Monday, 9 September 2013

August 29th Letter

Hola familia!
I am glad you are safe despite all the storms! Wow, that's pretty crazy weather and all. I can see Dad having fun driving however hehehehe. On the rocks. No storm here yet, but it sure rains a lot. Casi everyday. Very neat all the things you guys are doing especially on the ocean! I have yet to see the ocean since the day I landed here haha. I'm glad you guys are having such a great time and all and also being in a Spanish country even! I like hearing the stories of the sea!
So the DR. The CCM just received a batch of new missionaries. IT IS PACKED. Americans and latinos alike. It's funny to see the americans at the initial stage like we were earlier, understanding nothing. The spanish is really improving (although I guess I'll avoid typing in it since it is probably a bother to translate. My letter to the president and journal entries are in a gross english with spanish scattered throughout. Sometimes I forget my english words...) and Elder Joseph and I can talk pretty freely and such. Spanish is such a wonderful language that flows in and out of words and phrases in a manner so much more beautiful than english. However, the Dominicans don't just flow, they fly. Same with Chileans. I talked with one of the teachers here about different spanish accents and she said Cubans talk as if something is always in their mouth (wide mouthed frog haha) but not ridiculously fast, Peruvians speak very clearly and precisely and beautifully while Chileans are rapid and strange and attack their words. Dominicans are fast like Chileans but more tranquil with their accent. It was funny hearing the teacher simulate all the accents and to actually hear the difference between all the latino missionaries. Can't wait to learn the Dominican style and be a Dominican hombre, hanging out in the calle!
A little bit about the calle (street) here in DR. Power lines are strung through trees or really poorly built poles. Most buildings throw an alligator clip up on the power line for their building, making powerlines this weird tangled mess of chewed up lines extremely low to the ground. If I walked under them, I would touch them with my head. Power is super unreliable here. It goes out here in the CCM at least twice on a good day and sometimes for quite a while. It has even gone off in the temple before. Its interesting. Streets are busy with cars, walkers and strange piles of dirt, debris or other stuff. It reminds me of Mexico with less rules, more people and somewhat questionable clothing. But it is so much fun! We contacted at the university last week and met a bunch of people! They are so friendly here! Everybody is fine with talking and some of them even stop walking and sit down with you. In fact there was this one lady who we gave a Book of Mormon and talked with for 15 minutes or something. She is really interested in Elder Joseph. I think also the gospel. But mostly Elder Joseph. We saw her again at the supermarket yesterday and she really wants to meet with us in her house hahahahaha. But we are CCMers. So no. Pretty sure she will never call the missionaries because she wants to meet with mi companero haha. Oh well. September 10 or something. We proselyte tomorrow! Doing splits with missionaries here in SD!
Que mas? um... The weather rocks. Humid, rains, but always a beautiful heat and sun. I don't know the exact temperature, but it is hot. My whole face goes red if I run around outside even for just 40 minutes. Not from burn, just heat. I love the heat though. It is brilliant. I would live here. Well, I am living here. Although missionaries in the field say its bucket showers, no air conditioning and a spinner is your washer. Some missionaries in the mountains cross streams and other strange terrain tracting haha.
With our mock investigators we baptized one. Our teacher is now portraying a devout catholic lady and its probably one of the funniest things we have ever done to teach her. I think our teacher has too much fun portraying her.
Still the only Canadian. But not the only asian. There are Tagalog hermanas for some reason. The rest are latino or American (mostly Utah). It is fun. We do cool things like sports, teach, read, discuss stuff and various other pasttimes like making fun of our district leader for smelling his not-girlfriend's letters that are sprayed with perfume.
Anyway, its interesting how much I have learned here just through spirit, separation from distractions and the routine. I quite like it. I can't wait to teach real people. But we had some interesting videos of devotionals by apostles played for us, and they said the most important convert is the missionary. That as one teaches, they find themselves in the eyes of others. So I hope I'm doing well enough for that to happen. Elder Bednar gave an amazing devotional a couple years ago about the character of Christ is to turn outwards when the natural man would turn inwards. Amazing the stories and doctrine of love and compassion he taught. Elder Holland sure is passionate about missionary work, and told all those missionaries in his devotional straight that he would not be happy or permiting of any missionary to return home and go inactive. The more I learn and serve here the more its apparent that this will be a lifelong endeavor. I will make the most of my life. I would like to share a lesson the mission president shared on Sunday. He talked of the law. The law of justice and mercy. According to the law of God, we are punished for sin and blessed for righteousness. But we run parallel to God's ways. Even if we spend our whole life in good works, we can never make up for any sin comitted. We are on divergent paths with the presence of God, and it gets wider with each sin. The Savior has made up for this. Through his sacrifice for sin he seeks to guide us back to the presence of God. Only repentance can bridge that divergent path and bring us back and make up for the sins in our lives. The doctrine of Christ is so simple. Faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost and endure to the end. That is it. Never let anyone else convince you of any strange doctrinal points. The doctrine of Christ is simple, and through it lies salvation. The reason the church is true is because we follow the doctrine of Christ, and God answers prayers. That is it. :). Anyway, I loved that lesson so.... yeah.
Have a great trip in Mexico and make it back alright. Thank you for being such a great family. It really has made a difference all the things you have taught me. Truly.
For Baboon: I eat the vitamin C tablets... um... IM NOT AN OLD MAN YET! I don't need all the pills! Oh and speaking my little asian phrases is quite a hit. HAHAHAHA. Soon asian shall rule the world!
Con amor mi familia,
Hasta ver
Elder Sullivan

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