Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Transfers are tonight...December 15, 2014

Hello everyone!!  This week was very different with Zone Conferences, some interviews with the President, and some divisions with the Zone Leaders!!  I am learning tons here in the mission but mostly just that I need to open my mouth and talk because people are ready to listen!  We have set aside most of the investigators we were teaching because of their lack of progression and have a whole new page of people to talk to!  One of the ladies we are teaching is in a wheelchair.  Her name is Carmen Pajaro.  She is 43 years old and knows the Bible like the back of her hand but it is amazing how confused she is about some of the principles!  She isn't married but has plans to get married this month to her partner of more than 15 years!  They are super attentive to what we teach.  I am amazed at the faith she shows under her circumstances!!!  One of the little blessings I have received to show the hand of the Lord in all things!  We are also teaching a man named Hever PariƱan who isn't married either.  He has two little kids and is super good friends with the Bishop.  We had an appointment with him and the Bishop that went super well!  I know he felt the spirit.  The only thing is, that doesn't deny the fact that he has his agency!  I guess we will see!  Everyone is getting ready for Christmas here!  I don't feel too bad because I know you don't have snow either so MERRY CHRISTMAS!! :)  Transfers are tonight and I am anxious to see what will happen!  I guess no matter what happens I am still in the mission so it isn't that big of a deal!  I am excited to spend Christmas here under the palm trees!  Oh and today we were going to a Zone activity and got stuck behind some cars because a 4 ft. long iguana was crossing the street!!  It was massive!!  Haha!  I am doing absolutely awesome and hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season!!
Love, Elder Slack

***We received word tonight that Brady will be transferred to Barranquilla tomorrow to be a Trainer.  His sweet Relief Society President, Hermana Ledys, contacted us and said it was her privilege to serve him and that he was a strong missionary and very friendly to all of the people.  We are so grateful to her and all the people in the Alto Bosque area that took such good care of him and made his experience as a missionary a memorable one.

District of Alto Bosque
Victor Sanchez and Elder Slack
Elder Wooden and Elder Slack
Elder ?, Elder Slack, Elder ?, Elder Wooden and Elder ?
The Gringos from the CCM...Elder Wooden, Elder Slack and Elder Balle
Last view from his apartment in Alto Bosque area in Cartagena

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

We just need to open our mouths and share...December 8, 2014

This week flew by so fast, it was incredible!!  On Tuesday we were in a trio with our Zone Leader, Elder Barreto from Brazil, and it was awesome!  The rest of our week we contacted and it felt awesome because we were able to talk to so many people and I realized how open the people are here about the things we teach!!  My testimony really grew because so many people are ready to hear the Gospel and have been prepared by our Father in Heaven to hear it.  We just need to open our mouths and share the gospel!  I love all the scriptures that talk about putting our faith in Christ and opening our mouths to share the gospel, when we do He will be right there with us!!!!  I have been reading Doctrine and Covenants and read section 87.  I have never before realized the the prophet Joseph Smith foretold the civil war AND both world wars, 29 years before it happened.  I know he truely was a Prophet of God and that we have a living Prophet who receives revelation specifically for us in these latter days!  I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ lives!!  I know that according to our obedience to the things we have been taught, we will be able to live with our families again.  Thanks for all the love and support and prayers!!  I wish you all the best of luck in your endeavours and the merriest of holidays!!
Love, Elder Slack

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

He Is the Gift...December 1, 2014

Another week has come and gone!  I am amazed at the time that has past and the little time I have ahead!  I feel like the climb is over after this next transfer and then it is open waters from here on out!!  I love the area I am in.  I feel like it is the best in our zone!  I am hoping that I stay in this area over Christmas because I have a lot of super awesome people in this area that are always offering food!! :)  We had another baptism this week and it was one of our investigators, Hermana Alba.  She has 3 sons, and besides her son who is 8 years old, was the only non-member in her entire family!  She was super hard but I was very shocked to see her just break down in tears as she bore her testimony after she was baptized.  The Gospel and Holy Ghost really do amazing things!!  She is progressing way faster after than she ever did before her baptism!!  Other than that, things are going good here in Colombia!
Thanksgiving day passed quickly which made things a ton easier!!  We went bowling today as a zone.  Had a great time doing something a little different.  I am so glad to be a missionary and I would challenge all of you to see the new video "He Is the Gift" on mormon.org and share it with all your neighbors, friends, friends on Facebook, and family!!  Love you all and hope you have a wonderful holiday season!!
Love, Elder Slack

Bowling with the Zone
Elder Slack is the only American in his Zone
Elder Aguirre, ?, Elder Slack, ?,?, Hermana Alba, ?
Happy Holidays!!  Love, Elder Slack

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Damage Control...November 24, 2014

I think this week should be called damage control in my mission!  After a very long week of pure partying by the people of Cartagena, we finally got to leave the apartment and begin teaching again.  This week was mostly to see who was doing what they should have been doing and who remembered what.  Unfortunately, a couple of the people we are teaching no longer want to hear or aren't doing what we had taught.  However, we do have a baptism of an investigator and her son this coming Saturday!  All of the family that they live with are members and they are the only ones!  It should be a wonderful experience for the entire family and I know that the baptism will help some other members who are struggling right now!  Weeks are kinda the same but I would however like to use an analogy (or a parable, because Christ taught in parables) that my Papa told me this week to help us all this holiday season!  He said, "When you have two mouse holes, do you only set the trap at one hole?"  He gave this analogy of the missionaries of the church, but is there anyone we know that is slipping?  As I enter the holiday season I remember more now than ever the importance of Christ in Christmas and the importance of service and remembering Him and His work.  I hope you all are doing splendid.  Just know that I am doing awesome!  The prayers help but they help you too so keep saying them!  I hope you can all find time in your busy schedules to "Count your many Blessings".  I love you all!
Love, Elder Slack

Views from the apartment

Elder Aguirre, ?, Elder Slack, ?

