Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Week 12: Christmas is coming, and it's not snowing.


It's Christmas already?? What is this? There is nothing like snow here. I'm slightly sad that we will not have snow for Christmas, but it's alright.

It keeps getting hotter and hotter here in Argentina, we've been working a ton this last week. Elder Tolentino and I are trying to improve a lot of things in the way we work, there is so much that I want to improve on. But in the heat, it gets really hard the days that we have appointments that fall through, I've been bringing 2 water bottles with me throughout the day to keep from getting dehydrated. It's really really nice now in our pension that we have air conditioning, makes it so nice when we go to bed not to be covered in sweat. 

This last week has been really great. It started out the first day in our new pension, we wake up in the morning to no electricity or water. That's alright, we were able to talk to the renter and we could bathe in another empty apartment. We got power back that night, but we haven't been able to cook very much all week until literally last night/this morning, I was able to continue to make a smoothie some of the days though, so that was really nice. 

We had another Capilla Abierta the other day, it went smoothly, it was for another area in our zone, so we went in the morning to help out to invite a lot of the old investigators or less active members, as well as anyone we could talk to in the street. It was really good, and then that night we had the ward Christmas party. It was really different than what I was used to, but it was good. The food they had a was a little under planned, so not everyone ate as much as they wanted, but the food that they had was amazingly delicious. As well, the missionaries of our ward along with the young men and young women. We sang in front of everyone, in case you didn't know, latins... can't really sing. They are pretty much tone deaf. Haha! But it was great, all of us tried to sing, and we just sung it out loud and it went well(ish). 

As well Elder Tolentino and I, we did a Family Home Evening in the church this last week. It was really good. We talked about Christmas time and all the traditions that we have as families and as friends, and also some people talked about how they don't like Christmas because we are expected to be with our families, but hey that's alright, they can have their opinions as well. But we talked about how it is really important, that not only that we not only remember the Christmas season, but that we also remember that Christ was born. That he came to this earth, lived, died, and was resurrected for us. And if we can just remember Him everyday, at least for a minute, we will have more joy in our lives. It's great that we remember Him now during this time of the year, but also we should be thinking about Him for the rest of the year as well. 

They've got a few different traditions here in Argentina, on the night of the 24th, everyone stays up until midnight, then they open presents and eat a huge dinner, then they sleep until around 3 in the afternoon. Also, they always eat asado!!! The meat here is the best thing ever. We eat a lot of chicken too, but if someone makes us asado for lunch, it is the best!

But anyways, I hope all of you have a great holiday! Christmas and New years! All is well, all is happy! We've been sharing this message with everyone as well. To help us remember why we celebrate Christmas, and why we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, if you go to www.christmas.mormon.org you can find a video that explains it all. And you should all do it right now! Because you are on your computer! It's only 2 minutes! Do it!

Elder Slack
Argentina Buenos Aires South Mission

Merry Christmas!


Here we are singing!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 11: Moving day

These past few days have flown, especially since I only wrote on last Wednesday. Literally though, the time as a missionary is so short, everyday feels like minutes and weeks like seconds. I'll be home before I even know it, so I'm trying to use the time I have to learn everything that I can and to become the best missionary that I can!

It has been a little different over the past few days. The missionary work is going really well, just the other day we started working with 3 new investigators, who are all really interested in the Gospel, now we just have to pray and hope that they will be able to feel the spirit testify to them of the truth of this gospel and that they will see the blessings in their lives!

This is also the start of my second transfer! Crazy! One transfer gone! Just like that! We got a call on Saturday, and... Elder Tolentino and I will both be staying here in Gonzalez Catán for another 6 weeks, at the least! Also, Elder Tolentino is now our new District Leader! I'm trying to convince him that we should do a picnic for our District activity, but I'm not sure that he likes the idea to much. But things are a changing.

We moved pensions today, from our so beloved box of a pension to a newer multi-roomed pension, with very light blue walls! Also, bonus, it has a tiny air conditioning unit for our sleeping room, yeah! But we heard the news that we would probably move last week, they told us that we would be moving within the next 2 weeks (ish). So, we waited for them to call us back with a more specific time of when we were going to move, and we tried calling them a few times, and what happened? Well we haven't heard anything, it's about  10:15 last night, we are getting ready to go to bed and the phone rings... It's the pensionaros (missionaries who manage where we are going to live). You're moving tomorrow morning, pack everything. Yay! So we got the wonderful opportunity to stay up until about 2:30 in the morning, packing all of our stuff, then we woke up this morning at 6:30 and continued to pack away all of the stuff of the pension into our suitcases, and what little boxes we could find. We moved everything into a big van around 12 and then went to the other pension where we dump everything off, and unpack almost nothing, and now we're here! P-day, ya fue. 

But it's been an interesting week to say the least, I had my first experience with an Evangelica (Don't remember the English translation for that) member this week,  we had an interesting lesson with her where she talked almost the entire time, then she asked if we could close with a prayer, so we say yes of course! Starts out pretty normal, but then she starts doing some sort of chant and gets louder every time, and then goes up to each one of us and is chanting loudly at Elder Tolentino and the young adult who was with us, and then comes up to me, and is chanting at me, she puts here hand on my shoulder, and chants at me for probably a little over a minute. And in that moment, as I tried not to move a muscle, in my mind I began praying for protection, and that this sister could understand the truth someday.

