Sunday, August 12, 2012

Down to 2 Transfers

Well, I'm now on the countdown on the mission. Two transfers. Two short transfers and I'm back at the house. Today two missionaries that were going home stopped by the house and talked for a second. Elder De Leon (the one that lived with me in Fantino for 2 transfers) and Elder Newmeyer, who was asistent and served in this area as ZL for 4 transfers. It was cool seeing them, but it made me realize just how short my mission is. I only have 2 more transfers... Elder De Leon was a greenie when he was with me in Fantino, tomorrow he'll be boarding a plane to Texas... Time is so short now.. I won't get too sentimental though, promise.

There has been an increase in the delincuency in my area. The other night the police drove by and fired a shot in the air to break up a group of gangsters. We're fine though, no need to worry, just something I've been noticing about the entire country, the delincuency is horrible. Again, don't worry, I'll be home for Christmas, alive, well, and happy, I just tell you this to tell you about things in general.

That looks like a really sweet vacation you're on. Do you guys have to travel the world after I'm gone? I know I'm in a foreign country, but you don't have to go and get jealous and travel everywhere without me. Nah, but I'm a little jealous though, I must say. I was laying down for a nice p-day nap today when the power went out and with it my fan.. Say goodbye to any sort of rest when the light goes here.. It's not gonna happen. I just laid there, sweaty, in my bed for about an hour, got up in frustration and took a cold shower to cool off. Now, I'm sweating again in this internet center. Sometimes I feel like these next 2 months couldn't go fast enough.

We've been working with a really great little family right now. They've been progressing beautifully. They're reading the book of mormon, loving it, and praying and what not. We just need to get them to church. Shouldn't be too hard, they're already friends with the bishop. The bishop is the man, by the way. I don't know if you've heard, but the bishop actually served in the area I'm in now for 9 months, and not to long ago. I think about a year and a half ago. So a bunch of his baptisms are now the sheep of his ward.

We have a baptism this Saturday. His name is Arjenis. He's actually one of the rising stars in this country in basketball. He's on the youth traveling team and he plays all over the carribean. He's about 6' 6" and only 17 years old. Great kid. It's been crazy teaching him and we've had to change around our schedule to be able to teach him, but it's been totally worth it. He was actually taught a long time ago by my father in the mission, Elder Walker and still just loves Walker.

One more thing and maybe the most important thing in this letter.. I need that personal card ASAP. The packages that were already sent are costing me HUGE money and the little bit of money that I had for emergencies from the last apoyo ran out, along with all of this one in a matter of 3 days. In other words, I have almost no money, and there are 12 days until the next apoyo comes. It's a need now, I need that personal card.

I love you two. I am glad you are having a great time on your vacation. You both needed it. Don't worry, I'm sweating enough for the both of us here.

Till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

No Pictures.....:-(

Well, this week has been a great week. I´ll just start with something disappointing, I forgot my camera again.... I feel terrible, but I went to get a rash checked out with the mission doctor and on the way home we used internet.. So I didn´t get a chance to grab the camera. Shoot.. I feel way bad.

But momma, I would LOVE to teach seminary there a few times! Let me at those kids, I´ve been reading the new testament a lot lately and I think I actually may learn a lot myself if I teach seminary. I think the teacher learns more than anyone else as far as seminary goes.. Actually as far as most things go.

I talked to the doctor today about my future career. I had no idea the medical field was so vast. It has a whole branch that doesn´t even deal with people directly on a day to day basis. That´s definitely the branch I don´t want. I want to work as an opthomologist or an anesthesiologist. I´m not sure I spelled either of those right.. But I´m liking them both after talking to the doctor today.

It turns out that the rash I had was jock itch, or athlete´s foot but on my privates. It´s been so stinking humid here it´s not a shock to me. I think I may actually enjoy the dry heat in Oklahoma just because.. It´s dry. I don´t know if it will even feel as hot to me. Is there a breeze? If there´s at least that I´m ok.

That´s cool news about the Gowen girl! It´ll be cool having her in the branch for a time. I´ll be sure and take her out and be social with her with people that are good influences.. Wow. that´s not very many people in Ada. It´ll be neat to golf with her too though.

Well, not too much to tell you about. It´s just.. the middle of the transfer, normal challenges, normal events, I´ve had a week full of exchanges this week. Yesterday there was one with the assistents and Monday we had one with a DL, then tomorrow I have one with Elder Seastrand, a good friend of mine in the mission. It´s actually kinda weird.. When we first met, we both looked familiar to the other. I asked him if I knew him, he told me he didn´t know and said I looked way familiar too. It turns out Taylor Johnson, my freshman year roommate from BYU was his best friend, and he was in my apartment at Wyview quite a bit. Now we´re good friends from the mission.. It´s weird, but it´s pretty cool how it worked out.

Other than that, not too much news. I still feel like 2 months is pretty far away, but we´re then again I thought 4 months was forever, and 2 months went by lightening fast, and that´s all the time I have left.

Well, I´ll see you shortly. I love you two. I miss you. I´ve dreamed about you quite a bit..
Just being with my family again. It´s God reminding you how much I really need you two.

Till next week, always thrusting in the sickle, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

A Little Miracle

Ok, next week for sure I will send pictures. This week has been a little crazy, like we played basketball and stuff, so I haven't been able to go by the house and get the camera. Don' worry, next week is sure. And I have a lot of pics to send too.

Wow. That. Letter.. Was.... Wow. It really hit me. Hard. I saw it. My trip home. I saw it in front of my eyes. I saw it with my eyes. I felt it with my heart. It's so close. Wow.

Well, this transfer is blowing by. We had a baptism last saturday, that was really neat. I got to see the young man that my trainer was teaching get baptised. We really saw the Lord's hand in that. He was a gift. I don't know if it was the Lord's little way of reminding us why we were working hard or because the Lord just REALLY wanted Argenis baptised so he could go on a mission, but it was a gift nonetheless. I'll send pictures of that next week.

The apoyo got here. It was a crazy week. Each day of the week we were scraping by. Last Thursday we went in to see Elder Fuller to get a small amount of money to try to survive, but that was gone by saturday, and the funds we supposed to get here on Tuesday. Friday night, when every last peso was gone, I prayed that someone would come along to help us. I don't know if I've prayed that hard very much in my life. It was silly, but really there was nothing left in the house and there was no money. Well, lo and behold an old missionary that served here that I barely knew showed up at the front door at about 1:00 in the afternoon. He never told me he was coming by, he didn't NEED to show up, heck I barely knew the guy in the mission, but there he was, Nick de la France. He offered me help and I saw that as the answer to my prayer. He gave me a little bit of money, which lasted me exactly till the funds got here on Wednesday. It's amazing how the Lord knows his children. You can call in coincidence, but I just can't believe in that anymore.

Well family, I can't wait to get home soon. I am pumped to see you two. It'll be more than just you two that I see in a bit. Ha Joy, I am looking to seeing you two, and getting to know your sons again. I love you.

Be safe, be good, keep eating healthy, we'll see you soon.

till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Still Plugging Away....

That was a great letter. Wow. I am not trunky.. Ok I�m just a tad trunky. But it�s still not affecting my work. I don�t think about home all that much, but it�s really tempting with all the news and movies and events and friends and changes--in fact, I think it�s almost downright impossible not to think about home some. It helps to have a Latin comp. He doesn�t really know too much about American culture so he doesn�t let me get too trunky, just because he doesn�t know about it. But, just in my own time I�ve thought about it.�

About the card, I�m gonna check to see if I can call if it comes during the week sometime. Thank you so much for helping me out. I really was stressed about it (and still am a tad) but it�s all good. I feel like I can rest easy knowing that it�s on the way. Salvation is on the way. It turns out that with the support money they give us I was about 1200 pesos short, of like 35 dollars. It doesn�t sound like much, but that is a HUGE deal when you are barely scraping by as it is. What�s really strange is that Elder Fuller, the missionary in charge of finances, hasn�t a clue about where my money is. It�s tough with him, because if money is lost, it�s almost always lost for good. He has about a year in his position (he�s a senior missionary) and he still doesn�t really know what�s going on.

Anyway, enough complaining, something cool about here in Los Jardines is that one of the members, hermano vicente, is on now. Here�s the link

Good stuff...

Well here in the area we�re doing well. Still plugging away, trying to find that great, golden family that�s so sought after. We�ve found a couple prospects, but we keep looking just in case. haha

It�s really hot here. I�ve had a bit of diarreah for the last day or so, but I haven�t felt too bad so I�ve kept working. I probably just ate something weird.. Wait, all I eat are weird things compared to the states, so it shouldn�t be too much of a surprise that I have diarreah.

Oh, I have to tell you about the meeting on Saturday. I was able to see Elder Wilkinson, which was an awesome surprise. He�s with Elder Kimball, which is also cool. We ate burgers from the grill with everything you can imagine and talked about Bonao, being ZLs and just life in general. One of the things we talked about as well was news from the states, which I can�t believe you didn�t tell me about. The Colorado movie theater shooting is HUGE news here. Everyone is talking about it. It�s so intense. I got a bit worried about it because Matt lives in Denver, but I trust you didn�t mention it because Matt definitely WASN�T there at the theater, right?

Well, I have to wrap this up. I�m really tired, I need to sleep. It doesn�t surprise me too much about d.

I love you two, I can�t wait to see you in a couple months. Ha that�s so short. Wow, so short.�

Till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

A Good Week

Great letter. Thanks for that. Just seeing the mountains cooled me off.. Heat is all in the mind as they say here in this country...

