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