Monday, December 28, 2009

The Work Continues

December 28, 2009

Hi Dad, Mom and family,

Hey what’s up? It was great talking to you on the phone for me also. Thanks for the money you put in my account. I really do appreciate it. They got a new ATM machine in Sarandi this past weekend, so I decided to try and use it this morning. Luckily it worked and I still have my card.

Dad thanks for the advice on the fireworks. I actually feel bad about the whole fireworks thing cause the rule in the missionary handbook says no fireworks. So I don’t plan to light any more off for my mission and neither do I plan to buy any. It’s really just a waste of money anyway. So thanks and yes I’m going to be really careful this New Years Eve.

After I got done talking to you on Friday, we went to visit the Barreto family. We were out on the street playing soccer and about two blocks up the way a man who was drunk tried to dart in front of a taxi on his motorcycle. Well the taxi driver had the right of way and I don’t really think he saw him. But needless to say, this man got hit pretty hard by the taxi. My companion and I watched the whole thing happen and immediately we ran to the accident. The man was about 50 years old, overweight and wasn’t wearing a shirt. Luckily he was wearing a helmet. He got really badly injured with road rash and a possible broken arm. So I did everything I knew I could do to assist this guy until the ambulance showed up. I was really careful cause I know with something like this, you can get a blood born sickness like hepatitis. So I really didn’t touch him. It really reminded me of my EFR training and was kinda fun. The ambulance crew said that they were surprised that I was able to help as much as I did.

Anyway a lot of people have been really sick in the ward these past few days, so every night we have been out late giving blessings and trying to help them as much as we can. Well anyways, yesterday in church I started feeling sick myself. Ever since then I have had stomach pains and dysentery. I have talked to the mission president and his wife and even the mission doctor, so I know I’m in good hands. I’m just taking it really easy and drinking lots of liquids. Besides these minor discomforts, things have been pretty good.

Thanks Dad for your letter to Paula Barreto, it was perfect! And yes, the grandfather of my companion is that guy, Miguel Rostaing. He actually died in an airplane crash with the rest of the Peruvian team and my companion’s uncle. At least that’s what my companion tells me.

I had no idea about the man on the flight with a bomb, that’s crazy! Yes, there are still things that are going on every day in this world that are crazy. It’s kinda scary, but I know that if we just live right and obey the commandments and try our hardest every day, in the end all will work out. Well, I love you all. Thanks for your support.

Your Son, Brother and Uncle

Elder John P Sluder

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Day Phone Call

We got a very short email from John this week. He was busy and we knew we were going to be able to speak on the phone. The phone call was really awesome. We were able to conference call the whole family together and just about everyone got to say hi and Merry Christmas to John. He demonstrated his Spanish speaking skills and amazed us all. It was good to hear his voice after four months. We are so proud of him and his progress as a missionary.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Change of Companions but Still in Sarandi Del Yi

December 15, 2009

Dear family,

How are things going for you? Wow! Christmas is already here and time is going so fast. This past week was very, very difficult. We had lots of rejection and lots of investigators who aren’t keeping commitments and having a whole lot of problems. I also had two pretty good bike wrecks this week, to but all is well and yes, I was wearing a helmet. (The Lord does look out for his missionaries.) But at the same time, there have been tons of miracles and I know that in the end, things will all work out.

Anyway, today is p-day because it’s the day of changes. So this is what is happening. Elder Vargas is no longer my companion. He is now my zone leader and was transferred to Durazno. Right now I am with Elder Moncada and we’re waiting for our new companions to arrive in Durazno. My new companion is named Elder Rostaing and he’s from Peru. That’s all I really know. Since I’m the only missionary in Sarandi who will know the people and the area, I will have a much bigger responsibility. So, I’m kinda nervous.

What’s nice is, I finally feel that my Spanish is good enough for this. They tell me that this change was very unusual and since President Da Silva is new, things have really been changing all over the mission. President Da Silva is awesome.

Anyway, life has been good to me. I have learned so much about the way people are in this world. It seems that every where there are a whole lot of really messed up people. The experience so far has been so great and awesome. And I’m so grateful to all of you guys for your encouragement and support. Thanks!

I hope you enjoy the pictures of Uruguay and Dad; I’m going to try to send my SD card out this week.

This week is going to be so crazy. Tonight, I will be going back to Sarandi Del Yi with my new companion. We have a few lessons planned and then tomorrow morning we have a planning meeting in Durazno, so I’ll get back on the bus for another hour and a half ride back to Durazno. Then on Friday, I’ve got to go into Montevideo for our Christmas reunion. I’m so excited; it’s going to be awesome.