This week has been great actually. Monday we had the interview with the new president. It was really cool what he was saying, his willingness to help and the appreciation he has for his missionaries. He already carries himself like an old mission president. He is very caring and has a super strong desire to get to know his missionaries and know exactly how he can serve us. He is willing to leave with us and eager to do so, and has openly expressed his disgust for doing just administrative and paper work. He wants to work, go out and wear out his shoes.

Also Hermana Douglas has been really great. She is super social and so determined to learn Spanish is unbelievable. In the interview with her she really lit a fire in me. She asked me exactly what I wanted to accomplish for the next 3 months of my mission, what she calls the ¨prime¨ of the mission. She told me to consult the Lord and write down whatever He impressed me to do. That was truly what I needed. I´ve got a specific vision of what I want to do. Both hermana Douglas and President Douglas are inspired leaders.

Today my comp and I woke up, headed outside to find a few ripe mango, with which we made an great mango smoothie. I love this country. Literally the trees are FULL right now with mangos an avacados. They are both so good here. Anyway, I took pictures of the whole spectacle, from start to finish, and I´ll be sending you pics of that.. maybe not this week but for sure the next.

After this we´ll be headed to Hato Mayor, an area in my zone, to make burritos. A mexican missionary knows how to make them really well, so a group of like 10 missionaries are going over there, Elder Pinkston is coming up from Bonao, and I think Elder Wilkinson may be able to as well, but that´s a little less sure. It should be awesome.

Then at 3:30 we´re going over the a bowling alley for a zone activity. I told President Douglas about it yesterday and he approved, in fact he said he may just pass by and join us. He is so very different than President Lee.

As for this week, transfers are coming up next Wednesday. I honestly am not expecting a change as far as our companionship goes, but that´s fine with me. Elder Castro and I have actually become pretty good friends. I´d be ok with one more with him.

Let´s see.. I think that´s it as far as the mission goes. A lot of changes and exciting things happening here. The seasons are changing, and I´m about finished. Just 2 more transfers. One time training. End. That gives me so much motivation. I will not coast, this is the prime of my mission. I can´t coast, the Lord expects so much more than that.

That´s all I have for this week. I love you two. I can´t wait to see you. 3 months.

Till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

A Birthday for the USA and Changes in the Mission

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MIKE! And the U. S. of A. Wow. This day totally snuck up on me. I was thinking it was the 2nd or 3rd. I ate a hot dog and frech fries in Pricemart today. It was great.

Well, I appreciate you taking care of my card. I feel bad you had to do it, but I didn't know the process was so simple to get it back, that's good news. The best way for you to send it is straight here, it goes through the mission pouch that way, so that's better than the regular mail I think.

I am super tired, but it was a good week. I feel like that's mainly what I send you about now, about my fatigue, but honestly it's the biggest thing I'm fighting right now. Apart from the fact that I'm older in the mission, my comp is like the freaking energizer bunny, he needs barely any sleep and he's just fine. I don't understand it. He's like Cameron in a way. So, we keep getting back late from our last appointment, for whatever reason (sometimes it's a person that talks a lot, sometimes it's because it starts late), then we have a 15 minute walk home. So, we get home at almost 10, haven't eaten dinner, so we buy a little something at a little market here called a colmado, where we eat like a piece of bread and some cheese or a little cake, then we go home, plan, and by the time I'm showered and done with the prayer it's like 11:30- 12, which is just horrible.. I can't keep doing that and survive the next 3 months. I'm going to wear myself out too much. So we've put the goal to get back ON TIME! I've tried to make that reeeeally clear with my comp. We'll see what happens.. It's even starting to wear down on him though, he's starting to yawn a bit more lately..

Well, not too much happening here. We had a family home evening with a great couple that we're teaching. She's from Spain and he's from here. The story with them was that she stopped us in the street and told us that she had met a new friend on facebook that directed her to his profile on She took interest in the church and told him she'd flag down the missionaries when she got the chance. That she did, and then we began teaching her, basically starting from scratch. She was just about atheist before, more or less, because that's what she grew up with in Spain, and her husband wasn't super believing either. Through our teachings she has felt her faith grow.. or at least has faith now. That is so cool to know, that because of the spirit and true doctrine she now believes in God. Anyway, Monday in the family home evening they prepared us just a wonderful meal, kind of half spanish half Dominican food, soooo good. I think it was the best food I've had here in this country. Then we shared a great message and felt the spirit super strong. I think they may get baptized.

Welp, I think that's about it on our front as far as investigators goes. We're starting to find some good families now, which is great, a nice reward for a lot of work and determination and fasting. It's been two really tough transfers.

The new mission president is really great. It is so different.. Wow. It's a little strange because President Lee was a little hard to approach, but the new mission president is so warm and caring. Sister Douglad came here without knowing any Spanish, but on Sunday, when they came to our ward, she nobly stood up and bore her testimony. She brought a computer to be able to read so that she could get her point across, but she is so darn determined. It's sweet. It's amazing. He already seems like he knows what's going on. He's either super amazingly inspired and blessed, or a great faker. I'm thinking it's the former.

I am getting so excited to go back to BYU. But.. Not trunky. Not too trunky.. Not.. Ok a little trunky. But it doesn't show.

Be good you two. Enjoy your trip. I'll be home soon.

Love you,

till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

A Birthday and a Lost Wallet

Wow, you´re right. A third of a pregnancy. That stage when they don´t even start showing yet. Whoa... Soon.

Well, today has been a pretty crappy day. We went to a museum as a district and when we got out we took a ruta (a taxi like car that drives a route) in which my wallet fell from my back pocket. I didn´t realize it until I got out of the car and arrived at the ATM, tried to take out money, and got a sinking feeling in my stomach. I called Elder Fuller, the office elder in charge of financial stuff, and had him cancel the mission card, then he came and let me use a phone to call and get my personal card cancelled. I let momma know, she should have done it by the time you get this message. So, the only important thing that was lost in the wallet was the driver´s license (how much does that cost to get replaced?) and the wallet itself. I didn´t really have any money in there. So, it wasn´t a huge deal. But now it´s going to be a little bit hard to get a birthday package.. Which I don´t feel too bad about, it´s just now I don´t have the security of a personal card in case of emergencies. That´s the only thing that stresses me out right now.

So, I have a couple questions. First of all, what does that mean for my personal card? I do only lack 3 months, it´s not a huge deal that I have it or I don´t... But, when I get back, how hard will it be to get a new one? Also, the driver´s license.. do I need the old license to get a new one, or will the passport work as identification?

Well, apart from that stress I´ve been fine. I really have felt just awful since losing it, like kinda depressed. I don´t know how it happened. I always put my wallet in my back pocket.. I wasn´t there. I am utterly confused. But, I haven´t given up either. I told the bosses at the ruta´s center that if they got a wallet turned in to call me. They accepted. Still hoping.

Anyway, my thunder.. Wow. That may be the only thing that depresses me more than the wallet situation. I can´t believe they got destroyed so severely...

Well, it´s official. Zack is the best looking male in the family. Shortly followed by brody. I think Matt held that title for a while, but Zack´s cuteness overtook the grizzly beard.

We have been working like horses in this area this past week. It´s been good I suppose. I´ve had a ton of rejection, but it´s not near as bad as some missions, namely Holland, so I can´t complain. We found one man that we´re really hopefull for, keeping our fingers crossed and fasting and praying a ton. Gotta love the work.

So, that´s the big news. Oh, and it´s hot here. Like really hot. I think we rival Oklahoma here, especially with humidity, and we´re out in the sun all the time. This is why young people serve missions I´ve decided.

Well, 21 years old I´ve decided doesn´t mean much if I´m just going to act like a 15 year old and leave my stuff (especially important stuff) everywhere. But, I´m trying, I really am, to be organized. I´ve gotten a lot better on the mission about being neat and clean. You´ll see when I get home. I am especially good in I just have to maintain cleanthliness and not pick up other people´s messes. Ha I´ll have to do that as dad though so I better get used to it.

And yeah, you never answered the question about Scott´s wife. Who is she? ha I want that answered, and the other questions I asked. Don´t forget about those.

Here we go, into the last leg of the mission. New mission pres gets here Friday. I want to take him out, he lives in my district, I want to take him out contacting within a few weeks of his arrival so he can get a good feel of what it´s like here for the average missionary. That´s important.

I love you two. I will see you soon... enough. Still doesn´t seem like it´s going to end. We´ll see in a transfer if I still feel this way. Be good, safe, and not negligent like your son.

Till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Changes Ahead....

Wow... Wow. That is upsetting. The thunder lost. The hope of the
west.. is down 3-1 to the bad guys. It would be great to press them
and win a game in Miami so we could have them on our turf for games 6
and 7. Stranger things have happened... But I just don't want Lebron
to win.

Ok, so not too much new on our front. Yeah, we get a new mission pres
this week. That's just nuts! I will miss president Lee, I really will,
he's treated us so well. He and Hermana Lee have shown us so much
love. I think president Lee probably has 3 times the grey hair he had
when he got here. They do so much for us.

But it's time for them to go. The new mission president aparently got
#1 lawyer of the year. He speaks pretty good spanish from what I've
heard. He and his wife have a charity in India that they are putting
in the hands of someone else while they serve their missions. They
sound like really quality people. I know I'll miss President Lee in
some ways, but it'll be cool having an American mission pres.

