This a letter Nate sent to his sisters today:
So this is the message we share with all the people here.
God loves us and wants us to return to live with him but knows that we cant unless we know how to do it. This is why he calls prophets.
Prophets are inspired men called of God that work as a guide for us here on earth. They kept their teachings on plates of gold and metal, like the book of Mormon and the bible. We have these to help us know the commandments and know of where we came from, why we are here on the earth and the things we need to do here to return to the presence of God.
But what happened is that the people after a little time didn’t want to follow the prophets or the commandments. They get too caught up in what is going on in the world and sin. Sin keeps us from returning to the presence of God and rejecting the prophets and their teachings. There can still be good people on the earth, but without prophets on earth, they start trusting more in their own knowledge that what god really wants us to do.
The same happened when Christ came here to the earth. He came to do 2 things. Obviously he died for us. This doesn’t mean that every person is automatically forgiven for the bad things they do. We can be forgiven, but only if we obey the commandments and show God that we want to be forgiven. Christ also established his church. he did it with 1 prophet and 12 apostles, a model that would have to be followed forever from then on. They had the priesthood like the prophets of old had.Tthe priesthood is the power of God to act in his name on earth. this is how people can heal and do miracles and stuff, but only if you have the priesthood.
But what happened, is that the people, like they had done before, rejected Christ and his 12 apostles, the only 13 people that had the priesthood. The people on earth later killed all 13, and when they died, the priesthood went with them. Now there was no one on earth to lead the church of god. No one had the priesthood or anything, just the scriptures. People began to understand the bible in a bunch of different ways and began making difference churches that agreed with the understanding they had of the bible. Now there are a ton of churches on earth. They are all good, but there can only be one church that is true. You gotta remember God is a god of order and only has one thing he teaches, but every church has a different way of teaching and stuff, and obviously that isn’t organized like God wants it to be.
The thing that makes the church different than every other church is this. In 1820, there was a teenager who had the same question as you guys. Wanting to know what church is true, how can we know, etc etc. in James 1:5, it says that if we don’t understand something, we should ask god. If we ask any member of any church which is the true church, obviously they are going to say the church they belong to. That is why we should ask God, in prayer which church is true. This is what Joseph Smith did. This is when he kneeled down and prayed and asked God which church he should join. Christ and God appeared to him and told him that none of the churches in the earth was the church of God because they didn’t have the priesthood or the fullness of the gospel like it was here when Christ was teaching.
Joseph Smith was told he would be prepared to be a prophet, and through him, God called 12 apostles. The church is the only church in the world that has 1 prophet and 12 apostles like Jesus said the church of God needed to have. Ephesians 2:20.
Joseph Smith received the priesthood from Peter James and John, 3 of the original apostles of Christ so the earth had a guide again to lead them. He received revelation from God to teach the things that he wanted us to know here on earth.
It is something that is complicated and hard to explain and I didn’t understand it until I was here on the mission. I know it is hard to understand why we do some things in the church, but if you take a step back and look at the big picture, it all makes sense. temples, priesthood, prophet, 12 apostles, etc. it all makes sense and I know it is true.
you all know the church is true, but it is normal to have doubts. you actually should have doubts.
What you guys have to do is pray and ask if the church is true. But you gotta do it sincerely. If you do it just to do it, you’re dumb and you wont get an answer. You guys gotta do it this week and let me know what happens next week!
Nate didn’t send a typical letter this week. He sent this to Gary and I thought it still had some good information….
Letter to Papi
Yeah, it’s so interesting man. I’ve learned stuff here in the mission I dont think I ever would have learned had I not served a mission. Things about baptism, repentance, the organizatino of the church, etc. a mission is too valuable to not do.
It kind of depends how much time you stay as a zone leader. Some are zone leaders for a really long time, others are zl for 2 or 3 changes. it depends on how old the leaders in the mission are. Like for example, most of the zone leaders right now go home with me or before me, so they’ll probably be dropping a few zl to get some new guys gain some experience. I assume I am zl a few more changes, maybe till I die.
