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

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Week 3: Joseph Smith

Amigos y Familia!!

Hola once again from the MTC! I'm loving it here! It's so awesome! My district is amazing and Spanish is honestly so much fun, I don't know why, but it is! Me and my companion are getting along great! We got an assignment for Sundays this past week, we are the Sacrament coordinators so we get to go and prepare the sacrament every week and give the prayers in español and make sure that there are people there to pass the sacrament I'm excited, all those years of sacrament experience getting to apply them on the mission!

So our old District leader, we just changed and have a new one now, he's 21 years old his name is Elder Carson and he's prematurely balding or something like that, but he told me this amazing joke this last week. "What do you call 3 rabbits hopping backwards?? ....... A receding hare line!" Prime stuff am I right!

The MTC schedule is getting a little repetitive, it's pretty much wake up, eat food, class, eat food, class, eat food, devotional class sleep. But it's great I love it, I learn so much every single day. I've resolved that we probably have some of the best missionary teachers, because they are all returned missionaries, they all served in South America/Mexico, and because they served there they taught around 5-10 lessons a day so they know how to teach and they know about the culture, one of my teachers went to the Buenos Aires North Mission, and they all know so much about the gospel and about teaching it and loving it and everything. It's pretty awesome!

Also every week on P-day, we get to go to the temple in the morning, it's awesome, it's literally right across the street and we just walk on over and get to go inside and work there, then after that we get to go and eat breakfast in the temple, it is literally the most divine food in the world right now, because we've been eating the byu food service food and let's just say that it's not the most healthy stuff and doesn't taste amazing, I've just been eating oatmeal or cereal everyday for breakfast everyday and It's just okay, so the waffle I get at the temple is just amazing compared to what we eat here. But I'm grateful for food, and also I'm grateful that I don't have to eat at the MTC for the rest of my mission.

We have a devotional here every Sunday and Tuesday, It's awesome we've had some of the best speakers here, they teach us so much and I've been spiritually fed every time they speak, but also just before the devotional we have choir practice and then we sing a song as a choir for everyone, which there are more missionaries in the choir than there are in the rest of the audience. We don't sound amazing, but we're actually pretty good, but over this past week we sang Joseph Smith's first prayer, (I think that's the song) and the choir director is just awesome, he always has some cool stories and a sweet testimony about every single song, and he told us some amazing stories and facts about the accounts of the first vision, and it strengthened my testimony of Joseph Smith as a prophet so much. And he shared some personal stories from his mission and bore his testimony on the power of the first vision. This one short story, he said he was out on his mission in Brazil and he and his companion came out from teaching a lesson with some investigators and his companion turned to him and said "NEVER teach the first vision like that again" and he was confused and said "Like what??" Then his companion said to him "Like it's not true! Because it is a true story Elder!" That really made me think about my testimony of Joseph Smith and how I teach it, I never want to be teaching and speak and sound like I don't think that it is true, because I know that Joseph Smith went in that day to the sacred grove and prayed, and God and Jesus Christ came down to him. You can read Joseph Smith's story online at LDS.org or just google Joseph smith history or something like that and it should have Joseph Smith's account of what he saw, and I'd like to challenge you all to read it, or reread it, and think about your own testimony, or if you don't know that it is true, take 3 minutes to pray about it, because if that moment isn't true, then none of this church is true, and I know for myself that it happened.

Also this week, there was an elder in another district that had a birthday, and his family sent him a ton of presents and food and stuff, so we had a little mini birthday party out in the hall in front of our room, and he got a ton of balloons and candy, then he gave a bunch of it away, so I grabbed some and everyone gets a ton of packages and so there's a ton of candy just floating around, so I've been able to satisfy my sugar cravings enough for now without buying anything.

Me and my companion Elder Hall have been teaching our investigators and we have been learning so much about teaching and how to apply the lesson to the investigators. I've learned so much about teaching that I never knew before and the language is coming really easily, I don't really worry to much about the language anymore, I just worry about planning the lesson and figuring out what the investigators need. Elder Hall is still struggling with the language a little bit still, but he's talking more and more with each and every lesson.
Elder Slack

Argentina Buenos Aires South Mission

Mailing Address:
Elder Stockton Gerald Slack
2007 N 900 E Unit 97
Provo UT 8460
Check my ride (not really)

Found Elder Brown, but now he's gone
The name tag on pday

Everyone always asks to try on my glasses


The mini birthday party

Friday, October 9, 2015

Week 2: Strange things in the night!

Hey hey! I'm alive! Week 2 has gone by so freaking fast! It's been a great week, tons of learning and exciting things happening, general conference was great! It was so cool to hear from all of the prophets and apostles here at the MTC with all of the missionaries, the spirit is so strong here!!

I need to start off and apologize, I had this moment last week when I sat down, wrote all of my emails and my big group email and I sent it out to a bunch of people and then my time was up and then probably 15 minutes later I thought... Wait... did I send that to my mom and dad? Sorry!! I don't think I did, also sorry to anyone who wanted to get it that didn't, friends or family, I felt really bad and wanted to hop back on for 5 seconds to forward it to you, but Obedience is key and I had to stick to the hour that I am given.

Anyways, I just loved general conference it was great! There were so many different things said that I thought applied directly to me! And getting to watch all of the sessions was a nice little break from the normal schedule here at the MTC, we just got to sit back in our horribly cramped uncomfortable stadium seats and enjoy their words for us. Honestly it was great I loved it apart from the seats that are meant for Elementary school sized kids, I can never feel comfortable when sitting in them no matter how hard I try or how much I move around.

The rest of the week was just incredible, I'll try and touch on a few of the highlights. I've essentially gotten used to the MTC schedule now, waking up at 6:30 is a cinch, at least if you get to bed right at 10:30, there are a few elders who just don't care and stay up later every night and every morning I hear them complaining about how hard it is to get up. I try and tell them, but they always want to do other stuff besides sleep when 10:30 rolls around.

We got 2 new districts in our zone this past week, they're an interesting group of kids, a lot of them still have the total high school mindset going on here, and they're all about the social life and trying to look cool and impress everyone else with their girlfriends and their extreme workout regiments. It's kind of weird, every night probably 6 or 7 people from our floor have a big pow wow in front of our room where they all try and show off their muscles and see who can do the most complex kind of push up and the most pull up's and then some people will stand around and talk about how "back in high school" they could do so many more push-ups. It's kind of weird, but whatever.

Story of the week, it is quite a doozy! My companion, Elder Hall if you didn't get my last weeks letter, he's an interesting kid, we get along really well, but we just have different personalities, I want to work hard all the time and he just wants to mess around and have fun all the time, it works out though because we kind of balance each other out. So just the other night, I was sound asleep in my bed, I was having the weirdest of dreams that you'll have to ask me about some other time, but in the dream I hear this banging and it is really annoying, I have no idea where it's coming from, but all of a sudden I wake up. And I'm thinking why in the world am I awake at this time of night? I look at my clock, it's like 2:45 in the morning and I'm super confused, so I just go back to bed. Well I sleep well the rest of the night, then I get up the next morning, everything is fine and dandy. Then Elder Hall starts talking and he's like where were you guy's! I was freezing all night! Why didn't you wake up! And we're like whoa whoa, what are you talking about? Because he just starts getting all grumpy about nothing we know about. Well as it turns out... That thumping I heard in my dream, was Elder Hall thumping on our window, it woke me up, but he didn't keep knocking. Elder Hall had slept walked out of our room, up the stairs, through the door and to outside, he said that he woke up by a tree over by the fence here. He was trapped outside for 2 and a half hours!! He couldn't get anyone to wake up, he was just freezing outside in his G's until finally around 4 am a security guard was taking his morning round about and he spotted him and let him in. We died when we heard his story, but also turns out he woke about 4 people up, but they all decided not to get up because they were to tired and they didn't know what it was, and some of them assumed it was some kids just messing with the MTC. But, from now on Elder hall is sleeping with his key and key card attached to him. 

Other then that, the week has been pretty normal. We've been teaching these 2 people consecutively almost every day. But just the other day after we finished our TRC lesson, which is just essentially another person we teach in Spanish for more practice. And we finished, we walk out of the room and we see our other investigator, and he's all dressed up, in a nice shirt and tie and has a name badge on that say's Hermano Brown. Elder Hall and I are confused right now and he just tells us to follow him so we go and we get to watch the other missionaries in our district teach on these camera's they have on a live feed from every room. And turns out, our investigator that we taught on the 3rd day, Who was named Guillermo, is actually Hermano Brown another one of our teachers. Quite surprised actually, but I like teacher Hermano Brown a lot more than investigator Hermano Brown as Guillermo. He is super energetic and excited about teaching the gospel. He keeps telling us that he's not here to be our friend, he's here to train us so that we can go out and baptize the WORLD!! He's awesome.

Other things, food is still food. I borrowed someone's card reader so I have pictures this week, we had the relief society general president come talk to us last night for our Tuesday night night devotional, it was awesome she said some amazingly inspiring things. I'm still learning Spanish, it's getting harder now, but I still love it.

I just thought of another story, I know you hear all the time of language switch ups and things that people say and earlier this week when Elder Hall and I were teaching a lesson we were teaching and Elder hall was trying to talk about Joseph Smith and tell our investigator that he was the start of the Restoration of the church, well it came out as "José Smith es la esposa de la restauracíon" Which translates to Joseph smith is the wife of the restoration, and our investigator just gave us this really weird look and then we realized what he had said. 

Anyway's I'll tell you more next week! Keep everything real for me and stay awesome!!

Elder Slack

Argentina Buenos Aires South Mission

Mailing Address:
Elder Stockton Gerald Slack
2007 N 900 E Unit 97
Provo UT 8462

P.S. My companion is the big redhead one in a few of the pictures. Also if anyone still doesn't get it let me know.

Week 1: Espanol?


Hola! From the MTC! I'm here I finally made it! I love it here in the MTC, honestly I think the MTC is exactly what you make it. It's all about attitude and loving everyone. Honestly though, the MTC is nothing like what I thought it would be. I'd really even seen it up close before, so in my mind I imagined it being this big gigantic building for all of the missionaries, in some sort of mall structure with rooms and classrooms and a cafeteria. Nothing like that, if you've never been here before, essentially it's like a micro college campus, you've got the residence halls where each of the different zones sleep in different buildings. Then you've got your cafeteria building with some other rooms for meetings, and then there's a bunch of separate buildings for all of the different language's and for training the missionaries.

Spanish is going amazing!! Honestly the gift of tongue's is SOOO real! I took 2 years of Espanol back in high school, and honestly I had forgotten the majority of it all except for a few words. I've been here for a week exactly now, and I can speak in sentences, slowly, I can bear my testimony, I can pray, It's going so well. I can almost hold a conversation, but it takes me a while to conjugate everything to fit and I only have a small vocabulary, but it's great!!! I love Spanish so much!!! It's so much fun to speak and try and figure out how to say everything, and also to be able to understand everything is so cool. Our teachers are Hermana Bennet and Hermano Roberts, they speak only in Spanish all of the time, except for when we don't understand everything, then they'll explain it so that we know what the words are, but it's 96% Espanol, and 4% English. I love it!

My companion, his name is Elder Hall, he's from a little town in Arizona called Vernin, It's about 20 minutes away from Sholo is what he said, if you know where that is. He's awesome, super energetic and excited all of the time. I'll try and send a picture of him, he has a really strong testimony, but he is really struggling with the language, he took 3 years of sign language in High school and speaks that amazingly fluently, and he was really hoping to go on a state side ASL mission, but he and I are going to the same mission. He knows that he just needs to be patient, but he hates not being able to understand everything and not being able to speak his mind, because he likes to talk all of the time. He's a redneck, according to him, and he's proud of it.

This past week was crazy though, the first few days were kind of hard, we got in to class the first day and all of us were confused because our teachers were speaking only Spanish, but then a few of us started catching on to what they were saying and could help the rest of our district. But then, on the first night they were talking to us and they told us to start preparing a lesson, and they showed us a video of this guy talking, his name is Guillermo, he only speaks Spanish, he has been struggling with drugs and some other stuff, and we had to prepare a lesson to teach him. Then, we had about an hour and a half in class the next day and mi companero (companion) and I taught him a lesson Thursday night, all in Espanol. We had to fill 30 minutes, it was the worst lesson that I've ever taught in my life! Haha! But then we got back to class the next day and they told us to prepare a lesson again, so we've taught him about 5 times so far, only in Espanol, but we've been improving a ton every time. Oh yeah, they haven't "officially" told us that he's another teacher yet, but I'm like 99% sure no one would sit there for 3 hours while they get lessons from 6 companionship's. And we can see his garments, but not even worried about it. I still look at him as a real investigator and try and plan our lesson's around what we want to commit him to do.

The food here is.... well.... BYU food service food, and that's pretty much it. It's just okay, definitely not the healthiest food in the world, and there is so much of it. It's kind of odd, because you walk in and you just hop in a line and start grabbing whatever food you want and you just walk away with it and eat it. I almost feel like I'm stealing it, but I'm not. I try not to eat to much, I don't want to put on the pounds here at the MTC. But everyday we get to have about 40 - 50 minutes to work out/play games in the gym, the first few days I played some 4 square and some volleyball, but the past 2 days, I've been able to go to the gym and get in a good workout. 

My Spanish district is awesome!! I love all of them! We've got a decently big district, we have 12 people it it, 10 Elders and 2 Hermanas (Sisters), we had a testimony meeting with our district near the beginning of the week, and everyone has a cool story of how they decided to come on a mission and we all have great testimonies. Surprisingly, there are only 2 other people in my district from Utah, the rest are from the surrounding states. One's from Beaver, and the other is from Sandy and went to Alta, so we knew some of the same people it was pretty awesome. But everyone else is from Idaho, Arizona, or California, and a lot of them are from small towns.

Anyways, the first few days were rough, but from Sunday on has been so much better, and my first P-day has been awesome, I never thought I'd miss wearing a T-shirt this much, but it feels great! But that doesn't matter, I enjoy getting to be a missionary everyday, I've seen several people here that I know, including that stud Elder Brown (how's that shout out Carter).

The Spirit here is amazing, I really like the personal and language study time. They challenged us at the beginning of the stay to finish the Book of Mormon before we leave. So I decided that it would be really cool if I could read it in English and in Espanol, so I'm going through one verse at a time reading it in English and then in Espanol. It's pretty awesome, also we have 2 devotionals a week here, yesterday we got to hear from Elder Costa of the seventy, it was a great talk, he talked about his own conversion story and about missionary work and it really just motivated me to keep working hard. 

All of the emails from home were really appreciated, it was so cool to hear from all of you about what's going on. I can't wait to email let you know what I'm up to again next week. I love you all, I hope all is going well in your lives, and if anyone wants to send me a Dear elder, they're free to send to the Provo MTC, my address is down below on my signature. Thanks so much I'll catch you all next week! I'm scheduled to leave November 2nd, just so you know as well.

P.S. I can't send pictures yet, you need a SD card reader to hook up to these computers because they are super dulled down so people can't do much on them, but I'll send pictures next week of me and my district and my companion. Adios!

Elder Slack

Argentina Buenos Aires South Mission

Mailing Address:
Elder Stockton Gerald Slack
2007 N 900 E Unit 97
Provo UT 8462