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

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