I’m trying to buy stuff right now that I wouldn’t be able to buy in the states
I am excited for our little NCAA tourney bracket in the zone. I am thinking that the winner gets a trophy and a t shirt
Pday always ends at 6. I wake up at about 615 to head over to the church to send the numbers of all the key indicadores to the mission office and then wait here until about 12 so the missionaries can write their family. Usually we dont have to wash our clothes because members wash them, but im going to do it now because the member charges too much (15 bucks a month) and takes too long to get it back to us (1 week). We usually do a zone activity like a slip n slide or sports and stuff like that after having lunch as a zone. For example last week we played baseball and ordered 12 pizzas, it was pretty sweet. We buy groceries of course, but I usuallly just buy bread, cheese, ham, and cereal and milk because I dont have a ton of time to eat as a zone leader. we just hang out, honestly. It is nicer here because we actually have a lttle bit of time to relax for a bit.
Oh man! I am so pumped for the Michigan game! That is going to be a lot of fun! So it will be the same 4 as the new Orleans trip? Going to the Red Wings game Friday night would complete the trip. Oh man. It’ll be fun whatever we do. If we dont go to USU as a fam, I’ll go. and what are the chances we go to the ucla game?
Zone Conference is something we do every week here, actually, every Tuesday. it is like an hour of a half of teaching and motivating the missionaries and trying to fix the problems there are in the zone. pretty intesnse stuff
First off, my Valentines Day was good and filled with a ton of love messages between Elder Bauserman and I. He has changes and my comp has changes, so we could be zone leaders together to end his mission. ohhhh man.
I have now gotten all of my clothes skinnied. No more baggy shirts or pants and even my ties are made skinny. it’s pretty cool. haha it’s kind of the trend of the mission. it isn’t skin tight, it just fits me good now. better that way.
I found some reaaaally cool stuff I’m going to get for me and dad. it’ll be a really cool gift for him, I’ve already got some sweet stuff for the girls but haven’t really found anything for dad until last week. i had to get one too.
I want to hear each of your favorite byu moments or games while I have been here in the mission. I dont know if you’ve sent the package out yet, but i was thinking about things you could add in there. if not, maybe for my last package of my mish for my my birhtday. a ton of twizzlers of different types, a oil holder, and my white byu t shirt with the cougar head on front. i really like that logo and miss it haha.
This week was a pretty good one! Every week this change we were able to bring new people to church. During the course of the 6 weeks, we brought 15 different people to church, we are just having a hard time at finding people who want to be baptized that DONT have dumb little restrictions. We have 3 families that are progressing, and the husband of all 3 families want to be baptized but because the wife doesnt want to get married, well, they cant be baptized.
We are teaching a little kid named Wilber who is a stud. He is like 11 years old but always goes to church with his cousins. We put a goal with him and his grandma for the 1st of March, and if he starts behaving better this week, we can count that date this weekend.
We met a family named the Family Chavez. It was a miracle! On Thursday we were on interchanges and I was leading my area. We had had one of the best days of my mission all ready, with quite a few positive news and a lot of lessons with investigators, but walking around looking for a lesson at 845, my comp wanted to go home because we didnt have anything else to do, but i said no, if we find 2 more news, i’ll buy us pollo campero! haha. We tried contacting a couple references that didnt want anything and then right by our house we saw a lady sitting outside so we started to talk to her. We found out that she had been baptized 35 years ago in Ahuachapan with her 2 kids, but her grand kids hadn’t been baptized yet. They weren’t sure why they stopped going to church and told us they’d start going again with their 2 grand kids! Whoo! They couldn’t go Sunday, but they should be able to go this week or next week and we’d have two more dates with the grand kids. Later that night, well, I had to buy pollo campero.
I’m still learning a lot. I finally understand the importance of baptism and that it is the first step we take to return to the presence of our Father in Heaven.
Hey, well, another week gone. This is the last week of this change, crazy to think that i’ve only got a few changes left.
