Dear Elder Slavens

Dear Elder Slavens

Elder Dallin J Slavens Cambodia Phnom Penh

Elder Chancellor J Slavens Idaho Twin Falls

Monday, January 27, 2014

There's a Will, So There's a Way, Right?

Hello everybody!! What a beautiful life!!

I'm sorry if this email seems rushed in any way. But if it seems that way, it's probably just because I actually am quite rushed today. For P-day today we're planning on having a big zone BBQ, and I think for some reason I just naturally pile on top of myself the responsibility to organize such things. So basically I'm in charge of the whole entire zone and their happiness today, even though I have no fancy calling or authority. I just told everybody I'd organize it without really thinking, and now I'm all stressed out about something rather pointless. But such is life!

Anyway, this week was really good! We got to teach a lot of lessons and do a lot of service, which is just how I like it. However we did have one experience that really wasn't so wonderful.

We were running out of things to do in the evening, so we made the decision to go visit the Perez family. Perhaps you guys remember - this family has been hearing the lessons from Elder Wright and I for a while; family of 4, all wanted to get baptized, totally on the straight and narrow, making the right decisions. They are such a cool family and I've grown to love them so much. But about 3 weeks ago the whole family got sick and couldn't have us over for like a week and a half, which is a long time of not seeing this family because they typically have us like twice a week. We came over when their sickness was dying off to find the father out of sorts and not overly welcoming. He gave us a big long schpeel about how we can't truly know him because we've never walked in his shoes nor had his experiences. He'd gone through life as a kid with no food and one shirt, and was upset that we were coming and trying to tell him how to live when we couldn't really comprehend his life.

This experience was tough for me, but after a long talk, we evened things out and he expressed to us that he'd had no intention of yelling at us, but that he just needed to vent. So I figured perfect, now things'll be back to normal. He told us he'd text us sometime soon so that we could stop by again and continue teaching the lessons.

A week rolls by.

Two weeks.

As I said, we were running out of things to do in the evening, so we figured we'd just swing by rather than awaiting a text that wasn't going to come. As we pulled up to his driveway we found that he'd just gotten in his car and was preparing to leave. We ran up and asked how he was doing, as well as whether it would be alright if we stopped by another day soon. He proceeded to kinda scoff at us and tell us that he never has time, is never home, has tons of stuff to do, and just doesn't know if he wants us over. In that moment, I understood.

I've always found it kind of silly when people told me that you can cry over a dropped investigator. I couldn't picture myself really involving myself so much in their lives that I'd feel that strongly about it. I mean, if I ever had to drop an investigator, obviously it would be one that wasn't really progressing and thus didn't help me fulfill my purpose as a missionary, right? But no. That's not how it works. I didn't cry having experienced this, but I'll tell you, I wanted to pretty bad. I found myself reflecting on some fun and spiritual experiences I'd had with this family, and was devastated to find that I knew it wasn't going to happen anymore. After discussing with Elder Wright, we came to the agreement that these people need some time and that we shouldn't visit them for a while. That decision sucked to make, but I know it was the right one.

This was a pretty sad experience, but for one reason or another, it's helped strengthen me. I know that everyone can find a place in their heart for the message that missionaries bring, if they are honest and sincere in their search. I know that the Perez family is an amazing one, and that their hearts will be softened someday. And that will be an incredible day to behold, if I have the pleasure of witnessing it!

Kind of heavy stuff, I know. But it's alright, we just keep our chins up! Missions are heavy themselves - what did I expect? I've learned a lot this week and I'm thankful for my trials! I hope you guys have an incredible week and that you learn a lot too!

Lesson Learned: Keep in mind the Lord's will and His time, not yours. He's a better planner.

I love everyone!

Elder Slavens

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