Friday, July 31, 2015

23 months left, mas o menos

I never know what to put here, so there you go.

My week was pretty good. Last Friday we spoke all in Spanish all day. It was pretty hard at first, but I actually was able to get by pretty well. I'm very glad with how my Spanish is coming actually. We did a learning assessment a few weeks ago, when we recorded ourselves talking about different things on the computer and somebody else listened to it and he gave us feedback last week. He was very impressed with my Spanish and couldn't believe that I didn't take it in high school, so it was awesome! Definitely a confidence booster. Now I just have to not get a big head about it.

The most "interesting" part of the week was definitely our lesson with our progressing investigator Alberto. He had been somewhat open with us throughout our lessons beforehand, and we gave him a Restoration pamphlet to read before our next lesson. When we got in this time, we asked him about the pamphlet and if he had any questions. He said that he did have a few questions, and that he had recently been speaking with his Jehovah's Witness family about us. Sweet. So of course he then asks if Joseph Smith had multiple wives, why polygamy, why no polygamy anymore, how do you know your church is true, what even is church, why is religion important, wasn't Peter the first pope, and so on. Eventually, my companion just said, "I don't have all of the answers that you want, but I know that God does. Will you pray about these things?" He agreed to and we taught him briefly about the Book of Mormon and prayer and the Holy Ghost and then gave him Alma 32 to read about having faith in the Lord to understand His works and such. It was somewhat upsetting at first to not get through to him, but in the end, we were able to teach him what we wanted, and what the Lord wanted him to know. It was a huge testimony to me that the Lord's work will always go forward.

As for my district and the companionship I was worried about, we brought it up in Branch Council on Sunday and President Shallenberger said that he had actually been feeling that the companionship needed to be changed. So we worked together and eventually made the decision to switch up two companionships in order to help everyone involved. I think that it will make a huge difference and that the 4 involved all have something to learn from the experience. Unfortunately Elder Davis was one of the ones involved and so he had to move rooms which is a little rough, but I know it's all for the best.

I also had the chance to be an "investigator" with Alberto (Brother Rasmussen) this Monday, and it was super eye-opening. It's very hard to include more than one person in a lesson, especially when you've been a missionary for like four weeks, but still, it was very hard because I wasn't exactly included in the lessons. They talked to me in the beginning a bit, but they were teaching Alberto and I was observing. It really helped me understand how I should go about teaching more than one person in the times I have the opportunity to.

Stephen B. Allen gave our devotional on Sunday night, and it was really powerful and super funny. You should look up a talk by him if you have the time.

We've been working a lot this week on using the Book of Mormon to answer questions, and have been studying it a ton. It has grown my testimony a lot as we practice finding answers to all kinds of questions in this holy book. I know that it is true, that it is the word of God, and that it is meant for every person on this earth. Pick it up this week, and search for an answer to a question you've had recently. I know that it contains the answer.

Yesterday night Elder Johnson and I got to teach an amazing lesson to other investigator Kimie. We have worked with her through her problems with pornography and being unloyal to her husband and been through repentance, and she has been able to do the things that we ask her (i.e. word of wisdom, keep Sabbath Day holy) but she still feels the guilt for her sins. We were able to just console her, and tell her the things that she needs to feel better. I could feel the Spirit and knew that we were doing the right thing. We also suggested that she meet with the bishop and read Ether 12 about the Lord using our weaknesses to makes us more like Him, and she wanted to do both con gusto, entonces creemos que we were able to help her a lot. It was sweet.

We also taught our TRC investigator José for the last time this week, which was awesome. He´s a tiny Guatemalan man with a huge heart and tons of wisdom. He taught Elder Johnson and I so much about ourselves, about our purpose as missionaries and as people, and even dating. I love him and am so glad for the opportunity I have had to meet him and get to know him.

Other than that, it's been a pretty average week. I have seen Elder Reid quite a few times, we actually have the same schedule which is awesome! I haven't seen Elder Salter yet, but he's also only been here for a day, so. Also I get my travel plans tomorrow! I can't believe I leave the MTC in 10 days, but I'm beyond excited.

¡Viva Argentina!

Elder Grondel


1. Sister Thomas, Elder Richter, and I ran into each other on our temple walk.

2. Elder Jensen was only here for 12 days, but they were the best 12 days of our lives. I love that man and know he´s going to touch so many peoples hearts in Mississippi.

