Friday, January 27, 2017

Week 66: We just need to K.I.S.S!


Hey Hey! I'm back again! Figured I'd write you guys real fast! It's been another great week here in Argentina! This past week we were in Catán 1A! It was a great week, I got to see some of the members from my first ward real quick so that was super nice, It's so great to see the people that you have grown to love again. 

So, as for the title, that's my new slogan that I've been applying recently. You just need to Keep It Simple Sweetie. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is so simple, and sometimes we just make things too complicated. So it's good to remember sometimes that you just gotta keep things simple!

We were with Elder Ramos and Elder Jesson, they are both great missionaries and I loved working with them, Elder Jesson is from Pennsylvania, and Elder Ramos was living in Utah before the mission.

I've got 2 quick stories for you, first I was walking with Elder Ramos the other day and this drunk guy just walked right up to us and started talking to us. Pretty normal I just thought it was super funny how he shook my hand. He shook it normal but then he didn't let go, he held on and then grabbed my thumb and put my hand on his head? I was pretty confused, I'm not sure if he wanted me to read his mind or something like that. Haha! But that was fun.

The other one, the sacrament meeting yesterday was super awesome! This week the ward went to PFY, or the For the strength of Youth camp. And yesterday all of the young men and women got up and bore their testimonies about the camp. It was amazing, there were probably 8 or 9 of them that said that they didn't want to go before, and then at the end of the week they didn't want to leave, they said that before they wanted to inactivate themselves and never go to church again, but then they went and it changed completely their state of mind. It reminded me of when I went to EFY, I didn't want to inactivate me before, but when I went there it completely changed my life, it helped me to feel the spirit and feel the desire to act for myself. If anyone is thinking about going or sending their kids, do it!! It's so worth it!

Love you all! Until next week 

-Elder Slack
(captions added by Mama Slack)
Elder Slack is the 3rd missionary from the left.

Elder Slack is the second missionary from the left.

Elder Slack can't resist the smile that is "goofy". He has always been a very happy person. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Week 65: I need thee every hourly bathroom breaks

Well well well! What a week it has been! I love you all! I hope you all had a great week, and if you don't it's your own dang fault!

This week was a different kind of week. We went to the area of Longchamps, that was in my last zone before getting this assignment. It was fun actually. We were with Elder Tobler from Las Vegas Nevada and Elder Cornejo from Chile and for part of the week Elder Méndez from Argentina! They are really great Elders. 

Elder Tobler was my first district leader, so it was great to work with him! He's really funny, he's going to be finishing his mission in 3 weeks he was pretty excited for that, as you can imagine, he had a whole list of the different foods that he wants to eat when he gets back he read it to me and it made me just a little trunky, it made me think about all of the foods that I miss. But it's all good!

Elder Cornejo is from Santiago Chile, he knew Elder Reyes before the mission, one of the Elders I was with in Ciudad Evita a few weeks ago. He's pretty new in the mission, he's only got 3 months here he just finished his training, but he's really excited and he's really smart. He loves working and serving the people. He's ¿24? years old. He was studying astronomy before the mission, specifically about black holes and stuff like that, so that's pretty cool!

Elder Mendez, he´s from Argentina Buenos Aires North, he was just waiting for his Visa to get here so he could go serve the rest of his mission in Mexico. He's pretty funny, really Argentine that's for sure. But just this week on Friday he went and hopped on the plane to go to the Mexico Puebla North mission! So he was super excited for that. It was fun to be in a trio for a few days this week.

Elder Escandon is still my companion. (Just in case you guys forgot) WHOO ARIZONA!!

Well, this week has been pretty interesting, we had a few new challenges that we had to overpass (if that's a word). We ordered some pizza from this kind of iffy place on Tuesday night, so we all had some diarrhea for a few days! Whoo! That was pretty bad. Elder Tobler got the sickest of all of us, he was throwing up and everything, so he had to stay home on Wednesday and Thursday. My tummy problems started on Thursday pretty bad in the morning, so I didn't go out to work on Thursday. I woke up with needing to go to the bathroom and a low grade fever. After resting it up all day with Elder Tobler we were back in the game on Friday. Our stomachs were still kind of iffy on Friday and Saturday, but we went, as some would put it, accident free! Now my stomach has been back to normal almost all day today, I decided it would be better if I eat more fruits and vegetables than pizza to prevent any kind of future problems. But all in all it was a good learning experience and I hope that we'll be ready to go to work this week on full blast!

Tomorrow we are going to have our interviews with Presidente Calquín! Pretty excited! I hope it goes well!

One of the highlights of the week was being able to teach the Sanchez Family, they're a super great family, we taught them the law of chastity and we talked about the importance of being married. They were all agreed and said that it was really great! One of the couples said that they want to get married! So that was pretty awesome! 

Anyway's that's all for now! I love you all and I hope that you guys are all great! Have much love to you all!

-Elder Slack

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Week 64: The way God sees things

Hey hey! It's been another great week here. We're back here again, we've just gotten back from another successful week in another great area! I'm super exhausted right now, but it just feels soooooo good to be able to sit here and write to all of you in the air conditioning of the mission offices after being in the heat and humidity all week, haha! But I just loved the whole week!

This week we were with Elder Stapely, from California, and with..... Elder Torricella!!! If You remember who he is! I was companions with Elder Torricella back in Villegas for 2 weeks in a trio, so it was super cool to be able to be back with him again and get to know him even better and do some good work. We were in the area of El Jaguel (Pronounced: El Ha Well). Yes it is called The Jaguel. It was a good week, I learned a lot this week, it was really fun to be with both Elder Stapely and Elder Torricella they are both really great missionaries and they are both determined to serve the Lord!

One of my favorite parts of the week, we went to the TEMPLE!!! WHOOOO!!! It was super great! I've been just a little bit stressed out with a few things lately and I didn't really realize it and it was just great to go to the house of the Lord, I was able to feel a whole lot better, a lot more peace and stress free. I got a few answers to some of the questions and thoughts I've been having lately and it just helped a ton being able to go there now that I've grown so much here in the mission. And it's always great to remember how blessed I truly am and how my our Father in Heaven truly loves us! It was such a beautiful day! We went there with all of the Zone Leaders and all of the Sister training leaders and the assistants and Presidente Calquín and his Wife. It was so awesome. We are so blessed to have a temple inside the limits of our mission. It's been about 6 months since we went the last time, this was the first time that we were able to go with our new mission president, it was super awesome, I loved it so much! And then afterwards we had a Leadership Counsel in one of the buildings next to the MTC here. President talked about how we as leaders really need to focus on serving the other people. He talked about how the best leaders are those that follow. If we can learn to follow the Lord's commandments, follow the plan that the Lord reveals to President then everything will work out alright! I just love our mission president so much, he is such a great man and he is always so excited and ready to help us out and he's not afraid to make changes! 

One of my favorite parts of this week. In the leadership counsel, the assistants talked about the importance of training the future leaders here in the mission. So I was able to put that into practice a little this past week. On Saturday I was talking a little bit with Elder Torricella while we were proselyting and we were able to talk a little bit about being a district leader. Things that I regret not doing as a district leader, things that we have seen that others have done really well as a district leader and I talked with him more specifically about the importance of following what Presidente tells us to do. It was pretty great, I too was able to learn a lot while we talked about things that we can do to help and serve the other missionaries. 

One of the things that I've really realized over the time here on the mission is the importance of applying what our leaders tell us to do. Last year the apostles did a world wide conference about Teaching Repentance and Baptizing Converts. At first I didn't even understand what that meant, after watching the whole conference I was a little bit confused still and I didn't change very much in the way that I was helping and serving the people. Then Presidente Calquín got here and he started saying the same thing. We need to teach repentance and baptize converts, and you know what, I still didn't get it. I heard it time and time again, but nothing seemed to really make the click, until just about 2 months ago I came here with my new assignment to be an ETM, and things just started clicking. I talked with the other missionaries, and they helped me to understand it a little bit better. I taught a lesson with my companion and it worked amazingly. And just now within these last 2 months I am starting to realize how important it is that the people repent and are baptized. I am realizing how much it talks about repentance and baptism in the Book of Mormon and in the other Scriptures. I realize that this whole time they have been telling me what to do, and I either didn't understand or just didn't want to make the change. But now as I begin to understand I start changing, as I've put into practice what they've been telling us to do the whole time, Presidente, the apostles, everyone! I've seen so many blessings. Anyways, so that's what I want to invite you to do. I'm going to attach the link to the talk from The president of the church, those of you who haven't read it lately, I invite you to read it and put into practice the principles that it teaches. And then let me know how it goes for you! I love you all! I LOVE serving the Lord and serving the people here in Argentina and being able to serve these incredible missionaries. I am so blessed! Love you all! Until next week!! Chau!

-Elder Slack

Monday, January 2, 2017

Week 63: The Triangle

Hey hey hey! We're back! It's been another amazing week here in Argentina, enjoying the HOT and HUMID summer weather. I hope all of you enjoyed your new years celebrations and are enjoying the weather wherever you may be. 

It's been a really great week to be honest, this week we were in an area that's called El Triangulo, which, if you can use your mental translators (this be word?) means The Triangle. Yup we were in The Triangle this week!! Whoo!!

It was pretty awesome, we were with 2 really great elders, Elder Pontelli from Southern Argentina and Elder Wilson from Syracuse Utah! El Triangulo is a place that's called a villa (vee-sha) here, like some of my other areas, but this one's one of the more dangerous ones, but thankfully we are always protected by God. It's always so humbling to see some of the circumstances where some of these people live, it's hard to believe sometimes, but I know that I'm here to help them, that God can bless them and their families forever. It makes me so happy to be able to serve such incredible people. I just loved working in El Triangulo this week, we were able to teach a ton of lessons, and I just loved being able to testify and teach about how Jesus Christ can change their lives.

I've been learning a ton about how we can teach repentance to the people. I've learned so much that all of life is dependant on our agency, or the choices that we make. We all have the ability to make decisions, and the decisions that we make are what will determine the consequences. I've been thinking a lot lately about something that my mom taught me and my brothers and sister when we were little. I think I was about 10 years old we were having family home evening one night. My mom was teaching us about agency and then she took out a popsicle stick, we all looked at it and we could see that it had some little words written on it. My mom placed it carefully on the table and then she explained that we were going to all play a game! On one end of the popsicle stick was written neatly Decision and on the other end of the same face was written Consequence. She told us to try and lift up the side that said Decision without moving or lifting up the side that said Consequence. At first it seemed pretty simple, I mean, who can't lift up a popsicle stick? But as we all tried one by one we began to realize that our mom was cheating! This was a game that you couldn't win! I was so determined to be able to do it I tried smashing down on one side and lifting up the other side but it always moved! Well in that time my mom explained to us that that's the way that life works, we all have our agency, we can all take whatever decision that we want, but we always have to remember that on the end of every decision is tied a consequence, that as we act and use our agency to do and to change, that we needed to always remember the consequence that will come with our actions. God will never force us to make a decision, we are completely free to do whatever it is that we want, but the consequences have already been determined and it's most likely that they are not going to change.

Well, how does all of that apply to repentance? Well, what the people need to do is act. We all act and make decisions everyday, but now, which ones are the right ones? Which decisions will lead us to the best consequences? Well, I've been reading the Book of Mormon a lot lately so I'd thought I'd share with you guys one of my favorite scriptures:

And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you. (Mosiah 2:22) 

That was the very first scripture that I used when I taught my very first lesson here in Argentina. Like it says, that when we choose to follow God, he promises that we will prosper, it doesn't matter where we are at or who we are, if we keep his commandments and we are obedient, everything is going to be alright. 

