Monday, 23 June 2014

June 23rd - With Elder Nelson


Awesome to hear that everything is going well and that school is over and everything. Congratulations to Christina for doing super well! Outdoor Ed was the best program ever too bad it only happens one year. Ive tried emailing Ricky a couple of times but he didnt answer haha. I hope all the preparations for the trip go well and you all have fun off in Europe (hopefully doing cool stuff, like not looking at buildings and museums all day). Maybe go surfing in Europe haha or sailing on the mediterranean or something cool like that I dunno. You know, our home ward (like, Chestermere ward) is actually super well run. The youth program is really successful and lots of the young men are going on missions. Tell them that I say hi and to go on missions fully prepared and with lots of love for random people! Have fun teaching seminary Mom! Its funner than it looks!

I am really glad to hear about the temple, and that Gong Gong is now part of our journey back home. Temples really are inspired of God, and the greatest thing about God´s plan for us here. We had a little moment where we talked about the temple and things in the house. Im so glad our family is eternally together, and what it says in DyC about how we can only truly be saved with all our family together makes a lot more sense now, that we are all meant to be together and carry on a plan that has been in existence... forever! The greatest thing to share with converts is about the temple, because its really what we are here to do, is make it there. Because God wants his family to be all together, living eternally in such wonderful perfection. But we still have to work on that, the whole perfection thing. We need to learn. And thats really all we are here to do outside of just sitting in the temple enjoying the presence of the whole family. Its kind of painful as a missionary to not go to the temple much, but its part of how we have to work outside a lot to bring salvation. Its been special to be out here knowing Gong Gong is always just watching over me, instead of worrying and being sick, he is just taking care of me. So its been really special to share such a wonderful plan with all of you, and also all of the people here. If only everyone could just understand the wonder of what we are all doing. So thats awesome! I send all my love to all of the family and hope that everyone can always feel the love of family and the love of God, and realize we are never apart.

Well, it was a good week this week. Elder Nelson is my new companion, from Belize too! He is a funny guy and did a lot of stuff at home that I used to do like play video games and watch anime haha. We are both skinny and tall, in fact, he weighs even less than I do, which may be a little difficult to believe, but there it is. But thats alright, because we are going to work out and get huge. Elder Nelson has lots of funny jokes and stories, and really wants to come back to this country after the mission, which is really close to happening in like 4 months or something like that. But yeah its fun. The new zone leader in the house is Elder Lindsay from Utah. He is fairly classic like country Uta (like, hunting and stuff)h but is super cool. We are having fun.

Anyway, not too much has happened. We did get this one guy to come back to church after inactivity for like, ever. we just went to their house and told them that God loved them and wanted them to always be happy, and he came back! Now we are reviewing all the thousands of things they have forgotten about the church. Our two young men are set to be baptized still, although there are a few trials such as reading the book and behaving and getting along haha. But they are still super cool. We mostly want to reactivate people, especially using our big conference this weekend! We are set to be organized as a stake of Zion here in Azua! Yeahh!! So that should be cool this weekend, lots of work coming up to keep everything running and still more baptisms as well. But its been really cool. Big changes are coming about, and its super awesome to be in Azua to see them!

I miss you all, and love you all! It has been the greatest experience ever serving the people of the DR here, and its been so wonderful to help them realize what is the great plan of happiness in store for them as children of God. I hope that all of us together can really become disciples of Christ and all be on our way home together.

Con todo mi amor,
Elder Sullivan

Un abrazo!

Monday, 16 June 2014

June 16, 2014 (Father's Day and Transfers)

Hey family! And Happy Father´s Day Dad! (It doesnt exist here)

So that´s interesting to hear about the chingunguya thingy being outside the country. Almost everyone in the country has had it now. I´m glad you guys managed to finish the kitchen and everything. It probably looks pretty cool. The German orchestra sounds pretty cool, and Elder Lopez and I think the Schubert piece is awesome. The World Cup is not that big here. People are really into baseball but barely even watch soccer here in the Dominican. The one exception to latin countries, the DR. Tanner´s wedding sounds cool, I say congratulations and stuff. Im glad the youth are getting into jazz. Its some pretty fine music.