We played soccer today for the zone activity. That was cool. None of
us were super good, there were a couple that were pretty good from
Chile, but the majority of us just had fun and puttered around. It was
less soccer and more just chasing the ball around, which was fine
because I needed to just run. I walk waaaaaay too much.

I have a question, Scott is married??? I had no clue. When did this
happen? Who is marlina? (is that her name?) Is she nice? From Ada?
That took me by surprise, sorry. I don't wanna ask any clown
questions, bro.

Hey, I turn 21 Sunday. Weird. That means Joy is 26. That I think is
even weirder. I'm getting old.. The whole family is getting old. Soon
we'll be carrying on the risk tradition but with Zack and Brody.

But yeah, be looking for a good place over there at the Y. Justyna
said the Avenues was good. She is leaving for the mission this week. I
don't know if I told you, but she was called to the San Diego mission
as well, so she'll meet Rachel! She's spanish speaking, but what if
Rachel trains her? Food for thought.

Speaking of Spanish speaking.. My comp. Ha I'm getting used to him
now. I can understand him just about perfectly now. He speaks REALLY
fast and REALLY unclear, so I figure if I can understand him I can
understand just about anyone.

What else.. I am tired still. I don't know if I've ever been more
tired than any time in my life. But, it's been so good for me. As much
as I love being ZL though, I really would love to finish my mission as
just a DL or maybe even training.. Either way in Puerto Plata. That
would make it just.. complete. Finishing on the beach. Nice.

I love you two. Be safe.

Till next time, as a 21-year-old, not a second wasted

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Thundering up in the DR and other fun stuff

I just want you guys to know.. I just stood up in this internet center and shouted because of what you wrote me! I am so pumped that the thunder won!!

Today has been a wonderful day. First of all, it hasn´t been near as hot here as normal. In other words, instead of 100 it´s like 93.. and also my son, Elder Johnson, came to visit me! He and his son are really awesome. They came here for their p day santiago, and we went to eat at burger´s ya, this burger joint that makes the best burgers in Santiago, and now he´s here in the internet center with me.

So, this day has been a bit of reminiscing about home, about the mission, and now, reading your letters, a bit more about home. Yes, I think I can say it, I do feel trunky. I feel it, but it´s not a feeling that hurts, more like a feeling of excitement. There´s a difference. One distracts you, the other motivates you. I have the motivating trunky right now. It´s the type of trunky that, if I´m not careful, could turd into the first kind, the discouraging type. But, for now, I just feel excited. I can´t wait to see you guys.

Monday was intense. First, we left with a member, a young man named anthony who is a baptism from last transfer of Mejía and I. We got 4 lessons with him. So, then later that night we left with two other endowed members, so we were able to do an exchange with them, each lesson counting as a member present. My member and I got 6 lessons, my comp and his got 3, so we finished the day with 13 lessons with a member present. That was pretty cool.

Yesterday was also pretty interesting. We left in the morning and went to an appointment with a man, finished up the lesson and walked past a house that I decided to contact. Outside of the house there was a dog loose, and it looked cute and harmless so I sort of made the motion to call it to me. That ticked the dog off and it started growling and ran up to me, I sort of used my bag to protect myself as it lunged, and luckily the man that lived in the house came out and called the dog off of me before it could actually bite.

I´m not necessarily scared of dogs biting me, I know that won´t kill me, it´s just the idea of going into the hospital here that scares me so much. I know I automatically have to check myself for a series of diseases if that happens, and I just hate being in hospitals here, especially if they have to stick something in me. But, it worked out ok and I wasn´t harmed. Good grief that scared me though. I have a vendetta against that dog though.

About my comp.. It´s been a good thing, it´s just been a bit of an adjustment. Elder Mejía is quiet, to himself, funny, just a really easy guy to get along with. My comp now is a big noisier, so I´m having to get used to the 2 different types of personalities. But, he´s a really great guy, great with the scriptures, a super hard worker and extremely obedient.

Yes, momma, I´m getting your letters. I just don´t like to read them on p day, I like to wait until I get them in paper form, and sometimes they just come late. But I love hearing about your horse search and your triumphs and a school teacher and your girl search in Oklahoma. It´s fascinating. And it´s worth responding to, I just forget about it when Wednesday comes around because I get your letters on Friday, but no worries, they´re all kept neatly in a box.

Sunday we ate at a really cool family´s house. I don´t know if I told you, their daughter goes to BYU (not the peruvian, the other). Their son is a huge NBA basketball fan so he´s always giving me updates, like what´s going on with the Thunder. I think he may like the Lakers, so he may be going for the Heat, but whatever, he gives me updates regardless.. Ha he´s gonna have to swallow his pride and accept that the Thunder are the better team.

I am gonna wind this up, with the hope that by the next letter the Thunder have a trophy and Elder Sweeney is fully adjusted to his new comp. I think both of those things will happen. Tell grandpa I love him if he remembers me, I´ll see him soon, and you two as well.

Be safe, carefull, well, and happy,

Till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Transfers bring a new Companion!

Wow. What a fantastically long and great letter. I had heard about the Thunder beating the spurs, I must admit. I have my sources of great knowledge.... Ok they're just members here in Los Jardines, but they are really great about updating me. Tonight is a big night.. And today in general is a big day.. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
First of all, it was transfers today. I stayed where I was, Los Jardines but my comp was transfered out to Puerto Plata (lucky dog...). Now I have a new comp, Elder Castro. This guy has TONS of energy. He is a hard worker, super obedient, and reeeally young, just what I need in the mission. He hits a year a week from Saturday, so he went up to zone leader really early in the mission. He is cool, talks a little bit.. ridiculously fast so it's a little hard to understand him at times. Ha Dominicans are just.. well really hard to understand sometimes. They don't speak clearly, simply put. But, it's not a problem, I just tell him to repeat it. I understand almost 100 percent of the time the 2nd time.

2nd of all, that phone call needs explaining. One of our investigators' sons is in the hospital because he had an accident the other Sunday. He needed blood, but I wasn't sure that if I gave blood I would be able to ever give blood again in the states. That was my question. I loved hearing mom's voice though, if not for just a second. 

I haven't gotten a letter from anyone for a while. That's not a complaint.. that's a testament to just how little time I have left. Today I hit 1 year and 8 months in the mission. 20 months. 4 more to go. That's amazing. But you're right. I can let that get into my head and ponder upon in again and again and again or I can put my head down and just work. Really, time doesn't matter, it's completely independent, so it shouldn't influence how hard anyone works in the mission. Never. 

I am a bit worried though, what have you heard about BYU? Do you more or less have anywhere picked out or thought about for me? It's less than 6 months away, I'm not sure what the housing deadline is, but it seems like I should be really seriously looking by now.

Oh grandpa. I just love seeing that big smile of his. He is so happy looking. So relaxed. So thrilled to just be alive. That's how I would like to spend the last few years of my life.

And Joy. Not very happy. But if that's the end, that's the end. I'll see her when I get back. I love her, let her know that.

Well, I haven't heard an update from Matt for quite a while. If you get a chance to speak with him, tell him to write, thanks.

Let's see.. This last week we had a baptism. She's really sweet, a doctor recently married. Her husband should be baptised soon too. Great little family, now she's pregnant. 

I hear the Thunder fans are the craziest in the NBA. Is that true? I want to go to one of their games really bad.

I think that's it. A little scatterbrained. I've been craving something sweet lately, like granola or something like that. So, if that makes it in my package I wouldn't be upset.

I love you two. So much. Be good and safe you two. I'll see you soon..

Till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Enjoying the Work

What a great letter. I think, of all the letters you've written, that was probably one of the top 5 most trunky. You mentioned everything from food to golf to family and everything in between. How is Sean and his marriage going?

Mike is going to be 2nd counselor, eh? Haha that's awesome news. I'm so proud of him. The man is established, what can I say. He's the man. He's at a good stage of life, Kids are young, he's still young, he's got a career, a good calling. Life is pretty good for the man. I miss Mike, tell him to write me a bit more. I think I promised him a letter and never got it written, but this zone leader thing is robbing my time. Tell him to write me an email and I'll make writing him a priority.

Ok, so we have a baptism this weekend. It's been good in that regard but after this baptism.. We don't have much else. It's been so tough here. We contacted an entire apt complex (like probably 1/4 the size of wyview) and only got in one door, the very last one we contacted. That was a cool lesson though. He arranges music, and is actually really talented on the Piano. In this country, that is ridiculously rare. Like.. I'm talking one in a million... literally. So he took interest in the BoM, and we're hoping he has a bright future as ward pianist. It would be cool to have a ward with a pianist that wasn't a missionary.

Ok, in other news transfers are next week. Those aren't big news because I don't think I'm going anywhere, but at least I'll have a lot of changes in my zone. I need that. My elders are a bit tired. They seem to all have a lot of time in this zone, so they need out. Also, it's sort of a fresh new start for me, and I actually know what's going on now.

I really do have.. gulp... 4 months left. Whoa. Where did May go? What in the world happened to time? This transfer was unbelievably fast. Today we played basketball. It was fun I guess, but next transfer we're going to plan some good zone and dual zone activities. It'll be a blast.

I am going to finish this up a bit quick, I'm going to interview a lady that's going to be baptised tomorrow. So, we'll see you soon. I love you two. Be safe, be well, be good. :)

Till next week.. we've got a year and 8 months in this, ya ustedes saben,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

A last minute invitation to speak and other fun stuff....