This week was a little frustrating, we are trying really hard to look for news but aren’t having a ton of luck, not really sure what we are doing wrong but oh well, this week will be better.
Yesterday I was asked to give a talk in sacrament, so I wrote my talk about 5 minutes before church started. Way too many times missionaries talk about the importance of the members and it really isn’t very affective. It is like the members just zone out when the missionaries are speaking and so I wanted to talk about things a little different, the attributes of Christ.
In a really brief summary, I basically said this.
When Christ was here on the earth he did a lot of things. Established his church, performed miracles, and set the example for us. If we want true happiness we have to follow his example. I went on to talk about the faith and hope in Christ. I mentioned John 20:25, 27-29 and compared it to not putting a lot of trust in one of my little league football coaches. It was 4th and goal and we had ran the the same play 3 straight times with no success, so I changed the play at the line and what the coach called would’ve work, but my audible was swallowed up for a 2 yard loss. I compared it to Doubting Thomas because he lacked the faith in the other apostles. He thought he knew better and was later told he would’ve been more blessed had he believed without seeing. I hope that makes sense to you guys. It made sense in my head haha.
I then talked about charity and patience and humility before relating it back to the atonement. When we are humbled, we can use the atonement in our lives and we repent and receive forgiveness for our actions. I feel it was a pretty solid 15 minute talk, so that was good.
Gotta head out though!
Another pretty eventful week from here in Chalchuapa!
Fun Fact: I found out on Friday that I live about 5 minutes from the Tazumal Ruins, kind of cool to think I live exactly where the Mayans lived a long time ago.
Well, it happened. Something small, great and delicious. I found out that Pollo Campero sells boneless wings. It’s going to be hard to not buy them constantly, Pollo Campero being 50 yards from my house. I finally found a place that sells boneless wings! Whoo!
This week was FILLED with interchanges. I went to Ciudad Real on Tuesday to do divisions, then a missionary from Cuzcachapa came to my area to be with me on Thursday, and on Friday and Saturday we went on interchanges with the same companionship because they are having quite a few problems. I only worked with my comp 2 days this week which was fun but weird at the same time.
We met a new investigator on Thursday named G. G is a buff 19 year old kid and is really cool. He says he went to an Evangelical church for a while but as of like 8 months stopped going. He went to church with us yesterday and we passed by his house in the afternoon to invite him to baptism. He said yes but it wasn’t really solid yet, so we’re just counting it as a goal. But we have a goal for the 21 of February.
We’ve had some pretty frustrating things happen with our investigators. A lot of the references we receive live on a street called Pampe, a street we cant even get close to. Actually a majority of the references we receive in our area are places we cant visit. In the past few months, my area has gotten smaller and smaller, supposedly. We are still teaching A and Z, but Z still doesn’t want to even talk about marriage or separation so there isn’t a lot of progress there. The date we put a few weeks ago hides from us. F, the 11 year old kid of the coolest member in the ward is never home. Etc. etc. Just annoying little things that really keep us from seeing some results.
Yesterday all the members here kept saying, Elder Slack I cant wait to watch the Super Bowl! Haha I didn’t believe any of them, they just know I love football. Last night I got a call from a missionary in my zone who played college football giving me a summary of the game, sounds like it was pretty crazy! I am not the slightest bit disappointed to not miss any more football games.
I’m grateful for the mission and the things I’m learning out here. With different leadership responsibilities, I am learning a ton! Yesterday, my comp and I met with the stake president and the ward mission leader of every ward in the stake and we pretty much taught them all how a ward mission leader should be and how they could be the most effective. I realized a few months ago that the things that people learn in the mission are not just for the mission, not even just about the church. Anyone who misses out on the opportunity to serve a mission will always be a few steps behind where they could’ve been, if they had served. I’ve learned a ton, from the Atonement and how to work with stake leaders, to how to listen to whiny missionaries and solve problems that there are.
I know the Church is true and that this work is perfect. I only have 6 months more to be apart of it, but excited to take advantage of every day.