So, the big news is that this week is transfers, and that Elder Peña and Elder Lopez are leaving :(. Its sad, and our house will probably never be as cool now, but it was fun while it lasted. Without Elder Peña, the baptisms will definitely drop. They had the chance to say bye to everyone yesterday and more today, and everyone is pretty sad, especially about Elder Peña. He will probably cry when we visit familia menyetti tonight. Im going to miss Elder Peña and his rasta man and coolness, and the branch is going to miss him. It was really nice to talk with those two muchachos and I hope they have fun wherever they go. I got to talk with Elder Peña lots about stuffs, and with Lopez about music. It was cool. But anyway, Elder Forsyth and I are receiving new companions. They haven´t told us who yet.

Oh we also had interviews with the President. It was cool, President Nuckols is very funny and a really nice guy. It sounds like he really wants the missionaries to find lots of people and have more people to teach and broaden our investigator pools. He also said I cant be getting sick anymore haha. Hermana Nuckols and him asked a lot about who we are. Like, about the family, home and our past areas in the mission. So they know me better now haha. And it sounds like Hermana Nuckols used to visit Calgary sometimes, so they know a little bit about the area. 

Yeah so thats the big news. I suppose I left the house last week to preach, but was restricted again as the rash kind of appeared again but I was alright after a few days again. We have a district conference this weekend for Azua. Sounds like it will be pretty cool. Whoever my new companion is and I are going to have to work on finding new people to teach. So far we just visit less actives, recent converts, our two investigators and sometimes members. But we just have to find some new people, and actually go find them instead of just teaching all the converts haha.

Its been interesting to see the difference that work and activity make in our lives. The time I spent in the house recovering and resting from sickness were very deabilitating and even faith weakening, since studying and even praying is kind of a struggle when you´re sick and tired. It felt a lot better to be out working again, being useful and studying and doing missionary things again. So, activity really is a big part of remaining a faithful disciple. Its why we have callings and stuff, we have to stay active and working or we get lazy and just end up thinking in useless things. Just like the Nephites were industrious and diligent workers, while the lamanites were lazy and thieves. Activity is really important to remain doing good, rather than doing nothing or bad. The idle mind is the devil´s tool. But thats whats good about being a missionary, is that youre not idle.

Well I cant think of too many other things. Its been a good time, and now its going to be really different whatever happens. Hopefully its good! 

Thanks for everything family! Hope this week is wonderful for everyone!

Les quiero mucho,

Elder Sullivan

Friday, 13 June 2014

June 9th 2014

Hey everybody!

Sounds like everyone is having a great time doing all the very many things that you all do! You guys certainly have more and better planned church activities! (Ours are kind of first come first serve). I´m glad everyone liked the letter, It was a little silly, yes, but I´m pretty silly so there it is. The new kitchen looks really good! You guys are like a modern family now with slick black granite marble countertop thingys to make awesome foods! By the way to make platanos properly, there are a couple of ways. If you are going to eat them verde (green) you have to peel them with the knife really well so you dont get little chunks of the peel, and then you can do a couple of things with them. One, you can boil them in halves and then mash them with milk and butter and fry some onions and put them on there and thats mangue or however its spelt. To fry them, you have to either cut them super thin, like chips, and make platano chips or you can do it classic where you cut them not quite so thin, like a little bit thinner than in the picture I see I think, and then you fry them a little bit, just until the outside turns that nice gold color, and then you take them out and mash them just enough so the inside oozes out and then you put them back in until the get crispy! Thats the most work, but it tastes the best. Anyway, youre better off eating something tastier probably (although, I do like platanos fritos), 

Wow Tanner got married! Cool. That was fast. Elder Lopez and I are very jealous of Tasha (I want fine music too! She better buy a CD of them and send me it!! Please? Por favor?) What did they play?