It really is crazy how fast it´s going dad. Holy cow.. time is just flying by. My comp told me the other day that I just had one transfer left, plus the oportunity to train one more time.. and that´s it. That´s the rest of my mission. 3 more transfers. Amazing.

Sometimes I feel like it´s been pretty short, but most days I feel like it´s been every bit of 2 years. Up till now at least. Like you say, these last few months go quickly, and this transfer up till now has been unbelievably fast. Between the baptismal interviews, the exchanges, the training meetings and the little time consumers like taking numbers every Sunday you start just losing time.. I say losing time, really you can´t lose time, you can just manage the activities in your time poorly, but time will always roll on, independent of whatever we can do.

Elder Pinkston and I did our exchange this last Sunday. It was so much fun. And so nice. Not that I don´t like Spanish, especially the oportunity to better my spanish, but speaking English every once in a while is reaaally nice. Especially when you are speaking English with the best friend in the mission. We just talked about all sorts of things, from home to the mission, and everything in between. I´m really glad he´s in the zone.

Anyway, here´s the number to reach his parents. 334 514 7420

They´re home from like 8 on. I don´t have like a huge preference about where to stay, just somewhere like not too expensive but not a slum. I trust you, I know you´ll pull through. But if you have trouble finding a place that´s open for winter for like 4 guys I don´t have a problem with being in the same apt complex as him or even just close. I just want a place to live. Haha. Thanks.

Well, I was in Hato Mayor, as you know on the exchange with Elder Pinkston, and I hear a voice behind me that was saying Sweeney. I recognized the slightly high pitched voice, it was Fernando from Bonao, one of my baptisms with Elder Johnson! I couldn´t believe it! His sister lives really close to the missionaries and he just happened to be visiting when I came. We talked a bit, he told me he was still active, and now he´s passing and blessing the sacrament. I was really pleased about that. He´s the man.

hmmmm.. What else...

Oh, Sunday I was on the way to church and I received a call from the bishop. He asked if I could give a talk if someone didn´t show up to church because he had never gotten a confirmation about whether they were coming or not. I accepted, it´s not the latest I´ve ever been asked to speak, so I wasn´t so worried about it (in Bonao I was asked 5 minutes before the sacrament meeting). Anyway, it turned out the on that Sunday President and Hermana Lee decided to attend their home ward. They hardly ever attend here. My comp had never seen it. So, I had to speak in from of them with zero preparation. Hahaha I did fine I guess, I get nervous but when I actually stand up to speak I'm fine.

Also, the elections just past this week. So, elections are a bit different here than in the states. Really no one cares that much about real issues, just about how much free stuff they can get out of the politicians before they get elected. Also, they campaign basically with giant parades with ridiculously loud music, so Friday before election day the traffic jams were so bad you couldn't get across the city in less than 5 hours. It was just miserable. I am not a fan of politicians, but here they are just the scum of the earth. They just rob the people shamelessly. The man who won, Danilo Medina, won just barely and my comp was glad. Basically he is the lesser of 2 evils as far as that's concerned.

I'm so glad my Thunder are doing well! Keep me posted. The Spurs worry me a bit, from what I've heard they're looking good. But they're old. So we'll see, they may be a bit tired.

I think that's about it. I'm sleepy. I'll be taking a nice nap today after going to the supermarket. If you could move a bit more money into my personal account that would be great. I have a reimbursement (sp?) coming but it won't get here for a while because of Memorial Day. I miss the memorial golf tournament. Wow, I just miss the states a lot. (ok.. I'm a little trunky).

Love you two. Be safe, good and healthy. Send my greetings to grandma Sweeney. She's a trooper.

Till next week, not a second wasted (and no more politics),

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Getting A Dose of Reality in the DR

Well, it was a fine week here. It was just as any other I suppose, except I talked with you two and... well yeah that's pretty much it. I didn't ever go on an exchange with Elder Pinkston (that'll be next Monday) because I sort of just fell sick. I know, I was fine on skype with you, but after I got a fever and chills. Don't worry though, by the next day that was gone and all that stayed with me was a cough and stuffy nose. I'm just about over that too.

Like you said, I felt like that was a good skype session. I felt like it was a lot different from Christmas. At Christmas it still felt like I had an eternity left on my mission, and now it felt like coming home was soon. And it is... relatively speaking. It felt like you guys had a different attitude this time. Like you were just checking in.. Not like we were catching up on everything. It was nice, it told me that you had the same mentality as me. We are going to be together soon, so we'll just talk then.

I will ask Elder Pinkston what his parents' phone number is the next time I see him. We have the exchange next monday so by then I'll have it.

Today was a really great p-day. We played basketball, and then all went to papa johns and got their lunch special (it's a little expensive, definitely not something you can do everyday, but it was reeeeallly tasty) then went shopping and got a hair cut. We took the traditional afternoon nap and now.. I'm writing you. It was great though because yesterday was a reaaally tough day. Like.. I know it's really routine that missionaries get doors slammed in their face, but I can count on one hand the times it's happened to me on my mission. Yesterday it happened three times. Slammed in our face. Ha it was painful, but I just need to suck it up because there are missionaries that suffer WAAAAY more than me (I'm thinking about Europe... or the USA). I need to remember that when I'm with the missionaries in Ada.

I really am getting close now. It's hard to believe. Does it really come to an end? Crazy.

Let's see. Oh, it's really hot here again. Like I'm remembering last summer and just how hot it got in La Yaguita. That was the trial. Leaving on time in this heat.. takes some serious determination.

Love you guys. Glad to see grandpa so smiley getting his hair cut. And of course, glad to see you enjoying your chocolate cake and milkshakes.... jerks.

See you soon,

Till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Gettng Ready for the Mother's Day Call...and more stuff

Wow. That´s really tragic what happened with grandpa Rufus. I didn't know that was part of Alzheimers, that like you started losing your sanity as well as forgetting things. That's so sad. I guess I'll get to see him on Sunday.

Speaking of that, let's talk about that for a sec. On Sunday we're gonna give you a call about 2:00- 2:30. My number is 809-723-7031. Give me a call when you're ready and I'll go straight from the lunch appointment on sunday with the members to the member who has the computer. That's what we'll do. If you have any questions just call me... on sunday when it's allowed. Ha

So this week has been pretty normal. SUPER fast. Unbelievable how quickly time is flying now. I had p-day Santiago today, which doesn't mean much for me because I'm in the same zone as the office and pricemart, but it was pretty cool seeing and hanging out with Elder Pinkston. He's my best friend from the mission I would say.

We have 2 baptisms coming up on Saturday. Both are really legit. Carlos Jorge is one of them, he was so prepared it was ridiculous. He is the guy that has the computer I'm using Sunday. So, he'll be a member when I use the computer but isn't one yet. He's got great internet too so we should have a good webcam session, unlike Bonao.

The other is Anthony, a young man who's actually the son of recent converts. He's 16, future missionary. He's honestly just got a light about him.

I have hit a rough patch.. It's weird, now that I'm so old in the mission and need to be update more than ever, I'm getting less and less letters. It's painful. Ha but I don't worry. I got the package this last Friday, and let me tell you, it was pretty expensive. But don't worry, I'm gonna just get by with mission money. I need to learn how to budget better anyway.

I loved that package though. I didn't even know it but I was craving those bullseye things (those caramels with creme in the middle) like crazy. I also dug the newspaper article. It sounds to me like they're a typical Ada golf team. They show signs of brilliance but then just flake when it counts. 3rd place. 2nd loser. ha but I'm still proud of them. I can't say I did better or I'd be lying. We couldn't pull it out either. It hurts. I feel their pain. But sounds like their super stars have a year left.

Being a zone leader is a bit harder than I thought it would be. It's stressful. I am always tired. Worrying about a lot of different things at once. But it's so darn worth it. I feel so tired but so good when I lay my head on the pillow every night. It's hard work, but I know the time to do it is short so that's what keeps me going till the end. No regrets.

Well, I'm about out of things to write. It's been a pathetic letter, but we'll talk plenty on Sunday. I love you family. Stay safe and well. Say hi to the ward for me so they don't forget about me. I'll be home soon.

Till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Adjusting to (and loving) life as a Zone Leader

Alright, good letter.. Good letter. I'll give it my best shot.

Well, to answer your questions, first of all the comp I have isn't the one I took a picture with in the CCM. And, even if it was, I wouldn't have any way of knowing which photo your talking about, that was a LOOOONG time ago. Ha

But, he is a fantastic comp. He's so humble, we just laugh and laugh sometimes thinking about the CCM and how greeney we were. At other times we talk about how crazy fast time flies. We are working like mad men though. We taught 45 lessons last week, I think that tops the mission. And this week we're not slowing down. It's looking like we'll be having about 8 baptisms this transfer, and that's assuming a couple of them fall through. I can't take the credit for it though, it's a lot of the efforts of Elder Newmeyer and a lot of missionaries before me. Even Elder Walker, my father in the mission (he finished here in this area) has some people that we hope will be baptised this transfer.

About the Ward. It's a good ward. There are 6 missionaries in this one ward, actually, and it's not even that big of a ward building. It's not the stake center, so it's kind of outdated. Not ugly, just old looking, sort of rustic. But rustic in the church here in the DR unfortunately means kind of ugly.

Anyway, we usually have around 100-110 at Sacrament meeting. I met this girl in the ward last week that actually is going to BYU. I asked her how it was, and she told me it was pretty much exactly the same. Ha that actually brought comfort to me. I want BYU to be the same when I get there. I know it will be a different experience, but I want it to be that way because of me, not because the school is different.

