December 30, 2013

 This is going to be a little shorter than usual, but here we go!
Christmas was just another work day. It was a little hard because I felt pretty baggy after skyping my family! That was really cool… for about an hour. The time after that was hard haha. BUt it was cool!
I really dont have a ton of stuff to share this week. I finally caught my lizard, that was cool. I saw my first chameleon in the field, those things are pretty sweet.
The weather is still hot and all my shirts get those gross sweet marks on the neck. That just means i am a hard worker.
I have realized that the church of God is just a big puzzle. All churches have different pieces, but only one church in the entire world has ALL the CORRECT pieces to the puzzle. People try to put the puzzle together, but to be honest, some people just suck at puzzles. That is when we get churches that don’t think we need to pray, baptize by immersion, etc. like Jesus taught us when he came to the earth.
2 examples.
Juan is a dad of 3 kids– Jenny, Maria, and Christian. Juan loves his bible, but doesn’t seem to love it too much because he hasn’t assisted any church in 2 years. He doesn’t pray to find answers to questions like James 1 5 directs us, he uses the dictionary and the internet. Ugh. His son C is super positive and we are going to set a date for him tomorrow for the 11th of January. He will accept, it is just a matter of getting his dad to sign off for the papers. It sucks when parents take the agency from 17 year olds and older. I don’t get it.
Next example is Nancy. Nancy has a 10 year old daughter named Joanna. They had a baptism date for the 29th, then moved it to the 5th of january, and yesterday, Nancy told us she doesnt want to be baptized. I was like, are you serious? She tells us she believes in Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and all this, but doesnt feel like she needs to be baptized yet. We have visited her with the branch president, district leader, and zone leaders, and she hasnt budged. Hopefully we can spark something in our appointment with her tomorrow.
We are working really hard here and i am learning tons of different things everyday. It really is awesome to be a missionary. I pray for all my friends and family and hope you all can appreciate the blessing you all have as a result of having the gospel of Jesus Christ in your lives.
Thanks for all the support, love you!
Go Cougars.
Elder Slack

December 23, 2013

I wanted to start out with something a little different and a little dumb. I was really excited to learn this. Donald Duck here is called El Pato Donald and Mickey Mouse is known as El Raton Mickey. Cool right? Sorry, dumb.
So everything is pretty much established in my new house now! I ended up buying around 600 bulbs of Christmas lights in this area and those are up now. I didnt take the ones from my last area. The house is a little, really dirty and I am trying to make it as homie as possible, but man, it’s tough. I’ll keep trying. The previous missionaries set bad expectations for the cleanliness of the house haha.
I had the opportunity to do splits with the district leader (who is my grandpa in the mish) one day and again with his comp another time. I spent one night at their house. It is cool and i learn a ton from that! In the one with the district leader at our house, we had a ton of fun. Elder Bauserman, who lives with me, was trained by the district leader, Elder Bauserman. So we’re all family in the mission terms. We talked until about 1 in the morning, it wasnt the smartest idea i have ever had, but it was fun anyways.
. We are working hard in a place called Ashapuco in Turin.
We have 3 interesting people we are teaching. Nancy, Ana, and Fatima. Nancy and her daughter Joanna had a baptism date for the 29 but wont have 3 assistance at church and so we had to push that date back to January 5th or 6th. They accept what we teach and are obtaining a testimony of their own.
Ana is a little harder. I dont think she will ever REALLY progress. She likes to talk with us but claims to not understand anything. She is convinced one church is the church of god because on the bottom of a pamphlet from this church, it says the church of god. hahah. oh man.
Fatima. Easily the hardest lesson i have had in my mission. We visited her for the first time on Friday. She was contacted by the missionary before me in the street but we finally met up with her. I started to give the brief como comenzar ensenar, sorry dont know what it is in English, and she interrupted and said i know who you are, i am a member. I lost all stress and we talked. Then she started to cry. Greeeeeat. Apparently she had a really bad experience with someone who would soon after serve a mission and return 2 years later. She claims to know he wasnt worthy and that this was so bad that her daughter moved to the states. It was really hard to listen to her tell the story as she was crying and i wasnt sure what to say. Furthermore, we have a less active to teach now.
Yesterday i was walking on the side of the highway to bring investigators to church. I was walking a little quick and was looking at the ground. i didnt see a branch and it caught my eye lid. This tree had thorns like a rose bush and as a result it slight open an area beneath my eyebrow. It was a nasty cut man. I didnt realize how bad it was until after church. It really messed with me mentally. I cleaned it and decided it’d be best to call the nurse and tell her i needed stitches. Over time it healed a little. the district leader came over to talk to Nancy with us and he said it looked okay but to clean it again before we left. when i came back and showed him he told me it was worse than he thought and we should call the nurse. she told him that i couldnt work yesterday, and so i ended up staying home with a member the DL came with. we watched a movie, the testaments, talked, ate, and played the ukulele. It was cool and taught him a few things. I went to Santa Ana this morning to go to the doctor. I saw that the colts were playing the chiefs, who won? Just kidding, i dont really care. But they told me it had healed enough and so stitches werent necessary. Aaaand now I’m here.

