Friday, December 31, 2010



Dear Brother and Sister Sweeney,

Just a note to let you know that your son arrived safely in the Dominican Republic Santiago Mission. We are pleased to have him with us. His trainer is Elder Cade Walker from Deweyville, Utah. He is an excellent missionary and will take good care of your son.

We appreciate so much the enthusiasm and desire your son has to serve his fellow man. Likely never again will he have the opportunity to serve with the vitality and energy of youth, donating 100% of his time to the Lord. We ask you to help him cherish his mission – to work hard, to fight discouragement, and to love his companion and the people he is serving.

Please do not worry about him. He is in the Lord's hands, but he will need your encouragement and support for he will experience many trials that will strengthen and profit him eternally. Weekly letters are very important in maintaining a missionary’s enthusiasm. We would request that your letters to him be uplifting, spiritually edifying, and mission-centered. Please keep him free of unnecessary worry about home and family. Details of every little problem or challenge at home are an unneeded burden for a missionary trying to devote himself fully to his Lord and Savior.

We know that you can help him give himself fully to the work through your inspiring letters and words of encouragement. We will do everything we can to help ensure that your son serves a successful mission. We thank you for having the faith to entrust him to us and, more especially, to the Lord. May the Lord bless you.


Miguel A. Lee

Mission President


welp, you really scared me. actually it still scares me. I love grandpa, for sure update me as much as possible on his condition. Tell him to visit the DR, then tell grandma cuz he'll forget. haha

Ok it's been a crazy week. First to answer your questions. First of all, about the power... or lack thereof. It's not a matter of when you don't have power here as much as when you actually do. I would say about 80% of the time we don't have power. It's tricky but we get by.. We can't wash our clothes when we don't have power so we just do that when we can. Also, the fridge doesn't work when there isn't power. so.. idk we survive. being here in the DR has made me so patriotic. I love america and i appreciate it like I never have..

Ok so about the extra money, apparently it's there because i used some today. I had to because.. well christmas is a little expensive. we have something called angelitos in the ward which is a gift every week and then a big gift the last week, and I got a 1000 peso bible (about 30 dollars equivalent) so that took it out of me. Anyway all is good with the account.

I am eating well, every day i eat at a comedor which is rice, beans and chicken for 50 pesos. It's a sweet deal. then at night we eat at enriche's picalonga, which is a street restaurant kind of thing. It's 50 pesos too. Enrique is a member so we trust his food. His cooking is SOOO good, fried plantain, weird meat, you know the drill I've told you. For breakfast it's just whatever we have around the house, peanut butter and bread and recently cereal and crappy dominican milk called listamilk. It's got a shelf life of like 80 years and it tastes like it.. but it's worth it because cereal reminds me of america. aaaaahhhh america.

Anyway i'll give you a little weekly update now. last saturday I had my first baptism. I was a little surprised when my companion called me (we were on an exchange with the district leader) and said one of our baptismal candidates chose me to baptize him. His name is Carlos Manuel Leocadeo Fernandez. He is an amazing kid. He has a heart condition that he has to take medicine for. He's just... different than the kids his age. Here we say "tranquilo" and i think the right english word would be pensive, or quiet or.. idk. really in tune with the spirit. He's a great young man. After his baptism I felt so good. I felt like I had been baptized.

But yeah, so i had a baptism on my first transfer, which is pretty uncommon so i consider myself really lucky. don't worry, i'll send pics..

let's see.. oh the next day. Ok so one of the sweetest days in my life (saturday) was followed by one of the most bitter (sunday).. I woke up at about 4 in the morning and felt awful and threw up. Then every hour on the hour or so i threw up again and again.. i also had diarrheah and a fever. So i tried to eat some cereal so I wouldn't dry heave anymore.. bad idea. That cereal is now repulsive to me. But i went to church anyway, and after I threw up there I got sent home by the bishop.. so I got a blessing from my comp and drank gatorade and slept the whole afternoon. Good therapy. I was aching in my whole body when I slept all day but when I woke up the next day I felt normal. I say I felt normal.. After your sick and you feel normal again normal feels about 10000000 times better than normal.

