Monday, January 31, 2011

1-12-11 (these are out of order...sorry!)

Well, there´s not a whole lot to report on this week, it´s not a whole lot different from last week. I realized monday that I was broke because of the packages I got from you guys and ellen but it was TOTALLY worth it. I´d rather feel loved than have money, so packages are fine. But I may need to take some personal money out.. yeah sorry.
Anyway, I love hearing from you all. I get a letter every 2 weeks from Rachelle, it´s her 2 week update. We still keep in touch really well. I especially love the weekly update from you though, you crack me up in your letters momma. Also that email from alyssa made me laugh. She´s all over the place in her letters, just like in real life. She told me judd still hits people... has his voice changed at all? hahaha that kid cracks me up. And jake, how´s he hangin in there? I need to write him back but there´s not address on his letter.. I´ll just send you guys a letter I think with a bunch of letters to all the people from home... yeah. that´s what I´ll do.
Let´s see.. Oh yeah I wanted to tell you about a story about a really neat young man. His name is Manuel. We started teaching he and his family about a week ago, all except his dad.. His dad is..... well a lost cause. But his mom, him and his two sisters are so neat. He works as a mechanic. He´s always working, fixing motorcycles and such for not much money. Last time we taught him we asked him how he was, and he told as not great. We asked why, and he made a hand motion in front of his mouth that indicated he hadn´t eaten. He told us there wasn´t food. If Cindy not having clothes made me feel bad this just destroyed me. I wanted to feed him.. do something, but we don´t have money either like I said. Plus, like the old saying goes, give a man a fish and he´s fed for a time, teach a man to fish and he´s fed for life. So, we´re going to teach him the gospel to try and get him out of that situation. It´s honestly the best thing he can have.. the church, the gospel and the assurance that someone really does care.
Also, Eriberto, the man I told you about last week that needs a divorce to be baptized, says he´s going to get that TODAY! that´s way exciting.
Transfers are coming up next week. I pray that I stay with my trainer just one more transfer, but the word is that only 4 companionships in the whole mission are staying together. That´s... crazy. and I have this feeling since I´m learning the language they´re going to think I don´t need a trainer for 2 transfers, so they´re gonna send my comp to assistant (they´re changing that this transfer) and I´m going to be here in fantino for just one more transfer, probably with a dominican.. yeah i´ve thought out the details of what I think will happen.. we´ll see. ha i´ll let you all know for sure. My comp would make a heck of an AP though. He´s got that attitude and confidence.
I had a dream last night also. I think I know what I´m going to do for a living. I had a dream I was looking at an internet site for a big well known organization and it was just really poorly organized and difficult to understand, and there was no number to contact. There were just all kinds of problems with it. I realized that that´s really common, a lack of communication is the cause in a lot of wasted time, money and other assets. I want to make an organized way of connecting companies, making communication easier, cutting out crappy unnecessary spending and making time between business transactions shorter. I´ll keep thinking in that. I know there´s a way to do it i just need to think... only on p-days of course.
I really love p-days.. gives me a chance to think about myself for a bit. Sounds selfish but when I think about my investigators needs for the entire week in a different language I start to lose who I am. I don´t want that.
I am craving that apple dessert from cracker barrel so much right now.. aaaaaarggggghhhh no more about that. haha
I love you momma. And dad. I can´t wait for that other package, it´ll be like another christmas.
Tell the whole family I love them. The bro´s and sisters of course, but also shane and dianne, grandma and grampa and mark and melinda. Also, is talley gone? it´s so crazy to think she could be in malaysia right now... wow.
Ok, that´s it I think for this week. Till next week, not a second wasted---
Elder C. Rufus Sweeney



what a week. I´m so tired. I am so satisfied, but so tired. The good news is we got help here!!!! Yes, that´s right, last week we had our dedication of the chapel, and we had 130 people show up to the chapel! so awesome. The best part is that of those, we had 25 non members and 15 investigators. When the mission president saw all the people he decided that this tiny little town needed 2 more missionaries.. So he sent them that day. Elder Kinney and Elder De Leon joined the cause of turning this city into a district with high hopes and new life. It´s a completely american house. We all feel so good, we see the blessings of such a warm and welcoming town every week. I also see the blessings back home with everything going on.

also, we had a baptism saturday as you know. One of our baptisms fell through unexpectedly but the other is so strong. SUCH a good kid, Franci leocadio fernandez. The brother of Carlos Manuel. I had a baptism that I had my hand completely in. I have never felt more complete as a missionary, or as a human being for that matter, than when I have the oppotunity to partake in the ordinance of baptism. It´s so beautiful.
That whole family is going to be baptized. I will see it. I will not make it happen though, the lord will.

