Dear Elder Slavens

Dear Elder Slavens

Elder Dallin J Slavens Cambodia Phnom Penh

Elder Chancellor J Slavens Idaho Twin Falls

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Merriest Christmas!!

Well hello there my fellow humans! How have you been this Christmas week?? I sure hope it's been swell, 'cause if not there's not really much I can do to help out! But hey, mine was wonderful, so maybe that'll bring a smile to yo faces? :)

Anyway, again, it was a wonderful week. Christmas was very good here in little ole Carey, Idaho. Dang, these people feed us way too well. But that's chill, I'll just work out when I get home, I guess. Hopefully. But yeah, Christmas was really good this year! We basically just did this house-hop thing where we ran all over the dang town and visited as many members as possible and shared Christmas messages with all uh them. We wanted to make a point to help people remember the true Reason for the Season, even on the very day that everybody gets all wrapped up in unwrapping. Ya feel? All the kids were like 'Presentspresentspresents", so we busted in there like bosses and were all like "Naw man, Jesusjesusjesus!!!" And they ATE IT UP. We had a blast just visiting everyone we possibly could and reading Luke 2 with 'em, as well as sharing the story of Samuel the Lamanite's prophesy of the coming of Christ and all that good stuff. Hopefully we did some good there!

The members in the area gave us so much food this past week I have no idea what to do with all of it. Way stressed out about that, but I guess we'll live. I think we have like 100 plates of fudge, which I can only eat like piece-by-piece in order to avoid dying from over-consumption of super-charged, ultra-dense chocolate juice. Dang I'm 'bout to get so fat.

Other than that, it's been a fairly normal week. To be honest with you, the work in Carey is pretty dang slow. You see, there's only like 600 people that live here, so everybody knows like actually literally everyone, and almost all of them are members already to begin with. So finding new people to teach is a pretty rare occurrence, but we're trying at it!! And now that Luis has been baptized, we only have a couple of people who are even remotely close to reaching that point, so we're working real steady-like with them and trying to really bring the spirit to help them get there.

The slowness, however, is almost a blessing in disguise, considering how often we have to be out of our area running around doing administrative business. The fact that not tons is going on in our area means that we don't have to stress tons about conflicting schedules and whatnot. So that's chill. Still, I can definitely see potential here, so let's get to it!

Tha's 'bout it for me, folks. It's been a really good week and I'm pumped for more to come! Peace out, muah!

Elder Slavens

Monday, December 22, 2014

Friday the 13th VS. Christmas

The battle of the century. And I was caught right in the middle of it, gosh dangit! Now, of course, Friday the 13th didn't actually happen this week, but it sure felt like it. So I think Friday the 13th was jealous of all these cool holidays going on as of late and it decided to make a ruckus and try to ruin Christmas. For that I call it a battle.

But before we get into THAT, I just wanna take a moment and update you on all the travels Elder Chase and I have undertaken this week. Holy moly we had a lot on our plate! So as Zone Leaders, as I believe I've previously stated, we must go on exchanges with all of the District Leaders in our zone once a transfer, which can get a little hairy in a zone like ours. ESPECIALLY when we're required to do baptismal interviews for the investigators of the district leaders as well. So here's what went down: This week we had plans to go on exchanges with a District Leader relatively close to us, but then we found out that we had to do a baptismal interview in Salmon, which is that town that's like a million miles from Carey. So in order to save miles for the rest of the month we had to change that exchange up like a day before it happened. So we ended up turning this 1-day exchange into a 4-day adventure all around our dang zone and we drove for SUCH A LONG TIME I thought I was gonna die. But we ended getting all our stuff done so that was chill.

I think that story didn't even make sense. Sorry about that.

ANYWAY, on to the bad luck.

This Saturday we had a baptism!! Now obviously that's not bad luck. But I feel like all of the preparation for that dang baptism was just riddled with bad juju. Every corner I turned I was afraid a piano would fall on me or something, that's how serious it was! I guess that's an exaggeration, but let me explain. Saturday started and we were pumped to go do some contacting and bring some peeps closer to Christ. Well no dang body was there!! So we were running around most of the day just trying to find people to talk to which simply was not working.

We eventually got a call from our Mission President asking about some toys left us by another missionary a while back... Apparently a missionary gave the Zone Leaders here (before I showed up) a bag full of little model Star Wars spaceships that we were to give to another missionary. We were never given any sort of time by which this baggie needed to be given to its owner, so we just kinda had it. Well the President called asking where it was and we were like dang, where is it?? So we searched like every place we could think of for it, and it was nowhere to be found! So we were like oh no, what if we threw it away on accident?? So we went outside to the dumpster and started searching through it for these dumb toys. Here we are digging through this dumpster just ticked off out of our minds 'cause of these toys, and apparently some dude thought that was pretty funny. So funny that he walked over from across the street and started taking pictures of us on his smart phone. He asked us to wave for the camera, and for a second I thought Elder Chase was gonna jump out of the dumpster and kill the dude. The guy ended up bailing and we gave up on the dumpster dive. We walked into the house and THERE IT FREAKING WAS - the baggie of spaceships just chilling on the floor in our apartment behind a couple of random things. Oh man that was bad luck.

We then found out that we had been nominated to do a musical number during church the next day so we had to take a bunch of time and make one up and that was just too much!! But we figured it out 'cause I'm a genius (not).

We also were to fill the baptismal font because it's not a Stake calling here - someone just needs to do it. So we started doing that and the water was FREEZING so we had to go into the room that's like the heart of the church and mess with the cogs and whatnot to get the heater working. Once the font was full we realized there were like a million little bugs in it, so we had to find a net to skim them all out. We did, and got those filthy bugs out, and I put the net back where it went and as I dropped it it slipped into a giant hole in the floor that I hadn't been paying attention to and I think it got like ground into a million pieces, I have no idea. That was just so random and such bad luck. At that point I thought I might as well just sit down and cry. But I'm too tough for that.

Then I got sick BAHAHAHAHA like what?? Man, my life. So I was like well so much for the musical number! But it was too late, so I just had to deal.