3. While moving Elder Davis to his other room, we found that placing it upon the ironing board creates a wonderful illusion as if he was floating right in the air. How fantastic!

This is our TRC investigator José!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

¡Trillamos a los naciones!

Yo fam,

To explain the subject, it means thrash the nations in Spanish. It's kind of become one of our mottoes. All's good here still. We're progressing as always and I'm learning more and more Spanish each day. Spiritual experiences galore. I'm beginning to think more and more of those things that missionaries would always laugh at that I thought were lame are more and more hilarious, so you could say I'm becoming an actual missionary.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to perform with some other Elders in my zone an arrangement of "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy" at a couple conferences and in our sacrament meeting. It was a beautiful song and I'm glad I had the opportunity to share some of my talents.

I don't remember if I told you guys last week, but we got a new district last Wednesday, so that's fun to have them around. They are an intermediate district, so they learn a little bit different content than us. Also, the oldest district in our zone left this past Monday, which was weird. I have also had a lot of other friends that were here when I arrived leave this week, which is also a little disconcerting, but also gets me really pumped to go to Argentina.

Also, Elder Johnson and I were made District Leaders this week! We're excited to try to help our district as much as we can and be the best leaders we can. We have a district goal to memorize all of DyC 4 in Spanish by Saturday, and my compa and I already have, and it's awesome! Also, tomorrow we'll be having an all-Spanish day, which should be interesting. Another thing, I've been praying in Spanish since around the first day, which was been amazing.

Question for Dad, Doug, Lauren, or anyone else who has been on a mission. How do help a missionary who doesn't like his companion, and doesn't like himself for not being able to love his companion, but doesn't know how to change? I know that's a really tough and complicated situation, but I need all the help I can get to help them center their companionship in Christ.

This week we talked a lot about revelation through prayer, and more about How to Begin Teaching, and Teaching People, Not Lessons. I love learning these fundamentals, they really help a lot. Now if I could just figure how to put all the things I learned into Spanish, that would be prime. Also, Elder Davis (the 21 year old) was giving the opportunity to leave early and go straight to the mission field, but luckily he decided to stay because of the fundamentals he's learning, and he loves our district, and I couldn't be happier. His companion struggles a lot with Spanish, so he helps him a ton, and he also helps our district all the time. I love our district and see the Lord's hand in everything that we do every single day.

Getting to go to the temple last week was amazing. I'm pumped (or as my district would say "so turnt") to go again today. The blessings and revelation found in the temple are unlike anything else in the world, and I encourage you all to go as soon as you can.

Also, Lauren is a saint and basically the best. She made a journal for me filled with basically letters to me on my mission while she was on her mission and afterwards, and let me tell you, that thing was inspired. So many things she has talked about have been relevant to me here. I think of it as like my own epistle from a servant of the Lord. She also included a speech by Tad R. Callister titled "Our Identity, Our Destiny" and it is straight fire. I encourage all to read it. One of my favorite parts was a quote from C.S. Lewis, which reads, " It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which . . . you would be strongly tempted to worship. . . . There are no ordinary people." Wow. A seriously inspired man right there. I have no doubt that he's sitting up in the Celestial Kingdom with J.R.R. Tolkein right now writing more works to lift and edify.

I got to see a ton of my friends this week mostly on my temple walk, which was super nice. I'll attach some pictures.

I love you all, and hope and pray for the best for all of you every single day. You are an inspiration to me, and help to get through the difficult times that are of course present. You wouldn't go without talking to your dad for very long would you? So please, do me a favor and pour out your soul to your Heavenly Father through prayer. I promise it'll bless you.

Elder Grondel.

Temple Pics

classic Piscione am I right?
mi compa

Sunday, July 19, 2015

2 weeks down, 100 to go...noooo problem.

Hello there!

