Sunday, December 18, 2011

Pictures!!!!








Good News and Bad News....

So what´s the bad news, you´re asking? Well basically just the fact that I couldn't write you yesterday. And the good news? There's a lot of that. I have lots of pictures for you! I finally found someone with a connection. Yesterday we went up to Constanza to climb a mountain (which I am STILL just EXHAUSTED from), and got back latish, so I didn't have time to write. So now I'm writing you today. It was so amazing, and actually legitimately cold. I have to say, the Elders in my district, Elder Fleurima (yes, if that sounds familiar it should, it's the brother of the hatian comp I had a couple months ago) and Elder Ruiz are just awesome. We had a blast climbing up to the peak where the divino niƱo is, and taking pictures along the way. I have to say, the hike itself was really tough. I am definitely not in the shape I was at the house. As fun as it was, I am feeling it today. My comp and I could barely get out of bed. And, we were a little broke from the trip (it's a little expensive to travel to Constanza, and it wasn't reemborsable yesterday), but it's all good because apoyo arrives tomorrow, so I'll get along just fine.

And what else on the good news front? Well, let me just say I'm staying in Bonao 2 more transfers. Yes, I got another call from President last Friday and I will be training another new missionary right here en la ciudad de Dios. I am really pumped and all, but training is tough. I will liken having to train 4 transfers unto a steak dinner.. It is as though someone served me a huge steak dinner, baked potato, salad and Dr. Pepper and I loved every bite, stuffing myself to the brim.. Then having them bring me another plate of the same thing and having me eat that too. I felt so great about Elder Johnson, thought everything was just perfect and complete, and that I'd be leaving Bonao and going to another city for new adventures and a new comp.. But that's not what the Lord had in mind. And so I prayed... I prayed like I haven't prayed for a long time for strength to regain my super energy level like that when Elder Johnson got here.. And I feel really great. I feel like I'm ready.

This go around I am going to do some things differently. Instead of trying to load up the new missionary with everything all at once, I will take advantage of the full 12 weeks with him and make him feel comfortable. He will be here right around Christmas time, which is tough enough as it is, and so I will make a special effort to make him feel comfortable at that time. Make him a nice dinner and such. If you could send me a good, easy recipe for cinnamon rolls that wouldn't involve a mixer (and I don't know if they have frozen bread here...) that would be awesome! I want to coordinate that with the Zone Leaders also.

I loved hearing that Grandpa's surgery went so well, but the fact that his memory is going so fast is so strange. And sad. It'll be a miracle if he recognizes me when he gets back.

And that's the biggest news. Oh and we've got 2 baptisms this saturday. Fernando, a young man of 22 years and Hansel, a little kid of 10 years that lives with a family who are all members. That's gonna be the house I eat at on Christmas Eve.

My comp and I are pumped about that baptism. I'll be taking lots of pics of that too and try and send them asap, but for now this is all you're getting... BWA HAHAHAHA

Be safe, I love you two. Tell Grampa Rufus I love him too, if he remembers me it may mean more. And of course tell Grandma and Grandpa Scott hey and I love them too. Hope they're still there. And Grandma Sweeney, I love her too. Jeez I'm so lucky all my grandparents are still around.

Well, I'm gonna get ready. My new kid comes by next Wednesday, and I still have a couple things I want to do with my first born in the wilderness before we part.

I'll let you know how my next son is when I meet him.

Till next week, now a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Miracles in Bonao

This story is.. is just straight up embarrassing. With such a good start to the season, my Sooners have dishonored me. A loss to OSU is ok every once in a while, but a massacre.. that's just unacceptable. Well, I hope those OSU fans will wallow in their win for a year, because it'll be short lived. Next year, when I'm there, OU will come back hungrier than ever.

Nah, I'm really not that distraught. The worst thing for me is the fact that my picture uploader thing won't work. I may need something... I don't know though, I think I'll just buy another. Don't worry about that. Just focus on your assignments, the CD and white shirts.

Ok.. This week.. There's been a lot that's happened so get ready. First of all, Fernando, the one that's been great through thick and thin. He went to church and while there bore his testimony, so sweet and so powerful. He was so shaky after getting done. He said he'd been searching long and hard, gone to many churches, but none were the one for him until he found ours. Then, we had an activity later that evening and he brought a friend as a reference. His baptism is the 17th, we're so happy.

Now, Lily and Kelly. That is such a great couple. This last week we passed by and Lily had prayed and asked. She had always been the one sort of halfway in it but hesitant... But she had a dream about God, and then woke up just absolutely sure. Then, Kelly also got a confirming witness when he prayed and asked. They went to church again and we passed by on Monday, and we had the law of chastity planned. We had left them a pamphlet about it and I didn't expect them to have read it yet, but when we passed by they practically committed themselved to get married, telling us that they had prayed about it together and felt that it was the right thing to do. Then, Tuesday, they had 2 of their friends over and we shared with them, and they both committed to go to church. Lily and Kelly have a marriage date the 30th of January and a baptismal date the 6th of January. I may be leaving by then (transfers are the 21st), but I know my comp will help them get it done.

It's so sweet to see the people we are working with progress, and finally see progression here in the city of Bonao. It IS possible. For instance, and you already know I don't believe in coincidence, but a zone leader and I, Elder Cromwell, were in an exchange and we studied about having the faith to know that people are waiting for us. We talked about how, if missionaries don't have faith that they're out there, THEY WON'T BE! DUH! And so, sure enough, the first contact, a young man who honestly didn't even look like he'd have any interest, talked to us about how he didn't know about which church was right, even though it clearly says that Christ just left one church. One. Not 49209 Christian churches, just ONE church. And so, I found out what it was like to have a convert after the first contact. He said when he prays he gets a certain feeling, and he was getting that feeling again as he was talking to us. It honestly makes me tear up thinking about it. He was so prepared. He lives in Bonao 2 unfortunately, but it really was such a cool experience.

Let's see.. Oh did you guys catch the Christmas devotional? Just wondering, because the video they played was really.. just.. gorgeous. It was in Elder Eyering's talk. Watch it. The cinematography was just so perfect.

I hope all is well there. Enjoy the cold. I am.. Well I did monday. We went up to constanza monday, it was nice and chilly, just like it should be in December. Actually, it was absolutely perfect weather for me. Probably high 50's, just a touch of sun. The mountain views made it just marvellous. Honestly I want to bring you guys up there. I'm hoping we can make a trip there so you guys can see it. We'll try and fit that in.

Thinking about being in single digits is just... wow. Scary. I had a dream the other night.. can't remember if I told you about it already.. about being home already. I had a cake waiting for me downstairs that said "happy six days home". I was confused but really happy. I actually don't ever remember seeing you in my dream. Ha.. I do miss you guys tons though, really.

Speaking of that, if you could send me a 2012 calender, that would be amazing. I would like to see the end. Ha man you talk about trunky. In a good way, of course. I won't think about it until the 30th of September though, promise.

Well, today we had yet another thanksgiving/christmas dinner thanks to Elder Shapiro. Well.. Thanks to his mom. He got a package this last week and he's going home next thursday (a little early because of Christmas travel beings so crazy and all). This time complete with cranberries and pumpkin pie! It really was amazing. He tried to make homemade ice cream as well but it really just kind of turned into cold, sweet soup. It was delicious though.

Only 2 1/2 weeks until I talk to you guys again!

I love you two. Be safe, and don't eat anything off the floor (as they say here). I am proud of you two, and your spanish speaking abilities dad! Haha

Have a great week, almost there....

Till next week, ni un segundo perdido,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

All I want for Christmas is..............

Dag nab, that Thanksgiving sounds just amazing. I have to say, Mike and Chrissy haven't really changed very much, but their kids look SO DIFFERENT! Wow. I love those pictures. Keep sending them.

And, one more thing for the Christmas package. This may sound strange, but I need a few more white shirts. I have washed them with practically a whole bottle of bleach (ok, that's an exhaggeration (sp?) but you get the idea), and they still look really... well honestly gross. It's from my backpack originally, it just got worse and worse. They are beyond fixable now. So, some new ones would be a huge help. Only for the next 10 months, so they don't have to be super nice nor costly, just something average. I don't know my measurements though, and I can't really take my shirt off in the internet center here, so I'll have to get those to you later. Hopefully you don't need those by next week.

Ok well... To answer your questions more or less.. yes I would like pistachios. :) and maybe some salmon. Please?...

and no, we just live 2 of us in our apartment. We have 2 bathrooms for us to elders, and it's a really nice house, so we're super spoiled here. Weekly we get like 60 people in church, and the majority are youth, but we have quite a few families that we're working with so it's great. It's tough here, It's sort of how I remember Ada being a long time ago. Maybe I'm wrong, but we were down to like.. 70 a week, right?

This last week we were super broke. Ha that thanksgiving really took it out of me, and so did the package. But, we survived until this apoyo. It was actually really fun! Ha we lived off of ramen noodles and french toast (which is surprisingly cheap here), but having those things.. every day.. for 6 days... every meal.. was really tiring. We're making a La Sirena run tomorrow. I'll be fine.

And I didn't want to take out personal money because... Well there really wasn't a reason. My comp and I just made a pact to try and make it. And so it was.

It would be a good idea to send a letter of appreciation to President Lee. He's a great man. He always writes me and talks about how much he trusts me.

I wrote Cameron and he wrote back, so it's all good on that end. He's got too much junk in his head. I just told him to simplify it, forget about everything you've heard from anyone, go into an empty room when you have a lot of time, and ask the one and only source that can't deceive you. And don't come out until you'e got an answer. That's it.

I want him to be there at least until I get home.

Oh, and about Dengei... Wow, that's really nuts. I've heard it's pretty common here, but if I use my fan at night I find that they don't bother me at all. Plus, we have a fumigator that comes about once a month that helps a ton.

