Sunday, February 27, 2011


So yeah I'm almost 6 months into the mission. I feel good. Really
good. I must say the days are long but the weeks are short, the weeks
are long but the months are short, the months are long but the years
are.. .well i haven't hit a year so I wouldn't know. But they're still
pretty long.

One thing that makes the days go by fast is a baptism. We had another
one this saturday, carpenter and I. His name is Oliver, he's another
studly young man that wants to serve a mission. What was really neat
was the lesson we had the other night with his mother. She is a really
kind catholic woman who had a huge smile and a humble home. She has
never been interested in our message but after her son's baptism she
has really warmed up. The lesson the other night was evidence to just
how powerful the spirit is. I bore my testimony, simple (because i
can't bear it too complexly in spanish) yet sincere, and asked her if
she had any questions or needed anything. That is something we always
ask, but it took her a little while to answer. Elder carpenter and I
realized it was because she was crying. Crying because she had felt
something she felt at the baptism, and quite possibly her tears were
tears of recognition that what she felt was not a coincidence, but a
testament from the Holy Ghost that everything is true. She will be
baptized. She knows it, I know it, and most of all God knows it, but
it's always her choice. I hope she follows through with her powerful
witness, but everyone has their agency, so in the end it's up to her.

Anyway, we are also teaching a perfect family. We took the branch
president to their house the other day and he was really pleased with
what he saw. They are progressing really well, I just hope they go to
church. I would love to marry and baptise a family, that's something I
haven't done yet and i hope to do before my time is up here in

Speaking of marrying a family, we have a marriage date for a couple,
Mela and Momo for the 5th of March. They are awesome, especially him.
He has a testimony of everything, and if they are going to follow
through with it it will be his doing. I hope i stay for one more
transfer here, but at the same time I really do want other elders to
be blessed with the opportunity to be in this area. It's an amazing
area, the members are excited, the branch president and second
counselor both leave with us, and I stil feel big things happening
here. It's an amazing work here. I thank God every day for all of our

That's a sufficient update on the work.. let's see.. Oh tomorrow we
travel to Bonao for a capacitation from the assistants. I love fantino
but it's always fun to leave the area for a bit and spread the
figurative wings for a bit.

My comp and I are still getting along. We actually cook quite a bit
together. We cooked scrambled eggs, sausage and peppers and onions
last night. It was fantastic! Especially the cheese we threw in there
at the end. I'm trying to make you jealous with the food I ate but i
just failed miserably.. haha you do it to me every week (secretly I
like it a little bit but it's cruel). I love to remember the different
foods I used to eat, it gives me something to look forward to when I
get back.

I love the mission. I wrote that melisa again today. She's fun to
write.. actually like more fun than rachelle. haha she's witty and
keeps up with my humor, i like it. Not to mention she's really
attractive.. we'll see what happens, but i'm just having fun for now.

Let's see.. oh I have some good pictures for you all. We had some
p-day fun today in a random field. Also, there's some videos i want to
send of my toenail and a man that's training his rooster for a cock
fight. Classic DR stuff.

Love you all. Take care of yourselves, especially momma. Catch up on
the sleep and don't be ashamed, you need it. I'll see you in just over
a year and a half.

till next week, not a second wasted here in fantino,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Monday, February 21, 2011


So yeah Carpenter and I are getting along pretty well as of now. He's a good teacher of very simple principles. He knows his doctrine through and through. He may have a few bad habits but the music you sent me should help aleviate some of his... well bad music.

I love that music so much btw. That sufjan stevens is so good. Wow, I really do love listening to compeletely new music. I forgot how good that felt.

The language.. ok so crazy thing happened this last week. Remember how I said at the beginning of the transfer my spanish increased exponentially, then near the middle plateaued, well as of about 5 days about i've been understanding like 80-90% of what is said to me. It feels good. I feel good. It's weird the way it works for me.. maybe it has been gradual and I just haven't noticed, but it seemed like it just all came at once. I can communicate myself with people and have a decent conversation even before the lesson.

Anyway that's freaking wild about the ice and stuff!! wow.. I can't believe they had to borrow power from Mexico.. how embarrassing.

