Sunday, October 24, 2010


I found some pictures of where Chris is going online. Enjoy!

Exactly where he will be:
The Santiago Temple:
Some of what they eat:
Hopefully, he will send us some pictures he takes soon!


Good news dad! I am staying in the district. I figured out that last
wednesday and I figured you wanted to know since you mentioned like 3
times you were sad I was leaving the district. They gave me a choice
since I'm leaving in a week anyway, but I'm so glad I got to spend the
extra 2 weeks with hermana Perez. She's really special dad. She's
gonna bring a lot of people to the church. Oh, and MOMMA. I don't
forget about you.

Speaking of momma thanks so much for your care package, and grandma
scott and Rachelle. I've got so much food it's ridiculous, and it's
all junk food. BUT, PLEASE send me more when I'm in the Dominican.
That's when I'm really gonna need it. Thanks :)

Two weeks has sort of flown by. Like everyone says, the days are long
but the weeks are short.
I still get really tired during the day but I find that if I can focus
my studying I can stay awake pretty well. Even then, I want a nap. SO,
i'm being smart about this P-day and reserving an hour and a half for
sleep. It's MUCH needed.

Also, yesterday at the devotional Elder Russel M. Nelson spoke. He was
just as honest and sincere as I remember him at stake conference, and
he's like a proud father to all the Elders. You can really feel his
love when he's speaking. Especially since I shook his hand.

I miss talking to you every day. Not that I did at byu, but now it's
off limits. I figured something out about myself and about people in
general: if it's off limits, they want it more. So, I'm trying to
focus on WORKING instead of focusing on what i CAN'T have. If I keep
worrying about what I can't have I'll be distracted for the entire
mission. No bueno.

Ok, now from the depressing to the uplifting part of the letter. The
mission really is incredible. I am growing so much in the MTC, which
seems weird since I do the same thing every day. My teachers, hermano
Nava and Orgill are becoming really good friends. They teach a really
good balance of gospel and spanish. It's good because I think my main
focus coming into the mission was learning spanish, but now I have
more of a balance. The gospel and spanish are sharing center stage
while my life back home is waiting in the wings. At the end of the
mission, I'll just tell the gospel to stay where it is and tell life
to enter stage left.

And, since you wanted to know, I DID get the lotion and net. I need a
pillow though, they don't sell those here. And a fan. Sorry for making
you get all those things but the MTC isn't exactly wal-mart..

I am a little nervous about the Dominican MTC. I think it's gonna be
rough, based on what that kid's letters say. But he sounds like a
complainer. I'm excited, going to the MTC in the Dominican is another
step closer to the mission field. Plus, being in the country where no
one speaks anything but Spanish (albeit sloppy and gangsta spanish) is
going to help me learn so much faster.

So, analysis of the week. My companion and I are really close. We
finish each other's sentences, which freaks me out but it's sort of
impressive. I think that's what you want to achieve as a
companionship. We are decent teacher already. It's easy to teach
simply when you can't make complex sentences though. haha

My zone is also really awesome. We got a new district last week and
they're just starting to come out of their shell like I did last week.
It's cool to see.
Also, OU IS #1? WHOOOOOA. I swear if they lose to O state. I will....
so help me.... well i'll preach the gospel. You have to DVR the game
for me if they make it to the championship so I can watch it when I
get back. I hate that I'm missing it but..... There's more important
things to be done.

Well, the Dominican calls. And last week in the devotional the
speaker, brother Edgely, made the point that we as missionaries have
been charged with the respective area we were called to. More
importantly, we have been charged with the people. I took that to
heart. As the baby of the family, I wasn't in charge very often, but I
know how it works. You take care of whatever you are put in charge of
as someone who owns it would. I have been charged with teaching the
people in the Dominican. So, when I put my name tag that says ELDER
SWEENEY-- la iglesia de JESUCRISTO de los santos de los ultimos dias,
I feel the gravity of being in charge of the people's salvation.

That's why I don't waste me time here. I get 2 years, which, as EVERY
SINGLE MISSIONARY will tell you is not very long. I won't waste the
Lord's time.
That's my discourse for the week. I have about 5 minutes left. I'll
fill it with my testimony. I know that this gospel, this church, this
work is of God. If anyone want to know for themselves, they can ask
their heavenly father if it's true, and he will answer their prayers.
The Book of Mormon is the word of God. We have a prophet on the earth
today by the name of Thomas S. Monson.

I am so happy to have the opportunity to serve.

two weeks in, not a second wasted. I love you all back home and
elsewhere. Keep praying for me, keep me in your thoughts. Keep sending
me letters.