I am so pumped to go back to school. I never realized how much I loved learning until I came on the mission. It's actually really fun to challenge yourself with a hard class, or a tough schedule, or a tough major. Plus, the people.. I miss Nathan Keesling, and Cameron's random visits, and midnight runs to Del Taco.

Let's see. Well we actually contacted into someone somewhat famous the other day. It's the lead singer of Banda Real. He's not internationally famous, but he is really famous here, and actually a really nice guy. He has a very nice apartment, a super sweet Colombian wife, and two cute little baby boys. They've become pretty legit investigators.

Monday was my first training meeting as a ZL. I was legitimately nervous for the first time in a while in the mission. But, having a comp doing the training with you is such a huge support. If you forget anything, he talks about what you forget and it's seemless.

I hear Anthony is doing well over there in Pueblo Nuevo now. His wife is progressing like crazy and may have even surpassed him in her progression. She's feeling the difference in her life through prayer and study of the BoM.

I can't think of much more to say about what's going on here. Oh, that story about Grandpa Rufus is heartbreaking. I don't know what to say. Is Grandma in a cast right now? Keep me posted.

I am so excited to go play golf with you. Ha I so wish you would have said that to Kedy. We're going to have tons of fun when I get back, especially you when you can beat me because I haven't seen a golf club for a year and 8 months.

Love you two. It's so close to the end I can taste it. But it's a bitter sweet taste. Definitely gonna be a weird adjustment.

Be safe, be good, take care of grandpa.

Till next week, not a second wasted.

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A new assignment brings blessings: hot water and AC!

Well, your dream was certainly interesting.

I´ll tell you step by step what went down over transfers.

First, I was at church Sunday and one of the office elders, the ones that just work in the office all day as secretaries more or less, told me he had good news for me. He told me I was going up to ZL. I said cool, and then the next day, Monday, when President Lee is supposed to call to let us know what happened over transfers, I never was called. I went to the zone meeting, and on the way, at 9:50 in the morning we got a call.. I missed it because we were practically running to the meeting. It was from President Lee...

I went up to ZL in Los Jardines. It's the east zone here in Santiago. It's just wonderful. It's the "rich" part of Santiago, and my house is no exception. It's just wonderful. Today, I got to the house, turned on the shower, and HOT WATER CAME OUT!!!!! I have hot water in the house. Then, as I was unpacking, I noticed in our bedroom there was a weird box coming out of the wall... when I asked my comp what it was, he told me it was AIR CONDITIONING!!! Are you kidding me?? I am living like an American, in charge of the largest zone in the mission, and Elder Pinkston, my best friend from my group, is a district leader in the zone. Apparently they also were working really hard last transfer so they have quite a few baptisms lined up.

I. Am. So. Happy.

My comp is Elder Mejia, a Dominican from my group. He's quiet, reserved, and super nice. We had been saying, since the CCM, that we were going to be comps. It happened. I couldn't be more pleased with my sweet, good-hearted, hard-working comp.

Elder Taylor and I were talking about it, and we were saying the being a zone leader is really just a whole other level of missionary work, because you are with someone from your time, and your both seasoned, practiced and experienced, so the teaching should be the best of my mission. I can't wait to just hit the ground running with him. He's a good man, very understanding, and Latin, so I can perfect my Spanish with him.

Apart from that, there's some other good news from yesterday. I was pretty sad all day about leaving behind Anthony, a golden investigator of ours that was one of my favorite Dominicans. We had a great lesson with him last night, and he started talking about moving. We were both pretty taken back, and asked him where he was going to move, and he told us, for convenience of his work and his wife's work, he is going to move to Los Jardines, in my WARD! So I think Elder Taylor may baptize him, and I will probably get to see him more than Elder Taylor. It worked out perfectly. He truly was a miracle.

I'm glad you got to see Cameron. Take care of him for me. I want him to be at BYU with me.

I am still a bit sick, I am coughing like crazy and here they just have a bunch of placebo pills and cough syrup, nothing really works. I've tried a bunch of things. I may just have to get over this the all natural way.

Well, I don't know too much more about what's happening with me, because being a Zone Leader, till now, has been the same as just being a regular elder.

I can say, though, that leaving with my grandson was really amazing. I cannot believe how little time I have. I talked to Elder Kimball for a while yesterday, he got me thinking waaaay too much about how little time we have and what not. I still feel like I have forever left though, I don't want to get way ahead of myself.

Hmmmmm.. I think you may just beat me in a round of golf right now. Ha if I were you, I would take me on right when I got back so you could just crush me. That would be a great moral booster for you, and a great way to humble a prideful RM.

I love you two. I think I've written enough. I need to write president still. Next week won't be quite so crazy, transfer days are always nuts.

Be safe, well and good,

Till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Elder Sweeney becomes a "grandpa"!

Ok.. Wow this week has been pretty average but today has been really intense.

Curt Clausson was able to find me. We spent the good part of this afternoon together. Ironically enough, I was able to use the white shirts that he bought me right off the bat because I spilled ice cream on my shirt first thing.

He is a great man though. Really sincere and down to earth. He has a lot of wisdom that I want to break into but we barely had any time to talk. But I did.. Talk to Cameron for a bit. I wanted to see how he was and if he was going to be ok, how he was reacting to everything, what exactly happened, how the mission was, and everything in between. We talked for about an hour. Then Curt brought us upstairs and talked to us for a bit. Make sure and let him know that I really would be interested in sitting and talking to him more. I really do admire him.

Our investigators are doing ok. We are going to have to postpone the baptism from this saturday because the guy went to stake conference but it was full so he just turned around and left. I was a little mad, but it's all good.

So, transfers are a week from today, but som really exciting news is that Elder Johnson, my first son, is GOING TO GET A KID! I will be a grandpa. That was cool. I get to leave with my grandson the first day, or at least meet him his first day here. I'll probably give him a tie or something.. At least a grandpa like hug.

So that's been the big news from this week. I am getting a tad.. a bit.. a tidge.. But only a tidge.... trunky. I don't want it to happen yet, but I figure transfers will break me out of it. They usually do.

My comp and I had an intense photo shoot today. It only lasted about an hour, but we were put into eagle's mouths, imitating statues, and thrown into all kinds of situations. It was fun. I'll send the results later when I have the time.

I feel good though momma. Don't worry. I'm not depressed. Far from it. I feel great. As far as the mission goes, as far as the health goes.. Well I'm a little hoarse. Ok a lot hoarse. Like I've had an ongoing cold for a while, but now I feel good and I just don't have much of a voice. But I'm ok. I sound like a giant though, my voice is really intense.

We get to talk in a couple weeks, huh? That's coming up fast. Super fast. I'll let you know as soon as I can where I'll be and how we'll skype. It'll be the last time in the mission! Crazy.

I love you two. I don't remember if there was anything that I missed, hope not, but that's crazy about the tornadoes.

I'll be home for Christmas... Oh and one more thing. I don't know when you were planning to go to Europe, but have it be after the 24th of October if possible. There is something that I want to do with cameron, ok?

Be safe, be good, Love you,

Till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Working like a "madman!"

Wow. What an impressive email. I don't even know where to start. I guess with the Masters.

BUBBA WATSON?? WHAAAAA? I knew about him, but I never thought he's win something like the Masters. He was always a grip it and rip it kind of player, if I remember right. That does make me really happy though. I love a good story like that. Wish i could have seen it though. Golf is soooooo far from EVERYone's mind here.

This week's been pretty good I guess. I went on 2 exchanges, one with my district and one with the zone leaders. I got to hang out with Elder Parker, who's going home soon, and he gave me the same advice you gave me, which is the best advice I think. Just work like a madman and these last 6 months will be quick. But, to be honest I am enjoying this so much now I don't even think about it a whole lot. Elder Johnson, my first kid, said one of his goes was that he wanted to be more sad about leaving the mission than leaving home. That sounds like a good idea to me.

We've been working a lot here. We have a baptism the 21st of this month, a good young man, 16 years old and just so humble. Also, Anthony is progressing really nicely. He's that super contact we made. He has a plan to drink natural juice (which is just amazing in this country, btw) instead of beer as usual. He's changing so much. And feeling the difference. It's really amazing.

Also, my comp and I found out that we have a mutual friend. I had forgotten, but a long time ago Carly Vongchonyakul (that girl from Norman) told me about a friend of hers that was called to the same mission. Anyway, needless to say that that friend was none other than Trent Taylor. It's a SMAAAAAALL world. Well, a small BYU world.

We have stake conference coming up this weekend. Supposedly a general authority is supposed to come. Ought to be great. I'll let you know.

Also, I'll try and send more pictures. You have to understand though, the time it takes to load them up is just ridiculous. I'm sorry if I can't get to that for a bit.

I love you two. I cannot believe how little time I have left. It's just crazy. I feel like, while it will be sad, I'm ready to move to the next phase of my life.

Nos vemos ahora casi, cuidense,

Till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Monday, April 9, 2012

An Average Week....and that's good!

You are getting me really psyched for something super far away. Ha or at least I like to think of it that way. I don't wanna come home so fast.. I miss you guys, I love you guys, I want to see you guys.. But I love it here. But, it will come to an end and I know that I'll love the next phase of my life as well.

Well, this week has been pretty average. Nothing super spectacular has happened. But we've been tracting like mad men and finding some pretty good stuff. This one guy yesterday was cool. He told us he had been to church a lot as a kid and played basketball and stuff and when we explained the Book of Mormon he loved the idea of asking God. So, I can see progression for him... Hopefully at least.