Not much else to report...November 17, 2014

Well, this week certainly didn't fly by, but it did go surprisingly fast for the circumstances. It was Carnival here in Cartagena, celebrating their independence or something like that.  I don't think that they even needed a reason to celebrate.  What a week!  I definitely heard the noise and the crazy but I think I live on an old person street because nothing exciting happened! My district leader calls every night to check up on us and his street has a huge party going on and he said that a man was stabbed to death in front of his house!  Way too much drinking and dancing!!  Every year about 20ish people die and so the missionaries are pretty much behind bars. We were in the house every day and thank heavens it rained and it was nice and cool this week because if not, I am not sure I would be living.  I had ample time to read the scriptures and ponder conference talks, pray, learn the lessons and read Preach My Gospel, and talk to myself in my head (if I did out loud my comp might think I am crazy;) I caught up on serious napping that was much needed.  I am just afraid that our lessons after lunch this week will be a little rough... :/ Not much else to report.  I hope you all are wonderful and can do the things we have been commanded!!
Love, Elder Slack

Not much to do besides eat, goof off, and read the scriptures while stuck in the apartment for a week


Monday, November 10, 2014

It is already a little crazy here...November 10, 2014

I survived another transfer and am still here in Cartagena (Alto Bosque estaca Los Alpes).  However, my companion did transfer to Barranquilla.  My new companion is Elder Aguirre and is from Lima, Peru.  He is 18 and has about 7 months in the mission.  He is a short little guy and we are getting along great!  We have worked really hard this week both cleaning the house and talking with a ton of people!!  This mission has three names first Mission Barranquilla Colombia, second Mission Impossible (but that is another story), and third, Mission Peru y Utah (because just about all the missionaries are from Peru and Utah).
We have 5 investigators on track for the 22nd of this month.  They were on track for this coming Saturday but we have a little thing called CARNIVAL or Festival here in Cartagena this week.  It is the celebration of the independence of Cartagena.  All the missionaries are not allowed to leave the house.  Only on Sunday to go to church and they have to go in a taxi.  I am super excited to see the craziness but I am only excited to see it from the comfort of my apartment.  Haha!  It is already a little crazy here!!
All of our investigators are doing awesome!  We have two that I am a little nervous about.. one has had multiple sets of missionaries because she doesn't want to give up smoking.. the other one recently had a baby but isn't married.  We taught the Law of Chastity to her and she immediately asked what she could do so that she could live this commandment!  I am so impressed and amazed at the faith some of these people have and I have realized what a blessing this Gospel is in our lives.  This week, one of the men on our street passed away.  We had talked to him a little and he did not want to listen. His mom passed away about 2 months ago and he was devastated. He would sit outside alone crying on his porch.  We finally went up to him one more time and just talked and taught a little about the Plan of Salvation.  It was terrible for the people living on our street and everyone was panic stricken and crying and I am so glad to have the knowledge I have and it was a great teaching opportunity!  I just feel a little bad for not being a little more persistent and talking to him more.  I guess I learned that I need to take the opportunity when I can and listen to the promptings of the spirit more.  I am doing awesome and hope the same for all of you!  Keep reading the scriptures and praying and going to church and the temple when possible!  We are so blessed!
Love, Elder Slack

Elder Slack and Elder Aguirre from Lima, Peru


Monday, November 3, 2014

Always help and serve those around you...November 3, 2014

Well, the week has come and gone and it has been a different but at the same time a very special week!!  Our recent convert, Victor moved this week so we currently have 0 recent converts to teach.  It is about time we get some new ones huh??:)  We have 5 people (2 Perez family members, Alba Carrasquilla and her son and Hma Maritza) on track for baptism the 15th of this month.  It really all depends on them to gain a testimony, read the scriptures, and pray.. I know that if they really do it, our Heavenly Father will give them the answer they are looking for because He can do anything if we have faith and are obedient to His commandments!! This week was very special for me because of one event that took place.  On Saturdays we have an English class I teach but nobody showed up so we left early and ate arepas (they are so so so good but that wasn't the special part).  As we were walking home, we encountered an older man walking with a cane.  I felt impressed to talk with him even though it was a bit late.  We stopped to talk to him and come to find out, he is 70 years old, blind, and he was 15 minutes from his house (in the other direction of our house)!!  I was shocked that he was out walking without anyone to help him!  In this moment, I remembered words that both my Grandpa and my Dad have told me, "Always help and serve those around you because you would want someone to do the same for those you love".   I asked if we could help and he immediately grabbed my arm and said Thank you.  He was very lost actually and needed help but didn't know what to do!  I can't describe the feeling I had as I was helping him walk up and down sidewalks, around trees, and just talking to him.  I have seen him before around his house but I certainly gained a different perspective this week.  I truly felt the pure love of Christ and I know one day I will see that man again and thank him for changing me and being a blessing in my life for a day!  I am here on a mission but actually, those I talk to are helping me.  I love Colombia and everyone I serve.  I hope everyone takes the opportunity to give simple service as we start the season of giving and holidays!!
Halloween was fun here and they even trick or treat the next day for all the leftover candy!!  I think I will start that tradition when I get home!! :)  We get the call for transfers tonight so I will have Hermana Ledys' Facebook message you and tell you about my new assignment.
Love you all and hope you continue to be blessed and be obedient to what our Father in Heaven has told us.  Obedience is a direct reflection of our commitment and faith.  Love you all and keep being bousses!
Love, Elder Slack

