Monday, September 4, 2017

Week 97: ¡Sopresa!


Hey hey! Surprise! Yup! 

I'm back to give a report of my last week in the mission.......

This week has been full full of surprises, the first one is that I'm still writing you from Argentina! They had told us that I wouldn't have time and that we'd go the mission home before we left, but then there was a change of plans, now at 4:30 their going to send a car to pick up me and Elder Flores, the other missionary that lives with us and is going back to Chile, and we're going straight to the airport. Soo!! I've got one last chance to tell you a few of my experiences here in Argentina.

This last week has been full of fun and interesting things. We started off Monday with a grand adventure, we went to a different area to buy a few things to bring home and when we were going back the other elders that live with us called us and they asked if we had touched the water heater.... We told them that we hadn't and we asked them why, and they told us that. SURPRISE! The whole department was flooded with water! When we got back we saw that it was true. The owner sent a guy to fix it and he stopped the water from leaking so much, luckily that morning we had cleaned the pench and there weren't to many things on the floor that could get wet. The repair man told us that the tank had a hole in it somewhere so they were going to have to buy a new replacement. Turns out the last time they sent a guy to fix a small leak in the pipe when he put the replacement shut-off key, he put it as a decoration, because it doesn't to anything, I don't know if that has anything to do with the tank breaking, but as a bonus all this last week we had to bathe with buckets or just with cold water, what a great memory for the last week, am I right? Haha! I loved it!

We worked on Tuesday and Wednesday, we were looking for new investigators and doing some good follow-up with some that we already had. We found 2 new people to help and teach, one is called Santos, he is a very humble man, he has problems with the alcohol and a few other things, but he really has desires to change. the other is Nelson, a great young man, he's 18 years old, we wathched a Mormon message with him, about 3 men that went to Japan to study and the first day's they were there they were invited to a party, turns out in the party that the people wanted to do some drugs and other bad stuff, 2 of the friends decide to leave and 1 stays, at the end the police show up and the one that stayed gets kicked out of the school. Anyways, it was a great lesson, when we watched the video he really liked it, he was surprised to see what a big difference it made in the lives of the 3 young men, that the 2 that left were very successful and the 1 that stayed lost many opportunities. I know that if we are bold enough to say no and to stand to our beliefs we will receive all of the blessings God has for us.

On Thursday and Friday, more excitement! Thursday Elder Flores and I and all of the other missionaries that are going home today and tomorrow we went on a tour of Capital Buenos Aires, we saw tons of stuff, we went to the Obelisk, which is Argentina's Washington's Monument essentially, but it is really cool. We went to a theater, where we got to see an orchestra practicing for an upcoming recital, that was really  awesome, it reminded me of all of the times I went with my family to recitals in BYU and in the conference center, I'm very grateful that my parents brought me to them so that I could learn to appreciate the music and the art. We also saw a giant, and I mean GIANT metal flower, that opens during the day and closes during the night, that was awesome. Then we ate lunch, we got to go to Port Madero, where they recieve all of the stuff that comes in from the ships to Buenos Aires. We went to a cementary where there are a bunch of huge graves and it's where there are many famous people from the history of Argentina are buried. And we went to La Boca, where there is a Soccer stadium for one of the biggest teams in Argentina and where there is a little "feria" or where you can buy stuff in the street. And that was pretty much the day.

On Friday we went to the Temple, wow! It was super great to go there for one last time. You can truly feel a great peace there and I learned so much! Definitely excited to go when I get back! And in the afternoon we ate lunch with President and his wife and we had interviews with Presidente Calquín! He gave me a few councils for my life about work, study, and marriage! Haha! The next mission is to get married! WHOO! And that was our fun trip!

These last few days I could say goodbye to many of the members and investigators and converts. It's hard leaving a ward where I've been so much time, but at the same time, I don't feel like it's really happening. To tell the truth I'm super nervous to get back home, I don't know what it'll feel like to see my family again, I don't know what it'll be like to do the things I did before. My life has changed, I have changed. I now understand the importance and need I have of the Saviour in my life. Over these past few day's many people have asked me, what has been the biggest change that I've seen in me during these past 2 years? Well, many things have changed, but what I see will most affect my life, is that now I follow my desires, I follow what I want, I do what I want, I know what I want. Before I think I was still dependant of my parents my friends and the opinions of other people, but now that doesn't affect me so much, now I know that the 2 most important opinions are that of my Father in Heaven and my own. Frecuently I ask myself, What do I want to do? Who do I want to be? and Where do I want to end up? and then I ask myself: What does my Father in Heaven want me to do? Who does He want me to be? Where does He want me to go? And I pray to know and feel what will be the right choice. I love you all! I'll be seeing many of you this coming week I hope! I'll see my family tomorrow morning! AHHH!!! I can hardly believe that it's so close!! I love you all and I hope that you have enjoyed reading these letters during the last 2 years. If you want to hear more, I'll be giving my homecoming talk this next Sunday in my home ward. I love you all! I have loved representing my Saviour during these last 2 years, and I will keep representing him in and throughout my life. Until the next time we meet!

-Elder Slack

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Week 96: El fin de una vida y el principio de otra

Well..... Here we are..... The time has come and gone, and it is now the LAST week of my mission. I can hardly believe it. It seems like it's only been a few months, but as weird as it seems. 2 years have past and here I am once again, writing for the last time in Argentina.

If for some reason the plane has a jet engine failure and I die........ Nah! This letter sounds freaking sad, let's put a positive tone on it!

IT'S BEEEN GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! These last 2 years have been the peak of my life up until now, and I'm sure I've still got a little bit more to climb. God has helped me so much during these last 2 years to grow and become a better person. I love him so much and I love his church and I love his son Jesus Christ. 

With only 7 minutes remaining on my last time to write the family I just wanted to share with you all my testimony. That Jesus Christ lives! That this is the true church, that Joseph Smith yes was a prophet called of God and the Book of Mormon is the word of God. If anyone wants to know it too, read the book, and ask of God to know if it is true.

I've learned so much and I am now a different person. I can say that it has happened to me as it says in the Book of Mormon. I have been born again. I have come unto Christ and I know that we can all repent and feel the same.

This week it's been a strange feeling to know that I won't be here to see the progress of all of the people we have taught and found. In just a week from now I'll be in a completely different continent. But I know that it is God's will. I love you all and I can't wait to see you all again someday! Thanks for being a part of my mission by reading these emails! Love you all!!

-Elder Slack

-P.S. I forgot my memory card, so no photos for the last week. And I'll be giving my homecoming talk on Sunday, September 10th, see my facebook my mom will be writing the hour. Love you all!!

(I added these photos from Stockton's emails over the past two years. I so love this son of mine! He has been a great missionary. I hope you have enjoyed reading his emails as much as I have. Many hugs to all!)

Week 95: Perseverance

Helloooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Everyone!!!

Well, for all of you who want to go on a mission it takes 3 things.... Hard work, Perseverance, and... Hard Work!! 

Well! It's been another grand week here in Argentina. It's coming down to the line now as we roll in to week 5 of the 6 weeks of the transfer. This will be my official last working week of the mission, the last week we've got a conference with a seventy and then for the missionaries who go home we're going to Capital Buenos Aires on Thursday to have a tour and then to the temple on Friday! It's crazy to think that the time has come and gone so quickly, I remember when I had 2 weeks left before I left on the mission, I was super excited to see what it was like and to gain so many new experiences but also sad to be leaving behind so many things. A familiar feeling has come to me as I realize every day that I'm that much closer to the end of it all. I feel sad because I'll be leaving behind all that I have come to know here in the mission in Argentina, but happy because I will be able to use all that I have learned I will be able to go back to all that I knew before. What a strange feeling to tell you the truth.

It's been a wonderful week, I'm very happy and thankful that the Lord has assigned me to be with Elder Pavón my last transfer, he's a great missionary and he's so funny and a great person to be around. He's always got lots of energy and excitement to do the work of the Lord and he's been helping me to learn more every week! If you don't remember he's from Honduras, what and interesting world we live in. I love it so much, I love all of the people here so much, it's incredible!

This week we've been working with several investigators, the one that gives me most hope is called Isabel, she's from Bolivia, like almost everyone here in the area :D. She works with her sisters in a workshop sewing clothes. She's very interested in the Gospel and has great desires to come closer to God. She went to church yesterday, just to sacrament meeting because her sister is pregnant and they had to leave because she was hurting a lot, but we hope that she can progress and be baptized in these coming weeks. 

We're still working with Samantha and Andres, they are both super awesome, they've got plans to get married in December, they've got a few problems sometimes and we hope that we can help them to resolve their problems, but we know that the biggest help they can receive is from our big brother Jesus Christ. They are really incredible and they love us(the missionaries) so much!

We're also working with several other people, several of them have to get married too, but they are interested. We're working with a less active family that has a brother that isn't member yet, we hope that the work goes well this week. We haven't been able to find as many people as we would like, but we know that God knows where they are and that he will guide us to the people that need our help.

It's been a great experience working here in Villa-Celina, I love it so much, I have grown to love even more countries than just Argentina, I've come to love all South America. It's been so awesome to learn Spanish as well, It's a blessing that I'm sure will continue to bless me even after the mission. 

This week one of my favorite experiences that I had was yesterday. We went to visit a less active family that didn't go to church yesterday and we talked with them. I didn't really know what to do or what to say, but I just felt that we needed to show them that we love them. As we were talking with them the mother of the family started telling us about her struggle with some of her children and how she wants then to go the church so much and that she feels so sad that they don't want to get closer to God. She started crying and kept talking and as she spoke, I began to feel something very interesting, as I was watching her and seeing how she expressed so much love for her children, I felt a great feeling of love for her, I felt that our Father in Heaven loves her so much, I began to realize that the love of a mother for her child is so great and even greater is the love of our Father in Heaven for us, for all of his children. In that moment I think I could feel just a fraction of what our Father in Heaven feels for her and for all of us, and WOW, how great is His love!

I love you all and I hope you have a great week! I'm home in 2 weeks so I'll see many of you soon!  With lots of love and a big hug!
-Elder Slack

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Week 94: Birthday's and Learning

Hola!! Buen Día!!!!

It's been another great week here in Argentina, my time here is growing shorter and shorter, I've only got 3 weeks left. Shout out to Heber who finished his mission this week! What a stud muffin! 

This weeks been a week to remember, that's for sure! Lot's of miracles and blessings from the Lord. 

Last week were the birthday's of Samantha and Andres, 2 of our investigators that I found with Elder Gonzales several months ago. They have to get married still, but they've got plans. They were working a ton, so they couldn't celebrate their birthday's, so we decided that it would be nice if we celebrated with them. So Elder Pavón and I we put our baking skills to the test and we tried to cook a lemon cake with cream cheese frosting. The frosting came out well, the cake "más o menos" as we say in Español. Haha! We've got a recipe book here in our department that the mission gave to us before President Thurgood left, it's got a recipe to cook a lemon cake, but in the microwave. Well, me trying to be the professional cake cooker decided that it would be better in the oven. I think the ingredients aren't the same in the oven as in the microwave, but it was edible to say the least. We brought some balloons, the cake and a firework type candle and we celebrated with them. Despite their happy smiling faces as you can see in the photo, it was great and we all had a good little time.

The other day a worker came over to our pench to fix our ceiling that the paint and plaster was  all falling down, I don't know if I commented before, but everything they build here is built with bricks and cement, very interesting. So we had to stay in our pench almost all day Friday, but we were able to have a great weekly planning session with the extra time to kill.

I wanted to share with you guys 2 great things that I learned this week. 1st I learned the importance of falling. Sometimes the sidewalks are uneven here and I trip almost every day, but not that type of falling. Falling spiritually, I learned this week that sometimes when we fall it may be the hardest thing, it may be the most difficult to pick ourselves back up again, but that process of picking up is why we came here. We came to learn, we came to grow, and when we come into opposition we can have the resistance needed to grow and become stronger and better people. So when you fall, don't worry, the path back to God's presence isn't easy and without problems, it was made to give us trials and to push us to the limits of our abilities so that we can become more like him.

The other thing that I learned was about listening. We taught an older couple yesterday and frankly it was quite an interesting lesson. The wife loved to talk, she talked and talked and talked, and I kind of lost my patience. I kept thinking "this lesson isn't going anywhere" "What does this have to do with what we were talking about" or "look even her husband is beginning to fall asleep from this boring story" So, I did something I shouldn't have done. Right in the middle of a story she was telling us I cut her off and told her we had to leave. We prayed and left and we went on our way. I talked with my companion and he said that I shouldn't have done that, I shrugged it off with some excuse that we had more important things to do or something of the sort. As we went along, talking to several other people I began to feel the painful but familiar feeling of guilt as with every step I realized that truly what I had done was wrong. I tried to ignore it, but it became overwhelming as we talked with an older woman, she started to do the same thing and I remembered something that I had learned at the start of my mission. It doesn't matter what the person is saying, if they are saying it, it's because it's important to them. And it's true. If someone is telling us something it's because they feel that it is something important and relevant. I repented and have determined to listen even more. After all, I realize now that more important than the message we bring is the spirit that the people can feel when we are in their homes. The Spirit will convert them, not me.

Love you all!!

-Elder Slack

Monday, July 31, 2017

Week 92: Spiritual Eyes

Good Morning starshine, Elder Slack say's Hello!

Hey everyone, it's still crazy how fast the weeks fly by. But I'm used to it now, every week I can just feel more and more blessings.

It's been a wonderful week to tell you the truth, Elder Pavón is super great, I've loved working with him up until now and I'm sure it'll be a great last transfer, we're working a ton!

Highlight of the week! BAUTISMO!!! WHOOO!! Alina got baptized this week! YAY! It was a great moment, there were hardly any members, but the important part is that she was baptized! She's been investigating for about 3 months now, and has really grown to love the gospel, she is super determine to stay faithful and strong in the church and even told us the other day that she has thought about serving a missionary! How awesome!! 

One of the most important things that I've learned this week is about prayer and revelation. As I've been able to pray and receive answers from God, I have realized how much better my studies and my day can be. Many times before I thought that revelation would come as some big sign or some grand feeling, but I have learned that I need to seek, I have learned that I find.

Love you so much!! 

-Elder Slack

Elder Stockton Slack and his companion, Elder Pavon, are on the left. 
Elder Slack and Elder Garcia

Baptism of Alina, with Elder Pavon on the left and Elder Slack on the right all dress in white. (I sure love that smile!

Week 91: The Last transfer

Hola Friends and Family!

The last transfer has come. I don't have time. but super super quick

Elder Garcia went to Burzaco. I'm staying in Vill-celina until the end of the mission.

This week coming up Alina is going to be baptized!! WHOO! I love That family so much! They are incredible!

Andres, the brother in Law of alina gave to me and my companion some sweet stuff from Peru. 

I'm with Elder Pavon from Honduras, he's pretty awesome. Love you all!

-Elder Slack

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Week 90: Happiness isn't a destination


It's me! Elder Slack! I'm back once again, another week has come and gone very quickly and what a week it has been! We've been enjoying some colder humid weather this week, it looks like winter finally got here, so we getting all bundled up and we're enjoying the mud! 

It was a great week this week, we did so many things that I can't even tell you all of them, but! I'll try!

Monday was a good start, we went and we had our district activity, we cooked up some hamburgers in the oven and we played a new game that I had never played before. It's called, Soccer in chairs! Everyone has their own chair and the goal is to hit the chair of the other people when you kick the ball at it. If someone hits your chair you have to sit down and you can try and revive yourself if you can manage to kick the ball at someone else's chair whilst sitting, and the game continues until there's only 1 person left. SO! ..... We had some fun with that and that was pretty much all our P-day. 

Tuesday was pretty exciting, I woke up feeling a little abnormal, I thought it was because it was cold, but as the morning went on I realized that something wasn't quite right, after a few trips to the bathroom I resolved that the hamburgers that it probably wasn't the best idea I had ever had to eat 5 hamburgers on Monday. We went to the district meeting and I seemed to live, but when went to lunch in the house of a member, I started feeling pretty bad, so that was the start of 2 days in bed. But I rested up all day Wednesday and by Thursday morning I was feeling 95% better, so I decided to take it a little bit slower, but we still went to work. We found a new investigator that day. We contacted him and he told us that his sister and a few of his brothers were members already! Wow! He let us go inside his house and we taught him a little bit, he's a really nice humble man, he works collecting plastic and glass bottles that people leave on the street and he trades them at a recycling place for money. His name is Luis, it was very nice to meet him.

It was very interesting, whilst I was laying down on my bed, feeling horrible in my stomach I began thinking a little bit about my mission and about this transfer, I remembered one of the things that my president told me in our last interview, he said something like: sometimes you don't need to worry so much about the end of the goal, but you should look at all you are learning while you are working, be happy for all of the little things that you achieve, God's plan is our progress, sometimes if we put a goal, the important part isn't when we achieve it, but how you get there. I was thinking a little bit about that and I realized something, the joy isn't all at the end, it's throughout the entire journey! Happiness isn't a destination, it's an experience. Happiness doesn't come only when we achieve our goals, but we can experience it while we are working towards our goals as well. We should always be happy, we should learn to enjoy being happy always, in every moment, because that is why we are here! "Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy."  I love scripture even more now, it came to me right now, and how true it is.

Saturday we had a great day, my favorite part, we finally got to teach Gabriela and her family again! Whoo! It was great! She had looked on internet and had found some very interesting things about the mormons, we were able to explain several things and clarify some of her doubts, but the most important thing that we told her that she can do, is read the Book of Mormon and ask God if it is true. Because if the Book of Mormon is true, it means that all we teach is true, if it is not true, the rest could be totally a lie. And I can testify to all of you who are reading this letter, that I know, with a certainty that can't be broken that the Book of Mormon is true, I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet called of God to restore his true church, and I know that this is the church of Jesus Christ restored on the earth today. I also know that Jesus Christ lives, and loves everyone of us. And this is what i wanted to share with you all today. And I do it, in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

-Elder Slack