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!

Friday, September 25, 2015

In Argentina!

Hey guys! I literally have three minutes to write this, but I{m in Argetina at the Office! Everything is great, president is awesome, Argentina is awesome. Very different, but at least in Neuquen, not too rough. Asked my mission president to put me and Elder Johnson together again at sometime, and he said that we would be as zone leaders at some point, so that is awesome! I would love that. Anyways, I should probably get going, but everything is great! My flights were awesome and I got to see my friend Elder Davis from the MTC, and Spencer Messina! It was awesome.

Love you all!

Elder Grondel


Don't have much time to write, but I'm off to Argentina! Everything is well and I am extremely excited to go, it should be an amazing adventure.

The church is true. Love you all.


1. Brallan Soto our progressing investigator

2. Brallan and his sister Emily

3. Found a turtle!

4. Elder Ramirez, a good guy

5. Elder Garcia, one of my best friends here

6. Banana costume, why not

7. "feed my sheep"

Monday, September 14, 2015

Don't Cry for me Argentina

"Are you gonna talk about me again?" My district leader Elder Garcia

Hello dear family and friends! I hope that all is going well for you this week.

We had a pretty good week this week, the most exciting thing of course being that my visa is cleared, and I'll be going to Argentina next week! I'm extremely excited to be able to go to Argentina, but I have really enjoyed my time here in Idaho. There is a ton of stuff I have learned and habits I have developed that I am super excited to be able to apply for the rest of my mission and my life. But, let me now tell you about my week here.

We've been teaching a guy named Ron, and he is super awesome. Like I said before, he had a very different upbringing, and when we taught him this week, he kept talking about how the last year of his life has been so weird, and he's being doing so many things that aren't "him." It was really cool, and we beared testimony that he was supposed to be here in Idaho for this message that we are sharing. Unfortunately, we went to the place where we would usually teach him (the house of a man with some sort of mental disorders that he stays with) and he wasn't there because apparently he got fired. So we're trying to get in contact with him and figure out what's going on.

Eating dinner with members is a blessing. It is always so nice to be with them, and it helps me stay motivated, to try to help others have that same spirit in their home. This week we ate dinner with the booth family, and one of the daughters and the mom had the exact same laugh, and they kept saying something, looking at each other, and then laughing at the exact same time. It was freaky, but kind of funny.

We went to the new Cafe Rio that just opened this week in Rexburg for lunch, and it was fantastic. Always good.

The rest of the week was sweet! We taught the most lessons we've taught yet and it was really awesome. We were able to really get outside of ourselves and just work hard.

Our investigator Brallan is still doing well, feeling good about his baptismal date, and he came to church again this week, and so did his sister! We're hoping that we can work with them more this week so we can get them both progressing in the Gospel.

Overall, my week was pretty good! It's very comforting to know that I'm finally going to Argentina, but it was definitely something that I felt like I had to work for, if that makes sense. Like I didn't get the news that it was cleared until after I had truly invested into the work here, and decided that there is nothing I can do right now to change whether it comes or not, so I might as well give my all here. It's been really cool to see how that has made a difference in my days here and our ability to teach and be better missionaries. I truly believe that it's when we turn it all over to the Lord, and decide to be the best conduits of His work that we can, is when we attain greater joy and knowledge.

We are children of our Father in Heaven, and I know that to be true. When we remember that divine lineage that we are able to do all things that seem hard or intimidating. Remember "perfect love casteth out all fear." When we remember the perfect love He has for us and the people we deal with, we realize there is no reason to worry. He will always be there for us, guiding us by subtle promptings to get back to that divine potential we have.

Elder Grondel

1. Feeling patriotic, knowing that my time is short here in the good ol US of A

2. Chair plant pot thing?

3. Ice cream truck we always pass by


Hello my wonderful family and friends!

Some highlights from the week included:

Meeting one of our ward's WML's exchange student Alonso from Spain! He was wearing a Las Vegas shirt, and actually reminded me of a lot of my friends from home, and so it was really cool to talk to him. That day was the last day of the month, and so we were very close to our monthly mile limit on our car, but we ended the day with 1.5 miles left! Success!

On Tuesday we had a zone conference with Elder Martino from the Second Quorum of the Seventy, and he gave some super good insights on life, missionary work, and more. He helped me understand my desire to be a better missionary, and to work smarter, not harder. We also went to a less-active family's home that night, and shared a "His Grace" video, which was fantastic. Please go and watch one/all of those videos, they are so good. Found on

We met a new investigator named Ron this week, and he is a super cool guy. He grew up in a gang atmosphere in Texas, and so he has a super different than anyone else we have talked to, which is really interested. Despite his hard life, he actually has a lot of theories about life that are in line with the Gospel, and I think that it could be really good for him. But because of his background, he has more agnostic beliefs, and a lot of other lifestyle choices that aren't in line with the Gospel. Nonetheless we will continue to work with him, even if it's at a bit slower pace than others.

