Dear Elder Slavens

Dear Elder Slavens

Elder Dallin J Slavens Cambodia Phnom Penh

Elder Chancellor J Slavens Idaho Twin Falls

Monday, June 30, 2014

Missionaries Get Free Food At Dairy Queen. That's Right.

Howdy doody my good people? I doody good today.

This week has rocked my socks off. Not literally - I just mean that I really enjoyed it. Elder Josephson and I are having a blast here in Paul, just chillin' like villains, but really not chilling at all. And obviously the opposite of how villains usually would chill. We've been working up a sweat, like for real. It's been pretty hot the past few days, and it's caused me like serious exhaustion! I'm super tired, every single day. But that's not a problem, I suppose; I just put my shoulder to the wheel and push. At least it keeps me awake.

Gospel (that means 'good news')! As I reported last week, we were able to view a beautiful baptism this week. Ana Maria Jimenez got baptized and confirmed, with little to no see-able forces working against her, which is probably a first for any investigator ever. She was just ready. Which is a huge surprise, because just before Elder Josephson and I showed up she apparently had a big problem with smoking and just couldn't stop. But here we are, and she hasn't smoked in like a month or two now! We're super proud of her, and happy that she has made this step to become closer to her Father in Heaven.

The other day we started teaching a new investigator, a 9-year-old girl named Kenna. Her parents are less-active members of the church and want to get moving again, and honestly, they are just so much fun to teach. This little girl just gets it. She wants so bad to follow Christ and His example. She wants to be baptized, but is having a hard time convincing her parents to come back to church, so we're gonna make that happen!

So yeah, it's been an awesome week! Hopefully we can see all of these people go places! Pray for Kenna and her family, porfis! The Lord wants them back!

I wub you all, and peace out with my kisses. Xoxo

Elder Slavens

Monday, June 23, 2014

I'd Love to Stay and Chat, But I Moustache

Alright, suckas, this is serious business. Like all but 5 computers in the library are broken down right now for some dumb reason. That's like 15 broken computers, how does that even happen? But either way, we're being rationed a measly 30 minutes to do our emailing, so if I don't have any time to send personal ones to anyone, I am eternally sorry!

This week has been super duper good. We didn't have tons of success in terms of open doors and whatnot, but Elder Josephson and I are just working hard and prepping the way for good things to happen. We've been making tons of contact with the stake leaders in the area, and doing our best to utilize 'em. Going on lots of visits with members here to help us out, and it's been a huge blessing to see the progress that's made when they add their two cents to ours. Funny thing is, pretty much every single time we knocked on a door without a member to back us up, the appointment ended up falling through, or the investigator would just hide. So we didn't see much success there. But all is well, because...

We have the huge blessing of seeing Anamaria Jimenez get baptized this Saturday! This is a woman who's been investigating the church for about a year and a half. She had a very tough struggle with the Word of Wisdom, specifically the smoking portion, but we have been hugely blessed to be a very small part of this woman's conversion. Getting to know her and her son, Kino, has been a big pleasure, and I'm stoked to see her make this step! Kino is a little hesitant to take the step because he's not too sure he's felt the spirit very much by this point, but I know it'll happen soon!

Anyway, I gotta run already! Short short short! Hopefully the computers are all debugged or whatever next week. Then with some luck I'll be able to respond to all you peeps' emails. Love you all! Muah!

