Sunday, October 24, 2010
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
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
Elder C. Rufus Sweeney
Thursday, October 14, 2010
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 it’s 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
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!