Dear Elder Slavens

Dear Elder Slavens

Elder Dallin J Slavens Cambodia Phnom Penh

Elder Chancellor J Slavens Idaho Twin Falls

Monday, September 29, 2014

OUR WORK EXPLODED OH NOOOOOO

In a good way.

This has been an awesome week, my good fellows and... (wait, what's the girl version of a fellow?) Ah, well. Anyway.

Like I said, the work has exploded! Like, you know what a bomb does? EXACTLY THAT! We've been seeing so many cool things happen, and I'm convinced it's because Elder Hansen and I have just been working our tushies of and not giving Satan a break. We've figured out a good system for inviting people to be baptized, and people are accepting left and right and it's just the most legit thing! If all goes according to plan, as of right now, we should have baptisms lined up for four consecutive Saturdays once General Conference has come and gone. And we've got a couple more that are like RIGHT THERE!

So here's our peeps:

Mario was just married this week! That was the main thing he had to get past - living the law of chastity. He's been living with his girlfriend for quite some time now. They were basically married, just not married. You feel me? So the main thing holding him back was that. BUT THEY GOT MARRIED THIS WEEKEND. And the wife's already a member, so it could't get much easier than that! He's set to get baptized on the 18th of October. Every time we ask if he's still up for it he's like, "Claro, chavos; no se preocupen." Which loosely translated is, "Duh, bros; chill." So we're excited for that one.

James is the 12-year-old kid who's getting baptized the week after General Conference. The one who saw Tom Cruz giving the Priesthood to the actor Joseph Smith. Oh man, teaching him has been an adventure to say the least. Last time we went in to see him we were like, "So, James, what did Jesus do when he came down to the earth?", and he responds, "Well he came down from heaven and killed everyone and then brought everyone back to life and then he's gonna come again and kill everyone again and then this time we won't come back to life."  I'm just like dude, where the heck are you getting this information?? But it's all good, slow and steady and not distracted wins the race.

Kino is the son of a recent convert in the Spanish Branch here in Rupert, and he really wants to get baptized. This family is absolutely hysterical. Kino speaks perfect English, but his mom certainly does not. We were talking about the differences between English and Spanish and she (in Spanish) was like, "Exactly, like in Spanish we say 'fallecerse', but in English you say 'passway'. And I was like what the heck are you talking about, lady? Nobody says "passway". For the longest time I thought she was saying "password", but after a lengthy game of charades I learned that she was trying to say "pass away", which is absolutely the correct translation for "fallecerse". You may have had to be there, but I almost threw up I was laughing so hard. We taught her, "It's pass away, not passway," and then she kept trying to say it and holy crap it was just a good time. ANYWAY Kino is the man. He comes to church every Sunday and when they do the Sacrament prayers and all that jazz he likes to repeat the words to himself so that he can have them memorized once he receives the Priesthood himself. Pretty cool stuff! He's got something kind of holding him back as far as we can see, but we have no idea what it is. Hopefully he sticks with this goal and gets baptized on the 25th of October like we have planned!

Lindsay is a 14-year-old girl who's like super dang busy. She does volleyball a ton and all this stuff so it's tough for her to meet with us too often. Her mom was raised Christian and her dad Catholic, so her parents always got into fights when it came to religious topics when their marriage started out. They ended up having to just drop religion completely in order to keep their marriage intact, with the result being that none of their kids know anything about the gospel or Christ or ANYTHING. It's pretty sad to see, and it gives a very good example of why, in our church, though it's not required that we marry "another Mormon", it's definitely encouraged. It certainly makes things a lot more comfortable. Anyway, Lindsay's mom really wants her to make her own choice and find a church that suits her well, and so far, Lindsay's making a pretty good judgment if I do say so myself! She understands the importance of baptism and really wants to get it done, she just wants to understand things a bit more before she takes the dive. Fingers crossed!

One more quick thing before I wrap up this ESSAY. This week we had a cool opportunity to watch, before it hits the theaters, the new movie produced by the Church called Meet the Mormons! It was a super good movie showing 6 different Latter-Day Saints and their individual stories and it was really inspiring and revealing when it comes to how Mormons actually are. I think a lot of people just don't understand us, and this movie does a pretty good job of teaching everyone the truth in a really non-threatening and chill way. So I would suggest that all you guys get your booties into the theaters when it comes out and give it a watch! And invite all your friends and whatnot so we can ALL understand Mormons a little better! Just an idea.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a very rewarding week, or something like that. Peace, love, kisses, and all that jazz.

Elder Slavens

Monday, September 22, 2014

Still Not Trunky Yet

Yaaaaaaaaaawn I'm tired. Oh that's right, I'm a missionary.

Wuddup peepel. This week has gone pretty darn speedy! I honestly am not entirely sure what even happened this week. A lot of chill stuff, I assure you. But I guess I gotta just take a mo' and think. You know I don't have the best memory in the tool shed or whatever.