First of all, time passes super quick here. Feels like I've been here four days and it's been 15, so there's that. Anyway

This week was pretty great. Really enlightening and helpful for my teaching skills especially. The main fundamental that we focused on this week was Teach People, Not Lessons which was amazing. The way the MTC is set up in case you're unaware, is that they essentially set you up to fail, so that when they teach you the right way to go about teaching and such, you understand what not to do, and are humble enough to rely on the Savior for help in all that you do. So for the first week or so they throw you into new situations in a different language and have you teach basically how you believe you need to teach. Then they show you how to actually teach. Brother Barton was right when he told me not to worry, you're just talking to people for two years. Previously, my compa and I would go into a lesson with a complete lesson plan set up, we talk to them for a few minutes, pray, teach, and then give a rushed commitment because we're out of time, pray and run away. We learned this week that we really need to show love for this person for a large portion of the time, and then teach the points of doctrine rather quickly, and teach to the commitment, so that they understand the importance of it. And then leave quite some time to answer their questions about how to do the commitment (i.e. how to pray, what pages in the Book of Mormon to read) so that they understand that we love them and not that we're just bursting into their homes to teach them a 20 minute lesson about something they've never heard about before and then telling them to read this book when they don't understand what it is.

Emeritus General Authority Ben Banks gave the Tuesday devotional. Two things I loved is that he shared a quote from President Hinckley, where he said that he regards us (missionaries) as companions in this work. It was amazing. He also told us to read D&C 100 and it is very powerful. Please read it.

Also, while preparing for a lesson earlier this past week, Elder Johnson and I were trying to decide which topic to talk about next in the lesson. We decided to pray together to know which section to teach next. We both took a few seconds to ponder and I asked him what he thought we should teach next and he said the Word of Wisdom, and that is exactly what I thought too. It was a super cool experience.

On Sunday Smooth J and I taught District Meeting about Recognizing the Spirit and it was super good. We had an awesome discussion about the Nature of the Holy Ghost and how we've felt it in our lives. My branch presidency is fantastic. President Shallenberger is an international businessman that travels a ton all over the world running different things, and he has really good insights on leadership skills and other things. Brother Slingerland is a retired Pediatrician and a convert to the church. He actually was converted during college and didn't go on his mission until after he finished medical school. He is also a genius and attended Dartmouth for his undergrad, graduated early, and went to Penn State for medical school. He is a super spiritual man and inspires me every time he talks. He is also like 5'6" and has the most pure white hair ever, it's my dream to have hair like his when I'm his age. Brother Dowdle is a bit younger, and is a professional guitarist. He is really cool. And shout out to Doug bc he also served his mission in Dallas, Texas! Sunday night we had a devotional and the special musical number was a violin and harp duet of "Come Thou Fount" and it was super amazing. Made me think of Jessica and Lauren and how thankful I am for their talents and for the fact that our entire family appreciates music so much and that it has become such a big part of my life because of that.

Our investigator that is actually our teacher taught us for the first time last week, and she is fantastic! Her name is Hermana Martinez, she is from Mexico, she's like 5 feet flat and is really energetic and fun. She actually taught at the Mexico MTC for 3 years before she started teaching here, and she makes class really fun.

Also, our first teacher Hermano Rasmussen has started being another investigator for us. He is a very convincing Mexican, let me tell you that. He definitely isn't as open as Kimie was, which is on purpose so that we can learn how to deal with investigators that aren't golden like she was.

Lastly a few things: I need you guys to send me my Priesthood Line of Authority. My Branch President asked us all to have a copy. Also, my companion and another one of my roommates have been converted to sleeping with earplugs every night, so I might need you guys to send me some more for them, but I'll let you know haha. Also, I think my white baptismal pants are still in my temple bag, so please send those.

I get to go to the temple today which is super exciting! We didn't get to last P-day because it was closed for cleaning, but I'm grateful that we have the chance to today.

You guys are the best and I love and think about you every day. I know that my Savior lives and I see His hand in the work that I do every single day. The Book of Mormon is true, and a pool of knowledge. I encourage you do drink deeply of it everyday, and to pray about it again, even if you already have. It's always an amazing experience to have a confirming witness that these things are true.

Con amor,

Elder Grondel

1. Self-explanatory

2. How I study basically everyday. Shoes off, feet up, in a different room.
3. A guy in our zone has a selfie-ready camera so naturally, we took a photo.
4. Random selfie from study time feat. Elder Davis
5. Name tag and all the things I keep in my shirt pocket.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Bienvenidos al CCM!

Hola familia!

So my first P-Day at the MTC has finally come. And man has it been just a crazy week. In case you were unaware, when you first arrive at the MTC, they put you through a well-oiled system that gets you all the essentials you need (nametag, debit card, MTC ID card, etc), drops all your stuff off at your room, and puts you in your classroom with your teacher that only speaks Spanish to you within the first 20 minutes of arriving. So that was fun. But as the day progressed and I got to know my district better and we went to a couple different introductory meetings, I started to feel better about it.

