Dear Elder Slavens

Dear Elder Slavens

Elder Dallin J Slavens Cambodia Phnom Penh

Elder Chancellor J Slavens Idaho Twin Falls

Sunday, August 30, 2015

I got off at 6. Then you can tell me more about that tosser Harry Potter.

If any of you were trying to hide a horcrux, where would you hide it? Because I am 100% sure I found one here. Cambodia is the PERFECT place to hide a horcrux. Literally NO ONE would come looking for it here. There was this big pile of dirt out in the jungle, and I just thought, for sure there is one in there. 

Well, like I promised last week, I will give an update on "OPERATION: SLASH AND BURN". It is going swimmingly. We have a million records of members who were baptized, but no one knows. So we are going around, following the maps to get to their houses, and taking pictures to update the records. Then we ask them if they will be able to come back to church. It's SUPER funny because we try to imagine riding up to someones house and taking pictures of their house and family in America, and we just think we would get arrested. So It is a good thing we are in Cambodia! 

My favorite finds this week was a family that has a daughter who looks just like Cambodian Annie, and another lady who, when I told her that in America we believe that cats have nine lives, she said "there is no way. American cats are either really strong, or Cambodian cats are super weak. Because there are dead cats in the middle of the road here. All the time." 

Aside from following treasure maps to get to peoples house, we got some lessons in this week. We met with one old guy who told us his life story during the Khmer Rouge. He told us that he would make these 3 string instruments called takhe's  out of trees and learn to play it on his own. But then guards found out, came to his house, took all his stuff, and told him and his brothers to leave. So they had to walk 40 kilometers, or like 25 miles, bare foot with no sleep. 

Studies this week: I have been trying to see how the gospel of Jesus Christ affects and changes people's lives, and how Jesus personally taught people, so I can reflect my teaching of His gospel to become more like His. Super Eye opening.

Well, I hope you all have a #STELLAR week. Enjoy school, everyone. Read some books.

Love you long time, 
Elder Slavens

Never washing my hand again


Behold


​We got caught in some good rainstorms this week 


​Boats and smoke on the water


It's a hard knock life


​The sun will come up tomorrow 


Drunk guy #1 we talked to this week. He tried to throw his cigarette into his mouth and kept missing and 
I almost peed watching it


​Bushes. Dirt. And chickens. All day everyday.


We showed up to a members house, just to find him studying his scriptures. 
It was so heartwarming, we had to sneak a picture. 


Monday, August 24, 2015

Hall & Oates

The most amazing week of my life. A week that has changed a lot of my perspective on our purpose here on Earth. THE WEEK OF A LIFETIME! 

I will start from the top. 

First, at the begging of this week the Elders and Sisters serving in branch 1 in Kampong Cham (me and my companion Elder Beacco, and Sister Sheffield and Sister Harris) came up with an idea to help as many people as possible. As missionaries, we usually meet the same people every week, people who need frequent encouragement. Well, we decided to take a brake from that this week and start "OPERATION: SLASH AND BURN" Missionaries have record books of all the people who have ever been baptized, but after 10-15 years you find that the information can become old, the paper can be eaten by the rats in your house, and so on... Well we are tired of old records of members who haven't come to church in years, or who have been lost, and their information hasn't been updated. So We decided, for this week, to go and visit all the people with old records that don't make sense, are destroyed, and who haven't been visited in a while and take pictures and make new notes to make the new records SPIT clean for the next missionaries after us! TAKE THAT, RATS! No more eating OUR records! I'll cover them in poison. 

My other favorite part of this week was getting to know my area better. We have our area in the province of Kampong Cham that we stay in, but there is a little town called Chuub which is SUUUPER pretty like an hour away from Kampong Cham with some members that we go visit every once and a while. Only the most faithful of souls lives there, to be able to commit to come in to Kampong Cham once a week for church. Examples to us all, just like the kid in the movie in the Pee-Wee Herman movie. 

