Monday, July 25, 2011

6 Final Weeks in Parque del Plata

July 24, 2011
Dear Dad,

Well I have had a good week. Last night the decision on the fate of the rest of my mission was made. I will be staying in Parque del Plata with Elder Curapil. As of tomorrow, it is 6 weeks until you will be here. That’s not much time, but I figure that all will work out alright and we should be able to baptize like crazy.  At our last change, we shared the biggest ward in the country with another companionship. We found out last night that we will now be solos and the entire area is ours. They are removing a companionship and now our area is huge!!!!!! There is so much work to do. I imagine that I will finish this thing more busy that ever. 

My companion is doing well. We had our planned baptism on Saturday. I won’t be sending pictures because I don’t have enough time, but next week for sure.  Pedro got baptized and all went well. 

Dad, I think you need to speak with the hostel. To spend the night in the hostel you have to reserve and attend the temple every day that you stay. The main worry I have is to run into you in the temple (of all places) before I’m released.  On the afternoon of Tuesday the sixth, I will be in the temple with Presidente DaSilva at the 3:30 session. 

I will send you all of the information you need this next week in a letter with maps and daily plans.  If you want, I suggest bringing your GPS with a Uruguay download or something. I believe that I may not be interviewed until Wednesday because my group that is leaving is so big, but we will see. If I do not get released until Wednesday, it will make things super complicated because I will be spending the night in the hostel as well.  I will let you know a little more later when I know for sure. One thing is for sure... Wednesday night we do need to spend the night in the hostel so call them and make the appropriate preparations. I figure that you might as well try to spend the night there Tuesday night also; it is the safest place to be while in South America. 

Mary… congratulations on your new baby Bradley.

Well I love you and thanks for everything.

Elder Sluder

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Things Are Going Well Here

July 18, 2011

Dear Dad and Mom,

Well what’s up? I haven’t received an Email from you yet this morning, but that’s fine. I figure that you’re super busy Dad with all the jobs back east that you have been working on.  I may come back this evening to check before I go out to work, so feel free to write me back.

As for me, I’m doing just fine. This past week has been quite interesting and we have been able to keep busy by teaching and inviting. Our ward here seems to be doing quite well.  We have good attendance in church and everybody seems to be quite happy.  We do have our strange members (that are a little crazy), but that is just how it always is. 

We have been teaching an older gentleman named Pedro Castro.  The plan is to baptize him this week.  He is fighting to quit smoking and so far so good.  We followed the steps in Preach My Gospel very closely and it looks like he will be smoking his last cigarette today.  Wooo Hooo.  Yesterday in church, he even went up to my district leader Elder Heywood and asked when he could interview him; he said I want to be baptized “el mas pronto possible”.  

We have a big activity planned for this Saturday, part of the baptism of Pedro. We are going to watch a copy of “Joseph Smith, Prophet of the Restoration”, a movie that I have.  The members are excited because they haven’t ever heard of it and many plan to bring their friends.  We are super pumped. 

I look forward to seeing you guys in six weeks. Time has gone incredibly fast.  I’m very excited!  I’m trying to make plans so that we have a very organized schedule when you guys arrive.  I plan to put it all together and will send it to you guys in a week or so. When you get here, you will have no doubt how to get around and you will have an idea where we will be going and what we are going to do.  I do need to know the exact dates and times of our return flight. I have forgotten what you may have told me. I need to know how much extra time I will have in the county so I can make appropriate plans. 

Well some bad news.  I looked at my account yesterday and it seems that I have over drafted again.  It happened because of my negligence to pay attention to the balance when using my card as a debit card at the stores here in Atalantida.  Things here are a lot more modern than in the countryside. I have had the opportunity to use my card here as a debit card.  It’s cheaper because there are no withdrawal fees, but I can’t follow the balance as well and the dollar is always going up and down.  Forgive me for my negligence.

Life this week was good to me… no real challenges.  To be honest, I am becoming very content with life. I no longer feel that change is the solution to all of my problems.  Thank you for everything Mom and Dad.  I love you both.


PS.  I’ll send you pictures of our baptism next week.  

Monday, July 11, 2011

Three Baptisms Planned for July 23rd

July 11, 2011

Dear Dad,

Well I had an absolutely wonderful week myself. Things got up to 15 degrees (that’s about 60 degrees Fahrenheit) this week and so it was a great week to be outside proselytizing. I’ve now scheduled 3 baptisms for the 23 of July. I am going to help one of my investigators rebuild his motor on his three wheeled truck thing so that he can come to church more regularly. Saturday night I taught one of the first lessons in English that I can remember on my entire mission. The truth is it was hard to do and I confused many words. But everything turned out alright. The sister was amazed at my bible knowledge. The things I taught about the bible didn’t come from the bible, but from the Book of Mormon. I really prefer teaching from the Book of Mormon. She is a 60 year old retired woman from Florida. A Super Random contact!

My companion is awesome!!! He’s doing so well and we have really enjoyed our time together. We are already getting ready for the end of the change on the 26th. I figure I’ll stay with him and he´ll be my companion to finish the mission. The work is going so good. My bishop is great and works hard. My ward is supportive and happy. We had awesome attendance of over 100 people at church yesterday! It is so nice to be in a positive, happy ward!

Regarding my debit card… I will probably receive it on a Monday because that is the day we receive our mail. I will have my eye out for it and things should work out well. Money wise, right now I’m doing just fine and with what you have given me, I should be just fine to finish out the month without any problems. Thank you so much!!!

Well everything here is good and the sun is finally shining. This area is beautiful. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to finish the mission. I’ll try to send photos in the email next week. We have plans to go out today and visit some local attractions.

I love you all so very much.

Elder Sluder

Work is Going Well in Parque Del Plata

July 4, 2011

Dear Family,

Wow what a week!! Well it’s been cold as usual and we have been working through it and enjoying this time we have to work as best we can. My companion is doing very, very well and has been able to endure his problems and help out the missionary work. This week we had several very clear days where the sun came out and were really able to enjoy the weather. My good friend Jose Merola from Minas has a summer home in Parque Del Plata and so Saturday they called me up. We had an awesome asado (barbeque) with him and the Branch President from Minas and their families. It was so awesome. We were able to celebrate the 4th of July Uruguayo style and they even came to church in my ward here on Sunday. It was GREAT!!!

The work has gone well and we’re currently finding whole families to teach. Things look really good and it seems like the work is about to explode and just take off for us right now. AND MY COMPANION IS A STUD!

I have already made some good friends here. I have been working with an inactive family and yesterday I got to bless their baby. The tradition here is that after the blessing, everyone in the circle (there were 4 of us) have to kiss the baby in front of the congregation. Well I didn’t know that one and when I handed the baby over to one of the brethren, he took it and kissed it and then put it in my face to kiss also. Anyway… very interesting!

Well now here is the time to tell you some bad news. As you know there is opposition in everything. Friday morning I went and took my monthly money from the church out of my account. I put it in an envelope and put it away. What was in the envelope was 3000 pesos Uruguayos. At 18 pesos to the dollar, it’s about $166 dollars American. After I finished my reembolsos and other financial things, we had some left over paper and receipts that needed to be destroyed. We put it all together and threw it into the wood burning stove. Ever since then, we haven’t been able to find the 3000 pesos that were in the envelope. I couldn’t really imagine that I would do something as stupid and irresponsible as to burn 3000 pesos. But I have looked everywhere and I can’t find it anywhere. I have spent hours looking through every last document that I own and all over our tiny house, but it is nowhere to be found. I spoke with the financers of the mission and they asked if I had an emergency fund. I told them I do and I have 1000 pesos for emergency. And they told me to use it and budget well and use my personal means if possible. Just so you know dad, I took 700 pesos out of my account to pay our fast offerings.

I want to let you know this because I imagine this month things are going to get really tight. I do have 1000 pesos emergency fund (about 50 bucks), but that’s not going to last me very long. In two weeks, I am also expecting to receive another 1000 from the reimbursals that I just sent in. But I really am going to need a hand on this one. I will continue searching for the benefit of the doubt. With the way things cost here in this tourist city, I had figured out my budget perfectly with the amount that I had.

I am sorry for the inconvenience and the dumb mistake. Let me know what to do. Besides all of this dad I hope you have a good week and that all things go well. I’ll keep you all in my prayers