That church that you saw was actually Bonao 2, the first church in Bonao. We are in Bonao 1, in another part, but not too far away from there. That's so cool that you saw where I am. It's almost like you aren't 2000 miles away...... Except I feel every bit of that distance in this holiday season. I'm trying to narrow that distance with a tiny Christmas tree and Christmas lights outside of the house, but nothing can really replace that except the family. But knowing taht it's the last one is really nice. The LAST ONE. Second to last phone call. It's all coming to a very very quick, accelerated end.

I get to talk to you guys at Christmas. If that was the only sentence in this letter it would be plenty to make me excited. That's so close. As it gets closer I'll give you more details, but I think I may be leaving Bonao a few days before so it may complicate the plans a bit. I think I will just call you in the early afternoon and we'll set it up from there. I don't know if I remember my account stuff anyway, for oovoo or skype...... Yeah not coming to me, but I'll check into all that before the date gets here. By the way, if you can do oovoo it's WAAAAY better than skype, so sign up for that.

I am gonna wrap this up, my hour is running out. I am a little trunky right now... there's really no hiding it. Ha so, to recap, in my package at Christmas all I expect is Sufjan Stevens Christmas EP and white shirts. If I don't get anything else I'd be overjoyed with that.

Love you two. I didn't get a letter from Mom. :( I did have a dream about here though. I came home too late and she yelled at me. Hahaha I woke up and thought.. man I don't miss that. But I do miss and love you, momma.

Till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

P.S. I've got a sinking, deep, dark feeling that I'm going to be made zone leader soon. I think I may have just jinxed in by mentioning it.. I'll let you know in a couple weeks when transfers come.

P.P.S. how did you know what "ya ustedes saben" meant? Just curious. Mike? Or google translator?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving...Dominican style

What a day. We just celebrated Thanksgiving in style today. We had all the fixins like you´d expect Elder Rufus Sweeney to have. All I have to say is.. 8 missionaries, 4 whole chickens, corn, green beans, stuffing, mashed potatoes, funeral potatoes, and for dessert, brownies and cheesecake. We do it right. We have so many leftovers it´s almost like in the states. The only thing we missed today was our family.. ANd maybe turkey.

It´s been a great week here. We put 2 baptismal dates and are still working on more. That made me laugh so hard, your story about the missionaries from there. Hahaha it´s amazing sometimes how fast we forget that the people DO NOT know what the priesthood sometimes, even though it´s such common terminology in the church.

Well, it´s been a good week as well. We did what´s called a cosecha, or a harvest here in Bonao, where all the missionaries in the city split up and tract in the area of one missionary, making inspired contacts. It´s not super effective, but we don´t have much in general here in Bonao, and now as a goal in the mission we are trying to get 20 lessons with a member present, and that´s impossible if you don´t have investigators to do it with, so we thought the cosecha would be good. It turns out it was great.. But only for our area. We had a ton of success here, while other areas were not so blessed.. We´ll just say. But all in all it wasn´t a complete failure for the other areas, they have a lot more than they had, it´s safe to say.

The only the we struggle with here in Bonao is getting people to church. We have been struggling, fighting with people, but really we realized we shouldn´t have to be fighting so much. Honestly, if they don´t want to go, they don´t have to. Once we have explained the principle, why it´s important, invited them 2342342 times, called them sunday morning, passed by sunday morning, and done everything in our power, it´s time to let them go. They just don´t want to do it. That´s something that took me WAAAAY too long to learn, but I have definitely learned it.

We have a couple, Lily and Keli, that are so good. They went to church last Sunday, are praying as a family, and doing really well, progressing awesome and everything. We even set a date with them last night.. Now we just have to get them married.

Fernando is also doing just swell. Other than that, we´re just trying to keep people afloat. That sounds kinda sad, but they´re not doing too bad.

I just tried to send you pictures, but this computer.. Or possibly this memory card reader, or maybe both.. Aren´t working. Welp, I tried. I´m gonna try again next week. dag nab it, It´s a little frustrating but I´ll get you pictures.

Oh.. Oh my sooners. Wow. That´s so disappointing. Just throw a texas team at us other than Texas Tech and we´re gonna fall. Jeez.. What a crappy saturday. :/

hahaha that about Lee Corso was hilarious though.

Hmmmm... Yeah just a month and I´ll be talking to you. I am pumped. Tell Mike to brush up on his spanish. haha

Be safe, be good, this week no scary news, except for knox. That poor little guy..

Love you two,

till next week, ya ustedes saben,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bueno Bonao

Wow. What an intensely sad story about those missionaries who passed away. That makes my stomach ache. I´m going to be as safe as I can, no worries. But, sometimes it´s just out of our control. I hate to think about what they´re family is passing through.. Wow.
Well I don´t have too much news for this week. The kid we were supposed to baptize got baptized, so that was great! We are working really hard here. REALLY hard. It´s been an amazing two transfers with some decent success, and so we´ve been really blessed here. Bonao usually just does not baptize, but I´m starting to think that areas don´t baptize because of the attitude of the missionaries. At least in every area I´ve been in on the mission I´ve gotten a baptism. I have loved them all, and all have been really distinctly sweet in their own way.
I hear Matt and Cate are ward mission leaders. I know they do their job well. We are in huge need of people to help with the missionary work here. The missionaries are IT. Literally. We just have a bunch of ¨Sunday Mormons.¨ It´s sad. I don´t wanna be that guy when I get back. I think I was before the mission, but that´s all different now. I get so frustrated with the fact that none of the members want to share what they have. It´s a miracle. We have the truth. Unfortunately, the lack of faith comes from a lack of exercizing faith and giving references. I didn´t.. I can´t blame them, and so I try to keep that perspective, but knocking on doors all day is really ineffective and downright frustrating at times.
I love the work though, I can´t believe how fast the weeks go. And this week especially. We´ve had interviews (yesterday), today was p-day, tomorrow is zone meeting (AND La Sirena, remember the store that was like wal-mart, opens up here in BONAO!!) Monday we had another national huelga, and this time with a few gun shots. Nothing too close to the apartment, but we didn´t leave. SO we studies a lot and detailed the house. It is just beautiful now, better than when we moved into it. Ok.. Maybe not quite that good, but it looks pretty spiffy. And we found out why our fridge smelled like rotting onions.. Because it had rotting onions in it from when Elder Medina was here still.. Hahaha how gross is that?
Anyway, Fernando is still going strong, as well as Domingo, who is a contact we made the other day. He already expressed that he wants to join the church. You were absolutely right about having more success as a District Leader, I already see it. Wow. And I hope your prediction about ZL is a little further away than what you think it is. It's still feel new to this whole leader thing, I just moved up like a transfer ago to senior comp, take it easy dad. ha
I've been in such a good mood lately. My comp and I get along great. We teach a lot, but we have our fair share of fun as well. I love being with him.
I will send you pictures soon. Don't sweat it, I just need to have a p-day that's not p-day Santiago (we had it again today, I stocked up on more cereal, this time I chose cinnamon toast crunch. It was a great decision). I also got to know an elder from Dallas really well today, Elder Marstella. He's awesome, and we may have plans already to go to a ranger's game and eat bbq. Love that kid. He's from the group before my son.

Not too much more to say I don't think. This morning we were attacked by a pack of dogs, but that's pretty normal. We threw a rock at them and they scurried away. The craziest things have become normal. Sometimes I really have to think back to the normal things, the things you see in organized, rule bound society, and really compare the two to realize just how nuts it is here. But, it's fun I suppose.

I love you two. I'll let you know if I get the package this week. Hopefully so because Thanksgiving is next week, and mail only comes of Fridays. But, if it doesn't it's not the end of the world. We're gonna celebrate thanksgiving with 4 American missionaries.

Be safe, don't report anything else tragic in the family, good grief I just want one completely smooth week. Stop giving me heart attacks with grandpa.

Always praying for you guys,

till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Leading the District...and other fun stuff

I guess the big news of the week came yesterday when we found out about transfers. They mentioned that I was staying with my son, which was of no surprise, but also announced that I'm DL. I'm a little nervous about it, because they had said they wouldn't make trainers DLs also, but I feel confident I can do it.

Anyway, that's beside that matter. AN EARTHQUAKE??? Seriously?? Wow I'm really impressed. I had no idea Oklahoma had the potential to GET an earthquake. They seem to be more and more common now-a-days. Seems like we're in extra innings as far as the coming of Jesus Christ. Ha I hope he lets me get married first.

Well... I'm glad no one was hurt.

I've never fasted more on the mission. I have fasted for all kinds of things lately and it seems that it's working. The more one sacrifices for the Lord, the more one is blessed. It's, as you say, the law of the harvest. Those who reap, sow. Simple as that.

This last week Fernando got sick with the chicken pox. I did have that right? So I'm immuned? Ha hope so. So it's been an interesting week as far as investigators go. Carlos is doing great.. I hate throwing names out there without explaining who they are, but just know that he's doing well.. haha and we met a family in the area book that were old investigators and the missionaires stopped teaching them because he worked every sunday and it was impossible for him to go to church. But, we passed by and now he has a different job. We'll see what happens.

We have that baptism Saturday. I am way excited! I love a baptism, it get's me way motivated. I'm glad, even though the mission is pretty tough, that it still baptizes quite a bit. There are tough areas everywhere, but it seems like there are waaaay more in Europe and the U.S. I actually feel bad for those elders that pass through Ada. I want to help them out all I can when I get back.

I'm happy for Matt.. a lot of prayers and fasting went into him getting that job, whether he knows it or now. ;) I'm proud of my big bro.

I think the story of the week for me though was you taking jake to the football game. That didn't just leave an impact on him, that had eternal importance to that young man. He is so good, I want him to serve a mission VERY VERY FAR. Ha I can't wait to see him, be it 3 years or 1 year from now, he's gonna be so different. Maybe taller? Ok definitely different in the face.