I love the work. My comp is great. He and I get along well. He's very controlling.. he just likes to take control of situations, which is fine because as a trainer I had to do that a LOT. So it's a nice break. Plus it helps him to learn to do that when he's a senior comp.

Let's see.. I think there's going to be a loooot of things that are different when I get back. It sounds like the neices and nephews are just huge (and looks like it too.. Zack attack is adorable). But, a lot will be just the same. Like my room.

Guess what else? I think you're maybe forgetting about something. We get to web chat again in like a month! Isn't that crazy? Also, the next general conference will be the weekend before I go home. Amazing. So fast. As they say here, el tiempo pasa volando (actually, they say that in english too.. ha)

So how are Shane and Dianne? I never got anything from her. Ha she promised me like 20 times before I left that she would send something.. But I have yet to get something. Wait.. Maybe one letter. But I'd like another update from her. If you would bring that up next time you see her that would be great.

Well. This week is looking to be pretty average too. I can't think of too much happening here. I'll be doing a couple exchanges with my district and with the Zone Leaders but that's about all. Elder Parker, one of my good friends in the mission, is ZL and gonna finish his mission in like 3 weeks so that'll be a good time talking to him. It has to be a weird feeling finishing up. I'm getting there, but it still feels soooo far away.

BTW, just so I don't forget, my address is #55 Abua Rodriguez, Pueblo Nuevo, Santiago. We live on the second floor, and the guy on the first floor is the bishop and he's named Jose Mirabal (it's kind of a famous name here). And my number is 809-723-7060. That should be enough information. I can't wait till he stops by. Let me know when he's coming.

TELL ME ABOUT THE MASTERS!!! I want a description of every shot.. ok not that extreme, but something nice. Something that makes me just a tidge trunky.

I love you two. I can now count the months on one hand. Whoa.

Be safe, be good, talk to you next week,

Till then, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Of Mosquitos and Rats.....and Allen Iverson

TIGER WON SOMETHING! Wow. That is just astounding. Tell me every detail about the Masters. Ooooh how I miss that, the Masters. Wow, it's so beautiful.

That contact that we made, Anthony, is progressing beautifully. HE GOT THE JOB! And, the best part, he doesn't work on Sundays!! I am just thrilled. He went to church this week and we met his wife, she's a sweetheart. He's supposed to bring her to church this next week. We invited him to be baptized, and he said yes, but we don't have a specific date yet.

Other than that we've been seeing other investigators progressing really well. And actually a lot of less actives coming back to church. Routinely in church we have about 80-100 people there, but we actually have a fair amount of priesthood, so it's really nice. It's really amazing because they're willing to leave with us and everything.. Well most of the time.

The church is great as well. It was under construction for about a month before I got here, and they are just finishing up. They are putting in an air conditioning system, so that will be amazing. Just like Fantino. Freeeezing. Ha my definition of cold is a lot different now.

Our house is pretty nice as well. It's WAAAAY smaller than the one in Bonao, but it's just for 2 missionaries so it's not too bad. Doing laundry is a bit of a pain, but it always is so it's not a shock. We just have to move the washer into the tiny bathroom and use the shower to fill up the washer. Ha it sounds a lot worse than it is.

I haven't had a single mosquito bite me in Pueblo Nuevo because it's in the city. It's just beautiful in that regard. But I've seen my fair share of rats. The rats are just gigantic.. Like the size of small cats. I think that's my least favorite animal in the world now.

Let's see.. The bishop lives below us. That's a cool aspect. He's just awesome, and it makes me feel a little more protected.

And Allen Iverson coming here is really hot news. It's been circulating, it's like that main topic of discussion. Ha there's a lot of basketball players here so it's way fun. We're gonna get a big tournament going soon I think with members and investigators. Right behind that basketball stadium there's a few investigators actually! Ha that's neat to see. It's a way nice part of our area.

I think that's it as far as the area goes.. I DID get the shoes. Actually my last week in Bonao, which was quite a long time ago. Sorry for not telling you. To be honest they've became my main proselyting shoes and the other ones of for meetings.. Just because that's the way they function. They look good though so I think I'll bring them home.

I love you two. Be safe, be healthy. Stop getting skin cancer please. I'll put on sun screen every day. That scares me a lot actually.

Till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Success in Santiago!

Yeah, I've been great as far as my health is concerned. We've only been eating stuff in the house (which is time consuming and a little tiring), but it's been good. I haven't had a repeat of the amoeba, just the occasional normal diarreah.
Well, this week has been pretty interesting. Way good though. A couple pretty intense contacts. One was the first full day here. We just went contacting in an area kind of far from our house, but pretty densely populated. Where I live is super densely populated.. Like I'm talking there aren't very many 1 story houses. It's all multi-story apartments. Anyway, we were contacting in this less populated area and I feel kind of an impression to make a contact up on the second story. I have learned from Thomas S. Monson that you should never deny those, so I went for it, leaving my comp and this RM that we were with behind. I got there first, knocked, and a little girl answered. I asked if her dad was home and she said yes. Then the dad poked out his head and invited us in. We started normally, he had a really nice apartment with pictures from his wedding and all, and then we told him we would like to start a quick lesson with a prayer. He told us before we started he'd like to say something. He had prayed for the first time in a long time the night before for the lord to help him with his marriage, to help him to know if he was doing something wrong, and to help him find a job. So, he figured, by us showing up the next day he thought it might be a sign.
We had a great lesson, left him a book of mormon, invited him to church, and even coordinated a bit with the member that was with us to pass by and pick him up before church. He couldn't make it because he had something come up, but Monday he was really impressed with our willingness to help him. He's really awesome. He saw us walking on the way back home and he gave us a ride (he's got a sweet european brand car that I've never heard of). So he's looking pretty solid.
Another contact that we made was in a richer area. It was raining, the classic missionary scenario, so we were just soaked to the bone (my umbrella had gotten rusty in Bonao and didn't work super well, so I left it there). And, despite the fact that it was raining, we were still rejected a couple times. That is.. Until we arrived and Miguel and Nydia's house.
First we started talking to Miguel, just making small talk there in the house, and I asked if he didn't mind if we entered and shared a bit. He agreed and on the way back to the patio we met his wife and daughter, who were just sweet as anything. His house though.. Man it was really nice. He had a GIANT flat screen TV (it was kind of like a man cavish thing..) and like 3 cars. He and his wife, Nydia, are architects. They had actually helped build the La Sirena supermarket in Bonao. They do well in their respective works.
So, we begin sharing and Nydia was actually familiar with the church because her father was great friends with a missionary that taught him (didn't get baptised though.. never found out why) and she really likes the mormon messages from the radio that she heard as a kid. So, she opened right up as well. We had a really cool lesson, and we invited them to church as well (sort of more in passing, it was already saturday so it was a bit hard). They couldn't make it, but we'll pass by them today. I have high hopes for them.
Ok, well I won't bore you with things that don't matter too much to you, but I have already fallen in love with the area. The members are really good, the investigators (till now..) and progressing ok, so I'm happy.
I am reeeeeaaalllly tired. I stayed up really late transfers and haven't really caught up on sleep since. I am dead tired. Also, I played basketball for the first time in a while, so that destroyed me.
But, I'll catch up eventually. Nobody said you had to sleep on the mission.............. :/
I love you two. I am healthy. Really. And even though I'm tired I'm not eating weird things.
Be well. I don't need anything I don't think.. Well maybe socks but I'm ok for now. I just need more time.. Yeah that would be good. More time. I just don't know where it goes.
Well, I think that's about it. My comp and I get along well. He did BYU for a year too like me. He's a good kid, we're working our tails off here, hopefully we can see some success. Maybe your prediction is right.. 1 transfer. We'll see what happens.
Till next week, not a second wasted,
Elder C. Rufus Sweeney (yes mom, Rufus is preferred)


ok, money issue resolved. The money is in the account. All of those charges looked good. I thought that Mom had put another 200 in at the time of the letter, but it was just that she had put them in after the package. Thank you so much though. I was so relieved when I saw that.

Ok, now for the news of the week. Yes, transfers did happen. I received a call from President Lee that said I would be moving up...... Drumroll.......................

To district leader. Yeah, I don't know if he knew that was already my calling, but it's definitely official now. Haha I'm here, and I was transfered to Santiago south zone AGAIN! So, that makes a grand total of 2 zones for the entire mission. Wow. Ha I do love this zone though.

I am in an area called Pueblo Nuevo. It's really close to everything here in Santiago, as opposed to La Yaguita del Pastor that was kind of on the outskirts. Today we went to a GIANT la sirena (the supermarket here) that was about a 10 minute walk from our house.

My companion is Elder Taylor, a tall American from Utah. He is also adopted, like Elder Johnson. Super friendly, outgoing and bubbly guy. He's a talker, which is so different from Elder Wilkinson it's ridiculous, but he's a great kid, and I love him the same. He's actually from the same group of Elder Wilkinson, so I'm what's called a "step dad", or the comp after the dad. His spanish seems pretty solid already. I barely know him though, so I'll see later exactly how he is.

It's really nice not to have a new missionary.... Well, not brand new at least. I get to focus on being a good district leader, on the training meetings, on the missionaries in my district, instead of tending especially to my comp's needs. It was so fun training.. I wouldn't trade it for the world, and we worked our butts off in Bonao, but it's time to move onto the big city.