My companion is awesome! His name is Elder Johnson and he is from Heber, he just graduated high school, and he's going to my mission as well. Just think of a poster-boy missionary that uses every square inch of his planner and is extremely proactive, spiritual, and funny, and you've got him. He knows some Spanish from high school and on his own, so he helps me a lot with that.

My district is fantastic as well. It's just ten guys. Sorry, elders. In my room we have just one other companionship, Elder Davis and Elder Phillips. Elder Phillips is from Brigham City, and he is a very short, strong kid that also just graduated high school. He swam and ran in high school so he's really in shape. Elder Davis is from West Jordan and he is 21. This is actually his second time at the MTC. He came once in October of 2013, but wasn't supposed to be here, so he went and took care of all his stuff, and now he's back. He's awesome. He is very strong and really good at Spanish, and played lacrosse in high school. They are both going to the Buenos Aires South Mission in Argentina.

My district leaders are Elder Monnett (actual descendant of Monet) and Elder Piscione, they are going to McAllen, Texas. They are great, and Elder Piscione is hilarious. He cracks me up all the time. Elder Monnett is from St. George, also out of high school, and Elder Piscione is from Idaho, also out of high school. Elder Weight is from Portland and went to BYU-I for a year, and his companion Elder Knutti is from Virginia and is out of high school. They're also going to McAllen. The last two are Elder Christensen and Elder Brundage, who both went to BYU for a year, but I never met them. Elder Christensen is from Las Vegas and went to Palo Verde, and played lacrosse in high school and also for BYU his freshman year, and Elder Brundage is from Roseville, California. They're going to Salta, Argentina.

My teacher is Hermano Rasmussen. He served his mission in Hermosillo, Mexico, is married, and is hilarious. He is a great guy and really is an excellent teacher. He knows how to be strict enough where we can learn our best, while still letting us have fun. Par ejemplo, yesterday my compa and I practiced doing door approaches and he was the "investigator," and he kept switching between different personas to answer with, the favorite of mine was an old Catholic woman. He answered the door all crouched over and just acted in awe of these two "bonito gringos." He's great. He's also in Doug's ward! So Doug look for a Brother Rasmussen on Sunday.

By the third day, we were teaching our first "investigator" which is one of our teachers that we haven't officially met yet, all in Spanish. She's fantastic and we all love her. We committed her to baptism on Monday night! It was amazing.

Our other investigator's name is Jose, and he is from Guatemala. He's somewhat old and tired and really poor. He seems to accept a lot of stuff that we talk to him about, but he falls asleep when were speaking sometimes. Only for a brief moment, but still it happens. We'll teach him I think six more times, which is pretty exciting. 

All in all, everything is going pretty well. I've had my ups and downs, but it's really all up when I think about it. I can definitely tell a difference already when I'm exactly obedient, and when I'm not. This obedience disparity is usually manifested in the form of not going to bed on time. Sometimes it's really hard when you really click with this people and you start to talk to them about just everything, but I need to work harder on that. 

I've seen a ton of people that I know from both BYU and home, and it has been wonderful to see their shining faces here at the Lord's house of training for His missionaries, and know that we are all serving Him because we really want to. It's amazing.

My testimony has already grown a ton and I learn more about the Doctrine of Christ and the Gospel, and my family, and my Heavenly Father, and my Savior every single day. I love all of you so much, and know that our Heavenly Father loves all of you too.

Con amor,

Elder Grondel

 My companion and me

My district

Fourth of July we went outside and watched the fireworks from Stadium of Fire. We couldn't really see it but we had a good time. I thought of you guys.

4 and 5 are pictures from class.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

See You in Two

If you would like to write me/send packages to me while I'm at the MTC, my address will be:
Elder Nicholas Alan Grondel
2007 N 900 E Unit 93
Provo UT 84602
You can also email me! I will be able to access a computer once a week to email only, you can reach me at I will also be sending a mass email every week to anyone who would like to receive it. So if you would like to be included on the list, comment your email below!
I know that this church is true. I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God and restored that same church as well as the true Gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth. I also know that he translated the Book of Mormon, which I know as the true word of God. I know that God loves all of His children, and that He has sent me to Argentina for a reason. I have a testimony of the power of the Atonement, and I know that it leads to true happiness. I'm excited and ready to teach the people of Argentina, and lead them to the truth I have found. I love you all.