Tell carly to get her butt in gear. I'm reactivating her when I get back dag nab it. I'm tired of youth going inactive. Just make it past like.. 20 and you're good! Jeesh..

I feel bad because my letters are kinda.. Weak, but I promise that it's not because I'm trying to be neglegent, I think of you and pray for you all often. I cannot believe.. Wow I have so little time left. I'll take full advantage, don't worry.

Love you two, till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Kitty Mystery and other oddities

Family!
Seriously, so much has happened this last week. A lot of little stories, but I like to include those once in a while. I'll just tell a couple.
First of all, this morning when I woke up this morning I was a little disoriented. So, like normal I went to go use the restroom, when I noticed that there was what looked like a plastic bag on the ground. That didn't surprise me too much, the wind during the night sometimes does strange things and blows things around. But, then the bag meowed at me. I looked at it well and it was a fluffy little kitty. WHAT??? How it got in there I will never know, but it was in there. So I took a couple pictures of it and gave it to the owner of our apartment who knew the owner of the cat. Seriously though, we are still stumped as to how that cat got into the apartment. It was a ragdoll, super expensive and nice, so nice and almost hard to let go. We named it Milagro, miracle in spanish. I was sad to see it go.
Also, sunday night we were in the middle of a lesson when this woman came up screaming. She had a little girl in her arms who was aparently possessed but a demon. The investigator that we were teaching got up and ran away, picking up the girl and taking her away on his motorcycle.. Then her mother, who was just carrying the girl, also got possessed and by this time the mass of people was huge around her so there was nothing we could do. It was terrifying. My poor comp had to experience it so soon in his mission..
But, it's been a pretty decent week all in all. That young man, Fernando, who took such good care of the BoM, is just blowing us away. He's teaching us in lessons now. I love to hear when someone is fully converted, because they become the teachers and we become the students and get to see the fruits of our labor. It's like ammon says in alma 26: 33-34, their converts were better than them. That's exactly what I want, converts that are better than me.
Let's see.. Oh, I've been thinking. If you could consider sending a little something for thanksgiving, my comp and I are gonna have a little lunch, and we want it to be special, so a recipe for rolls or something and maybe a few things that we could cook with, You could send them along with the belt and alarm clock. I would love that so much. It's my last one here and I want to do it right. Especially for my comp. :)
I am happy. I worry about Cameron, and Talley, and a few others, but I know they're in the Lord's hands until I get back.
We went to Santiago today, we stocked up on brownies and cereal. :D It's gonna be a good transfer. We go back to Santiago in like two weeks because the Santiago P-day rotates, and it was our last week this transfer but it will be our first week next transfer. I'm getting taco bell. I miss that soooo much. I can't wait to be back and have that all the time.. Although then it may not be so special... Ah who am I kidding taco bell will always be special. Remember when you and I would get it and get a drink at Sweeney's? I hold those memories really dear to me. You would always read the paper and silently look to see if people were actually working or not. Hahaha they sweat a lot when you came it, I'll have you know.
I am sort of in disbelief at how fast that month was. Where on earth did October go? Why is this transfer ending in a week? How is it that a full and almost a half ago I met my kid for the first time? Woooow. I feel sort of sad sometimes when I think it all comes to a close. I love the work so much. I won't know what to do with myself when I get home, I'll just want to be moving constantly.
I miss you two. I will be home before you know it, but first things first we have two more phone calls. Think, Christmas is not even 2 months away, and thanksgiving just 3 weeks away. It's really moving now.
We have a baptism this Saturday!! A young man named Heury that we've been preparing little by little. He's great, he really is, but tonight we're gonna go see if he's truly ready. It's a huge deal and I refuse to baptise less actives, that's not my style.
I love my comp, the people, and honestly the only thing that I lack here on my mission is my family.. And maybe 24 hours of power, and also good clean tap water.. and a hot shower.. and air conditioning.. and a car... and a wife... but seriously that's IT! haha
I will talk to you next week. Love you. Be safe, say hi to grandpa if he remembers me, and send my love to the whole family.
Till next week, not a second wasted,
-Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Frank and Fernando

Dear family:
It's been a great week. Challenging.. But great. It was the best of times and the worst of times. That man who we're teaching that is the most knowledgeable man in the world on the bible, remember him? Turns out he's read the bible 21 times. What??? I haven't done very many things 21 times in my life. Reading the bible 21 times is absolutely incredible, and also explains why he practically has it memorized. He just quotes us strings of scriptures like a poetry reciting competition. He says he does want to be a disciple of ours, but dag nab it we're gonna bring in back up, and we recruited the district president, president Vargas (who is a convert and apparently has a story similar to Frank, the investigator). And I'll be sure and let you know how it goes. I'm pumped to be honest for that lesson.

That wasn't all the fun with frank. But then there's Fernando. Wow. He's absolutely amazing. When we gave him the book of mormon he told us he was going to put it in a safe place, where he keeps all his precious things and he wanted to laminate the pages. The he asked if we had more. We told him yes, but we only give it to people that we know will take care of it and put it to use. He was almost in tears I think. And this is a 22 year old man that isn't short on worldly possesions. He just has a humble heart and a sincere desire to know the truth. With those two things the lord prepared him. We came back and he had read a lot of the book and marked his favorite scripture, which happened to be my favorite, Alma's discourse on faith. So beautiful.

I love the work. I am so pumped to talk to you two at Christmas, and I have to say.. I'll let you know if I want to talk to anyone else. I may very well just be happy with the family. I can't wait to speak spanish with Matt and Mike. We'll see if they can understand me. Hahaha I don't know if they'll be able to with my Dominican.

I love you two. I promise a better letter next week, but I'm almost out of time right now.

Till next week, seriously, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Best of Times..the Worst of Times....

Well, it's been the best of times and the worst of times here in Bonao. It's no secret that for the last transfer and a half the people here in Bonao have been completely and utterly unreliable. They are in their house when they say they will be, I would say, about 20% of the time. That means even if we plan right we are still running around the entire city trying to find SOMEONE in their home that wants to share with us. Then, Friday it sort of boiled over. It was later, everyone had failed on us, and we were on one of our last appointments who I was just SURE was going to be there. We passed by and his sister said he had just left about 2 minutes before we arrived and that he didn't say where he went nor for how long. I don't show that I'm as upset as I am until I leave, I just was physically, mentally and spiritually beat. I didn't understand why we had so little success when we had so much desire. Even Daniel, who we thought was perfect, has to work every sunday...

So, I just went and sat down on the back of a metal grate of some kind. My comp gave me some words that helped me a ton, and then suggested prayer. I don't remember what he said but I remember just relief. Then we went back to work. We only had about an hour to work that night, so we started walking and got a call from two other missionaries in Bonao. They gave us two references, one that was a lady they met in the street and one that showed up to a baptismal service. We started with the lady. It turned out she had a baby of about 3 days, brand spankin' new and perfect to start that intense, straight to the heart conversation of eternal families. It hit home. We're going back tonight but we have a lot of hope for her and her boyfriend. We're gonna try and get them married.

Then we contacted the other reference the day after. It turns out he had gone to church that day, but in the other Bonao, so we had another investigator in church with that. We also put a baptismal date already. He's amazing. Then, that same day we got 2 references of cousins of the branch president. They're awesome. They need more priesthood here, they're gonna get it. They have dates as well. Then we met Jesus, his nephew Luis, and Fernando, all over 18 and all so awesome. So, right now we have 6 baptismal dates for the 5 of November (that's the goal at least). My comp and I are seriously flooring it right now. Putting it in 5th gear if you will. I've never been so incredibly tired until this afternoon when I got my hour and a half nap. Now I feel great. SOOOO needed.

Anyway, you were absolutely, positively right. The mission is just ZOOMING by now. I'm not really able to think about time now so I don't really know how much time I have. It's great to be honest. I don't know why I didn't spend my whole mission this way. Last night Elder Pinkston called me, that's the only reason I know how much time I have.

Ok.. OK let's see. As far as everything else goes. We have an invertor now in our apt. That was rough, because the schedule of power here in Bonao was 10-4 more or less, so we didn't have power those crucial hours between 12-3, when all you want is a fan. Seriously, that's all your thinking about. Ha it's still really hot here and it's the middle ofOctober. The good news is I don't have a single October more here in the DR. It's getting down to the lasts. Next, halloween. Thanksgiving. Christmas. It's strange. I can'
t wait to have another christmas with you guys. Is Christmas capitalized? Are all holidays capitalized? I need to brush up on the english grammar... Ha just one more reason not to rush into going back to BYU. I'd actually like to be at home for a bit. I wanna help out the missionary work in the branch, give my friends as references (BWAHAHAHA), and work a bit before heading out into the big, bad marriage scene of BYU. By the way, I have been talking to Elder Pinkston pretty seriously about rooming with him. He's from my group in the mission. Awesome kid, incredible missionary and all. He'd be a great roommate. He and nathan keesling. Yeahh.... Hand choosing roommates. Good stuff. Now, where to stay? I couldn't tell ya. I was thinking maybe alpine village... But that's a bit pricey. We'll see.

I am sipping on a Bon Malteada right now. Bon is the ice cream shop all over the DR. Malteada is their "milk shake". The beautiful thing is that it's one of the only things in this country with real milk. Yes, they use the genuine, unprocessed, straight from the cow stuff. The American stuff. Hence why I get it. It's delicious, but doesn't have anything on the braums hot fudge shake.. OOOOH I just made myself trunky.

So yesterday we met a man in the street. Remember my farewell talk? All about service? It's been like that my whole mission. I'm always looking for ways to help out. The other day we helped a lady move a giant rock in her front yard. Anyway, this guy's name is roberto, and he lived in England for a bit so knows a lot of English. My comp was talking to him and offered the service, and he actually took us up on it. We helped roberto cut an overgrown property with a machete, a hoe and a shovel. We finished a lot of it then shared with him. He told us he's trying to make some sincere changes in his life and shared with missionaries before but never really wanted to stop drinking. Now he does. Chalk another one up on the Bonao priesthood board. Oh, and he's got a car. :D

My comp, Elder Johnson, has gotten a lot of compliments on his spanish. We speak it a lot which helps him. Even president took note and said something to the effect of "wow, the new missionaries are already better at spanish than the trainers!" So cool. The generations of missionaries are better and better.

Thanks for answering the question about alcohol. Definitely something I've thought about but just totally slipped my mind. But it's excellent and so true. For different dispensations god has given his children different laws. This is the one for now. True and simple.

Welp, I'm about done I think. I love you too. It's hard for me to believe how fast it all goes. Sort of scary. I'm having too much fun. Legitimately, it's a whole different mission when you can express yourself and understand just about everything spoken. One becomes a servant of God, an instrument for good.

I love you two. I'm proud of my missionary parents. I'll write you on your missions just as you have on mine. hehehe and I'll get my wife to do the same.

Here's to a great next 11 months, with not a second wasted

-Elder Sweeney

Sunday, October 16, 2011

More Blessings....in Bonao

ok ok to respond to the most important thing first (at least I assume so because it was all in caps), YES, I did get the package. And yes, I did almost cry when I saw the camel for hump day. And yes, I did get super trunky. Happy? HAPPY?

Nah I loved it. It was exactly what I wanted and then some. Those dips bars are SOOOO good and the mixed fancy nuts with like glazed almost and what not.. absolutely amazing. So, if you'd like to make Elder Sweeney happy send him a very similar package at Christmas and you've done so.

Aaaaand you had to mention fall at BYU again. Wow. You talk about absolutely nerve racking. I know what you're thinking.. "what's the difference between going on the block plan in the fall and the winter?" It's not a huge difference.. Hardly a difference at all, but just the fact that in my head I thought I was going back in the winter but now suddenly being thrown back in the world of BYU, dating and... dating again freaks me out. It's mind blowing. How's that gonna work, by the way? Are you coming to get me after the mission and I'm just gonna fly straight to BYU from the DR? hahaha I kid... Kinda. Seriously how am I gonna have a chance to breath? When would school start for me? should I maybe have a little time at home first working and normalizing myself? Idk, I'll definitely need to give it some thought.

I loved the score of the OU-Texas game. Or... I don't know if it deserves to be called a game. It was the texas football massacre. It sounded ugly.. Just like we like the Cotton Bowl to be (Unless it's Texas doing the beating) Wow. I also can't believe OU didn't move up after that.

Well this week I'm extra grateful for the mission. By the way, who's reading my blog? I'm curious to know who is "everyone." I'm also really glad you're updating it, Joy's been super busy and I understand why she wouldn't be able to do it.

So, I've been giving Elder Holland's talk this last priesthood session some thought, and he spoke a lot about couple missionaries. Are you guys thinking about that? I think you should. Put preston in charge of your firm and leave for a year. And you don't have to pay housing. You could serve in Santiago, DR! Eh? EH?

Ha seriously though it would be awesome. But only after I'm gone from here.. And after I get to see you guys and I'm married. ONLY then. OK? Ok. cool.

Elder Johnson is doing well. He's really happy that his legs are hurting him less and that he's not as tired. I told him at 3 weeks he'll feel completely normal. He still has struggles with the language, but he's learning incredibly fast. He just gets nervous in lessons, just like I used to. The more I see him, the more I'm reminded of myself. You're right, today I asked him if he thought I was pushing him too much, because I've had him start a couple lessons, but he told me he needed to do it in order to learn. He's right, he does need to do it in order to learn. So, I'll lighten his responsibility up a bit without babying him and he'll progress little by little. Sometimes I forget to put myself in his shoes, not knowing the language completely and being far from understand everything.

We contacted a guy yesterday named Daniel who is just GOLD. He is going to be baptised really fast. It's great because this branch needs priesthood DESPERATELY. Honestly. And so does the one at home. I'm gonna be working with a few of my friends who should have been references when I get home. I seriously am looking forward to that. Helping out the missionaries.

Anyway, after tracting into Daniel and having a lesson with him we went over to the first counselor's house. He's awesome. Yesterday he told us he was really happy with the missionaries that are here and he wants us to stay for a year. The zone leaders are also kicking butt. It feels good to get a compliment like that, like all the hard work is worth it. I told my comp that's his goal in the mission, to be exactly that kind of worker.

I love the work. You're right, time is going by super fast. Was it really P-day a full week ago? Now it's here again... I love you two. Miss you. I'll see you shortly.

Till next week, literally not a second wasted,

-Elder Sweeney


P.S. We have an investigator named franc who practically has the bible memorized. He whipped out a nice scripture and justified drinking with it. It's pretty good actually. matthew 11: 18-19. I think.. Could be matthew 10. Anyway, the answer of course is getting a testimony of Joseph Smith the prophet through the Book of Mormon. Simple as that. But, what do you think. Give it your best shot, dad.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Working Hard Brings Blessings

Well family, it´s really unbelievable. You have officially shaken me up. Reached the core of me. You reminded me that, within a few weeks of being home, I´d be back at BYU. I can´t say if the dominating feeling was fear or excitement, but I would say the former was sufficiently strong. I love the thought, but it terrifies me at the same time. How weird am I gonna be. I need an UnMTC, lots of rated action movies and college football, yeah... That´s what I need.

All talk of home aside for now, I´ve gotta report on how our week has been. I wasn´t kidding around when I said I was gonna explode here in Bonao, we have worked harder than I ever have on the mission. We have literally been to the four corners of our area looking for old investigators with a surprising amount of success. We´re also tracted a ton. My companion has expressed to me a lot how his legs hurt him a lot, how he immediately falls asleep when he hits the pillow, and it brings me such joy. Ha he´ll get stronger as we go, but he was a little bit discouraged.. And I admit, I was too. That is, until monday..

I prayed for a miracle leaving the apartment that day, we got two. The first was Luis Antonio, he´s a kid that´s 15 years old that we´re teaching. He´s a good kid, but plays baseball sunday, so we had a great lesson built around trying to get him to quit playing on sunday for church. We didn´t need to use it.. He quit anyway. We put a date with him for the 29th of october.

Fast-forward a couple hours later. We are teaching an old investigator of ours. He expressed to us his discouragement with life, what he was going through with his economic and family struggles, and how he was just not at ease. We shared DandC 121:7 with him, and no one in the room didn´t have tears. Then we offered him a priesthood blessing, in which my comp timidly annointed him, using his best spanish, and I sealed it. It was so powerful. After ward he asked us, ¨when can I get baptized,¨ to which we responded, ¨the 29th of October.¨

Then, yesterday we taught a young man and set another date of baptism for him, also for the 29th. We have 3 planned already. I´m hoping they all go through.

It´s been a crazy week. I´ve learned a ton, including that the Lord really does recognize and bless that that work in his work.

Ok, now for the news from conference. ANOTHER TEMPLE IN PROVO! That´s so exciting. Now everyone won´t have to wait so dang much because of the massive crowds of people. And it really was neat to see Pres. Monson so laughy and jokey, he´s such a jolly old man. I figure with such a sure knowledge as he has of the plan of salvation it´s impossible NOT to be happy. Still, it´s really cool.

Thanks for sending the list of things, including more OU stuff. It´s much needed. All I have are those sandals and the OU texas ticket. I´ve been wanting more. You read my mind. Or maybe you´re just my dad..

What else.. I think that´s about it. My new missionary is such a good kid. We are always laughing but working, and people take notice. It´s infectious, they want what we have.

Tomorrow.. I hit a year. I repeat it, and I´m done. I can´t believe how fast it´s gone at times, and I can´t believe how slow it´s dragged by at others. It´s a marvel, time. Especially time in the mission. It´s like a mini-life outside of real-life. You´re born, you live, and go through ups and downs, then you die and go to the spirit world (I figure Utah is the spirit world for a lot of dying missionary souls).

I´m proud of Cameron. He´s hanging in there in the hardest part of his mission. He says the smog makes him sick a lot.. It´s rough. And I imagine he doesn´t understand much. That may be rougher. I hated that at first. My comp is going through it too. I have really realized how for I have come in my spanish with him, he´s a lot like me when I was born. Very.. Clumsy broken spanish. Just a whole lot of listening.

Elder Kimball, my comp from the MTC, just called and congratulated me and I congratulated him on getting to a year. It´s smooth sailin from here on out. Wait... I´ve gotta knock on wood.

I think I´m just about done.. Oh in other news, golf is aparently not allowed in the mission....... So that´s a bummer. I was definitely gonna do it for a year and for elder johnson, who also plays golf, as well as another trainer in this zone named Elder Thiel, and a zone leader named Elder Cromwell. It would have been a blast.. and actually Elder Cromwell is gonna talk to Pres. Lee to see if we can just do it once.

I love you too. It´s so surreal that I will be seeing you two in a year. Now I´m counting down instead of up.

Be safe, I´ll talk to you in just a couple months over skype,

Elder Sweeney

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Happiness is.....my new companion

Ok now for the update. Ready? Good.

My new missionary´s name is Elder Johnson. He is from Ogden Utah and I already love him. He has tons of energy like me and we are absolutely going to explode here in Bonao. He looks a little like me, not as tall but wears glasses. He was adopted and has a younger adopted sister. I already love the kid.

And so, Elder Medina is GONE. Yes, he is not here anymore. He was transfered to Puerto Plata where he is companions with Elder Burr, another missionary from my group, and now becomes his burden. His purpose here in Bonao literally had nothing to do with the people. It was simply to find a house. Nothing more.

So, my kid got here today. Nothing too exciting yet. He´s just as wide eyed and confused as I remember being, but his accent is actually better than mine when I started. He will pick up the language really fast, I just know it.

He´s actually.. Well he´s a longhorns fan. Yes, UT. I told him.. We may be comps, but I don´t know if we can be friends. Ha he laughed and I realized.. Being with an American is super different. SOOO different. Even if he is new, and even if I do have to be the example, it´s gonna be more fun than I´ve had in a long time. He even PLAYS GOLF!! You bet we´re gonna do that for my one year mark.

Oh, and yeah.. Considering I´ve gotten a package from mark and melinda, you guys and have one coming from Melisa (girl I¨m writing), I will need some more personal money. Please and thanks so much. Seriously that´s a life saver.

I also have a couple needs.. I need a black belt, cheap one if you want but one that will last a year. The other one has seen better days. Also, an alarm clock. Also cheap, it´s just that the other one fell when I inadvertently attacked it in my sleep and conbusted into flames.. Ok not the flames part, but you get the idea.

Also, a calender. I wanna see my last year at least. :) It´s something motivating. Another one like that family one would be awesome. I loved that a lot. Like a whole lot.

And... What else. Oh maybe you´ve noticed but my tone has completely changed in my letters. I´m soooo happy right now. It´s that inexpressable joy that alma felt when he saw the sons of mosiah. I am so pumped for a great 2 transfers with my greenie. He´s gonna be a friend for life, I can already tell.

Also, a lot of people have been asking about my blog. It would be cool if joy would update it every once in a while. I think it´s still from like.. Fantino days.

Well, I am about to hit my hour. I love the mission. I really did appreciate having such a lazy comp, it taught me the value of work. It´s an alleviation to work. Especially for these two years when it´s just completely selfless service.

And so it is. Amen.

Till next week, not a second wasted,

(really this time)

-Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

P.S.

Oh, and in all this new missionary stuff I´ve sort of forgotten about time. Wow that year really is coming fast. Like.. Unbelievably fast. I´ll be home before I know it.

I just saw Elder Kuhn, that zone leader that I lived with that saved me last transfer, go home today. He´s going to BYU so we´ll be hanging out up there. You really do make friends for life in the mission.. It´s honestly hard to see them go.

Ok, now really, time for me to get off. Gotta set the example for the ole youngin. You two be safe. Start looking at places to stay when you guys come again, it´s pretty soon. :)

Elder Sweeney gets a "Kid" (new missionary to train)

hey mom and pops,

So I've got some news.. Friday I got a call from president. I hadn't talked to him about my comp because remember the process I was going to take, first talk to the comp--then to president if need be.

Well I did talk to my comp. And he's better, much better. Like I would say he made a... 30 degree turn? I'm not gonna say he's a perfectly obedient missionary, but we do leave on time and we are working, he's just continuing with the phone/ipod/movie thing between working. I don't know how he doesn't think that affects the spirit, but apparently he says it doesn't. But, it's been good.

Anyway, about the call. My comp is talking to someone else on the phone and notices that he has an incoming call from president. I was just sitting there, and my comp hands me the phone. "Elder Sweeney," says a voice from the other line, "usted va a entrenar, asi que, usted va a estar en la capilla de villa olga a las 9:00 el martes para una reunion." Translation.. I am going to be a trainer. I went to the reunion yesterday and it was amazing! Such great missionaries there, and great people in general. I loved it.

Let me give you a few thoughts. First, it was the answer to my prayers. I have been praying (and maybe this is a little selfish) to get a son in the mission. It's something that has always fascinated me, because it's the first impression and the most important companion in the mission. At least, it was for me. Remember I always wrote home about how my trainer was such an example for me of what a missionary should be. It's honestly a pleasure to be picked for it, and I've been preparing mentally and spiritually for this since I got the call. I have written out a ton of ideas of what to study and what to teach him.

I'm thinking he's going to be americans, but we're not sure. I saw the list of people coming in and there's only 1 dominican and 2 mexicans, the rest are americans (the majority from utah, unfortunately). I am so pumped. I didn't really sleep the night of the call but those were nerves. Now the nervousness has turned into excitement. What will he be like? How will his spanish be? Will he be humble? Prideful? loving? Just what exactly am I getting myself into? Do I realize how hard this will be and how much spanish I'm going to have to use? Am I good enough for this? I hope so..

One interesting the that president is doing now with trainers is letting them decide if they want to do it or not. he's making everyone who was called to train call him friday at night when we get back to the house to make sure we accept it. It's something untypical, but sort of a foreshadowing of how heavy this responsibility is. I've asked for advice from some trainers, my dad included, and they've all told me that patience is the key. I still don't completely understand it, but I suppose I will.

I am wanting to be super obedient to show my son my example, so it will only be one hour of internet for me. I may not write you guys a whole ton, or I may take the route of printing out all the letters so I don't have to use my internet time on reading.

And.. Well that's the big news. I feel really good. I will not kill Elder Medina, but I'm pretty sure that he's going back to zone leader. Here's the thing.. When he was up there, he DIDN'T do the things he does with me. He knew what he had to do and he was changed because of it. He wanted the rest of his mission to be cruise control, more than cruise control.. a vacation. But I hope he does go up again. It will help him not to die completely. We are getting along pretty well, but I've had to give and so has he, or.. In other words, he had to give something to be more obedient and I had to sort of ignore the movies and crap.. That president apparently knows he's doing anyway (according to my comp).

I'm glad to see my sooners are on a role!!! Keep me posted. I've always disliked the FSU fans but I have a bitter hatred for that one.

Melinda wrote me and apparently sent me a package too about a week ago. We'll see if that package gets here this saturday, but I'm doubting it. Probably the next right after. Don't worry, I'll share with my kid.

I love you two. Be good and safe, and I'll be hee praying for Matt's job situation to improve. I do worry about you guys even though I'm pretty far away.

One year to go. These next two transfers are going to fly by with a kid, then I'll be at a year and three, with only a pregnancy left. Almost there..

Till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Now...a second wasted

Well, I don't know if you remember but we have P-day santiago once every 6 weeks (6 weeks in a transfer, every month and a half more or less). Ours was yesterday. So yes, I am fine, other than a little diarreah and a loooooong day yesterday, I feel really good. I went to pricemart in the morning to develop photos, eat a chicken roll (a calzone like thing with chicken, cheese, and ham, plus they give you ranch which is amazing because it really doesn't exist here). Then in the afternoon we went to the office, then to use internet for a bit, then back to the ole grind today. We planned and studied this morning, and now I'm here, writing you finally.

We didn't get back from santiago till 7 ish last night. It was a lot of walking.. and just a long day in general. Definitely not used to walking as much, my comp doesn't like to do much of it. I loved it in La Yaguita to be honest.. Maybe that was because of my comps or.. Actually I'm sure it was because of my comps, they were both pretty awesome. And worked.. Hard. I sometimes sort of break down in my prayers because I feel so guilty for wasting time. I have brought it up with my comp, told him I want to work harder, but he just... well he watches movies. It started out with church movies and now he's watching "the fast and the furious" and ninja assassin. And he has an Ipod with all kinds of great music.. like Jay-z and raggaeton. I want to help him. Any advice?

Anyway, my schedule as a real missionary is wake up at 6:30, exercise and eat breakfast, study from 7:30 - 8:30 personally, then at 8:30 start comp study till 10:30, leave, go proselyte till 12:00, eat, rest, then at 2:30 leave again until 9:30. Those 7 hours are pretty intense.. I always have to take a break at about 6:30 to eat something for dinner.. But that's when I was working hard. Now. Well. My day is wake up at 6:30, eat, study, then at 7:30 I check on my comp to see if he's awake, he never is, then I go study again, then at 8:30 my comp wakes up, so we study a little, then we stay in till 12, then eat something. At about 3:30 - 4:30 we leave (if it's a good day), go teach a couple people, then park ourselves in a member's house until about 9. Then we go home. And repeat. Hence why I spend some time just... thinking about the other days in my mission when my work made a difference in people. I feel terrible actually telling you about it.

I have a little less than 2 weeks left in the transfer. Pray for me. Maybe I can help him. I'll be damned (literally) if I don't try. So there it is.. The schedule of ole Elder Sweeney.

I'll be honest, I'm not completely unhappy. But Elder Kuhn, an elder who lives with us, is the reason why. I can talk to him about anything and just sort of.. vent. It's great. But, we're moving out tomorrow so I won't have that anymore, so again, pray for me. Please and thank you.

We had a conference tuesday with Elder Vinas from the first quorum of the 70. He's a really realistic man. I liked him, he didn't allow any nonsense from the ridiculous elders' questions. One asked him something just.. absolutely ridiculous that he answered in a way that made us all laugh. That's the way our leaders should be. Realists. Not in any way strange but at the same time very strange, because they are some of the only men in the world that are completely devoted to the work of the Lord. They are ensigns. And, I guess in a way in my selected area I should be too.

Also, we did an exchange yesterday to go to Santiago. It was with Elder Shapiro, who isn't getting along very well with his comp either... Like as in his comp punched him. Not good. Anyway he's got kind of a reputation for being super obedient, like law of moses obedient, which was actually like a breath of fresh air yesterday. I laughed more with him than I have in a long time.

Let's see.. I wish I had some cool stories to tell you about a miracle conversion but it's kinda hard to get those when you're not working. Time is moving pretty fast I guess.. Not near as fast as when I'm working but farely fast. Almost at a year. Just have 3 weeks left. And then I just do it all over again.

I love you two. I am so ready to move on from this transfer, but your words help me so much. I liked the part about "looking the lawyer part", I feel like you called preston old but I don't know if he'd deny it. Ha I am happy for your law firm. I didn't realize you had those other two in there. That's classy. My dad is classy. :)

And momma. I'm sorry work kinda sucks right now. I know that it will get better. It's just a matter of adjusting. You can't expect yourself to be amazing at something in the first month.. I thought I would have the language down in 6, but I'm still learning every day just how little I know. Really you've just begun, and after this year it'll be smooth sailin. Look for that summer to come fast.. Cuz it will.

