Dear Elder Slavens

Dear Elder Slavens

Elder Dallin J Slavens Cambodia Phnom Penh

Elder Chancellor J Slavens Idaho Twin Falls

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Merriest Christmas!!

Well hello there my fellow humans! How have you been this Christmas week?? I sure hope it's been swell, 'cause if not there's not really much I can do to help out! But hey, mine was wonderful, so maybe that'll bring a smile to yo faces? :)

Anyway, again, it was a wonderful week. Christmas was very good here in little ole Carey, Idaho. Dang, these people feed us way too well. But that's chill, I'll just work out when I get home, I guess. Hopefully. But yeah, Christmas was really good this year! We basically just did this house-hop thing where we ran all over the dang town and visited as many members as possible and shared Christmas messages with all uh them. We wanted to make a point to help people remember the true Reason for the Season, even on the very day that everybody gets all wrapped up in unwrapping. Ya feel? All the kids were like 'Presentspresentspresents", so we busted in there like bosses and were all like "Naw man, Jesusjesusjesus!!!" And they ATE IT UP. We had a blast just visiting everyone we possibly could and reading Luke 2 with 'em, as well as sharing the story of Samuel the Lamanite's prophesy of the coming of Christ and all that good stuff. Hopefully we did some good there!

The members in the area gave us so much food this past week I have no idea what to do with all of it. Way stressed out about that, but I guess we'll live. I think we have like 100 plates of fudge, which I can only eat like piece-by-piece in order to avoid dying from over-consumption of super-charged, ultra-dense chocolate juice. Dang I'm 'bout to get so fat.

Other than that, it's been a fairly normal week. To be honest with you, the work in Carey is pretty dang slow. You see, there's only like 600 people that live here, so everybody knows like actually literally everyone, and almost all of them are members already to begin with. So finding new people to teach is a pretty rare occurrence, but we're trying at it!! And now that Luis has been baptized, we only have a couple of people who are even remotely close to reaching that point, so we're working real steady-like with them and trying to really bring the spirit to help them get there.

The slowness, however, is almost a blessing in disguise, considering how often we have to be out of our area running around doing administrative business. The fact that not tons is going on in our area means that we don't have to stress tons about conflicting schedules and whatnot. So that's chill. Still, I can definitely see potential here, so let's get to it!

Tha's 'bout it for me, folks. It's been a really good week and I'm pumped for more to come! Peace out, muah!

Elder Slavens

Monday, December 22, 2014

Friday the 13th VS. Christmas

The battle of the century. And I was caught right in the middle of it, gosh dangit! Now, of course, Friday the 13th didn't actually happen this week, but it sure felt like it. So I think Friday the 13th was jealous of all these cool holidays going on as of late and it decided to make a ruckus and try to ruin Christmas. For that I call it a battle.

But before we get into THAT, I just wanna take a moment and update you on all the travels Elder Chase and I have undertaken this week. Holy moly we had a lot on our plate! So as Zone Leaders, as I believe I've previously stated, we must go on exchanges with all of the District Leaders in our zone once a transfer, which can get a little hairy in a zone like ours. ESPECIALLY when we're required to do baptismal interviews for the investigators of the district leaders as well. So here's what went down: This week we had plans to go on exchanges with a District Leader relatively close to us, but then we found out that we had to do a baptismal interview in Salmon, which is that town that's like a million miles from Carey. So in order to save miles for the rest of the month we had to change that exchange up like a day before it happened. So we ended up turning this 1-day exchange into a 4-day adventure all around our dang zone and we drove for SUCH A LONG TIME I thought I was gonna die. But we ended getting all our stuff done so that was chill.

I think that story didn't even make sense. Sorry about that.

ANYWAY, on to the bad luck.

This Saturday we had a baptism!! Now obviously that's not bad luck. But I feel like all of the preparation for that dang baptism was just riddled with bad juju. Every corner I turned I was afraid a piano would fall on me or something, that's how serious it was! I guess that's an exaggeration, but let me explain. Saturday started and we were pumped to go do some contacting and bring some peeps closer to Christ. Well no dang body was there!! So we were running around most of the day just trying to find people to talk to which simply was not working.

