Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Antarctic Winds are Blowing

June 27, 2011

Dear Dad,

I don’t have too much time this week, but I will let you in on a few things that have been happening. My companion seems to be doing quite well. We have talked a lot about his loss and were able to come to the conclusion that it is all in God’s hands now and that he knows best.  

It’s super, super cold and I can hardly type right now. It’s been raining with the worst and coldest winds from
Antarctica ever. Living along the ocean is not so fun in the winter time.  

Yes, having Hermana Walton here was interesting and kinda awkward. Her mother gave me a memory card and then two days later I received two memory cards from you guys in the mail.

We have a BAPTISM scheduled!!!  We found a guy who came to church yesterday and came in spite of the cold rain. Our plan is to baptize him Saturday...  We shall see.    

Well as I said, it hasn’t been too much more of an exciting week than this. I am well. Thank you so much. I love you guys a ton!


Monday, June 27, 2011

Parque Del Plata is GREAT!!!

June 20, 2011

Dear Family,

Wow it’s so good to see all the kids again!!!!!   They’re all so big!!!!  Jack can walk and Luke is a big kid… Ha Ha Ha. Oh and Bear looks super, super old!!!! Happy Fathers Day Dad!!!!  Sorry I couldn’t be there to wish it to you in person.

This week has probably been the most interesting week of my entire life. I really do mean that. We’ve had a lot of work to do to get the ball rolling in our area. I have been trying my best to get to know the members and working hard to find somebody to teach. My new area is huge. We have three different cities to proselyte in, Las Toscas, Atlantida and Estacion Atlantida. It’s been quite the challenge searching and finding, but I know the Lord will provide. 

On Friday, Sister Walton and her parents came and visited me. That was pretty cool. They seemed to be doing be doing well and were having a ball. 

Yesterday was Ward Conference and to be honest, I was very impressed!  Parque Del Plata became a Ward about two months ago. The Bishop is great and we have tons of priesthood holders. It’s Awesome!!!  Finally… good organization! Yesterday, the Stake President was there for Ward Conference and told my companion and me about plans to open a new branch in Estacion Atlantida. I guess the plans are to have us focus all of our strength there and prepare the way. It’s very exciting and has led once again in my mission to another “special assignment”. 

Last night I had an unforgettable experience. We received a call from President Da Silva with some bad news for my companion. Elder Curapil is an awesome missionary. He’s focused and very obedient. I can’t really explain everything here, but one of Elder Curapil’s brothers died. He is an emotional wreck right now and it is very hard for him. We did a lot of praying last night, got little sleep and I gave him a blessing. He did have the opportunity to speak with his Mother and that helped. I imagine the next twelve weeks of my mission are going to be pretty interesting. I plan to just work him down and get ourselves lost in the work. I won’t have any room anymore to be trunky. I fear even mentioning the word “home” to him. We are currently in Tres Cruzes. Elder Curapil has an immigration medical check to go through, so I’m not with him right this moment. 

Well I guess life is like that… It sure made me grateful for the beautiful family I have. Thank you so much. I really love you all so much and really do appreciate all that you do for me.  

Elder John Sluder

P.S.  I think the Lord has prepared me for this because I too received a similar call from President DaSilva only three weeks ago.  The Lord works in mysterious ways.              

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Surprise Email

June 15, 2011

Dear Dad,

I have a few moments that I can write you a quick letter. I finally got to my new area this morning.  It was a little complicated because my companion didn’t arrive from Argentina on time. The airplanes weren't flying because of all of the volcanic ash, so the new missionaries came by boat and showed up late yesterday afternoon instead of early in the morning as we had planned. My new companion is Elder Curapil.  He’s from southern Argentina and he’s great. Yesterday, while we were waiting for the oros to get here, we had the opportunity to go through the temple and do a session. When my companion got here, I learned that he still had not gone through the temple. He had never even entered the temple in his entire life. I got to be his escort in another session and it was an awesome experience. It reminded me of my first time I went through almost two years ago. We had an awesome meeting with the temple president and everything. We spent the night in the Hostel and I even had to help my companion buy his first garments ever.  It was quite interesting and fun.