Monday, October 27, 2014

I am amazed at the miracles the Savior can perform...October 27, 2014

Well this was very interesting!!  I think the worst words you can hear on a mission in Spanish is "Quedan en casa".  I left the house a total of 3 hours this week up until Saturday when we were able to leave for the full day.  My companion was sick with this Chinkinguyna thing.  It was terrible!!  He couldn't sleep, couldn't walk with pains in his body, and had a fever of about 100 degrees.  Everyone has this stupid sickness so that was my week!  I had PLENTY of time to clean the apartment and read the Book of Mormon and yeah, that was about it!!  I caught some serious needed ZZ's during the week for a couple of days and that was a terrible idea because when we left on Saturday I was exhausted!!  O well!!  Other than that it was fine!!
I stepped on a scale this week for the first time in 3 months and I was shocked!!  I knew I was growing a little bit because I had to have some of my pants adjusted to be bigger and longer but I didn't know I weighed 175 pounds!  I gained 10 pounds in 3 months!!  It is the first time I have noticed all 6 pecks of my pack and my comp makes fun of me and calls me a girl because he says I have moobs, but they are real!!  I am in excellent shape besides my legs.  In my 2nd week here I had a dream (and it is the only one I have had or remember because I am dead when I sleep) that I had to buy a new suit and when I got home my family didn't recognize me because I was fat.. but I am not fat!!  Just growing which is super good because I don't want my brothers to be taller than me hahaha :)
All of our investigators are doing good!  The Perez family we are teaching is progressing and recognizing the Holy Ghost!  Every time I see them I want to throw 'em in the font because it is about time!!  :) :) Our Recent Convert Victor had his interview to advance in the priesthood as an Elder.  It was very quick and I didn't know if he was ready or not but the Stake President said that he is wonderful and the interview was a very spiritual experience!  I am amazed at the miracles the Savior can preform.  Victor is kind of struggling right now but I am amazed at his faith in tithing, church attendance, and patience.  It has built my faith in the process.  That was basically my week and I feel like I say the same things over  and over but hey.. welcome to the life of a missionary!  We had Conference as a stake (but it was also every stake in Colombia) and Elder Holland talked a lot about families and the importance of the family here on earth.  I hope all are well and saying prayers, reading scriptures, and having Family Home Evening as a family!  He promised more happiness, unity, and love to those who promise to  do these 3 simple things.  I love you all and keep bein' bousses!!
Love Elder Slack

P.S. "Life is like a ballgame but a lot of what happens depends on the umpire."

Javier, a priest from the Alto Bosque ward, sent us a picture of Brady this week.  Such a fun surprise!!  All of the priests have seen Gavin's Instagram posts and loved them!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Quarantined!!...October 20, 2014

Well hello to all!  I hope that your week has been splendid and you have not gotten Ebola.  Yes we see the news occasionally and I was kind of nervous here for a bit!  I am seriously beginning to wonder when our Savior is coming because here there is a virus caused by mosquito bites called Chinkingunya that causes a fever, vomiting, aches and pains in the joints and bones and muscles, cramps, and diarrhea.. yeah, it is bad!!  Just about everyone has gotten it!!  We had a service project on Saturday and my comp got bit like 20 times!!  He has been so sick and we are stuck in our apartment at least until Wednesday.  Quarantined!  It has been so sad to watch him.  Luckily I have not gotten it.  I found this repellant that smells like baby lotion so I have been putting it on and I still smell good!!  Heck yeah!  The bad part is that it mixes with my sweat during the day and I end up having to reapply and wash my eyes out.. I feel a little blind sometimes!! ;)

Service Project left to right  Elder Slack, Elder Moreno (Ecuador), Elder Herbas (Bolivia), Elder Centon (Peru), Elder Seminario District Leader (Peru), Elder Carvahal (Peru)

Elder Slack and Elder Herbas fighting everything but the Chinkingunya virus with their deadly banana guns!

We are still teaching the Perez family and the lessons are going super good!  They are super nice and awesome neighbors! Once we told them we were 19 yrs old and living alone they immediately offered us food!! They have been running errands for us while Elder Herbas is sick.  Woohoo!!  But seriously, they are an awesome family and I hope they realize the blessings we receive as families in this gospel through the Book of Mormon and church attendance!  We are also teaching Hma Maritza and a man who owns a fruit/variety/whatever you want store and it is super difficult for him to get to church.. man Sundays are definitely a love/hate relationship with me!  Other than that things are going real smooth here!  I have 2 more weeks officially in this area and then it is all up to the President and Heavenly Father as to where they want me to go!  I hope I don't leave this area because it is awesome and there are so many people that love the gospel!!  The mission is definitely a once in a lifetime experience and it is a little sad to see it going so fast, but I guess it is because we are trying to work hard!  I hope you all are doing wonderful and continue to do the things the Lord has commanded!  Keep being bousses!!  Love ya!
Elder Slack

 Perez Family left to right Loriol (mom), Edilia (daughter 15), Elliott (grandson 12), Ellevis (daughter), John (baby grandson), John (son in law kind of) 

