Dear Elder Slavens

Dear Elder Slavens

Elder Dallin J Slavens Cambodia Phnom Penh

Elder Chancellor J Slavens Idaho Twin Falls

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Party Ants Take a Stand

And thus we see the completion of one week and the initiation of another.

It's been a supa dupa one! My reign as District Leader has begun, and just this week alone I've found the opportunity to exercise all kinds of unrighteous dominion. I kid. I jest. No unrighteous dominion being exercised here. Probably. We've just been having a really good time this week. I'm honestly so stoked about my district right now - everyone's so cool and I think we're all gonna get along great! This week I had the opportunity to lead my first District Meeting. Every week we all gather together as a district and have an inspirational little segment we call a District Meeting. We basically just discuss ways to be more effective as missionaries, and we're held accountable to one another 'cause we talk about how many lessons we've taught and whatnot, and we feel really bad when we haven't done much. It's a good way to keep us on our toes, if nothing else!

Anyway, in our District Meeting this week we talked a lot about how important it is to have faith in every footstep we take as missionaries, and I think it was really solid! Everyone left feeling really good and pumped up, so I must have done my job somehow!

I was also blessed *cough* with the opportunity to give yet another talk in sacrament meeting this week! I think it went better than the last one I did. I don't think I mentioned this, but last time I was asked to give a talk in sacrament, I did my usual thing - you know, I tend to get pretty sarcastic and whatnot - and I guess some people just can't handle it. I made a bunch of fake excuses about why my talk was about to absolutely suck, and I think some people thought I was serious, even though I was completely kidding (obviously I knew my talk would be perfect). Anyway, one lady walked up to me after giving my talk and said, "Elder, thank you for your talk. But I have one piece of advice for you. Would you take it?" I said, "Well sure, lady, I guess so." She then got all tied up in a knot and said "Don't ever make an excuse or give an apology for a bad talk again."  I was like oh dang this lady hates me!! But I guess I got over it.

Anyway, I think I played this one a little safer. I ended up just straight up telling the congregation "Just know from the get-go that I'm super sarcastic, and I really don't know how to turn it off." It got a good chuckle out of them, so I think it served its purpose. I gave my talk on leaving the 99 to find the 1, so it was a really good topic to get them excited about finding those wayward souls that just need a little push. Hopefully it did some good!

In terms of people, Manuel is doing really good. We taught him this week about the ten commandments, and the Word of Wisdom. He said he really wants to follow them, but that smoking will be a tough one for him. We challenged him to quit smoking then and there, and he said he'd do his best! We came over the next day, and although he had not quit smoking cold turkey, he only smoked 2 cigarettes that day, as opposed to his usual 10! That's definitely progress!

We're also teaching a new lady, named Arlene. She rocks. A member in our area said he'd met this woman who wants to get baptized. Now we missionaries tend to look at that stuff pretty objectively, and usually come to the conclusion that it's too good to be true. BUT THIS ONE ISN'T. Arlene has been in contact with the church for a long time, and she loves everything about it. She wanted to get baptized about 10 years ago, but couldn't because her husband said no. But now she's divorced (woot woot) and can do whatever the heck she wants! So we taught her the message of the Restoration, and looked almost excited when we invited her to be baptized! I think that will happen very soon. We're meeting with her again this week, and hopefully the momentum sticks!

So yup, this has been a really good week. Hopefully it stays so! Everyone have a rockin' week, on me!

Elder Slavens

Monday, July 21, 2014

New Management

Well good afternoon my fellow humans. You ready for some big news?

We got transfer calls last night! As expected, Elder Josephson and I are sticking together this time around, but perhaps not as expected, we're getting a change in command 'round these parts!! I have been assigned the new District Leader of the Rupert West District muahahahahahahaha. Things 'bout to chaje 'roun hee' boi. I am so stoked for this opportunity that I have to serve my fellow missionaries - as well as the chance to loosen things up around here a bit. Our current District Leader is super short with us for pretty much no reason - he likes to make up rules and tries to get us into trouble for stuff that we're not doing, and it's been a pretty frustrating experience at times. That being the case, I plan on being the funnest, most chill DL in the history of humans! Of course, I'm planning on stressing the importance of obedience and doing things right, but at the same time, a missionary needs to understand the importance of being himself as well, and not freaking out when things don't go his way. I think this will be a very very good transfer. Fingers crossed though - hopefully I'm not seeing visions of grandeur or something!

Anyway, this week has been legitimate. Much like last week, we spent a good chunk of this one inviting people to that dinner party thing that's coming up. We're hoping to see like a billion people show up and start teaching all of them about Jesus. The quickest way to an investigator's heart is through their stomach, right? I think that's how that expression goes. But unfortunately, because of that, I don't have a whole ton to report this week.

