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

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Baptism brings joy...and pictures

It has been an amazing week. We got a baptism, we're getting all kinds of referrals from our recent converts and we're getting the ball rolling with all the members here. I think my spanish may be slipping a tidge but we put the goal as a companionship this next transfer to just speak spanish. My comp wants to dominate it, I want to get it back. I like the plan. I have too long without a spanish comp and I don't like it.

So, it's been a pretty good week, like I said. We got Radhamez baptized and he's been just thrilled, I think he may get a temporary job at the park that the church owns here in Bonao. It's a pretty little property that wards come to from all over the country and the carribean. We got to go there today and it really is just awesome. I had been there before, but since then they've put in a water slide (which of course we didn't get to use, but it was pretty sweet looking anyway), and I think we may be going back in a couple weeks. We ended up just playing ping pong because it rained about the whole time, but we enjoyed that a ton.

It's been raining a ton here, like daily for a while. It's Bonao, so that's expected, but I'm getting tired of the smell of mold each time I peel off my shoes at night. It smells like a locker room in our apartment. We try and contain it, but it's just.. well that's a little gross I'll stop talking about that for a bit.

So I'm FINALLY going to send pictures to make up for the briefness of this letter. But, just know I'm in good shape here and working so hard I just completely lose track of time. Everything is just hourly. I don't even look at calenders anymore unless it's to set a baptismal date or schedule a meeting. The mission is getting intense.

Tomorrow we have a training meeting with the assistents and president, so that should be good. My comp and I are getting along great. He cracks me up, reminds me of matt a lot in his humor. Except with an accent.

Well, you were right about another door opening after a few shutting. We have some seriously great investigators, a lot that we've found just in this week. Frank, this 18 year old youth, is just awesome. He's got so much energy. We met him about 3 weeks ago, but he left for Christmas vacation, so he finally came back and he picked up right where he left off. He's just golden. And Humberto is also progressing well. So we should be getting a couple more before all is said and done in Bonao (hopefully...).

Here's the pictures. Oh, and to answer your question, there was just one ward here in Bonao before, and it was part of the La Vega stake, but now there are 2 branches and it is a district. I think that's because there are just TONS of less actives everywhere. The world is just going to crap and unfortunately a lot of the members are being brought with it. It's sad, but we're trying to work with them as well.

I love you two, hope you're well and safe, eating your fine habanero jerky and enjoying life.

Until next week...not a second wasted.

Friday, January 13, 2012

"I love the mission......."

Hey family,

Woooow what a week. Ok, first of all I'll tell you the bad news. Lily and keli, the couple that was going to get married and baptised and lived happily ever after, told us this last week that they didn't want to continue.. It hurt. To add insult to injury, two more investigators also told us that they didn't want to continue for different reasons, either work or their psycho mother, but it's been tough on the work desire.

The one thing that's really kept us going strong (among a few other things) is a man named Radamez. As we have worked with him, he has progessively gotten more and more open with us. Here's his story.. He is 61 years old, always lived a great life, and had his wife and his family there and a pretty great house, but really felt pretty empty inside and unsatisfied with worldly things. About ten months ago he lost his job, and with it his wife and somehow in the process just about everything he owned.. But he did have at least a fridge (more like a mini fridge), a fan, an old tv, and a dvd player. Well, since we've started teaching him EVERYTHING has broken, even the fan. This man has nothing. He doesn't even have things to eat a lot of times. A company he worked for (he's an electro-mechanic) owes him about 2000 dollars, but refuses to pay. He just can't get a break. But, despite all this, he has always worn a smile each and every time we go and teach him. He has a baptismal date on Saturday and a super powerful testimony because he truly has been humbled. He doesn't have much, but he has the gospel.

Last friday we went and gave him a meal of chicken and yuca, this potato like like root that grows here. He said he hadn't eaten for a while.. I don't know how long that was, but I can imagine he had been a while without food. It warmed my heart to see his mostly toothless smile as he saw the food.

I love the mission so much, it seriously makes me near to tears thinking about this man. I have grown to love him so much.