That’s it for the week. I am grateful for another week i have to rock the missionary name tag and to help people understand the truthfulness of this message. I know it’s true, and it has been really cool to help other people comprehend this stuff as well. The work continues! Going to be a fun week, cant wait!!

Feliz navidad, prospero ano y felicidad!! Love you all!
Elder Slack

December 16, 2013

Hey guys! So, it happened! Hello from the city of Turin! I have been changed to an area really close to my other area. The difference is this area has a branch instead of a ward. This is when things will get tough. There arent a ton of people too pumped about the church. There are sooo many less actives in our area, it is hard to find ANY lessons with members. This area was in shambles when i came in, so me and my buddy Elder Bauserman are going to try to fix things up. I am the senior comp.
My comp is named Elder Montero. Elder Montero is 19 and from Honduras with a strong accent. He has the same time in the mish as me, but 4 less weeks because of the CCM. He is a convert and is the only member of the church in his fam, along with his sister. He is a cool kid and we hope to change our area’s success together.
The house is… not the house i had before. ONly about 10 percent has a roof. Hahaha. However, there are coconut trees and i have tied my hammock on them. Yes, i have a little time every night to chill under those and thing about how cool it is. This happens as i talk to my buddy elder Bauserman.
Elder Bauserman was in my first zone and we got pretty close. He is a baller. he is 19 and is from ohio and has 6 months. His brother served in Madagascar and said he recognized names like Mahina and Hansen from the mission. Kinda sweet. Elder Bauserman and I were siting next to each other at changes. We thought oh man, how cool would it be if we were in the same zone! we were. all of a sudden we were also in the same district. Then in the same ward. And all of a sudden, we shared a house. haha we are going to have a lot of fun! Luckily, we both have a really strong desire to change things in this area so we’ll work really hard as well.
We had a lesson last night with a less active. They were baptized, wife, husband, son, 3 years ago from missionaries in the area. The wife was later offended by leaders of the rama after helping the missinoaries a ton. Now they got some serious problems with the word of wisdom. Last night we had a really powerful lesson with them. We hadnt known about why she went inactive. The spirit was really strong and she shared her very personal story with us. We talked to her and tried to have her understand that there are some real losers in the church. I hope we can bring them to church this sunday. I think if we promise them we can sit with them, they will come. Wish us luck!
Spanish update. Honestly, I feel pretty comfortable for 4 months! It is awesome. I can understand everything almost always and i take lead in the lessons and everything. Everyone says i have better spanish than the missinoary before, who had 5 years of spanish in school before the mish and has 9 months here. It is coming along! WHoo! The gift of tongues.
Anyways, thanks for everything! Love you all.
 Elder Slack

