

Our investigator Carla, who got married last week, now has a baptismal date! Her husband is going to marry her on the 12th of December, and we're super excited. She's so ready, we're so glad we'll both get to be here to see her get baptized.

Also this week the assistants came down and gave a training/presentation to our zone, and it was really good. We talked about being obedient enough to achieve our goals, and things like that, and I got to be in like a leadership council with them and all the other leaders in Roca, and it made me realize how awesome this place is. It really is suuuuper cool, and just has an amazing spirit. I¡m so glad to be in Roca.

We also went on exchanges with the zone leaders this week, and it was really good too. I went with Elder McCarlie, he's a 6'4" guy from Provo, so we towered over all the people we visited, but it was really good. I learned a lot and we had a lot of fun.

The miracle of this week happened on Monday. We went by and talked to a girl named Jazmín that we've met before, and asked if they needed any help, and her mom was actually cutting grass and needed help. So we go back there, and she's cutting her grass with literally children's safety scissors. Like the 2-inch-bladed ones you used in preschool. So she got two more pairs and we cut her grass with those tiny scissors for like an hour and a half haha it was hilarious. We didn't even get close to finishing, but she said she could do the rest. So we started talking to them, and the mom is a member, slightly less-active, and none of her kids are, and this girl (Jazmín) wants to be baptized soooooo bad. Turns out she has already received all the lessons twice, been to church a ton, and even had her baptismal interview twice. What a miracle. We're going to try to get her baptized this week, but she didn't go to church yesterday, so we'll see. Sooo awesome.

Everything's great, and I love it here! Love you all as well,

Elder Grondel


1. Trains

2. Nice place in our area

3. Our zone

Big head tree statue thing

When our roommates scared us hahaha

Monday, November 16, 2015

Pizzeria Pension

¿Que tal, eh?

This week was pretty awesome! We had some good experiences, and are just having a lot of fun here in Roca. We had our zone training, which was super amazing. Our zone leader Elder Moser got ahold of this training given to the Las Vegas West mission called the Donaldson Papers that has a bunch of amazing tips in there that is completely changing the way we are teaching, and the results are stupendous. I am loving it, it makes it super simple, super effective, and brings miracles. My zone is really awesome, I'm loving it so much here.

The rest of the week was pretty normal, but Carla and Eduardo got married on Friday! They are the couple where he is a return missionary that was inactive, and she's taking the discussions, and she's basically already baptized. The marriage was really short, but really cool and fun, we got to throw rice at them afterwards haha.

We have a new investigator named Kevin, and he is a capo. We taught him on Tuesday, and then on Friday in his member-neighbor's house and he was super attentive and sincere both times. He didn't come to church which was really upsetting, but we're gonna meet with him again this week and hopefully get him on track to be baptized before the end of this transfer! He's really awesome.

We also got to meet with an investigator that we've been trying to find home for like a month and he was really open, and we read from the Book of Mormon with him, and everything was really cool. He has a really strong desire to know the truth, and so we're working with him on that, but I think he has a lot of potential to be baptized this transfer too!

As foreshadowed by the subject, we have made a loooot of pizza this week. I'm talking like 7 in the past 4 days. We found out that my comp's parents own a pizzeria back home, and so he knows how to make really good pizza. And we've just been trying a bunch of different stuff, and we've basically perfected pizza haha it's great we're making more for the zone today.

Overall, thinks are just cherry here in Roca. I'm learning more and more everyday, and my zone/district/area are all awesome. Elder Sorenson is super cool and a good missionary, he's basically already trained so I don't even have to do much there. Spanish is coming reaaally well, I have learned so much in the past few weeks, it's so apparent the Lord has been helping me and that the gift of tongues is sooo real. Everybody thinks I have a ton of more time than I do because of my spanish, I have been so blessed. Life is great, I love everything, and I'm learning tons!

Thank you all for your love and support, I pray for the best for each one of you

Elder Grondel


2 y 3 Eduardo y Carla's wedding

4. Statue of General Roca

5. Wall art of Father Steffenelli (the barrio where we do most of our work)

6. bike selfy

Monday, November 9, 2015

Roca rocks.

In short, my life is awesome and I'm loving every minute of it.

