July 21, 2014

Hey! Can’t believe another week has come and gone. I officially have 11 months in the mission! I have 12 months and 2 weeks left to help as many people as i can. The mission has been unbelievably fast. Excited to try and do some big things in this time i have left! I still have a lot to learn. 

So this week was pretty good. We work really well with members in this area. We almost always visit with this one sister that is preparing to go on a mission. She goes to Chile on November 19, her brother goes to Columbia, and her sister goes to Ecuador ALL ON THE SAME DAY. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it is going to be for their family. But they were really excited to receive and open their calls yesterday. They will be good missionaries. 
We were able to baptize Francisca yesterday! Omar didnt go to church again, his mom is the problem of it all. But the baptism of Francisca was really smooth and everything went really well. She will be a good member of the church. I hope her and her husband (Patrociono that we baptized last month) can get sealed in the temple next July. 
Yesterday we brought 7 people to church which is pretty dang good. We brought 2 new people and hope to put a baptismal date with one of them on Thurdsday. 
Thursday my zone leaders got a call from the assistants saying i would train this next change, and so i had to wake up at 4 oclock on Friday morning to head to Santa Ana for a meeting that started at 730. I was dead tired but it was good and i learned a bit. I am pumped to train again! There are 6 americans training this change, and 4 will have American comps! There is a new guy coming in from South Jordan, it would be kind of cool to train him. We’ll see who i get! I am really happy though because i get to changes and hear all my buddies give their final testimonies before going home! Bummed my buddy Elder Draper is going home, but he is excited and I know his family has been excited for quite a while as well haha.
Other than that, not much is new! I am still working hard and trying to be the best missionary i can be. I still am way too hard on myself, but that is just how i am. 
One of the things i have learned the most in the mission is patience! As a missionary, you have to do everything you can to always have the spirit! This means patience with comps and investigators. I have become a pretty patient guy, that is what my dad wanted haha. There is only one thing i am not very patient with, and something i am not going to ever be patient with. The thing that bugs me the most in the mission is when one person wants to get baptized but lacks a marriage. You have 19 years together, 4 kids, and you tell me ”the moment hasnt arrived yet”? Are you kidding me? So many people say that ”the moment hasnt arrived yet” and they refuse to get married, even after i tell them that i will personally call the lawyer, set the date, and pay the lawyer for the wedding. 1 Corinthions 7:9 says it best and i try to make sure that the investigators understand it. I have been told I talk a little too bluntly and a little too hard against those that fornicate, but i dont care. 
One suggestion i have for people preparing for missions is try to throw in the temple into your lessons! Talk about how the family can be eternal and people start to naturally keep committments and grow interest in the church. 
I know the church is true because it is the only church that has all the teachings from Christ. It has 1 prophet and 12 apostles vivientes and that is how we can learn the will of the Lord. 
The mission really is awesome. I learned a lot from being comps with Elder Leiva and think he will be a good missionary in the future. 
Hope you guys have a good week! 
Elder Slack