So that's basically been my week thus far. Im in santiago right now for p-day. it's kind of a special p-day.. this barely ever happens. We took a giant mission group picture, then we went to pricemart.. We got a pizza. haha a pizza. yup. between just me and my comp. it was a good choice. Now i'm gonna go sweat off what i just ate. ha it's hot here... really hot.

spanish is coming along.. I was a little discouraged until today when I was having a pretty decent conversation with my dominican friends i met in the MTC. I couldn't speak that well to them but I understood them really well. I still have my struggles but it's better.

I love the work still. Love it. I love the dominican, I just love american better. Of course I do, it's home. But what motivates me is experiences I have every day with investigators. The work is soooo good in fantino. The new chapel is beautiful. Don't worry about me, everything is fine.

Alright, till next week, not a second wasted in the DR. I love you all. especially you mom and dad.

elder c rufus sweeney


Sorry about not having pictures still. Idk what the deal is but I´m gonna try and send them some other way other than email. It´s too bad it doesn´t work.. Oh well. I am IN THE FIELD!! so much has happened today and yesterday. Where to start..

Ok so right when we got to the field they sent me out to santiago with a temporary comp for a little training. My comp´s name was elder Williams. He was really cool. We were teaching some less actives with two girls who weren´t members. It was really awesome. I didn´t understand a whole lot but I got to teach a little bit. My spanish is... well mas o menos but I just do my best. The spirit was there. It was incredible. Finally I´m teaching real people!

Then this morning we woke up at 5:30 to head to our area. I´m in fantino, it´s a town actually similar in size to Ada. It´s more in the country, it´s beautiful. There´s mountains all around us and the weather is casi pèrfecto. My trainer´s name is Elder Walker from Logan, Utah. He´s really awesome, fluent in Spanish and really excited about the work, just like a trainer should be. We ate today at a little street shop that was really cheap, he says we don´t cook much since our stove doesn´t work, but it´s all good cuz the food is pretty ridiculously good. I am so tired I can´t even describe it to you. I feel a little sick but I feel like I just need rest. I told my comp I just want to go to bed early tonight and it would be all good. He wasn´t arguing, I think as a missionary it´s normal to be a little tired so he´s ready for a little relief.

The town I´m in has a little branch and they just finished a new building to meet in this week. It´s really nice, like an american branch. It´s a really good topic of conversation and a great reason to invite people to church, other than the obvious reasons like their salvation.

But I´ve actually had a pretty wild day, especially the ride over here. It was such a culture shock. I rode in the gua gua which is a van from la vega (about an hour from my area) to my area. On the way we stopped at a couple different cities to drop off other elders from my group and others being transferred. On the way to Bonao we were on a little dirt road and we saw ahead a group of people huddled around the remains of a crashed motorcycle. It had been hit by a car with a young man on it. It was obvious the young man had been killed. They put him in the back of a truck to take him to a hospital, and later i was thinking. It´s so wild how fast life can just come and go. It makes me so grateful that there´s a plan of salvation.

Then we took a taxi from cotui to my area fantino. The taxi started smoking and broke down about half way, and we had to take another taxi the rest of the way. It was... Wild. Yeah so we finally made it to my area, and i´ve been here for about 4 hours now. It´s really really different. Like it´s.. gonna take some getting used to. But I love it so far. Apparently this is a great area and the branch is really unified and the missionaries are really vital here. Better make a good first impression. Also we have about 4 baptisms lined up (thank you last companion of elder walker). That´s such a sweet way to start the mission.

Btw the keyboard here is different and I haven´t figured it out yet so bear with me for writing with.. well like an uneducated 8 year old.