So there isnt all that much to say about this week. I hurt my foot and then got this weird fever thing that is going around the country called chincunguya or something (just call it chickengoo or something). Anyway, its a fairly nasty disease that first gives you dots on your skin then high fever and then bone pains that last all day and night. At day three I was very much fried. But I didnt die and feel ok today so thats good! The nice thing was too that at church (I only went to sacrament meeting) all of our converts and our two investigators came, even though a bunch were sick too! So we all managed to renew our covenants together even though our bodies really just wanted to lie down and rest (not that lying down helped. That also hurt). But it was really nice to see everyone is still really devoted to the gospel, even when the chips are looking down (is that how that phrase works?) And even though yes a few times during the day I wanted to die rather than lie around hurting so much, its nice to know that bad things end and good things keep going, and that the Lord is with us, even when we dont know it. Like He says in the scriptures, I will never abandon you. Thats true, and we are here to grow, so some pain is important. And its nice to know the Lord and all the people around me care and are still pleased with what I do, even if thats just rolling around in bed drinking IV solution. Just another day in the service. Man I love the corps!

Anyway, so even though this week lots of the time was passed sleeping or trying to sleep and not really talking to anyone because I was so dead, it was still a good week. Mostly because its done and now we have this week! Which is the last week of this transfer, because apparently we are only having a four week transfer this one and eight for the next. We have interviews with the President this week. He is super cool and funny and really excited to be here. It will be nice to talk with him face to face. He already changed a few things around here, and wants us to talk to all the people everywhere. Yeaa!

So I cant think of anything else for this week. Maybe Ill have more photos in a second from Elder Peña. If not, next week! Have a great week everybody, be safe, I am always praying for all of you and I hope only the best!

Con todo mi amor,

Elder Sullivan

Monday, 2 June 2014

June 2nd 2014

Hey everybody!

Life sounds pretty awesome for everyone! Good job Christina on the triathlon, thats pretty fast and awesome, sad that not so many finished the race but good job! Well, you guys could have sold some of my junk if you felt like but it sounds like the Poon boys already have all of it anyway. Everyone sounds really busy over there. We are about the same a little less since the family got baptized. Sounds like lots of music is being played and performed, me like. Interesting stake conference, sounds at least uplifting! We are supposed to have big news in a conference for the district of Azua sometime soon, hopefully to become a stake! Glad everyone got to see the temple and do lots of cool things and that everyone survived aftergrad (a miracle I would say) and that big things are happening!

So the biggest news here would be the arrival of Presidente Nuckols. We had a conference with him on thursday where he spoke and stuff. People with birthdays got chocolates (why not me? haha). It was awesome to meet him and stuff. Hermana Nuckols and him are super cool! He had lots of jokes to tell us, like, about his last name (apparently he has a relative named harry, so he´s ¨Harry Nuckols¨. It made some sense in spanish too haha. He served his mission in España. A few things here dont make any sense to them, like, someone talked about sunday being the day that water arrives and its a challenge for getting people to come to church and I saw him lean over to one of the assistants and ask why water arriving was so important. He told us he likes to surf (the first thing he talked about) and wow he is really tall like 6 foot 6 or more. He is really nice, made a saturday night live reference about baseball, likes to be happy and make everyone laugh a bit. So that was pretty neat. Hermana Nuckols looked really tired, but is really nice and has been to Calgary before for the Stampede. They havent had their training yet in the big mission president meeting yet, but they got to spend 5 days with the quorom of the twelve! So they got to do really cool things for sure! Presidente Nuckols is really excited about the work here, he believes right now we are in a chosen land, because the flag here has an ¨open bible¨ on the front. When he was in Spain, they sometimes only taught one lesson a week and that wasnt bad. Here, we just enter people´s houses, they openly talk about God everywhere and lots read the bible. So we think the work will progress even more here than it has been. We just have to have vision and work according to Presidente Nuckols. We need some sort of vision. He´s really optimistic, so Im sure the vision will be more than we asked for haha. They speak fluent french, how useful in a spanish country! President Uchtdorf made a comment about that apparently when he called them haha. Anyway, all in all they are really neat, have traveled Europe a lot and are really optimistic and friendly, I hope things go really well for them here!

So yeah, things have slowed but also sped up. With the family baptized, mostly we just visit converts and less actives now since we have no one else to teach haha. They are starting to have all those deep and interesting questions and have really been attacked by satan lately. Lots of disturbing dreams, opposing family members and questions and stuff, but their faith is so unshakable and strong they have really risen up against it all and proclaimed in fast and testimony meeting that the devil would have no place in their lives, and that they have the truth of the gospel. The parents´ testimonies are so strong and wonderful to hear and they openly share. They have become such a strong couple and its so nice to see the gospel work such a change in them as they come closer to the Lord. Junior is still funny as ever, his jokes are so clever, I cant even keep up. He always has something awesome to say. Someone was talking about blood sugar levels, and said ¨And her sugar went up¨ and so he said ¨You´re right, sugar has been more expensive lately¨. Classic! Coolest guy ever, I hope he gets an awesome calling because he really deserves one. When they asked about what happens if a spouse dies early, it was kind of funny because he was just wondering if in heaven if like his wife got remarried and arrived in heaven with another he would be all like ¨And what? Who is this?¨ So we assured him it only means something in heaven if they are sealed! Yeah!