And THENNN the baptism happened. And it was BEAUTIFUL! Everything went PERFECT!! It was one of the best baptismal programs I've ever seen - Luis, the baptizee (or whaterver you call him) speaks Spanish, so we had a bunch of members who know Spanish participate, and the program ended up being half-English, half-Spanish, which was super cool and I think Luis appreciated it tons. I had the opportunity to confirm him the next day, and it was so great. A Christmas miracle!! Whew.

So yeah, it's been one of those weeks. Oh yeah, and my camera broke this week too, so I have no pictures. Sucks. But hey, life is good!

Peace out errywun.

Elder Slavens

Monday, December 15, 2014

On the Road Again

Holy moly you guys, Carey is so dang far from everything!! This week has been totally full of just driving all over the place - so much so that we've hardly had any time to do actual work in our area! Blah. But it's all good, we had some really cool stuff going on this week and I'm feeling totally refreshed for some good proselyting in the Carey area!

Like I said, this week was all full of driving. On Wednesday we went and picked up another companionship of missionaries in an area like 45 minutes from us, then we turned around and went all the way back down to Twin Falls for a Christmas conference. It was a way cool conference and I loved being able to see all mah bros. There were a lot of really good spiritual thoughts given and afterward there was a mission talent show. Last year for the show I borrowed a guitar from some members and played a song for the mission, which was way fun, but guitars weren't allowed this time around so I wasn't able to do that this year. It's all good though, 'cause there were a bunch of way good talents and it was fun to watch!

After the conference we stayed the night at the AP's house and went to the temple the following day which is always super relaxing and refreshing and whatnot. Good day!

Other than that really not much has gone on. We've been trying to introduce people as much as possible to that new Christmas Initiative the church is putting out, and we've actually seen a lot of good come from it! But thaas 'bout it.

Sorry this is a way boring email, I dunno how to make it interesting! Welp, I'll do my best to get into a bunch of trouble this week so I have good stories next week. How's that sound. You are all wonderful and amazing and very cool and lots of other good stuff!

Elder Slavens

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Chill Week Behind, a Chill Week Ahead

So chill, man. Life in Carey is great. I've had some awesome experiences the past few days that have really helped me see how perfectly in place the Lord puts everything, especially when it comes to missionary work. I definitely know I belong here in Carey serving the Lord, and I wouldn't rather be anywhere right now!

That having been said, I really don't have much time to write today! Whoopsies! But I guess I'll just fill you in on whatever big stuff's going on.

Elder Chase and I are the Leaders of the Carey Zone of the Idaho Twin Falls Mission. Here's a fun fact for you: Our zone is the largest zone, area-wise, in the entire continental US. Hence, we have a lot of ground to cover when we're needed by the District Leaders and stuff like that. We went on an exchange with the District Leader up in Salmon, which is about 4 hours and 45 minutes north of Carey. Holy moly what is my life. It was fun just chillin' with the comp though and talking about everything ever. But yeah, as a Zone Leader in Carey, those tend to be the kinds of things we spend our time on! Which is cool.

We have a couple super solid investigators that I'm stoked to work with. Probably the one with the most progress is a Mexicano named Luis! He's way legit you guys. He's got a baptismal date set for the 20th of this month and is right on track to get that done! We recently taught him a lesson we like to call the 'spiritual vaccination', a very important thing to cover when someone's preparing for baptism. Whenever somebody's preparing to make a big, important choice like baptism, Satan is always right behind them tempting them and opposing them. So people need to be aware that that is going to happen, otherwise they fall real quick. So we talked about recognizing the fruits of the spirit versus the fruits of the devil, and I think he really gets it! Pretty cool seeing the Holy Ghost play His role in the life of Luis as he prepares to take this step! Pray for him por favor!

Luis is our main focus right now, so I don't have TONS to report otherwise. But as things wrap up there I definitely am pumped about a bunch of these other people that are coming out of the woodwork! Life is good. I hope you all enjoy this bootiful week, and remember to SMILE. :)

Peace out,
Elder Slavens

Monday, December 1, 2014

And I Thought the Towns Couldn't Get Any Smaller

I WAS WRONG. I've made my official move into the.... village? I dunno.... of Carey, Idaho. This place is SO DANG SMALL YOU GUYS like dang. There's like 600 people here if that. I've been here 5 days and I think I know everybody already. Looks like I'm done. JK NEVER DONE.

Anyway this week has been BOMB. Like, so pumped. I'm an official Zone Leader and I've already felt a few of the ups and downs that come along with that. On Friday I gave my first Zone Training meeting which was an awesome experience. Very different from giving trainings as a District Leader. You see, as a District Leader, you're given a very broad topic that you seek tons of revelation for so you can come up with an hour-long training based on the needs of your district. It's a way more personal thing and you get super super close to the missionaries in the district 'cause you're praying for what they, personally, need. It's way cool. But as a Zone Leader what you do is you go to a conference in the mission office once a month, and they give you the training, and then the following week you basically regurgitate that information to the zone. Way way different, and it may seem a bit more robotic, but I'm actually loving it! We had some way good discussions during our Zone Meeting about resolving the concerns of our investigators and less-actives and helping them come unto Christ through problem-solving. It's legit.

The new companion's dope. His name's Elder Chase, and he's from Hawaii. He's actually only 1/4 Hawaiian, but he's lived there his whole life, so he's straight up. It's been way fun learning about Hawaiian culture and some of the crazy jazz they do down there. We're getting along super well, so I'm way pumped for this new transfer. Yee.

Carey's really cool 'cause it's the only Zone Leader area in our mission that's considered Spanglish. For the most part, Spanish missionaries that become Zone Leaders lose their Spanish because they don't speak it the whole time they serve in that position. But although Elder Chase is technically an English missionary and doesn't know much Spanish, we actually have a bunch of Spanish work out here and I've been keeping it up pretty good. So that's way chill.

HEY. I HAVE AN ASSIGNMENT FOR ALL Y'ALL. I'm sure you've heard about the Christmas Initiative that the Church is starting up this holiday season, and I just wanna talk a second about that. For you guys who don't know, the Church is starting up this "awareness program", so to speak, about the true nature of Christmas. It's a huge deal. They're putting up a billboard in Times Square, they're buying out all the advertisements on YouTube, they're going hard. It's apparent that we're expected to make a big push with this, so I want all of you to BE A PART OF IT! In the most recent copy of the Ensign, you'll find a sheet of 12 pass-along cards to give to your friends. As a mission, we've been challenged to pass out 10 of these bad boys a day. Not easy in a town like Carey, but we'll try. The card leads interested peeps to a new website, christmas.mormon.org, where you can watch a super short, super powerful video about the first gift of Christmas. CHECK IT OUT and then TELL EVERYONE ELSE TO CHECK IT OUT. It's gonna be huuuuuuge.