Unfortunately, I have no crazy stories for you guys that I can blow up and exaggerate for your entertainment this week! Nonetheless, I do have news of SOME sort, surely!

Whelp, we have been seeing a lot of cool progress from our investigators as of late! I mean, relatively, of course. There's always those who drag their feet. Not like life is all rainbows and Hershey's Kisses. But like I said, it has been very nice to see some people plugging along like they should! Mario, one guy we've been teaching, is getting married on the 27th of this month and will get baptized two weeks later! He's been coming to church and everything, so we're pumped about that one.

Arlene's one of the foot-dragging peeps at the moment. We had a baptismal date set for her for the 20th (and if you watch the news or have a smart phone, you should know that that date's past by now), but she likes to go camping on Sundays. Like, c'mon! I mean camping's great and all but isn't it kinda gross? Wouldn't you rather just dress up in some nice clean clothes and come talk about Jesus? Seems like a no-brainer to me. We haven't been able to see her for a while on account of her tearing her house apart to do some reconstruction as well, so we haven't really had the chance to teach her about the true importance of the Sabbath. Major bummer. But hey, it'll all work out in the end!

James, the 12-year-old kid who's getting baptized n October 4th, is hysterical. We went to teach him about the Restoration of the Gospel, and at one point we whipped out a pamphlet with a picture of Joseph Smith being given the Priesthood by Peter, James, and John, and we asked "James, what do you see here?" The kid responds, "I see God, Jesus, and Tom Cruz giving a blessing to the movie actor Joseph Smith." Oh my goodness I nearly kicked the bucket. Funny little dude. But he's progressing well! He's coming to church and all that jazz, so all we need to do is teach those lessons and then come the covenants!

So yup, life's good. Seeing lots of cool things happen and that there's the report. Hopefully you found it to be of import somehow. Thanks for listening, anyway! Have a good week errbuddy!

Elder Slavens

Monday, September 15, 2014

It Was All a Stupid Ploy of the Devil to Distract Me from My Purpose. CURSES!

You're all probably wondering why I would have such a negative subject line. I'm a pretty optimistic guy for the most part, right? Well sometimes I just wanna smack the devil in the face because he makes stupid things happen.

You remember when I went through all those hoops and whatnot because I'd lost my wallet? And I had to like sign my soul off to the feds in order to get my license back? Like I said, I finally got a replacement license from my parents and that was going really well for a while there. I was driving without a care in the world. But then, that's probably what went wrong.

We went on exchanges this last Tuesday and I was chilling in Paul with another Greenie in the District. Things were going super well, I suppose. We ran over to our Ward Mission Leader's house 'cause he has everything you could possibly need to wash a car, and we were like "Hey, WE have a car that needs washing!" Sounds legit, right? So we get the car all squeaky clean and life is good. I pull out of the driveway, pumped to run off and do some good missionary work. As I shift the car back into drive, I pull up at about 8 miles an hour for probably 2 seconds and BANG. I had this weird sensation like "What the heck just happened?" while my Greenie is over there like gasping for air. We sit there a moment in this weird time-lapse thing not having a clue what has happened, and then it dawns on me: Oh crap, I just wrecked our car.

We hop out and look a the front bumper, and whaddaya know? Big fat dent in our squeaky-clean car. The awesome thing is that our Ward Mission Leader has security cameras set up all over the place, so we ran back in the house and ask him if he saw us. Lo and behold, there we are, with like 10 different camera angles showing us the stupidest wreck in history. I had backed up to a point that appeared pretty safe to me, but I hadn't noticed the super low cement curb just in front of us. So I smacked right into that stupid curb, and now our beautiful 2014 Chevy Cruze has this big ugly gash in it. So dumb. I turned in the report and everything, and it's been decided that I no longer have driving privileges for the mission, which kinda sucks, because I just LOVE driving. But I guess I'll live. After all, I did do something pretty stupid to deserve it.

And that's why I say it was all a ploy of the devil. I went through all this stressful jazz to get a temporary license, and I literally drove for like a day or two and now may no longer drive. Satan is dumb.

It may sound to you like this was the worst week ever because I exaggerate a lot when I complain on these emails. Dramatic effect I guess, I dunno. But in all reality, this was actually one of the best weeks I've had on my whole mission! Weird, huh? We've just seen so many awesome little miracles this week. We were contacted by one of our WML's who said that a boy stood up in Sunday School this week and said, "I'm getting baptized soon!" Thing is, this kid's like 12 and has no idea what the church is all about - so we made a stop over to his house the other day, and we're like "Hey, well if you wanna get baptized soon, we can totally make that happen!" He was down, so we set a baptismal date for him on the 4th of October, and we're gonna come over twice a week so we can get all the lessons done before then!

And just a bunch of cool stuff like that. I'd love to tell all the stories, but this thing is already a flipping novel. Suffice it to say that we're seeing a lot of cool things happen here in Paul, Idaho! Exact obedience truly does bring miracles! I've seen lots of ups and downs during my mission. There've been times where I didn't feel I was being very obedient, and there've been times where I'm just following every rule and every suggestion made to help the work. Now is one of those times, and the fruits are HUGE. And juicy. Just keep that in mind, everyone! President Monson was right - obedience may bring blessings, but the miracles wait for those who consecrate themselves unto obedience to the things the Lords asks! And then we party.

I love you all to the very pit of my being! Spread the happiness, aight?

Elder Slavens

Monday, September 8, 2014

Paul, Round 2

I'm still here in Paul, everyone! But you already knew that. Not much of a surprise, is it? I'll probably be staying in Paul until the end of my mission, 'cause it just seems that's how my mission's going right now. BUT WHATEVER CUZ I LOVE IT.

This week has been pretty swell! The transfers have been all lined out and I am now serving here with my new greenie, Elder Hansen! He's from Apple Valley, CA, so the two Californian missionaries get no end of crap here in Paul. They don't like Californians here. But like, sarcastically. It's weird.

Elder Hansen is probably whiter than I am, so this should be an interesting transfer considering most of our investigators are Mexican and don't expect us to know any Spanish. That's probably one of the most fun things about being a Spanish Elder - we freak people out completely when they're like "Oh so sorry, no english," and I'm like "Oh, no importa hermana - sabemos espanol! Que pasa calabaza?"

Elder Hansen's a good dude. He got a 35 on the ACT so he's like way smarter than me. He's way skinny, be he can pack food like no other. His Spanish is pretty dang good considering he's been out like 5 days. Just lots of good stuff. I'm excited to hit the ground running, be obedient, and do some good solid work!

We had an insane lesson with one of our investigators, Mario Corona, this week. He's engaged (or something like that) to a member, so she's pushing him to be baptized. Apparently they're married legally, but not "through the church", whatever that means. So they're under the impression that Mario needs to be baptized to get married through the LDS church (which is not the case - we made that clear), and asked us to give them ALL the lessons in one single visit. Holy guacamole that lesson! It was like 3 1/2 hours long, and Elder Hansen and I were just puddles on the floor once it'd wrapped up. Flipping Spanish is exhausting sometimes. But good news! We have Mario set up for baptism on the 20th of this month, so long as all gets organized and set up by then! We're excited for him! Pray that he'll keep moving in this direction!

Anyway, it's been a great week. Life is still good. Never easy, but certainly good! I hope you all have a wonderful week, and until next time, this is FRESH TO DEATH signing off! Paz.

Elder Slavens

Monday, September 1, 2014

I Wish I Had a Bike So I Wouldn't Get Fat

Well helloooooo there errbuddy.

Guess what! I totally did not find my wallet at all this week! It's still totally gone. And now my parents are sending me a new temporary driver's license, which means I am not going to be getting an Idaho license, which means all of this was in VAIN! But I guess that's alright - it at least means I don't have to take the Idaho driving test, which would probably include a bunch of obscure questions about tractors that I would have no idea what to do with. So there's a plus. Thanks for saving me the pain, Mom.

Anyway, this week! It was good. First of all, we got our transfer calls! And I'm STAYING MUAHAHAHAHA. I'm gonna stick around in Paul to be the District Leader and take over the world. Elder Josephson, however, is OUTTA here!! And where is he going, you might ask? WENDELL HAHAHAHA. He's going to the area I was in for like a billion years and he's going to LOVE it! Seriously, we got our transfer calls and learned that and I just flipped out 'cause I'm so excited about it. He's gonna meet all these sweet people and hear a bunch of horrible stories about me and whatnot. Uh-oh, I guess.

Oh yeah, and I'm TRAINING again. Man, they gotta stop giving me greenies to ruin - I guess I just haven't gotten it right yet.

So yeah, this has been a good week. Working with a bunch of really cool people who want to do good things and it's all just such a blessing! Out of the blue, one of our REALLY OLD un-progressing investigators showed up to church this week and I was just like broooooo, no way. It's all worth it when you see great stuff like that happen - you just realize that this really is the Lord's work and He's got a plan for everything! Hopefully we can see that investigator start to progress some more!

Life's just good. We have so many awesome members here that support us and do all they can to hasten the work in there sphere. We walked into a Sunday School lesson this Sunday and the teacher was basically just firing everybody up about missionary work and it was just really cool to see! It helped me to realize that I'm not all alone in this and that I should definitely do better to utilize the awesome members we have here.

So yup, that's pretty much my week! Been a good one. Transfers are coming this week and I'll have my new greenie ready to go and I'll send a picture and all that cute stuff. Alistense.

I wub you aww.

Elder Slavens