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 Mormon.org (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
12:15- more class
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