Elder Slavens

Monday, June 16, 2014

My New Life

Holy b'gosh, where do I even start on this week?? So much has happened in the past like 5 days, I'm like stressed out as to what to say about it. All I know is that I am stoked out of my flipping mind right now! Paul, Idaho is hoppin' man.
So this week started out before the transfer. I was still in Wendell, and I was stressin' out big time 'cause I had like two days to say goodbye to all these people I'd come to know and love after such a long time in their hometown. I straight up felt like a member of the Wendell Stake by that point. Like, I wasn't even doing missionary work anymore, I was doing member-missionary work. So I suppose it was about time for a change! But that was an amazing couple of days. It was pretty sad to have to say goodbye to everyone, but it's alright, because I'm blessed to be in an area pretty close to my home, and I'll definitely be coming by again sometime! I spent Monday and Tuesday just giving hugs (to dudes) and handshakes (to chicks), and doing my best to give support and wish everyone a bright future. Hopefully I left that area just a little bit brighter than it was when I arrived. 
On Wednesday we had our transfer meeting, and I was introduced to my new greenie, Elder Josephson! This boy's got it, you guys. He's got the mindset for missionary work, he has a good, clean sense of humor, and he's ready to move. We've been having a really good time together, and we're just hitting the ground running in our new area!
So, speaking of our new area. We're whitewashing the place! There were a couple of missionaries here before us, but they both were taken out and replaced by Elder Josephson and I, mainly because they were English Elders and President Curtis wanted to replace them with some Spanish Elders (like us) so they could even things out. So here we are, and boy has it been an adventure. For a little bit of background, we have been called to serve in a Spanglish area. Our area covers three English Wards, as well as the whole Stake in Spanish! Pretty big area. So we're picking up all of the investigators of the last Elders here, as well as a bunch of Spanish ones from the Spanish Elders that we're splitting the area with. We showed up Wednesday afternoon, having absolutely no idea what the heck we should do! We didn't know a single person in this little town, and to top it off I had a brand new missionary who didn't have any experience. Thankfully he's a motivated little fireball, so that wasn't much of an issue. 
We started off by getting to know the ward mission leaders, which proved a good choice of action. We met Marty Van Tassell, who I recently discovered is well-known around the mission for being the BEST WARD MISSION LEADER IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE. Basically this dude calls us up every day and asks us if we can go out with him. He's showed us all of the investigators we should focus on, and is just super SUPER involved. Definitely something I'm not used to - as a Spanish missionary it's pretty typical to have to do every little thing yourself because all the members out here are focused on English work! So I'm pretty much in heaven right now. I'll go more into detail about investigators and stuff next week though, because this is dragging out way too much. 
Guess what. On Wednesday evening, my first day here in Paul, as I was sitting there freaking out about what I should do to get this area moving, I got a call from the 1st Counselor in one of our wards. So guess what I got to do this Sunday. Yup, I had to give a talk. Just pile it on, you know, whatever, I can handle anything. I gave a talk yesterday on how to be a good neighbor and a good fellowshipper as a member of the Lord's church. Thankfully, people weren't really focused on what I had to say, because I was the opening speaker, and the closing speaker was a dude who just returned home from his mission this past Wednesday. So I was just kind of there. I'm not sure if I did well, or if it was pretty mediocre (more likely), but I did get a lot of handshakes and invitations into the ward, which was nice! 
So yeah, that was basically my week, in a very large nutshell. Next week's email will certainly be more condensed; sorry to talk your ears off! I hope you all have a lovely week! Don't be strangers!! 
Elder Slavens

The magnificent falls near Hagerman, Idaho. Kinda Cool.

One last adventure with mah posse

The Hester Kids

The Wendell District, just before it got torn apart

Mario and Mariano Reyes. My Babies.

The Wendell House

Elder Josephson. Good luck, dude.

A bunch of random dudes, I guess

Monday, June 9, 2014

So... What Now?

This wee! I don't even know where to start about it fo rizzies!

This week started out by kind of sucking. Like, the first few days were just not my days. On Thursday I took a benedryl halfway through the day because my allergies were just K-ing me O, and it ended up K-ing me even O-er. So I was going through the whole day just dead and it made the day pretty whatever. But that's alright, because sucky days are the best on missions, because you learn things!

Lesson Learned: Don't take benedryl mid-day, especially on a mission.

But hey, things are good! However, things are about to get pretty mixed up, and I'm not quite sure how to feel about it!

We got transfer calls yesterday, and after 9 months in wendell, ID, I'm getting transferred to Paul, Idaho, which I hear is even smaller! I don't really know what to think right now, so it's making writing a big long email pretty hard to do! I'm pretty excited for a change, because although I love this area, I've been here for SO long and I feel like I've gotten to comfortable! Time to mix things up! I'll be switching this Wednesday, so if anybody's planning on sending me something because they love me, don't send it to my Wendell address! 421 Maurice Street N, Twin Falls, ID 83301 will do the trick just fine!

Oh, and I forgot to mention that I'll be TRAINING YET ANOTHER NEW MISSIONARY. Whoooooooooop!

Now I'm kinda stressin' out, so I'm gonna sign off here! Love you all, and have a good week!

Elder Slavens

Monday, June 2, 2014

On Being Poor

This week has been just swell, my friends, I kid you not! That's not to say it hasn't been a stressful one, but what'cha gonna do without a little stress to spice things up?

Why was my week stressful, you might ask? Oh, just 'cause I'm a super poor missionary who has no idea how to budget. If I could just figure out how to NOT spend money the second I get it, my life would be smooth sailing. I figure it's just a God-given malady, a trial you might call it, that I gotta turn around by way of sheer willpower. Once I've got that figured out I suppose you can call me a real man. Not yet though. But either way, here's my story:

I was dumb at the beginning of this month and decided that I could spend most of my mission allowance on stupid things like lotion and fancy toothpaste and whatnot. Who needs food anyway, right? I figured God's not gonna let me starve (I mean, He didn't let me starve either way, but that doesn't justify my spending). So I got about halfway through the month of May and by that point my wallet was dry. That's when I was like uh-oh, maybe I WILL starve after all (again, I am still very much alive, but that makes me no less stupid).

I got through most of the month with my dignity still intact, and a notch higher up on my belt to boot! But here's where it gets good. Last Zone Conference (a big missionary meeting) the mission doctor stood at the pulpit and gave a little speech on stupid things missionaries do to put their health in jeopardy. He talked about two Elders who found a pair of bats fighting in the street, and one of the missionaries decided it'd be cool to take them home and pit them against each other in a cardboard box. He picked them up and was bitten by each bat in each hand, and subsequently was infected with rabies and had to go home. But that story actually has nothing to do with this one, I just thought it was noteworthy. 

Another thing the doctor mentioned was that we actually shouldn't use Q-tips to clean out our ears because it can potentially push excess earwax too far into the ear canal and press it up to the eardrum and cause hearing loss. Technically we should just let earwax fall out of our ears naturally as time goes on. I know, gross, right? That's exactly what I thought when I heard him say that, so I was like dude, whatever, I'm not lissinin to yoo 'jo craysee. So of course, I did exactly what he suggested I not do. I had a lot of earwax buildup bugging me one night, so I whipped out a Q-tip and tried prying it out.

Yeah, it pushed excess earwax too far into the ear canal and pressed it up to the eardrum and caused hearing loss. Exactly as he'd said. So I went about a half a day not being able to hear very well from the left ear, until one smart Elder in my district suggested I put some hydrogen peroxide in my ear and let it set for 5 minutes; that would soften it all up and it would drip out afterward. I tried that, and it ended up liquefying the earwax and letting it settle right up to my eardrum. Once it had hardened back up, I had a wall of earwax up against my eardrum, which essentially made me deaf in that ear. I could hear NOTHING.

So I called the doctor to ask what I should do (because being deaf as a missionary is super inefficient, especially when you hardly understand Spanish as it is), and he basically just made fun of me for 1) not listening to his sound advice, and 2) for actually listening to the unsound advice of that other missionary about the hydrogen peroxide. He told me that I could fix my problem by going to Wal Mart and buying an earwax removal kit for under like 5 bucks.

Problem is, I certainly did not have 5 bucks, or even under it for that matter. I was BROKE. So I had to go through this crazy charade of going over to the house of a member, having the dude call my dad and ask him to put money on my card so that I could buy a thing that ended up being like $2.50. I made inquiries at the bank multiple times that day to check if Dad had put money on it, and apparently the bank didn't like that and started charging me, so by the end of the day I actually was in debt to the bank. The money eventually got on, I bought the stupid earwax removal kit, and now I can hear just fine.

But seriously, SHEEEEESH!

So that was my week. How was yours? In all reality, it has been a super good week for Elder Martinez and I. We met some really cool people and had some great lessons, but this email is way too long at this point, so I'll have to tell you about all that stuff next time! Sorry this is like a billion years long, everyone, hopefully it was entertaining enough to keep you reading and not thinking 'Where the heck is this going??'

I love you all and keep it realz!

Elder Slavens