Monday, May 24, 2010

Another Week in Minas

May 24, 2010

Dear family,

Well another week has gone by and I’m still here!!!! It’s been a pretty tough week and I’ve really had my share of bad experiences.

But first, health wise I’m doing much better. Every day I’m getting my strength back. I can definitely notice though, that I’m not as strong as I was before the mission. The last time I stepped on a scale in the hospital, I weighed 82 kilograms. I don’t really know what that is in lbs, but you can figure it out. (181 lbs) I was 200lbs when I left. Ha-ha-ha. I’m sure I have put some weight on since last week.

Some of the bad experiences that I had this week… two of the people we had been planning to baptize have now fallen through. One investigator said that she is having more difficulty in her life since we showed up and now plans to separate from her husband after 47 years together. There’s really more to that story though too. Her husband is 74 years old and an alcoholic. By the things she says to us, I’m pretty sure she has had lots of problems with abuse in the past. Our other investigator loves church. She has been active and wants to get baptized, but didn’t know until the other night when we taught the law of chastity that what she was doing with her boyfriend was wrong. The honest truth is we had no idea until we taught the discussion that she even had a boyfriend. So for now, we’re just going to push her baptism back and hope that she will realize what the important things in life really are.

Dad, I got the pictures. I really liked them a lot. I find it so good that you have lost some weight yourself and are even riding horses with mom.

I got your letter today mom. Thanks, I loved it! It really is the best thing to get mail here on the mission. It was hard to read though, because I don’t read cursive to well. And then as I was reading it, I kept thinking that some of the words were in Spanish and then I really got confused. Anyway thanks! I also got a small package from Nyssa! It too was awesome. She sent me some new pens which was just perfect because I was going to go out today to buy some because I needed them. Tell her thanks from me and that I will write her back again soon.

The other day, I was at zone conference and President Da Silva asked me if I had yet informed you about my hospital visit. I told him, yes I told them everything. He then looked at me and said. Uh-oh, you probably shouldn’t have told your parents everything, now they’re just going to worry about you Elder! Then he thought for a moment and said, well on the other hand, I guess they are kinda used to this kinda thing, huh? Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha We had a good laugh about it for while.

Next week is changes and since elder Maluff is on his fourth change here in Minas, we are pretty sure he’s going to be the one who leave Minas. So next Tuesday I expect to be emailing you guys from Tres Cruzes in Montevideo and I’ll let you know what actually happened and who my new companion is. It is kind of exciting but at the same time kind of sad. Elder Maluff and I have become best friends. But it’s part of the missionary life.

Dad, I will be careful with the money.

Well, thanks for all you do. I love you all so very much. Have a great safe week.

Elder Sluder

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Picture from the MTC

I came across this picture in a Google search. It was taken at the Buenos Aires Argentina MTC in November 2009. John is on the top row, third from the right.

Monday, May 17, 2010

In the hospital... AGAIN!!!


Dear Family,

Wow… what a week! Well I hope you guys are ready for this one. I have had a very interesting week. Last Tuesday I had a pretty normal day. But right at the end of the day some stuff happened and I soon became very ill.

I didn’t think it really was anything too bad, but I went home early Tuesday night and went to bed. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling very sick. I had a lot of pain in my lower back and was very sweaty and very cold. I knew that I definitely had a fever. I did the best that night to just be comfortable, but I really didn’t get any sleep. The next morning I was still feeling like I had a fever, so I took my temperature and it read 103. So I definitely knew then I was sick.

We called the branch president in our branch (he’s a doctor) and he soon came over and gave me some medicine. I did my best to just rest and get better, but in the night I began to throw up and have really bad diarrhea. I was super sick. On Thursday my fever went away, but I was in the bathroom every 15 minutes, which wasn’t good because I hadn’t eaten since lunch on Tuesday. So I just continued to be sick and rested in the house the entire day. When I woke up on Friday, it was the same story. Hermana Da Silva called me in the morning to see how I was doing and to see if any of the medications I was taking were helping. I said no. She told me to get to Montevideo and check myself into the hospital as soon as possible.

So Elder Haws and I went to Montevideo. I got checked into the emergency room around twelve. I was definitely dehydrated. They hooked me to an IV right away.  Then all the doctors that came in said I had appendicitis and that I needed to plan to have another operation to have it removed. Ha-Ha-Ha… I couldn’t believe it! We called the mission president again and I think he and Hermana Da Silva just about had a heart attack. Luckily they did a blood test and sonograms on me.

They made me spend the night in the hospital and on Saturday morning the same surgeon who did my hernia surgery walked into the room. The first thing he said was; “John! Wow! Long time no see!” Ha-Ha-Ha. He then informed me that all the tests came back negative and that an operation wasn’t needed. He said in the blood work they had discovered I had a virus that attacks the bowels and that’s exactly what happened. I went home on Saturday. I have had a special diet now for a few days, but all in all I’m definitely getting way better.

I’m also sending you pictures of the scripture covers that I had made. They are Awesome! Some other pictures are of me in the hospital that Elder Haws took. And the other one is of me this morning at our district meeting in the church. I thought I would send it to you so that you knew that really I’m doing alright, maybe a little skinnier but I’m still alive.

You can let Aunt Sissy and Grandma know that their prayers are definitely helping. I believe that this was another one of those miracle things. Sometimes things like this just happen but I know that because of all your support, I’m better off and I can feel the comfort of our Heavenly Father.

Thank you all so much… I love you all.

Elder John P. Sluder

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mother's Day Phone Call

We had a great phone call from John on Sunday evening. We did a conference call again and everybody in the family had a chance to call in and say hi to John. He is already planning his return home and wants to go to college. He told us that one of the things he has realized is that he is really very smart and capable of  getting a college education! Let's hope he still feels the same way in 16 months! We also made tentative plans to travel to Uruguay in 2011 to pick him up. It really isn't that expensive and will be an opportunity we don't want to miss. Finally, it looks like we will be putting together a package for his birthday this weekend. He needs shirts, socks and some other goodies. It takes 4-6 weeks to get a package to him, so we need to get it in the mail by Monday morning. We did receive a short email from him and here it is:

May 9, 2010

Dear Family,

Wow, what a day. Today is my p-day and it is now night time. Our new p-day schedule is awesome. I love having p-day that lasts until the day is actually over.

This morning I started out by going over to the sister missionaries’ house and fixed their furniture. They had broken one of their beds. I put some screws in it and I hope it solved the problem. (The missionaries all over the mission know me as the guy who fixes all the stuff) They were grateful and they said that they are now happy because one of them doesn’t have to sleep on the floor. Afterwards we had district meeting. It was enjoyable and it seemed to go by way too fast. We then played basketball at the church and it was so awesome to play after not playing for so long. We then had an awesome lunch and finished our activity around 4 this afternoon. Tonight, in about an hour I have a birthday party to go to. It’s for a joven (young man) in the ward who is about 14 years old. He always goes out and works with us and we are very good friends with the family, so that’s kind of exciting.

Our baptism we planned is for the 22nd of May, the day after Steven’s birthday. Her name is Haydee. She is about 64 years old and is awesome too. She has now fixed our clothes and sewed up many holes that I had in my pants and shirts. In exchange, we took the weed eater from the church and cut the grass in her back yard. She is really by far the best investigator that I have ever had!

Well it was really cool to be able to talk to you guys yesterday. Sorry if you felt that it was a weird conversation. I just felt really weird I guess talking to you guys on the phone. As a missionary I guess you just become weird. But I know that’s okay!

Well I love you and for now I’m just going to forget myself and go to work.

Love you all
Elder John Sluder

Monday, May 3, 2010

8 Month Anniversary

Note from Dad: Today is John's 8 month anniversary in the mission! It's now 1/3 over!


Dear Family,

Well, the first thing I need to clear up is this Mother’s day call situation. This week we learned some new rules and things from the mission president. Here in the mission, we are now trying to be super tight with our funds. The president has asked us to call home first so that you will have the number. Then you can call me back. This way, we don’t have to pay for the call (you will pay for the call!). I just can’t call you any time of the day because it’s Sunday and I have to work, so I will call the house in Wellsville between 6:30 and 7:00 my time. When I call you, we’ll figure it all out. This may make it super complicated to do a conference call, so I’m not really too sure if that will work. We will have an hour to talk, that’s for sure. Okay anyways......

What a week! I’m still here and still doing the same old, same old. We have definitely had a very spiritual week. I don’t really know why, but it was definitely that way. We have found several investigators and it looks like they will soon continue on to baptism by the end of May. I don’t want to waste too much time talking about this now, but will tell you more on the phone next week.

Today I received a letter from Mary and her family. Thanks it was awesome! It was definitely one of those things that brightens up your day. I also got a letter from Makell today. It too was awesome!!! Hey dad… I’ve got a question. I don’t know how you feel about this, but I want you to invite Makell over to the house on Mother’s day and maybe I could talk to her for like five minutes. That would be way cool! And also invite Krista to come with her if she wants. If you could do that, I would so very much appreciate it. I would love to hear from them.

Anyway... we had an awesome district meeting this morning and now we have P-day until the day ends… it’s so cool. This afternoon we had an Asado (BBQ) and it was so great!!!!! I found BBQ sauce and I was able to cook up some really good steak!!! OOOHHHH it was so good.

Well I think tomorrow is Laura’s birthday… so Happy birthday Laura!!!!!!!!!!!

I have a lot to tell ya on the phone…. that’s for sure. I’m awfully excited and I can’t wait!!!!

Thanks for all you do for me!!! I love you all very much!!!!

Elder John Sluder