My new area is huge!!!!  It’s like a big vacation place. Walking to the cyber cafe this morning, we walked right along the beach the whole way.  IT’S AWESOME.  I found out this morning that there is a new small town that has just developed north of where we are named Estacion Atlantidad. The missionaries have never really gone there and the branch president wants us to go and eventually make a new branch there.  AWESOME. Well I have to go. I love you very much and I will see you soon.


Monday, June 13, 2011

21st Birthday & Transfer to Parque de Plata

June 13, 2011

Dear Family,

Thank you all so much for your support and for the letters you have all written me. I’m sorry I can’t write you all back, but my time doesn’t really allow me to.

I’ve had a wonderful final week in Treinta y Tres. In the way of new investigators and baptisms, nothing much has really changed. We’re still running pretty dry. The attendance in church yesterday was pretty high, but the branch president made some dumb moves and really killed the spirit of the meeting. After the meeting, I talked with President Davidson and it sounds like Rama Obelisco may soon be getting a new branch President. FINALLY!!!!!!

Saturday night the Davidson’s surprised me and took me out for a wonderful dinner at a restaurant. It was really good and I was so grateful to them. Last night, my companion and a member put together a birthday party for me. They made me a cake and everything. It was awesome!!! Then this morning, my zone all got together and brought me a cake and some more gifts. It was so great and it really helped me out a ton!!! I had a lot of cake!!!!!

Well as I have already said, I’m leaving 33!!!!! President DaSilva called me up last night and sang me happy birthday (in English) and then gave me my new assignment. I’m going to an area named Parque de Plata. It’s a beach resort town east of Montevideo. I will be opening a new area which includes several small cities right along the beach. My new companion? Well, I don’t know him yet. I won’t know until tomorrow, because I’m training a new Elder who is fresh… directly from the MTC!!!! AN ORO!!!!! Wooo-Hooo. From what I hear, my new house is only three blocks from the beach. But there is almost no one who lives there this time of year. IT IS FREEZING COLD RIGHT NOW and the Antarctic winds that come off the ocean don’t help!!! Whatever… I’m excited. It will be a great adventure and a great way to finish my mission.

Time’s going so fast and it sounds like everything back at home is going good.

I love you all so much and THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO. See you soon.

Love, Elder Sluder

New Assignment Coming Next Week

Note from Steve: I completely forgot to write to John on Sunday night. I did send him a quick note after I received this email. John is celebrating his 21st birthday next Monday.

May 29, 2011

Dear Dad,

I don’t know if you got my email last week. I hope you did. I haven’t received one from you guys yet this week, so I hope all is well.

I had an excellent week myself and I’m doing quite well. Just so you know, I did get my package and man do I love my new watch and all the bouncy balls you sent me. Thank you so much!!! I can’t express how good it made me feel to see that you sent me that stuff for my 21st birthday.

I will be starting my last week in 33 this week. I figure I’ll be long gone after the 14th. Next week I’ll be writing you on Monday and letting you know where my new area is and what my new assignment will be. I love you and thank you so much for everything.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Working with Less-Actives

May 29, 2011
Dear Family,

I’m glad to hear that all is now well and you were all able to make it home safe and settle back in. I'm doing well and was able to have a very calm and interesting week.  Time really seems to be counting down fast. The mission for me will be over in just three months.  My companion jokes with me and often sings the Green Day song; Wake Me Up When September Ends. Ha-ha-ha. We didn't do too much of anything out of the ordinary this week. The work is quite slow and I don’t know if in the short time I have left here, it will recover. We’re really focused right now on less-active members and have been really pushing for higher numbers in sacrament meeting. We have been making visits with the Davidson's and trying to reactivate all that will give us the time of day.  There really is a lot of potential here!!!!  

After talking with the assistants today, I am pretty sure I will be out of Treinta Y Tres on the 14th of June. I will find out exactly where I’ll go and what I’ll do for the final few months of my mission on my 21st birthday! I have been in 33 now since November of 2010.  When I finish here, it will be 7 months almost exactly to the day. Crazy huh?  I think I’ll be assigned somewhere to whitewash train an oro (new missionary).

Well I love you guys. Thanks for all you do.  Dad, I actually might need a little bit more money so that I don’t end up over drawing my account.  Sorry. 

Well, for now this is all I’ve got.  I miss you guys a ton.  I haven’t gotten the box yet, but I figure it will be here tomorrow.  I have a council in Montevideo tomorrow morning.  MORE TRAVELING!!!