Monday, January 24, 2011

An Up and Down Week

January 24, 2011

Dear Family,

That week went by so fast!! I can’t believe that we're already to P-day once again.

I have had a very interesting (and maybe even life changing) week myself. We thought for sure last Monday that we were going to have a baptism on Saturday. Then Doris told us no, because she didn’t want to get baptized without us getting her a dog first (It’s a really long story; I’ll have to explain it all later). She went kind of crazy, so we decided we would not go by her house ever again. We got to Friday with no plans for a baptism and out of nowhere we got a call from Doris. She said that in the night she had decided to pick up her Book of Mormon and while she was reading, God told her that she had to get baptized. We figured it was a miracle!!! Then, right before the baptism, she told us that her daughter, who is her legal guardian, said NO WAY and we couldn’t baptize her. It was really an “up down, exciting one moment, then completely sad the next moment” kind of week. Then last night again, she said that she wants to get baptized and she’s working on getting her daughter to let her do it. WE SHALL SEE! Ha-ha-ha. Wait… We just received another text message… the daughter just said no again... ha-ha-ha

On Wednesday, President DaSilva showed up. There wasn’t really any fixing to the whole problem I had, but I did have a very profound experience. I had an interview and the things that were said were very enlightening. I feel much better now. I learned several things and I realize that there are many things that I need to change to become a better person. It was interesting because in the interview I asked the president if he wanted to know everything about the situation. He said, “No, just go fix it”. We then talked about when you get angry or upset at a situation, we lose our free agency. We become a victim to the thing to which we react and no longer are we a free agent. I have now set several new life goals and since the interview, have been feeling much better. I feel like I’m finally getting this whole thing figured out. I now know that whatever comes of this ridiculous situation in 33 will be resolved the way God wants it to happen. It brought lots of peace to my mind.

My health seems to be just fine. I never got too sick. Sorry, I tried to get pictures to you, but this computer is super crappy. There isn’t anything too special that you need to send me. What you said sounds pretty good to me... well maybe some family pictures or some pictures on one of the memory cards of the house and the valley if you wanted to. I’m doing pretty well, in fact I’m doing really, really good! Well, I love you a lot!

Love Elder Sluder

Monday, January 17, 2011

A New Baptism Scheduled

January 17, 2011

Dear Family,

Thanks for all that you guys do. I have finished another week here in good old 33. We have experienced quite a change here and actually feel that the members in our branch are starting to work with us. We have a miracle baptism planned for this Saturday. Her name is Doris and she is very, very crazy! But she wants to be baptized and she came to church yesterday, so we are going to get her baptized.

This week we had a problem with water contamination in Treinta Y Tres. I accidentally used some of the water without knowing it was contaminated. The city tried to keep it quiet and decided not to announce it. Go figure! It’s the way it is here in Uruguay. I used the water to make waffles for my companion and me. First my companion got sick. I thought I was going to get away without getting sick, but this morning I woke up and surprise, surprise! Needless to say, I’m not 100%. But don’t worry about me too much. I have definitely been way sicker before on the mission. I figure it will go away soon.

Our branch seems to be doing alright for now. I’m still just doing my best to get through it all. The district presidency hasn’t made contact with me all week, so that’s been pretty nice. They now are going to have to face President Da Silva when he comes here on Wednesday. We shall see what happens.

Besides all of this, I’m doing pretty well. I have just been lost all week long in the work. My companion had to go to Maldonado today because he has an ingrown toenail and needed to get it fixed. I got left behind, so I’m hanging with Elder Gurr. We are here ¨holding down the fort¨.

Thanks for all your support and I will let you all know how things are going next week. I love you all.

Elder Sluder

Monday, January 10, 2011

Leadership Challenges Continue

January 10, 2011

Dear Family,

Well I have probably had the most memorable week of my entire mission! I’ll start with last Monday. I finished out my P-day and then on Tuesday at 2 in the morning, we got on a bus and headed to Montevideo for our zone leader council. It was great. After the council, I got to go work in my old zone, which is the ghetto area of Montevideo where I used to serve. We had a good afternoon and then headed to the mission home. We spent Tuesday night in the mission home with President Da Silva. On Wednesday, we had a leadership meeting and some of our companions showed up from 33. The meeting went great and I even received my Christmas package from you. It was awesome and so perfect… thank you so much!!!! It was the bomb. Also, Mary I got your card and it was awesome too. Mary, I was really impressed with the family you have. What a good looking family!!! Anyway, we got back to 33 on Wednesday night at 9 o’clock.

Thursday was probably the most eventful day of the week. We had a district meeting and in the interview had a pretty intense disagreement with a couple of our missionaries. Our zone now appears to be not so perfect. The whole thing left a really bad taste in my mouth. I got home just absolutely exhausted after this meeting, so I got my stuff together and we headed for lunch. After lunch, we returned to our place. I went in and started to pray my guts out. While I was praying, I got the impression that we needed to go visit with the wife of our ward mission leader. The ward mission leader’s wife was put in the hospital last week. I called the branch president and he had no idea if she had been given a blessing, so he asked me if we could go do that for him. I said sure. Anyway, we spent some more time in the house finishing up with some stuff. I found my oil vial and we headed out. When we got to the hospital, I asked the front desk where she was and right as we were asking, her family members came running out crying and informed us that she had just passed away - It was really rough. I hate being late!!!! This time though, it was something that really mattered.

On Friday we had a visit with the district president and it didn’t go well. There seems to be something really wrong here, but I just can’t quite figure it out. We shall see. The rest of the week was just as strange. I don’t really have enough time to try to explain it all, but it was rough.

We do have a baptism scheduled for the 22nd, so things are looking really good in that aspect.

Besides all of this, I’m doing well. I so very much appreciate the things you sent me. I love you all so very much. I will continue praying for you all.

Elder Sluder

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Great Week!

January 3, 2011

Dear Family,

Well what a week!! I’m sure glad the holidays are over. On the mission, we really don’t get holidays and so you kinda feel jealous of those who do. And it’s also extremely difficult because most people don’t want to listen. They would rather just take it easy for the weekend. The last thing they want to hear is they need to repent from the Mormon missionaries. Ha-Ha.

Anyway, my new companion is much, much, much different than Elder Gonzalez. At first, it did kind of bug me, but now he’s really starting to grow on me. Elder Roisum is probably the calmest, patient, non- stress person I have met in my entire life. We had an awesome week; worked extremely hard and now have two baptisms planned for the end of January. In the past week, all of the missionaries in my zone set baptismal dates. We look as if we shall have 15-20 baptisms this month. It will be a huge improvement compared to the 4 we had last month. My zone is awesome!!!!! I have no complaints as of right now. The branch president that I had a disagreement with never made contact with me this past week. That’s fine though… I’m not too concerned because I know that we are the obedient ones who are following the rules. And my new companion supports me 100%. Besides that, the whole zone seems incredibly excited and finally they want to work hard, do their job and follow the rules!!! The changes that President Da Silva made this past week were definitely inspired.

My health has pretty much returned to 100%. For New Years Eve, we really didn’t do much. I went to bed at 10:30. Then at midnight, one of our members decided to wake us all up by throwing M-80 firecrackers under our window. It was actually quite funny, so I got up. He had gone out and bought some really big fireworks. So I sat on the front steps of our house and watched the biggest South American illegal fireworks show ever. Really they are not illegal here, but to us in the states; it seems to just be a dream. It made for a really good 20 minute celebration and about 12:15 I went back in the house and just went back to bed. (Exciting huh?)

I’m excited to hear that I have a cousin who will be serving a mission in this country. I will be sure to write him a letter and let him know what’s up. Tonight I will be going to Montevideo for a few days. I have a zone leader council and then Wednesday we have another leadership meeting.

Also, Elder Parry served in 33 a few months ago. He’s a very good friend of mine. I was his district leader back when I was serving in Bella Italia. That’s quite interesting that you found his blog. Anyway, I imagine this week will go by just as fast as the last. I love you all so very much and I look forward to a wonderful week here in 33 Uruguay.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Recent Pictures from the Mission

I came across another missionary blog for Elder Bryan Parry in Uruguay. Here are a couple of recent pictures that I "borrowed" from his blog (thanks Sister Parry). I will also post them on John's Facebook account. Click on the photos to view full size ~ Steve Sluder

This photo was taken at a zone conference in November.
John is on the back row, second from the left.

This is a photo was taken at the Christmas Conference.
John is on the left side, about four rows from the front, third from the left