Perez Family with Elder Slack and Elder Herbas

Elder Herbas, Hma Maritza, Elder Slack


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

There is always room to improve...October 13, 2014

Well hello!!  Another week has come and gone so fast.  I woke up and literally forgot today was my pday!!  This week we didn't have as good as numbers as we should have.  I have been told that numbers start  to drop a little here for a bit because it is starting  to get into the rainy season!  When it rains here, it POURS!!  Everyone wears a sweater or a blanket and I laugh because I am in heaven!! People here don't know what cold really is!!  We had interviews with the president this week and it was awesome!  I laughed when I told him they shouldn't send a Utah boy here to Cartagena and he said they shouldn't send anything with a heart beat here.. yeah it is a little hot!  It is nice and cool when it rains but immediately after the sun is blistering hot and you can see the steam rising off the streets. 
This week, I have taught 3 lessons in English to our neighbor who speaks a ton of English!!  His name is Oscar and he is about 26 years old.  He has a perfume business and knows a ton but he just speaks really slow and wants to improve and I have been teaching him!  His family is Catholic and he has a brother with special needs who is 18.  Oscar is really receptive so we will see!!  He is learning how to speak faster so I am helping AND he is studying the scriptures!!  We have also been teaching a lady who is 50 years old, her daughter, and the grandson who is 12 years old.  I am dearly hoping I don't change because the boy said today how much he loved the ward and his family said they enjoyed what they heard!  Gosh, it is a family of gold and I hope they really felt the spirit.  I had to give a talk in church yesterday.. I didn't even know until Friday afternoon when I found our 1st Counselor in another home during companion exchanges and I was in another area.  It was good to find out late because I had zero nerves!  I talked for 10 minutes and hopefully it made sense!  Everyone said it did but it felt like I was talking gibberish.  Thank heavens for a loving Heavenly Father who helped me out!
I am learning and growing immensely and surprised at how much I am able to communicate with others!  I have learned this week how important it is to not hurry all the time and learn from everything we do!  I don't know why but there is always room to improve!
I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father and know this church is true.  So many things are being fulfilled in the work of the Lord and we should all be excited to be apart of this great opportunity we have to share what we have with others (like Elder Bednar said during his talk in general conference). I love you all and wish you the best in all you may do!
Elder Slack


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Come What May and Love It!!...October 6, 2014

This week has been extra super hot and has gone by extra super fast!  I feel like just yesterday I was writing an email!!  My mother asks every week what I have done and every week it is the same response.. we eat, sleep, walk (a lot), teach the gospel, and then repeat!  That is what it feels like every day and boy is it a little tough but hey, life is tough!  I have been watching and re-watching the talk given by Elder Joseph B. Worthlin titled, Come What May and Love It.  It is a Mormon message and I encourage all to watch it!  I laugh a lot and it has helped!  Sometimes my comp doesn't think it is very funny and he gets a little more upset.  (We have had a rough spell)  It helps me though.  I am doing much better!
I am not having problems with understanding and speaking the language at all.  I am just trying to figure out how to have a normal conversation, especially over the phone.  I just don't know all of the casual vocabulary words.  We have kind of had to start over with our teaching pool.  A neighbor lady came up to meet us one day and we are teaching her and her family and another neighbor ran up to us as we were coming home from conference and asked what we were doing here and if I could help him with English.  We have an appointment with him tonight.  We can't teach Victor's grandkids anymore but they can still come to church.
I am amazed at how mission oriented the conference talks are and how mission centered the gospel is.  I loved the talk by Elder David A. Bednar and encourage all to be a little more bold and share the message of the gospel that has helped us.  Help others help themselves by giving them what has helped you!  An invitation is all it takes!  I was able to listen to every session in English (except the Priesthood session) and see it live so it was awesome to be able to do that.  I am so grateful for technology!  I hope all are doing awesome.  Please continue to pray, read the scriptures, have family home evening, and attend the temple.  If you can't go in, you can still feel the love our Father in Heaven has for you just in the presence of His house!  I hope you all have a wonderful week and are safe.  I love you all!
Love, Elder Slack

The Elders during General Conference

PS.  There is a tree outside of our apartment that has about 50 parrots living in it.  They are so noisy and wake me up every day!

Look hard to see the parrots!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Together for 6 more weeks...September 29, 2014

Well hello everyone!!  What a long week it has been.  Very fun but super long!  As long as I just forget about home and think about how easy I have it here, everything goes by a heck of a lot quicker.  I mean, I don't have to worry about school, a job, money, what I am going to wear for the day (besides the color of pants and a tie to match), or money, or whatever.  All I have to worry about is what we are teaching and where to go because there are some places in my area that I wouldn't wish upon anyone.  Elder Herbas and I are together for 6 more weeks.  Nobody in our district changed so I am sure next time it will shake up.  Everyone has been here in Cartagena for 3 months except for me.  The weather is still hot and the food is still good, that probably won't change.  What did change is who we are teaching!!  We have one neighborhood area that is really starting to get difficult because of some problems we are having with a member so we have thrown out the names of those who aren't progressing and just started to ask for references and talk with people in our other barrios (neighborhoods).  It has helped so I guess we will see what we can do with what we have!!
I am amazed at how much I learn from the scriptures!  We are teaching two pastors who are very interested and I am amazed at how much the Bible testifies of the Book of Mormon!!  Boy did they have questions and boy did we shoot 'em down with answers that are found in the scriptures.  I am so excited for General Conference this week and I hope all who are reading are praying and preparing to listen to the Prophet of God and his Apostles who are all called.  I am so excited to hear and receive answers to so many questions I have had since I arrived in the mission!!  I am amazed at the work that is happening and what is in store for us as children of our Heavenly Father!!  I know this Church is true and that if we will prepare, pray, and read the scriptures and go to Conference with a question, we will receive an answer directly from God through His servants the Prophets.  I hope you all find time to thank Heavenly Father for what you have and to read the scriptures.  Find time to go to the temple if nothing else to sit outside and feel the love He has for us!!  I am so sad we don't have a temple in the mission and can't wait for the people of Colombia to receive another House of the Lord!  Love you all and I hope you are all safe and sound!!
Elder Slack

Elder Brady Slack and...?