We eventually got a call from our Mission President asking about some toys left us by another missionary a while back... Apparently a missionary gave the Zone Leaders here (before I showed up) a bag full of little model Star Wars spaceships that we were to give to another missionary. We were never given any sort of time by which this baggie needed to be given to its owner, so we just kinda had it. Well the President called asking where it was and we were like dang, where is it?? So we searched like every place we could think of for it, and it was nowhere to be found! So we were like oh no, what if we threw it away on accident?? So we went outside to the dumpster and started searching through it for these dumb toys. Here we are digging through this dumpster just ticked off out of our minds 'cause of these toys, and apparently some dude thought that was pretty funny. So funny that he walked over from across the street and started taking pictures of us on his smart phone. He asked us to wave for the camera, and for a second I thought Elder Chase was gonna jump out of the dumpster and kill the dude. The guy ended up bailing and we gave up on the dumpster dive. We walked into the house and THERE IT FREAKING WAS - the baggie of spaceships just chilling on the floor in our apartment behind a couple of random things. Oh man that was bad luck.

We then found out that we had been nominated to do a musical number during church the next day so we had to take a bunch of time and make one up and that was just too much!! But we figured it out 'cause I'm a genius (not).

We also were to fill the baptismal font because it's not a Stake calling here - someone just needs to do it. So we started doing that and the water was FREEZING so we had to go into the room that's like the heart of the church and mess with the cogs and whatnot to get the heater working. Once the font was full we realized there were like a million little bugs in it, so we had to find a net to skim them all out. We did, and got those filthy bugs out, and I put the net back where it went and as I dropped it it slipped into a giant hole in the floor that I hadn't been paying attention to and I think it got like ground into a million pieces, I have no idea. That was just so random and such bad luck. At that point I thought I might as well just sit down and cry. But I'm too tough for that.

Then I got sick BAHAHAHAHA like what?? Man, my life. So I was like well so much for the musical number! But it was too late, so I just had to deal.

And THENNN the baptism happened. And it was BEAUTIFUL! Everything went PERFECT!! It was one of the best baptismal programs I've ever seen - Luis, the baptizee (or whaterver you call him) speaks Spanish, so we had a bunch of members who know Spanish participate, and the program ended up being half-English, half-Spanish, which was super cool and I think Luis appreciated it tons. I had the opportunity to confirm him the next day, and it was so great. A Christmas miracle!! Whew.

So yeah, it's been one of those weeks. Oh yeah, and my camera broke this week too, so I have no pictures. Sucks. But hey, life is good!

Peace out errywun.

Elder Slavens

Monday, December 15, 2014

On the Road Again

Holy moly you guys, Carey is so dang far from everything!! This week has been totally full of just driving all over the place - so much so that we've hardly had any time to do actual work in our area! Blah. But it's all good, we had some really cool stuff going on this week and I'm feeling totally refreshed for some good proselyting in the Carey area!

Like I said, this week was all full of driving. On Wednesday we went and picked up another companionship of missionaries in an area like 45 minutes from us, then we turned around and went all the way back down to Twin Falls for a Christmas conference. It was a way cool conference and I loved being able to see all mah bros. There were a lot of really good spiritual thoughts given and afterward there was a mission talent show. Last year for the show I borrowed a guitar from some members and played a song for the mission, which was way fun, but guitars weren't allowed this time around so I wasn't able to do that this year. It's all good though, 'cause there were a bunch of way good talents and it was fun to watch!

After the conference we stayed the night at the AP's house and went to the temple the following day which is always super relaxing and refreshing and whatnot. Good day!

Other than that really not much has gone on. We've been trying to introduce people as much as possible to that new Christmas Initiative the church is putting out, and we've actually seen a lot of good come from it! But thaas 'bout it.

Sorry this is a way boring email, I dunno how to make it interesting! Welp, I'll do my best to get into a bunch of trouble this week so I have good stories next week. How's that sound. You are all wonderful and amazing and very cool and lots of other good stuff!

Elder Slavens

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Chill Week Behind, a Chill Week Ahead

So chill, man. Life in Carey is great. I've had some awesome experiences the past few days that have really helped me see how perfectly in place the Lord puts everything, especially when it comes to missionary work. I definitely know I belong here in Carey serving the Lord, and I wouldn't rather be anywhere right now!

That having been said, I really don't have much time to write today! Whoopsies! But I guess I'll just fill you in on whatever big stuff's going on.

Elder Chase and I are the Leaders of the Carey Zone of the Idaho Twin Falls Mission. Here's a fun fact for you: Our zone is the largest zone, area-wise, in the entire continental US. Hence, we have a lot of ground to cover when we're needed by the District Leaders and stuff like that. We went on an exchange with the District Leader up in Salmon, which is about 4 hours and 45 minutes north of Carey. Holy moly what is my life. It was fun just chillin' with the comp though and talking about everything ever. But yeah, as a Zone Leader in Carey, those tend to be the kinds of things we spend our time on! Which is cool.

We have a couple super solid investigators that I'm stoked to work with. Probably the one with the most progress is a Mexicano named Luis! He's way legit you guys. He's got a baptismal date set for the 20th of this month and is right on track to get that done! We recently taught him a lesson we like to call the 'spiritual vaccination', a very important thing to cover when someone's preparing for baptism. Whenever somebody's preparing to make a big, important choice like baptism, Satan is always right behind them tempting them and opposing them. So people need to be aware that that is going to happen, otherwise they fall real quick. So we talked about recognizing the fruits of the spirit versus the fruits of the devil, and I think he really gets it! Pretty cool seeing the Holy Ghost play His role in the life of Luis as he prepares to take this step! Pray for him por favor!

Luis is our main focus right now, so I don't have TONS to report otherwise. But as things wrap up there I definitely am pumped about a bunch of these other people that are coming out of the woodwork! Life is good. I hope you all enjoy this bootiful week, and remember to SMILE. :)

Peace out,
Elder Slavens

Monday, December 1, 2014

And I Thought the Towns Couldn't Get Any Smaller

I WAS WRONG. I've made my official move into the.... village? I dunno.... of Carey, Idaho. This place is SO DANG SMALL YOU GUYS like dang. There's like 600 people here if that. I've been here 5 days and I think I know everybody already. Looks like I'm done. JK NEVER DONE.

Anyway this week has been BOMB. Like, so pumped. I'm an official Zone Leader and I've already felt a few of the ups and downs that come along with that. On Friday I gave my first Zone Training meeting which was an awesome experience. Very different from giving trainings as a District Leader. You see, as a District Leader, you're given a very broad topic that you seek tons of revelation for so you can come up with an hour-long training based on the needs of your district. It's a way more personal thing and you get super super close to the missionaries in the district 'cause you're praying for what they, personally, need. It's way cool. But as a Zone Leader what you do is you go to a conference in the mission office once a month, and they give you the training, and then the following week you basically regurgitate that information to the zone. Way way different, and it may seem a bit more robotic, but I'm actually loving it! We had some way good discussions during our Zone Meeting about resolving the concerns of our investigators and less-actives and helping them come unto Christ through problem-solving. It's legit.

The new companion's dope. His name's Elder Chase, and he's from Hawaii. He's actually only 1/4 Hawaiian, but he's lived there his whole life, so he's straight up. It's been way fun learning about Hawaiian culture and some of the crazy jazz they do down there. We're getting along super well, so I'm way pumped for this new transfer. Yee.

Carey's really cool 'cause it's the only Zone Leader area in our mission that's considered Spanglish. For the most part, Spanish missionaries that become Zone Leaders lose their Spanish because they don't speak it the whole time they serve in that position. But although Elder Chase is technically an English missionary and doesn't know much Spanish, we actually have a bunch of Spanish work out here and I've been keeping it up pretty good. So that's way chill.

HEY. I HAVE AN ASSIGNMENT FOR ALL Y'ALL. I'm sure you've heard about the Christmas Initiative that the Church is starting up this holiday season, and I just wanna talk a second about that. For you guys who don't know, the Church is starting up this "awareness program", so to speak, about the true nature of Christmas. It's a huge deal. They're putting up a billboard in Times Square, they're buying out all the advertisements on YouTube, they're going hard. It's apparent that we're expected to make a big push with this, so I want all of you to BE A PART OF IT! In the most recent copy of the Ensign, you'll find a sheet of 12 pass-along cards to give to your friends. As a mission, we've been challenged to pass out 10 of these bad boys a day. Not easy in a town like Carey, but we'll try. The card leads interested peeps to a new website, christmas.mormon.org, where you can watch a super short, super powerful video about the first gift of Christmas. CHECK IT OUT and then TELL EVERYONE ELSE TO CHECK IT OUT. It's gonna be huuuuuuge.

Anyway, I gotta run! I love you all, and as Elder Chase would say...

Aloha.

Elder Slavens