Dear Elder Slavens

Dear Elder Slavens

Elder Dallin J Slavens Cambodia Phnom Penh

Elder Chancellor J Slavens Idaho Twin Falls

Monday, September 30, 2013

Prone to Wander, Lord, I Feel It

Oh, P-day! Thou art desirable above all other days. Choicest of all days, to be sure.

Howdy, friends! Is everyone having a swell week and a sweller life? Good, good!

Well life's just swell for me too! This hasn't been an awfully busy week, but it was good nonetheless! Elder Casillas and I did a lot of trackting and contacting this week for referrals that we've received recently. Lots of walking around, lots of driving, and so on!

We met this awesome less-active family the other day, called the Meyers. They're from California, so I get along with them pretty well! It's pretty cool knowing someone from your home state, rather than just meeting people every day who tell you they're sorry that you come from where you do! Man, these people really hate California. Not quite sure why; I'm still doing some investigating on the subject! Anyway, the Meyers are super awesome. They breed bulldogs, so I have to have a lint roller handy every time we visit them. I had an interesting experience with this family the other day: they have three kids. One's like 5, one's like 9, and one's like 11. So the 11-year-old is this really cool boy who gets along with the missionaries super well, but isn't baptized. So I was just chatting it up with him, asking him his thoughts about church and stuff. And I made a horrible mistake - I turned to the mom and asked "Does he go to church often?"

Background info on this family: the mom's half Hawaiian, so all the kids have these crazy Hawaiian names. Moreover, it's quite difficult to determine the gender of a person named Kiwilani, or whatever. Especially when it's a girl who looks like a boy. So the mom turns to the kid and goes "Oh, I bet you just love it when he calls you a boy, huh?" And I'm like ohhh noooooo. Yup, I've been talking to a girl this whole time. And then the house like explodes into an argument over whether this kid is a boy or a girl, and I'm just mortified, and my companion has no idea what's going on since he doesn't speak English, and it was a mess! So I just prayed times like a million that it would all blow over and be okay. And we sit through 5 more minutes of argument, and then the spirit just *whoosh* turns the place around. Everything got better instantly, and Elder Casillas and I were able to share an awesome spiritual thought and leave the family on a really high note. It was quite the intense experience, but it was really cool to see the spirit work in their home like that.

Last thing this week: transfer calls came last night, and I'M BEING MOVED! I have no idea where I'm going, and it's super stressful, but I'm excited to go see some new sights, too! I'll have a new companion and everything. It's kind of bittersweet because I'm sad to say goodbye to all of the amazing members I've met - not to mention my investigators. But I know I'll go where I'm meant to be. And I'll give you more info on that next week!

But until then, everyone have an amazing week, and never forget who you are! And stuff like that!

-Elder Slavens


They didn't answer :(

The bishop's kids

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Grass Is Greenest Where You Water It

Another week downzo!

How is everyone? I hope you're all just living the life and being happy nonstop, 'cause why not? :)

This week has been super great, super busy, and super exhausting! I've had tons of fun and felt the spirit so much. First things first: WE'VE GOT A BAPTISMAL DATE! First in the mission! I believe I mentioned Jacob, the kid we met last week, in my last email. Well the kid's moving like a comet! He's just down with absolutely everything we throw at him, has no issues with any of our teachings, and seems to have no problems with any commandments, so this boy's absolutely golden. He's preparing to be baptized in 2 weeks, which I'm so stoked for. His dad's a less-active member who just really wants to get back on track, so I just couldn't be happier for this family. I think Jacob's dad is going to baptize him, and that's gonna be so cool.

Another one of our investigators, named Alfredo, just got married to a member lady! Cha-ching! The only problem is that he's SO friendly and accepting that he lets us right in and listens to our discussions even though it's recently been made clear to us by his wife that he really has absolutely no interest in being baptized. Kind of a bummer, 'cause he looked so interested. But we'll put our shoulder to the wheel and push along, 'cause I know this guy can feel SOMETHING!

There's been some pretty loco stake business going on recently here in Buhl. Just last week we had a stake conference and basically the whole stake got shifted around like nobody's business. There was a huge amount of members in the ward Elder Casillas and I attend, and very few in the others, so the whole stake got all mixed up to even everything out. I feel like it'll be a really good thing for these people, although this change has made my life a little harder! It feels kind of like how I felt when I learned to drive a stick shift. I had only been driving an automatic for like 2 months and then I had my life turned upside down because I had to learn this completely new, weird way to drive. So it is with this new change. I was just getting to know these people! And now I'm just doubly lost. But I guess I'm on the same page as many of the members who don't know each other either, so I won't complain!

But one of the speakers at that conference gave a really cool thought that has kinda stuck with me. Everyone was like freaking out because they were being separated from their friends and their comfort zones, and this dude was like "Don't worry! I know the grass may seem greener on the other side at times, but I'm here to tell you that the grass is greenest where you water it." I thought that was really awesome, and incredibly applicable too. We decide who we want to be and how we will allow our circumstances to affect us. Nobody else has that power! So just go for it! And of course we finished that meeting by singing the hymn, "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go". That got a chuckle out of me.

Well I think I'll sign off for now, but I hope you all have an awesome week! And keep those smiles on your beautiful faces, because humans look better that way. :)

-Elder Slavens

The tank of Buhl

Some o da guys

Elder Mellor and Elder Eisenhower - man among men

Hanging out with one of the Spanish families in my area

Monday, September 9, 2013

Skies of Blue and Clouds of White

Greetings from Buhl, ID!
How is everyone?? All wonderful and well? Good to hear!
Well as for me, I'm having the time of my life doing the Lord's work in this cute little town! Not a ton has happened recently, so this may end up being rather short. But it's been a great week! I've been making great friend with the other Elders and getting to know some awesome people here in Buhl! We've got a new investigator this week - it's a 14-year-old kid named Jacob, and he's an absolute rockstar. He knows pretty much nothing about religion, but Elder Casillas and I fed him the story of the restoration the other day, and he ate it right up! We're hoping to commit him to baptism in the coming weeks!

At the moment we're in the companionship of an extra Elder named Elder Eisenhower. His companion, Elder Mellor, was a visa waiter, and he shipped out to Argentina yesterday. So we're in a threesome right now which is super fun!

Well gosh, other than that, pretty much nothing has happened this week! Sorry, everyone, but I'll try to have more experiences this week so my next email will be more exciting. But until then, everyone just know that as long as you're faithful and doing the things that are right, you'll have the companionship of the Holy Ghost with you at all times, and you'll just be happier. Stay positive, stay spiritual, and stay classy! Have an incredibly week. Love you all! Xoxoxox
-Elder Slavens

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Eagle Powers

Well hi there, everyone!

Sorry about the wait - I'm sure everyone was just clamoring to hear from the awesome Elder Slavens once again! Am I right?? Because it was Labor Day yesterday the library and all that jazz were closed, so I wasn't able to do any writing. But I was gracefully given the chance to do so today, so here goes nothing!

It's been an awesome week. Lots of growing on my part. I've really learned the importance of being exactly obedient and doing all the things I'm supposed to. It's been a slightly rough first couple weeks in the field, mostly because there was almost no missionary presence in my area prior to my coming here. Basically, we're cleaning up the place and buffing out the scratches of malnourishment. If that makes sense. There's like a truckload of less-active members in this area, so we're doing our best to give them some proper attention and get 'em to rejoin the fold. We actually have a pretty extensive list of less-actives / recent converts, so Elder Casillas and I have been making the rounds and giving them each a visit to see how their lives are going. Funny things is, none of them are actually members, apparently! We've got like a faulty list or some jazz, which means that each time we visit those houses, they answer by telling us that they have no idea who we are, and we gotta start from scratch!

But that's actually what makes it the most fun, 'cause trackting is really a blast. The fact that we have no idea what's gonna happen makes every knock an adventure! The Latino people here are so humble and accepting and kind, and if we catch them at a time that they can talk, they pretty much always let us in! Unfortunately I'm still having a tough time with comprehension of Spanish, but I'm practicing, and can tell I'm getting a little better every day!

But as I said: Trackting is a blast. We meet some awesome people, and at times, also get turned away in the funniest ways. There was this guy we went to trackt the other day, who apparently is a less-active member, so we walked up to his doorstep. This super smooth Presley music was playing from inside the house, so we figured this was a pretty chill dude. We knocked, and a super friendly-looking Latino man opened the door with this huge smile on his face. We said "Hi there, we're missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!" He replied, "Oh, are you looking for Elvis Presley? He's not here! He's dead!" We were pretty confused at this, so we decided to take a shot at Spanish. "What's your name, sir?" I asked, in what I was hoping was a language he spoke. At this I think he started getting a little worried that his "dumb" act wasn't working, so he started dancing. Yup, dancing. He said "Well, you're not going to find Elvis here! Good bye!" And slowly danced back into his house. I don't know if I've ever laughed harder than I did at that moment. I thought I was gonna choke on my own laughter! Elder Casillas and I probably make references to that moment like 5 times a day.

So it's been a lot of fun, and I can't wait to really get this area moving again! We've done tons of trackting and have met lots of nice people, and we've gotten quite a few appointments from those people, so we're hoping to be pretty busy in the coming weeks! Our main goal right now is to get the Spanish branch up-and-running again. I believe a couple years back a lot of the Latino members weren't going to church regularly, so the Stake shut down the Spanish branch because there weren't enough Priesthood holders attending. So we've got our work ahead of us to try and bring those people back so that the Spanish-speaking members can go to church in their own language! Wish us luck!

I hope you guys had an awesome last week and Labor Day! And I hope you have another awesome week ahead of you!

Party on, friends and family.

-Elder Slavens

My companion and I writing you guys.


Elder Casillas esta manejando.

We scratched this one night and I'm pretty sure we won an iPad. 
Guess it wouldn't serve us too well out here.

The sun every night in Buhl, ID.


The Twin Falls Temple