Now for the highlight of my week/my life: On Saturday the missionaries in the whole country of Cambodia shuttled on up to stay in the city of Phnom Penh for a night, then on Sunday we got the once in a life time chance to listen to Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. Basically, I would LOVE to just put everything he said! But basically he met with us and all the members in Cambodia and talked about how serious the Book of Mormon is and why he became a member of the church. Then he met with JUST the missionaries, and if you watch General Conference and think his yelling and pounding is impressive on the screen, just IMAGINE watching it 5 feet from your face! He basically just talked about change. The change that needs to take place on a mission. At the beginning of my mission, I wasn't so sure how much I agreed! I wanted to change and become more spiritual, but did I want to change anything else? No. But now I realize, if we all are expecting to actually meet God one day after this life, who do we want to be? How do we want to talk to Him? I am starting to see that this whole LIFE is about change. Now, the key is to find out how. It is through doing what God commands us to do to become better. Elder Holland said "Discipline leads you to be a disciple" Cool 

I hope you all had a SWEET week. If any of you have any questions, give me a holler. Wish me luck this week as I venture out to find the unknown.

Love you long time,
Elder Slavens 

 
​SO. MANY. SAUSAGES. 


​The crafting of OPERATION: SLASH AND BURN 


​SUPER lined up trees. Choosing a path is never easy. But we all gotta choose. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Recon A-20 flutter kick and a flash-bang through the door!

Gather round... Gather round... 
Can you all hear me? Can you all see me? 

I would like to congratulate all of you who have made it this far in reading my emails. Thank you for not leaving, because I am SURE these emails suck. Not entertaining or helpful in any way. 

Anyways, I would like to update everyone on my life. Just a nice mission update. I have been on my mission for almost 7 months now (wowzers!) I just moved locations, and I am now in my second area of my mission, called Kampong Cham. It is super awesome and province-y. I have been here 3 weeks now, and my new and 4th companion is named Elder Beacco. He told me yesterday that I remind him of his ex-girlfriend. Take that as you will. His brother is in a super sweet metal band. We live in a house with 4 other Elders. And it is a PARTAY. 

So anyways, this week the Elders were asked if we could help do the service that I have been DYING to do the whole time I have been here! We went to a field way out in the middle of nowhere and planted rice! IT WAS DOOOOOPE! I was up to my knees in brown water, sludging around, and taking rice plants and shoving them into mud. But then we all got super sun burned, and I thought I as gonna die. So that hurt monkey butt. 

Speaking of Monkeys, we also had the chance to go journey up the side of a mountain. And I know I have sent pictures with monkeys before, but this one was INSANE! I counted literally one million monkeys. They would walk up, and start petting and pulling at my leg hair, and then they would just climb up my leg! And if I bent down, they would jump on my shoulders! And climb up all over my body! I took one home with me and he is currently sitting in my suitcase, waiting to go back to America with me. 

So, you know that guy Elder Holland? Elder Jeffrey R. Holland? The apostle of the Lord in these latter-days? He's making a South East Asia trip, visiting all the missions and members and such. So next week we will all have the chance to go to the main city in Cambodia and meet with him for 2 days or so. He is going to be talking to all of the missionaries and members here in Cambodia. I really really really hope he one-on-one interviews me because that would just be stellar. 

Not much more on the work here. I am still trying to figure out the area and remember the names of all the new members I meet. But I have learned to LOVE going to peoples houses and talking with them and sharing scriptures that helped lift me up to lift up them. And Josh Groban. He ALWAYS lifts me up. There is one guy here who is 18, whose name is Seyha. He gave me his snapchat so you could all snapchat him pictures of me and you together. So find your favorite picture of me and you together, having a jolly grand time, and send it on over to "seyhaaugust2" via snapchat. And caption it "I love Elder Slavens!" 

Thanks everyone! Now go shave your faces and make your selves look presentable! 
Love you! 
Elder $1@V3NZ


The picture of the year


Walking to the rice field 


​In the process


They all just wanted to shake my hand


SMOOOOOOCH


​Fish eating my feet skin. if you were a mermaid, would the fish still eat your feet skin?
 Or would they be all against cannibalism? 


       You all ASKED for a super artsy picture of me and my companions shoes as we enter a house to do the Lord's work!


Sunday, August 9, 2015

YOU CAN'T SEE ME!!!!!

