Monday, July 26, 2010

Back in Minas and Enjoying the Work

July 26, 2010

Dear Family,

Well I’m back in Minas. Cool huh. The mission conference was great and it was even better to stay in the hostel. The hostel is a hotel located behind the temple for the people who go to the temple. It’s pretty much like living in the U.S.A. again. I got the opportunity to work with some very good missionaries and I really learned a lot in my short time working in Montevideo. When I came back on Wednesday it was really the same old same old. Nothing too new.... Well I take that back. One of the Elders has pretty much gone off the deep end. The mission president called last night and talked to him for about an hour on the phone. This morning he tried to pack his bags and said he was leaving to go back to Paraguay. It’s ridiculous. I’m just happy he’s not my companion!

My companion is great! He’s definitely my opposite though. It’s really funny; I can see what I need to change to become better by the kind of companions the Lord assigns me. My companion loves to study! Me... Well I do it only when I have to do it. So we’ll see if I develop some better study habits after this change.

Everything still seems to be coming along with the baptisms that we’ve been planning. This next week we’ll be planning a wedding for two of our investigators who we plan to baptize at the end of this change. They both said that they want to do it and they want to get baptized. They are the most awesome family I have ever met too. Their names are Federico y Virginia. So on that side of things it looking really great.

It was really great to see the picture of the parade and to see the missionaries of Cache Valley. I’m super happy to see every one alright. Hey Uncle Phil… My best uncle ever! Thanks for your email. We don’t really eat anything too strange here; it’s mostly all Italian food. But I have had Armadillo and Carpincho which is a giant rat, the world biggest rodent. But we eat those kinds of things very rarely.

Note from Dad: Carpincho are also known as Capybara.

Well here it ain’t so warm… it’s about 9 degrees Celsius (48 degrees F) and the humidity is like 110%, so the cold just goes right through you. Besides that, I’m doing much better health wise. I went out and bought some antibiotics and I’m pretty much all better.

I included some pictures… one is of the baptism of Virginia that we held last Saturday. In the picture of our baptism is my new comp Elder Thornton. The other one is of the Catholic Church here in Minas that I just took about 20 minutes ago and the last one is... Well I forgot… anyways enjoy! So well I guess I’ll talk to you all next week. Thanks for everything

Love you,
Elder John Sluder

John, Virginia and Elder Thornton

The Catholic Church in Minas

John and his trainer Nahuel Trigueros
at the MTC in Argentina.

Friday, July 23, 2010

In Montevideo for Training and More Baptisms are Planned.

July 19, 2010

Dear Family,

Wow what a week I have had! It’s probably been one of the busiest weeks of my entire mission. It’s been out of control ridiculous. My new companion is Elder Thornton. He’s great. He’s from Grand Junction Colorado. He’s a good kid who will definitely follow the rules and he can speak some Spanish too.

This whole week, I’ve been running around Minas like a chicken with my head cut off. The sister missionaries had lightning strike their house. As a result, it ruined the water heater that I changed out two weeks ago, so I had to go back and change it again.

I had baptismal interviews to conduct and then had to conduct the baptism we had on Saturday!!!! Elder Haws and his parents showed up and now I’m not even in Minas but in Montevideo for a special conference!!! Elder Haw’s dad said he will call you guys and talk to you about me when he gets home in a week or so.

All of the missions in the entire world are changing and we’re starting a new, more structured training program. Because I’m the District leader, I’m here in Montevideo for a special training conference for three days. Fun huh? I will be staying in the hostel here in Carrasco behind the temple, so it’s actually not so bad. I left Minas last night alone and without a comp. When I got to Montevideo, I just kinda hung out and slept over at the AP’s house last night.

It feels like I’m getting sick. I think it’s from the weather change; we will see if it gets any worse.

Sunday we had a member of the Seventies Quorum, President Gavarret in church. He congratulated me and said he could really see a change in the missionary work in his branch. It felt pretty good coming from a seventy. He’s actually from the branch I’m serving in. We also had our super awesome investigator family come too. It looks like we will be baptizing the whole family here in just a little bit.

Sorry no pictures this week. I kinda can’t get that done with my situation in Montevideo.

Well besides all that, I’m doing alright (just wet). It hasn’t stopped raining for a few days now. I can’t wait to see the sun again. Missions are fun… let me tell ya… I’m having a blast!

Well love you all; be careful.

Elder Sluder

Monday, July 19, 2010

Things Going Well in Minas - I'm the New District Leader

July 13, 2010

Dear Family,

Well, the change is finally over!!!!! I’m in Minas again for my fourth change. My new companion is from Colorado and he seems really cool! He actually talks!!! His name is Elder Thornton and he’s only been on the mission for about three changes, so he’s pretty new. Elder Haws is going home. I’ll make sure that I get you his email address and stuff like that and you can talk with him. He knows me pretty well. He’s lived with me for the past seven months of my mission.

In our house, we now have Elder Mangleson from Salt Lake. He will also be finishing his mission this change; and Elder Lopez is still here. He’s really been a challenge, let me tell ya. Oh yeah, I almost forgot… I’m also the district leader of Minas now. Cool huh?

Well besides all that, I have a baptism this week on Saturday and it seems like all will work out once again nice and smooth.

I never really got a chance to go get my shoes fixed, I’m sorry. I kinda got into a bind last week and had to buy a bunch of tickets to go to Maldonado and so I used the money for that. I came up short this month cause of the ridiculous phone bill I had to pay from May, but I’m recovering and learning my best to just finance better. Sorry, but I will get them fixed in the next week or so when I receive the reimbursements that I turned in. Don’t even worry about my shoes anymore. For now I’m going to wear a pair of boots that Elder Haws gave me until I can get them fixed. I’m doing just fine. But thank you so much.

And the last thing I want to say is that I’m really grateful to you Cindy for talking to my friend Cory! Cindy, you’re the bomb and I love you so much! You just hang in there. You’re doing so great. I think about you often and many times when I teach about the change the gospel makes in peoples lives, I talk about you. I talk about a person that has gone through so much but has the strongest testimony ever. And this person knows that her heavenly Father loves her. Cindy I love you. I really do!! I’m sorry. And I can’t wait to see you and give you the biggest hug ever in a year.

Well I miss you all but I know you’re all doing just fine. Keep it up!!!!

Love, your son,
Elder John Sluder

Monday, July 5, 2010

Cristina's Baptism

July 5, 2010

Dear Family,

Wow what a week I have had!!! This was probably the most rewarding, best week of the mission I have had and at the same time the most difficult! First, on Wednesday I had interviews with the mission president. I didn’t think too much about it, but when I went in to have my interview, what the mission president told me definitely startled me. He first said that he was way super happy and super proud of the work that I have been doing and then he told me that I had succeeded in my special assignment. I didn’t even know that I had a special assignment! He told me that my companion was having a lot of trouble working and just being a missionary in his last area. So he sent him to me to help him change in the last assignment of his mission. I really don’t know what I did, but I definitely got a good report. President DaSilva said he couldn’t believe our number of baptisms and the lessons we were teaching. It was super cool. We are now starting the last week of his mission and I can tell he is dying to just get out of here. I can’t really blame him, but I will make him work till the last second. Ha ha ha

Friday night Uruguay won the semi-finals to the world cup and they’re part of the final four countries still playing. It’s a really big Deal!!!! This place was on fire on Friday night!!! We went down to the city square to see what was going on and it was the craziest thing I have ever experienced!!! These people love their soccer!!! I got some good video of South American soccer riots and definitely got to scream with the rest of these crazy Uruguayans VAMOS ARRIBA URUGUAY!!!!! It was the coolest!!! So tomorrow they will play Holland and if they win that game, they will be playing the last game of the world cup either against Germany or Spain! I really have come to love soccer like the rest of these people. It’s awesome!!!!

On Saturday I did it!!!! I baptized Cristina Correa!!! She was the biggest miracle of my mission. The baptism was perfect and everything worked out so smooth! Cristina got up to bear her testimony at the end of the meeting. In her testimony she said that the evening we knocked on her door for the first time, she was just incredibly angry with the whole world and honestly thought about killing herself. At first, she didn’t think much about us and had no problem shutting the door in our face. But when a few days passed and we returned telling her that we only wanted to help her out, she could feel the love we had for her and let us in. It was that simple. It was just service and love. At her baptism, I don’t think there was a dry eye. It was truly one of the most incredible moments of my life. It’s amazing to see the Evangelio de jesucristo change people’s lives. I have now come to the conclusion that if Cristina is the last person that I baptize for the remainder of the year I have left, I don’t care. She was worth the two years that I spent looking. I never thought in all my life that I would love some 54 year old Uruguayan woman who was a little on the crazy side. Cristina is the miracle of my mission.

I've included some pictures of the baptism.

I have two other baptisms planned for the 17th of July and I will be baptizing a whole family that I have been teaching on the 15th of August. It’s the best ever!!!

I got the letter from Nolan Gunnell. I never did receive a first one. THANKS NOLAN! You’re the bomb!

Well I love you all and thanks for all that you have been doing.

Love you all,
Elder John P. Sluder

John and Cristina Correa

John and Cristina again...

John writing in his journal at sunset

A great "artsy" shot at the beach!