Other than that our other three converts are good. Brian is such a cool youth so active and lively and does a lot of stuff. Sora (the young girl) is still active and awesome but is still really sassy and still makes fun of us haha. The older lady out in finka 6 is doing good but because of her grandchild´s health has missed church a couple times. But she is still super cool!

So yeah, we are teaching two youth, the worst behaved youth we have invited within the walls of the church. They just kind of come from bad home environments but wow one of them has such a burning desire to be baptized and change and join the church, he just doesnt really know how to turn that desire into action, but hes getting there. The other one cant stop laughing but I think he likes the church. They both just want to be at the church all the time haha. Too much. They´re always there. They´re funny though and I like them and I always have to give piggy backs but ah well. Sometimes they really try. I think one of them has a testimony. They at least feel like they belong at church. But they need to be less annoying to the members, or someone might punch them.

So thats kind of all thats happening. We had some cool zone activities and stuff like that and played games and such. We sang happy birthday on the phone for a hermana. We eat really good food like banana bread sometimes. And yeah! It was a fairly normal week otherwise!

I hope everthing continues good for everyone. I am so glad to be out here and Im glad everyone is out and about as well. I hope someday you can meet these people who are so dear to me. I know so much more about God´s love now, what it really is and how He shows it and how much He truly loves all of us, and to be a reprsentative of His Son, I need to also have His love. If nothing else, love has changed these people´s lives forever now, and they dont have to worry about anything else. God really loves us. A lot. I wish we could all have His love and share it perfectly. And be optimistic like the mission president and have vision for our lives and the lives of all of God´s children!

Anyway, thanks for everthing family! Have a wonderful week! Adelante! Adelante!

Con todo mi amor,

Elder Sullivan
PS Our new theme from a song ¨Todo es increíble!¨ Everything is awesome!

May 26th 2014

Hello family!

So it sounds like things are pretty cool over there! I like the pictures of Germany, looks like a really pretty country like Austria! Good to hear Mom is learning some spanish. Its a nice language and not all that hard and really useful even worldwide! Entonces, sigue! I never got to do rogaine but thats cool Christina did, it sounds pretty cool. Good to hear the weather is warming up. The hot sun here may have heated up more but Im not entirely sure. Its just hot, and I dont mind it anymore so its all good haha. Sounds like everyone is pretty busy and everything, I hope the business stays as good business and everyone keeps having a good time. Dad can keep playing the accordion if he wants hahahahahahahah. Have fun with the new callings and adventures! Young Mens would be a huge job out here, so many youth both active and inactive.

