April 27, 2015

I asked Nate why the baptism might not work from his letter last week and this was the response:

and the baptism for that little girl doesn’t count. she was TERRIFIED of the water and freaked out every time my comp touched her in the font. he said the prayer behind her and we had her go all the way down in the water by herself because she wouldn’t let my comp baptize her like normal. we struggled there for a total of like 4 hours between two days. she finally went all the way under, but because a priesthood holder never touched her, the baptism isn’t valid. we are just going to baptize her in a few years when she is more mature. she is 12 but really immature for her age. bummed, but i guess it is for the best.

This week was another pretty good one! We’re working really good in my area so I’m having fun right now.

Last week we had interviews with President Spjut. He ended up talking to me for like 40 minutes and then talked to my comp and I for another hour. We just talked about some of the rules in the missionary hand book that a lot of people don’t keep. He had me read page 8 which talks about language and then asks, Elder Slack, do you feel that you are keeping these rules? Obviously I got really nervous and thought about everything I had said from the moment I was born. I told him I felt i was keeping the rule and then he talked about using slang and stuff. I guess I was guilty after all haha. It’s just hard sometimes because the ”slang” they use here are just every day words. He then asked me to read page 11 which talked about dressing. He asked if i felt i was keeping those rules. He said he likes it when missionaries dress traditionally. At that moment, I looked down at my black pants and gray suit jacket and said i guess i could start by wearing the same color of pants and jacket, haha, we both laughed. He asked if i had brought the pants i was wearing from home. I said yes and then he asked if i had adjusted them in any way here in the mission. Again, i was guilty saying yes, i had made them a little skinnier. He asked why and i said i dont know, everyone was doing it. Not with those words, but it was something along those lines haha. He was upset or anything, he just wanted to know why the entire mission is doing it. Overall, it was a good experience.

This week was loaded with interchanges. It is cool to go to other areas but i feel a lot of pressure and feel like i have to do everything perfect because that’s what i felt my zone leaders had done earlier in my mission in my areas. But it’s always cool to know the leaders of the wards and everything, plus to help the missionaries if they have things they struggle with.

In my area this past week we did really well. We have been working really really well with the members and have been receiving a ton of references. We began contacting references of family members of members that had been visited by missionaries quite a few times, but there had been no progress with them. Well, we were able to bring 3 of them to church yesterday and 2 others that are progressing towards baptism. We are teaching one girl who is 22 years old who has a boyfriend who we are reactivating who is also 22. He was excited to start going back to church after being inactive 7 years because they want to be sealed in the temple. Well, the members have been working a little too good with her because now she is wanted to serve a mission before being sealed, haha her poor boyfriend is pretty disappointed. She has a baptism goal for the 10th of May and I’m sure she’ll be baptized that day and I’d be willing to bet she also serves a mission. She is one of those people who were ready for the gospel.

This past week i was reading the Liahona and it was talking about knowing the difference between weakness and sin. That’s something a lot of people don’t really understand. Everyone here says well, i’m not perfect and god understands, but it’s not like that. In Ether 12:27, Jacob 4:7 we learn that we have weaknesses to help make us stronger. It is only by faith in Christ that helps us overcome the weaknesses we have. A lot also has to do with the grace of god. Even when we do our best, we always will fall short. 2 Nephi 25:23 I think it is that says that we will be saved by the grace of God after doing all we can do, which also hints to faith in Christ and repentance. To have faith in Christ isn’t just so we have a strong testimony, but also so that we are able to overcome weaknesses and also receive grace and forgiveness from God. There is no better way to strengthen the faith someone has in Christ than by serving a full time mission. I’ve been thinking a little bit this past week about all the blessing one receives on their mission with all my friends going home. The experience and growth people have in their mission can’t be made up for at any other time in your life. The mission for me has been pretty tough but it’s been really good. Like most things, it’s had it’s high points and low points, but I wouldn’t change the experiences I’ve had here in the mission for anything. Anyone who chooses to not serve a mission will always be 2 steps behind where they could’ve been had they served.

Elder Nate Slack

April 20, 2015

Man this week was a really crazy one. We started out on Monday getting a call from the assistants telling us that we would begin working in another area the next day. We would assist the same chapel and live in the same house but be in a different ward. The area we were in had slowly been closing more and more and so it didnt make a lot of sense having 4 missionaries in a smallish area when there was an area right next to it that was a lot bigger and only had 2 missionaries. So on Tuesday we began to open up the area Chalchuapa 2. This meant we had to look for a ton of news obviously, and we did pretty good. We worked pretty well with the members and have gained the confidence of them which has helped us more than anything. But it’s my second time opening up an area, so we’ll see how it goes!

My new area includes Tazumal, the ancient Mayan Ruins. It was cool because we were right next to the entrance teaching some people about the Book of Mormon and how it was written by the same people who made Tazumal. It’s not something you get to do in most of the world, so that was really cool.

The past 2 weeks I have seen a ton of US military helicopters, like black hawks and Apaches. I know they are from the states because i had seen them every day for 18 years haha. It brings back memories seeing them and hearing them fly over head.

The temple trip last week was really good! It’s always cool to go there. I was walking in and was able to see a good friend I made while i was living with the ZL in Turin! Turns out she is a temple worker. It was my last time there so i tried to enjoy the peace and designs and stuff. It’s cool how each temple is different and adjusts to the different parts of the world that they are in.

The rain has also started, which means we now have to bag our scriptures daily and everything. Not a huge fan of big rain storms, but i’m trying to enjoy it the best i can. Especially the lightning and thunder storms. Those are awesome!

So on Friday my companion had set a lunch appointment with a really poor member and in our new area. We had to run a ton of errands in the morning to help out another zone have papers to marry and baptize a family the next day, so we were tired and thirsty. Well, she pours us some juice and i naturally begin chugging it because i am thirsty. It was made of some weird fruit i had never heard of before, but i didnt care. They always leave little chunks of the fruit floating on top of the juice, so as you are drinking, you are also eating the fruit. I noticed i had some seeds so i took them out of my mouth and realized my comp was signaling at me to stop drinking the juice. I did and he began pointing at his cup. He then begins pulling out maggot… after maggot… after maggot. He explained that this kind of fruit always has maggots. I look into my cup and see the same thing under all the fruit chunks. I had to have eaten at like 5-10 of those gross worms. I lost my appetite and didnt really want to have lunch but had to eat it because she has no money but prepared spaghetti and rice for us. Leaving the house, my comp began puking on the street, but man, I hope i never have to relive something like that again. That was definitely a first.

On the bright side, we were able to baptize a little girl. There were a lot of complications but she was finally able to do it. We just realized there may have been something that may cause need for us to rebaptize her this week, but we will see. She has a HUGE fear of water, i guess it’s more of a phobia. We tried to baptize her on Saturday and she couldnt do it, but on Sunday after trying for a solid hour, we were able to do it. But I’m 50/50 on whether or not we will have to do it again this week.

Everything overall is going well! Hoping for another good week, always enjoying my time here in El Salvador, and always working hard!

Elder Nate Slack

April 13, 2015

I am running out of ways to start out emails and I feel awkward every time i try to think of something new, so i’m just going to start off haha.
Last week was a pretty good one, it was a really quick week. On Thursday we had a leadership meeting in Santa Ana and talked about the importance of prayer and fasting. It was good and I learned quite a bit. We talked a lot about if our investigators know that prayer is literally communicating with God. We always teach them how to pray but dont do a very good job at explaining why we do it and what principles are behind it and all. I’ve been trying to do better on my prayers but it’s not always easy haha. I swear my nightly prayers are terrible. Im just really tired and half of the time end up falling asleep in the middle of it. I think it’s pretty common though, i mean if there is a missionary that says they havent done that, they are lying or arent working very hard.
This Saturday we will be baptizing Elena. I’m pretty pumped to have another baptism even though she is just a little girl. We should be able to put a date as well for her mom this weekend, so it should be a pretty solid one.
The work here is progressing, but slowly. The ward i am in isnt too motivated to work, but we’re doing what we can. I can’t really complain because it won’t get me anywhere, just gotta roll with the punches. The area is pretty small, just because we cant enter in to a lot of areas. I’d say around 70% of our area is restricted, so it’s pretty limited to find news and everything, and there are 2 companionship’s. We’ll see what happens.

We have met a few positive news that want to progress, we just need to get them to church. We met (on the phone) with a guy named Ernesto who seems really positive who is the friend of a member. Unfortunately we havent been able to teach him yet because of baptisms in the zone and leadership meetings and stuff, and we cant go where he lives anytime after 5 oclock.
Armando still is the same. He wants to get baptized but because his wife isnt receiving money from her family to leave yet, we are stuck waiting to baptize him.
I’ve gained a new attribute i am pretty pumped about. We had a few weird situations in the zone this past weekend and some people were getting mad at others, but a couple of us were able to look at it from the perspective of everyone. We ended up fixing the problem without too much frustration. I’ve always been a big fan of simplicity… no need to complicate a situation.
Last week at the leadership meeting i was able to hang out with Elder Bauserman. I love that guy. It was probably the last time i see him until changes meeting when he goes home. Man, i’m gonna miss him.
This Thursday we will be going to the temple as a zone at around 530 in the morning and i cant wait! it’ll be my last trip to the temple here in El Salvador so I’m excited. it’ll be nice going in English again though.
This past week i was also to eat a few things you don’t really eat a lot in Utah. Oranges i picked off a tree, coconuts i drank and ate after opening it with a machete, salting mango’s that i pull of the tree in my yard. It is cool to get a little more variety of stuff here, not even just that, but to also be able to say ”i am drinking a coconut i knocked off the tree and chopped open with a machete.”
Overall, things are going good here. We have the goal as a mission that every companionship baptized 2 people every change, so that’s something we are really working on as a zone. I’m still liking me time with Elder Flores and am getting a little bummed that all my friends are going home, both friends in the mission and friends at home, but whatever. Im loving the time here and always working hard.
Elder Nate Slack