Monday, April 25, 2011

Leonel's Baptism

April 25, 2011

Dear Family,

Well I had an interesting week with bad weather. Monday and Tuesday started off well and we were able to work without any bad rain storms. Then Wednesday we got some really bad, bad rain!!!! I also ate something at lunch that day that made me sick. On Thursday morning I was still sick. We didn’t really work too much that day and the rain was still pouring down!

On Friday morning the assistants came and picked me up and went on that special intercambio. We had the intercambio planned for two weeks ago, but it never worked out, so we rescheduled it for this past week. I was still sick but I got into the mission truck anyway and we drove to Montevideo. I worked in spite of my stomach pains. I was able to keep myself from throwing up during the lessons, so it worked out well. HA-HA-HA. We worked in an area called Malvin and it was not pretty. I really do feel spoiled that I don’t have to live in this mess that’s called Montevideo. Man I hate the big city! Saturday morning we drove back. We went from Montevideo to 33 in two and a half hours. It surprised me how fast the trip is made in a truck compared to the four to five hour stop and go bus ride we usually take.

I got home Saturday morning (still sick) and we worked for a little while in the morning. The rest of the afternoon we prepared for the baptism we had scheduled. Our converts name is Leonel and he could be the most awesome convert I have had so far. Right after he was baptized, he asked all 70 of the people we had at this huge baptism if he could offer up a prayer of thanks while he was still in the baptismal font. Of course we let him. At first I found it a bit weird, but then the spirit flooded the room. It was amazing!

Yesterday, when we got home from church, I still wasn’t feeling too good so I called the mission doctor in Argentina. He put me on a special diet for 24 hours and so far, so good. I am feeling just fine now. He said it was probably just some sort of stomach virus that I got and I just needed to rest my stomach for a little while to recuperate.

Yesterday I also received a call from Presidente Da Silva and today Elder and Hermana Davidson arrived!!!!!! It’s awesome!!! They’re from Texas and are here to help us become a Stake. We have lunch with them in the next hour or so. They are just so great. He’s an ex-mission president from Mexico.

I also just got off the phone with the assistants and I asked them if they would leave me here for the next change… I really want a fifth change here. Four changes are very rare and five in one area is just unheard of, but we shall see on Sunday what happens. They said that it’s not likely but noted the suggestion down and so we shall see. Oh and one more thing about changes… after working with the assistants this week, I came to a conclusion that I have no desire to do that job. It’s just too much craziness and I would like to end my mission in a nice peaceful place where I’m not responsible for so many people!

If you could put 25 bucks in my account ASAP that would be marvelous!!!

I love you guys so much and Happy Easter. I can’t believe how big the kids are getting! I loved the pictures!!!! Happy mission ending to Austin! I LOVE YOU ALL.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Kevin's Baptism

April 18, 2011

Dear Family,

Well, we had our baptism!!! Everything worked out just great and all went well. I was asked to perform the baptism and it was awesome. I have included pictures. His name is Kevin and he is definitely the coolest little kid ever. Like I said last week, we found him while walking down the street and we just decided to open our mouths and speak with his mother. This week coming up we will be baptizing a guy named Leonel Rodao. He’s also really cool and will really help out the priesthood holders of the stake which we have been working hard to strengthen.

Yesterday we had a horrible rain storm that covered all of Uruguay. It flooded the roads and made our job really fun. Our church attendance went from 70 last week (the record highest attendance in years) to just 20 this week. It was horrible, but we got lucky and were able to go out in the storm just in time to find Kevin and confirm him. It was great! Besides all of this there is nothing new… we’re just chugging along.

Well I love you all and I hope that you enjoy the pictures.

Elder Sluder

P.S. Dad – I’ll be honest that I kinda doubt that I’ll be called as an assistant because there are so many other missionaries here who are much more qualified than I am. Plus, I only have three changes left and I still haven’t trained. Usually zone leaders who are in their last few changes do what we call “white wash training”. This is where they remove two missionaries from an area and put in two new ones. You then train an “oro” and also become a district leader. That’s what normally happens for someone in my position, but we shall see.

Monday, April 11, 2011

What a Good Week We Have Had!

April 11, 2011

Dear Family,

What a good week we have had! It went incredibly fast and at the same time things worked out well. It has been very rewarding and I feel like we are making some progress in some things. It’s looking like we are finally getting this ball rolling. Yesterday we had two investigators in church. It looks like one will definitely be baptized this Saturday and the other will be baptized the 30th. Kevin will be baptized on Saturday. He’s only 10 years old and I found him in a street contact. He is amazing and he definitely has a lot of potential to be a future leader in Treinta Y Tres. Our other investigator is named Enrique. He’s 26 and is the boyfriend of one of the young women in the ward. He’s a really good guy and the family is so happy that he has finally made this decision. I would call these baptisms two great miracles.

This past week, my companion and I had the opportunity to go to a baptism in the small farming town of Vergara (which lies an hour north of Treinta Y Tres). It felt like the olden days as we walked through the town from the services in the church building to the small river. It was quite interesting and there was a great feeling of the spirit with this small branch of about 20 members as we walked down to the river. The sister being baptized was dressed in white and smiled as she strolled. It was awesome!!!

It’s really hard to believe that I am almost four months short of being away from home for two years. President DaSilva drove up on Wednesday and we had our usual zone interviews. It was an interesting interview. I figure I don’t have much time left here in Treinta Y Tres nor do I think I will continue to be a zone leader after this change. I figure I have just 3 more weeks in 33… The assistants just called me on my cell phone and asked for my suggestions for future district and zone leaders of the mission. I figure they’re already looking for my replacement. Ha Ha Ha.

On Thursday, I will be going to Montevideo for an intercambio with the assistants. I don’t really know why they want me going there, but they plan to come and pick me up. I will leave my companion here in Treinta Y Tres with one of them. The other assistant and I will drive 4 hours there for one day of work and then four hours back. We shall see what is planned and the reason they want me doing this.

Besides all of this, I’m doing alright. I did receive my package a few weeks back. Sorry I failed to mention it in past emails. I’ve already used all of the root beer concentrate you sent. It was great. During general conference I made root beer floats for the zone. They loved it and they send their thanks.

Hey… did you know that in four weeks, I will be making my last phone call home for the rest of my mission? Just so you know Mom and Dad, I don’t want a whole lot of crazy confusion on this call. I would really appreciate it if we could limit the phone call to you two and me. That way we can talk and enjoy our Mother’s day. (And maybe if you want to invite Mamaw also?). Let me know what you think and what your plans are. Well I love you guys and I hope that you have a wonderful week. Send my condolences to Paul’s family and let them know that I will pray for them.

Elder Sluder

Monday, April 4, 2011

We Finally Have Some Baptisms Planned!

April 4, 2011

Dear Family,

Wow Wow Wow! What a week. I have been quite busy with meetings and all sorts of things. We have been working to find and teach some people to baptize. It looks like that we are going to have two to three on the 16th of April. Finally!!!!!!

I’m sending you guys a picture from our zone leader council meeting that was held last Tuesday in Montevideo. The picture was taken inside the mission home. I’m standing in the middle of the picture. Next to me, to my left is my old companion Elder Young. My new companion, Elder Powell is the one sitting on the front row, far left. We´ve been working hard and have really enjoyed our time working together. Today we have a very busy day!!!! We have to move two Elders from their house. They will be moving into our house for a week. In total, we will have 10 Elders staying with us tonight. Then early tomorrow morning, President Da Silva will be coming to do interviews. I imagine that it will be crazy!!!! Well for now, there is nothing else is too new to report.

I can’t believe that Laura is going to have another baby!! That’s unbelievable. What’s funny is that when I tell people here that I have 21 nieces and nephews, they all freak and ask me if we have television. It’s actually pretty funny. I figure now I can start telling them I’m going to soon have 23!

Well great big family of mine, I love you all. I hope that you know that I do pray for all of you! I hope that you were all able to listen to and watch conference. If not, you’d better find some time and watch it. Then apply the lessons to your lives and families. I realize now how important that is. My time out here is really limited. I have now watched my fourth and final General Conference as a missionary and in the next month or so we will have our last (fourth) phone call home for Mother’s Day. Time is going really fast.

I love you all so much,