Well the big news here is that all the things that were supposed to happen.... DID! As you may have seen from the pictures, we had a wedding, a wedding party at the church and a baptism of 5! Familia Ramirez Menyetti is now on the way to being an eternal family! The marriage was kind of interesting. Here they hold the whole thing in the little room in the office with the papers. They have to like sign the papers and stuff, and stand up sometimes and the lawyer completes all the stuff and stamps it. And then at the end they have a like ¨You may now kiss the bride¨ thing. Anyway, it was really exciting to see and be with them (although the ceremony not so much hahaha). The husband was smiling the whole time and just looked so happy to be getting married and baptized and stuff. His face kind of said ¨Woah man, Im getting married!¨. The wife was excited too and hugged my companion hahahahahahaha! Anyway, they were really excited. They even dressed up pretty well for it. We celebrated with them that day (it was wednesday I think) at their house and at the office and met some of their family members which was cool and chatted about these strange joke story things, which appear to be really popular in latin culture. They are really funny. Junior (the dad) loves telling the stories (kind of like Dad) and making jokes and chatting a bunch. Funny guy and super awesome.His coming to have a testimony is really neat, his is my favourite. He didnt really pay much attention to what was going on at first with his family getting taught and everything and going to church and stuff and even in lessons with us he said at first it was just kind of weird. But we always told him to pray about it. And for some reason that stuck really well, and he prayed. Eventually he says he just knew it was true. He had dreams about it frequently and just knew that this was the true church and he had to follow Jesus Christ. Anyway, he is really cool and shared his testimony at the baptism and his wife too. Martha (the wife), she knew it was true from our first lesson, it was a super powerful lesson and she went and prayed right away. It was really nice to hear from them at the baptism, they thanked God and us and I liked how they said that lots of missionaries had passed by before, even were teaching their daughter, but for some reason the time was when Elder Peña and I arrived. I am so grateful the Lord gave us the opportunity to help this family and that they were prepared for this moment. The kids are super cool (the little 8 year old was so excited to go in the pool and be washed hahahaha) and the young men really took in Walfin, the teenager, and now hes really cool and always says ¨Gracias por enseñarnos el Evangelio¨. Chantal, the daughter, after countless weeks has finally been baptized haha. She is the most solid in the family in terms of knowledge and will be a great person. They are all super cool, and its really neat that we got to baptize all of them at once. All five of them dressed in white getting ready for salvation. In their marriage, even though the official thingy says till death, they said ¨Oh, itll be forever haha¨. So I hope they can go to the temple, because we will be here to watch them be sealed!!!

The branch here is growing like crazy and helped so much with the family. We all organized a not so surprise wedding party for them, and it went actually really well. At least, everyone had a good time and of course it started an hour late but welcome to the church and even better here in the DR. But yeah one member made this amazing wedding cake with like the actual wedding designs and everything (I have no picture, it was eaten). Anyway, so it was a really cool time with a bunch of dancing that I severely wanted to participate in but did not. I asked Elder Lopez, ¨So... can I dance? haha....¨and he said ¨Well, take off your plaque and go haha¨. Anyway, it was a really cool wedding thing and we ate and had fun and the members danced and the family has been so well accepted. The President of the branch here is elated and has done so much to help the family and gave a super nice welcome to the branch and everything and the members are really pulling together for it and anyway its just been a great time and we just have to keep the spirit rolling.

Anyway, super cool times here. Hopefully someday this family gets sealed forever. We are working our bums off to make sure it happens. So if anyone needs some extra bum from some missionaries in the DR, call us. We have a lot of converts right now so that has been a big point of focus, hopefully we can find some new people amongst all the craziness.

So some other stuff happened I think... but I cant recall it we did too much work with the family for me to remember. But its been cool. Thanks for praying for the family, and please keep praying for them. We just hope so badly all the converts stay active forever and ever. Even if I took three tries to baptize the dad haha. The wife once, but the dad is kind of crippled in one foot and I didnt see that his hand was out of the water like 2 times. Ah well. Hes saved. And he always says it was because he had to wash more sins hahahaahahaha.

Ok, what else? Our new mission President arrived on friday! We have yet to meet him. Our conference with him is this thursday and apparently we have interviews with him someday. Or something. Its all a little hazy. But it should be cool.

The labour continues! Elder Peña and I are super happy and crazy elated with craziness and its been super cool times here in Azua. We rested a lot today haha after our fairly crazy week. Hopefully it just gets even better. We have two young men we are preparing to baptize and they are coming along cool so maybe we will just be baptizing and retaining and strengthening the kingdom forever!!!!!!!! YEAH!

Anyway, hard work pays off. I love the people here so much, and through just a little bit of work they came so far. I mean, really we didnt do anything the Spirit did and they changed their lives but it was great to be a part. As I always say to them, ¨Its always a pleasure, and it will forever be a pleasure to have known you¨. The same with you family and with all people Ive ever met. Forever changed. As Ammon said, We love them, and they love us and wow its just super cool. They were so converted they died for God. Anyway its cool!

Gracias por todo mi familia, que sigan adelante
Les quiero muchisimo,

Elder Sullivan

May 19th 2014

Hola Familia!