We are all sinners, it's super hard to be 100% obedient to all of God's commandments, only one person on this earth has done it, and he was the best person to ever live on this earth. Jesus Christ, he came and not only did he live perfectly, but he then suffered for our sins and died for us. Because he did that.. he made and exception to the rule, there is one way that we can lift up the decision and then leave the consequence behind us. When we do something wrong, when we mess up, if we go to God and ask for his forgiveness, he can forgive us. Simply, all we need to do is go and ask for his forgiveness and truly change the things that we are doing. When we repent, Christ erases the consequences of our actions. 

Anyways, so what do we do? Well we focus all of our teachings that the person can act, that the person can change, that the person can repent. Because I know that what is says in Mosiah is true, I know that if we keep the commandments we will prosper I have seen it and lived it and I love it. So I invite all of you to think about your lives, think about the decisions that you are making. Remember the consequences that you will receive, and think what does God want you to do. If you don't know, read the Book of Mormon and pray, there is where you will find the answer. Read it, just do it!

I love you all! Sorry for the long letter this week! New years was great! We didn't do a whole lot like on Christmas, I just cooked a bunch of pancakes and we watched the fireworks and we enjoyed talking a little bit. It's a new year! 2017! WOW! Time is flying, this year I'm going home! WHAT?! So crazy! Love you all! Until next week! Chau!

-Elder Slack

Week 62: Changes

Hey everyone! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! WHOO! Yesterday was Christmas!
 I hope it went really well for all of you! I loved it here, it was super awesome! We spent the time over here in the pench of the missionaries of the offices, so we were a ton of missionaries all in the same pench, it was crazy! We made an asado with a ton of meat, there was sooooo much we didn't even eat it all, It just fills you up super fast so I was stuffed. Then at midnight when it turned from being the 24th to the 25th everyone everywhere in Argentina started lighting off tons of fireworks, so we went up on the roof and we enjoyed watching all of them for about half an hour. Then afterwards we enjoyed some ice cream and went to
 bed. It was pretty awesome. 

On Sunday morning we went to church and then we got to talk with our families!! THE BEST! The last times it was a little bit weird, but this time I just enjoyed it, it was so great talking to them! And I got to know my future brother in law (in 4 days!) then we ate estrogonof, a brazilian food super delicious! And we talked for a little bit, then we went back to the pench where we slept for  a little because we were wiped out and then we woke up, planned super fast, ate a quick dinner, and slept again.

This week was a week of lot's of learning, we were with Elder Minshall and Elder Morris, both from the United States, Elder Minshall is from South Jordan Utah, and Elder Morris is from California! Both of them are great missionaries, we were able to work with them and one of the kids that we were teaching this week was baptized this weekend, his name is Walter, he's really awesome, he's a kid that is 14 years old, I only taught him once, but it was awesome to be able to teach him!

We had a very special meeting this week on Saturday. President has been making a lot of changes in the mission, he sent us something last week that said that we can't do the same things that we did 15 or 20 years ago and think that it's good enough, we need to make changes we need to do new things. So he's been making lot's of changes here in the mission. A few months ago he changed some of the rules of the mission like I told you guys. This week he completely changed the structure of the mission. Before in the mission there were 6 zones, one for every stake, and it was a little bit harder to be able to communicate and know how the missionaries were doing with everything. But now, it's all changed, now there are double the amount of zones, we now have 12 zones in the mission, they're all smaller and have less missionaries, there are now less missionaries in the districts as well, before there were districts of 8,10, or 12 missionaries, now they have generally 6 or 8, and there is only 1 that has 10. So now there are 24 Zone Leaders! WHOO! Haha! It's going to be great! With all of the changes president is hoping that there can be more communication between the missionaries, that we can talk one with another and that he can know better how the missionaries are doing individually. It was harder before because the leaders had lots of missionaries to care for and couldn't focus a whole lot on there specific needs, but now they should all be able to work one with another and help out everywhere in the mission to grow.

