Dear Elder Slavens

Dear Elder Slavens

Elder Dallin J Slavens Cambodia Phnom Penh

Elder Chancellor J Slavens Idaho Twin Falls

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Things that happened this week

1.) I went fishing with my best friend who I love more than I love anybody else.

2.) I followed the counsel of my Elders and got a hair cut.

3.) I accidentally flushed a toilet I shouldn't of flushed. The sewer system in this members house was all blocked up, so when I flushed the toilet it made the problem worse and the smell was putrescent. Everyone thought I produced that smell. One lady threw up hahahaha. 

4.) We taught a super old guy about the word of wisdom. That's the rule that says we shouldn't drink alcohol. But when we asked this old guy if he drinks alcohol, he said in English, "ooohhhhh very good. Number one!" just like the Japanese surgeon in "The Office" 

5.) Elder Cook and I went to go visit a member, but when we got to the house his brother and a random guy were standing outside. And they were like, "Elders, we all just drank a ton of beer and we are all super drunk, so he is probably not gonna want to meet you." The random guy was way way way more drunk than the others. He did the classic drunk guy in Cambodia and spoke Thai and Vietnamese at us, and told us he loved us. Elder Cook complimented his shirt. The guy started crying because he was so flattered. Then Elder Cook asks, "Can I have it?"  The guy rips of his shirt at incredible speed and throws it in Elder Cooks bike basket. He then opens up his bag and whips out another shirt. He was prepared for this moment! He put it on. I told him I liked that new shirt, trying to get a free shirt. He said people would call him CRAZY if he didn't wear a shirt! (Not true, no one in Cambodia ever wears shirts) So I tried a new tactic. I complimented his pants. He wasn't buying it. He had no extra pants. So he couldn't give me his. Dang it.

6.) The Facebook page for our church here in Cambodia is pretty popular. So Elder Cook and I made a video with a super ugly guy and it went viral. 100,000 views in less than a week. 22 new investigators all over the country so far. Pretty cool. I get made fun of for my accent every time someone watches it. We did a virtual tour of one of our church buildings, but the only reason it is viral is because Cambodian people love seeing white people speak Cambodian. 

This week was awesome. 

Working hard, or hardly working? 

Fishing crew

This is such a weird looking cat

A guy took my bike for a test ride. He liked the moto seat. 

The haircut I got is called "The Baller Buzz". We took a picture of Brad Pitt with a buzz cut as a model for our haircuts so they knew what we wanted to look like.

A group of 4 missionaries got it this week. It will spread. 

​Even my mission president has one.

Let's play a game: look for the scary thing that almost made me pee my pants. 

A legless member took us to her friends house to teach them. She cranks her bike with her arms #ROCKsolid

Old guy reading his scriptures.

I watched some kids play a weird game for a while. 

Don't laugh. This is how you say "baby elephant"  in Cambodian. 

Selling fans and keys from house to house.

The drunk guy and the shirt he gave Elder Cook

Bey Bey

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Shout out to Trent Mendenhall

One thing I just noticed about Cambodia even though I have been here over a year and a half already is that they sell everything house to house. I am not kidding when I say the word "everything". They will pack up the shop onto a moto or cart and ride around each neighborhood and just yell what they are selling until someone comes out of their house to buy it. They have full on markets on wheels with dead chickens and vegetables driving through a neighborhood near you. They have belts and wallets. Some will have "fast food". But my personal favorite, the one that opened my eyes to how weird this is, is the guy who rides around and sells mattresses. Can you imagine the emergency situation that would cause you to need a mattress so fast, that you don't even have time to leave your house to get it! Then, luckily, you hear a moto pull into your neighborhood, screaming, " Mattresses! Mattresses for sale!" 

This week we had 6 investigators get baptized. All friends or family of members. One is a family of 5, and the other is a man on his own. I will now tell you their stories:

Sina. She is like 25ish almost 30. She is SUPER POOR. Like I mean she can't pay for food for her kids. But her mom was baptized a couple months ago, and told her daughter about how it changed her life. So the daughter, Sina, started learning. She has 5 kids. One was 7 so he couldn't get baptized yet. Their names are Alexander, Ravi, Sam, Rosa, and Steven. Her husband lived in America for 20 years and gave all their kids American names. Names like that are super cool and uncommon here. Anyways, she was liking what we were teaching when we started teaching her 3 weeks ago, but wasn't so sure about it. Until she had some dreams.

She had one dream that she was in the church crying because she had no money for her kids, then a lady walked up to her, put her hand on her shoulder, and said, "if you want more money for your family, all you have to do is put some money in this box." So she paid tithing in her dream. Before she ever learned about it or knew what it was. 

Then she had another dream that she was driving in a car with an old man. Then the car disappeared, and she was just walking in a forest with the old man. Then the man disappeared. She was afraid, until she looked around and noticed how beautiful the forest was. So I showed her a picture of the sacred grove, where Joseph Smith saw our Heavenly Father in real life, which she had never seen before (in picture form) and she said that was it. I just guessed.  

