Thursday, October 29, 2009

Less Than a Week to GO!

Ninth Email from the MTC

Date: 29 October, 2009 1:00 PM

Hi family!

Well it’s finally here! It’s so exciting… I’m ready to do the real thing! I just finished going through my last session in the Buenos Aires temple and it was great! The place is hopping as they are trying to get as many people through the temple as fast as they can before it closes! I met a lot of people from Utah who are volunteering to help out!

Tonight I have a special opportunity to be interviewed by a group from Provo and members of the Quorum of the Twelve. They are evaluating the difference in progress between North Americans that go through the Provo MTC compared to the missionaries that come out of the native land MTC’s. So all I know is I’m supposed to sit in front of a camera and answer about forty questions in Spanish. I’m pretty excited! Besides all of that, this weekend sister Julie Beck, general Relief Society President and Sister Vicki Matsumori (she spoke in General Conference) are staying with us. So that’s pretty cool too!

Well the swine flu hasn’t hit hard here yet. I’m so sorry to hear about it in Utah! I don’t know if they gave me that strain of flu shot, but I know I got a bunch of shots and I know that one of them was some type of flu shot.

Dad, I did receive your package and your letter today right when I had to go to the temple, but I haven’t had the chance to read the letter yet because I have been so busy. But I’m so excited to read it; thanks so much! Thanks for the package, I loved it and the CTR rings were so awesome. I can’t wait to give them out! It was so perfect and appropriate!

Well I’m getting pretty darn fluent at Spanish and I just love this culture! I have really come to love these people and I really do love this work! I really love the Book of Mormon! I feel that for the past nineteen years I have taken for granted this wonderful piece of literature! I love to share this with people! And recently have really studied it and in doing so have gained a great testimony of it! I’m so excited to go to Montevideo this upcoming week to share this with more people, it’s so awesome!

Thanks for supporting me in all the many things that I have done in life. I love you all! May God bless you and look after you.

Love, Elder John P. Sluder

P.S. Congrats Mom on you new job… that’s so cool and dad congrats on you new truck if you get it. That’s so cool… what a blessing this crazy company that we all have worked for has been in all our lives!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Moving the Temple in Buenos Aires?

Eighth Email from the MTC

Date: Thu, 22 Oct 2009 1:20 PM

Subject: Your son in Argentina who’s excited to leave. (I thought this was cute, so I had to include it)

Hey family...

How are you all doing? I hope well! Well by the pictures it looks like Luke is learning to weld at a young age! That’s just great! Well besides all that, it sounds like you all are doing very well. Thanks Dad for that thing in Spanish. I pretty much got the gist of it, but you should send it to me in English so I can check myself. Thanks for spending all the time looking for addresses for me. I really appreciate it Dad!

I’m getting so excited to get out of Argentina and go to Uruguay. Last week for tracting was an amazing week. We were able to teach and share the gospel with a ton of people. I’m gonna be kind of sad to leave this place. My companion, Elder Stilwell has been great and now I’m dreading getting a comp that I may not get along with at all.

Next Saturday they are shutting down the temple here in Buenos Aires! Lots of people are very sad about this, but they’re gonna do a complete renovation. I will be leaving the Tuesday after next weekend, so I will be able to go through this temple one more time before it closes. My mission president, President Wilson, is going to be receiving about 90% of the furniture and art from the temple! He’s so excited; he won’t stop talking about it. Ha-ha-ha The president asked my district if on that Monday, we would spend the whole day moving things from the temple to the MTC. So my last full day here in Argentina I guess I’ll be moving the temple… interesting huh? I’m so looking forward to this! I haven’t done manual labor for eight weeks now and to be honest I miss it! Well, you will receive one more email from me from Buenos Aires next week and then I’ll be a real full time missionary. I’m so excited!

Funny quick story dad… my MTC teacher, Hermana Davila served her mission in Southern California. She told me about this Gladys Knight choir thing they did that was an awesome missionary tool. So I told her that you were a member of the choir and in fact, you sing with her. Small world huh? Well my time is running out. I love you all so very much. Have fun be careful. And Steven and Beth, keep an eye on Luke… he seems to be a handful.

Elder John Sluder

P.S. Oh and dad, I did purchase some stuff from the pharmacy here. I will probably be making a big purchase at the church distribution center too. I need some stuff for Montevideo… is that okay? Love you

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Proselytizing in a Tough Neighborhood

Seventh Email from the MTC

Date: Thu Oct 15, 2009 1:15 PM

Hello family,

How’s everything going? I hope well. I’m still here at the MTC in Buenos Aires-Surprise! Ha-ha-ha

Well, my English seems to be getting worse and sometimes I feel that my Spanish isn’t getting any better! Right now I feel like I’m stuck in the middle of a high level stupor (if that makes any sense). I can’t seem to express how I feel very well in English or Spanish! Besides all of that, I’m well.

Last week, they opened a new area for proselytizing that has been closed for years. It’s been closed because it was deemed too dangerous and ghetto for the missionaries to enter. Well, they decided to assign my companion and me to the area. If you can imagine the most ghetto place in America and multiply that by 4, it’s about what it was like. Our day of proselytizing was very tough. Nobody wanted to talk to us. We didn’t have very much time to actually proselytize because it was an hour walk from our drop off point. We spent two hours just trying to walk there and then back. Here in Argentina, at about one o´clock every store, shop and home closes up for two to three hours for nap time. This is called siesta! I’m about 100% sure you already know about this. Well, when siesta hits, it’s very hard to do missionary work. So needless to say, Saturday was very, very hard; full of rejection and all sorts of other things!

A funny story… while we were out, I had to use the bathroom. We were looking for somewhere to go and this was during siesta time. Well, we could only find this bar/saloon like place that was well lit, but the company inside wasn´t so righteous. We decided to try it out. As we entered, the music was turned off, everybody shut up and just stared at these two gringos who could barely speak Spanish ask for the bathroom. Don’t worry, we were just fine and it was kind of a cool experience to have. I realized that we really do stand out.

Well besides that, things have been pretty good and fun. I have a little more than two full weeks until I become a REAL missionary and I’m dying to get out of here.

I love you ALL. I hope things are going well!

Elder John Sluder

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Just the Same Old MTC

Sixth email from the MTC

Date: Thu October 8, 2009

Dear Everyone,

How is it going? There’s really nothing new to tell ya, it’s just been the same old MTC and another week down. I only have three more weeks here and then I’m off to Montevideo. Dad, last night I received your package. Thanks so much it was so awesome to get it. I love the picture frame you sent, it’s so cool. Same with the CD! Thanks also for the address.

I’m very glad to hear that all is well. I just got out of the temple and it was an awesome session. On November 2, they will be closing the temple here in Buenos Aires for a while, so I’m glad that I’ll be in Montevideo by then. I received a bunch of letters from the Mittons this morning, it was so awesome. If you run in to them, tell them thanks from me. My companion hasn’t changed; I’m still with Elder Stilwell. In answer to your question, it is a regular thing to be released as a district leader after four weeks of being here.

It’s so exciting to hear about home. I do miss it, but I’m having a ton of great adventures here. Last Friday I spoke with a woman on the street who works for the Catholic Church. As me and my companion testified of the Book of Mormon, she began to cry. It was such a powerful moment for me. So we left her with a prayer and the spirit was so strong. Then when Elder Holland spoke about the power of the book it was amazing! This book changes lives! It really does! This Saturday we are going over to her house to teach her lesson 2. I’m so excited! I hope you are all doing well and I’m praying for all of you too. Once again thanks for the package. I loved it and it was just the perfect size so if you want send another one… It’s kind of like Christmas! Ha-Ha-Ha Oh and Dad… I’m sending you a written letter. You should get it sometime this week. Write me back in response to that letter, not in email, but with a pen and paper. It means more to me that way, thanks. But also send my weekly email. I love that too.

Well love you all,
Elder Sluder

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Little Down This Week

Fifth Email from the MTC

Date: Thu 1 October 2009  10:00 AM

Dear Everyone,

Thanks for all you have done. I didn’t hear anything about the tsunami, but I will tell you that for this past week, for whatever reason I worried about Kyler Mitton! Is he okay? Crazy! Well, things here have been interesting. They released me from being the district leader and we had one of our missionaries get sent home this week from our district. His name is Elder ----- and he is from Garland, Utah just over by Tremonton. So, it has been a pretty down week and very difficult because it made us all kinda homesick. Besides that, I haven’t had any new opportunities to go out proselytizing again, so no real new stories. I will go proselytizing tomorrow, so keep me in your prayers that I might be able to do some good. I have come down with a pretty bad cold, but it’s not too bad. Life’s tough, then you die, right? Oh and from what I hear, I probably won’t be able to receive that package you sent me. But I should hear from the customs office this week sometime to confirm that. But if you wanna try sending me some candy or something it needs to be in a big mailing envelope. Priority preferably, I guess, so I will let you know the final verdict on it next week. It’s crazy to think that today I have been in Argentina for a whole month now. My testimony has grown so much and I have learned so much about myself. This mission thing is kinda neat, but I can’t wait to get out into the field to do some real work! It’s hard to live, eat, study, go to class, and sleep all in the same 8,000 square foot building. But I think I’m starting to get used to it. The people here are great. I love you all so much. We are getting kinda excited that on November 20th, Elder Bednar will be coming to visit us in Uruguay. I’m very excited for conference! It will be a nice break from our usual routine. I love you Dad and I have learned so much from you and I think about you all the time. Mom, I love you too and miss our long conversations that we would have until the late hours of the night. Thanks for all the things that you guys do and I love you all so much.

Elder John Sluder

P.S. Let me know how Kyler’s doing!

NOTE: Elder Kyler Mitton is a good friend of John's from our ward in Wellsville. He is serving in the Pacific Islands. I spoke to his Dad who told me that Kyler is safe and well. The island he is serving on was not affected by the tsunami.