Details. So Elder Sorenson is actually the coolest man alive and I love him so much. He doesn't care ho bad is spanish is (and it's not great) he talkks to literally everyone. We haven´t been able to teach a ton of lessons thtis week, but the lessons we did teach were amaaaazing. Super simple but powerful. Elder Sorenson knows his stuff, and is ready to work hard. He's the best. Also this keyboard is awful so if there are mistakes, know that it's because this keyboard is the seed of the devil.

Every transfer the mission has a leadership counsel that all the zone leaders and hermana lideres go to in Neuquen, and everysix months the district leaders go too, and it just so happened to be this transfer, so that was fun! It was reallycool and interesting, but I felt kind of weird being the youngest kid that didn't really know anybody.

I literally have the best district and zone in the mission. My zone leaders are both awesome and super cool dudes. I'm gonna learn a lot this transfer. My district is really cool too. We live with Elder McNeil and Elder Blanco, which is super fun, but makes it a little hard to focus some times. We love it though.

We have an investigator named Carla that we taught on Tuesday, and she is amazing. Her "husband" (not married) is an rm that is less active. But he's pretty active and they've been going to church a ton. We taught the Plan of Salvation and she understand everything without any questions. Amazing. They're getting married this week, and she'll be baptized as soon as he's worthy to do it. Truly a blessing.

We had a ward activity on Saturday where we danced and eat and that's it, but it was super fun. It's a great time having six missionaries in the same ward. We're having a lot of fun and seeing a ton of miracles. The Lord really is blessing and qualifying me for this week. I am not worried at all anymore, because I know the Lord is on myside. DyC 6:36. I love you all and hope the best for each one of you. Thank you for all your support and letters!

Elder Grondel

1. Classic

2. Walking the streets of Roca

3. Stone Christian Soren Sorenson

4. We have bikes!

Monday, November 2, 2015


Hola como andan?

This week has been extremely crazy a ton of changes have happened that have blown my mind.

First things first, the new transfer starts today, and they did indeed close our beloved Lamarque. An office elder told us on Friday that the contract for our pension expired the next day, and so we needed to be ready to leave the next morning. Sooooo we packed quickoly, and cleaned the pension, got everything ready to go, and a guy came Saturday afternoon, took all of our stuff, and we left for Choele later that night. This week again we just focused on visitng members again because we knew the area would be closed, so we tried strengthening them so they'll hopefully stay faithful. It was really hard and sad to tell the poor members that we were both leaving and no other missionaries were coming to replace us. The area has been closed before, so it was especially hard because they already know what it's like when they're gone. But nonetheless, we feel that quite a few will remain faithful and attend the branch in Choele Choel. But in order to keep them all, we need the Branch President to step up and get some priesthood holders in Lamarque, or send a member from choele to Lamarque every week to be the group leader there. Most of the members can't even afford to go to Choele once a week. But, that is out of my hands now, so I can't worry about it anymore.

So, I'm now in Roca! It's a fairly large city about an hour from Neuquén. We left this morning at about 4:30 from Choele, and got here just before 8, So I'm suuuuuper tired right now. Elder McNeil is with me in my district, and we're living together! But we both are training! I can't believe it! We're both finishing the second-half training for two Elders that arrived in Argentina with me, but I'm technically a transfer ahead because of Idaho. My new comp is Elder Sorenson from Koosharem, Utah, which is about 300 people strong. He's super funny, I love him already. And, I'm district leader! I have no idea what is going on or how I'm going to do any of this, but I'm confident everything will be alright. Also, Elder McNeil is with Elder Blanco from Mexico from my group, and we are all living together! It's gonna be super awesome and fun.

President called us last Tuesday to ask about Lamarque and wanted to talk to me. He asked me how I would feel about being a senior companion to a new missionary, and I said that I still don't speak the language all that well, and I haven't had much experience at all, but he just told me not to worry. I felt nervous ever since then, but have been praying a ton and really just telling the Lord that I'll do whatever He wants me to. I felt like I was doubting myself too much when I was on the phone with President, and I came to the realization that, once again, it's not about me. Although this is kind of in a different since than it has been before, it really isn't about me. It doesn't matter that I don't understand a lot of Spanish, or speak it that well, it doesn't matter that I have never taught anybody the Plan of Salvation in Spanish, none of that matters. This mission, every single part of this work, is about the Lord Jesus Christ. I am simply trying my best to do His work, but I can't do it alone. And I know I'm not alone. When we got transfer calls and we were all huddled straining to hear what would happen, and I couldn't breathe, as soon as they said my new assignment, I felt at peace. I didn't feel nervous or inadequate, just peaceful. The Lord is going to help me sooooooooo much this transfer, it's all gonna be on Him, because I really don't know what I'm doing. But I know as I rely on Him, todo va a salir bien.