Anyway, I gotta run! I love you all, and as Elder Chase would say...

Aloha.

Elder Slavens

Monday, November 24, 2014

Gobble

Whuddup fellas. This week been legit.

I HAFF NEWS. We got transfer calls this week. And guess what. I'M OUTTA HERE! I'm heading out from Paul this Wednesday and taking a 2 1/2 hour drive up to Carey, Idaho, which apparently is in the middle of nowhere. I'm super pumped. I love paul to death, but i'm stoked to make a change. By the way, looks like this will be a particularly large change, considering I've been assigned as a Zone Leader over the Carey Zone. So that should be fun I suppose! Pray that I don't ruin the mission.

But yeah, that has been the main focus of what I've been up to recently. I've been aware of my exit, so I've been spending my time seeing the last of the investigators and members I've come to know and love in this area. It's been so much fun getting to know everybody in this area: Paul is so small that it only takes about 6 months to accomplish that. It's sad to have to leave all of my new friends, but I'm excited for the chance to make a bunch of new new friends!

So yeah, other than that there's really nothing new that happened this week! Just packing up and stuff, so that's chill. Any questions? If not I guess I'll move on.

Hope you all have a BEAUTIFUL week! Mucho love! Happy Thanksgiving!

Elder Slavens

Monday, November 17, 2014

What the Heck to Write About

Ehh, sometimes you just have those weeks where it's like a way good week, but all the same you have no idea what to talk about 'cause it's all a blur. Once you've been out for like a million years like me, it all seems to form together like that. Hmm.

Anyway, like I said, it was a good week! We ended up running into a few new investigators that I'm pumped to start teaching, 'cause our teaching pool's been draining a bit since all our progressing investigators have either gotten baptized or just bailed out on us. Life is life. But yeah, I'm all giddy about it.

There's this one dude in particular that I'm stoked about, named De Wet. Weird name, I know. That's 'cause he's from South Africa. I asked him how to say his name, and he responded with "Where do you take your dog if he's sick?" I said "The vet," and he was like "Yup, that's how you say my name." He's hysterical, and I can't wait to help him come unto Christ.

Other than that though, there's really not too much that happened this week! Sorry I don't have a bunch of awesome stories and stuff! maybe some crazy crap will go down this week and my next one will be a bit more interesting. but anyway, I love you all! Everyone is the best! Hope you all have a wonderful week and everybody give somebody a hug for me!

Elder Slavens

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Mission Prep Time

We took a trip to Provo to do some missionary prep work.  We didn't do this with Chancellor but wish we would have.  For him we spent hours and days at home shopping for the right stuff when all we needed to do was go to Provo and spend 2 hours shopping to find everything you need! 


First stop...Swig!  
Kristi and Lexi giving Dallin all our support.




Dallin found Tyler to give him Cambodian lessons.  Tyler went to Cambodia on his mission and now teaches Cambodian in the MTC.  He will be there teaching in the MTC when Dallin enters.  Tyler says in the first week in the MTC they'll pass what Dallin has learned in two months.


We went to Salt Lake and did a live session at the temple.  It was a first for us all.



At Mr. Mac David helped us do all our shopping.  What a pro!  Actually turns out he is the man who helped the elder get all suited up in the movie Meet The Mormons.  


We found a Cambodian ward in Salt Lake to visit.  It was so fun!  The people were all so nice.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Agridulce

That means 'bittersweet' in Spanish - word of the day! It also describes my week somewhat. Let me explain.

This was like the best week every for a few different reasons. But I made some decisions this week which are affecting me negatively, now that I look back on them. Check it.

First dumb decision - I had my warts frozen off by a member with the hook-ups. This guy is a chemical distributor for dairies, and as such, he has a large supply of liquid nitrogen. I've had a wart forming on my hand, and two on my foot, for the past little while. You know how much of an eyesore warts are, so I heard about this liquid nitrogen and I was like sign me up burr. Well he got a hold of the goods and stuck a Q-tip down there and put it on the wart and holy moly you have no idea how much it sucks to have a wart frozen off from in between your toes. I thought I was gonna die. But long story short, the huge blister that formed burst and now it's all infected and I can't like walk properly. But fear not! My companion went to Berkeley and knows everything so he taught me how to fix it!! I guess I should be fine soon.

Well actually, that was pretty much the only dumb decision I made this week. However I did make another decision that will probably change the rest of my life as I know it.

We were having dinner with a family in one of our wards and I asked the dude what his profession is: he's a chiropractor. In discussing this, we eventually hit the topic that he does some funky technique to get rid of people's allergies, 'cause I mentioned to him (as I do at like every dinner appointment) that I'm allergic to raw fruits and vegetables (by the way, nobody believes me here, either). He was all like "Oh, I can fix those, easy." And I was like yeah right man, like 4 weeks ago I met some other chiropractic genius that said he could do the same thing, and I'm still a mess (true story). He was like "Naw, I'm legit." So last Monday we went over to his office and (once again) long story short, he did a bunch of freaky voodoo tests on me and determined that I'm not actually allergic to anything other than fruits and vegetables. So he had me lay on my belly for a moment and he like poked my back in a bunch of random spots and said "Aight, you're fixed brudder." He said not to come into contact with any fruits or vegetables for 24 hours, and then I'd be good to go. So I did just that, and the next day I ATE 3 WHOLE BANANAS AND A SALAD AND CUCUMBERS. And I yet live! So as far as I can tell, I'm no longer allergic to fruits and vegetables. I even find I'm sniffling my nose a bit less, which will really throw off those of you who know me well. So yeah, that was pretty chill.

It was also my birthday this week, which goes pretty uneventfully on a mission. I'm 21 now, so that's cool.