Monday, September 22, 2014

My 32s don't fit me anymore...September 22, 2014

Well, this birthday was the first in the field  and the only way I know how to put it is.. it is just not the same as home!!  I, however have not eaten so much cake in my life!!  Elder Herbas and another set of missionaries woke me up on the big day and surprised me with a shirt and a cake.  The District celebrated my birthday as well and the Relief Society President had another cake for me! (3 total cakes)  It was awesome!  I am 19 but certainly don't feel any older!!
Elder Slack and Elder Herbas on Brady's birthday
He got this shirt as a present

His District

Another birthday celebration
The Relief Society President and another cake...check out the firework candle!

Elder Slack and Elder Herbas in the centre
This week has been somewhat normal but we did have another baptism in our ward!  His wife and daughter were baptized with our recent convert (Hmo Victor) and finally he was able to be baptized!! I have never in my life seen someone cry as hard as he did nor smile as wide as he did at the same time!!  I have never felt the spirit that strong in my life before either!!  It was incredible and he will be such a strong convert!  Finally the grandkids of Hmo Victor were able to come to church and I think they had an awesome time.  They learned about tithing.  My comp was not too happy about that because now we have to try to explain to the mother what tithing is and about the blessings we can receive by paying it.  Maybe not real good timing but I am sure The Lord has something planned.  Who knows besides Him, right?!  
Cambios (transfers) are tomorrow and I have a feeling I will stay in this area but receive a new trainer.  I guess we will just see how it goes tonight when we get the phone call.  All this is crazy and everyone in the district was freaking out but I have adapted the trait of Gavin and just go with the flow.  Don't know how I have done it but hey, I now know why he is the way he is and I love him for it!  Haha :) The weather here has been rather cool with tons and tons of rain!!  It kind of killed some of our plans we had this week but we ate some good food!! :)  I had to go and buy some new pairs of pants!  My 32s don't fit me anymore! 
The members are awesome and I love the area I am in!!  I am hoping we don't get switched but it is all in the Lords hands.  I am really fine with whatever happens.  I am so glad to be here in Colombia and doing the work of the Lord!!  I hope you all are doing well.  Love you all!!
Love Elder Slack
P.S. Happy birthday to my awesome brother Dane and Papa!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Holy, it is a joy...September 15, 2014

Well, this week has just flown by and I have now idea what happened besides eat, work, sleep, eat, work, sleep, and more eating, sleeping, and working!!  We are working super hard and I know that is why the time has been flying!  It has also been a lot cooler this week and I don't know if it is because I am becoming more accustomed or what but it was certainly a blessing!  We have also been able to meet lots of new people and share short lessons with them.  Our schedules are packed!!  We have started teaching the grand kids of our recent convert Victor.  One of them (Jose, 11) is so incredible!! He sits in with us in all of our lessons and comments and prays and reads and wow!!  It was so disappointing Sunday when he got up extra early to get ready and his mother refused to let them come to church.  I don't know why but it was so sad!!  My comp couldn't finish his breakfast!  We have to find time to meet with her because she works every day and it is so frustrating but I know if we can just share our testimonies and a scripture she will be able to feel the spirit and see the blessings she can receive from the gospel.  I have also realized the importance of three questions, and they aren't where did we come from, what is our goal here, and where are we going.. no it is are you reading your scriptures, saying you prayers, and going to church!  We had 7 or more appointments with people this past week who are having some serious problems and every time we ask them these questions, they have not done one or more of these things!!  I know it may be a coincidence, but all I know is I don't want problems if I can help it!!  It is amazing how the Lord works and everything we go through is just a trial of our faith and how much we trust in the Lord and His plan for us!  He wants nothing more than for us to be happy and return to live with Him!  Oh how much I have realized in this little time here and how much more I will realize in 21 more months!!  It is so fun to be here in this area and meet so many new people every day!  No offence to my mother but the food here is so darn good and I eat so much!!  Oh rice with coconut, fish, agua de panela, all the juice (they juice every fruit possible), and the street food!!  Holy it is a joy being here and I wish and pray for the best for you all as well!  Love you all!  Infinity Googles!!
Elder Slack

PS. Mom, have Sister Davis teach you how to make arroz con coco (coconut rice) and arroz con pollo(chicken and rice)


That's darn good food?
Thumbs up!

Monday, September 8, 2014

All is well in Zion...September 8, 2014

 Week... ah who really cares I'm here to stay and they all feel like the exact same week with naps!  It is the same old and not much has happened.  We have been teaching one mother of one of our recent converts and I don't know why but she didn't want to come to church or progress.  Finally, we decided to have a lesson together with another lady in the ward and BOOM! it seemed like the world opened and she finally got it!  I can't believe the connection members have with the people in the ward and how much of a help she was!  She came to church and started to read with this lady and her sister.  It was a miracle!  Our recent convert, Victor, got a sweet haircut (thank heavens I bought those clippers) and shaved, got a white shirt, tie, and the priesthood and looks like a champ now!
It has rained consistently every morning which makes for super hot and humid days... but really, let's make some memories!! :)  Every day is blending together and don't worry... I sweat my body weight daily so I don't think I will be coming back fat (at least I hope not)!!  I would say come to Cartagena with a swim suit and sunglasses but not with a white shirt and tie because the shirt will just get sweat stains and the tie makes you sweat more!!  Heck yeah!!
I actually love all that is going on!  We watched How to Train Your Dragon 2 as a zone today and that was an experience!!  Our district leader told us to wear street clothes because we were going to be playing games and we got there and yeah... we were the only ones in street clothes!  Haha!  My comp was so embarrassed but I embraced it after I took a deep breath and it was fine.  All is well in Zion!  I took my name badge off and acted like an investigator.  It worked for a bit because only my district knows me and I was also wearing glasses, but hey, I can try right?  It is super fun and I am learning tons.  Hope everyone is doing awesome and I love you all!!  Keep up (or start perhaps..? :) the scripture studying, praying, and attending the temple!!  Infinity Googles!
 Elder Slack

Monday, September 1, 2014

First Baptism!!...September 1, 2014

Week 3:
Wow what a week I had!!  We had the opportunity as a mission to hear from three of the Brethren from the church!  Elder Waddel and his wife, Elder Suarez and his wife (both from the 70), and Elder Christofferson and his wife (from the 12 duh!!).  It was truly an incredible experience and I learned so much!!  Listening to the Spanish was like listening to English.  Thanks to the Spirit everyone felt the gift of tongues!!  I tell people all the time that I have only been here for 8 weeks and nobody believes me!!  This gospel truly is incredible for many reasons!!  The rest of the week was pretty much the same except we had two lunches one day (the food here is so good and we always get fed) but that night I had a terrible dream!!  I dreamt that I had to buy a new suit and when I got home my family didn't recognize me because I was so fat!!  Holy worst dream I have had so far and the only one I can even remember!!  We work so hard that I sleep like a rock and don't remember a thing!!  Days just whizz by and you just take 8 hour naps for 16 hour days.  Haha gosh!! I cut my hair  and got bumped and messed it up pretty bad so we tried to fix it.  Doesn't look too bad!!  However, I bought a pair of lenses to try and just cover it up!!  I look pretty fresh in these new gaffas! 

Yummy empanadas

At the beach in Cartagena
One of our investigators, Victor Sanchez, took a huge leap and was baptized this past Saturday!!  It was such a wonderful, incredible, eye-opening experience for me and I can't believe the change that has occurred in his life!  He has a strong testimony and feels the spirit even more so when he reads the scriptures and prays!!  What an amazing thing that we all have but take for granted all the time!!
Elder Brady Slack, Victor Sanchez, Elder Herbas

 Today we went to the center (Cartagena) and holy ocean and people!  I have learned that everyone here thinks that all Americans have tons of money and food.  There is a former military American in my area who stopped us to talk.  Speaking English was a God send but we talked and he said it is difficult to live here because everyone thinks he has tons and tons of money.  Slowly I think I can talk to him more and more about what we are doing here, but for now small talk will have to do.  That is basically it and for those of you who have served you know what I mean when I say that only about 1 or 2 major things happen that are worth writing about.  The rest is just work.  I love you all and can't wait to see what else the Lord has in store for me!!  Keep on doing what y'all are doing!!
Elder Slack 

Elder Herbas and Elder Slack playing soccer on P day

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Powers Out...August 25, 2014

Week 2:
This week has come and gone and I barely realized it!!  It is still really, really hot and humid and we have been without electricity for the past 3 days.  3 days without electricity!!  I am doing good now that we finally have it.    All of the breakers read on so I flipped them off then on but it didn't do anything so we had to wait until today to contact the electric company and our bill was paid so we didn't know what to do!!  The Elders Quorum Pres. is an electrician so he came by and the breakers were just loose.  So stupid!!  We have a very nice fridge but we just ate out.  We bought some eggs and I have my flashlight too so it wasn't that bad.   The people below let us use an extension cord for the nights for a fan for our room but wow it gets hot!!  I became acclimated real well these past few days!! :/ We do our own wash and I have pictures of it I will send later.  It is pretty shnazzy. When we don't get meals from the ward members (which is every breakfast and some dinners) we just make it ourselves and we aren't bad cooks.
Elder Herbas has been kind of sick this week.  No, we didn't play soccer.  I played catch today with him because we didn't have electricity so we couldn't go far.   He seems to be doing better now.  He has an older sister who got married just a little bit ago and twin younger brothers in between Luke and Heath.  His dad is a truck driver.  There are 6 elders and 4 sisters in my district.

Elder Herbas killing a mouse in our apartment
We have a baptism this Saturday (Victor) and I am so excited because this man has such a strong testimony and Satan is really working hard on him right now!!  I dearly hope he can make it to this Saturday!!  It is crazy at how real Satan is and how careful we have to be in everything we do.  Nacho and Melina didn't come to church but really want more of the lessons!!  As far as the work goes, days are super slow.  I am learning how to control my free time real well because meetings here with investigators and members really hardly ever happen so that is kind of frustrating but as I continue to learn that everyone is like that, the latter part of this past week didn't seem so bad.   On the bright side, it is always easy to find someone else to talk to whether it is contacting or sitting down with someone else we know.  Every night we don't go over the lessons I write in my journal.  It is kind of my own time to rewind and refocus.  Our mission is preparing right now to have Elder Christopherson from the Quorum of the Twelve come and speak to us and I can't wait!!  It is going to be such an amazing experience!!
No, I am not playing the piano!  They don't even have pianos to play!  Everything is either with the radio (they only have about 1/2 of the songs on cd) or just acapella.  No, it is a ward!!  I think we had 79 people at church yesterday!?   It really is an adventure every day!!   
I haven't gotten any mail yet and I'm not upset or discouraged!  I would hardly have any time to read it and I have a feeling they won't arrive anyways!  As for my birthday, I haven't even thought about it!  The Relief Society President (who is definitely like a mom) does cake and we have a district meeting that day so we will probably do something, but nothing big planned.