However, we did have another super good lesson with Manuel! We taught him about the Plan of Salvation and answered the big three life questions for him, namely "Where did we come from?", "Why are we here?", and "Where are we going?". He loved the idea of the resurrection, and how repentance can help us get there. He recognizes that we'll never be perfect, but that through the grace of Jesus Christ we can get pretty dang close, and then be saved. I am so excited for this dude, he is ready as can be. All he needs to do is find the time to come to church. Pray that he might!

We've made a couple attempts to visit with Kellen and Darienne, that couple I mentioned a little while ago, but they've been pretty busy. Such is the life, I suppose! When there's more information on that one, I'll be sure to letcha know.

This has been an awesome week and I'm so happy to be here! You be happy to be were you be as well! I love you all and just wanna hug ya! Have a good week!

Elder Slavens

Monday, July 14, 2014

Fresh to Death

We have the wonderful blessing of getting two free bowling games in the local alley every p-day, and every time we play,
my name on the score board is Fresh to Death. You're all jealous.

This week has been super duper! We did a lotta stuff and it was just super dang busy.

The main thing we did this week was invite a bunch of peeps to a party! One of the wards in our area is hosting this annual dinner thing and we decided it'd be a good idea to invite like a billion Mexicans. So we did. We went out to the boonies of Paul, Idaho with one of our ward mission leaders and invited like every single Spanish dude we saw. And we spent like 3 whole days doing that. So naturally that took up quite a bit of time and we didn't really do much else this week. But my assumption is that we'll either get like literally 300 Mexicans coming to this thing, or none. So we'll see how that plays out. Our current concern is that they'll all show up, beer in hand, and destroy everything. So we're making sure a bunch of the Spanish missionaries around the area come to do an alcohol check before they walk in.

We also went to the temple as a district this week! It was so good, as always.

We had another lesson with Manuel, which went super well. We taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which covers stuff like faith, repentance, baptism, and all of the basics that make up the gospel. He loved it and explained to us that he prayed like we had invited him to do beforehand and had felt that this was the right path for him. He wants to get baptized but may not be able to for a while because his work schedule is super demanding and makes for a tough time getting to work. We're gonna keep working with him and help him find a way around that!

That's really the meat and potatoes (cool Idaho slang) of what we did this week. Those activities pretty much sucked up all of our time and we didn't have many lessons and stuff, but that's aight! We got stuff done, man.

I hope that this week is just lovely for all of you. Muah.

Fresh to Death

Monday, July 7, 2014

That Week Just Felt Like 5 Seconds, Straight Up.

I cannot believe that it is already P-day again -- what the heck is happening to my life? Well either way, I'm here once again, and I suppose it is time to fill all's y'all in on the goings-on in Paul, Idaho.

This week has been pretty rockin'. We've just been running around trying to find people to teach and pooping ourselves out in doing so. But that's a good thing to be worrying about, I suppose!

I'll be honest though, this week has been on the tougher side. We've been setting up lots of appointments with people only to have them not be home when it gets down to crunch time, which can get frustrating when it happens every single time. We really need to break down on the member support here and have them come with us to our appointments, because I seem to find that whenever we do that, things always work out! It's like magic! So we're gonna focus hard on that this week.

There have definitely been some successes this week though! We've met a couple people this week who are just super ready. The first is named Manuel. He is (or was, not quite sure which), the 'significant other' of Ana Maria, the woman who got baptized last week. They used to live together, but she had that fixed, because she realized that they couldn't be doing that if she was to progress to the point of baptism. He got kind of upset by that and wanted to know why she really wanted to separate. When she told him that the gospel was more important to her than their current situation, he got really interested in what church could possibly make somebody feel that way. So she introduced us to him, and we had the opportunity to teach him the first lesson this last Tuesday! He really connected with certain points of what we explained to him, and I just think he is golden. We invited him to be baptized, and he said that if he receives his answer that the Book of Mormon is true, that he'll absolutely do it. Woot woot!

We also met Derienne Bland. She's living with a less-active member in the ward, and they have a kid together. I'm not entirely sure on the whole story, but here's what I understand. Their baby was super sick a bit ago, and the couple was really concerned for his well-being. Being desperate, the member boyfriend dude, named Kellen, called up one of his active-member friends to ask for a blessing on his son. The friend agreed, and came to give the blessing. The moment the man's hands were off that baby's head, his symptoms were gone and he was running around and playing. Darienne was overwhelmed and now really really wants to know more, as does Kellen. We are so blessed to have the opportunity to invite this couple to come closer to Christ through His gospel. We're gonna start teaching them this week, and hopefully all goes well!

So that was our week. Kinda tough, but there's no denying the blessings that come from being diligent - namely, these two people that we get to start teaching. Hopefully I have more to report on these people next week! I love you all bunches, and I will type to ya next week!

Elder Slavens