Dear Elder Slavens

Dear Elder Slavens

Elder Dallin J Slavens Cambodia Phnom Penh

Elder Chancellor J Slavens Idaho Twin Falls

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Hello. My name's Forrest. Forrest Gump. Would you like a chocolate?

This week a member in our ward down here in the land down under saw a picture of my father, the master of pool covers, Mont Blanc, and she said "Oh, I just LOVE when he speaks in general conference. Always so inspiring!" She thought he was an apostle hee hee hee

We cleaned a blind dudes house for service. He just stood there in the middle of the room and just kept saying, "lol, I wish I could help, but I'm BLIND! Sorry, guys." It was kind of like in Anchorman 2, minus the part where we go out to the ocean and set the pet shark Mobi free. 

In our teaching this week, we were ruthless. Anyone who told us they couldn't go to church or follow any other rule because of a job or schooling, we just told them to get a new job or go to a different school. I know it sounds weird, but when you look at it from a "you'll for sure receive blessings if you follow 100%" stand point, it makes more sense. I love telling people to quit their jobs. Sounds rough, but I don't know anyone who has followed the advice and HASN'T had more success. Go team! 

We had more and more people just show up randomly at the church telling us they wanted to learn. Really weird. I like it. 

We met with a new-ish member of the church, and he quoted Forrest Gump. He even did the Forest Gump voice! I was blown away! He knows English really well, and said Forrest Gump inspired him to ride his bike around Cambodia, so he did. He just started biking! And then, just like in the movie, someone joined in. Then 2 more people. Then 3 more. Then 5 more. All of the sudden, there was a whole group of 'em! JUST LIKE THE MOVIE! And I'm not sure how, but all of the sudden there was hundreds of thousands of dollars being donated to a hospital. So I teach Forrest Gump. 

We have a cool investigator who's actual real name is "Two One". Hahahhah He is so cool. He is 18 and started by learning in our English class, and then came up to us and told us he wanted to learn. We have taught him everything that a missionary teaches someone before they get baptized, but he doesn't want to get baptized yet. AND LISTEN WHY. He wants to be ready! How cool is that? He started learning with us even though his family is Buddhist, he has a sister in a different Christian church, and all his friends make fun of him for it. He comes to church all alone, sits alone (except for us) and then goes home. But he really really believes it. So he studies super hard and really tries to apply what we teach him. Unlike all the people I have ever taught who got baptized, this guy is not so easy. He doesn't have family or friends in the church. He's flying solo. We're trying our hardest with him. We're trying to hook him up with the sister's investigator so that they'll have a special love. 


Come, take my hand. We'll walk this road together. 

Me eating stuff. A whole bowl of it. 

Cleaning the blind dude's house. 

She is the mattress queen. Young and sweet, only seventeen. 

A tree that proselytes Jesus. 

Cleaning the train tracks 

The one in the middle is Elder Ey. He is going to serve in the California, Oakland/San Francisco mission. If any of you see him, tell him I say yo. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

I ain't callin' you a TRUTHER!

I hit my year mark. 

So to celebrate I ate a large Dominoes pizza. Cambodia has Dominoes. Elder Grimaud and I ordered Dominoes delivery late into the night. And to top it off, we had a movie night. We watched "Together Forever", probably one of the best church movies I have ever seen. There were 90's mustaches in that movie bigger and thicker than Dave Crinnion's dad's mustache. I was just high on the college life. 

But that's not why I am here. 

I am here to party HARDCORE! On Saturday, all we did was party. Both the wards that Elder Grimaud and I serve in had parties planned for Saturday. So we partied all day long.  But don't worry, we took a break to have the baptism of our investigator. 

His name is Suu. Rhymes with Cindy Lou Who. He knows English 100%. His girlfriend knows English 100%. She served a mission in this country in 2006. Do you guys see the pattern how anyone I have seen get baptized in this country came from friends and family of members? I literally haven't done anything my whole mission.  

Suu's nickname is hobo. He learned really fast because he had a lot of faith and trust at the beginning. I love hobo. Hobo's profession: he is a mushroom farmer LAWL. Mushrooms! I think I've broken something... Him and his GF bought Elder Grimaud and I pants. There is no greater sign of love than a new pair of pants.

We tried to do some service and clean this part of our area that has a ton of people living on some old train tracks, but they got mad. In that neck of the woods, you can't see the floor because there is so much trash on the floor, and I guess that as we took their trash and threw it away for them, they said they make their money by selling that trash. WHO THE HECK BUYS TRASH?! I lol'd and then was like, "Ok, we won't clean your trash anymore. Sorry". 