A good little funny story as well that had my comp and I laughing for a while.. We have a really hick investigator that is always willing to share but always super uninterested in the lessons.. His grandson comes outside just before a lesson on sunday and is crying because he thinks his baby chicken is dying. Guillermo tries to comfort him by resucitating the chick with mouth to mouth (which by the way is actually the reason it's dying at this point) then he sets the chicken on the ground and it starts walking really wabbly as if it has rubber legs. It's seriously not near as funny unless you were there, but try and picture it.

And that beef jerky sounds just wonderful. I really thought the one you sent me was great, slackhouse, but if you believe this Ed's is the greatest thing ever I trust you. I can't wait.

I miss you two. Radamez, the investigator, is getting baptized this Saturday. I am pumped. He's truly converted though, that's what really matters.

Love you two. I'll keep working hard. Today is the first good bit of rest I've gotten in 3 weeks, and it felt just wonderful.

Be safe, be good, see you in just oer 8 months,

till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Just a quick note...

Ok, this may be a shortish letter. It seems like every time we go to santiago my letters are ridiculously short, and super undetailled, but here´s a summary of the week;

-we found the second counselor, Humberto. He´s amazing. He prayed about the restoration (to know if it was true) until his knees were bruised. He has now become a great example to me.

-I bought more brownies in Santiago. We should be eating pretty well after all this transfer :)

-My comp and I get along great. He is the man. I don´t know if I´ve ever worked harder in my life in anything. We lack sleep at times, but something keeps me moving along... The unseen force of the hand of the Lord I suppose, but it´s amazing.

- We set two more baptismal dates, one with Humberto and one with a man named Ericson, who´s also pretty amazing (I´m thinking young men´s leader.. cross your fingers)

Annnnnd.. I think that´s all the big news this week.

I am so glad to hear about Romney. Hahahaha pathetic.. I don´t care how you slice it, a win is a win, he can start talking trash when Obama and Romney square off. I´ll be there to help the Romney cause.

I loved your letter. Glad to see Manu doing well. He´s an old family friend now. He´s great it sounds like. I´d like to meet up with him at BYU if I can one day, we´ll see if it happens.

I´m sorry this is brief. I´ll be writing more next week (I put lots of spaces to make it look longer), but I think all my teams are winning their bowls. That´s great news.

Love you two. Play golf for me, please. It´s something I´ve missed more than ever these last few days. Hit an extra couple putts for me, pretend it´s a putt off, and let me win. Cool? Cool. We´ll see you guys in a few months.

Till next week, not a second wasted (and wearing my Christmas golf tie),

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney

More Christmas musings.....

I loved your letter. Ha even though I just talked to you Sunday you still sent just as much as usual. It seems like we didn't actually get all that much real communication in.. Like the good meaningful stuff until like the last 20 minutes. It was a massive commotion in the house, which was exactly how I like it. Seeing everyone was so cool. All the kids are GIANT! I am still just stunned.. and it's only been a year and 3! Wow. That just blows my mind.

My new comp is the man. It's not easy training 24 weeks straight, especially in the same area, but we're pushing each other so it's been great. Here in Bonao we still have the same usual investigators, and the others we're sort of cycling through.. It's a little tough here at times because everyone will have you in. That's never the problem.. It's just getting them to make commitments. You already pretty much knew that though.

Oh one interesting thing is that one of our investigators, Roberto, actually lived in England for like 9 years, so he's taken a real liking to my comp and now is doing us favors like giving us rides to the super market and back in his SUV (still not sure how he can afford an SUV, he's not wealthy by any means), and he's going to make a meal for us tonight. But, we don't just take advantage of him as it seems, he actually wants to put his life in order and expressed to us last night that he would like to be baptized.. We'll see where it goes.

I am really happy. Honestly it's been so great lately. The zone leaders are both americans as well so we get to do a lot of activities with them. We played a ton of ping pong with them today for p-day. Later on just my comp and I went to La Sirena and shopped, also buying lunch. It was just what we needed, rice, baked chicken and mashed potatoes with melted cheese on top.. almost an american meal...

That brings me to the next thing.. I don't want to look at a plate of rice for a LOOOOOOONG time when I get back.

I love you two. I enjoyed hearing from you so much. Best Christmas present by far...

Wow, just 9 more months,

Till next week, not a second wasted,

Elder C. Rufus Sweeney