I'm super excited for the changes that we're seeing, this month is just ending and the assistants informed us that we had an all time record of baptisms this month since the mission split about a year and a half ago, so it looks like things are changing for good!!

It was a great week, I loved working with Elder Minshall and Elder Morris, we learned a lot while working with them. I think I forgot to tell you guys last week, I've got my new companion already, he started working with us this last week even though transfers are today, his name is Elder Escandon! He's from Arizona!!! He's really fun to work with and we've been talking a lot about the changes we are going to make to have a bigger impact with the work that we do, to help more people and change more lives. I love you guys! I hope you enjoy this week and have a happy new years!! Until next week!! Chau!

-Elder Slack

Week 61: BAUTISMO!!

Hey Hey Hey!! 

It's been a great week here! This past week we were in the ward Ciudad Evita 2A! We were with Elder Reyes and Elder Ramos! The ward shares a chapel with my old ward Villegas! It's was an incredible week! Full of learning and lots of great experiences. 

First things first, on Saturday we had a few baptisms! It was super fun! Three little brothers that the missionaries had found about 3 weeks ago that they had been teaching, and another woman that they had been teaching for about a month now. It was so great being able to work with them this week and help them prepare for baptism. The woman´s name is Karen, it was really interesting because just this week she was going to be baptized and everything seemed to go super crazy in her family, one of her daughters decided to fight with her and she was super stressed out, but when we passed by and talked with her we were able to help her feel better and she realized that it was like the Elders had told her before, that the devil is going to do everything possible to stop her from being baptized, so it's important that she can be firm and strong! And she made it!!

The other 3 kids, there names are Ismael, Alexis, and Arión. They're brothers, well Alexis and Ismael are brothers and Arión is there cousin I think. They're super awesome these little dudes, 2 of them are 12 years old and the other is 10. We taught them a few times, they had heard about Joseph Smith before from the Elders so when we showed up the second time, they showed us how they had buried a Book of Mormon in their front yard so that they could be modern day Joseph Smith's when they dug it up. I have to admit it was pretty awesome. 

On Saturday in the morning we did an activity in the ward where we brought all of the missionaries from the zone and we did something a little different that's called una Tormenta Amarilla (Yellow Storm). It originated from an activity that they normally do that's called una Tormenta Blanca (White Storm). Where you send lots of missionaries to contact all of the people that they see, more or less. But in the Tormenta Amarilla, we all put on those Mormon Helping Hands shirts/vest things and we went and talked with everyone possible and we knocked on a bunch of doors and we brought brooms and we offered to sweep their sidewalks! It was pretty awesomely fun! And we tried to teach the person while one of the others was sweeping! It was different than how we imagined it, but it worked great!!

It was such a great week, being able to work with the Elders was great, they are both incredible missionaries, I loved getting to know them and I loved learning from them. I could see that both of them love so much the people that they teach, and I loved seeing how they weren't trying to act to be a missionary or anything, I could see it was actually something that they want to be doing, they would talk with us in the pension in the same way that they would talk to the people that they are teaching or that they would contact. It was a great week! I hope all is well with all of you! I'm super excited to be able to skype my family this coming weekend!! I love you all and I hope you enjoy your Christmas's!! Until next week!! Chau!

-Elder Slack

Below are some pics from the Tormenta Amarilla and the kids that were baptized!

And here are some other photos, We also had the christmas ward dinner this week, I loved the costumes that the kids used to dress up, it was pretty funny their play type thing.

And we did 2 services this week, we helped adjust the water tank of a family that was about to fall down, and we helped to dig out some trees and I got a little "boo boo" on my finger.