ANNNND Kino got baptized this weekend! Holy heck it was so great to see him make that decision! It's been a long time coming, and I was so blessed to be a part of plucking the fruit or however you'd put it. That was some dang low-hanging fruit man. He's such a great kid and he'll make an amazing addition to the branch. So pumped.

So that was pretty much my week. Not really all that bittersweet, now I look back on it. But my foot hurts. But life is good. I love you all! Give each other hugs for me. You rock.

Elder Slavens

Monday, November 3, 2014

Trick or Trunky

Ya know what? I'm in a pretty good mood today! Things are looking up and the sun is not shining (overcast FTW) and life rocks.

Not too much has changed over this last week, I suppose. Not that that's a bad thing. We've seen a few solid progressing investigators come out of the woodwork which has been super duper exciting and we're gonna bust a move to get these people in the water (if any non-Mormons are reading this, please don't be offended by that statement. I'm prolly being sarcastic or something).

Kino's back on for baptism this week! He'll be getting baptized at 3:00 on Saturday and seems way excited about it - PLEASE PRAY THAT THIS STICKS. If it doesn't stick I know whose fault it is (again, probably sarcasm).

Halloween was pretty chill, I suppose. We're not supposed to be out and about after dark on Halloween 'cause it can get pretty sketchy with a bunch of little kids out in the streets - you never know when some parent might accuse us of all sorts of random stupid stuff - so we just try to avoid it all completely. Instead, we had the chance to do a district activity and pretty much just hang out all night. We were allowed to watch a movie like The RM or something like that, but we're such consecrated missionaries we just decided to play like 300 hours of air hockey instead. We all wore mustaches as our costumes - I guess that's about as far as we're willing to go. Probably only adds to our sketchy appearance though, so it's for the better we weren't running around in the streets. The picture's pretty dope though.

Anyway that's about it for me this week! Hope you all have a good Juan and I'll catch ya next tiempo, chill? Chill.

Elder Slavens


Dopest District Costume Party


Rupert Zone Halloween

Monday, October 27, 2014

It Has Been a WEEK Since Last Week

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, hello! I love all of you lots, just so you know. Yeh.

ANYWAY this has been a good week! Couple little disappointments, but meh, what'cha gonna do about it? That's life!

So our two baptismal dates that were set for the next couple weeks have been postponed. Kino has decided he's not quite ready, which is a major bummer considering we know FOR A FACT that he's like the readiest kid of all time. It's been tough to see him go through everything he's had to recently: his mom, Ana Maria, a recent convert that was baptized when me and Elder Josephson were together, has started smoking again and backed off on church attendance, and it's affecting her son. He feels that people shouldn't get baptized if they're making mistakes like that, and we're trying SUPA hard to help him understand that those things aren't HIS problems, and that he is definitely ready to take this step! But I think he wants all the problems with his mom to be resolved before he moves any further. Super noble of him, but like C'MON GET BAPTIZED. Just kidding, I just want what's best for him. At the moment he's set to get baptized on November 8, so hopefully he sticks to that!

Lindsay's date has also been moved back a bit, and thankfully for less sad reasons. She's got a friend who's getting baptized in another ward sometime in November, and she wants to join that friend and do it at the same time! So that's way cool, and I think they'll be a super huge support to one another, so that to me is a very good reason to wait a bit. She's been so much fun to teach and I'm so excited to see her commit herself to the gospel and be baptized! I just hope I'm around to see it happen!!

Other than that, it's been a pretty regular week. We're on bikes right now because our car is still getting fixed, and frick is that taking a toll on me. My asthma is like blasting through the roof 'cause I have literally no endurance after doing nothing physically trying for a year and a half. Oh my sheesh it's killing me! But ya know, it's all chill 'cause I'll probably come home with huge calves or whatever. just kidding I'll be fat.

HEY James passed the sacrament!! Ah, it was so cool to see! his tie was like way way too long and he was all stressed out that the water was gonna spill everywhere and I was watching him with just this huge smile on my face! It's so cool seeing all this work come to little bits of fruition like that. Pretty chill. :)

Anyway, that's about it for this week! Everyone pray for Kino and Lindsay that they'll stick to their commitments and have that desire to be baptized! It's what they need! Thank youuuuu! Have a wonderful week peeps.

Elder Slavens

Monday, October 20, 2014

¿Que Pasa, Calabaza?

That means "what's up, pumpkin?" in Spanish, which I find to be a very appropriate thing to say considering the current season/circumstance.

SO MUCH SERVICE this week! We spent basically three whole days helping out this less-active member dude who owns a GIANT pumpkin patch. There are like almost literally billions of pumpkins there. I think. But we spent a good amount of time this week just hauling pumpkins to and fro. Luckily, however, the dude let us take like a million squashes and gourds home, and we've been cooking 'em up like baked potatoes and putting brown sugar in 'em and dang is that good.

The musical number ended up going really well! And we had a really cool conference with Elder Golden of the 1st quorum of the 70, so that was awesome. I'm not quite sure why, but Elder Golden told President Curtis that he wanted to interview a few missionaries, and President picked me! So I had a one-on-one talk with a general authority which was way cool.

ALSO, Mario Corona got baptized this week!! Holy moly, getting that put together was almost more stressful than James'! Probably so, actually. So you know how each investigator planning on getting baptized needs to have a baptismal interview? Well that can only be given by a District Leader, Zone Leader, or something of that nature. It can't be just any missionary. And the thing that made this real tough is that with this most recent transfer, all of the missionaries in leadership in our zone were changed to English positions (except me), and Mario does not know that language!! So we spent like 5 years looking for a missionary to give the baptismal interview to Mario, but nobody could, and we thought we were gonna die.We ended up figuring it out, and though I probably can't properly express the stress I went through getting that organized, I just want you to be aware that it was there (wow, that sentence sounded like a poem).\

But anyway, he DID get baptized and confirmed this week! Woot woot! So legit. Although he almost was like 30 minutes late to the baptism, but whatever. It happened! I got to confirm him a member of the church on Sunday (which is always fun in Spanish), and I'm so thankful that I got to do that! I pray that he'll be led by the spirit to stick with it and never falter. This will change his life if he lets it!

Anyway, I'll probably hit the road now, but all you keep safe and whatnot and I love you and muah!