I will be seein ya in a short 12 months... wow where did the last 6 go? Holy cow..

Till next week, now a second wasted,

-Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

P.S. I saw that vicky cowger had sent me a message on facebook so I told her through facebook to send me an email. Just so you don't have a heart attack momma. Ha I'm really not a bad missionary.

Hanging on....

Well, it seems like things are turning over here. It's not that my comp is working super hard, but I feel like we're getting there. I'm having to be the example, which isn't hard nor does it involve contention. When I get dressed by three he feels the pressure of getting ready and we're out the door by 3:30. Also, we did an exchange the other day with the missionaries in Constanza, and that was a great break from spanish and my comp. I was with an elder from Beliz, a country in central america that actually speaks English. He's a very humble elder who goes home at the end of this transfer, so he actually offered me some insights that helped me a ton. Also, we contacted a lot and now have a pretty solid foundation of investigators.

Constanza was literally a breath of fresh air. It's one of the only cities in the DR in the mountains, so the weather is much cooler and in the winter there is ever FROST on the ground. So at mid-day there it was a very manageable 78 degrees and even cooler in the shade. We had our district meeting and I actually wasn't sweating! You know how I sweat. I don't know why God called me to one of the hottest places on earth, but it's gotta mean he has a sense of humor. But, tomorrow we are doing another exchange, but this time I am going to Constanza to kick butt again with Elder Gillett. This time in his area. I felt so good at the end of the day with him Monday.. Like I was justified as a missionary for the first time in 3 weeks.

I gotta tell you guys about that ride up to Constanza.. It was a little nuts. So, the 2 ways that one gets to Constanza is

1) by truck

2) by a van

we elected to go by truck on the way there.. Bad choice. Very bad choice. So it was almost full already, with 2 people in the front, and older woman and a young man, and an old man and a middle aged woman in the back. But, we tried to pack in anyway. It didn't work.. My comp is a big man. So, we were situated with me, the middle aged woman with her 2 year old in her lap on my left, my comp on my right and the older man on his right. But, apparently I was sitting on the little girl's leg, which I wasn't because I didn't feel anything and the little girl wasn't saying anything. So, I was literally standing up, and I told the woman if she wanted to fix the situation she could open her door, but she stubbornly refused, yelling and acting like an idiot. Then the driver started driving as if nothing was happening. Finally the older lady in front, who I noticed had a different accent, stepped in and made a great executive decision. She gave her front row seat to my comp and took the back seat. It worked great, but the lady next to me would to stop yelling. Then the older lady told her to shutup, and the middle aged woman threw a fit and told her she was gonna hit her when they got out, so she took of her shoe to use as a weapon when she got out. I was trying to calm her down, and she more or less did. Then I started to talk with the older woman who had solved the problem, and she told me she was from venezuela working for the government. I asked her what she was doing here, and she told me she couldn't tell me, and that she was dressed as a citizen but had a higher purpose. She was gonna rendevous in Constanza and catch a plane in Santiago that same day. We talked for a bit, meanwhile the little girl of the middle-aged woman was hitting me with her giant sucker that her idiot mom had given her in a truck full of people. I asked the Venezuelan woman if she understood English, assuming so if she was in international relations, and she said yes. I told her "I would like to jump out the window right now.." sarcastically of course but half meaning it. This little girl was the devil, calling me racist names and getting my white shirt dirty. Then, when we got out of the truck, I noticed the Venezuelan secret agent (?) had a gun on her. If the idiot lady had hit her has promised it would have been the biggest mistake of her life...

So that's more or less the story. Yeah that takes a lot less time to describe in real life.. ha sorry it was so long. But I thought it was so bizarre I wanted to share.

Anyway, more news about the trip to Constanza. In a little store at a stop on the way there they sell, if you can believe this, DOVE CHOCOLATE! isn't that nuts? It was completely unexpected but such a pleasant surprise. So now I guess you don't have to send me that.

Some more of those Dips granola bars would be really nice though. :)

I missed home today a lot. I don't know why but every once in a while I get really trunky. Maybe it's the realization that I only have like 13 more potlucks left? I don't know. It also really scares me. I don't have very much of these wonderful 2 years left. Just a little bit more than half. I know I say it a lot, but I honestly can't imagine life after now. It's surreal.

I have a few ideas of what I want to happen when you guys come get me. I'd like to play golf in Sosua, maybe that was a given before, but I'd like mom to come with us. I'd also like to take a quick tour of all the areas and show you some good views, including constanza, just because I fell in love with that town.

I love you two. This mission thing is flying by.

till next week, not a second wasted,

-Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Rufus wants a "kid"????

Yes.. That would be Bonao, they call it the city of God. If you can believe it, it's one of the cleaner areas I've been in. That's why I say.. It's the most beautiful place I've ever been in but the people ruin the natural beauty with garbage.. And lots of it.

But where we live looks a lot different from that. It's much cleaner. That's the market where we but fruit and veggies and stuff. It's gross looking but it's the best place in town. It's kinda neat that you got to see it and get a taste of what I live in. It's just normal to me now, I've gotten used to all the garbage and such.

So, big news. Today we had interviews with president. Mine went well, I just told him straight up I wanted my comp to be more motivated, and he acted really well! My comp wasn't offended at all. In fact, he came out of the interview really happy. But.. that's not the big news. So, my comp has this transfer and the next, and the missionaries train for 2 transfers now. He pretty much knows he's not gonna get a kid. Anyway, in his interview president told him that he wanted him to find a house really fast because there are 16 new missionaries coming. He came with us to go look at the house and we are moving into our new, beautiful apartment, just us two, in less than a week.

But, that's not the big news. Pres told him that he wanted that new house because there were 16 new missionaries. So, what does this mean? Think about it. He wants me to train this next transfer, and wanted my kid and I to be in our own 2 man house. It makes sense, so much sense that I am actually super happy. But, just in case, I'm not getting too excited. BUT I WOULD LOVE A KID! that was my goal in the mission.

I am kinda stoked. Not only about the prospect of the kid but this new apartment is way nice. I'm talking like.. american high scale nice, for a relatively low price. It was sort of priceless when president saw it.. My comp and I had like 4 houses lined up, and my comp asked, "wanna see the other houses," and president said, "nope, I've seen all I need to see. We're getting this one." he's so direct and quick with all his movements. It would drive me nuts if I was with him too much, but it's a great attribute for a mission president to have I suppose.

Well.. Let's see. I wrote ally. I feel terrible. I honestly don't remember when she wrote me but I'm sure I was distracted with rachelle in that time or something so I was just... Idk, not paying attention. My bad. But I hope at least that resolves it. I feel like it will.

Hmmmm.. Well we're teaching an awesome investigator right now. He's pretty catholic but actually perfectly in line with our doctrine. He's great. Honestly I think he'll be baptized within the next 3 weeks. Maybe that's optimistic.. but I feel good about it.

My spanish is getting good I suppose. OOOOHHHH!!! speaking of good spanish. So, my very first zone leader, Elder Noltenmeyer, GREAT missionary with perfect spanish, is now CAMERON'S TEACHER in the MTC! Yes, I talked to him quite a bit and he always wanted to speak spanish but I didn't know it that well. Anyway, he was also my comp's comp before. I sort of want to give hermano noltenmeyer a call, but that would be breaking the rules... right? I don't really know.. But it doesn't feel right so I'm not gonna do it. So cool though. I want to send secret messages to cameron and have noltenmeyer sneak him things from the outside world. haha

Cameron is hilarious. He always has the weirdest things happen to him. Him and I both, so when we get together it's a little like a circus.

But yeah, bonao is interesting as far as missionary work goes. It's really grown a lot recently so it reminds me a lot of Norman. It's pretty chaotic as far as traffic goes. but it has a great little bakery called miguelinas with a tres leches cake that will rock your world. I wanna take you guys there in your visit. Anyway, the people are SUPER catholic and by far the most direct of any people I have met in the mission. Like.. Well for instance when you make a contact people say no.. which is something that sort of took me back at first. I feel like this is argentina or europe or.. Idk the states but definitely not the DR. But it's good, my comp and I get are working smart and not contacting much, we're getting references. That's the key to not going crazy. The great investigator that we have was not a reference though.. strangely enough.

Also, there's a young man here named Israel that is sort of like a third missionary. He is always leaving with us. He's a champion and will be a fantastic missionary. Many times we'll have an investigator teetering but his testimony will leave them convinced of our church. He really is good to have around.

And YES! My package did come. And oh how fantastic it was. Let's see.. I would love more dove chocolate and granola bars. NOT any more of those beef jerky sticks.. those were kind of a bust. They taste a lot like throw up. But everything else in the box was amazing, especially rechargeable batteries for the camera and CD player.

More CD's would be good. There's one that I want that's sufjan stevens christmas EP.. i think that's what it's called. It's him singing hymns. It's really good stuff. that's really all I can think of. And of course that t-shirt from the family reunion.. Man I missed that this year. :/

It's gonna be september tomorrow. It's crazy that in a month I'll have a year. I can do anything for a year, but especially something I love doing anyway. I may have a kid too, so that'll be 2 quick transfers. I am looking forward to the prospect of it all. I'm entering the best part of my mission. I'm seasoned, practiced and comfortable. It's a good feeling. General Conference will be sweet too!

I'll be praying for cooler days for you all if you'll do the same for me. You do have AC. I really don't have the least bit of pity for you. Ok.. maybe a little.. but only because you're my parents.