To finish the week, I saw God's hand help me out a little bit. I was riding my back, and a dude pulled up to me on his moto. I looked at him and started talking. I asked him if he knew our church. He was like, "Yah, I want to learn!" and so we pulled over. He told me that before Christmas, some person named "Slavens" talked to him about Christianity, and he really wanted to learn. But the card that Slavens gave him with Slavens phone number got erased over time! So he couldn't learn! But then I was like, "DUDE! Do you know my name?" He said, "what is it?" 

"My name is Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson"

JK I told him my name was Slavens! He freaked out! God just gave him right back to me to teach him! So he is learning with us now. Cool, huh? I love doing missionary work. Helps me to see the reality in God and his church more and more everyday. Especially when there are random dude-men who know my name and say they have been looking for me so they can learn about this specific church. Crazy, huh?! I LOVE IT! 

And, yah. 

My Cambodian mother who sells me meat that I buy every Monday morning to eat while I email. 

Having my first real burger in a year. When will my life begin? 

The cleanest spot on the train tracks 

Teaching and preaching and weaching and sneezing 

Eating barbecue we made and drinking an American diet coke my mom sent me to celebrate my year mark. I hated the diet coke. Its lack of sugar compared to normal coke was depressing. I truly am a changed man. 

P.A.N.T.S. and Suu and his GF Lida

Turn down for what 

Can you imagine how many channels these people probably get? 

​Suu: "GO WEB, GO!" 

Suu and Lida bein FRESH

Suu and company 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Taco Tuesdays.

HOLA COMO ESTAS? Muy Bien! Como te gato elle trandedandes. 

In Cambodian, that translates to "Would you like to learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ, sir?"

This week one of our investigators got baptized. His name sounds very similar to Udon noodles. But it is Udom. His mom was just baptized into this church 4 months ago, and lead all of her children to this church because she loves it so much. But her son, Udom, who is the oldest, didn't like it. He is more of the rock n' roll type. He used to live in Thailand. Whenever a story being told by a Cambodian starts with "back in Thailand..." or  "When I lived in Thailand..." you know it is going to be bad. Because the people in this country don't just run to Thailand to do nothing. So he has had a crazy life. But then, just like that, he randomly asks us if we'll teach him. We don't know what made him have the change to want to learn. It happened before I got here. But alls I know is that he is way cool. He doesn't even know how to read Cambodian. He only read in Thai. So that made lessons fun. But this last week he got baptized. He had to get interviewed to get baptized, and he didn't have anything to ride to the church to get interviewed, so we took him for a spin. 

His mom says that Udom was not the only child of hers who hasn't been baptized. There are more out there. She said she is going to call all of her children to come to the city where we are so they can learn. Her kids that are baptized say "what if they don't want to?" and she says "oh, they will want to. They will want to..." 

Also I met 2 guys this week whose line of work was literally guarding a car. Not a house, or work place. They guard a car. TWO GUYS! One car. And get this, their boss's official work title is "The one who watches the two guys who watch the car". To make sure they don't mess up. 

I went to my first Cambodian wedding this week. They are 3 days long. I went for an hour. And in that hour, ate an 8-course meal. Everyone dressed up and wore so much makeup, and there was live music. Just what a good party needs. 


Rode a tuk tuk and went to the Cambodian Killing Fields. History, man. It's a thing. 

Got to do a headset tour. One day I'll make a headset tour of my life and you walk through my house and listen to me talk about my life. It will start and end in the bathroom. Then to leave you will stand in the toilet and flush yourself down into the Ministry of Magic. Because I am a wizard. 

I let a Cambodian listen to the headset with me, on one condition: 

He take pictures with me

I drew a picture of my favorite district leader ever, Elder "The Rock" Olson. 

My companions eyebrows are spectacular 

I like the way I look in my suit. He guaranteed I would. 

Udom before he was baptized 

Udom on his way to be interviewed to get baptized 

Udom gettin baptized yo 

The wedding and the one being wedded. 

We'll finish off this email sesh with my new favorite album. Takes me back to the frosted tips days #Frosty #Pukashellzzz

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Stellar pool party

This twas the last week of this transfer, meaning that my companion and I completely assumed that he would be leaving and I would be getting a new companion. And so, we spent the whole week running around and saying bye to people. Well, turns out he's not leaving, but if he WAS he would have had the best last week ever in this area because our week was #1.

Last Monday we saw our mission president, and asked him if he wanted to come proselyting with us. He said sure! So on Tuesday he taught some lessons with us. Our investigators fell in love with him. They said he was the cool white guy who seemed gangster. Well, he is. 

I got called to be the district leader. FINALLY I got some POWER! I lead like 6 people. And by lead I mean I teach those 6 missionaries for an hour once a week. Pretty exciting. Can't wait to see how this district will crash and burn with me at the helm. 

My week peeked in interestingness this week as Elder Grimaud's (companion) bike exploded. There was a fire and shrapnel flying everywhere. So we took it in to get fixed. While doing so, we made a friend. I have no clue what her name is, but she followed us and told us that white people weren't allowed there. Everyone was just watching her. Then, as we sat down at the bike place she commenced to serenade Elder Grimaud and I. For like 15 minutes. There are videos and I really really really suggest you watch them. 

We have one investigator getting baptized this week named Odom. Like odom noodles. He is so cool. He only reads in Thai, and so we teach and in Cambodian and there is a weird translating game from English to Cambodian to Thai back to Cambodian and then finally hitting my brain in English. How we were able to teach him, I have no clue. But he is awesome! He let us watch Regular Show with him for like 5 minutes before we taught. Mordecai and Rigby killed a giant spider in a cave by throwing grenades into its mouth. But then they died and turned into ghosts. 

That's all I got

My bell got stolen from my bike! 

30 minutes a day, gettin real built.
Lookin real fly while I'm rockin my kilt. 

Library card? 

Our friend

Action shot of her serenading us. I don't think I can stress enough how badly I want you all to go watch the videos of her singing.

​Oh snap. Oh snap. Come to my macaroni party then we'll take a nap. 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

I see the light... and if I want to get the orb... I have to drink the magic water

My favorite quote of the week from our investigator who looks like Eric Martocci:

"Elder," he says in English, "you and I are very different."

"Why is that?" 

"Because my face is very not cute. Your face is very cute."

This week rocked socks. I got to switch companions for a day so that a more experienced missionary could show me how it is done. His name is The Olsen. He is a super star. Definitely wish he went to my high school. Many pictures were taken. All we did was talk to people on the streets and go to one of our investigators birthday party that he invited us too where we taught a lesson. His family is full of members of our church, so there were tons of members there. But it got weird when they brought out the cake. They brought it out, lit the candles, we sang happy birthday, and then everyone was like "PRAY! PRAY! PRAY OVER THE CAKE!" and I was like good for these people for being that converted. And so I folded my arms and bowed my head, expecting for him to pray out loud, but then we just sat in silence and then I heard him blow out the candles. And that was when I learned that the word for "pray" is the same word they use when they blow out candles on a cake and make a wish. 

We got like 7 new investigators this week which was cool. They all really want to learn. I'll teach them. 

This week was fast Sunday, but I cover 2 areas, which means two sacrament meetings, which means double the bread and double the water #blessed 

SRSLY THO blessings. We had so many people show up to church. You normal people will never know the joy a missionary feels when people come to church. But catch this story, yo:

While I was sitting there, reviling in the joy of a successful Sunday during testimony meeting at church, I heard a noise. A familiar noise. It was my little brothers voice, Jack Jack. But it was not just his normal voice (which sounds like a goblin), it was his laugh. But only the laugh he gives off when you pick him up and squish him and squeeze him as hard as you can. So I instantly missed squeezing Jack Jack and crushing him into gravy. And then, I started tasting gas station food. Was it really in my mouth? No. But I could taste it. I wanted it. I could smell my car. THE WORLD AROUND ME WAS REMINDING ME OF SAN RAMON! So I had to stand up, walk straight to the pulpit, and address all the member. 

I asked "Did any of you see a short little American elf running around? Because I swear I heard my little brothers voice" and they all shout from the audience "No! No! We didn't see him!" and I continued to tell them about what it is like as a missionary to miss home. Some miss it more than others. Some have a harder time. But we all miss home eventually. But then I told them why we all continue to press forward in our work. 

It is because we know that what we are doing is important and true. And as we forget ourselves more and think of others, and try to love them and serve them and bring them what is PROMISED to bring them level 100 happiness, then we are happier in turn, and do not miss home. I have come to find that is true. I like this chance I have for one more year to only think of others and not just sit there and think of others and how awesome they are, but serve them too. HOW TRUE IS ZAT, BREZZEREN? 

Love you.

PS I thought of something this week. I have a requirement for all of you Elder Slavens fans out there. All 2 of you (my mom and my mom). In one year, I will walk of a plane back on the motherland, on American soil. My first steps on American soil will be in an airport. And so my requirement for all those who will be there to pick me up and see me come home: A choreographed flash mob. I tell you this now because I know I will forget I requested, so it will be a surprise. So none of you forget! Bye bye. 

​Pool party, baby. It was a cool party. 


What is this thing? 

His bike broke so I had to carry him around 

I had dog again. But I'm not sure if I ate dog meat, or like a predator or something. It looked out of this world!?
Tasted that way too... eeeeeehhhhhhhhhhh 

My companion Elder Grimaud wanted to try out my helmet 

​All the compliments we taught in English class.