Her and her kids got baptized. 

Nevin is the other guy that got baptized. He is 35. He has been married for like 5 years, but never too happy about his relationship. That was, until he learned with the missionaries about our church. Then his relationship was REALLY bad hahahha. She really didn't like him learning (she is hard core Buddhist). It causes you to ask yourself why he continued to learn. I asked him once. He said, "I started learning, prayed to know if it was true, and then couldn't turn back after I knew. No matter what I went through in my life." So his wife kicked him out of the house and took all his money and his car. He now has nothing. But he is happy. Reminds me of Joseph Smith who could have made up this crazy story about seeing God and who could have written a book and slapped the name "Book of Mormon" on it and then sell it, even though it caused him to never have a peaceful moment in his life, and he was eventually murdered for it. But he stuck with his story because it wasn't a made up story or a book he wrote. He just endured everything because of what he knew in his heart. 

Pretty cool. 

Once in a life time experience to meet people like these.

See ya. 

Yo yo yo yo

Me and a sleeping bebe

A Cambodian lady in her prime 

If you are wondering why the dirt on the seat stops, it is because it was splattered all over my back

Sina with all of her kids


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Lifting grandpa

An event filled week.

I have never said that before ever in one of these emails things. So you know this was a big one. 

It all started on Monday last week, when we were riding our bikes. A guy was just staring at us. So we stopped to talk to him. Turned out he was just super drunk. But I only figured that out once I said that we were missionaries, because then he launched himself at me, throwing his bike to the ground and making me and my bike fall over too. He did that just because he was so excited to meet some missionaries. 

Elder Cook and I learned from an old dude we teach, who hardly knows Cambodian or English, only Chinese, that you don't feast on the words of Christ, but you take lunch on the Words of Christ. I'm not so sure what that means, but that is what he told us. 

We were also asked to help give service. We weren't too sure what they said, all we heard was the word "lift". And they usually say, "lift dirt. The word for dirt is Dei. So we just assumed we were going to lift dirt. Service is always lifting dirt here! And so we set 2 hours aside to help, and went. When we show up, one of the daughters yells, "Mom! Dad! The Elders are here to help lift daa!" You wanna know what daa means? GRANDPA. We had to help lift GRANDPA. He had been sleeping outside of this families house for 6 months in a shack. His legs haven't worked for years now. So they just now decided to move him into the house. So we had to lift him from his shack and put him in the house. It took like 15 minutes. 

A bunch of Elders who had completed the "Cambodian language achievement program" our mission does,  got to have dinner with the mission president one night. And Elder Ros went. And he ordered a plate of lamb chops, and then for desert he ordered a smoked salmon sandwich with fries on the side. I hope all of you get to meet Elder Ros one day. He is the best. 

The two most common things in Cambodia: children and toilets. 

Third most common thing in Cambodia: SWAG

Elder Ros with his dessert

Mr. Tree with his bike

]Me /// with the Brozzz ;;;;

I forgot to write that I updated my bike. New bike, same giant bike seat. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Life is an ambulance caught in traffic

Did my subject line make you think? Good. It was inspired by all the ambulances I have seen caught in traffic in this country, since no one cares about them. Until they are in the ones in the ambulance. "Somebody call an amberlance"

When I finish my mission, I want cornrows. What do you guys think of this decision? 

Did you guys know that in Cambodia there is no such thing as first or last names? I will tell you why. So when you have a kid here, your first name becomes the child's last name. So when your child has a kid, his first name becomes the kid's last name. So families aren't linked together by one name like us in America. First names just become last names forever and ever. So "Jim" and "Mike" and "Tanner" can be common first names OR last names in Cambodia. 

Also, there is a ton of rubber in this country and no tire factories. So if someone wants to be rich, they should come here and start a tire factory. 

Also did I tell you guys that I walked into the best area with the best companion here? There are 9 baptisms scheduled for the 30th of July, and my companion's great grandfather invented the tater tot.

And remember, zero population is the answer my friend.
Love, Elder Slavens

All children love white people and pictures

When they tried to follow us home, our investigator's kids made a human shield wall to blockade us

When the road is flooded #whatdoyoumean #loveyourself

All old men love massages 

All teenage girls love selfies

All Cambodians love to learn English

All Elder Slavens' love to sleep

Goin to the hospital 

It is a sad tale when all of the baby ducklings are ugly. 

This old guy we meet keeps his scriptures in the fridge LAWL And he knows a little bit of Cambodian and a little English. He mostly knows Chinese. Imagine how fun it is trying to communicate with him. ​

Fashion is danger

I've said it once, and I'll say it again: 

"Stomp the yard" 

That's a spicy meatball! 

My dying companions fashion choices for proselyting are spectacular 

When I make a folk band, I am going to have a song called, "legless guy at the watering hole" 

Watching some folks make ice cream

//////////This kid//////////


Week 64