I love you. The nanny and sister of the sister missionary, is supposed to send me a package. oh, and if you can prevent it, don't send the package to miami. That was a 1200 peso charge.. that's hard to recover from without personal funds. thanks. :)

Be safe, and for crying out loud, don't gash your head and hand open at the same time and pass out in the street and almost bleed to death. There's not that many good samaritans in Oklahoma.

Till next week, with a freshly motivated comp, not a second wasted,

-Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Trials and tribulations

This week has been a little tough. I can feel my comp getting more and more relaxed and the more love and care I try and show him the more relaxed he gets. I know, I need to be firm, but I hate contention in the companionship so much. And, president of the mission is so bad about confidential things... he always let's the other companion know, and my comp hates tattle tales.. It's ridiculous. I have thought and prayed a lot about what to do, and I've just decided to endure it. You should never have to endure a comp.. The mission is hard enough as it is. Comps should love and support one another but.. I guess I'm just not so lucky to get another Elder Fleurima. He was amazing. Seriously, I miss that guy. He called me the other day, and today elder Kimball called. I've got some great friends in the mission, and I'm gonna need them this transfer.

It's not that my comp is naturally a bad guy, he treats me fine actually. But he's not very obedient.. Like he has no problem with wasting time in a member's house watching a movie about tai kwan do... It's unfortunate, but I talked to him about it for the first time last night. It actually went well. I learned how to handle situations that I'm not comfortable with.. You just have to treat the comp with love and respect. I do love him, but he's just a little harder to love than some of my other comps. I wanna work, he wants to finish taking it easy, so we'll have to find a balance.

Anyway.. That's what we're looking at on my end right now. Thanks for the motivation. I needed to hear the reasons why president would throw me with a dying comp again..... I figure you're probably right. It's another test. A big one. Ha that's the mission.

As far as the area.. We arrived with 2 investigators. 2! I don't even know how that's possible. And in 5 transfers there hasn't been a baptism. President threw me another tough area. Ha I guess I'll have to do what I did in La Yaguita and change things. Elder Fuller, the elder that took my place there in La Yaguita, called me the other night and thanked me for leaving a good area. That was just more motivation to work like a maniac.

I have to admit, I am not obedient 100% of the time, but I do work hard. I do. So I will continue.

We met a man named Frank the other day in our tracting. He is amazing. I predict in 3 weeks he's gonna be ready for baptism.

I love the work. I love you two. I'll see you guys soon. about a year.. wow time flies. :)

Till next week, not a second wasted,

Starting Over

I LOOOOOOVE your letters, let me just say. that article by stephen colbert was absolutely hilarious! I forgot how funny english can be.

Welp.. Your report on transfers. I did not go up. I am junior comp to Elder Medina, a dominican who was zone leader just this last transfer with none other than my dad. Ha. But I feel good. I'm in Bonao, yes, the same zone in which I started the mission. I live with the zone leaders of the Bonao zone, which is awesome because Elder Kuhn, an american who was mail guy in the office for a while, may just save me.

But yeah, so we got white washed and we white washed an area. I am starting from scratch more or less. It's really intense.. This area is apparently pretty dead. I feel like there is a reason I'm here.. But Idk. I guess I was exhaggerating a bit when I said I was feeling good.. I'm not feeling great. First of all my luggage got lost on the way here, so that's gonna get to me friday. Meanwhile I have one set of clothes and my scriptures.. And that's it. So, that kinda sucks. BUT, my package DID come and I got to see it, but I knew I was being transfered so I am having them send it to me wednesday with my luggage.

So, even though I didn't move up my best friend in the mission DID! Elder Pinkston moved up AND is district leader. He's a stud, he deserved it. I am here in Bonao, with a kind of lazy comp, but he's a good guy I guess. Doesn't talk much.. It may be a long transfer. I know my dad Elder Walker had problems with him last transfer, as well as elder fuller.. But I honestly don't see us having too many problems. I'm just gonna love him and correct him with respect.. because he's finishing in 2 transfers...

I'm afraid I'm gonna kill another comp. It would be hard.. I don't want to do it. Especially with one that's not going to work.. but I may just be doing it. I want to resurrect this area.. but I don´t know if it´s gonna be possible. Some advice for difficult comps would be awesome.. cuz I have lucked out with comps so far. They´ve all worked well, but I may have problems with this one.

But, after these two transfers I think It´s a sure thing I´ll move up. I don´t know why I wouldn´t. Heck maybe even after this transfer. But, I really would like to, I feel ready and I work. But moving up isn´t everything on the mission. I´ll wait patiently my turn.. ha

momma.. I feel like my spanish is good.. And you´ll definitely find out at christmas when I can´t speak english. I´ll try and speak some with matt and mike, if they can remember well I can speak well with them. Ha it´ll be way fun skyping.

As far as this last transfer goes.. I gotta say, I had the most peace in my whole mission with fleurima. He was such a good kid. Gosh, I will miss him. We saw a lot of miracles. Like, just this last week we were in a lesson with Jorge, and he asked us what the golden plates looked like. We thought it was a weird question, because it was WAY out of the theme of the lesson. We answered him anyway, and he seemed please and smiled and sort of nodded. Then he told us that he has cataracts in his eyes, and normally when he reads he gets teared up and can´t do it. But, when he reads the book of mormon the letters transform big and gold, like the golden plates. I don´t know if it´s a vision or what.. but he understands and was able to tell us everything that happened in 1 nephi. It was such an incredible experience.. something that I´m not going to tell a lot of people because it´s sacred. If he wouldn´t have told me himself I wouldn´t have believed it. That whole experience with Jorge was a miracle. He called us over when he was drunk in the street. I told my comp after, sort of joking, that he would be branch president.... Maybe I´m not wrong. ha

Anyway, that was a really neat experience. I will miss my hatian comp. I have kind of a prideful dominican now.. But I´ll make it. I have to have something to look forward to, and for now it´s a year.. it comes right after this transfer. Oh, and general conference! :)

But, as far as the letter this next week, some advice for how to get along well would be appreciated. Maybe this is my test in the mission. It's gonna be a lot of fasting and prayer.

Oh, and as far as cameron, I can tell you that he is not loving the MTC. It's a little bit rigid for him. But he has a great comp and district, and he can't wait for the field. JUST like me. No worries, he'll make it. If I have to drag him through his MTC experience with fancy wordery I'll do it, he'll be fine, he just needs to make it to the field. It's there where the REAL mission begins.

I love you two. I am a little down this transfer, but the package did help. I just feel a little.. alone. I'll be good. I just need to forget myself again and go to work.

Till next week, not a second wasted,

-elder c. rufus sweeney

Changes....

What a great letter. Welp, first I'll answer your questions and such. Then I'll tell you about the madness of this week.

Ok, first off, the package has NOT come yet. I have no idea what broke down or who's not doing their job in Miami, but it still hasn't arrived. And, about the new office people, Elder and Hermana Fuller are great, but she's from guatemala and doesn't know english perfectly. Yes, the box IS sick. Aparently they had to ship it to the nearest hospital in Miami so that it could rest for a few months.

Nah, but I called and talked to her for the first time ever the other day, and she's super stressed right now about her responsibilities. It's intense all that she has to do.

Anyway, I know about transfers already. Well.. at least one part of transfers. There's a story to go along with it, and I'll tell you about that. We had an intercambio with a zone leader.. I mean exchange, sorry. Elder Fuller, the zone leader, had been called to train and I knew that, so he'll die as such. But, as a zone leader, when you are called to train you inevitably white wash an area.. you probably already know where I'm going with this. They're white washing La yaguita..

It's good in some ways. For instance, and I have to be honest, after 3 transfers of climbing little mountains (i'll show you guys in a year), my legs and body in general need a break. I hurt sometimes when I get back to the house in unnatural ways. We worked so hard this transfer and my comp and I sleep so well at night, but a lot of times sleep just isn't enough. It's spiritual and physical fatigue, not just mental. Also, we get like a week to wash, pack and say goodbye. But, those are really the only good parts..

The negative part is that the couple that was going to be married this week will have the money in this next coming week.. the week of transfers.. I will not be baptising Juan Carlos nor his wife, but the work I put into that will be the Elder Fuller's kid's little treat.

Also, jorge, the drunk man that called us in the street, has a baptismal date.

And another guy called us in the street. That was with Elder Fuller. Ha absolutely crazy how much this area has changed.

Anyway, that's the news of the week. Also, I taught in english for the first time on my mission. There's a young man from boston here who's Dominican by blood but doesn't know much spanish. He's a good kid. What was interesting was.. I felt the spirit stronger than I ever have in my mission in english. There is a big difference in the languages. You can say things a lot more concisely and more meaningfully in English. I think that's why the restoration was through Joseph Smith in English. The scriptures are so much more powerful... And I'm not saying that because it's my first language, but as someone who has had to use spanish and only spanish for 4 1/2 months, so knows the 2 pretty well. English is better..

Well I actually love hearing about what you guys eat. All the fruit. A lot of it doesn't exist here. But they do have decent stuff in La Sirena, and some stuff doesn't exist in the states. Have you had Zapote? or Limoncillo? we'll have both when you get here. They're both pretty good.

I have been emailing cameron, but not a whole lot because of that stupid MTC timer. It's so ridiculous how little time they give you. Honestly, even for absolutely obedient elders, 30 minutes is just so few.

Hmmmm... what else. Well right now I'm just contemplating where I'll be, who I'll be with, my new responsibilities, and all that.. I wonder if I'll stay in the city of Santiago, have a ward instead of a branch (that would be SO welcome), be near the beach, have a good comp.. etc. I have gotten truly lucky with my comps so far. Elder Fleurima is a really good kid. He is just that sometimes though.. sort of like a little kid. Ha easily distracted and when he gets tired he gets cranky and obstinate, a little stubborn and complains a lot. But, he seriously is my favorite comp up till now. He really gets it. I'm sad about having to leave him to be completely honest.