December 9, 2013

 Heeeeeey what up!
First off, people have been talking about soccer with me. Yes, I did hear that i would develop a love for soccer on my mission. Hahaha. I have tried SO HARD to appreciate it. I bought el salvador soccer gear, like shorts and a jersey. I even put my name on the back of the jersey. did this improve anything? uhhh not really. we play soccer almost every p day for an hour. i am actually pretty good. do i like it now? no. i thirst for football, basketball, baeball, and hockey. Haha ugh. That is my update on soccer, for those who were asking me.
Next bit of info. We have changes on wednesday and i am pretty sure i am out! It has been a good run here. I dont want to leave. Especially my house. I am convinced my house is the best house in most of the mission. That’ll be a rough slap in the face haha. I will probably go home from this and pack my suit cases.
I had a baptism sunday! 9 year old Jonathan is clean! whoo! He was the 2nd person i baptized (i baptised his older cousin gaby the 27th) and the 6th that my comp and i have had. We have 5 people planning to be baptized the 20th of this month, that is, if i am still in this area. We have been really blessed with that.
I had pizza on Friday for the first time since the MTC! I was pumped! We ordered a meat lovers and picked it up down the road. It was 11 bucks for a semi big meat lovers pizza. The sausage they said would be on it ended up being diced up hot dogs. Haha i thought that was funny. The bacon nearly had me in tears though. I love bacon. It had been a rough 4 months. We put down the entire pizza, me and my comp, in about 10 minutes. I felt like I was back home with my buddies putting down pizza and listening to music.
Friday the missionaries in Ahuachapan all sang at a christmas concert! It was the mayor’s birthday and so we sang to him. It wasnt packed, but there was probably around 100 people. It was pretty cool though. We also sang what child is this, we wish you a merry christmas, rudolph, and angels we have heard on high. The catch was that all of this was in english.
We had an AWESOME lesson on Thursday with one of our investigators about the day of rest. Her family always sells food on sundays because they live across the street from a church. We talked about the importance of the day of rest and read parts from leviticus that explain more about this important commandment. We could see a change in her and knew she realized that they had been making a mistake. It was one of those feel good moments that i thing every missionary gets from time to time. My spanish was killing it and we taught by the spirit. The spirit was really strong, and we had done a good job, i feel, at explaining the commandment. We left with high hopes.
Sunday we returned to invite them to the baptism and to the christmas devotional which was being shown at the church. THEY WERE SELLING THEM AGAIN. ugh. I was bummed. I know it is bad to be discouraged, but i feel that we had dominated the lesson with her and she had finally understood the importance of the day of rest. I realized that there isnt really much we can do in that situation. We can only share the message, hope the spirit can touch their hearts (by this point, i belive both had been successfully done), but the most important part is that they apply the lesson to their lives. This is where she fell short, and the sucky part is that we cant really do anything about it, just back up and try again. She’ll come around.
Well, that’s all i got for today.
thank you for all your support! I know i tell you guys weekly, but it really does mean a lot. It is cool to know so many people support me!
I love you all!
Love, Elder Slack

December 2, 2013

Hey everyone!! I am still doing good and had another worm-free week! high five!
We’re going to hop right into the good stuff this week.
First off, yesterday morning before church i was on splits with a member to pick up investigators. this way we can get more people, faster. i walked into the yard of a lady we baptized on wednesday and, being in my black suit, her 2 big dogs attack me. i fought off one with my left foot but this left my right leg vulernable. i got bit on my hamstring but it wasnt bad. it ripped through my pants but stopped at my g’s. i got a scrape on my leg i washed out but yeah, couldve been sucky.
i got bit by a spider this mrning during a service project and my hand started to bleed. it went cold and i didnt know what to do. but it’s good now. haha things like to bite me.
From wednesday, forward, i will have a highlighter on my backpack every day of my mission. this is the dumbest idea i have ever came up with. i figured if people cant ever remember my name, they will remember the kid with the highlighter on his backpack. i alternate highlighter colors according to the color of my tie. i am a loser. whatever.
we had a ward activitiy friday night after we visited the temple. it was good and i had fun! usually latinos NEVER play basketball. when they see a lonely gringo shooting hoops, suddenly all the teens, guys and girls, wanna play. I ended up dividing around 20 people into 2 teams. it was awesome! props of being a missionary! They have never seen a crossover before. I had fun with that. I threw down one dunk but it was hard to get up in my missionary attire. Oh well. I think the hoops are a little shorter here. I may have grown a little already, i also think my legs are stronger. We walk every where. More of a jog, actually.
In the temple it was really good! We got out and the latinos were all saying did you guys feel the shake?! gringos are thinking… uh… no? turns out there was 2 earthquakes during the session and i didnt feel either one! we had a member confirm that there were 2 earthquakes in san salvador. i am really bummed i didnt feel anything!
At the baptisms we had on wednesday night, it was really good! we have 2 more next week. one is sunday and the other is the 12th, i dont know what day that is. i am hoping i get to baptize the one sunday! he  is 9 years old. the other is alfonso who is 85.
Alfonso is 85 but is able to walk and talk and hear really well. it is shocking! i have seen so many people 80 and 90 years old working like they were 40 or 50 here. i dont know how they do it. alfonso has been awesome. he has been really accepting of the message and was prepared by the lord to hear from us. he has given up coffee in our short 3 weeks of knowing each other and shows a lot of potential for the future. he will be baptized december 12, his birthday. how many people do you know are baptized on their 86th birthday? what a stud!
I am doing really well here! I love teaching and the experiences i have daily. I continue to grow closer to the Lord adn see the blessings and miracles that the church has brough to my life. I have come to know the importance of church attendence, reading scriptures, and praying. these three things are dominant for overcoming temptation. i dont know how to explain it. it literally is a blockade for temptation.
I pray that you guys have success and continue to try to draw yourselves closer to your heavenly father.
read matt 24. this is about the last days. kind of cool stuff.
never forget who your favorite son, brother, friend, relative, and missionary is.
Much love, Elder Slack Daddy