So I hope everything is going well and that Tasha is having a good time in Germany. There is a German guy here actually who is married to a member here or something but not really and anyway his accent is really weird. I can´t really imitate it, but its kind of like those Indiana Jones movies but in spanish. I hope the Heningers are alright and they will have my prayers. The lake is sounding pretty cool I hope everyone has fun on the water. Thanks for all the photos and words of encouragement!

So everything has been going pretty good. Transfers were announced. Our house is the same. Two of the sisters from our district are leaving and one of the two staying is training (a joy I am somewhat glad I am not experiencing right now. I love training, its just hard to learn new stuff while you are training haha). So I am really happy to be with Elder Peña still and we are going to have lots of fun and lots of awesome success in wonderful Pueblo Abajo!

The new President is scheduled to arrive this week, on friday or something! We have interviews with him saturday in the morning, so it will be nice to meet him! We shall see what happens with the mission from there.

Otherwise we are all good. We did some cool stuf last week. Made way too much banana bread. On friday we had our big exhibition skit night thing that we had practiced in districts and brought together as a zone! I have a bunch of video of it, but I dont know if you guys will get to see it until I bring the CD we are supposed to make of it home. Anyway, our district did this thing where we had to do a bunch of clapping patterns as we acted out receiving mission calls while we were sitting at this table thing. It was really cool and stuff and executed with classic poor quality but the people liked it and it was funny and good and cool. A sister in the district came up with it and practicing it was like musical theatre all over again (she like, studied theatre in school and stuff so it was legitimately like a music class kind of thing). Too much smiling and exaggerated motions again haha. We also did another skit with the whole zone and did some awesome singing and acting in a portrayal of Samuel the Lamanite and a modern version of it. It was cool. We used music from a bunch of movies and stuff with our own words put to it. The other two districts came up with some really cool stuff too. They made all these different scenes of things with music and singing and lots of cool inside jokes, like classic missionary experiences in the Dominican (they had some contacting time, and so the missionaries found a lady who brought out a book of excuses and read them things like she was catholic or had gripe and yeah, and this family they taught who forgot the appointment and hadnt read the pamphlet but couldnt get away haha. So the missionaries taught them with our classic weird examples and hand motion thingys and handshakes and stuff, but then the missionaries just sang ¨La Oracion del Profeta¨(Joseph Smith´s first prayer) and the family progressed to baptism haha). So anyway, cool stuff. The activity was supèr fun and the only thing that could have been better is if more members had shown up, but a few did so thats sufficient.

Our investigator pool is shrinking with the baptism coming up, but thats ok. We have two young men we are teaching as references from our convert here and even though they are superbly badly misbehaved at the church, we are working on that and they understand a bunch of really important things like prayer and reading and following Christ. Now they just have to behave better so they can have the Spirit and figure out that it is actually really annoying to do stupid things during a class and steal people´s stuff and play around with it and be super weird. it reminds me of me too much, so we shall have to teach that a little more haha.

Familia Menyetti is super awesome and will be baptized after their wedding on Wednesday, which will be the first wedding actual ceremnoy thingy where they sign the paper that I have ever seen. There is a party on thursday as a farewell for a missionary. There is another party on Friday to celebrate the family´s wedding. And then we baptize them saturday. Pretty much a slammed week with assorted other things to accomplish. But its going on. Love all the people here, they´re super funny. I really like the Father in the family we are teaching, we like to chat sometimes and he reads a lot. Cool guy, always has a funny story or joke or something and has really come to be the leader of his family now through the gospel. Kind of neat how its all worked out from then until now. Things just kind of change, and we dont even know until its already gone and this family went from being just one kid we were teaching to all of them as a unified and awesome family that will totally be eternal. So thats pretty cool.

Anyway, I hope everything is going well with all of you. I know the Lord has kept you and blessed you, and for this I am grateful. Its really important that we recognize our Heavenly Father really is a Father, and wants to care for us. I have learned a lot from Him here, and how much He cares for all of His children. I care a lot about them too. The sort of motto I have built up on the mission and what I like to tell people is that we are children of God, and as His children have great potential and purpose. We do not have to live beneath that potential, we just have to make the choice. And that choice is to love. It is either love or something else that is far beneath the potential of a child of God. So glad that the restored gospel has taught me that and I am so glad that my family has given me the priviledge of learning that.

Love you all with all my heart, y que el Señor les cuide siempre,
Con amor,

Elder Sulivan