I don´t have too much time, I need to go to this activity at the church. It´s really important that I go tonight. I am so behind today because every 1st p day of the transfer we go to santiago. That drained me today. I got all the shopping done for a while and sent my letters and stuff. Still havent written to you all with all the letters for jake and the seminary students but i will next p day. I am soooooo tired. I work so hard. It shows on my face. I was so stressed this weekend and everything turned out fine, and finally tomorrow it´s just a regular day, which is in reality is a rest.

SO we now have a fantino district. Because of the work of walker and I and a couple other elders. It feels amazing. Downright incredible to be honest. It motivates me every day to work hard. It motivates me every day to learn spanish. I don´t know what happened, but when elder walker left my spanish went from decent to good. I could understand better, and more importantly I could speak better. Like.. a lot better. I can get around almost entirely now without too much trouble. It´s a good thing, because that 6 month mark is coming fast.

so, with almost 4 months down on the mission I feel really comfortable. I feel really good, I feel so privileged to be serving the lord.

I´m sorry that this letter was really short and def not detail oriented, but I just can´t think straight I´m so tired. I need to get to sleep good and early tonight.

btw, elder kinney is from california and elder de leon is from texas. They are both studs. Good missionaries. We´ll need it.

And one more thing, from here on out just send things by the regular mail, not by the miami address. When I told people that I got my packages through miami they laughed and called me a greenie. DEFINITELY USE THE OTHER ADDRESS.

alright.. that really is it. I love you momma and dad, thanks for continuing to support me. Keep it up.

Por fin, yo termine,

nos veremos mom and dad, in a little more than a year

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Thanks for the quick update. I am now not reading the dear elders when I get them in my email so i have something new to read when I get mail during the week.
Well.. ´It´s been by far the craziest week of my mission so far. As you may know, transfers were this wednesday, and elder walker.. sadly.. and unexpectedly.. left me. He went to San Francisco de Macoris as a zone leader, he´s such a stud.
So, I have a new comp. Elder Carpenter, another american from bakersfield, california. He´s 24 years old and really mature and ready to work, which is awesome. He came at a great time here in Fantino, we have 2 baptisms this saturday, which will be so great because he will immediately see the prosperity here. I am so ready to work with him and play the leader for a bit as I show him the members and investigators. He seems to be pretty good at spanish, so once i´ve done my bit in showing him the area i´ll let him take over the area..
here´s why it´s been so crazy this week... The branch pres, the leader and glue of this branch, is moving for the capital soon. To make things worse, so is his first counselor. Plus, one of the strongest members is wanting to get a divorce from his wife and move to the states to provide for his family here in the DR. It´s sad but i can almost see the justification in it.. the economy is in such a sad state here. Plus, as you know, we are trying to help another married couple in the branch stay together, which is not even our job, it´s the branch pres that´s supposed to handle that. But, it already feels like he has one foot out the door. So, all this responsability falls on us, as well as trying to juggle tons of investigators and get them baptized....
I have that nervous pit in my stomach that i got before golf tournaments all the time. I worry about this area. I care about this area. I love this area. I can´t bear to see it fall apart. So I feel like I need to step up, be a man, a leader, and fluent in spanish with just one transfer of spanish. SO, here goes the most stressful transfer of my whole mission.
i love you both, mom and dad. I love the whole family (matt slightly less than the rest since I havent heard a thing from him since i´ve been out)
I got that card from mike! awesome. I can´t wait for that package. haha I like the valentines day justification. Elder walker asked me about that the other day.. he asked me why i was getting another package.. i just said because I am working hard and it´s sort of like a ¨Hey, you´re no longer a disappointment of a son anymore, here´s proof I really think that.

Anyway, I love you all.. a ton. Pray for me, i need it. I need it for my energy.. i´m so tired. just worn out from working.. walking.. finding.. teaching.. but i love it. I love this work.
Alright, that´s it i think. Not too much time this week but this letter should suffice.
till next week in the DR, not a second wasted
elder c rufus sweeney


Ok i didn´t mean to make that sound so urgent but I only check this once a week so it´s important that you answer everything. I´ll answer all your questions, don´t worry. But, my one question is the login and password to my blog, i wanna see it. My comp maintains one and as long as it´s just on p days it´s not a problem so help me out and give me the password and stuff so i can see it. thanks!

also, just one more question.. i think. What is the email address of pres. keyes. I wanna write him but the address he gave me is wrong.

oh, and i´m really glad you haven´t sent the package because I can´t remember if i told you i needed one of these, but I need an electric shaver. I am shaving every other day now and I need something quick so i don´t have to waste so much time every morning.. ok so it´s not that much time wasted but they are just so stinking convenient. haha so.. just a cheap one is ok but it´s much appreciated. thanks

Alright, that´s it. To answer your question, I haven´t quite waded through all the candy you sent me. ;) I loved it, but it was a ton. And YES, I GOT THE PACKAGE FROM GRANDMA! I was so pumped to see it. There was some AWESOME stuff in there. So cool. Thanks grandma!

also, the package from ellen came. Wow. That´s all I can say. See´s candy tastes so much better than anything withen 500 miles of here. No joke. It´s incredible. Thank you so much elly.

But I¨ve been really good momma. I have a couple of good things this week to share.

first of all, we had an activity last wednesday night at the new chapel. It was REALLY successful, we had 49 people show up to an activity which is just unheard of. Not only that, but of those 49 people.. brace yourself mom and dad.. 29 were investigators. Yes, that´s right. It was.. wow just a miracle. That´s all you can say. We are trying to get 2 more missionaries here because we have.. we counted.. 58 progressing investigators. It´s just too many for 2 elders. It´s great that the work is awesome here but it would just suck to lose a soul because we are just stretched too thin.

miracle number 2: so to tell this story I need to rewind 3 weeks to the baptism of Carlos Manuel, the young man I got to baptize myself. Ever since his baptism his family has been really excited for baptism themselves, his father, mother and older brother. They are golden, just really good people and sort of my project I feel because I´ve been here the whole time in their progression. The problem is the father is stilled married to another woman. It´s really tough to get a divorce here and super costly, which is why marriage itself is really rare. Anyway, for the last couple lessons we´ve taught to this family the father has been getting up and leaving right before we teach, i sense because he´s afraid of acknowledging the fact that he has to get a divorce in order to get baptized. He knows the church is true.. he knows. But he doesn´t have much money so it´s really hard for him to get that divorce. We went to their house last night and taught the family without him there again, he had left earilier to work. Me, my companion, and the branch president shared one of the most beautiful messages I´ve heard on the family and the importance of being united. We all felt the spirit and a normally chaotic house was left peaceful and serene. The mom of the family said an absolutely incredible prayer and we left..

Meanwhile I was just a little disappointed that the father wasn´t there. As we were walking on the street we just ¨just so happened¨ to run into him (like i said in my talk, i don´t believe in coincidence anymore). I felt a really strong impression to mention the divorcio, but I didn´t have to. He mentioned. I can´t explain why but he brought it up. I just sort of looked at my Elder Walker and he looked at me. He wants to get it finallized. The president knows a member attorney who can settle his case less expensively. The joy that has filled my heart for the last day can only be described in D&C 18: 15-16. I love this work.

Also, like i said on the phone, the last 3 weeks have been hard. Like really hard. I have felt like a baby minus the cute qualities like being small and helpless. I have just felt like a big ugly baby. I couldn´t understand what people were saying to me, I couldn´t respond even if I did.

That brings me back to yesterday. We had a meeting with all the trainers and trainees in the mission, and president lee was in charge. It was miraculous.. i understood just about everything he said. Not only him, but the other dominicans also. I could also have real conversations, not just hey how are you doing conversations, with my dominican elder friends that I met in the MTC. I don´t know how to describe pure joy that i felt after that. Yesterday was one of the best days of my mission to date, with hopefully many more to come.

But, my point in telling you about our investigators progress and my language was to tell you about the power of fasting. It is, as president lee says, poderisimo. Super powerful. I fasted for my investigators and my language abilities and my investigators specifically and low and behold my prayers were answered in small but miraculous ways.

That´s it for this week. Till the next correo electronico (email), not a second wasted in the DR

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney


This week has been pretty wild, which is becoming the norm for me now. Sunday is the big news, we had 24 investigators at church. A HUGE success. We work hard though, so it´s nice to see the fruits of our labor. What´s really frustrating is missionaries that work just has hard as us but don´t see those kinds of results. I feel bad when other elders complain about having their investigators come to church, but we do some really specific things like walk around sunday morning and round everyone up.
It was so good to hear your voice momma. And dad too. I wish it was longer.. yeah, but it wasn´t too bad. I got to at least talk about the highlights of my mission so far, which actually was only 2 weeks up till then. Still... it was a little short. Good news about grandpa and shane though, that was good to know.

Let´s see... oh yeah talking to greg. His accent.. my gosh. it´s so clear. I had a full on conversation with a mexican elder today. I still don´t feel comfortable at all talking to dominicans. That´s the difference. It´s ridiculously hard to understand them. And so I keep getting called callado. I just want to listen and understand but people expect me to talk. So I try.. and it´s hard because I don´t know what they´re talking about. Anyway, it´s pretty tough. I can´t wait till i´m to the point where I can understand what pepole are saying up to speed.

Here´s kind of a cool story. Last week we were walking to church. We were about a block away when we heard a yell ¨Elderes.. ELDERES!¨ It was a lady who was a member but not from this city. She had apparently been looking for the church for a while but didn´t know where it was. She had said a prayer and not a minute later spotted us. It was a cool feeling, being instantly recognized as a sort of beacon of the church. People know us.. we´re kind of a big deal. ok that´s a joke but seriously, it´s neat being the answer to someone´s prayer. One of those testimony building moments for sure. Those happen a lot on the mission. I appreciate all of them but it´s hard to keep track of them all.

Ok so right now im at an internet center. The lady here is SO dominican. The way to say come here is ¨venga para aca¨ but this lady just said ¨venga p´aca¨.. they cut words and put them together here. It´s funny sometimes when I can understand them but not at all when I can´t... which is just about all the time.

Also, yesterday I tried at awesome dish called arroz con dulces. It´s in essence rice pudding.. but better. It´s warm and homemade so it tastes SO GOOD. my gosh. I can´t even describe it. wow. and i´ve heard habichuelas con dulces is even better, it´s like rice pudding but with beans. I´ve heard it´s incredible. That´s what my comp said at least. I´ll report.

We have been enjoying that package so much, my comp and I. I can´t wait for the next. We checked monday like every week for mail and not a single person got anything. That´s a little sketchy.. we think they forgot to send it from santiago. With christmas and everything it would be easy but still... suck. I´ll let you know if we get our packages next week. The artist that you didn´t write down right was sufjan stevens. Matt knows of him.

Let´s see..... oh i was gonna ask you, what´s the name of the blog that I have? my comp has one that he just updates himself. I don´t wanna do that, the comps are too slow, but i wanna see it. So just give me the login and stuff, much much appreciated. ¨:)

hmmmm.. yeah i haven´t heard anything from matt. That´s the only kid that hasn´t written me. I have appreciated a ton the letters from mike, ellen and joy though. They have been exactly what I needed sometimes. I hate that it takes forever to get to me but it´s honestly better than nothing.

As a greeney i hope i´m appreciating how much success we´re having here. I mean, i know there are elders that are working really hard but don´t have much success. I don´t ever want to take for granted fantino, it´s been a huge blessing but at the same time i wish i would have had a really tough area before this one just so i could appreciate the difference. Another wish that I have is the ability to communicate. I love the members here, and they´re all really tight, but I can´t appreciate them either because i can´t actually hold a conversation with a dominican.

I still love the work. Life as a missionary is so good. My trainer and I work hard, he pushes me to be the best I can be and my legs hurt every night but it´s a great hurt. I love the people here in the DR, and I love you all too. A lot. I´m always gonna be homesick here because it´s not home and it´s not familiar, but i will work hard these next two years and I will not waste a second.

ya tu sabes (you already know)

elder c. rufus sweeney