Elder Slavens


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Dallin's Oakland Temple Trip

Dallin came home for the weekend to go through the Oakland temple.  He had so many ward friends and leaders join him.  It was a beautiful day and we are so blessed to have so many loving examples in our lives.




Monday, October 13, 2014

Making a Killing

I have absolutely no idea where the heck to start on this week, you guys. This has probably been one of the strangest weeks of my whole entire life. I seriously don't know where to start. Ahhh.

Why don't we start with James' baptism? WHICH HAPPENED. Woot woot James got baptized this Saturday and it was totally awesome! But boy was it a roller coaster just getting there, sheesh. What a stressful trip! So check it out. As this week rolls around we are very aware of the fact that James is supposed to be baptized this upcoming Saturday, but the stress starts to hit when we realize we have like 2 more lessons to teach as well as getting the baptismal interview out of the way AND THEN making a million calls to the ward to get the program set up. So we go over to his house this Tuesday to get the lessons wrapped up, and his grandma waddles out and explains that James has not come home from school yet (mind you, this was at like 6 pm). Apparently he does this all the time - he gets a ride from one of his buddies after school and just kind of doesn't come home for like a whole weekend. I was just like aw no, James, you gotta get back home so you can get baptized!! His grandma continues, stating that James has a bunch of mental issues which prevent him from taking things seriously (including ADHD, bipolar disorder, and some deal that naturally makes him oppose authority figures). Aw crap, man, you can't be serious. So we do the best thing we can think of - say a prayer and move on for the day, hoping to run into him tomorrow.

We pass by the following day (Wednesday) to find James just sitting on the couch watching TV! Come to find out he'd just gone to a football game with his buddy that evening and come home right after. We were like JAMES YOU SUCK YOU SCARED US and he just laughed. Whatever dude. So we got started teaching him about the commandments, and here's the crazy part: he ate it all right up and didn't get distracted or anything! It was a totally smooth lesson, which is very uncharacteristic of James. But it went very nicely, and we set up and appointment for the next day to have his baptismal interview.

Guess what. He didn't show. OH MY GOSH I'MMA KILL SOMEONE. I called his grandma, who was supposed to drive him there, and she was like OH NO I TOTALLY FORGOT and I was like great job, grandma. So we set it up for the following day (which was a flipping DAY before the baptism) and she said that's chill. We showed up to have his interview the next day and, THANK GOODNESS, he showed up and passed with flying colors! It was then our responsibility to set up a whole baptismal program, speakers and all, in one day, which in and of itself was a very stressful experience. I think there were angels asking people to give talks and stuff, 'cause I do not think we had it all figured out ourselves. Anyway, it all worked out in the end and it ended up being one of the most spiritual, special baptismal services I've ever witnessed! James was so ready to take this step, and I'm super thankful to have been a part of all of it. In fact, I was even able to baptize him myself, which is always a good deal!

And now I'm like out of time even though there is SO MUCH MORE that happened this week that I wanna talk about. Dang it. I'll see if I can't shove some of that in next week, I suppose. But until then, everyone have a wonderful week and keep your chins up! Muah!

Elder Slavens

Monday, October 6, 2014

When You Don't Have Time to Do Anything

This has been one of those weeks! Whew, I am just so pooped I have no idea where to start! In reality, not much has happened this week - but my body does not agree with that idea; it's just dead either way.

This week consisted mostly of me pretending to know how to play the piano. You see, Elder Golden, a member of the first quorum of the Seventy, is coming to give us a training this week! Which should be cool. Anyway, he wanted a musical number done by my zone, and I have no idea why, but like the second our zone leaders found out about that, they came right to me and asked if I'd make one up. Bahhhhhhhhhhhhhh okay fine. The problem is they gave me like a week and a half to make it up, and so I was like busting out ALL of the musical abilities I have to make up a musical number that sounds chill, and at the same time is easy to sing 'cause we have like no time to practice. Today is literally the one and only time that the zone is going to get together to not only learn it, but to get good at it. So that's like really all I've been doing all week - going to the church buildings to play on the piano and invent something to blow away a general authority - which I highly doubt will happen. Either way, I've done my best! We're gonna sing "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go", and I think it does sound pretty nice. I'll see if I can't get a recording or something to show you peeps.

But unfortunately, because of that, we weren't able to see many people! Conference also kind of sucked up all of Saturday and Sunday. So that really has been basically all we've done this week! I'll let you know next week how the musical number goes - hopefully it doesn't crash and burn. Fingers crossed. I love you all and all that jazz!

Elder Slavens

P.S. MONSTROUS shout-out to my little brother, Dallin, for deciding to serve a mission! Cambodia needs you man, even if they don't understand a word you say! Woot woot!


Friday, October 3, 2014

Opening Dallin's Mission Call

Dallin was at BYU going to school.  We decided to take a trip to Utah and go to General Conference with him.  Steph Shaw flew in from Arizona.  As luck would have it his call came while we were there!  Dallin called all his friends together to open his call at Swig.  He works at Swig and LOVES it!  What's not to love!?








                            







    Swig's manager Lexi is the best boss Dallin could ask for.



We got to see Cosmo!


BYU game.  GO COUGARS!





On our way to Salt Lake for the Priesthood session we stopped by the gathering for Olan Rogers.  We got lucky and they let us go to the front of the line so we could get to conference.  That was pretty cool!  The kids got on the promo video they were making.  Sweet!


Find the video here:
https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=715328095217169&set=vb.371705422912773&type=2&theater
or here:


We visited a haunted forest and shot some zombies with painball guns with the family!


We learned there was one Cambodian sister at Temple Square.  We went on a hunt for her and we finally found her!  Sister Ang.  She laughted at the way Dallin and Monte were speaking the very little bits of Cambodian they had learned from an app.





It was a very successful trip!  We had a great time.

Monday, September 29, 2014

OUR WORK EXPLODED OH NOOOOOO

In a good way.

This has been an awesome week, my good fellows and... (wait, what's the girl version of a fellow?) Ah, well. Anyway.

Like I said, the work has exploded! Like, you know what a bomb does? EXACTLY THAT! We've been seeing so many cool things happen, and I'm convinced it's because Elder Hansen and I have just been working our tushies of and not giving Satan a break. We've figured out a good system for inviting people to be baptized, and people are accepting left and right and it's just the most legit thing! If all goes according to plan, as of right now, we should have baptisms lined up for four consecutive Saturdays once General Conference has come and gone. And we've got a couple more that are like RIGHT THERE!

So here's our peeps:

Mario was just married this week! That was the main thing he had to get past - living the law of chastity. He's been living with his girlfriend for quite some time now. They were basically married, just not married. You feel me? So the main thing holding him back was that. BUT THEY GOT MARRIED THIS WEEKEND. And the wife's already a member, so it could't get much easier than that! He's set to get baptized on the 18th of October. Every time we ask if he's still up for it he's like, "Claro, chavos; no se preocupen." Which loosely translated is, "Duh, bros; chill." So we're excited for that one.

James is the 12-year-old kid who's getting baptized the week after General Conference. The one who saw Tom Cruz giving the Priesthood to the actor Joseph Smith. Oh man, teaching him has been an adventure to say the least. Last time we went in to see him we were like, "So, James, what did Jesus do when he came down to the earth?", and he responds, "Well he came down from heaven and killed everyone and then brought everyone back to life and then he's gonna come again and kill everyone again and then this time we won't come back to life."  I'm just like dude, where the heck are you getting this information?? But it's all good, slow and steady and not distracted wins the race.

Kino is the son of a recent convert in the Spanish Branch here in Rupert, and he really wants to get baptized. This family is absolutely hysterical. Kino speaks perfect English, but his mom certainly does not. We were talking about the differences between English and Spanish and she (in Spanish) was like, "Exactly, like in Spanish we say 'fallecerse', but in English you say 'passway'. And I was like what the heck are you talking about, lady? Nobody says "passway". For the longest time I thought she was saying "password", but after a lengthy game of charades I learned that she was trying to say "pass away", which is absolutely the correct translation for "fallecerse". You may have had to be there, but I almost threw up I was laughing so hard. We taught her, "It's pass away, not passway," and then she kept trying to say it and holy crap it was just a good time. ANYWAY Kino is the man. He comes to church every Sunday and when they do the Sacrament prayers and all that jazz he likes to repeat the words to himself so that he can have them memorized once he receives the Priesthood himself. Pretty cool stuff! He's got something kind of holding him back as far as we can see, but we have no idea what it is. Hopefully he sticks with this goal and gets baptized on the 25th of October like we have planned!

Lindsay is a 14-year-old girl who's like super dang busy. She does volleyball a ton and all this stuff so it's tough for her to meet with us too often. Her mom was raised Christian and her dad Catholic, so her parents always got into fights when it came to religious topics when their marriage started out. They ended up having to just drop religion completely in order to keep their marriage intact, with the result being that none of their kids know anything about the gospel or Christ or ANYTHING. It's pretty sad to see, and it gives a very good example of why, in our church, though it's not required that we marry "another Mormon", it's definitely encouraged. It certainly makes things a lot more comfortable. Anyway, Lindsay's mom really wants her to make her own choice and find a church that suits her well, and so far, Lindsay's making a pretty good judgment if I do say so myself! She understands the importance of baptism and really wants to get it done, she just wants to understand things a bit more before she takes the dive. Fingers crossed!

One more quick thing before I wrap up this ESSAY. This week we had a cool opportunity to watch, before it hits the theaters, the new movie produced by the Church called Meet the Mormons! It was a super good movie showing 6 different Latter-Day Saints and their individual stories and it was really inspiring and revealing when it comes to how Mormons actually are. I think a lot of people just don't understand us, and this movie does a pretty good job of teaching everyone the truth in a really non-threatening and chill way. So I would suggest that all you guys get your booties into the theaters when it comes out and give it a watch! And invite all your friends and whatnot so we can ALL understand Mormons a little better! Just an idea.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a very rewarding week, or something like that. Peace, love, kisses, and all that jazz.

Elder Slavens

Monday, September 22, 2014

Still Not Trunky Yet

Yaaaaaaaaaawn I'm tired. Oh that's right, I'm a missionary.

Wuddup peepel. This week has gone pretty darn speedy! I honestly am not entirely sure what even happened this week. A lot of chill stuff, I assure you. But I guess I gotta just take a mo' and think. You know I don't have the best memory in the tool shed or whatever.

Unfortunately, I have no crazy stories for you guys that I can blow up and exaggerate for your entertainment this week! Nonetheless, I do have news of SOME sort, surely!

Whelp, we have been seeing a lot of cool progress from our investigators as of late! I mean, relatively, of course. There's always those who drag their feet. Not like life is all rainbows and Hershey's Kisses. But like I said, it has been very nice to see some people plugging along like they should! Mario, one guy we've been teaching, is getting married on the 27th of this month and will get baptized two weeks later! He's been coming to church and everything, so we're pumped about that one.

Arlene's one of the foot-dragging peeps at the moment. We had a baptismal date set for her for the 20th (and if you watch the news or have a smart phone, you should know that that date's past by now), but she likes to go camping on Sundays. Like, c'mon! I mean camping's great and all but isn't it kinda gross? Wouldn't you rather just dress up in some nice clean clothes and come talk about Jesus? Seems like a no-brainer to me. We haven't been able to see her for a while on account of her tearing her house apart to do some reconstruction as well, so we haven't really had the chance to teach her about the true importance of the Sabbath. Major bummer. But hey, it'll all work out in the end!

James, the 12-year-old kid who's getting baptized n October 4th, is hysterical. We went to teach him about the Restoration of the Gospel, and at one point we whipped out a pamphlet with a picture of Joseph Smith being given the Priesthood by Peter, James, and John, and we asked "James, what do you see here?" The kid responds, "I see God, Jesus, and Tom Cruz giving a blessing to the movie actor Joseph Smith." Oh my goodness I nearly kicked the bucket. Funny little dude. But he's progressing well! He's coming to church and all that jazz, so all we need to do is teach those lessons and then come the covenants!

So yup, life's good. Seeing lots of cool things happen and that there's the report. Hopefully you found it to be of import somehow. Thanks for listening, anyway! Have a good week errbuddy!

Elder Slavens

Monday, September 15, 2014

It Was All a Stupid Ploy of the Devil to Distract Me from My Purpose. CURSES!

You're all probably wondering why I would have such a negative subject line. I'm a pretty optimistic guy for the most part, right? Well sometimes I just wanna smack the devil in the face because he makes stupid things happen.

You remember when I went through all those hoops and whatnot because I'd lost my wallet? And I had to like sign my soul off to the feds in order to get my license back? Like I said, I finally got a replacement license from my parents and that was going really well for a while there. I was driving without a care in the world. But then, that's probably what went wrong.

We went on exchanges this last Tuesday and I was chilling in Paul with another Greenie in the District. Things were going super well, I suppose. We ran over to our Ward Mission Leader's house 'cause he has everything you could possibly need to wash a car, and we were like "Hey, WE have a car that needs washing!" Sounds legit, right? So we get the car all squeaky clean and life is good. I pull out of the driveway, pumped to run off and do some good missionary work. As I shift the car back into drive, I pull up at about 8 miles an hour for probably 2 seconds and BANG. I had this weird sensation like "What the heck just happened?" while my Greenie is over there like gasping for air. We sit there a moment in this weird time-lapse thing not having a clue what has happened, and then it dawns on me: Oh crap, I just wrecked our car.

We hop out and look a the front bumper, and whaddaya know? Big fat dent in our squeaky-clean car. The awesome thing is that our Ward Mission Leader has security cameras set up all over the place, so we ran back in the house and ask him if he saw us. Lo and behold, there we are, with like 10 different camera angles showing us the stupidest wreck in history. I had backed up to a point that appeared pretty safe to me, but I hadn't noticed the super low cement curb just in front of us. So I smacked right into that stupid curb, and now our beautiful 2014 Chevy Cruze has this big ugly gash in it. So dumb. I turned in the report and everything, and it's been decided that I no longer have driving privileges for the mission, which kinda sucks, because I just LOVE driving. But I guess I'll live. After all, I did do something pretty stupid to deserve it.

And that's why I say it was all a ploy of the devil. I went through all this stressful jazz to get a temporary license, and I literally drove for like a day or two and now may no longer drive. Satan is dumb.

It may sound to you like this was the worst week ever because I exaggerate a lot when I complain on these emails. Dramatic effect I guess, I dunno. But in all reality, this was actually one of the best weeks I've had on my whole mission! Weird, huh? We've just seen so many awesome little miracles this week. We were contacted by one of our WML's who said that a boy stood up in Sunday School this week and said, "I'm getting baptized soon!" Thing is, this kid's like 12 and has no idea what the church is all about - so we made a stop over to his house the other day, and we're like "Hey, well if you wanna get baptized soon, we can totally make that happen!" He was down, so we set a baptismal date for him on the 4th of October, and we're gonna come over twice a week so we can get all the lessons done before then!

And just a bunch of cool stuff like that. I'd love to tell all the stories, but this thing is already a flipping novel. Suffice it to say that we're seeing a lot of cool things happen here in Paul, Idaho! Exact obedience truly does bring miracles! I've seen lots of ups and downs during my mission. There've been times where I didn't feel I was being very obedient, and there've been times where I'm just following every rule and every suggestion made to help the work. Now is one of those times, and the fruits are HUGE. And juicy. Just keep that in mind, everyone! President Monson was right - obedience may bring blessings, but the miracles wait for those who consecrate themselves unto obedience to the things the Lords asks! And then we party.

I love you all to the very pit of my being! Spread the happiness, aight?

Elder Slavens

Monday, September 8, 2014

Paul, Round 2

I'm still here in Paul, everyone! But you already knew that. Not much of a surprise, is it? I'll probably be staying in Paul until the end of my mission, 'cause it just seems that's how my mission's going right now. BUT WHATEVER CUZ I LOVE IT.

This week has been pretty swell! The transfers have been all lined out and I am now serving here with my new greenie, Elder Hansen! He's from Apple Valley, CA, so the two Californian missionaries get no end of crap here in Paul. They don't like Californians here. But like, sarcastically. It's weird.

Elder Hansen is probably whiter than I am, so this should be an interesting transfer considering most of our investigators are Mexican and don't expect us to know any Spanish. That's probably one of the most fun things about being a Spanish Elder - we freak people out completely when they're like "Oh so sorry, no english," and I'm like "Oh, no importa hermana - sabemos espanol! Que pasa calabaza?"

Elder Hansen's a good dude. He got a 35 on the ACT so he's like way smarter than me. He's way skinny, be he can pack food like no other. His Spanish is pretty dang good considering he's been out like 5 days. Just lots of good stuff. I'm excited to hit the ground running, be obedient, and do some good solid work!

We had an insane lesson with one of our investigators, Mario Corona, this week. He's engaged (or something like that) to a member, so she's pushing him to be baptized. Apparently they're married legally, but not "through the church", whatever that means. So they're under the impression that Mario needs to be baptized to get married through the LDS church (which is not the case - we made that clear), and asked us to give them ALL the lessons in one single visit. Holy guacamole that lesson! It was like 3 1/2 hours long, and Elder Hansen and I were just puddles on the floor once it'd wrapped up. Flipping Spanish is exhausting sometimes. But good news! We have Mario set up for baptism on the 20th of this month, so long as all gets organized and set up by then! We're excited for him! Pray that he'll keep moving in this direction!

Anyway, it's been a great week. Life is still good. Never easy, but certainly good! I hope you all have a wonderful week, and until next time, this is FRESH TO DEATH signing off! Paz.

Elder Slavens

Monday, September 1, 2014

I Wish I Had a Bike So I Wouldn't Get Fat

Well helloooooo there errbuddy.

Guess what! I totally did not find my wallet at all this week! It's still totally gone. And now my parents are sending me a new temporary driver's license, which means I am not going to be getting an Idaho license, which means all of this was in VAIN! But I guess that's alright - it at least means I don't have to take the Idaho driving test, which would probably include a bunch of obscure questions about tractors that I would have no idea what to do with. So there's a plus. Thanks for saving me the pain, Mom.

Anyway, this week! It was good. First of all, we got our transfer calls! And I'm STAYING MUAHAHAHAHA. I'm gonna stick around in Paul to be the District Leader and take over the world. Elder Josephson, however, is OUTTA here!! And where is he going, you might ask? WENDELL HAHAHAHA. He's going to the area I was in for like a billion years and he's going to LOVE it! Seriously, we got our transfer calls and learned that and I just flipped out 'cause I'm so excited about it. He's gonna meet all these sweet people and hear a bunch of horrible stories about me and whatnot. Uh-oh, I guess.

Oh yeah, and I'm TRAINING again. Man, they gotta stop giving me greenies to ruin - I guess I just haven't gotten it right yet.

So yeah, this has been a good week. Working with a bunch of really cool people who want to do good things and it's all just such a blessing! Out of the blue, one of our REALLY OLD un-progressing investigators showed up to church this week and I was just like broooooo, no way. It's all worth it when you see great stuff like that happen - you just realize that this really is the Lord's work and He's got a plan for everything! Hopefully we can see that investigator start to progress some more!

Life's just good. We have so many awesome members here that support us and do all they can to hasten the work in there sphere. We walked into a Sunday School lesson this Sunday and the teacher was basically just firing everybody up about missionary work and it was just really cool to see! It helped me to realize that I'm not all alone in this and that I should definitely do better to utilize the awesome members we have here.

So yup, that's pretty much my week! Been a good one. Transfers are coming this week and I'll have my new greenie ready to go and I'll send a picture and all that cute stuff. Alistense.

I wub you aww.

Elder Slavens

Monday, August 25, 2014

And the Rains Came Tumbling Down

You know those weeks that come up where you're just like "Holy moly, is it possible to endure any more trials than I've experienced this past week?" Those are tough weeks, huh?

Well this week wasn't quite THAT bad. But sometimes ya just gotta stop and think why me?

I lost my wallet this week.

Every week after our district meeting we go out to lunch together and just have a grand old time - one of my favorite moments of the week in which we can build some district unity and get to know each other over a giant pizza or something. Well this week we went to a burger joint and wrapped up and immediately after that I ran off with another Elder, named Elder Jones, to do an exchange. Since then I have not seen hide nor hair of my dang wallet! I'm convinced that it was stolen by an alien or something in that burger joint and that that alien's like doing tests on it to find out how he can clone me. I guess that'd be pretty cool, but like seriously, I NEED MY WALLET.

This is causing me no end of grief. First of all, I have no money. Which obviously is not good. Second of all, I have no driver's license. And these two things are very much conflicting. You see, I need my driver's license to drive! So I asked the mission about how I can get a hold of a new one, and their suggestion was to work on getting an Idaho driver's license. Which I think would be pretty cool anyway, so maybe this is all worth it. But the problem is, IT COSTS MONEY to get a new driver's license! But my debit card is gone as well! And I can't get a new one WITHOUT MY DRIVER'S LICENSE to prove that I'm a bona fide Elder Slavens! BLAAHHHHHHHHHH. It's like Inception or something, just the wallet version. Thankfully it hit me earlier that I have a passport!!!!!!!! Woo! Thank goodness I went to the Mexico MTC which required I bring a passport - I'm convinced that THAT is the reason I went to Mexico: so that I would have my passport at this point in time, allowing me to obtain a new debit card, which will in turn allow for me to get a new driver's license, and then I will be good to go. But sheesh though.

On top of that my temple recommend is MIA, so hopefully some snot isn't going through the temple every day unworthily. That would be bad.

But whatever, we'll get it all worked out, don't worry guys!

On the bright side, Elder Josephson and I set a baptismal date this week with one of our solid investigators, Arlene! She's so ready to make that covenant, I just can't wait! In our most recent lesson with her she described to us an experience she had recently in which she was at the death-bed of a super old LDS lady who like received an epiphany for Arlene, saying that she needed to not be afraid of the temple and she needed to read her scriptures every day and go to church and all this super important stuff! And Arlene says that that experience strengthened her testimony like no other and that now she's more ready than ever to take that step! How cool is that? So pray for Arlene that everything goes smoothly with baptism - and for meas well, that everything goes smoothly with my wallet.

I hope everyone can see the silver lining this week, 'cause there always is one!

Elder Slavens

Monday, August 18, 2014

Life Is Life

OH NOOOOO THIS WEEK WAS PRETTY DANG TYPICAL AND I'M HAVING A HARD TIME COMING UP WITH SOMETHING INTERESTING TO REPORT ON. OHHHHHHH NOOOOOOOO.

Eh, I guess I'll just do my best with what my feeble mind can remember.

As previously screamed, this has been a more or less typical week in terms of missionary work in Paul, Idaho. There ain't really any super hilarious stories or anything like that. Now, Mom, keep in mind that that doesn't necessarily mean it was a bad week! I have no complaints! But I guess I just don't have many paragraphs flowing out of my fingers.

You know, some people may look at a mission like Twin Falls, Idaho and think "Dang, these kids probably get like a billion baptisms on their missions 'cause it's just so easy there." But I'm here to tell you that leading people into the waters of baptism is not an easy feat, no matter where the heck you go! It's been a real struggle finding those who are really ready to make that huge change in their lives, especially as a Spanish missionary.

A good percentage of the Latino population that we visit lets us right in because they think they'll be condemned if they don't, but then don't commit themselves to making the changes that we invite them to make! It's like c'mon, do you even wanna see Jesus again?? I figured as I started my mission that it'd be a walk in the park to convince these people of the truthfulness of our message. But oh boy, was I wrong! I've learned a lot since being out here about humility and patience. These people aren't baptismal statistics, they are individuals who all need something different. And you need to put all you've got into finding out what their specific needs are and helping them decide to change, rather than feel forced or pushed into it. A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still!

I've loved my mission every step of the way, even though it has most certainly not been a walk in the park! I suppose it's been more of a sprint in the park. It's beautiful all along the way, but it's harrrrrrrrd.

I guess there's my little schpeel for the week. Not probably what most people wanted to hear, but I suppose it's what I wrote! Whoops! Hopefully something loco happens this week that'll give me like 20 paragraphs' worth of good story. Anyway, I hope everyone has a wonderful week and that you're praying every day and reading your scriptures and all that good stuff, because those are the things that make life grand! Paz y amor, locones mios.

Elder Slavens