It's really fun here to have tiny adventures on the way to lessons. We teach a lot but we also like to deviate a tiny bit and pick mangos and eat them off the trees. If you can.. why not? It's part of the culture, part of living here, part of being human to stop and smell the roses, even if it is for just a tiny bit. I'll send you a couple pictures of our adventures.

I love you guys. I can't wait till you guys come here and get to see what i've lived in for two years. It's a great life here, but very very different. I loved those two letters.. hahaha it was like reading a small novel.
so yeah that's what's new here on this front. The branch president here is like a dad to the missionaries. I love that guy. I'd do anything for him, presidente guitierrez. Great man, great leader and perhaps future area 70, he's general authority material no doubt. His daughter just came back from her mission this week.. she's an incredible woman. We'll be teaching with her a lot i'm sure.

ok.. yeah i think that's all I want to say. Carnaval is in town in the DR. It's a CRAZY few weeks. Google image it. It's straight from satan.. people whipping each other.. clown costumes... strange masks.. all in the name of religion. It's wild. But.. admittadely, kind of fun.

Again, I love you guys. I love the mission. Every day is similar but so different. Crazy things happen daily here. I was pooped on by a bird the other day.. my toenail fell off.. it's just absolutely nuts the experiences on the mission.

Till next week, not a second wasted

-elder c. rufus. sweeney :)


Here again in Fantino. It's been a really, really short week. They just keep getting shorter. I think as you work and forget about everything from home and focus on every one of your investigators the days are pretty much all just the same. It's really cool to experience the thing that all the R.M.'s talk about. The best two years. It's true.

So yesterday I had a really interesting experience with following the spirit. We were done with our two morning lessons and headed to lunch a little early, but I told my comp that I wanted to walk the other way and make a small loop. It wasn't long before we figured out exactly why. One of the two recent converts of walker and I, juleysis, had been a little cold on us missionaries of late, specifically my comp. We don't know why, but we figured it was because she really loved walker and was still recovering from the loss of him being gone. We still don't know why, but as of yesterday she has opened up to us. On the way to lunch we gave her a short yes powerful lesson on prayer, and she and elder carpenter were laughing together. I actually haven't seen that very much from him. Anyway, after that I have decided that

1. I will NEVER, EVER reject a spiritual impression. In any circumstance. They are powerful and real.

2. I will always qualify for the spirit to be with me so I can follow it's impressions.

I love the mission. Carpenter and I have 8 baptismal dates, and one this saturday. I am so happy. The young man that we are baptizing just got permission from his father. The timing was really strange and yet again strengthened my testimony of the fast. We began our fast for our investigators who had been impeded by their parents from being baptized, and that day oliver told us his dad gave him permission. Coincidence? Idk, but as I've said even before my mission I just don't believe in coincidence. Everything happens, great and insignificant, necessary and profuse, absolute and relative, for a reason. A very specific reason. We are part of a very intelligent plan of a creator of many worlds, and, as Elder Richard G. Scott says, we as human beings can communicate with the God.

I am always tired. Like you said, it's just perpetual. Such is the mission. Never a day goes by that I don't think about cuddling with holly on my warm, somewhat stinky bed. (she made it that way.... not me............ i think)

I got that package! I love it. Man I really love it. Especially the calender. Shutterfly has an incredible business. I totally forgot about the picture of me with the american flag shirt and the american flag. That's from P.C. How's he doing anyway? Still bp right?

More on the way, I have to look at the questions right quick that you sent me... hold on.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


1. Jimmer Fredette! I knew he was good, but when I watched him last year I had no idea he was THAT good. That is so freaking cool. Good enough for KD to compliment him? wow. just.. thats all i can really say. wow.

2. A BLIZZARD?? whaaaaaaaat? that´s a ridiculously rare occurrence. how are the global warming specialists handling that one?

3. I never got a message back from rachelle after mine... hahaha idk what that deal is. It´s beginning to look like carly vongchonyakul. remember that? yeah.. oh well. When life gives you lemons... you squeeze them in the font and baptize people in it.

So, it´s actually been a really tranquilo week. whoa.. i didn´t realize i just used a spanish word. It´s been really chill. we showed the new elders around and they already love fantino, especially enriquez and the man who serves us food and the juice man across the street from our house.

So, i guess I never have described the scenery here. I think this email is going to have a lot more of the pictures from the scenery i´ve taken and a couple of the baptism. A couple times I have been walking through the campo.. or the country and have just stopped open mouthed dead in my tracks at the sunset or the green of the rice fields or a flower i didn´t know existed. That´s all i can describe to you without pictures. Words just don´t do it justice.

One of the problems here in this country is, in some of the more densely populated and poorer parts there is a lot of garbage. It´s really sad. This is the most beautiful place I have ever been and the people here destroy it with garbage.

Another thing I have noticed here is that, while there are tons of mosquitos, TICKS DO NOT EXIST. It´s beautiful. I can walk through the long grass all day and not get a single indestructible blood sucking parasite crawling on me. It´ll be hard to go back to the states, especially oklahoma, where they exist.

but, that doesn´t mean I don´t miss america. For instance, and to answer your question once and for all, no we do not have hot showers. I never have hot water. However, as of about a week and a half ago we have a stove, so I´ve been cooking quite a bit. I just cooked homemade oatmeal this morning with brown sugar and peanut butter and it actually turned out really good! Also, i cooked mac and cheese with salami which is sort of a delicacy for me now.. salami i mean. It´s magical in this country. It´s cheap, has a long shelf life, not terribly unhealthy and actually tastes pretty good. So, I use it with everything. I am going to make a toasted egg and salami sandwich later, i´ll let you know how that goes.

The work here in fantino is still progressing really well. This week has been a really special week. Elder carpenter and I have talked a lot about the idea of getting people to gain their own testimony before baptizing people because baptizing less actives is a big problem here on the mission. The sad thing is that the people like the missionaries, so they get baptized... (yaaaaay...) then, when the missionaries se fue (leave), so do the people (booooo...). So, we have been focusing just about all of our investigators on

1. praying to know if the church is true, getting a confirmation for themselves

2. knowing what they will do when they get their answer

The reason for focusing on that is.. well.. a couple of Elder Walker and I´s baptisms are a little.. weak. Our plan is that all the ones who really have a desire will do it, will read, will pray and will know for themselves, and those who are not so serious we will drop. that´s how we are going to sort through our investigators.

Luckily, the 2 young men that I have baptized are really strong and know it´s true. Carlos Manuel and Franci. dos bacanos (studs).

Let´s see... Oh Elder carpenter. He´s an interesting guy... like really interesting. Definitely not as excited to work as elder walker but is at least willing to work, so i´m pushing him. He´s a good guy.. he really does care about the people he just shows it in a different way and sometimes, maybe because they are used to the way walker was, he comes off as pretentious. He sort of reminds me of a perfect combination of scott sweeney and a roommate i had at byu, big al.

Having 4 missionaries in a house is SO different. Wow. There is always something going on, it´s great. last night for p-day eve we sat on the roof and talked and joked and got really close. Today in the morning we played basketball, which was waaaaaaay more fun than I ever remember it being. I forgot how awesome sports were. I think we are going to go to bonao one day for p-day and golf. That should be pretty awesome. haha

Oh, and the package situation. Yeah I found out the other day that it´s just about as safe to send it straight to the DR and i won´t be broke. they took out 1700 pesos from my personal account so this three week period i´m broke again, they only give you 5000 per transfer.. not a whole lot but when a third is taken by a package it´s def not enough. Anyway I´ll make it but please, please use the other address. It´s a lot easier for me momma. Thanks.

Well, all is well in fantino. really well actually. A lady at the internet center just handed us oranges. This place isn´t so bad.. Everyone thinks they are our adopted dominican parents.

I got the package from mark and melinda. Loved that. It was more incredible american food.

Well, all I can say about the cat situation is... good luck. I hear you already caught one? that´s good. I´m glad you have persuits back at home. It keeps you young.

It´s been a good 6th of my mission. I have come to grips completely with the fact that I´m in a foreign country. I am genuinely happy. I realized the other day I have a suitcase and a half of stuff and am happy. really puts some perspective in life.

I love you both. So much. I miss you every day and look forward to your advice every week. I eagerly await the valentines package, i really need a calender :)

Till next week, not a second wasted here in the DR,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney