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!