Dear Elder Slavens

Dear Elder Slavens

Elder Dallin J Slavens Cambodia Phnom Penh

Elder Chancellor J Slavens Idaho Twin Falls

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

Monday, August 11, 2014

Woah, I'm On a Mission

Whut is up. Bro. Duuuuuuuuuuuuude.

How is everyone doing this fine week? It is a mighty fine one, if I may say.

This week has been FULL. I've been moving like nonstop and now my legs are sore. Not really, but I just want to give you an idea of how much I've been moving.

Now that I'm the District Leader 'roun' these parts I've got a few new responsibilities that I wanna touch on. First of all, this week we had a Leadership Training Meeting that I was just stoked for. Basically this is a meeting where all of the missionaries in leadership positions come together to learn how to be better leaders. On top of that there's almost always
some big announcement of sorts in which we are told about some new proselyting technique we're gonna adopt, or the introduction of some new materials, or perhaps iPads - I guess you just never know. It wasn't iPads this time, so don't get your hopes up. I already did that for you.

There actually wasn't really any big news at all, which was a little disappointing. Not to say it was a bad meeting! No sir! I learned a lot about how to be a servant rather than a tyrant. We talked a lot about that. However, there was one segment in which President Curtis asked all of the missionaries if there were any rules that they wanted clarified, and oh man. They jumped on that question like a bunch of rabid dogs. Everyone was bringing up all of these super trivial things about like whether or not we can ride lawn mowers and stuff and I was like ughhhhhhhhh. We did that for like an hour or two, man. Kinda silly. I feel like if you have a situation like that and you really, truly and sincerely want to know the most appropriate way to deal with it and be obedient, then a simple prayer will do. No need for all of these firework displays. I feel like some
missionaries just want so badly to be viewed as 'obedient' that they just make themselves look silly. Or maybe I'm just cynical. Ah well!

I was especially excited for this meeting, however, because afterward we do this BIG MONSTER exchange where all of the leaders in the mission mix up and join other leaders for the rest of the day. I was stoked because I figured it'd be a good opportunity to shove off and see some part of the mission that I'd probably never lay my eyes on otherwise 'cause I'm a
Spanish missionary. Ah well, that wish wasn't granted - I ended up hanging out in Paul for the exchange, but that wasn't a big deal, because it was a super good experience anyway! I had the opportunity to serve for the day with Elder Williams, one of the Spanish Exchange Elders (basically meaning they go on exchanges with lots of Spanish missionaries to help them out with stuff). It was a lot of fun and I learned a ton about teaching simply and being humble. I liked the exchange a lot!

Aaaaaaaaannnnd then on Friday I had the chance to go on another exchange with one of the Elders in my District because that's another responsibility I have as the District Leader! It's a lot of fun being able to throw in my two cents to these other missionaries, because in fact, I'm the oldest missionary in my District! Weeeeird. So I guess I've more or less had a bit of experience, and I like being able to impart my sub-sage wisdom. I do my best, alright?

We've been teaching lots of cool people that are progressing well. I guess not lots but we're definitely seeing movement. I'll update you on that next time!

Have a bootifoo week!

Elder Slavens

Monday, August 4, 2014

I Guess That's Fair

Well, my friends! This week has been a week of weeks! Obviously.

The meat and potatoes (I'm an Idahoan now) of this week was the Minidoka County Fair. A good amount of time has been spent the last few weeks preparing for the fair that went down this last week. Long story short, our ward mission leader is part of the fair board, and he wanted to help us set up a booth to get people interested in the church. We decided to have our focus be family history work because that's one of the more relatable subjects that our church stresses. Now, unfortunately, I have like no time to explain all of the stuff that happened at the fair. Suffice it to say that it pretty much didn't work out. Whoops! I think the booth looked just a little bit too "hertiagey", and that being the case, nobody was all that interested. But all of the missionaries in the zone spent pretty much all their time this week at the fair, which ended up showing in our key indicators (meaning the whole zone got pretty much no lessons and stuff). Well we learned from that! They're hoping to do it next year as well, and learn from what didn't really work out this year. But hey, no worries! Life is life.

That's literally like all we did this week. And I'm pretty much out of time, so I can't really make up some interesting story like I usually would do! I'm sorry! Next week I'll bring something that'll blow your socks off of your feet.

I hope you all have a great week and keep Jesus in your thoughts! Until next time!

Elder Slavens