Dear Elder Slavens

Dear Elder Slavens

Elder Dallin J Slavens Cambodia Phnom Penh

Elder Chancellor J Slavens Idaho Twin Falls

Sunday, July 26, 2015

One step at a time, one foot in front of the other

The reason why last week was the return of the king! Our investigator who has multiple wives and then ran away... CAME BACK! We met him for like 5 seconds again, and then HE RAN AWAY AGAIN. No new updates besides that. I have lost track of his wives. 

Anyways, we had a TRULY inspiring week. We had an accidental lesson with one person we meet often but he doesn't come to church or read or pray. When we meet with people, it is truly just about getting them to pray and read their scriptures and go to church, because they won't learn anything about the church from us! All the learning comes from what you do on your own. I have really seen that in the people here. But anyways, we sat down with him because we just saw him out and about, and he told us he was thinking of running away. WHAT. He is like a 40 year old dude with 3 daughters and a wife. He said his wife swears at him, so he is running away. I don't find myself the type of person telling people what to do in their lives that are big decisions like that, but something inside me just pushed me to tell him to get over it and stick with his family. IT WAS SO WEIRD! I was giving a 40 year old dude advice on how to live his life and raise his family! It kinda reminded me of Dreamworks Treasure Planet. I don't want my investigator to turn into that kind of a dad. So after I kinda chastised him for a while, I left that lesson feeling like I really made a change! That's what I've done today to make me feel proud. 

Then, the highlight of the week was definitely the Pioneer Day celebration. The members here have told us "You can skip the Christmas party... You can skip the Cambodian New Year party... but you DO NOT mess with Pioneer day here." And they weren't kidding. It was an all-day party, filled with talks, musical numbers, a seminary graduation (which was really random), and finally a PLAY. Featuring the stars of Battambang, Cambodia: The Elders. I played a guy who kicks down a door and yells "WHICH ONE OF YOU IS JOSEPH SMITH?!" and then grabs him and takes him to his death. I put my whole SOUL into that part. If I am remembered for anything here in Battambang, it will be by the way I played that role. 

Speaking of which, I have just recived word that good ole Elder Slavens will no longer be serving in Battambang! I have been in the same province for 4 months now, the whole time I have been in Cambodia, but now I am moving on up. Or down, I guess. I am going to another province called Kampong Cham, which is way less developed than the province I am in now. I am going to miss this place! I have had 2 full out dance parties here over new years and pioneers! These people know my moves. But it is time for me to move on. By this time next week, I'll be in Kampong Cham with my new companion, Elder Beacco from Saint George, Utah. He is probably Gabe's best friend. He plays rugby. More to come. 

You are the shooting star shining bright for all to see. 
Never forget.
Elder Slavens


​"WHICH ONE OF YOU IS JOSEPH SMITH?!" 


​My 14 year old investigator who only know how to say "bingo" and "go go Power Rangers" in English 


​My pinky nail was successfully Cambodian length before I cut it off 



They call me Elder Cool Smooth 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

THE RETURN OF THE KING

Where do I even begin. 

I guess at the beginning of last week? So basically we went and played at the crocodile farm, which is a place where I have been a couple times here where they raise crocodiles to sell to other countries, but this time it was 100% better. Because I almost got eaten. I was walking on the dirt, and there was a sheet of metal on the floor, and I stepped on it and it turned out the metal was covering a whole in the ground, and when I stepped on it it broke in two and I just fell 3 feet down into this PIT! And I was just sitting there, shocked, and then I noticed... My legs are socking wet. That's when I thought "...Crocodiles" and I JUMPED out and was screaming! It was actually just a sewer for crocodile poop, but I thought I had fallen into a crocodile mating ground! My life was spared that day. Everyone was laughing at me even though I almost died. 

The biggest miracle I saw this week was just yesterday at church! I was reflecting about how all the people we teach are too busy to come to church, and so they have no way to truly progress. And so I knelt down and said a prayer that my companion and I would be able to find someone who was truly ready and wanted to hear about Heavenly Father's church. And so I went to church, and had a great day. But then right as we were leaving the building, this white guy pulls up with his Cambodian wife and their 2 kids. And he told us, in English, that he just got back from America, and had learned a little bit about our church there, and now came back and wants his family to learn. So that was awesome. We showed them around the church and talked a little bit about Heavenly Father. His name is Jason, and he told us he was so happy to meet us and that he wants to come to church every week with his family. And I KNOW that you get the most out of the gospel when you do it with your family! So I am excited for what Elder Reeves, my companion, and I can bring into this family's lives! WOOT WOOT! Score one for the power of prayer.

I love you and I love life 
Honestly, 
Elder Slavens

​Hello, chap


Who's that Elder hanging in that tree?
It's me! It's me! 
I said WHO's that Elder hanging in that tree? 
It's me! It's me!


A million crocodiles in my hands!


and then I fell into this pit


​CRIKEY!


Put a bird on it


 ​Style points 100 


​There is a monk here who is FAMOUS because he is a midget!


​This lady's kid fell asleep while standing while she was driving her moto


This picture is from a couple weeks ago when we went cave exploring in a mountain, and a bat flew into our picture. 
It then flew into my mouth and I ate it whole like that one Halloween book.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Wedding Singers

I would like to open up this time for all of you to email me any question. Any question at all. And I will answer it for you. 

But just so you don't ask me "Hey Elder Slavens (the one and only), what are you doing RIGHT NOW?", I will answer that one at this moment.  

I am currently sitting in my little internet cafe emailing all you people while a very charitable internet cafe owner is playing Beyonce on his computer out loud. Oh, how I miss The Queen B. 

So I would like to take this time to explain the wedding I went to this week. We have a member in our branch who is amazing. And one day he told us to start teaching this girl that we had never met because it was the woman he loved and he wants her to learn about Jesus Christ so he can marry her. So we were like "Ok!" So we taught her and she got baptized a couple weeks ago. NOW he just raised enough money to have a wedding, so we were invited. And the wedding was done in the church building. At 9:00 in the morning. So we showed up. We were then asked if we (the Elders and Sisters) could perform a musical number for the wedding. So we spent minimal amounts of time preparing a rendition of "Love is Spoken Here" in Cambodian. Then the wedding begins. It was an hour long. Someone was asked to give the opening prayer, but he wasn't wearing a white shirt. So instead of choosing someone else, they made the guy go home, change into nicer clothes, and come back to pray to open this grand event. Then one of the members stands up to give a talk. He went up to the pulpit with a Word of Wisdom pamphlet, so you KNOW that was a good talk to give at a wedding! Then the ceremony... The branch president said some words, and then asked if the broom and gride would kiss. The broom had to pump himself up. He went in for the kiss... she declined! He went in again! She declined once more... He went in AGAIN! AND TARGET ACQUIRED! DIRECT HIT! It lasted for maybe 4 seconds. She was NOT kissing back. It was amazing and heart warming. Cambodians do not kiss each other or show affection in public, so it was a beautiful moment. Then, to finish it off, yours truly and the other missionaries sang our song. We were definitely the highlight. The moment all were waiting for. The grand finale. We stole the show and the hearts of all there. It was too good, really. Then a closing hymn by the congregation, "Did you think to pray?" A perfect hymn for a wedding. 

Also, the broom asked me if he could use my suit for the wedding. I thought he was going to wear it, but actually the gride's dad who had no hands and one eye wore it. I tried to take a picture with him wearing my suit, but I FAILED YOU ALL!!!!! He made that suit look good though. I also have not gotten my suit back, and probably never will get it back. So that is ok. 

Basically for the missionary work in Battambang, it has been dope. We have been pumped up and just working our hineys off lately! Believe it or not, talking to random people on the street about my church has been kinda weird for me, but then I was like "ehhh WHATEVER! I'm here, might as well try my best!" So my companion and I worked our butts off and talked to a million people and had so many lessons with members. And all our work paid off (I think)! We have a pretty sweet line up of people who want to hear about our church! So cool! So I am doing pretty good here! 

We had one day that was just hilarious because everything went wrong and my companion's, Elder Reeves, bike broke, and no one knew how to fix it. And we were supposed to be helping a member move houses, but the bike situation made us miss our appointment with him! hehe OOPS. So I just followed the words from that one song in Pitch Perfect and kept my head up wooo woooo. You do the same! 

DON'T BE AFRAID TO BE YOU! 
Love, Elder Slavens


​Chaaaaaaa, the markets here have the sickest mannequins, broooo. Catch you l8tr, I gotta go hit up some gnarly waves 


​So professional 


​Super straws for sale! $1


​THE WEDDING


​If anyone can decipher this Cambodian message, I will send you a piece of Cambodian candy in the mail. 


Sunday, July 5, 2015

What are you, CHICKEN?

The 4th of July was literally the most beautiful holiday I have ever celebrated in my life. All of the missionaries here in my zone got together, and we had pulled pork sandwiches, which had REAL BBQ SAUCE! And then I sang the national anthem to honor my country which I so dearly love. It brought tears. Tears were had. Then we had a flag ceremony, followed by stories of our great country being shared with each other. A little piece of home, here in Cambodia. I enjoyed drawing fireworks on paper and then making explosion sounds. 

Last week my companion and I killed a chicken and ate it. There was a member here who was like "I've got some extra chickens if you want one!" So we're like "Ok" and we go to his house, where we have to chase down some chickens, wrestle them into our arms, tie up their legs, and then lie em down on the floor. The member handed me a knife. "Make it gentle", he said. I then raise the knife over my head. I look into the eyes of the chicken that would provide me a full stomach. I plead for forgiveness. I then mercilessly bring the knife down to the ground. It was the best chicken I have ever had. We ate EVERY part of the chicken you can imagine. EVERY. PART. 

For this week, all of our teaching hasn't been too exciting. We still haven't found too many more people who want to learn from us. So we are spending our time trying to strengthen the members who are already a part of this gospel, and especially trying to strengthen families. We have planned on meeting 3 families where the whole family comes to church except for big papa. We will help these families become whole once again. WE WILL CONQUER! 

Until we meet again, 
Yours truly,
Sincerely yours, 
Elder Monster Breath (I was told my breath stinks by some members) 


Red white a blue, baby. My trash bag flag was taped to my bike all day. 


​Before


​After 


​The gospel "MOOved" his life.


​They twin with that moped behind them. I want airbender robes so bad.