July 14, 2014

This week was actually a pretty solid one. We met almost every goal that we had put, except for one. That baptismal date we had for the 13? Yeah, he didn’t go to church so he could watch the World Cup Final. We will be baptizing him this next Sunday. Everything else went really smoothly though. We taught some good lessons and i also got to have my interview with the new mission president and his wife. They are awesome!! We will have a more personal relationship with them, i think. President Spjut called me Saturday night to wish me a happy birthday as well, so that was cool.
Yesterday we brought 4 people to church and put another baptism date. Patrocinio, the guy we baptized last month with his 2 sons, has a brother that was baptized with his son yesterday. His wife will be baptized this Sunday with the wife of Patrocinio and her daughter, who are our investigators. We are baptizing the whole family, so we are all really excited about that! We are expecting more of that family to baptized in August as well.
My birthday was pretty good. I got a few emails from people wanting to know what i did, how i celebrated, etc. We didn’t do too much, but we had fun. I woke up and it was the normal routine. For lunch we called Pollo Campero, a fast food place, and they delivered my BBQ chicken sandwich with onion rings on it to my house. It was delicious. I had lunch with my comp (surprise) and also Elder Smith and Elder Rosales. It was pretty fun. They also surprised me with a chocolate cake, and so after lunch, we ate that cake. It is a Latino tradition or something for the person with a birthday to bite into the cake after they sing happy birthday, just so people  can shove your face into it. Really hesitantly, i did it, and as a result, i got a nice, fair amount of chocolate cake shoot up my nose. It was fun though and i got a video of it and everything, so you guys will be able to enjoy my suffering in a few weeks when i get that memory card out. We went to work like normal, but the last appointment of the night was with a member named Felipe. He is a boss! He is always teasing his wife until she gets mad, and so i naturally like him. They are a really humbled family though and were baptized about 10 months ago. They prepared us a nice candlelit dinner with chicken, soup, and some bread. Then I came home and watch the Testaments before going to bed.
We are doing good though and i am still healthy! The Elders in my district are still recovering from their parasites, and i still haven’t been effected.
We have been teaching lessons really effectively and been trying to focus more on the spirit. As a result, we have taught a lot more about the temples and the plan of salvation and people really like it. We are going to have a trip to the temple on August 6 with investigators and recent converts, so we are trying to get them pumped up on temples now. One of the families we are teaching is the Nalasco family. They are the grandpa, his daughter, and her two daughters. The two grand daughters want to be baptized but don’t have permission from the mom yet. The mom knows the church is true and loves the lessons, (every lesson we have had with her has been way spiritual) but the school that her daughters go to only accepts that the students are catholic. If they are baptized, they have to change schools, so looks like we are at a wall until October when they end the school year. The grandpa also knows the church is true but is accustomed to the church he goes to and is scared to change just because he has so much time in the Evangelical church, so it more of a social problem than anything.
Everything is good and i am still loving the mission. Talk next week!
Elder Slack

July 7, 2014

> This week was a pretty crazy one! I only worked half of the week though, explain that in a sec.
> First off, my 4th of July was good i guess. Haha i actually didn’t really have one. There wasn’t really anyway to celebrate, but i did do one thing. I bought a big Captain America piñata and put my name tag on it, so that was pretty cool. I hope you guys had fun though. 🙂
> This week was kind of a plain week. My shoes I have used for 11 months passed away. they acquired two huge holes on the bottom, and so now i am onto another pair. These should last me the rest of my mission.
> We only had 3 people in church this week and that was pretty disappointing. On the bright side, we still have 3 dates and have a baptism of a teenage named O. on Sunday. O. is a 16 year old stud. His dad still wants to be baptized but we are waiting to get him married with his ”partner of life”.
> We are visiting a guy named M. He has been to church a ton of times and likes everything about it, and hates every other church there is. He is still waiting to be baptized though because he says that he isn’t ready to be baptized yet. Sometimes it is hard to help people understand repentance. Mauricio isn’t the first, a lot of people here really understand baptism. They understand it is a big promise and commitment we make to the Lord. But when they don’t understand repentance, they get nervous. M. doesn’t want to get baptized yet because he knows he is going to sin again and doesn’t want to offend God or break the covenant. We try explaining to him that this is why Christ came to the earth is so that we could repent, but he doesn’t get it. We just have to keep trying to get the message across in different ways. Tonight we are going to share the Lamb of God video with him and hope it does the trick. We hope to baptize him the last week of this month or the first week of August.
> The earthquake this morning was pretty cool. I guess it was a 6.9 from Guate. I woke up at 5:30 shaking kind of violently in my bed, it lasted about 20 seconds.
> About half way through the work day on Friday, all of Saturday, and all of Sunday (except for church) we were inside of the house. My comp had been feeling a little sick and so we went to get some tests done for him. We also went with the 2 zone leaders that live with us. Turns out they all have parasites and one has E Coli. I haven’t felt sick or anything, but am being super cautious so i don’t have living creatures eating my insides. We decided it would be really weird to be pregnant and have to pretend to love that thing creeping and crawling in your stomach for 9 months. Hopefully we are able to leave today though. 5 of the 6 elders in my district have parasites. I don’t know what i did to avoid them.
> Anyways, that is it for this week. I am learning more everyday and am trying my best to help people accept the gospel. I love being a missionary, and love using my birthday as an excuse to receive candy, snacks, drinks, and meals this week from members and other missionaries. Here is to a successful Saturday!
> Elder Slack