Elder Slack and Elder Herbas at church

The food is still really good but I think that when I am finished here I will have eaten enough rice to last a lifetime!!  That isn't a joke!!  The fruit here is way too good to be true!  So is the bread!!  Good bread at home is from Great Harvest but to be honest, that is the kind of bread the dogs and cats eat. This is bread for the Gods and it tastes like heaven!!  
We are always really busy which is good because then you don't have time to think and for this I thank my Heavenly Father.  It is hard, but I heard a quote in the CCM that will stay with me forever, "There is little growth in a comfort zone, but there is little comfort in a growth zone!"  This is definitely a growth zone!  I have learned so much about myself so far in this adventure and so much about how and what I need to do after my mission.  Every once in a while we get the Liahona in English and it is wonderful to read more about the teachings of Christ in English!!  It is amazing what you can pick up when you actually are interested!  One more week and I will be two months down with 21 months left to go!!  That is crazy to me!  Two months I will never have again to serve!! 
That is basically it for this past week.  I hope all of you are having a wonderful time!!  I love all the videos and pics you guys are sending!  Keep sending them so I can see what is going on!  Gav looks huge and I love the doo!!  Give everyone hugs and kisses!  Love you all! Infinity googles mother!!
Keep on trucking!!
Elder Slack
That mouse is the smallest one I have seen here! 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Field life in my first area...August 18, 2014

Week 1:
Finally, I am out of the CCM and into the field!!  Before we left the CCM, President Dyer said he wanted to keep in touch!  He said he wanted to see where I was in 30 years which makes me real nervous!!  I got a blessing from him and Holy Hannah!!  He was a Patriarch and has a way with words!  The blessing just said to be obedient but that I will be the missionary that will be assigned to help other missionaries and I will be valiant and strong!  It was just really uplifting!  We had no idea when we were going to leave and in South America they do all the flying at night so we left the CCM at 2 in the morning!

Elder Slack with Elder Jacob Beals before leaving the CCM

Elder Wooden and I were going to call home in the airport but it was late and we had troubles with some of the luggage that weighed more than it should!  Yeah we had a crying session in the CCM before we left and I don't think we have smiled harder than we did when we finally saw the President and his cute little wife!!  My mission President and his wife are wonderful!! Both are about as tall as Grandma Slack but just as loving!  Seeing them as we got off the airplane was like seeing angels!!  We only spent half of a day with them but it was a battery charger!  We were only there (in a chapel not the mission home) for half a day!  The first question Pres. Searle asked was if I had a girlfriend and I proudly said "no" (haha) the second was would I be honest!  I want to be that missionary he can put others with to make them work harder!  At 5 we were on our way to our own homes (Elder Wooden is about 40 miles away) and my first night (1 hour after I got there) I had my first lesson!  It was all a blur!
My first area is in Cartagena.  I am about 10 minutes from the ocean and from one point in my area can see it.  I am in the Alto Bosque 1 area and the ward is awesome!  Mornings are really slow and it is hard to get through them but once 11:00 hits the days go by fast!  The Relief Society President (Hrmna Ledys) is like a second mom and feeds us all the time!  Everyone is awesome here!  The people are so nice and love to hear about Christ so it is easy to talk to lots of people.  However, they are also really relaxed and laid back so it is hard to make specific appointments!!  We have 6 baptism dates set up.  One for the 30th and then 5 for the 6th of September and it is exciting to see the progression of all of these wonderful people!  We are teaching a man named Victor (63yrs old)!  The rest of our people are actually less actives or recent converts and mostly here they are trying to strengthen the wards this way!!  We do have one man named Nacho and his Girlfriend named Milena and they have one kid. We have only met with them once but they accepted to be baptized and offered us lunch! Super awesome guy and so ready to change his life!!
My trainer is Elder Herbas from Cochabamba, Bolivia.  He is wonderful and such a help!!  Not a Laman or Lemuel for sure!!  He is a powerful teacher and knows all the members so we never skip a meal!!  Lessons are awesome.  I don't know how I do it but I am able to do my part and share parts of the lessons!! Truly the gift of tongues!!
We played soccer today for P-day and I was kinda surprised playing with all Latinos and I think they were surprised to find out that a Gringo could keep up and beat 'em up a little.  Haha!!  We also went to a mall and they are way nicer here than at home.  It was sure nice to see something like that!!  All the food is so good!!  They have a rice dish that is made with coconut and is brown and way delicious!!  I have yet to NOT finish a meal!  They also make a drink from oatmeal! It is a little more watery but then they put it in the blender with milk and a bunch of sugar with ice cubes and I will probably never eat oatmeal the boring way with toast ever again!!
Weather here is not a joke!!  It is scorching HOT day in and day out!!  I sleep with zero sheets and three fans on me!! Luckily my comp is from Bolivia where it's a little colder too because most Latins hate the cold!!  Our apartment is actually pretty big and only us two in it!  It was pretty dirty when I got there but now it is really clean (all thanks to my wonderful mother and her pain in the rear end cleaning business!! Love you mother!!)
Cartagena is so beautiful and I love mission life!  It is hard and demanding and their isn't a day where I am not completely wiped out but it is so worth it!!  Seeing people light up about the message of Christ and families is wonderful!  I am here to bring the happiness we all enjoy to those who don't have it.  Scriptures and prayer are a blessing and I can't believe how much I need them in my day!! Only makes me realize how much we all need them in our lives!!  I love you all and hope all is well!!  Don't be offended if I don't write back but if you have any other questions write me and I will answer in these big emails!!  Love you all and keep pushing forward!! 
Elder Slack


Friday, August 8, 2014

Almost Done!! August 8, 2014

Hey everyone!!  With only 4 more days here in the CCM, not much has changed.  I received my Latino companion and to say the least I would have been better off just having Latino companions the whole time!!  My Spanish has improved incredibly!!  Days are really boring because all of the lessons during classes are just being repeated so I have had loads of time to study the scriptures and learn so much about the gospel!!  I have two more books to go then I am done with the Book of Mormon.  The language is actually really good and all of the teachers and even some people we taught today were impressed I have only been here 6 weeks.  My new comp, Elder Echeverry, is from Cali, Colombia and has very little patience.  It was very hard (really difficult until Sunday) at first.  I had my crying sessions in the shower and then was done but now we are all good and laugh and have loads of fun!  I have learned so much!  He is in the front of the picture with a light and dark blue checkered tie.


Elder Brady Slack top row, eighth from right
Elder Echeverry bottom row first from right
Elder Aaron Wooden top row seventh from right
Elder Jacob Beals balcony sixth from right

Jacob is awesome!  We hang out and talk whenever we can and have played volleyball everyday together!!  Elder Wooden and I are in different rooms but just hang out in the halls together next to our rooms.  We have gotten so close but are excited to get to Barranquilla.  The CCM is jammed and we can't wait to get out of here on Tuesday!!  I am in a room with other Latinos and Elder Stucki (from Oregon) and another Gringo companionship.  We can't have our cameras except for on pdays so I will have to send those pics to dropbox when I get out.  I have snapped a few.  I have put on 10 lbs. in 5 weeks and I promise it isn't in the wrong places!  Proselyting again was an amazing experience!!  Getting cussed out is a daily thing I guess and it helps because you can't do anything else but say thank you and laugh!!  Smiling truly is the key to a successful mission!  I am so amazed at how much I have learned in these short, fast 5 weeks but can't wait for the opportunities I have to learn many more lessons and teachings from my Father in Heaven!!  I realize now that true happiness comes from the gospel and scriptures and simple truths we sometimes take for granted!  That is all I am here in Colombia to do is to teach the people about the simple truths we have!  I love you all and hope you all are having mission opportunities in your lives!!  I have learned how important the members are to the missionary effort!!  I love you guys!!  I will email when I get to the mission home.  Keep doing what you know you need to do!!
With Love,
Elder Slack 
Tell Gavin I won't forget to kick his butt in two years for locking you in the pantry!!

Elder Brady Slack
Elder Echeverry second from left

Elder Slack and Elder Santa Cruz from Paraguay

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Out on the Town...July 29, 2014

Hey everybody!!  These past couple of days have been awesome!  Sundays are always awesome because it is in English and the President is a church genius!  Every day is really boring and just filled with grammar classes and other language stuff!  I understand all that is being said but I get big old headaches from everything in Spanish!  It is so awesome to learn more about the gospel and how wonderful it is!!  I have been here for 4 weeks and am almost done with the Book of Mormon!  I can't believe how much I have been missing out on!  We went on a tour of the city today and it was awesome!!  Bogota is so huge!!  8,000,000 people here and the buildings are so high and there are so many cars!!  We went to the top of a mountain and looked at the whole valley and what a view!!  So scary though because I am not a fan of heights!  After, we went to the Gold Museum and saw a bunch of Aztec and indigenous gold statues and ornaments and I can't believe it because really all of the stuff we saw was either made in the factory across the street to make some extra cash or it is straight from the Book of Mormon times!!  I'm thinking the latter!!  We also got some replica jerseys and they are so cheap!!  For a 50 dollar jersey in America, we bought them for $12 dollars apiece and the guy we bought them from was a huge, ripped investigator so we were late because we talked to him for a little!!  I only have two more weeks here in the CCM and it is scary at how the time is flying!!  I am already a month down and want that month back!!
I love you all and hope you take full advantage of the blessings you have and the gospel in your lives!!
Best Wishes to all and lots of love!!
Elder Slack
Bogota, Colombia

My new comp is coming tomorrow and is from Colombia so it should be awesome and I can't wait!!  The last two weeks we get Latino companions so we can learn more!!  It will be awesome!!
I was going to wait up for Jacob Beals to come in tonight.  He will have a hard couple of days until Sunday and then he will set in.  I will take care of him.
The tour was awesome!  Just the 14 of us getting Latino comps and two of our teachers went!!  We went to a Catholic church on a mountain and looked over the whole valley!!  The city is huge!  After, we went to a gold museum and looked at a bunch of old gold statues and sculptures!  History of the Book of Mormon I'm telling you!  After, we went to eat at McDonalds and as nasty as it sounds, it was so good because it tasted like home!  We also went to the temple today and it is so beautiful.
My teacher, Hermano Barrios (who I love) is in one of my pics and he is so funny!!  Four of the boys are staying in Bogota and one other with us to Barranquilla and the rest are going to Cochabamba, Bolivia!!  We are all way close and it is sad to see us all split up!  We will only go proselyting once more with our Latino comps!!
Elder Slack and Hermano Barrios (his teacher)