But that's all, for now, lot's of good is happening! Christmas is coming soon, and it's really warm and really humid.

Love you all

-Elder Slack

Packing all night

Zone leader going away

 sweaty and tired, but pleased, after we moved everything

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Week 10: Faith, Determination, and Passion

Hello to everyone!

I'm really loving it here in Argentina, I'm just about finished with my first transfer! Crazy! We'll find out Saturday who's getting transferred and stuff, but odds are I won't change because I'm in training, So Elder Tolentino and I should be together for at least one more transfer! 

Elder Tolentino and I have been working really hard, it's been a little different this past week, we had our Capilla abierta on Saturday and Elder Tolentino I'm dressed in all white, because we talked about Baptism, and in the church we baptize in white. And I hope you can see me, in the middle, smiling as usual! 
The Capilla abierta- I am in the middle, in white with the "smile!"
But anyways, it was a very different activity. We had all of the missionaries in our zone come and we did like a white out? I don't know how to translate it into English, but  we had the missionaries go out all over our ward, and search for different less active members. Then later in the day we had kind of a tour of the church building, where we talked about different things and beliefs that we have in the church. It started out a good day. We put a ton of work into making the maps and stuff for the other missionaries to go out and work in our area, and it was a little discouraging the results, because we didn't get as many references and not as many of the less actives came as we wanted to. But it was great. We had some fun and I learned a lot.

Also, there are a few Elders and Hermanas going home next week, crazy! I've been thinking a lot about how fast the time goes. Honestly it flies by. And I've been talking to a few of the missionaries who have been out for a while now and asked them if they have any advice/ any things that they regret that they wish they had done that I should do. And several of them said that I should work all of the time. I've been told several times that if you are working the time flies by, and if the time feels like it is going slow, then you must not be working hard enough and need to rethink how you are working. So I've been trying to think about that more often, trying to work all of the time. Not that I want the time to go fast, because I love it here! But because I want to work as hard as I can, and I learn so much more when I'm working. 

Yesterday, we had an amazing Zone Meeting. One of our Zone leaders, Elder Tolentino and I live right next to the Zone leaders (if you don't remember). They are both really amazing missionaries. Since I am in training, Elder Tolentino is my papi, and I am his hijo, and then I kind of think of the Zone Leaders like my tios (uncles). They've taught me so much as well as Elder Tolentino, about working hard and how I can progress everyday, and how I shouldn't be afraid of anything on the mission. But anyways, one of them was talking, and he said there are 3 things that we should have in the mission. Faith, Determination, and Passion. And he talked to us about passion, how we need to not only share the Gospel and share our testimonies, but we need to, as well, share how much it means to us, not just say words, but as you say them. If what you are saying is really true, people can really tell that it means something and the spirit will be even stronger. 

We had one of my favorite lessons this week, with a family. The daughters are both baptized, but both are inactive now. So we've been working a little bit with them, and also their mother. But we we're talking the other day, and we invited the daughters to go back to church. They both starting saying "I don't want to go to your church, I actually don't want to go to any church" And we tried to explain a few things, but the girls kept saying that and then their mom started getting a little frustrated with us and started questioning "why are you even here? They've already heard all the other Elders before, and they just said they don't want to go. I don't want to go to your church" And the mother was rambling a little bit, I didn't understand quite all of it, but She said she didn't want to go to our church about 5 times. So we were sitting there and I was thinking, what can we do? I was a little panicked at this point, because I know how much they will be blessed if they do return to the church. Elder Tolentino decided to promise them if they go to the church this Sunday they will receive an answer that this is the true church, and then the mother started saying we don't want to go. Then a question popped into my head. And I asked the mother "You've said about 5 times that you don't want to go to our church, you said that about 15 minutes ago, so what I'm wondering is... What do you want??" and then Elder Tolentino had to clarify a little bit of my broken Spanish, and he said "My companion wants to know, what do you want in your life?" And she sat there for a second, and was very quiet. And then I started to talk about how we, as missionaries, leave our families for 2 years. And it's just like us leaving our Heavenly Father. And the goal for all of us is to return and live with him once again. And we explained a little bit about the Plan of Salvation. And the Spirit was so strong and it was amazing. And then at the end of the lesson, we said a prayer, and we are getting up to leave and the Mother asks "So when can you come back?" YES! We were so happy after that lesson, the Spirit really does work wonders.

My birthday happened this week, yes I am now 19. And yes, I didn't do anything to special. We spent all day Monday at a Capilla Abierta for another area, in Ponte Vedra. They gave me a sweet mug that says Argentina and Buenos Aires on it though. And when we returned to the pension that night, I decided to reward myself and eat 19 birthday crackers! And Elder Tolentino gave me a mini muffin. So yeah, that was my birthday.

This week has been really great, we got to go to the temple too! It was amazing, I've learned so much. Until Monday!

-Elder Slack

Smoothies are the best!!
Cleaning the pension
Birthday fun!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Week 9: (no title)

Hey! I'm here again! I hope you all have had another amazing week even though I'm not in your lives!

Things have been pretty interesting here in Argentina, the election is over, we're still missionaries, you know, nothing really big. This past week has been all over the map. From rainy days to sick days. But all another day in the life of a missionary!

This past week we had another Capilla Abiertta (Open Church) , church tour, in our Zone. All of the missionaries in our zone went over to another area and we went out and advertised all over the area for people to come and see the church and see what we believe and what we do in the church, it was really good. That took all day Saturday, and then this week we've been planning for our Capilla Abierta here in Catán 3! Elder Tolentino and I have been planning a lot and trying to figure out where all of the members (active and inactive) live so that we can send out the missionaries to go find them and invite them all back to the church, and also the same with all of the old investigators. We're hoping for a good turn out Saturday, but we'll see. 

I got sick this past week on Wednesday, we couldn't leave the pension because I was kind of half dying. So I layed on my bed all day while Elder Tolentino worked on the list of names for our Capilla Abierta. Then that night we had to travel to another area, Adrogué because I had to go do a bunch of Visa papers the next day. So we traveled 2ish hours by bus and I was praying that I wouldn't throw up the whole time, and yay! I didn't. We slept in the Adrogué elders pension. Slept, then the next day woke up, and that is when I threw up. Then we traveled around all day with a bunch of other new missionaries as we went to different places to fill out visa forms and stuff. Whoo! What a party right! Eventually we returned back to our pension where I was able to sleep and rest and I was fine by the next day!

Today we had a Zone activity, our Zone is all Elders, because the majority of the areas here in the Zone aren't um.... suitable, one might say, for Hermanas. So we played some futbol, and ate a ton of Churi Pan, (Sp?) Which is this amazing asado sausage on bread with some ketchup or chimichuri sauce, good stuff. 

Other than that, the week has been pretty normal. We've been out searching a ton so that we can find new investigators. But we're having a little bit of trouble right now. Almost all of our appointments fell through this week, and we taught probably 4 lessons, granted we couldn't do anything for 3 of those days because I was sick and the capilla abierta. But I've been getting really good at contacting people though. The language is coming extremely fast, the gift of tongue's is amazingly real. I feel like if I didn't have it for one day I would be completely lost all day with what's going on. But we've been searching so much this past week. And we had this one day, where all of our appointments fell through. We had a member with us and everything and they all fell through. So we decided to go out finding. So we were knocking some doors and doing some street contacts, but for about 2 hours we had found no one, everyone was either to busy or didn't want to talk to us, or not home. As we were walking to go find in a different area, Elder Tolentino and I started talking. He said he had asked the President, because we've been searching for investigators for 2 weeks, why he thinks we haven't been able to find anyone. He said the president said that we need to have more faith. At that moment I realized what all of my thoughts were. Every time we would talk with someone or every time we would knock a door, I didn't believe that we were doing any good. I didn't believe that we would get anywhere by talking to the person. At this moment I realized what was happening. I was getting what I expected. All along I had been thinking we would get nothing, and we got nothing, then I would ask in my mind "why can't we find anyone?" I realized how important it is to have faith, how important it is to believe that you are going to find someone, how important it is to believe that the person you talk to is going to let you in, or make an appointment. We have to believe that the best is going to happen or God cannot reward our Faith, because we have none.

Anyway's, just a thought of what I learned this week. Also I remembered that my companion shaved all of his hair off. He got a haircut last week, and paid 50 pesos for it in a barber shop. I don't think the people in the barber shops know any more about cutting hair than I do. Because it was horrible. So he tried to fix it with the Zone leaders cutters, but messed it up even more, so they just cut it all off. I've heard it's about to get a lot hotter, so I guess that'll help haha!

That's all! Yours, always smiling
-Elder Slack

Elder Tolentino's haircut

How I take pictures of me when I'm sick

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Week 8: Julias Caesar, the Prophet...

Hello to everyone!!

Another exciting week down! The time is flying literally! As of today, I've been out for 2 months exactly! The time is flying by! I can hardly believe that I have 22 months left... Where is the time going!

First off, I want to apologize last weeks letter was kind of just a ramble I realized, about all of the crazy things that had happened in the week. I'll try and improve this time

In la obra misional (missionary work) it's been interesting going, we've been doing a ton of finding / searching for new investigators, we don't have that many solid investigators right now, so we need to find more. So we've been looking all over the old investigators that are from 2 years or so ago, and also we've just been doing lot's of street contacts/door contacts. And we've had a little bit of success. There are a few people that are interested a little bit and will let us talk to them. Fewer that will let us in. And even fewer that can see the significance of the Gospel in their life/want to apply the teaching or keep commitments. It's a little rough going, but Elder Tolentino and I are sure that if we keep searching we can find someone that is prepared to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their life.

Just barely earlier today, we had a District activity, where we went over the pension of the District Leader and ate a bunch of Hamburgers and got to hang around a little bit and watch some church music videos. Some of the videos were pretty weird though, because part of them weren't from our church, they were from the Evangelic church, it was pretty interesting to say the least, but fun to get to talk with some other Elders.

I had a little health issue this week. The weather here can be extremely strange, it's spring here. So it's beginning to warm up. Most day's it's a pretty nice temperature, but this week was off. The first two days was boiling hot. We were sweating horribly in our short sleeve shirts. Then the next day, what else could happen, but... Oh a storm, the storms here are nothing like in Utah, it rains hard. And some times there is this thing, I don't know if there is a word for it in English, but they call it them Rafagas (spelling?). It rains extremely hard here, and then it can get horribly windy, we didn't experience any of that this week, but my companion told me about a time when he and one of his other companions were caught in a rafagas, where it was raining like crazy and the wind was horrid and he said they could hardly breath. It was almost like they were swimming. But, on Wednesday, we just got the hardcore rain, and it got so cold. And I didn't have my gloves and the rain came on the day that we didn't have any fixed appointments. So we were out searching all day, no one let us in, we talked to a few people, but we didn't get anywhere, so after freezing all day. We return back to our pension and I get my hands by our little space heater to warm them up. They dry off and then 5 minutes later... They start swelling. The weirdest thing, my fingers swelled up oddly large. I took some ibuprofen, slept, and by the end of the next day, they were fine. It just felt like I was wearing gloves all the next day. 

Yesterday was a big day in Argentina, the vote. They elected a new president. But because of the vote yesterday, us missionaries couldn't do anything all day, our mission president didn't want us out proselyting in case people thought we were soliciting for the vote or if there were some other sort of problem, because the government is a little bit different down here. So we went to church, then we had lunch at a family of members house, and we were able to talk to them there and hang out a little bit until around 4:30 then we had to head back and stay in our pension for the rest of the night. It was good, we got some good stuff done we planned a little bit for our open church tour that we are doing in about 2 weeks. But now Argentina has a new president, I think his name is Macri or something, I don't really know. But hopefully things go well for Argentina.

Also, we've been looking around a lot for new investigators, like I said, and we found the most peculiar one. We were on our way to go look for another old Investigator of some other missionaries from 2 years ago, and we were walking down the street. I see this man sitting in his yard in a chair with his wife, drinking Maté (a drink that everyone drinks down here, essentially a cup full of herbs with any type of liquid) And I've been working on my contacting skills, so I decide to say hello to him. I start talking, and we tell him we are missionaries and everything, he say's that's great, and we get him to let us in and we are talking in his yard. He tells us that his name is "Julias Caesar". Well he is a member of the some odd branch of the Evangelic church, and he says he's read the bible all the way through, and when we tell him about a few things about the restoration of the Gospel he starts talking about his church, how it started with the hoax of 1844. How a preacher prophesied Christ would come in that year, and then he didn't. And so now there are a bunch of followers of a random church that predict every so often when Christ will come, but they haven't been right yet, but he still believes in the church. Very odd, we leave him with a pamphlet about the restoration and set up another appointment for later in the week and off we go. Well we come back for our appointment, and we start talking to him on the "sidewalk" in front of his house. And he say's he read through our pamphlet and none of it can be true, he starts referencing all these scriptures from the bible about prophets and how it doesn't say anywhere anything about Joseph Smith. Then he continues to say "I really wish there were more young men like you who would go aroud and preach the word of God, I really appreciate it. But if you are going to preach to the people, please... Preach the truth!" Ouch right, well we tried to talk to him about how the need for prophets in every time that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is on the Earth, and he starts saying that the Book of Mormon isn't the word of God, because the bible say's there will not be any more books. And he say's that all that he needs for him is in the  bible. We tell him about how we need prophets to guide the church, then he continue's "We don't need prophets, we have the bible, anyone can be a prophet if they read the bible and pray. I read the bible, I am a prophet. I don't need any Joseph Smith to guide me." It was a very interesting conversation, after he said that we just stood there listening to him talk for another 5 minutes, then Elder Tolentino and I bore our testimonies about the gospel and how Thomas S. Monson is a prophet today on the earth, and about the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and then we excused ourselves. It was one of the weirdest encounters. I hope he comes to find the church someday. But I guess I continue the Slack and Bonney tradition of attracting weird people. It was interesting. 

I've gotten to break out the yo-yo a bit this week, I've showed a few of our investigators, and once I was even called a stud by a 60 year old woman, so I guess that makes me pretty cool.

That's all for now. See you next week!

Elder Slack
Argentina Buenos Aires South Mission

Mailing Address of the mission home:

Elder Stockton Gerald Slack
Quintana 447
1846 Adrogué, 
Buenos Aires

Elder Tolentino and I in the rain!

my hand when it was swelling

Banana plus Dulce de Leche = the best ever

district activity

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week 7: Stinky feet...


Elder Slack here! Once again it´s p-day. The time has flown by this past week, legit. So much has been happening, and I´ve been having lot´s of different thoughts about things. But hey! Here I am!!

At the start of this week, well half way through, we had a meeting. On Tuesay night, we had to travel all the way to Banfield, which is about 2 hours by public transport away so we went Tuesday night, because our meeting was on Wednesday morning. So we travel on some buses ad trains and made it. That area is completely different than the area that I´m in. My area is the majority dirt roads and kind of a poorer neighborhood. We went and slept over with some elders in Banfield and over there is like city all the way. It´s super nice over there, legit. We met up with the Elders who are in that area, and guess who it was? Elder Brock Miller, a friend from Brighton! It was way cool to be able to meet up with him and see him out here in the mission field.

That night I heard more English than I have the whole time I've been here. It was kind of nice to have a little bit of a spanish break, but now we're back into it! We went over to their pench (what they call apartments/rentals here) and holy moley! It is so nice, we're over here in Gonzalez Catán with our 1 room apartment that is about a 15 foot by 10 foot box on the ground, and they live over there, they've got 2 floors, a full area for kitchen and everything and eating. They have 2 rooms with 2 bunk beds each. And, get this! They have Carpet!!! Carpet! I haven't seen carpet in any other house besides the mission home here! But probably the best part, when we got up in the morning and I got to shower, oh my goodness, the water pressure is amazing! I couldn't believe it! So nice! Plenty of warm water all rushing down in full streams! Our apartment is a little old, and we're lucky if we get any sort of stream of warm water. Living here is really making me appreciate what I had back home. 

But anyways, that night, they attempted to make us some pancakes, they turned out a little like big crepes, because they had to use cake batter instead of flower, But with plenty of dulce de leche is was good!

The meeting was really great though the next day, it was a new missionary training essentially, they talked about a lot of different things, from managing our money to the kind of missionaries that we need to become and how to learn from our trainers. It was really great, our mission president shared a little bit, it was really great!

The castellaño (spanish) is starting to discourage me a little bit. I can understand decently well, but I can't understand no where near well enough to hold a conversation with someone. That's probably the hardest part for me, I want to talk to the people, I want to talk with them and I want to converse and tell them about so many different things, but I can't really. I can talk, I can pretty much get my thoughts across in a lesson. But when my companion starts talking about normal things when we first come up to the people, I can try and follow the conversation, but it's extremely difficult because I can't understand well enough, and I can't really add to the conversation because I don't know what's going on half the time, It's a little rough for now, but I'll catch on eventually I know. One of the things that I've been told is that the language is the only thing that really just comes with time, I need to study and everything, but it really is just dependent on time and my patience. So I wait!

A problem there is here in South America, there are tons of less-active or inactive members. Tons of people have been baptized and are members of the church, but probably 80% or more of the people who are baptized are inactive right now. It's kind of weird sometimes, we'll be walking around trying to contact people, and we'll talk to 5 different people and like 3/5 are like, "Oh yeah, I'm a member of your church!" And we're like "That's great! Want to come to church on Sunday?" And they're all like "no" because a lot of them don't have a lot of problems, and a lot of the people here don't realize why they need to go to church. Hopefully we can help them remember.

To those of you who have read all the way to this point, thank you! And you may be wondering why this week is titled stinky feet. Well. I've had 2 different interesting encounters this past week. The first, we we're half running in a hurry to meet up with a member so we could go to some appointments, and we were almost back to our pench. Here, they don't have that great of a sewage system in my area. They have this thing called a Sangha (sungha?) They have these gutters all the way down the street that are open and when we flush anything or run any water it all goes down a drain, and just out into the street where it just decays away and rots. Well we we're hurrying back, and I happened to step a little to close to the sangha, the edge started to collapse, so I try to step backwards and lose my balance, so I put my foot down to catch my self. Straight in to the middle of the sangha, yup! And it splashed, all of this stuff that I don't know what it is, all black water and dirt and some other stuff you can imagine, all the way up my pant leg and a bit on my shirt. So what do me and my companion do after I get back out? Bust up laughing, what else could we do!?

But that wasn´'t all that my shoes could take for the week, oh no!  The other day we show up for an appointment, they let us in the gate. Did I mention that essentially everyone has a dog here? Yeah, so we walk in, and I turn around to look at my companion who is behind me. Then I feel my foot slide on something smooth, I look down, oh would you look at that! There's some smeared dog poo. Yes all over the bottom of my shoe, so I try and stomp off as much as I can while my companion is holding back from dying of laughter. One could say that I am putting my shoes to good use. One could also say that it was a bit of a sticky situation.

That's all for this week! Thanks!

Elder Slack

P.S. I had my first Asado yesterday! Oh my goodness!! It was amazing!!! Legit!! The meat here is so amazing, at least the way they cook it. Although, I've had more chicken than I've had beef. But all is well!

(Captions for pictures added by Elder Slack's mom- he doesn't tell me what or who is in the pictures, so if you happen know who it is let me know and I will change it)

Me with Elder Brock Miller 

In the kitchen...

Meal completed

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Week 6: When your plane leaks, just tape it!

Hey Hey! I´m alive!!

Sorry this computer is a little bit hard to use, because some of the keys on the keyboard are moved around. But I will try my best.

Anyways, I had a long flight last week, it was crazy, we went to the airport in the morning by trax and we hopped on, it was a short 3ish hour flight to Atlanta, and then we had essentially no layover time, which was nice because we didn't have to wait. We got off at the airport and hurryed over to our next flight and got on. The next flight was pretty interesting. We all boarded, then when one of the flight attendants went to shut one of the overhead packaging things, it started spitting water out of the handle, and this was right before we were about to take off. And so she shut it, and it's spitting water everywhere, and people were getting wet, so she reopens it and it stops. Then to fix it? What do you do? Well just tape it of course! It´s a several million dollar plane and we´ll just tape the plane why not. So the flight attendant put some paper towels and tape all over it and it held the water for the rest of the flight, very interesting solution I thought, but it worked I guess.

Over that 9 hour flight, I slept for probably 2.5 hours or so. I was pretty tired all day the next day. But we got off and I met my mission president, his name is President Thurgood, and he´s from Idaho. And we met the rest of the new missionaries going to our mission who all already spoke spanish and had gone to the Argentina MTC, because they were all from around south America. We ate some interesting pizza and some amazing empanadas and interviewed with the mission president, each one individually.

Then we met our trainers!! My companion is named Elder Tolentino. He´s from Peru and he´s about 4´ 11´´ I would guess, he´s awesome though, really great missionary. And he only knows a little bit of English, so I´ve been learning spanish amazingly fast. Legit, the gift of tongues is so real. I can understand so much spanish, it´s easier to understand than to speak. But I can understand the majority, I´d say probably 75% of what people are saying, or if I don't know the words I can fill in the blanks usually. And I can communicate with a lot of the people pretty well, no where near perfect, but well enough. I usually only talk if I have something directed at me, or if it´s my turn to talk in a lesson. But all is well!

Turns out, my mission is about half as big as I thought, apparently back in July they split the mission, so now there is a Buenos Aires East mission that was 6 of the stakes of our mission, and we got 2 stakes from the West mission, so we don't have the ocean in our mission, which is alright I guess. But bonus, We have the Buenos Aires temple in our mission!! So our mission president said that we'll get to go there probably 4 or 5 times during our mission, which I´m super excited for! Temple in spanish!

Here in Argentina is completely different than I thought it would be. My mission is Buenos Aires South, but majority isn't in the city, they've got a lot of cars and buses and public transport and stuff, but also, in the area that I´m in they've got a ton of dirt roads. Only the main streets are dirt. Also, there are a ton of "wild dogs" that run around. They aren't like rabid or whatever, they are just a bunch of strays. They have no owner and kind of go and do what they please, so many of them. They'll travel in packs of 5 or 6 sometimes and kind of just run around looking for food or other stuff, they usually don't bother you even if you come up and try and pet it, they'll just run a way. But the other day, I saw this sweet dog, It wasn't a stray dog, it was in someone's house, but it looked like a lion almost, it had like this huge mane, and was all tan, and it´s face looked slightly feline, but it was a dog it was the strangest thing!

Also, the music here is interesting, sometimes I'll hear american music, and I'll be like, "Hey I know that!" but majority of the time the Argentines listen to their music, and it's kind of like polka music with some interesting bongos and lots of Spanish. very interesting indeed.

Also, I´ve found it a slight benefit to being a white boy around here, there are a few people who want to yell at me as they drive by. Either by yelling at me "White boy" or some other things, it´s kind of cool. I almost feel like I'm a celebrity here in Argentina! And I´ve had one person tell me, that after they met me. "Wow, I´m going to be popular now, I know a person from America" needless to say, that made feel pretty cool. 

My spanish is progressing amazingly fast, but I'm struggling hardcore with rolling my R's, I can buzz my tongue and make noises, but I can't for the life of me use it in words. Whenever we're walking I keep trying repeatedly to say the word "perro" which is dog. And my tongue just doesn't want to say it. It's quite disappointing. But I continue to work on it. On the other side of things, they want all of the Latin missionaries that speak spanish to learn English, and my companion is struggling with the words juice, and jewish. He can´t say his J´s.

Something I found out the other day, apparently in spanish, a rooster no longer say´s cock-a-doodle-doo. Apparently it´s kí-ki-di-ki. Just a little fun fact of the day.

But other than that the work is going great, I really love it here, the people are very nice, but the conversations are a little different. They talk a lot about where they are from, which country, because there are a lot of people from Paraguay here. And they talk about the different accents of spanish, here it´s castellano. Where the ll makes a zsh sound. kind of. It´s interesting. But all is well, we are fed lunch almost everyday, which is way nice. And we walk a ton. But I love it!

The driving here, just crazy, we ride in buses sometimes and when we ride around I get a bit afraid, because people essentially just do what they want. In our bus the other day, this light had been red for 5 seconds and he just felt like going, so he did.

It´s fun, all is well! But, I´ll see you all next week, hopefully those who want this are getting it, Paz Fuera!  (peace out) 

Elder Slack

Just tape the plane

Again, me with my trainer, Elder Tolentino and President and Sister Thurgood

Living in Argentina

Thursday, November 5, 2015

(Headed to Argentina)

(This post is written by Elder Slacks mom, Jennifer). Elder Slack flew out on Monday and I (his mom, Jennifer) was able to talk with him on the phone while he was at the airport. He is doing great and is so happy! He said to tell everyone: "Just be happy. Life is so good. Don't be sad that I am gone. I am so happy! I can hardly wait to share the gospel with the people in Argentina".

We got an email from his mission which included a couple of pictures of him (below). His p-day will now be Monday. We look forward to hearing more from him on Monday.

Elder Slack with President and Sister Thurgood

Elder Slack with his trainer Elder Tolentino, Sister Thurgood, and President Thurgood

Sunday, November 1, 2015



Hey hey!! This is Elder Slack! Another wonderful week here at the MTC gone! The time is just flying by, this last week we just barely past our 1 month mark out on our missions. It's loco! Before I even know it these 2 years will be gone! The time is just incredible. The days feel like weeks, but the weeks feel like hours!

We've had a really great week here, I've only got a few days left, I got my flight plans here! I leave this upcoming Monday morning at 8:30am. We fly from here to Atlanta and arrive there around 7 local time, and then we leave there around 9pm, red eye all night arrive the next morning in Buenos Aires at 9 am, the time difference is only one hour ahead of Eastern, so it's an 11 hour flight, it's going to be crazy, I hope I can get some sort of sleep on the flight. 

All of the Elders and Hermanas in our District are flying down to Argentina with us, except for 2 who are leaving at 2:20 Monday and headed to Ecuador, but I think there is going to be easily over 30 missionaries flying with us down to Argentina, so with all those prayers coming our way we should be pretty safe on the flight. Elder Hall (my comp) is excited but really nervous at the same time. His brother is serving down in Argentina right now and he comes home the same day that we arrive, so he's slightly hoping that he can run into him at the airport, but I don't think their flight plans over lap, so he doesn't think that he'll get to see him.

Also this week, we had a very interesting lesson the other day, we taught a lesson to our teacher, and then we were working on Spanish, and we finished the topic that we were talking about. So then our teachers started talking to us, (All is Spanish of course) About what our fears and expectations of the field are. We talked for a little bit, some Elders said being away from their family, some said the flight, some said talking to people. And then our teachers started talking about faith, and the importance of having faith whilst out on the mission, and they shared with us a scripture that said if we have faith in Christ anything is possible, I can't remember where it is. Similar to Philippians 4:13, but not. And then they continued to talk to us about Spanish and how proficient we thought we were. And then they all bore their testimonies on faith. And then our main teacher said that he would like to challenge us, he would like to challenge us to speak only Spanish for the rest of the time that we are here in the MTC. Which at first we all thought was crazy, but then he said that we had just expressed how much faith we had, we had just said that we believed that through Christ all things are possible, so why don't we act? Why don't we act on our faith and show our willingness to put our trust in him. So we all kind of have to decide for ourselves, whether or not we want to take his challenge. But I have, I've been trying to speak only Español for the rest of the entire time. There have been a few moments where I've slipped up and just put started talking in English, because I forgot I was only supposed to speak Spanish. But it hasn't been to hard yet. I think the hardest part is when you're talking to someone who is from a different district and they are speaking in English to you. I speak English to the people that aren't going Spanish speaking, and I usually just talk in HSI which is Hablar Su Idioma, or Speak Your Language, where if I don't know the word, I can ask someone else if they know it, and if we don't then I'll just use the English one, but It's been great, I just love speaking Spanish so much!! I just feel so much more happy when I'm speaking in Spanish and having Spanish conversations with other people.

Here at the MTC the devotionals have  been amazing this week. We have one every Sunday and Tuesday nights. BYU fans be jealous because Sunday night we had Chad Lewis come and speak to us, he used to be a BYU and then NFL football player, and he was part of the coaching staff for BYU football or still is or something like that. But he gave a really great talk on the importance of Faith, and always pushing forwards. He served his mission Chinese speaking, and for the first time that they did a live broadcast of the Super bowl to China, they asked him to be one of the announcers. So when he did it, he realized that he only knew missionary Chinese. So he told them he couldn't do it, but then they said he'd be fine. So he did, and the whole time he was saying things like "I testify that Tom Brady is throwing true passes."  It was hilarious, also he talked a little about some service that he did in China. And every time that he had spoke to a large group he'd say "Whoa, God really must love the Chinese people, because he sure made a lot of them!" It was hilarious. Also super spiritual, I just love all the speakers that we've had. Also, he totally brought Taysom Hill with him, even thought he is no longer playing football. He bore his testimony on the importance of missionary work, then he shared an experience where from the football game where he was injured, and he heard from Chad Lewis that there were a few of the apostles up in the box, so he got to go up and talk to them, and he said that President Eyring said to him "If God needed you down there throwing touchdowns, he would have you down there" And he said it was really cool to hear his experience with that, and he said that he knows that God's plan is not for him to be playing football right now. But wait, don't even get Jealous yet.

The other devotional that we had, just last night. Guess what to all you other missionaries too, you get to be jealous because we had Elder Neil L. Anderson of the Quorum of the 12!! It was an amazing talk! The whole devotional was broadcast out to all of the other MTC's in the world, or recorded and rebroadcast. We sang in the choir so apparently we were on the camera, I wouldn't know, I wasn't looking at the screen. But Elder Anderson had an amazing talk. He had 4 main points that he talked about. Sacrifice, The Adversary, Opposition, and Deliverance. He said a ton of great things, and I felt the spirit a ton during it, and I could feel the spirit testifying to me that he is a prophet of God the whole time. One of my favorite things that he said was "A process of becoming" I'm not sure if he meant to say it, or if he just decided not to share that thought, because it's not a full sentence. But That made me think. I thought about what are we becoming and how am I supposed to get there. I thought a lot about the things that I want to become, and some of them I have no clue how to get there, but as I was sitting there after the devotional. I realized that it doesn't even matter where we want to go or what we want to become, it matters what God wants us to become, and God will make it possible for us to get to where we need to be if we are willing to listen to him. Also something else awesome he said was that we, as missionaries, don't really do any missionary work. We just run around all over the place and God is doing all of the missionary work and then we are the ones who get to write home and be like "look at all this work I'm doing." It's really important to remember who's in charge and how small we are compared to God, but also how much he cares for each of us individually. He also said that as missionaries we don't relieve anyone's suffering, we just turn people to Christ and he decides whether or not they need their suffering removed. It was an amazing devotional, and we had an awesome discussion about it as a district afterwards.

The other exciting thing of the week, if none of you noticed, Christmas-iversary came around once again, as it does every 25th of the Month! We had a little celebration in our residence Hall that night and sang a few Christmas Hymns, it was great to see all of the love that we have for each other. Honestly I love it here, several of you have asked if I am surviving the MTC, or you have told me that I need to wait to get out into the field and everything will be so much better. Well honestly I don't see how this could get any better. If the field is better than this then it must be pretty amazing! I love the MTC so much! Our district has grown so close together, Elder Hall and I work together as a companionship so well, even though we are both so different. It's so amazing to see so many missionaries all working so hard for the Lord here. I don't think I'll see this many missionaries any where else. There is just so much love and all of our testimonies are growing so much each and every day! I love this Gospel! I love the Lord! And I love being a missionary!!

Elder Slack

P.S. Do you know what today is?? It's a great day to be a missionary!
-An Elder in my district got these sweet glasses, If you want to get me a present when I get home, these would be prime!

-Found my mission!


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Week 4: No mas GAFAS!!

Hola once again from the MTC!

It's been one great week here! I love it so much! Honestly we have so much fun and learn so much every single day! The spirit is incredibly strong and our district has grown so close together! This week has been full of some odd things happening. 

To start off, it's been kind of like some sort of weird family reunion or something, because you wouldn't believe who I met this week. It was during lunch, and all of a sudden the Hermanas in our district come walking up with another hermana in trail that I have never seen before. They come a little bit closer and I see her name tag, guess what? It's an Hermana Slack! Would you look at that, but that's not all! Just yesterday on Tuesday, It's just in between the break from Choir and our Tuesday night devotional, my companion and I head down to go to the bathroom and while I'm waiting for him to finish up, who would just so happen to walk on out of the bathroom other than Elder Stockton! Que en el mundo!? Am I right! So obviously I had to talk to him and grab a quick pic of his name tag. We may have been related in some distant string, but it's whatever, still pretty legit. 

Also, probably one of the most interesting stories of the week, we went to choir on Tuesday last week, and Elder Dobson is our room mates companion and he doesn't like to go to choir so he was on a split with another Elder for a bit. So we all go off to dinner early so that we can get to choir on time, and we're sitting there eating our food, when these two other Elders from another district in our zone come waltzing up and ask "Hey do one of you have your key?" And we're like why? Well come to find out, post gym time we all showered and ran off to dinner, on our way out, we kind of.... Closed the door. And Elder Dobson was still in the shower, so he was kind of stranded in the hall in his towel without his key locked out of our room. As you can see life gets pretty crazy at the MTC *sarcasm*

Also, I've seen a few people from back home around, I have yet to see Brother Bonney (my cousin) but I've seen Elder Shane Woolston around, he's headed to his mission in Japan around the same day that I head out. Also I saw Sister Sammy Yost this week and said hi to her for a second. It's about to be sad time here though, because as of today I have only 11 days left in the MTC! Crazy right! It's like I'm an English speaker on his second day here, but I've already been here for 4 weeks. I don't know how you English speakers learn enough to be able to teach in the 12 days that you have here. 

I've learned so much about teaching lessons, we get to teach probably 8 - 12 lessons every week, it's so much fun! I've learned so much about the Gospel and about sharing it's message with others in the world, I'm super excited to get out into the field and see what it's like, but I'll be so sad when I have to leave all of the people and everything that I've gotten used to here at the MTC. I've truly grown to love it here and to love everyone around me! But that's the way of the mission. Spanish is going great too, I just love Spanish sooooo much!!! It's so awesome! The gift of Tongues is incredibly real, especially here at the MTC. 

Also this past week I've played a bit of basketball with my district, it's so much fun, I'm probably  one of the worst players, but It's still fun to play around. We play games to 6 win by 2 or first to 11 by ones and twos. And the very first game that I played, it was a close game it was tied 8-8, and someone knocked the ball and it rolled out probably past half court almost out of bounds, and I ran and stopped it before it went out, I grabbed it, I was dribbling back and my defender was hanging out about 2 feet in front of the 3 point line waiting for me to come. So I'm not quite sure what I was thinking, but I was probably 8 or 9 feet away from the 3 point line and I decided to shoot it, so I popped it up in the air with all of my might and.... Swish! To win the game, I felt pretty good needless to say. 

A lot happened in basketball this week, You may be wondering what the subject of this email has to do with anything, well. It was the end of gym time yesterday, I was trying to be a good helper and put away these big pad things that they put away, and I walked over to help this kid out, but then he decided that he had it. He hefts it up on his shoulder, and we're walking casually towards the exit, we walk underneath the basketball hoop where someone decides to shoot the ball, they air ball it. It bounces off of the blue pad thing the other kid is carrying, the ball rockets towards my face, and in the split second it was in the air I think "Wow that was lucky it didn't hit that kid in the face" and pow! The ball hits me in the head, knocks off my glasses, and the next thing you know I woke up on a hospital bed all wrapped up!....... Just kidding, sorry mom, It just hit me in the face and I saw my wonderful amazing glasses that I have come to love and hold dear to my heart fall down to the ground and I see the other half of my glasses going in the other direction. Actually it was only one of the two glasses frame arms (whatever you call them). So now, they are broken. Sad day, but it's alright, I've got an extra pair that look fairly similar.

Now that that's over, guess what! We are now officially the oldest district in our zone, which feels weird because I know essentially nothing about being a missionary since I've only heard what it's like and I have never been out into the field, but now we're expected to answer all of the questions of the younger districts and everything. We've got the zone leaders and the sister training leaders in our district, also not to forget the all important Sacrament Coordinators, which is me and my companion Elder Hall. 

I got a haircut last week after I emailed, obviously they don't have the best hair cutters in the world, but It works right, I'm not trying to impress anyone or anything so yay!

Life is just moving like crazy here though, the time is literally flying by, feels like yesterday that I just got here, and now I've been out for almost a whole month! I know that these next 2 years are going to fly by. Do me a favor and smile today! Life is good! The church is true!

Elder Slack