I think that's it. I love you two. And I'm a little jealous of Matt, seems like he lives in the most interesting parts of the earth. Next he'll live in the Vatican? lord knows. ha I didn't intend that to be so literal.

Oh and as far as girls.. I'm doing ok with writing. I'm actually writing the niece of Jorge Solorzano, she's pretty. I've been writing her in Spanish. And I'm still writing Melisa, the sister of the sister missionary. It's going really well actually. Both of them. I feel like I've got a few options, but it would be nice to get some referrals. Haha I have to quote you because it made me laugh so hard. "We could probably get some "referrals" from Amanda Jackson and from Elena if you want. " Yes PLEASE. :)

No, but really.. if you could that would be great.

Well, this week I say good bye to La Yaguita. I'll let you know where I go, send you a few pictures of this area and the people and my comp, and give you all the details next week of what happened. But, till that time, not a second wasted,

-Elder Sweeney

Progress!

Family! I'm writing a little bit earlier today because aparently the hurricane/tropical storm is on its way.

So aparently the hurricanes here can cause the power to go out.. can cause us to lose water.. and all the stuff that happened to me in fantino but for a LOOOOOOOONG time. How awesome is that? Haha I'm just gonna hope it doesn't happen. Pray for me.

That said, it's been a really good week. Like the opposite of the last week. FINALLY Rosanna, the girlfriend of Juan Carlos, came to church, gave up coffee, and they are going to get married, all in this week. Today he is going to make a date, so I'm hoping to get them baptised by the time I leave. If they get married by next friday, it's all good. But, either way I am just thrilled. We have poured so much time and energy into them, and to see our labors paying off is truly fulfilling. It's a feeling that can't be expressed. Marrying a family is so hard, so incredibly hard. If this was the only one in my mission it wouldn't be too surprising to me, but now that I understand the process maybe I can unite more and more families.

You know where my testimony comes from about the families? Yup, you guessed it, you two. And, of course the brothers and sisters. I was raised in a family so good, and took that for granted until the mission. I want these families to be just like my family from back home, and that's what I'm working for. Right now we are working with 3 families, and that is where I put the majority of my focus. It's where I draw my energy from. It's what keeps me going. The thought of building eternal families. I love it.

Also, we had an experience with an investigator. Aparently her sister is possessed by demons, and for that no attended church. Yup, that is a valid excuse here. But, it's pretty intense what she says. Aparently, she has a huge headache all the time that won't go away even by intense pain meds. It's not like one of those demons that makes her scream or whatever, but aparently is kind of like.. on vacation? I don't know. But aparently really comfortable.

Today was a good day. I played some basket ball for 3 hours.. ha I'm beat. But, I feel good and relieved.

So, another story. We left the house of Juan Carlos the other night and a drunk man, absolutely plastered, called us over and said he wanted to know more about us. He seemed sincere enough, but we were apprehensive, this man obviously wasn't himself. Regardless, we left him a pamphlet. Then, tuesday, we came back to his house, and he had read THE WHOLE THING! That may not sound like a big deal, but reading the stuff we leave is a HUGE deal here. Like, in the mission of me and my comp that has never happened. We taught him a fantastic lesson yesterday, felt the spirit, and left thinking that maybe we had been the lucky elders that this man happened to call, but I know that the Lord answers prayers, and we've been praying and fasting for miracles with our investigators.

Those prayers were answered in big ways this week. We both feel really good, get along great, and are ready for this "hurricane".. We'll just send it away with our priesthood.. haha ok that may have been blasphemy.

I love you two. I am going to take a nap. I love naps too. But not as much as you guys. Be safe, happy, and tell momma to rest, she needs it. She didn't even write me this week.

-Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

P.S. Don't think I forgot.. Till next week, not a second wasted.

P.P.S. and to answer your question, yeah, there are quite a few that have moved up in the group ahead of me. :)

Memorable experiences

What an incredibly fast week it's been. Is it really P-day again. But, a ton has happened. Let me break it down for you by story in chronological order.

First, last friday I met a young man from scotland. Yes, here in middle of no where DR, a man from Scotland and I had a conversation in English. We are actually planning on sharing with him, which I love because I can actually speak my beloved English. My comp and I are dominican and speak spanish all the time. His english is good but his spanish is better, and my spanish is good enough to express everything I wanna say, so we just sort of forgot about that he knows english and speak spanish. But, I'm learning french now (It's a bit of a complicated language), so i'm gonna be trying to speak that more.

Second, a miracle of sorts happened to us the other day. A member told us that he had a friend that he wanted to give a blessing, and we went to their house. Turns out he had a stroke and lost all movement in his tongue, and he can't talk. It was really sad, and on more than one occasion in the visit he starting crying. Seeing a grown man cry is heartbreaking. I saw a once proud man humbled by his inability to speak. Adding to the sadness was the fact he doesn't know how to read or write...

But, we gave him a blessing, and the responsibility to seal the blessing fell up me. I was moved to tears myself, the spirit was so strong it was practically kicking me in the face. I don't remember much, but I remember promising that his ability to speak would come back soon. We left, with that same feeling deeply impressed upon each of us that a mighty miracle was to happen with him, if he would just allow it.

We returned to the house the next day, and began to share a message. We felt the spirit equally strong, and at the end of the lesson we invited his wife to say the closing prayer. At the end of the prayer we all said amen. WE ALL SAID AMEN. Him included. We asked his wife if he could talk yet, and she said no, and that he had said mamama, or in other words, sounds that don't require the tongue. But, again he repeated amen, and my comp and I just looked at each other. But, the wife REFUSED to hear it. Refused to accept that someone from another faith could perform a miracle like what we had performed.

It is that sort of incredulity that persists here in La Yaguita, even in the midst of miracles the people don't want to believe.

Ok, and I bet you are asking about the baptism? Well, thursday night we were preparing him for his final interview, and we received a phone call from the president of the branch. I mean branch president (spanish is killing me..). He informed us that, a few hours earlier, he had seen Eliseo, the candidate for baptism, smoking. Distraught, but eager to verify, we returned to the house of Eliseo. He told us it had been a month since his last cigarrette, but we could tell he was lying. He still clings to that story. He isn't going to be baptised any time soon..

So, we have our hope of the couple that we are marrying. We talked to them too, they are having a little problem in the couple and are working it out. Still hoping they get married on their date...

If I were to say the mission has been a roller coaster this week it would be an understatement. I can't believe the miracles we've seen mixed with lies and incredulity. It is uplifting but depressing at the same time. We work like dogs here. We are always soaked, if it's with our sweat or with rain, it's constant. But we keep working, and effectively it is making time pass super quickly.

Well, already my time has expired in email. Jeezz.. this rule is tough. I love you two. Tell cate and matt congrats on the job. I know matt won't have too much trouble finding a job in Denver, it's a good city.

Let's see.. I think that's it. I love you two. The package still hasn't come. Still hopefull. It really isn't the package that's too important, it's the love that it's sent with and the thought that I am cared for.

My comp got a package the other day. He has a family from the states that seems to be well off and super sweet. They're members that are involved in a program of sending packages to less wealthy missionaries.

I will see you in a little more than 1 year. That's not too much, really!

Till next week, not a second wasted,

-elder c. rufus sweeney

Still, not a second wasted

Wow, that is so cool. Today, as I got up, got dressed as usual on P-day, putting on the mission clothes to go shop at la sirena, and realized that cameron was reporting today. I got chills. I know how much he is going to learn and grow, simply because of what I have learned and how much I have grown on the mission. He his a great young man, honestly I expect him to supercede me as a missionary. At least I hope so.

I have actually regressed a bit in my spanish.. actually by that I mean it has stayed about the same since last week. I have officially dove into Jesus the Christ, a slightly long undertaking but OH so worth it. I feel the need to read the new testament now, which I will read after I get done with the last half of Jesus the Christ.

Something unusual that I have picked up from reading spanish all the time is my ability to read english really quickly. I don't know if it has to do with the vocabulary or the fact that I interpret more, easier, but I read our search for happiness in an afternoon and half of Jesus the Christ in less that a week. Now it sounds like I'm bragging.. Nah, no brag, just fact. ;)

It's been a good week, we have a baptism saturday, and a marriage the 6 of august followed by 3 baptisms in the last week of the transfer, and a whole lot of other success that we're seeing. I don't know what happened, but after valdez left, this area rejuvinated.. Actually I know what happened, we are working like we should. Not that Valdez and I didn't work hard, it's just that fleurima and I are like animals, and you know what? Time is passing SUPER fast.

This last week was literally a blur. This week is filled with activities so it, too, will feel super short. And this next week is hump day of the transfer.

Let's see.. all is well. Today at la sirena all the produce was 35% off so I just went crazy. I even got peaches, which I had no idea even existed here! I got 4 giant mangos, avacado, peppers, a pinapple, and peaches.. that ought to last me. And yes, I AM washing everything really well.

Congrats momma! That's way exciting, now you can take all the vacations you want without me. :) Nah, nah I'm not jealous... Oh who am I kidding of course I'm jealous. Europe, the beach, atlanta.. I can't even go to the beach.. ha it's a new rule, we can't go to the beach even just to put our feet in the sand..

Not too much more to say, I am going to look for some good recipes to cook this week. I have tons of fresh stuff. Oh, and creole food is interesting. it's almost just like here but it has more flavor, and they make tons of smoothies, which is definitely awesome. I'm taking full advantage of my comp.. haha including learning creol and french, which he is also fluent in.

I love you too. Thank you for taking care of cameron while I'm gone, he needed that, and I know he appreciated it too.

Yes, my english is really horrible... but speaking 3 languages isn't easy! ha.

Oh, and the package STILL hasn't gotten here. I'm not worried, it just means someone isn't doing their job, my guess is it's the dominicans.

Till next week, packageless, tireless, and not a second wasted,

-elder c. rufus sweeney