Who here has ever heard of John Cena? Because the people of Cambodia love him almost more than life itself. He is a wrestler on WWE. I have gotten pretty good at doing his moves, like waving my hand in front of my face, and elbow pile driving the daylights out of people. 

This week was an interesting one. Mostly because we spent so much of our time cleaning. Basically when I got here, my new house, which has 6 Elders in it, was a wreck. And so, with a toilet brush and a bottle of bleach in hand, we headed into battle against 99.99% of the germs in our home. We decided if we didn't clean, we would probably die. So I have found that I truly do love to clean. Especially when it is really bad at first. 

We bought a mouse trap, and the first night we set it up, we caught 8 mice. So cool. 

Earlier this week we (all the Elders here) were asked if we could come help build a bridge at a members house, because my new area, Kampong Cham, is right by the Mekong river, and when it rains it FLOODS man. And so all the houses here are on stilts like 8 feet in the air, so this member wanted us to build a bridge from the road to her house so she could enter her house. So we show up, and she has no wood or rope or hammers or anything. She just thought we knew how to whip a bridge magically out of thin air. It was so awesome. So we had a good laugh about that for a while and then we went home. 

My favorite part of this week was when we, as a zone of missionaries, were having a meeting about how we could get the members here to keep coming to church instead of just getting baptized and then never coming to church again. It finally led to us all crafting a beautiful lesson out of thin air that we all want to share with members! It is about having a view of the temple, figuring out how to actually learn from the scriptures, and being an example. It's super good. 

I am still adjusting to be in a new area, but it is amazing, and I LOVE my new companion, Elder Beacco. He is super huge. He doesn't know if he wants to go into the Marines or not. So if you have any thoughts, let me know. 

Cool.
Elder Slavens 


​Fast and Furious 7


​This is the 90 year old member named New Saw who has been fixing bikes since '52


​The sisters new investigator who just got baptized. And she is the worlds best lady. She almost made me pee my pants because we will be having a conversation, and just in the middle of it she'll slither out the word "Slavens..." and then just keep going. And she has no teeth and loves to talk about how she has no teeth. And she is fluent in French and when she sees us she says "Helloooooooo" exactly like how I spelled it. 


​Before a good scrubbing 


After a good scrubbing


Sometimes when you have a ton of trash, alls you needs to do is burn the sucker. 


Sunday, August 2, 2015

My mind is an enigma

 HEY HEY HEY! It's FAT ELDER! ACTUALLY. News update. So everyone prepare for this one. So I have moved areas! I moved from me sweet little town of Battambang (Battambang, land so sticky you can't take your heart out of it) to Kampong Cham. This place is wacko, man. It is TEENY TINY. But we are right by the world famous Mekong river, which my father informed me has man eating fish in it (according to the documentary he watched). All the houses here are on stilts because when it rains #EveryDay it floods. When it rains, IT POURS. But anyways, since I am new here, we have been going around meeting members and other people here that my new companion, Elder Beacco from Saint George, Utah, knows. And they are having troubles remembering my name here. But one of the first people I met heard "Elder Slavens", and told me it made him think of "Elder Slate". I asked what slate meant in Cambodian. He said there was a saying here "slate slaang, skom skeang". I asked what it means. It means pale, white, skinny and ugly as crap. SO AWESOME! So that is what everyone calls me here. 

Last week was mega sad saying bye to all the people I was with for 4 and a half months in Battambang, but it is exciting to to move areas for the first time and meet new people. I met this one super old guy, who was so old I am pretty sure he thinks we know each other already. He asked me if I would tie for him before church, and as I was tying it on him, A TOOTH FELL OUT OF HIS MOUTH ONTO MY HAND!!!! It was so awesome! I had to pick it up and hand it to him, and then he TOSSED IT BACK INTO HIS MOUTH! So awesome. 

I ain't got much more to say. If you want to know more, shame on you for not asking me personally. Go be a light to the world, people. 

Peace. 

Elder Pale White Skinny Piece of Crap 


Me and Martha



New companion, some kids, a huge river with man eating fish
feat. My-fresh-ice


S-L-E-N-D-E-R


Pondering


A statue in my new area that kinda freaks me out and I don't know what it means


WE. R. FAMILY. Your brothers and your sisters and me. 


WE R BACK BABY