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
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