I love the work still. I love the change I´m feeling from being here. I.. well Im humbled. I don´t understand what they say almost the majority of the time. I just smile and nod. yup.

Oh the mission president. haha president lee. He is SUPER direct and to the point. Because he doesn´t know much english he doesn´t mess around. I love it. He´s not my grandpa, he´s not my dad, he´s my mission president. I actually do feel like Hermana lee is like a mother, she´s so sweet. Also elder and hermana powell are super nice. They are the secretaries for the mission of finance and letters and such. They are really texan and it makes me happy. Definitely makes me less homesick.

I know this is where I´m supposed to be, I know this is what I´m supposed to be doing. I love the work. I love the people. I love the gospel.

I miss you guys. A lot. But I know you are taking care and living your lives as am I. I am already 2 months out. 22 more. I look forward to every one.

Hasta proxima semana, With all my love,

Elder Sweeney

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Thanks dad. I don't head for Santiago until Monday but the packages are MUCH needed and MUCH appreciated.
First off I just wanna express to you my thoughts about leaving in 4 days. I am completely and totally freaked out of my mind. That being said I do take solace in the 9 weeks I've sort of been introduced to spanish and the fact that I know what the country is like already since I'm here and experiencing it. Something tells me I'm not half as prepared as I need to be.. but we'll see.
It was so great to see cameron last week. Also, the dear elder yesterday was sweet. That sucks about what happened to BYU.. But I was thrilled to here about the aggies going down, even though it's just like every other year. ;)
I feel like a typical graduate (if you will) from the MTC as far as the language goes. I don't feel like I am great at Spanish but I can say almost anything if I use hand signals and sort of dance around it with things that I know. The rest of my learning should take care of itself in the country when I start using different words in real situations. I do know how to teach the first few lessons en espanol, and that's really what's most important, but I look forward to being able to speak with more fluidity (is that a word?)..
And thanks momma for sending your turkey enchilada recipe. It's one of my favorite meals. The packages will be the highlight of my month, no doubt.
Last thursday we had a fine meal of turkey and mashed potatoes and cranberries and stuffing. It was actually really delicious. Then we got leftovers the next day (believe it or not there was some). So all was well with thanksgiving dinner here, I just missed the risk game afterward. I got to hear from talley in an email, that was sweet. I think most of the people that promised to write me have, with a few exceptions (cough cough mark and melinda...) :)
Notice how I start new paragraphs to make it look like a longer letter. Sorry there hasn't been much that's changed. I'm about to go to the field, but all my feelings were already expressed about that. There's nothing I can do about it, every elder makes the transition from MTC to the field, I just have to adjust and work. That's the whole point of this mission.
I have noticed though that when I go to the university (the only time that I spend outside in my church clothes for longer than 15 minutes) I have a nice sweat stain on my pants. Yes, I have an exceedingly good cooling system on my body. Just kidding.. it's sucks. It leaves a white mark similar to the ones I used to get on my hats in little league on my butt. It's.. well idk. Enjoyable for everyone but me I think.
So that's the huge update on my front from the DR. I love to hear about the news, but the articles don't work on this computer for some reason so I haven't gotten to look at any links you send me.
You are always in my prayers. I feel bad that you were feeling down, but that tends to happen to me too when it gets to be this time of year. To be honest though thanksgiving just felt like any other day other than the meal, so if I don't think about it's not so bad. Ok I'll be honest about that too it sucks. But again I only have one more thanksgiving away from home so It's really nothing to worry about.
I love you all. I still love the work. There really are people in Santiago that are being prepared for the message of the restoration. It's awesome and it's true. Keep me posted on everything that happens, especially with knox and brody because everything is brand new with them. Keep an eye on Mike's three girls for me, give them the usual hugs, and tell them I love them. Keep a lid on Ivy, she's too cute for her own good, and tell little zack attack I'll be back to play catch with him before he knows it.
I love you mom and dad.
Till next week, not a second wasted
Elder C. Rufus Sweeney