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!