We were able to have a zone training this week as well, which was very enlightening. We are beginning to work more and more with the Ward Council, and practiced how we will be doing that more to have a better missionary effort in Idaho.

We took our investigator Brallan (sounds like Bryan) on a church tour this week, and it was super good! His younger sister Emily also tagged along, and they enjoyed it a lot. We taught about the purpose of church, the sacrament, baptism, and invited them both to be baptized, and they said yes! Brallan has before, but that was our first time teaching Emily, and she is super stellar. She goes to Activity Days a lot actually, and she seems pretty ready. We're trying to slowly get more support from the parents though, because they don't care really if they get baptized or not, but we're trying to see how they really feel.

The next day that we met with Brallan we set a baptismal date with him for October 17th! That was pretty exciting. We also talked to his mom about it, and actually got her to sign written permission for us to teach her kids and let them be baptized if they choose, which was good, and I think made it more real for Brallan. The next day he went to church for the first time as well! Brother Palmer, the YM 2nd counselor, his youth leader, picked him up. Unfortunately, his other ride fell through, so he was late to sacrament, but he stayed for the rest of the meetings and had a ton of friends in the ward. He was taken good care of. Unfortunately, we had to leave after sacrament however to meet with bishops about the Idaho Initivative. The Idaho Initiative is basically the plan that Elder Martino gave us for working with the ward council more, and so we talked about that with a couple bishops and got their goals for baptisms for this year and the next year. There are some amazing bishops here, that is for sure. Really consecrated, invested men that truly love those who they serve.

Saturday we also had exchanges, and it was probably the best day of my in-field mission experience thus far. Not because I was away from my companion, but because I learned so much. Elder Garcia my district leader came to our area, and we immediately could tell things were going to go well because we have a lot of similar views on missionary work and goal setting. All goals are good, but a lot of the missionaries view them here differently than I do, and so it was good to be with Elder Garcia and agree on those easily. I was a bit worried about the next day because we had three all-Spanish speaking appointments, and Elder Garcia doesn't speak any Spanish, but it all worked out. First, we went to Big Jud's for lunch (the place on Man v. Food that has the huge burgers you might have heard of), and there was somebody that was in the last ward that Elder Garcia served in in Ghana! I guess I should explain that he served in Ghana for 14 months, was honorably released for medical issues, and then decided to go out again and got reassigned to this mission. He got here about when I entered the MTC. But anyway, that was super cool! And after that, we went tracting, and had really good experiences with the people that we taught. Basically, the long and short of the day is that it reminded me of the missionary I wanted to be when I left the MTC. Just the way he taught and how the day went reminded me of aspects that were vital to what I believed would help me be a successful missionary that I had kind of forgotten or slacked off on because "I wasn't going to my actual mission" or just because things are different here than what I was expecting and what I had been taught basically in the MTC they would be like. I had subconsciously decided to just go with the flow I suppose. Today I got an email from a dear friend about his reassignment that really helped me out as well. He always says he tries to leave the mission better than he found it, and so he said he viewed it as he didn't know how much time he had in his area, and so he needed to make it better than he found it as quickly as possible. And that's my new focus I guess. Leave Idaho better than I found it. For my end-of-the-email-motivational/spiritual-moment that seems to be a regular thing now, I just want to say that when you set goals or expectations for something or yourself, don't let hard times or obstacles distract you from that. YOU are the only person that makes you who you are, and what you do with your life. Don't blame others, or your situation, saying you have it harder than others. That is the adversary working on you, telling you to ease up, not try as hard, or be lazy because you deserve it. "Nobody else has it this hard" "No one else in my MTC district had to go to Idaho." Even if you don't say that, you might think it, consciously or subconsciously. Also along those lines, this week we talked about in Zone Training how you are the only person that can make yourself angry, and that being happy is a choice. They handed out a "positive affirmations" sheet, which is basically a list of phrases that an Elder in this mission would yell every morning, or every time he felt happy, sad, or whenever he felt like it really. For example, "I love my life!" "This is the best day ever!" "I love tough things!" "I repent daily!" "I have energy!" We have had a lot of fun as a district/companionship yelling those out all the time (I type as I yell one of them). 

Anyway, love you all

Elder Grondel

1. We caught the fabled white rabbit, Houdini on the morning of exchanges