But because of the bus schedule, I will have to spend the night in Durazno on Thursday to make the right bus for Montevideo on time. So yes, busy, busy week!

Hey Dad, I did make all of those transactions. All is well and they were all me. But I do need more money put in my account. I’m sorry, but things have been kinda expensive for me in the small town I’m in and I had more repairs. I’m trying so hard to be careful and not spend much at all. I did take more money out of my account out yesterday. It’s been hard cause of all my traveling. I receive reimbursement for all of the trips I take, but it takes several weeks before I see that money.

Anyways, love you all. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I’m so excited to talk to you all on Christmas. I will have about 45 minutes to talk, so I’m getting pretty excited. Love you all.

Elder John P Sluder

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Slow Week and Some New Pictures

December 7, 2009

Dear family,

How are you all doing? I’m sure you’re great.

Well I’m in Durazno today. We are having a zone activity and earlier today we went to the zoo. Zoos here in South America are much different than America... much more ghetto. I’ll try to include some pictures for ya.

This has been a pretty slow week. No baptisms scheduled and no plans for baptisms. We have been contacting like crazy this week and really have had no luck, just rejection, so that’s been tough. But I am having a ton of fun and learning new things every day. My Spanish is getting much better, but I do still struggle with understanding people who mumble their Spanish.

Well dad, I didn’t buy a bike. I went to the bike shop and picked one out, went to pay for it and my card didn’t work. So we ran down to the bank to check my account and the money was in there, but it wouldn’t let me withdraw the amount that I needed. So I took this as a sign and didn’t buy the bike. Well, I guess I really couldn’t. So instead, I bought a new helmet, a new watch, some ice cream and dinner for me and my companion. When we got back to Sarandi Del Yi the next day, we went to the bike shop and I had them replace a ton of stuff on my old bike… all the bearings, new tires, and new cambios (gear shifters). So it has the appearance of an old junky bike but, to be honest, it rides like a new bike and I’m very satisfied. I will be using this bike my entire mission and it was much cheaper.

I’m really missing the snow right now! Sorry dad I don’t have any investigators or stories that have been significant enough to mention, maybe next week. Glad to hear that YESCO is doing well and has work, that’s so great!

Time has been going so fast… Wow! At the end of every day I can’t believe how fast the day went. Well next Tuesday is the day of change. I won’t know until Sunday night if my area or my comp will be changing, but Tuesday is our next p-day. Don’t be expecting an email from me until then. I love you all so much, thanks for all.

Love you all,

Elder John Sluder

Nice picture... but what does it mean???

I'm guessing that this is a picture of John's zone, but I'm not really certain.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

First Baptism and a New Bike

November 30, 2009

Dear Dad, Mom and family,

What a week… let me tell ya!

My bike is really falling apart. I need to buy a new one that will last my whole mission. Last week when I went to my district meeting in Durazno, I also went bike shopping. The average price for a decent bike is between 250 and 350 American dollars. They don’t have Wal-Mart here. Can I spend this much on a bike? There is a very good chance that tomorrow in my district meeting in Durazno, I will receive my debit card. So while I’m in Durazno, can I have your permission to buy a new bike? I feel I really do need it. If so, you will need to put some money into my account to cover the expenses. I love you. It’s a great Christmas gift. Ha-ha-ha.

Well anyway, last night was the election of the new president in Uruguay. The winner is a guy named Pepe Mujica. He’s a lot like Obama, so I’m not too happy, but the people were sure partying in the streets last night.

I had my first baptism ever in my entire life last night. I had to do it twice because the first time I didn’t get his name correct. His name is Luis Rodolfo Zaidan Ogando! It was very difficult and yes, all in Spanish!

The work’s been great here. I am so glad to hear that you had a great Thanksgiving. I miss you all and love you a lot. Dad, if you can respond ASAP to my email that would be great. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Love, your son
Elder Sluder

Note from Dad: I responded to John’s request with some advice, telling him to be frugal and not over do it. We did put enough money into his account to cover the cost of a new bike. Later in the day I received this short note:


Thank you for your advice. I appreciate it and do respect it. When I go to Durazno tomorrow, I will try to do what is right and what the Lord wants me to do. Thank you very much. I love you and appreciate all that you do. And Mom… happy birthday! Sorry I couldn’t be there to celebrate it in person.

Love, your son
Elder Sluder

P.S. The people in the picture from left to right are: Elder Vargas, Hermano Barreto, Daniel Haverio, Luis Zaidan and me. Love ya.

Note from Dad: John apparently did find a bike since his debit card was charged the next day!

My first baptism!