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ada Evening News article

Written for the Ada Evening News by Summer Day Hannah

Chris Sweeney, a 19 year old graduate of Ada High School and son of Attorney Kurt Brian Sweeney and Lori Jo Sweeney, R.N., has received a two-year mission call to the Dominican Republic, Santiago Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“I don’t speak Spanish yet, but I am going to the Provo Utah Missionary Training Center (MTC) for 3 weeks, then to the Dominican Republic MTC for another 6 weeks. There I’ll have a crash course in Spanish and learn more about how to effectively teach the gospel. But its by working hard at my actual mission location that I’ll become fluent in the right dialect. The first few months are going to be a challenge, but I feel like once I’ve adjusted to the language and culture, I can comfortably preach.”

Sweeney attended college at Brigham Young University for the past year and eventually plans to go to medical school. Of his 4 siblings, 2 brothers have already served in Spanish speaking missions. His family, people from Ada and friends at college have all been an inspiration in Sweeney’s desire to serve a mission.

Mike, my oldest brother served in Guadalajara, Mexico, and my older brother Matt served in Neuquén, Argentina. They had an influence on my going, but the truth is that I would never go on a mission unless I knew the gospel was true and the Lord wanted me to serve. I have a sincere desire to serve the Lord.

“At school this past year, several young men that were my age got their calls to serve in missions throughout the world and their excitement was contagious. They were absolutely thrilled to be called to serve. I already knew that I wanted to serve the Lord with a mission, but now I see it as a necessity, a personal calling.

“Another Ada resident recently served in the Chicago, Spanish speaking mission. He had come from a rough past. One day, a few years ago, his brother encouraged him to come to church. The difference in his spirituality between when he first attended church and a year later when he left on his mission was astounding. He suddenly had a desire to serve, he was smiling all the time, he was just so happy. That is something that I can emulate.”

Missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ pay for their entire mission on their own, so Sweeney has done a lot to prepare for this journey. His preparation has been more than just financial. He says that there have been things throughout his entire life that have prepared him for this opportunity to serve.

I played golf in junior high and at Ada High School. It was both the greatest and most frustrating part of my life to date. I would spend hours and hours on the golf course, only to never have won a tournament in high school. On the flip side, I got 11th at the state golf tournament my junior year. I have some very proud moments in golf, so to dwell on the more shameful moments would be foolish. That experience in high school had a huge influence on the man I am today. The hard work I put into improving my golf game was so worth the result. Similarly, I plan to work hard on my mission so that I can have the same success with the people I teach.”

“Spending some time with the missionaries in Ada was definitely a learning experience. What I pictured my mission being like and what actually happened when I went out with the missionaries were totally different. After getting a few doors slammed in our faces I realized it was not going to be success, success, success with an occasional failure, but the reverse. It would be failure the majority of the time. It’s something I’m glad I understand before leaving. I expect, based on my experience with the missionaries here, a lot of failure--to the point of frustration. But I also hope to have some success as well. Even with a tiny bit of success, all the work is worth it.”

Armed with his testimony, a picture of his family, a drawing from his 6 year old niece, and a sand dollar from California that his girlfriend gave him, Sweeney is ready to leave this week for the journey of his life.

These few things are little reminders of home and just how much love and support I have from those around me. I know the benefits of my going are not just for the people I’ll be serving in the Dominican Republic for two years. In many ways, I will be the one who gains the most out of this experience.

“Spiritually, I will come back a completely different person. I will learn more about people than I ever have in any life experience. Mentally, the two and a half hours I will spend a day in personal study will help me develop good study habits and self-discipline for when I continue on to medical school. Physically, I hope to put on a little weight with some Dominican style cookin’!

“It is difficult. I am giving up my earthly belongings, my guitar, my phone, golf, my family, friends and a girlfriend. But the Lord always recognizes sacrifice and blesses those who give everything for His cause. I can’t wait to find those who are looking, honestly and sincerely looking, for something more. I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true. That, in the end, is the reason I am doing this.”

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chris's Mission Blog

Welcome to Chris's mission blog! I know, it's a little rough right now, but we are working on it. Actually, his real mission blog is at another address, but we are waiting for the approval before we can officially set up camp there. So, until then this is where you can read his latest emails and updates. Below is his first letter home.

I, Joy, will be posting on here and keeping his blog updated. There is a lot more for me to post, but it will have to wait until my husband gets home so he can help me figure out how to post it. Don't worry, I promise I will be a whiz at this stuff in a couple weeks! Enjoy!


Hey dad! i'm so glad to hear from you like.. 6 times. So, i'm sorry if this message isn't as long as I'd like it to be, I have 30 minutes to email. It's crazy, but it's all good. Also, I'm sorry if I don't write back everyone this first week, it's been a really intense transition from being able to communicate all the time to not at all. But, I'll do my best.
First off, go ahead and call me Chris. I may be elder right now but more importantly I'm your son. Second, some really wild news, I am in the same district as sister Perez! so, I spend like 8 hours a day with her in class. She is a brilliant and lovely girl, as I'm sure her mom was. It's just crazy though.. To think we weren't even born when our parents met. Now, we're in the same district and great friends. It's really... well like I said in my talk, I just don't believe in coincidences anymore.
But, with that sweet news also comes a little bit of bitter news. I am switching districts and zones. Apparently I am pretty advanced in spanish so I'm switching to an intermediate class where that's all they speak. I am learning the language SO FAST. That's not by my own strength either. In spanish they call it "el don de lenguas," in english it's the gift of tongues. I need to be careful though, i'm getting a little too proud of myself and i'm about due for some humbling experiences.
The MTC is so crazy. I love it, but it's erally hard to obey all the rules, especially since i'm learning them as I go. I never thought I'd say this, but being obedient to every rule IS the way to grow. It sounds almost oxymoronic, but being here really solidifies that feeling. I have grown and learned so much in a week, it's hard to say what I'll accomplish in 2 years!
My companion is awesome. His name is Elder Kimball and he's sort of famous around here. First of all, his message is on (I think that's where it is, if not just google Sean Kimball). Also, he's a descendant of Heber C. Kimball, a great missionary in the church. So, he's a little bit like Harry Potter in this super strict Hogwarts.
My district is also really great. I was glad to be able to be with them because I could teach them things that they may not have known about spanish. Now that I'm moving up, I'll probably be the one with the questions. It's all good.
My schedule goes something like this:
6:30- wake up
7:00- breakfast
7:30- study
8:30- class
11:30- lunch
12:15- more class
3:15- gym
4:30 dinner
5:15- study until
9:00- plan and get ready for bed
10:15- quiet time
10:30- lights out.
Never before have I had this strict of a schedule.... Nor planned out my day... all day.... Every day.... But it's actually been pretty helpful. I don't waste any time. That's important. I'll explain why later.
The only thing about a strict schedule is that it leaves no time for a nap. I miss them. So much.. I must say, that was a harder habit to break than my cell phone, which strangely enough I don't think about very much anymore.
Also, the issue with pictures, if you could just send me an extra memory card I can send the one in my camera now to you guys and you can deal with it. I'm not sure how i'd send them to you here.
Anyway, back to the MTC, one important lesson it's taught me is you never know what kind of influence you'll have on someone's life. In just one short (or long, depending on how you look at it) week my district has changed my life. I am so grateful for them. I am excited to meet my new district.. but also a little apprehensive. I can only speak spanish in intermediate, so getting my point across is going to be hard. But, puedo hacerlo. I can do it. I really can. With the Lord help I can do anything, which brings me back to the point of not wasting a second.
I am not on my time anymore. I am on the Lord's time. There are people in the beautiful island of the Dominican Republic waiting for me to share the true gospel with them. I am here to prepare for my time there. I want to have a good grasp on the language by the time I leave. No, I WILL have a good grasp on the language by the time I leave.
I still have aboout 8 minutes, so I want to personally thank some people. Go ahead and post this and whatever you feel you should on the blog, probably everything. I want to thank Sarah Drush for mailing me and telling me the exciting news. GOOD LUCK ON YOUR MISSION! I am so happy that you decided to serve one. Thanks to Alex long for the unexpected letter. haha Thanks to Carly Vongchanyakul (that spelling was painful) for reconnecting with me. Thanks to Tippe Morlan for being on top of things and sending that letter quickly. Thanks also to Rachelle for continuing to support and encourage me, keep those letters coming babe. Thanks to Joy and Dianne and Grandma scott! And thanks particularly to you and mom, for all the small but considerate letters you send me. Keep it up, I need them. I need your prayers. I need your love. I need your support.
My time is almost up. Sorry if this was brief. I wanted to say a little more but I got the main points across. I love you guys, everyone. Les amo. I write this on my journal every time before I close for the day, "til tomorrow, not a second waster."
I love you dad. I am so proud to be your son. We have a great heritage of missionaries in our family.
Love, your son,
Elder C. Rufus Sweeney