Sunday, August 12, 2012

Down to 2 Transfers

Well, I'm now on the countdown on the mission. Two transfers. Two short transfers and I'm back at the house. Today two missionaries that were going home stopped by the house and talked for a second. Elder De Leon (the one that lived with me in Fantino for 2 transfers) and Elder Newmeyer, who was asistent and served in this area as ZL for 4 transfers. It was cool seeing them, but it made me realize just how short my mission is. I only have 2 more transfers... Elder De Leon was a greenie when he was with me in Fantino, tomorrow he'll be boarding a plane to Texas... Time is so short now.. I won't get too sentimental though, promise.

There has been an increase in the delincuency in my area. The other night the police drove by and fired a shot in the air to break up a group of gangsters. We're fine though, no need to worry, just something I've been noticing about the entire country, the delincuency is horrible. Again, don't worry, I'll be home for Christmas, alive, well, and happy, I just tell you this to tell you about things in general.

That looks like a really sweet vacation you're on. Do you guys have to travel the world after I'm gone? I know I'm in a foreign country, but you don't have to go and get jealous and travel everywhere without me. Nah, but I'm a little jealous though, I must say. I was laying down for a nice p-day nap today when the power went out and with it my fan.. Say goodbye to any sort of rest when the light goes here.. It's not gonna happen. I just laid there, sweaty, in my bed for about an hour, got up in frustration and took a cold shower to cool off. Now, I'm sweating again in this internet center. Sometimes I feel like these next 2 months couldn't go fast enough.

We've been working with a really great little family right now. They've been progressing beautifully. They're reading the book of mormon, loving it, and praying and what not. We just need to get them to church. Shouldn't be too hard, they're already friends with the bishop. The bishop is the man, by the way. I don't know if you've heard, but the bishop actually served in the area I'm in now for 9 months, and not to long ago. I think about a year and a half ago. So a bunch of his baptisms are now the sheep of his ward.

We have a baptism this Saturday. His name is Arjenis. He's actually one of the rising stars in this country in basketball. He's on the youth traveling team and he plays all over the carribean. He's about 6' 6" and only 17 years old. Great kid. It's been crazy teaching him and we've had to change around our schedule to be able to teach him, but it's been totally worth it. He was actually taught a long time ago by my father in the mission, Elder Walker and still just loves Walker.

One more thing and maybe the most important thing in this letter.. I need that personal card ASAP. The packages that were already sent are costing me HUGE money and the little bit of money that I had for emergencies from the last apoyo ran out, along with all of this one in a matter of 3 days. In other words, I have almost no money, and there are 12 days until the next apoyo comes. It's a need now, I need that personal card.

I love you two. I am glad you are having a great time on your vacation. You both needed it. Don't worry, I'm sweating enough for the both of us here.

Till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

No Pictures.....:-(

Well, this week has been a great week. I´ll just start with something disappointing, I forgot my camera again.... I feel terrible, but I went to get a rash checked out with the mission doctor and on the way home we used internet.. So I didn´t get a chance to grab the camera. Shoot.. I feel way bad.

But momma, I would LOVE to teach seminary there a few times! Let me at those kids, I´ve been reading the new testament a lot lately and I think I actually may learn a lot myself if I teach seminary. I think the teacher learns more than anyone else as far as seminary goes.. Actually as far as most things go.

I talked to the doctor today about my future career. I had no idea the medical field was so vast. It has a whole branch that doesn´t even deal with people directly on a day to day basis. That´s definitely the branch I don´t want. I want to work as an opthomologist or an anesthesiologist. I´m not sure I spelled either of those right.. But I´m liking them both after talking to the doctor today.

It turns out that the rash I had was jock itch, or athlete´s foot but on my privates. It´s been so stinking humid here it´s not a shock to me. I think I may actually enjoy the dry heat in Oklahoma just because.. It´s dry. I don´t know if it will even feel as hot to me. Is there a breeze? If there´s at least that I´m ok.

That´s cool news about the Gowen girl! It´ll be cool having her in the branch for a time. I´ll be sure and take her out and be social with her with people that are good influences.. Wow. that´s not very many people in Ada. It´ll be neat to golf with her too though.

Well, not too much to tell you about. It´s just.. the middle of the transfer, normal challenges, normal events, I´ve had a week full of exchanges this week. Yesterday there was one with the assistents and Monday we had one with a DL, then tomorrow I have one with Elder Seastrand, a good friend of mine in the mission. It´s actually kinda weird.. When we first met, we both looked familiar to the other. I asked him if I knew him, he told me he didn´t know and said I looked way familiar too. It turns out Taylor Johnson, my freshman year roommate from BYU was his best friend, and he was in my apartment at Wyview quite a bit. Now we´re good friends from the mission.. It´s weird, but it´s pretty cool how it worked out.

Other than that, not too much news. I still feel like 2 months is pretty far away, but we´re then again I thought 4 months was forever, and 2 months went by lightening fast, and that´s all the time I have left.

Well, I´ll see you shortly. I love you two. I miss you. I´ve dreamed about you quite a bit..
Just being with my family again. It´s God reminding you how much I really need you two.

Till next week, always thrusting in the sickle, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

A Little Miracle

Ok, next week for sure I will send pictures. This week has been a little crazy, like we played basketball and stuff, so I haven't been able to go by the house and get the camera. Don' worry, next week is sure. And I have a lot of pics to send too.

Wow. That. Letter.. Was.... Wow. It really hit me. Hard. I saw it. My trip home. I saw it in front of my eyes. I saw it with my eyes. I felt it with my heart. It's so close. Wow.

Well, this transfer is blowing by. We had a baptism last saturday, that was really neat. I got to see the young man that my trainer was teaching get baptised. We really saw the Lord's hand in that. He was a gift. I don't know if it was the Lord's little way of reminding us why we were working hard or because the Lord just REALLY wanted Argenis baptised so he could go on a mission, but it was a gift nonetheless. I'll send pictures of that next week.

The apoyo got here. It was a crazy week. Each day of the week we were scraping by. Last Thursday we went in to see Elder Fuller to get a small amount of money to try to survive, but that was gone by saturday, and the funds we supposed to get here on Tuesday. Friday night, when every last peso was gone, I prayed that someone would come along to help us. I don't know if I've prayed that hard very much in my life. It was silly, but really there was nothing left in the house and there was no money. Well, lo and behold an old missionary that served here that I barely knew showed up at the front door at about 1:00 in the afternoon. He never told me he was coming by, he didn't NEED to show up, heck I barely knew the guy in the mission, but there he was, Nick de la France. He offered me help and I saw that as the answer to my prayer. He gave me a little bit of money, which lasted me exactly till the funds got here on Wednesday. It's amazing how the Lord knows his children. You can call in coincidence, but I just can't believe in that anymore.

Well family, I can't wait to get home soon. I am pumped to see you two. It'll be more than just you two that I see in a bit. Ha Joy, I am looking to seeing you two, and getting to know your sons again. I love you.

Be safe, be good, keep eating healthy, we'll see you soon.

till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Still Plugging Away....

That was a great letter. Wow. I am not trunky.. Ok I�m just a tad trunky. But it�s still not affecting my work. I don�t think about home all that much, but it�s really tempting with all the news and movies and events and friends and changes--in fact, I think it�s almost downright impossible not to think about home some. It helps to have a Latin comp. He doesn�t really know too much about American culture so he doesn�t let me get too trunky, just because he doesn�t know about it. But, just in my own time I�ve thought about it.�

About the card, I�m gonna check to see if I can call if it comes during the week sometime. Thank you so much for helping me out. I really was stressed about it (and still am a tad) but it�s all good. I feel like I can rest easy knowing that it�s on the way. Salvation is on the way. It turns out that with the support money they give us I was about 1200 pesos short, of like 35 dollars. It doesn�t sound like much, but that is a HUGE deal when you are barely scraping by as it is. What�s really strange is that Elder Fuller, the missionary in charge of finances, hasn�t a clue about where my money is. It�s tough with him, because if money is lost, it�s almost always lost for good. He has about a year in his position (he�s a senior missionary) and he still doesn�t really know what�s going on.

Anyway, enough complaining, something cool about here in Los Jardines is that one of the members, hermano vicente, is on now. Here�s the link

Good stuff...

Well here in the area we�re doing well. Still plugging away, trying to find that great, golden family that�s so sought after. We�ve found a couple prospects, but we keep looking just in case. haha

It�s really hot here. I�ve had a bit of diarreah for the last day or so, but I haven�t felt too bad so I�ve kept working. I probably just ate something weird.. Wait, all I eat are weird things compared to the states, so it shouldn�t be too much of a surprise that I have diarreah.

Oh, I have to tell you about the meeting on Saturday. I was able to see Elder Wilkinson, which was an awesome surprise. He�s with Elder Kimball, which is also cool. We ate burgers from the grill with everything you can imagine and talked about Bonao, being ZLs and just life in general. One of the things we talked about as well was news from the states, which I can�t believe you didn�t tell me about. The Colorado movie theater shooting is HUGE news here. Everyone is talking about it. It�s so intense. I got a bit worried about it because Matt lives in Denver, but I trust you didn�t mention it because Matt definitely WASN�T there at the theater, right?

Well, I have to wrap this up. I�m really tired, I need to sleep. It doesn�t surprise me too much about d.

I love you two, I can�t wait to see you in a couple months. Ha that�s so short. Wow, so short.�

Till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

A Good Week

Great letter. Thanks for that. Just seeing the mountains cooled me off.. Heat is all in the mind as they say here in this country...

This week has been great actually. Monday we had the interview with the new president. It was really cool what he was saying, his willingness to help and the appreciation he has for his missionaries. He already carries himself like an old mission president. He is very caring and has a super strong desire to get to know his missionaries and know exactly how he can serve us. He is willing to leave with us and eager to do so, and has openly expressed his disgust for doing just administrative and paper work. He wants to work, go out and wear out his shoes.

Also Hermana Douglas has been really great. She is super social and so determined to learn Spanish is unbelievable. In the interview with her she really lit a fire in me. She asked me exactly what I wanted to accomplish for the next 3 months of my mission, what she calls the ¨prime¨ of the mission. She told me to consult the Lord and write down whatever He impressed me to do. That was truly what I needed. I´ve got a specific vision of what I want to do. Both hermana Douglas and President Douglas are inspired leaders.

Today my comp and I woke up, headed outside to find a few ripe mango, with which we made an great mango smoothie. I love this country. Literally the trees are FULL right now with mangos an avacados. They are both so good here. Anyway, I took pictures of the whole spectacle, from start to finish, and I´ll be sending you pics of that.. maybe not this week but for sure the next.

After this we´ll be headed to Hato Mayor, an area in my zone, to make burritos. A mexican missionary knows how to make them really well, so a group of like 10 missionaries are going over there, Elder Pinkston is coming up from Bonao, and I think Elder Wilkinson may be able to as well, but that´s a little less sure. It should be awesome.

Then at 3:30 we´re going over the a bowling alley for a zone activity. I told President Douglas about it yesterday and he approved, in fact he said he may just pass by and join us. He is so very different than President Lee.

As for this week, transfers are coming up next Wednesday. I honestly am not expecting a change as far as our companionship goes, but that´s fine with me. Elder Castro and I have actually become pretty good friends. I´d be ok with one more with him.

Let´s see.. I think that´s it as far as the mission goes. A lot of changes and exciting things happening here. The seasons are changing, and I´m about finished. Just 2 more transfers. One time training. End. That gives me so much motivation. I will not coast, this is the prime of my mission. I can´t coast, the Lord expects so much more than that.

That´s all I have for this week. I love you two. I can´t wait to see you. 3 months.

Till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

A Birthday for the USA and Changes in the Mission

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MIKE! And the U. S. of A. Wow. This day totally snuck up on me. I was thinking it was the 2nd or 3rd. I ate a hot dog and frech fries in Pricemart today. It was great.

Well, I appreciate you taking care of my card. I feel bad you had to do it, but I didn't know the process was so simple to get it back, that's good news. The best way for you to send it is straight here, it goes through the mission pouch that way, so that's better than the regular mail I think.

I am super tired, but it was a good week. I feel like that's mainly what I send you about now, about my fatigue, but honestly it's the biggest thing I'm fighting right now. Apart from the fact that I'm older in the mission, my comp is like the freaking energizer bunny, he needs barely any sleep and he's just fine. I don't understand it. He's like Cameron in a way. So, we keep getting back late from our last appointment, for whatever reason (sometimes it's a person that talks a lot, sometimes it's because it starts late), then we have a 15 minute walk home. So, we get home at almost 10, haven't eaten dinner, so we buy a little something at a little market here called a colmado, where we eat like a piece of bread and some cheese or a little cake, then we go home, plan, and by the time I'm showered and done with the prayer it's like 11:30- 12, which is just horrible.. I can't keep doing that and survive the next 3 months. I'm going to wear myself out too much. So we've put the goal to get back ON TIME! I've tried to make that reeeeally clear with my comp. We'll see what happens.. It's even starting to wear down on him though, he's starting to yawn a bit more lately..

Well, not too much happening here. We had a family home evening with a great couple that we're teaching. She's from Spain and he's from here. The story with them was that she stopped us in the street and told us that she had met a new friend on facebook that directed her to his profile on She took interest in the church and told him she'd flag down the missionaries when she got the chance. That she did, and then we began teaching her, basically starting from scratch. She was just about atheist before, more or less, because that's what she grew up with in Spain, and her husband wasn't super believing either. Through our teachings she has felt her faith grow.. or at least has faith now. That is so cool to know, that because of the spirit and true doctrine she now believes in God. Anyway, Monday in the family home evening they prepared us just a wonderful meal, kind of half spanish half Dominican food, soooo good. I think it was the best food I've had here in this country. Then we shared a great message and felt the spirit super strong. I think they may get baptized.

Welp, I think that's about it on our front as far as investigators goes. We're starting to find some good families now, which is great, a nice reward for a lot of work and determination and fasting. It's been two really tough transfers.

The new mission president is really great. It is so different.. Wow. It's a little strange because President Lee was a little hard to approach, but the new mission president is so warm and caring. Sister Douglad came here without knowing any Spanish, but on Sunday, when they came to our ward, she nobly stood up and bore her testimony. She brought a computer to be able to read so that she could get her point across, but she is so darn determined. It's sweet. It's amazing. He already seems like he knows what's going on. He's either super amazingly inspired and blessed, or a great faker. I'm thinking it's the former.

I am getting so excited to go back to BYU. But.. Not trunky. Not too trunky.. Not.. Ok a little trunky. But it doesn't show.

Be good you two. Enjoy your trip. I'll be home soon.

Love you,

till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

A Birthday and a Lost Wallet

Wow, you´re right. A third of a pregnancy. That stage when they don´t even start showing yet. Whoa... Soon.

Well, today has been a pretty crappy day. We went to a museum as a district and when we got out we took a ruta (a taxi like car that drives a route) in which my wallet fell from my back pocket. I didn´t realize it until I got out of the car and arrived at the ATM, tried to take out money, and got a sinking feeling in my stomach. I called Elder Fuller, the office elder in charge of financial stuff, and had him cancel the mission card, then he came and let me use a phone to call and get my personal card cancelled. I let momma know, she should have done it by the time you get this message. So, the only important thing that was lost in the wallet was the driver´s license (how much does that cost to get replaced?) and the wallet itself. I didn´t really have any money in there. So, it wasn´t a huge deal. But now it´s going to be a little bit hard to get a birthday package.. Which I don´t feel too bad about, it´s just now I don´t have the security of a personal card in case of emergencies. That´s the only thing that stresses me out right now.

So, I have a couple questions. First of all, what does that mean for my personal card? I do only lack 3 months, it´s not a huge deal that I have it or I don´t... But, when I get back, how hard will it be to get a new one? Also, the driver´s license.. do I need the old license to get a new one, or will the passport work as identification?

Well, apart from that stress I´ve been fine. I really have felt just awful since losing it, like kinda depressed. I don´t know how it happened. I always put my wallet in my back pocket.. I wasn´t there. I am utterly confused. But, I haven´t given up either. I told the bosses at the ruta´s center that if they got a wallet turned in to call me. They accepted. Still hoping.

Anyway, my thunder.. Wow. That may be the only thing that depresses me more than the wallet situation. I can´t believe they got destroyed so severely...

Well, it´s official. Zack is the best looking male in the family. Shortly followed by brody. I think Matt held that title for a while, but Zack´s cuteness overtook the grizzly beard.

We have been working like horses in this area this past week. It´s been good I suppose. I´ve had a ton of rejection, but it´s not near as bad as some missions, namely Holland, so I can´t complain. We found one man that we´re really hopefull for, keeping our fingers crossed and fasting and praying a ton. Gotta love the work.

So, that´s the big news. Oh, and it´s hot here. Like really hot. I think we rival Oklahoma here, especially with humidity, and we´re out in the sun all the time. This is why young people serve missions I´ve decided.

Well, 21 years old I´ve decided doesn´t mean much if I´m just going to act like a 15 year old and leave my stuff (especially important stuff) everywhere. But, I´m trying, I really am, to be organized. I´ve gotten a lot better on the mission about being neat and clean. You´ll see when I get home. I am especially good in I just have to maintain cleanthliness and not pick up other people´s messes. Ha I´ll have to do that as dad though so I better get used to it.

And yeah, you never answered the question about Scott´s wife. Who is she? ha I want that answered, and the other questions I asked. Don´t forget about those.

Here we go, into the last leg of the mission. New mission pres gets here Friday. I want to take him out, he lives in my district, I want to take him out contacting within a few weeks of his arrival so he can get a good feel of what it´s like here for the average missionary. That´s important.

I love you two. I will see you soon... enough. Still doesn´t seem like it´s going to end. We´ll see in a transfer if I still feel this way. Be good, safe, and not negligent like your son.

Till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney