Dear Elder Slavens

Dear Elder Slavens

Elder Dallin J Slavens Cambodia Phnom Penh

Elder Chancellor J Slavens Idaho Twin Falls

Monday, March 31, 2014

Not Trunky Yet

Do you want an email? Okay fine here it is. 
Helloooooooooo!! I love you all!

This week has been pretty darn good. It turned out much better than last week did, although for whatever reason it's still been quite a bit slower than is typical for us! I have no idea why the heck this is happeneing, but there must be some reason for it I suppose! So we just gotsta work dubble hard to get this place up and running again.

It's weird, for the past couple weeks many of our super consistent and progressing investigators have just not been showing their faces to us. We'll keep trying and praying, and we'll see where it goes! But something we really wanna focus on this week is finding some new investigators so that we're never short on stuff to do! But it honestly has been such a good week. I've already learned so much from being a trainer to Elder Martinez - probably more than he's learning himself! Sad. But I've just learned a ton about patience and true obedience and stuff like that that's going to stick with me for the rest of my life and I couldn't be more happy about it! Woo!

This week we had a super duper good activity with the Spanish group! We, along with a couple other missionaries in our area, planned this FHE activity for all of the Spanish group members to come and get to know each other better and build some unity within the group. Something we realized recently is that a probable and partial reason for the difficulty in getting people to come with us to church is that perhaps they go once, but they don't really feel very loved or accepted because in its current state, the Spanish group faces a kind of dog-eat-dog mentality. There's just a very small amount of people that actually go, and nobody knows anybody else, so it's kind of dull, for lack of a better word. So our new focus is to really pull these people together so that we've got a solid group of people who, when our investigators come to church, are super comfortable and enthusiastic and inviting and ah! If we can do this, then our investigators will LOVE to come to church! Because that activity we had was just a blast! Everybody was having such a good time and we broke the ice into smithereens and it was sick. So yeah, that's our focus at the mo'!

It's been a wonderful week and I wouldn't wanna be anywhere else in the world! You guys rock!

Elder Slavens

Monday, March 24, 2014

In Raising a Boy

And so another week rolls by, and with it, more opportunities to do good! Heck yeah!

Is everybody happy this fine day? I sure hope so. Everybody, just make the choice right this instant to be happy and to always be upbeat and positive in all things! It makes life much more fun! Do it. I dare you.

I believe that I have gotten through this week by way of my ability to not let stuff get to me too much -- it's been a rough one. So I'm training my new baby boy, Elder Martinez!! He's a rock star: such strong faith, a huge desire to do good, and there's a fire in his eye when it comes to missionary work. That is EXACTLY what I was hoping for. Something I've seen a lot of on my mission, which drives me straight up the wall, is missionaries who just don't really care about what they're doing. I've seen a lot of missionaries stuck in ruts, unable to move because they think they're perfect already, or they just don't love these people, or they're trunky, or whatever the situation might be. Honestly, nothing bugs me in missionaries more than this. You gotta take a moment and decide why the heck you're really even here, you know? So...

Gosh dang it. I cut open my finger doing a service project earlier this week, and I just went to get something in my backpack and ripped it back open. Blah. Now I gotta type with one hand.

Anyway, if any of you reading this end up going on a mission, make sure you don't get stuck in a rut! Have fun with it! Enjoy yourself! And never let your own pride get in the way of another man's salvation, ya hear? You'll have me to answer to. And Christ, as well.

But like I said, Elder Martinez is awesome. He's from Dallas, TX, but his parents both speak Spanish, so he's already fluent, which has definitely been a plus. He's really natural with people and has found it very easy to connect. That's awesome. The only problem here is that every since this boy showed up, NOBODY is opening their doors to us. Not that people simply don't like us anymore, but it's just that nobody's been home and we really haven't gotten many lessons in at all. That stresses me out big time because I feel like Elder Martinez is getting pretty discouraged. But this very well may be a blessing from our Heavenly Father, as strange as that may sound. Elder Martinez might be having all of these experiences now so that he will be humbled and ready to serve whole-heartedly. I know that that's a tough thing to wrap the mind of a new missionary around - whole consecration - so in my opinion, better to learn that sooner than later, no?

I'm kinda stressed out at the moment, but I'm absolutely pumped about the way this transfer's gonna go, nonetheless. We've definitely got some rough edges to smooth out, but that comes with time. Everybody has something to work on every single day, so we'll just take it in baby steps to make Elder Martinez everything the Lord wants him to be! Woop!

I hope you all have a wonderful week, and I love you to bits! Muah!


-Elder Slavens


Elder Martinez

Monday, March 17, 2014

Superliminal

I'll be honest, I have no idea why the subject heading is what it is, but the word popped into my head and I decided to type it down. I'll bet it was the spirit telling me what to write. Hopefully that subject has some profound effect on someone in need.

Anyway, hello there world! What a great week it has been! And a stinking fast one, at that! I really don't even know where to begin, because I don't really know what even happened this week, because I feel like I just wrote you guys like yesterday, blah! This is really starting to freak me out; I've been out for over 8 months now and I feel like I just got here. Ugh. Whelp, better make the most of it!!

So, I would like to start of with some horrible news that I received earlier this week. Elder Wright went to that training meeting with the 'director of pross' and came back almost in tears. Okay, not quite in tears, but it was a sad day. He had to come back and explain to me that we're not getting iPads until like mid-summer. This huge lump formed in my throat and my heart sank through the floor and I thought the world was over. Mainly because I had been spreading the rumor for the whole entire week to all of the surrounding missionaries that we would be getting iPads this week, which, in fact, we were not. So I became terrified that all of the Elders in surrounding areas would decide to come and beat me up. Thankfully that didn't happen, but it was still a sad experience.

And now some other news! Transfers are coming up this week! We just got the information about what we're gonna end up doing a couple days ago, and I'll tell ya, I'm quite pleased! I'm going to be staying in Wendell for yet another transfer! That'll be 7 1/2 months for me here in Wendell, if I even leave after that!! You see, I'm gonna be training this transfer! Brand new baby missionary of my very own! Awww! And in that case, since training takes two transfers, I wouldn't be surprised to find that I'll stay another transfer to finish raising my boy! I'm gonna die here! And Elder Wright's getting moved to Twin, which will we super fun, because Twin has like everything. So I'm jealous about that, but it's no biggie. The coolest people in all of Idaho live here, so it's chill. I'm really excited about this you guys, for real.

Other than that, we've had a few great lessons this week! People are still struggling with the whole marriage thing, but I suppose choices like that take time. We'll just continue to be supportive of these people and bring the spirit in truckloads to help them know what needs to be done.

This has been a super duper week and I'm so happy to be here! Keep your chins up, everybody! Talk to you soon!

Lesson Learned: I can still be a missionary without an iPad. I can.

Heart,

Elder Slavens

Monday, March 10, 2014

Mawwage

Happy day, everybody!! Is all's y'all having a good one? I sure hope so! I know I am!

This has been a sick nasty week. We didn't get huge numbers in terms of lessons taught and stuff like that, but a shortage on numbers has never really bothered me when it comes to missionary work. We've been focusing less on boosting the numbers and more on just helping those that need it, be they investigators or members or whatever. At least, that's what I've been focusing on personally. I really believe that I'm here just to help people, not so much to look good in the eyes of my Zone Leaders and whatnot. I've never really cared much about things like that, I guess. Anyway, this week ended up being more of a member-focused week: we did lots of service and formed stronger relationships with lots of the members in our area, which is always super fun and rewarding! We're hoping to see some referrals coming our way soon so we can hop to it and start teaching more people!! You have no idea how much I love these people, you guys. The Hispanic population here in Wendell is just the opposite of the pits. They're so loving and kind and humble and accepting and they love us. And for that reason, I WANT REFERRALS. I want to meet every single person here that I possibly can so that I can become best friends with them and have more crazy experiences and whatnot. Dang I love this work!

One thing has been coming up quite frequently, however, that has been throwing Elder Wright and I for like 5 loops. Pretty much every single investigator-couple that we've been teaching has recently admitted to us that they're not married. That's like 10 baptisms that could be happening sometime soon, which have been set back quite a ways because they have to go through that whole process. The world is definitely dropping the ball in that aspect - the idea of marriage just isn't important to people any more. "I mean, what's the difference, really? I've got my 'wife' here and 4 kids, and we are technically a 'family'. So what's the big deal about not getting married? It just costs us money and time." That's a pretty typical argument that I've had to learn to rebut. It's also pretty tough for them considering a good percentage of our investigators are probably illegal immigrants, so legal stuff does not work in their favor. Sheesh, Satan's a clever little bug. We'll squash him though. Anyway, that's definitely been a main focus recently: understanding and appreciating the true nature of marriage, lawful and spiritual, and the blessings that taking that step brings. It's a commandment, people.

I have some pretty crazy news. It might just be rumors getting tossed around and I may be getting overexcited about nothing, but I figure life is much more fun when you have hope. We recently were asked by our Zone Leaders to take some silly survey online about missionary work, because apparently the director of proselyting is coming within the next week to see our mission. I personally didn't even know that such a human existed, but apparently so. Anyway, since Elder Wright's the district leader, he's going to some training meeting that the director of proselyting is hosting this Thursday. We were just told about this like two days ago, so it's super last-minute, and it's going to be like an 8-hour long training meeting. On top of that the whole of the mission leadership is being super sketchy about it and won't tell us any information about what the point of all this is. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS?? Well, I don't even know what this means personally. But I have a hunch: the Idaho Twin Falls Mission is gonna get iPads this Thursday!!!! Hooooohohohohoho!! This is seriously gonna make missionary work so much simpler, and it'll give us time to focus on the things that are really important. I am so beyond excited. But we'll see! Pray for me everyone, so I get an iPad!!

And I believe that's about it for me today!! I'mma sign off, but I hope you all have a wonderful week! You're in my thoughts and prayers and I love you all!

Elder Slavens

Monday, March 3, 2014

Can I Get an 'E'?

And if you hit me with an "l-d-e-r"
Then you'd see our
Missionary swagger
We never sag nor lag nor stagger

So please pump up your bike tire
Sit in the seat, sire
Kickin' it quick, ain't no trick, said, I'm no liar
Plant the BoM, right from wrong, with the mom that's
investigating and enjoying all the chats (discussions)

WWESD?
I like to teach the gospel motivatedly
But all work and no play makes me crazy
So
I take off a P-Day once a week

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Gooooooood morning, world!!!

How's everybody doing? I'm doing just swell myself! It's been a really awesome week of teaching and preaching and loving and learning and growing and ah!! Such a good one. Where do I begin? Hm.

I had the opportunity to do an exchange this week which was way fun. I exchanged with Elder Perdue, from Texas, who apparently was at BYU the same time as me! Small world. Actually it's like a tiny little world - there's like 10 Elders here who were at BYU at the same time and I didn't know a one of them before the mission. So it's been cool to have that initial connection with lots of different people. But anyway, I just love exchanges. Such a cool way to learn different methods of teaching and studying and yeah, I love them. Perks of being a district leader's companion.

Every month as a mission we set goals for ourselves and focus on specific changes we can make to become more Christlike and so on. This month we're focusing a lot on our studies and how they can help us help our investigators. Mom, you'll be happy to know that I've been focusing a lot on making good use of my study time recently. I've been reading tons recently in the Book of Mormon, and the more I do, the more hooked I get to it, honestly. There are times when I don't even wanna go out and teach because I'm so sucked up in the Book of Mormon, which is good and awful at the same time. But I've just learned so much this week about how a good morning study can start off your day really right.

And hopefully all of you are doing your studies daily too! It doesn't need to be three hours long; just a solid 10-15 minutes can really change your day. Love it.

Hope you all have a wonderful week! 
Big hug, big kiss, little kiss, big hug, little hug, little kiss, big hug, big kiss, little hug, little kiss.

Lesson Learned: A study a day keeps the devil away.

Elder Slavens