Santiago is sooo overpopulated. It's great, it's a little ghetto, yes, in my area, but it's a charming little city. The people are really nice.

Funny little side note, so when I went to La Sirena I ran into a less active that we were teaching in La Yaguita.. Hahaha Elizabeth. That's when you know you have a lot of time in the mission. What a blast from the past.

Let's see.. The new apartment is good. It's not NEAR as big as the other one. Just two bedrooms, one bathroom, but it's good enough. The great part is that it has 24/7 power, it hardly ever goes, so no stress about washing or anything like that. I'll try and take some pictures for next time.

I have an amazing district. Elder De Leon from Fantino is in my district again (we lived in the same house.. now it's just the same district which is still awesome). And we have his comp, Elder Jenks, a solid missionary from Wilkinson's group, and Elder Ruiz, a missionary from my district in Constanza. I don't know the other yet.. we shall see.

My zone is also sweet. Elder Parker, a good friend, is ZL. Elder Cromwell, my old ZL from Bonao, is now training here in the zone. Just a really great group of guys. I'm really happy.

The letter seemed really great and positive this week. I was happy with all the news. I just sort of glanced this week because I couldn't print it off, but it was really upbeat for the most part. I hope mine is too. It's been a good week for the both of us.

Well, it was hard to leave Bonao. It was a great 5 transfers. My goal is always for them to say that I was a great missionary that made a difference, that means I did my job and did it well. A few said I was one of the better missionaries to pass by in quite a while. I love that. Not for pride's sake, but for the sake of the Lord. It wasn't my work there.

I love you two. Be safe and good. I'll see you soon. Soon enough at last. 5 more transfers. I can count them on one hand. Ha see you soon.

Till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder Sweeney

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Final Days in Bonao?

Well, this week has been pretty regular. Nothing too extraordinary.

We´re winding down the training with Elder Wilkinson. You´re exactly right, it´s in exactly two weeks, March 13. Happy leap year, BTW! Greg Sutton turns like.. 17 today or something. Ha he was born on a leap year.

I think we´ll be having 2 baptisms, not this saturday but the next. That´s the hope anyway.. You just never know here. One is almost sure and the other we´ll have to see, but it would be a great way to go out here in Bonao.

You´re right. As great as it´s been here, as marvelous as my experiences have been, as much as I´ve learned, I´m ready to go. 7 1/2 months anywhere is a good time, especially in an area in the mission. Granted, many have spent this time in an area in the mission, including Mike and I'm sure Matt, but it's about the limit I think. Much more than this and they're gonna try and get me to vote for their local leader..

I am still getting along well with Elder Wilkinson. It seems like I've had some of the crazier experiences of my mission with him. He's done well with it, the poor guy. He'll realize when he gets out of here just how great the mission is.. haha Bonao is no comparison, even though it's looking like he's gonna get a decent amount of baptisms. He should get a couple more when I leave.

In all honesty though, it's been one of my favorite areas. When I leave from here I'm probably going to miss the heck out of it.. It may even become holy ground for me. I have poured my blood, sweat and tears into the work here.. Literally. It's cost me two pairs of shoes (for the rain.. ha), and because of having bad shoes many blisters. But, the sacrifice has been tiny compared to the blessings that my comps and I have seen. We've seen miracles here.

We have a District Conference the last weekend I'm here, so that should be great. Elder Viñas is coming down here from the area 70, so it'll be pretty special. Looking forward to it.

I love you two. I'm glad to hear that Mitt Romney is doing well for now, but even happier that mom is doing better. We're praying every day for her. Elder Wilkinson's mom is also sick, so we're praying for her too.

Be safe, don't fall off your fancy bike and break your hip (he he he below the belt that was..)

Till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus. Sweeney

Thursday, February 23, 2012

An Inspiring Story of Re-activation

Alright, let me clear up a couple things. first of all, the returned missionary that's writing talley was one of my best friends in the mission. his name is Ryan Shapiro, and he was one of the best, humblest, most obedient elders to pass through this mission, so I gave him the "referral" if you will. I didn't know if anything would come of it, but I thought I'd give it a shot. I should have let talley know what was going one, and I'll let her know now.

Well, as far as this week went it's still been pretty good. It's really hot again. ha not that it ever cooled down a whole lot, but now at night it doesn't even really get that cool. We're just plugging away here, it's been a little rough as far as investigators though. But, one of the less actives that we found (actually.. I would say she found us) is going so strong. Like amazingly strong.

She passed by one day as we were teaching one investigator, humberto. When she passed by, she did so without saying so at first, but then back tracked and asked where the church was. We told her, introduced ourselves, she told us her name was emma, and then we set a date to come back. She spoke perfect english, mind you, so my comp enjoyed that.

Anyway, we pass by a couple days later and she explains that she joined the church when she was younger, and she got married and fell away from the church. then she got a divorce and moved from the capital to Bonao to be closer to her family. 14 years of more or less never going to church she decides to stop and as us where the church is, and that brings us to the other day. So, we give her a book of Mormon, she expresses her gratitude because she left hers in the capital and we invite her to read it and ask if it was true. She accepted.

two weeks later, she has been to church twice with her daughter and once with her sister. her daughter is getting baptised in a couple weeks and her sister a little while after. She is talking to a less active neighbor and getting her to come to church. She is talking with her christian neighbors and getting them interested in the gospel message. She is reading every night with her kids, cooking for us on Sundays, and really just filling her home with the sweet spirit of the gospel. It is beautiful. She has been such a miracle, and her energy has not been unnoticed by the branch presidency. She already has a calling... Relief society president!

It's amazing just how quickly she has been pulled back from complete activity to one of the best (if not the best) members of the branch. I asked her what the spark was, and she told me it was that first invitation to simply read and pray about the Book of Mormon, and she's just had an incredible energy ever since. that book is true. It is inspiring people daily, people are discovering and rediscovering that book time and time again.

I am going to wrap this up. I love you two. Be good, safe and happy. Momma, know I'm praying for you and I'll be doing a fast especially devoted to you this weeked. Get well.

till next week, never a second wasted, finding those golder investigators (and less actives)

elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A worn out sole.....but a happy soul!

Ok, before I mention anything else, I have to tell you.. Neither of my shoes are functioning (see pictures for details...). I don't have any now that work properly.. In other words, I need new ones. I know a pair are coming in the mail, but it would be nice to get a couple more. :) Sorry for the late warning..
Alright, now that that's out of the way (I've been meaning to tell you for a while), WE HAD THE BAPTISM SATURDAY! It was great. Seriously, the kid is a monster already. He has plans of serving a mission, and wants to know when he can do it so he can leave as soon as possible. His name is Frank. I've also included a picture of that. It was a really beautiful day.
Then, Monday we had the priviledge of hearing from Elder Bednar from the quorum of the 12 apostles. The spirit was so powerful in that. I left a different missionary, and a different person. It wasn't super typical, he stood up in front of everyone and just asked the group of missionaries questions about the talks he assigned us to read. He made a point that anything that draws away from the spirit was priestcraft, including just saying that we did a good job in the lesson. It isn't us. It's the Lord.
At the end I was asked to say the closing prayer, so I was able to shake his hand. It was an honor really, because no one was supposed to be able to, with his super tight schedule he didn't have time to shake anyone's hand. But I got to sneak in and do it. ;) I asked him a quick question, if he remembered Tom Cowger from his Purdue days. He played intermural basketball with him. He said the name rang a bell, but couldn't remember well, and I told him he was the proud father of a missionary in Chile. He smiled and said thanks Elder Sweeney. I was happy to remind him that even those who he's possible forgotten about are in this work with him.
That wasn't the end of the day though. We arrived back in Bonao and went to a family home evening. It's the same one we go to just about every week with the same family, so I almost didn't want to go because I was pretty tired and it was getting late, but we went regardless. When we got there, everything seemed normal, but the old man of the house let us now shortly after that it wasn't so normal. He told us that his son, who was married about a year ago and has a baby of about a month old, was having problems with his marriage, and that we should pray for him. We gladly accepted, and started in with the message. In the middle of the spiritual message, that very son walked in from work, and sat down in his usually joking, fun mood. He is always jolly, always fun and joking about everything, kind of like Micheal in a way.
Well, the message finished and we four missionaries (the zone leaders were there as well) were invited by Jose Luna (the son) into his room, where we shut the door and just broke down. He could barely choke out the words, he was crying just like a little boy. It broke my heart.. I could never have seen this tough, young, jolly, light-hearted man break down like this. It was pitiful, and he told us about how his wife left and he was thinking bad thoughts about doing something to himself. He asked for a blessing, and Elder Bort read him a scripture that was followed by a beautiful blessing from Elder Logan. There wasn't a dry eye in the room. I'll never forget that experience. I felt the pure love of Christ in there as we helped out brother from the church out.
Well, I'm gonna wrap this one up. I was thinking about it.. And I think I'd rather go to Europe, that way also I can be SURE to be released from being a missionary beforehand. I've wanted to go to Europe for a LONG time anyway, you both know that. I love you two.
Be safe, be good, you know that I am. I am eating well enough, lots of vegetables now that I know how to wash them appopriately. I love you two.
Till next week, not a second wasted, and always working with the spirit,
Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Power of Example

Hey there family. It's been a pretty crazy week. Let me break it down for you....

Sunday Humberto couldn't make it to church because one of his relatives died (of course, that guy has the strangest things happen to him on sunday.... Like I'm just waiting for him to tell us the road on the way to church was blocked by a giant blue whale). But, he's still pretty solid. Humberto is the 38 year old accountant that was super prepared.

Bad news though, Chinito, one of the young men that was supposed to be baptised, said he doesn't want to now because he went to carnaval (that diabolical festival where you dress up as a demon and get drunk) and he saw a couple of members there. He says he doesn't want to be baptised then make wrong choices like that and not be a true follower of Christ. We're had some intense lessons with him since, but we just can't shake him of his doubt. It's really sad.. I still don't know who the members were, but I must say, it was a HUGE lesson for me about how much an example is worth.

Let's see.. The other baptism is good to go. This Saturday he'll be getting dunked. He was so prepared. He already has a mission as a definite plan. I want to send him packages and all kinds of junk food on the mission.. haha I want him to feel special. He's a great young man.

I've been safe this week, luckily. At least on that end I'm good.

I only have a little bit of time left here in Bonao. It's really astounding how quickly these last couple transfers have gone. The mission as a whole, since a year, has just flown by. I think maybe that's a credit to knowing the language and the area, and being senior comp and trainer, it's all just kept me incredibly busy.. which is great. There really isn't ever a dull moment. We're always looking here for prepared people.

Speaking of which, we found this couple, Luis and Mayelin the other day that are just so cool. At their house, the second time we passed by, they fed us what's called morcilla, or pig intestine which deep fried blood in it. The next time they fed us something a bit less weird.. Some classic dominican cheese and what was called "leche criolla", or the by-product of cheese. It was pretty delicious... As for the pig intestine... well....

Anyway, this family is just awesome. They are super nice, the guy is funny, normal, works as a radiologist, and the woman is studying. They are off on Sunday, and they are really interested in the eternal family concept. I love them already, I'm hoping they keep progressing. They would be a wonderful family for the branch.

More news.. This Monday Elder Bednar is coming to the mission. Aparently there's going to be like a Q and A sesh, but nothing as far as shaking his hand or anything like that. It's going to be good I think regardless. I wanted to ask him if he remembers Tom Cowger from them playing basketball at Purdue, but I think I won't be able to do that. More on how that goes later.

Well, see you guys about 8 months. Love you, be safe and happy, I know you are.

Till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Too Much Excitement for one week!

Let me just start in, this week has been pretty crazy. First off, if Romney wins the Primaries, it may just mean Jesus is coming soon, and I´d have to choose me wife pretty quick, don´t you think? haha but seriously, I´m really happy about Florida, South Carolina had me a bit worried.

And about your chest pains.. Seriously, just go to the doctor if you feel even the slightest bit of pain in your chest. THE MOST IMPORTANT ORGANS are there. Ha jeez don´t scare me like that.

Ok, a little bit of news. A story rather. Last Wednesday, just after we had gotten done writing our letters to our families, Elder Wilkinson and I were walking over to a young man's house for a birthday party. His neighborhood is pretty rough, at least for like... Well not missionaries, but it takes up about 2/3 of our area and it's where the vast majority of our investigators are. Anyway, on the way to this area we pass by a relatively safe area (so we think..). We first have to go drop something off at a member's house, so as we pass by a house on our way we see two men shouting pretty intensely at each other. It's really not that uncommon to see fights and stuff here, but then we are passing by again 5 minutes later by the same house, and this time we hear a gun shot. My companion saw the man with a pistol, the same one who was just yelling. We hid behind a wall, and we see the mom of one of our good investigators passing by. We yelled at her to come over, telling her we just saw someone get shot. So, we saw the man with the pistol run the other direction, and two other men running up behind him with machetes. We took the opportunity to escape.

Needless to say we were a bit shaken up, but regardless we went to the birthday party. It was the birthday party of one of our investigators, Alex.

Another nice happening, Sunday we were getting ready to go to church and it starts raining. Every time it rains here on sunday it means it's going to be a poor turnout at church, and it's by the grace of God that you get even one investigator at church. Well, for like 4 weeks we had been inviting this man to go to church who is so good but every time he said he would go something would be presented or he'd have something ridiculous that came up. So, this was the Sunday he seemed the most sure and lo and behold, it was raining. Well, I was complaining a bit, but my comp was very calm, and before leaving the apartment we said a prayer. He simply said "bless the rain to go away so that we can have investigators in church." So simple, and the Lord heard his prayer. By the time we were out the door, it had stopped. And it was strange too, because there were rain clouds that had just passed us, a sliver of blue sky directly above, and then another rain cloud behind that. It was about a 30 minute window and that's all, but it's all that was needed. Every investigator with a baptismal date (except one) went to church, including that man who we wanted there so bad.

Let's see.. I should only have 6 weeks left here in Bonao (God willing). I love this place, but I've GOT to go. I would love to see the coast, as you said, or even to just be in Santiago. That would be enough. Bonao is practically my home, but people leave their home to go on trips about every 9 weeks, and I.. well I don't do that. Ha I'm ready to go.

We put another date for the 3 of March, so if all goes perfectly, we should be getting another few by the time I leave. One is almost sure, not this Saturday but the next. Two are likely for that day. The rest.. We'll see, but I'm hoping for 5 more by the time I'm out of here, we'll see. It would be a miracle for Bonao. For anywhere really.

I know you know it doesn't affect me to hear about the amount of time I have left. It doesn't affect the amount I work, but it does make me think about home a bit more, which is totally your plan, is it not? ha it's working if it is. I want so badly to eat at a Chinese place, and a mexican place, and cracker barrel, and to watch a movie.. or 200, and to go skiing, or just even be alone. Ha it's the one thing I may have taken for granted most before the mission.

I've been doing a lot of exercise of late, trying to get in shape again. My comp is a mad man, he's kind of dragging me along while he works out. ha but it's pretty effective.

I love you two. Stay well, mom and dad. DON'T DELAY GOING TO THE HOSPITAL! I hate finding out i have things wrong with me too but whatever, it's part of life.

Say hi to Grandma and Grandpa for me, I miss them a ton.

Till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A lost cell phone....and an earthquake!

Hmmmm.. The Cameron situation is really intriguing, especially with President Keyes throwing a wrench in there. For sure, anything that happens, keep me posted. I got an email from Vicki today, I'll go check what that says, but for now I'll just be praying.

Today was a really good, productive P-day. My comp and I cleaned, studied, went to La Sirena, took a nap, and came here to respond to emails. That email could not have been more trunk-tastic.. I wasn't very aware of the date. Obviously I knew what day it was, but I barely even think about how much time I have left or anything. 8 months is honestly nothing.. I remember when I had 8 months in the mission, I still felt like a new born.. Now I feel like a toddler I would say, trying to show a newborn how to crawl. It's really a huge priviledge to train though. It's been two of the best experiences of my mission up till now.

Well, this last Monday was interesting. We were on the way back from Santiago because we had a meeting up there and it suddenly hit me that I needed to use the restroom (this story probably won't go in the direction you think it will). Anyway, I'm sitting there in the guagua (essentially a van) and someone calls, so I fish the phone out of my pocket and take it. Well, it was really packed so I couldn't put it back in my pocket, so I put it between my legs. So, we get to Bonao, and the driver makes his rounds all over Bonao to drop everyone off, when finally we get to our stop. At this point I'm about to explode because of how badly I need to go, so I get off the van in a hurry and leave the phone on the van. My comp asks me if I have the phone and I say no, and then we realize it's back on the bus. The bus at this point is JUST out of range to be able to flag it down, so we just decide to go back to the house and use the owner of the house's phone to make a call to the Elders that are in the area of the van station. They pass by and say they didn't have a phone, but, with a little bit of hope we drove over to the station that evening to see if they had one. We asked the driver himself and he said he hadn't seen one... So, it was stolen. It sort of made me sick, but in the morning I called the office and apparently it's not that uncommon. That made me feel a bit better. Still, being phoneless in missionary work is like being gunless in a battle. It's not fun. We're just passing by everyone with the hope that they'll be there.. ha but Friday we're supposed to get another.

But, that was the big occurrence this week. Also, interestingly enough while I was using the restroom (just after leaving the guagua after the phone incident), there was an earthquake. It wasn't too big, but it shook the whole apartment and I felt the earthquake for a good minute and a half (just because the water in the toilet kept the momentum of the inicial shock for a while). It was nerve wracking. Aparently there's been a lot of seismic activity here lately..

What else.. Well our investigators are great. We have two that are especially good, Franc and Alex. They are really impressive young men. Franc is just a mad man, loves church and the people there and Alex is a reference and good friend of Jeury. It's really neat to see the result of the result of the Lord's work in Bonao. Jeury is just on fire. He's changed so much, it's amazing. Also, a middle aged man named Humberto, with a solid job and everything, very intelligent (we're thinking second counselor), is progressing really well and loving everything.

I am shocked at how fast it's gone. You were right, now that I've got more responsibility and more things going on the time seems to just be a blur. I can't remember the last time I had trouble sleeping when I came home at night. I am so tired when night comes it's just unreal. I love it.

It's interesting about what's going on with Cameron but I just have to leave it in the Lord's hands. It's nearly impossible to have any energy or desire to do the work if you don't have a testimony of Joseph Smith as a prophet.. It's really what our whole message hinges on.

Love you two. Be safe, be there when I get home (I'm giving you the same commitment you gave me!), I can't wait to see you in 8 months. I'll keep the whole travel thing in mind. It says on my proselyting card thing signed my Thomas S. Monson that my last day is the 9th. Not sure? we'll see how it all pans out. It's hard to know this far away.

But, till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney