Dear Elder Slavens

Dear Elder Slavens

Elder Dallin J Slavens Cambodia Phnom Penh

Elder Chancellor J Slavens Idaho Twin Falls

Sunday, April 26, 2015

PULL UPS. ASAP.

Hey hey you you I don't like America. Cambodia is where it's at.

Yikees, people! I'm currently sitting in an internet cafe and the Cambodian has DONE things to my stomach! So my mind is on other things rn. Sorry if this email doesn't make sense. Actually, I think it was the fruit we ate from our back yard. Right before I came here, we were hanging out with our land lord, and she was showing us around our own backyard (weird lol), and it turns out it is a winter wonderland! There's just like bananas and coconuts and mangoes and everything just growing back here! But she gave us this fruit from a mysterious tree kinda in the corner that was sketchy looking, and I took a bite, and there was just like worms crawling out of my mouth. So I GOT WORMS. That's what I'm gonna call it! 

Not really though. But maybe tee hee. Last week for our pday after we emailed we went and rode on a bamboo train. Google image it. It's sketch. I sat next to a naked baby. He kinda stowed away. I don't know who his parents were. I guess me, now. He is living in our house now. I fashioned him clothes out of old water bottles. I've seen more naked people this week then my whole life. Cambodians just don't like clothes. 

I got called "Mr. Handsome" by a little boy trying to sell me a bracelet this week. Self esteem boost. I also wet the bed one night har har har har. Self esteem drop. I guess I just drank too much water the night before. Go before you sno', people! I sleep on the top bunk too. Elder Elieson said he was unaffected. He is the greatest trainer ever.  

If there is anything that I do know, you can never EVER predict the things that will happen on a mission. We were riding our bikes one day, and there was this massive coconut in my path, and I knew that I was supposed to ride around it, but my arms just didn't move. I didn't turn. So I ran over the coconut and FLEW out of control! I smashed into the street. Then I hopped up, looked at all the Cambodians watching me with shock, stared at them silently for a second, and then said, pointing to the coconut: "God has placed this coconut in my path so that I could talk to you this day!" Hahahahaha. They were kinda interested. We also got a call one day, asking if we could give a blessing to a lady who I had never met before, and we headed over, and she almost looked like she was dead. I was seriously so scared. She kept screaming and I didn't know what to do and her kids were running around scared, and there was crying coming from inside, and I was just trying to talk to her about help she was receiving from the gospel. She said she knew it and had great faith. Elder Elieson gave her a blessing, and then the woman who was in the house crying RAN at us, grabbed us, and started yell-praying/singing/giving us blessings as she pet are arms. It was amazing. I held it together, surprisingly. 

It is also super crazy how much we are trying to build the church here. They just got hymn books in Cambodian, so we taught a class on new hymns, and just sang them for a while to teach the new tunes. They are such good singers here. We also are having troubles getting to be self reliant. They are pretty used to relying on the church for money, and are mad that the church wants to get them to be more self reliant. So this coming week will be filled with going from house to house and telling people of the blessings which will come from trying your hardest before you ask for help. But Heavenly Father is blessing these people for being so faithful even though the church is so new. I love working with people and teaching them. 

Cambodia is a crazy awesome place. I saw a mannequin outside a store the other day that looked like my mom. I miss you, mom.  I miss you all, in fact. I hope you all can remember who you are. Because I remember. I always will. 

Love from all corners of the planet and space time continuum, Elder Vwin (what they started calling me, because slavery just ain't as cool as it sounds) 


​Heeeyyyyyyyyyy Bamboo train 


On the TRAIL we blaze! 


​I finally got to eat a duck embryo egg thing. In Cambodian it's called "baby duck egg" It tastes like heaven. And has feathers. And was given to me by a random guy. Then, as a kind gesture, I tried to pay for the eggs he had ordered, but I just ended up saying to the lady "I would like to buy that man's eggs" It just doesn't sound right. I got laughed at very much. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

This Week Was a Rocketship

For real, this week was so fast I forgot it even happened. Not really. I'm just tryna make a point.

Hmm. Let's talk about what I learned this week. I've been focusing a lot recently on my morning studies and really figuring out how to do that properly and effectively. I started this mad dash by studying studying in Preach My Gospel. And I learned something pretty scary but also cool from it. It says, more or less, that the path to salvation can only be followed by having a good study ethic, particularly of the scriptures and word of the Lord. I take some liberty with that by clarifying that I CANNOT GET INTO HEAVEN WITHOUT STUDYING THE SCRIPTURES PROPERLY. Shoot, that gives me the chills. But hey, I think it's more or less true! We need to allow ourselves to be fed by the daily bread that the scriptures and words of modern prophets provide to us. Otherwise, we won't be prepared spiritually to hang out with our Heavenly Father. So I've been focusing recently on having really effective studies that bring me closer to my Savior, 'cause that's pretty much the only way I'm gonna get there. I invite all of you to do the same!

We had a lot of people cancel appointments this week, which is okay. Makes for a kind of boring email though. Hopefully I have more sick stories to share next week! If not WHAT'CHOO GON' DO 'BOUT IT? You all are my FAVORITE. <360.gif>

Elder Slavens


Say what you will, we have massive swag.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

I'm still Gucci

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to anyone who had a birthday this past week!!! I giveth to you my love. 

This week was wack, man. Seriously, none of us are sure what happened. It went so slow. But so fast. So mellow. BUT SO CRAZY. 

Basically it started at last P-day, where we went to this mountain where tourists go and climbed around. First, some Cambodians in costumes tried to get us to pay them money to get into this public mountain, but my compy Elder Elieson said he was a translator and we got in scot free. Then, the mountain was INFESTED by little Cambodian boys who just ran around showing white people where to go, and then asking for money. But they really liked hanging out with us because we knew Cambodian. They didn't want our filthy money. Just our friendship. They really liked my leg hair. They were like the lost boys from Peter Pan. A ton of little boys running around this weird land with no adult supervision. I'll live there one day. 

Then Cambodian New Years started... That was the end of it all. No one wanted to meet with us. They all just wanted to go Partaaaay! So we kinda had to just dance our way into the party and then sneak little conversations about our church in there. We did get to meet one guy though! We meet him at a New Years party, and he had already heard of our church before and had even learned from the missionaries years ago, so he was ready to learn more! We started teaching him then and there at the party, but then he just casually said "Hey! I'm getting married in a couple months! But I hope it doesn't make my other wives mad..." Turns out he had 4 wives waiting for him in Siem Riep. So we didn't really know what to do. It was awesome. We've been talking with him a little, helping him out, teaching him whats right, but he told us he's leaving for a couple months and he'll be back. We can teach him then. I'm not really sure, but I think teaching him was just a weird dream. I'll miss him. 

Every where we biked this week, we got pelted by kids on the side of the road throwing water balloons and baby powder at bikers and moped drivers. Then when people saw us with crap all over our faces, they were like, "Congratulations! You look so pretty!" There was a sweet party at our church building on Wednesday night where they had these games like "who can fill up a balloon up the fastest" and "who can eat a hard boiled egg the fastest". I hope you all know I have been training NINE WEEKS in the MTC for the hard boiled egg game. I crushed them. First place prize was toothpaste. Unreal. I was so excited beyond belief. Then the party ended with a dance party. I was all over that. The best part about music in Cambodia is it is what was popular in America years ago. They are still freaking out about "What Does The Fox Say" and "Let it Go". So if you hear some song back in the US, I'll hear it probably right when I'm about to come home. I'm currently trying my hardest to teach "It's Friday". I tell them to look it up and show their friends. 

New Years didn't end until this morning. Everyone is finally getting back and ready to get their butts taught off by me. Church was awesome because during second and third hours Elder Elieson and I were asked to teach all the young men and young women. They are so scary. Vicious animals. They gave me food though. 

This week I got to give my first blessing in Cambodian! Which I never thought would be possible. But one of our members we visit kind of often, had head issues, and asked if I'd give her a blessing. So I was like "ok, here goes nothing!" and it was totally cray. But it just shows how much faith the people here have. Faith enough to ask the Lord to bless them through someone with the proper authority. Faith is cool! 

Hey, I just hope you all had a swell week. If it wasn't as swell, email me about your sorrows, and I will do my best to mend them. No one emailed me pictures they drew of the Vietnamese hunchback of Notre Nam. I'm disappointed. I hope you all kill it and HAGS.

Love, Elder Slave-Daddy 


​The Lost Boys. Hide yo kids. Hide yo wife. 


​The grass is always greener. The cockroaches are always crunchier.


​I look so good


They call me the raging beater, because my bike has been transformed into the fastest model yet, the Nimbus 2000


This fiend was hanging out on our wall until Elder Elieson and I battled him for basically a full day. He was bigger than an iPhone 5 or a PSP or your average bidet.

​We usually dance around and try and get these ballers to learn English for free with us.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Deh Spurrt Tushd Me Herrt End Me Sull

Hola compadres and family-o peoples!

Shoot I have like no time this week that really blows. Well hopefully as I sit here typing a mile a minute I can say something at least moderately inspiring and touching so that all of you still understand that I'm digging my mission like tons.

Actually, can I just take a second and say like for reals though? Like, I've just been thinking a lot about my mission and how it has changed me and as I reflect on the person I once was and the person I currently am I'm just baffled. I mean, I still am the pitts, and I have quite a long ways to go before I can even start considering myself worthy to put on the name tag that I do every day, but isn't that what life is all about? On my mission I'm held to a standard that no mortal can really live up to properly - we're talking representing Jesus Christ, and that means doing, saying, and being what He would were He here. Though this may seem stressful and impossible to really reach, I'm recognizing a little more every day that I'm not expected to be perfect. But I am expected to change. And I'm expected to try. So that has become the theme of the last 3 months on my mission: change as much as I can in the best way possible and be on a steep upward climb by the time I'm called to return home. I truly believe that my heart is changing and that I'm finally starting to become what my Father in Heaven sees possible. Again, I'm so dang far from that it's loco, but all the same I am moving, and that's all He asks. I love that.

That was a weird rant I suppose. But hey, I'm learning things out here that I know I never would have learned otherwise. Thank goodness for my mission! Peace out all you yung starz, keep it real!

Elder Slavens <1B6.gif>

Sunday, April 12, 2015

David Hasselhoff goin up on a Tuesday

I was SHOCKED this week to hear that my companion and every one else in Battambang has been on their missions so long that they haven't even heard "Squad Goin Up on a Tuesday". So I've been teaching like I've never taught before. Playing a little game of ketchup. 

HEY EVERYONE!!! This week was so swell. Especially ending it with Conference. BUT WE'LL GET TO THAT. First off, I would just like to explain some of the things I see on a regular basis here in Cambodia. For some reason everyone is always towing giant trailers of dirt on their motos. Like, how much dirt does one person need? Apparently they all need a lot. Reminds me of Brian Regan talking about logs. In a store I saw egg flavored cereal. I almost died. That's about it. If I think of more, you'll be the first to know. 

So this week was cool because one morning we got to do service. Turned out service was going to this ladies house and chopping out her grass with dull scythes while she watched. And she had a lot of grass. But afterwards I got to battle her kids who were training in Muay Thai! I kicked their butts. 

We taught some pretty good lessons. In one, I kept saying we should strive to be wicked. The word for wicked and the word for righteous are very similar. In another lesson, there was this little kid listening, and then he ran in the house all of the sudden, and ran back out butt naked with a squirt gun and started yelling "ELDER ELDER! SHOOT ME!!!" I had to. 

So basically this week and next week are gonna be really weird. This week was weird-ish because we got to watch General Conference!!!! Which is NOT the same when you are a missionary. You pay FULL attention when you are a missionary. So I encourage all of you to go re-watch it and pretend that you are missionaries! But NEXT week is Cambodian New Year, which is basically a week long excuse to not work and just party. No one wants to listen to some lame Missionaries teach. So instead, we are going to be spending all our time going to members parties (Yessssss...) and cleaning our house. We have to make some area maps, so hopefully my geocaching skills will come in handy. I always knew they would. 

Also I had a dream that I walked into this store that sold Beanie Babies that were combinations of animals (horse dogs, bird frogs, etc.) and then the guy looked at me and said, "there are 2 types of animals we NEVER use for our stuffed animals. Silver back gorillas, and The Vietnamese Hunchback of Notre Nam". So if any of you want to draw up a guess of what you think the Vietnamese Hunchback of Notre Nam looks like, be my guest and please email it to me. The winner's will be posted on my blog next week. Have a $W@G 7 days. Happy Cambodian New Year.

Tootles. 
Elder Slavens

​No better lesson than a lesson to 3 little kids in a tuk yuk


​Servin' up swag


I watched some old dudes play chess for a while. I cheered on the one on the left. 


Hey, Elder Slavens! Are those $15 Nike Elites? Nope!
They are 25 cent socks I bought from a member here in Battambang.


Monday, April 6, 2015

The Big League! The Real Deal! The Holy Land!

Well it's official; I made it. I am now counted among the greats serving in the big citay, Twin Falls, Idaho! I MEAN BUSINESS.

And when I say business, I mean REAL busy. Like holy moly my brain is made out of play-dough right now 'cause I been thinking and going harder than I ever have in my entire life, for rillz. Unfortunately, most of the action I've seen the past few days really doesn't include teaching people and stuff. It's more like just administrative chores and paperwork and whatnot. My new companion, Elder O'Bryant, and I are basically glorified bus boys. But I'm digging it all the same. We're the Zone Leaders of the Twin Falls North Zone, and it's our responsibility to keep track of all the bikes in the entire mission, create schedules for when the missionaries can email on Monday since we have so many, and a bunch of stuff like that. So the vast majority of the past few days has consisted of putting together lists, printing out papers, and carrying bikes back and forth between zones. But hey, somebody's gotta do it!

On our off time we go teach people about Jesus. The area consists of two wards, one being a normal family ward, and the other being a YSA ward ages 25 and up. Because our YSA ward covers like 5 different stakes, our area actually includes all of Twin Falls, so WE GO WEVER WE WAN. So that's a kinda cool little perk. Good times.

I haven't gotten to know many investigators yet, but I'll fill you in as the info comes!

By the way, how dope was General Conference? Man I am so pumped by it. I've set so many goals for myself and want to be the best I can! If any of you didn't get to listen to the conference, go on lds.org roight meow and lissen! So chill.

Los quiero a todos como un muchacho gordo quiere a un pastel. That's all the Spanish I remember. Peace out!! Love!

Elder Slavens


My new contacting method: jump out and scare them into being baptized.


My main men chilling after a refreshing trip to the temple.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

My FATHER didn't STRUT... and nor do I

Well.... Well well well. Like I CAN'T EVEN RN!!!!!!!!! 

Srsly folks, there are no words to describe this week. It has been the funniest week of my life. Not only because every morning when I wake up I forget that I am in Cambodia and no one speaks English until I walk outside of my door, but also I am 100% convinced someone is trying to kill me and make me fail. 

There is no better way to describe the events of this week than your typical bullet point thing. So here we go:
1. So I lost our house key so a member had to come break our lock off with a big tree branch 
2. Our phone dropped off my bed and broke so we had to buy a new one
3. We lost a butt ton of our contacts from the phone somehow 
4. I was biking to a members house and some guy on a moped came up and hit me and I flew off my bike. All I could do was shout "SORRY!" in Cambodian. Worst part was I spilled all my water #THIRSTY 
5. When I exchanged my money the clever Cambodian ladies tried to give me $40 less than what I gave them 
6. While we were reading the scriptures with a family, some European dude (uggg... WHITE people...) walked up and starting yelling at us about how dumb we are for doing missionary work. His direct quote: "Have you ever stopped to think about what you are doing? Why don't stop what you are doing, find a corner, and think about what you are doing for 3 months!"
7. Mosquitoes eat me alive, so I'm pretty sure I have Malaria 
8. I was at a recent converts house, and their dog came up and bit me on the hand. So I'm pretty sure I have rabies too
9. The Cambodian language 

OK NOW STOP. Don't you DARE for one second think that missions are a bad idea. Because although I almost died a million times, I LLLLLLLLLOVED every second of it!!! I just laugh it all off and it is so dang fun and I love being here and helping people! We are helping to bring happiness into the lives of the people we serve and teach, and now I'm like the happiest ever! How, do you ask, will I show you this? WHY THROUGH BULLET POINT THING, OF COURSE!!! 

1. The families and people here are the coolest. And they love when we come over to share the scriptures with them. 
2. My companion is the coolest guy in the whole country of Cambodia 
3. One night when we were biking home, a guy named Bantheng yelled at us to stop and he told us he really wanted to learn from the missionaries. 
4. When we were eating breakfast once, we stopped and talked with this swag master named Sopat who knew nothing about our church, but when we asked if he wanted to learn about it on Saturday, he said "Can I learn from you guys on Sunday too?" ... Ummmm YES SIR. We have already taught him some. When we taught him, I was the one to ask him if we would be baptized! He said he wanted to find out if the church was true first. And I was like "go ahead, buddy". And he loved coming to church with us on Easter (PS Happy Easter everyone! Not even the members here know about Easter. No one talked about it in church. It was hilarious) 
5. My companion, Elder Elieson, have perfected a burrito recipe from ingredients that we bought in some American-ish store 
6. I just figured out I can type in different colors 
7. The members here are wacko and everyone here is wacko and I love love love it 
8. I can feel how the Lord blesses me and helps me help others 

So before I end, I would just like to explain point 7 really fast. So on April first (which I don't know if April Fools had anything to do with this) we were visiting a members house, and she randomly asked us if we saw the sun today. "ummmmm I guess?" She was like "NO. There wasn't A sun today. There were FIVE! It's a sign of the second coming!" So we were like "what the heck? lawl" and left, but then throughout the day like 3 different people told us about the five suns. So I don't know if they were just pranking the Burangs, but if there was an above-average number of suns on April 1st, will someone let me know? Thank you 

Yah, so basically this week was awesome. Just so crazy. We taught some real good lessons. Felt the spirit solid as a rock. And just got pumped again to finally be in Cambodia! PS!!! I heard Bangkok is getting a temple! THAT IS AWESOME!!! Bangkok is seriously RIGHT next to Battambang. So the members are pumped. I'm pumped. You are all awesome. Keep goin loco! 

Love, always and forever, but still I love technology, 
Elder Slavens (but as they call me here, Elder Shoe, Elder Banana, and Elder Hallelujah) 

PS Send me letters, people. It's fun for all. It's free on dearelder.com 
Elder (fill in the blank of a nickname) Slavens 
Cambodia Phenom Penh Mission
House #2B, Street 222 off Norodom
P.O. Box 165, Phenom Penh, Cambodia 


​After I got bit and washed off the wound. I was bleeding a truck load. 



​When I got rabies 



These little thieves are always taking all my things



​"Battambang" means "lost stick". This is the owner of the stick. People praise him.



​We out here. I teach lessons to an old lady right by here. She has the most chickens in all of Cambodia. 


​Happy Easter 



​A very happy Easter indeed