I love you all so much. The Lord has big plans for each and every one of us, and I know if we put all of our trust in Him, we will perform miracles. Not just in the mission field, but everywhere.

Sorry for no pictures, camera still broken, and Elder McNeil forgot his with all of ours from this week.

Elder Grondel

Monday, October 26, 2015

Peter, Members, Mowing Lawns

Hey hey hey everybody! We had some pretty interesting experiences and overall just a good time this week.

First of all, Peter. We were walking through a park on Monday night when we see this guy that yells "misioneros!" y despues "gringos!" We knew it could not be good from right then. He ran up to us and started talking crazy fast. He was suuuuuuper drunk. His name was Peter, and he claimed to be Mormon, Evangelico y Testigo de Jehovah. He was super funny, just begging us to teach him, talking about how he knew Michael Jackson, Joseph Smith, and had a kid with the president hahahaha. Then talked about sniping a bunch of testigos and stuff I don't even know what was happening. At the end as we were trying to leave he begged us to show him the church, and said that he would be our boyfriends if we did hahaha it was a good laugh.

The next day was Sandra's birthday, and so we made her brownies! We had to attempt four times till we got them good enough to give to her, and even then they weren't that great haha but it was fine, she liked them. The day after we came and cut her lawn, and it was actually really fun! Elder McNeil and I were both super surprised by how much we enjoyed it. We're going to go back sometime this week again.

Our investigators have all kind of decided to not want to listen to us anymore, in fact we had two in one day tell us to stop coming by. But we have been feeling for a while that our area has been dying and that it is going to close. Our suspicions have been only further confirmed as President has decided to add three more companionships in one city in our zone, and that he was thinking about closing our area. So we talked to our zone leaders, and we are now focusing on working with members, strengthening them in case they actually do take us out. So that has been fun to get to know them more.

On Friday we went to a little pueblo outside our already tiny Lamarque called Pomona, to get to know it and possibly find people there. It's extreeeemely small, but really pretty.

On Saturday I had my first asado! Our recent convert Margarita's husband made it and it was super good. Unfortunately it was raining, so they had to do it in the oven instead outside, but it was amazing nonetheless. Reminded me of good ol pop's barbecue.

Yesterday we couldn't leave the pension because it was presidential elections. Apparently it's a really big deal here, we weren't allowed to hold any meetings until after 6, and we could only leave to go to lunch at a member's house. It was a day of a lot of studies, naps, and letter writing. But yeah, that's about how my week has been. All is well hear, can't believe I've been on my mission for almost 4 months now!

Love you all, and hope the best!

Elder Grondel

1. Sandra's birthday

2. My inspiration to plan (Elder McNeil's girlfriend)

3. This is the trashman in Lamarque. A tractor with a flat bed attached.

4. A beautiful park in Lamarque

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Week of Food

Hello everyone!

This week was kind of low in numbers, we didn't get in a lot of houses unfortunately, but we did eat a lot with members, so that was good! On Saturday we ate Milanesas (basically country-fried steak/chicken), hamburgers, and empanadas at three different houses. That was awesome.

We went on exchanges on Tuesday, and I went to Choele with Elder Loayza, which was interesting. He is kind of disobedient a lot of the time, but we were actually able to teach a couple good lessons, and I still learned a lot with him. We also contacted this guy named Leonardo who said that he has a ton of faith in God, but every time the Jehovah's Witness of Evangelists have come by, there has always been something that has stopped him from joining. But he said that he doesn't know much about the Mormon church, and he'd loved to listen to us, so that was pretty cool.

On Wednesday it rained and hailed like crazy, so the streets got super muddy and flooded, so it took us like 40 minutes to walk to each person, and none of them were home when we stopped by. But it was fun trying to navigate the destroyed streets.

Thursday we actually had a lesson with someone we've been trying to talk to for a long time. It was a family from Bolivia, and we taught the Restoration, and it was awesome. The wife actually tried to go to church the other week, but didn't understand our directions that well so just went back home. They were out of town this weekend, but we're hoping to see them there next time.

The rest of the week we just walked a lot, and talked to a lot of people, but didn't get in anywhere. We were feeling pretty down on Friday, and prayed a ton for help, and the next day a ton of people said they were going to come to church, and we had 20 on Sunday, the highest since I've been here. The Lord works in mysterious ways, but He is always there for us if we just reach out to Him. I know that He will help us if we just ask for it, and ten do the things he asks us to do in order to qualify for that help.

Sunday was also Mother's Day here, so we helped the kids make/decorate cakes, which was fun. We had a pretty good day in church, and we got to teach primary (5 kids) which is always great.

Everytime I get discouraged, the Lord always does something to help lift my spirits. We haven't had a ton of success here, but we have still been working hard. I just feel like I need to figure out more exactly what I need to do to have the success I want, and more importantly the Lord has in store for me. I love you all and hope the best for each one of you.

Elder Grondel

Monday, October 12, 2015


Alright alright alright, this week was pretty sweet, so let's get into it.

The beginning of the week was pretty normal, we're trying to work harder to get more lessons, contacts, and references in Lamarque, so we just did some work with that. It went alright, but we're going to work harder on that and make sure we're giving our entire effort.

On Friday we had a zone conference with President, and it was super awesome. We traveled to Villa Regina for it, and had our zone and the Roca zone there. There were a couple missionaries from the group I came in with, so it was good to see them again. The focus of the conference was a lot about miracles, and how we need to be worthy for them, and have the faith necessary to allow the Lord to bless us with them. We also talked about the First Vision a lot. We are trying to visit members 3 times a day and share the first vision with them in order to increase the references we get, and we've learned how to share it extremely powerfully in just a short time. There truly is power in the First Vision, and I know that every time it is shared, the Spirit is there. It is an amazing account that I know with all my heart and soul is true.

We were supposed to take a collectivo back that night, but they were all full, so we ended up going out with some other Elders and spending the night in Villa Regina until our collectivo left the next morning. I went out with Elder Rose, who has the same amount of time as I do, so we had a good time trying to figure out Spanish and stuff, but it ended up being pretty fun.

Unfortunately, the next morning our collectivo came three hours late, so we didn't get back to Lamarque till about 1 or so, but such is the life of a missionary in Lamarque.

The rest of the week was good, especially our Sunday Fast and Testimony meeting. We were a little worried because there were only 14 of us there, but it ended up being super powerful. The people here are so humble, but they have such fervent testimonies of this church and of our Savior.

I thought today I'd take a little time to talk about the food we eat here. I love it a lot. Unfortunately I haven't been able to eat with members a ton yet, so I haven't been able to have a ton of good experience, but it's all good. We have had chorizos twice this week, the second time being home-made ones of our recent convert Margarita, which were super good. People eat a ton of meat, as well as pasta, the best of so far being ñoquis (gnocchis in english). Our favorite member Hermana Sandra made them for us a while and there were sooooo good. I'm going to learn how to make them soon. Pastries are also super huge here, which I didn't know. Facturas are like sweet breakfast pastry, like croissants with sugar, sweet dough with dulce de leche and powdered sugar, and other fruit pastries kind of like danishes. They're also super good. Tortas fritas are also super popular, which are basically just fried dough that they dip in salsa that's kind of like Mexican salsa. It's all really good. Also, Milanesas, which come in either carne or pollo, and are just thin pieces of meat that are breaded and then cooked in oil. Good stuff.

The last thing I wanted to talk about is an experience we had Saturday night. We were walking in the street and a man stopped us and wanted to talk to us, so of course we said yes. It turns out he was a Testigo de Jehovah (Jehovah's Witness) and he basically ranted at us for 30 minutes about how "we're young and don't know anything" and that when we get back to the states "and have woken up, talk with some of my brothers." It was frustrating because everytime we tried to say somehting he just wouldn't listen. But instead of getting discouraged or starting to doubt, I thought about the testimony I have of this church, of this gospel, and the joy I've experienced from it. It made me really sad to think this man will probably never accept the gospel because he's so set in his ways, when I know with all my soul, with all my heart, with my might, with all my mind, with all my strength that this is the only true church, that Christ stands at its head, that I'm doing the will of my Father in Heaven, and that He is mindful of and loves me. Joseph Smith had a vision. The Book of Mormon is completely true. I have no doubt. Our church is led by a true prophet of God, and I sustain him with all that I have. This gospel is true, and there is nothing that will ever be able to tear me away from that.

I love you all, thank you for the support I receive from you!
Elder Grondel

ps no pictures this week, my camera still isn't working :(

Monday, October 5, 2015

Hello Argentina

Hello everyone!

This week was kind of hard, we didn't get into many houses, but we still had a super good time. I thought thtat this week I would talk a little about the life of amissionary, specifically a missionary in Argentina, and even more specifically in Lamarque.

Every morning we wake up at 6:30, except in my mission in between conferences we push everything back 30 minutes, so we wake up at 7 and go to bed at 11:00. The mornings are filled with studies, about two hours here in Argentina, and then we go out and contact, trying to find new people to teach. Lunch is the big meal here, so we come back around one to eat something. Usually members feed us, but there are only 11 here in Lamarque, so we get lunch from them about once or twice a week I've been told, but we haven't gotten lunch in our area since I got here. After lunch we finish the rest of our studies while the rest of the world here takes a siesta. Everything closes down at 12:30 or 1 and opens around 5 for all the Argentinos to take a little snooze in the middle of the day. After that we go out and walk everywhere, trying to teach people and help them in their lives through service or other means. Almost all the roads are dirt here, and stray dogs litter the streets, grocery store, bank, basically anyplace really. Dinner isn't really a thing, so we eat a little snack when we get home around 9:00 or 9:30 usually. Then we plan for the next day, write in journals, prepare for the next day all that. And I love every minute of it. I love our broken janky washing machine, our gross tile floor and tiny stove. The bagged milk and corn flakes with chocolate powder for breakfast everyday. The unstable top bunk I sleep in, the 7 year old Nokia we use to talk to other people. It's all amazing. I love it here, even if it's completely different and I don't understand what people are saying half the time.

Some other highlights from the week:

This week we had a Noche de Hogar (Family Home Evening) activity at our little salon this week, and it was great. We watched some Mormon messages and then played a really fun game where we had to put on random clothes and stuff. Pictures will be attached.

Saw 17 miracles for the first time so that was good.

We had Zone Conference on Thursday, and it was awesome to meet everyone else in our zone. There's another Elder, Elder Rose, who got to the mission when I was supposed to, so we got to talk a little bit. My zone leaders are great. Elder Gallegos is from Utah and is an awesome missionary, we went out and taught a little with him on Thursday. Elder Bazzeha? (Don{t remember how to spell or even say it) is from Brazil and is crazy and a pretty funny kid. We also ate with a member on Thursday in Villa Regina, and had like a pizza that had chi

cken instead of dough for the crust. Amazing.

Lastly, conference. Conference is frikin amazing and I love it more and more everytime that I watch it. Thankfully, the transmission of video is actually in English, and then they have a translated in Spanish, so we got to watch it in English! That definitely helped and a learned a ton. I in particular enjoyed President Eyring's talk about following the Spirit, it really meant a lot to me as I try to detect the subtle whisperings of the Holy Ghost more and more each day. Conference is amazing, truly a great opportunity to listen to the voices of true prophets and apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ. I'm excited that we have this new scripture and three new apostles called as well. Use this scripture specifically for our day and cherish it, I know it will bless your lives and you'll see a difference as you study it and apply the principles found therein in your life.

Love you all so much, and know that the Lord is extending is hand to you at all times.

Elder Grondel

1-3. Majestically looking over the streets of our beloved Lamarque

4. Self-explanatory

Random statues at a park in Villa Regina we went to while we waited for our collectivo back to our pension after zone training

Monday, September 28, 2015

La Marque

Hello one and all, I write this to you from a small "cyber" or shop that basically has computers and other random stuff, in Argentina! I'm so excited to be here, and so much has happened this week, so I'll start from the beginning.

I left Idaho at around 11:30 in the morning, flew to Salt Lake, where I met up with a group of missionaries going to Argentina from the MTC, and found none other than Spencer Messina there! It was crazy/awesome to see him, he's doing great. We left from Salt Lake to Atlanta, where I met up with Elder Davis from my MTC district who was waiting for his visa in Houston. It was fantastic! We talked a ton and just had a wonderful time being together again. We left Atlanta at around 10, and arrived at around 9 in the morning the next day in Buenos Aires. The flight was long, but Elder Davis and I sat next to each other, so we passed the time pretty well. In Buenos Aires I said goodbye to Elder Davis, and the rest of us took an hour-long bus ride to a different airport. We (three other gringos from the MTC going to Neuquen) met up with the latinos from the Argentina CCM, and waiting until about 4:30 for our plane to Neuquen to arrive. But it was good to meet and try to talk to the Latinos. I guess I know Spanish a bit better than I thought because we were able to successfully buy three pizzas together. The soda is so much better here. The coke is more sweet like Mexican coke, and the Fanta tastes like the Fanta in Europe. It was super good. We finally got to the Neuquen airport at around 7:30, met President and his wife and everyone else. They are awesome! Then we went to the mission home and had empanadas for dinner, which were so good.

The next day we were in the mission home all day with orientation stuff, interviews with President, and other things. The highlight was when we got to go out and pass out invitations to church in the street. It was super fun and a lot different than Idaho, because there everyone knows who we are and almost everyone is a member, and here people may have seen us before/know we're "The Mormons" but they're opinion to learn more because they don't know a ton. Not everyone is like that, but quite a few.

Thursday we did some immigration stuff in the morning, and then our trainers came! We didn't know who we were going to be with, and they didn't either, which was fun. We passed out more invitations with the trainers, which was also fun. I went with Elder Marzo from Argentina, and he was super cool. We then found out where we going and who with! My trainer is Elder McNeil from Mesa, Arizona, and we are serving in La Marque. La Marque is a town of about 8,000 people, and we cover the whole thing. It's about the farthest west you can get from Neuquen, but it's great, I love it. We didn't get into too many house in the two days we had, but we had a good time. On Sunday we had church in our "salon" which is just a random building. The nearest branch is 30 minutes away in Choele Choel, so we just have a group that meets on Sundays that we run. There aren't any other Priesthood holders in the city, which is really cool but stressful. We do everything; conduct, preside, bless and pass the sacrament, say prayers, give testimonies. But it's fun. Crazy stuff happens, like one of the members asking if he can say somehting in the middle of someone's talk, and the speaker denying him because it's sacrament meeting. They crack me up.

There are some amazing people here, one of them being Hermana Sandra. She's basically our mom here, and does so much for the church; teaches gospel principles, gives talks, is the only one that pays her tithing, comes up with ideas for church and helped organize the first primary today. She is a capo. (capo = awesome person).

Sunday was also kind of hard because there was a priesthood meeting in Roca that President told us to go to, but the earliest ticket we could get left at 3:45, which would have put us at the meeting about 45 minutes late. But President said to go anyway, and so we did. Well it turns out the guy lied to us and it took another hour than he said, so we got to the church building just in time from the closing hymn. But, what are you gonna do. President was at the meeting and just laughed and it actually was pretty funny. Then we walked back to the bus terminal, bought tickets from 30 minutes later to put us at our pension at around 12:30, but of course it was late so we got to bed around 2 last night, but such is the life of the missionaries in La Marque as Elder McNeil tells me. A lot of travel, which I actually love to do, but I just felt/feel like I wasted the whole day because we didn't even go to the meeting we spent the whole day traveling to. But I'm just trying to put my head down and work this week so that I'll feel better/be a better missionary.

Missionary work is incredibly hard, but so is salvation. It may not always be easy, but it will always be worth it.

Argentina is wild! I love it! Completely different culture, life, everything. I{m trying to pick up on the accent to help my understanding of it and everything, which is kind of hard. But I'm getting there. The people are very Italian here in the way they talk/act, it's very interesting. My head is still kind of swimming, but I'm getting through it. A lot of culture shock, and life is very different here than Idaho. It's a completely different mission, the only thing that is the same is the gospel. So I'm basically brand new again, but it's great. I'm super excited to progress and work a lot more this week and see some miracles! I love this gospel and know that it is completely and entirely true. The examples of people like Sandra who does not have a job, takes care of her daughter, and still pays her tithing faithfully is an incredible testimony to me of the truthfulness of this gospel. This is the truth. The Book of Mormon is the most true book on the earth. Read it. Gain a testimony of it. It will change your life.

Love and pray for you all!

Elder Grondel

1. Elder Davis y yo

2. Elder Messina y yo

3. Waiting in the Buenos Aires Airport

4. A cemetery we passed by because everyone was taking a siesta

Me and my compa!