Thursday, 31 July 2014

July 27 2014

Hey everyone! (Happy Father´s Day Dad! A little late!)

So sorry I dont have any pictures this time, I forgot the little thingy to send them and I only had a couple lame ones anyway.
I got the package yeah! On like, wednesday or something like that. It was really nice thanks! The HI CHEWS are already disappearing and are awesome! My clothes smell wonderful again and make me happy and the new basketball is super nice and thanks for the letters they were really nice and uplifting, although the cursive writing was a little difficult for me to read, but I got it at the end. Europe looks really cool! I like the Venice look and the English countryside thing with the little neat houses. The eifell tower looks nice lit up. Dad looks goofy with his classy hats, and mama and the sisteries look good (my sisters are getting so old!). Nice to hear the home ward is doing well and everyone is back into the calgary life so well and that everyone is safe and sound and feeling well. The band got back together. NICE. Tell the Simmons (if they arent already gone) I say hi and whats up and hope life is super good. Well, you can basically say that to everyone. I doubt the missionaries enjoyed mission stories as much as the marriage story since its sisters and thats their thing.

Around here, the temperature has been going up, I think its summer or something. We had a pretty good week, especially considering the amount of people we did not find in their houses. That awesome cool investigator guy, tony, came to church again without us going by to get him and has read lots of the BOM. So he is progressing at least, and slowly realizing that he has been fulfilling his desire to reach God little by little right now, although his past and dreams are really haunting him. But we love the guy and he loves us, he always just wants to talk. I like his attitude of enjoying life but being spiritual and doing exercises like tai chi. I really hope we can help him figure it out and like, live the law chastity might be a tough one. It usually is with every guy here. I really hope he can figure it out and everything.

We spent a lot of time with this member family, who gave us references and stuff but we paid for them in doing their chores haha. They are really cool, kind of cowboy like people. They have a huge garden of awesome vegetables and a finka farm outside of the town with like 11 cows. They live a funny country style life, and love having the missionaries around. We chatted with them and it´s always funny to talk about our family and sometimes Dad´s business (its become an interesting topic. I think I´ve been labelled by the other missionaries as a rich boy, but I think I´m really just rich because my family is awesome and cool and they just don´t understand haha.) People like to hear about Canada, as its kind of a mysterious country for them. They always think its part of the states here. And they never know where or what Belize is. Ah well. Anyway, these members made some super funny racist comments about asians all being cruel mean people with bad hearts, especially Koreans. I turned the other cheek and remarked that our language sounds kind of mean which also received a slap to the other cheek. No point in getting half the deal, might as well get full. They think its funny that I come from a mixed family, its sort out outside of all their stereotypes they put on everyone. Anyway, this family also gave us a reference of another family which is super cool since we need people to teach, although I´m not sure how many more times we will have to wash the dishes to get more references. 

Other cool story, so we were having a nice awesome day in church for father´s day. Some really touching talks, one from Juniour, who said he couldnt wait to be baptized for his father who had passed away 10 months ago in the temple and he really values being a father and taking care of his children. An unmarried but engaged guy then talked about marriage (so, he knew nothing!). The best but worst part was the gospel principles class. It was about the word of wisdom and being healthy. Our wonderful teacher (who I dont know why he is teaching the class but there it is) began speaking about some sort of random stuff like how living the word of wisdom has blessed him and he is a really healthy man and oter stuff about weird stuff in his life. Our investigator made a cool comment about how to eat a big breakfast. Then the teacher said some strange stuff about how to be healthy, and says ¨you dont need to run on a track, you can just run in your bathroom for an hour each day.¨ Somehow, right before he said bathroom, Elder Nelson guessed that was what he would say. The class kind of just stared blankly, and all the missionaries were trying really hard not to laugh. He continued on about how great it is to run in your bathroom and how he is in good shape (he is totally just a fat middle aged man) ¨I mean, sure I´m big but thats because Im compact and my body compacts everything. I have super compact thigh muscles¨. Yeah, ok man. He then made some strange comments about women trying to flirt with him in the streets but that he just ignored that and so Elder Lindsay made some comment about how the law of chastity is next week´s lesson. Yeah, its a great class. Mostly the guy brags about his life, and a few comments from the students are interesting. Juniour and Martha totally joked about it when we were teaching them again. ¨So, I guess we have to run for 18 hours in the bathroom now if we want to be as fit as the missionaries walking all the time. I mean, its probably good to run in such a hot area since you´ll sweat a lot and you can shower right away!¨ So that was interesting. I think it may have sent tony home after that class, even though he said he felt a little sick and got a phone call haha. 

So thats my stories, we have lots of rejections at doorways but Elder Nelson gives them a pass along card and tells them to call us when they wish to hear the truth. We did a cool activity today where we had a flour bomb war. We filled socks with flour and threw them at each other as a zone activity. I got my buds good, I almost made Elder Nelson a white man. Elder Forsyth went down after a dirty shot to the groin from Elder Nelson. And some of the hermanas were hitting my back all the time with flour (and not lightly). I preferred getting people in the face or dumping it on their head. Good thing I´m not a zone leader, they got severely covered in flour. Anyways, it was fun and didnt even take that long to do or clean up at all.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week and that the summer closes with August in great fashion. I love you all!

Con todo mi amor,

Elder Sullivan

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

July 21 2014

Hey Mom and Dad (And other people who may or may not read this!)

Really nice to hear about Italy in Rome and Venice! Sounds really neat to be going around the streets in boats. I would like that I think, other than the traffic. The cafe and music and culture of the life there would appeal to me, and its awesome you guys got to enjoy that. I´m glad you guys enjoyed such great music and stuff, there isnt too much of that out here, but the colmado (corner store) below us plays lots of Enrique Iglesias for us on his really loud speakers so, I guess thats cool. The Christian history of Rome is pretty extensive, and Pablo (Paul) is a very popular apostle out here in the DR. Their stories are really inspiring and remind me that the road is supposed to be hard and we really dont suffer out here as much as we think we do and every effort is worth it. Sounds like awesome cultural experience!

So we had an interesting week! It was pretty good, other than the water stopped for half of the town and so we completely ran out, even in our reserve tanks. Even today we are here without water, we had to grab a litle bit of water from the church just to shower haha. But we are all good and Im sure it will come back soon. Otherwise we spent a lot of time out in the sun walking, because its been getting pretty hard to find new people lately. Lots of old people answer the door and have very little to say. But we finally got one investigator in church with a baptism date and progressing. He is a super cool guy, lives at his dad´s house for now but is a young adult. He has a past of worldliness but also a great search for godliness. He has visited lots of churches and looked a long time for a church and for God but hasn´t really found anything. So we gave him a book of mormon and took him to church yesterday, and he loved it so we may have some progress with him. The only thing is that he has never felt any confirmation in his life from the spirit or even that God exists so we will be helping him see the bigger picture if we can. Anyway, hes a super cool guy he just feels a little burdened with sin and doesnt really know why because he doesnt have any confirmation of it all. He liked church though. And he knows a junk loead abot the bible and stuff and weird doctrines from his expansive church studies and searches.

There has been a lot of white people around here lately. President and Hermana Nuckols came to our branch this week and spoke and have suggested we try to establish a culture of timeliness here in the branch haha. But they liked it. Also, a mormon girl from america came to church due to an invitation from Elder Forsyth and Lindsay. She was here with some Adventists who were her friends and they were like, doing some sort of service. So that was cool. There are also hosts of tourvolunteerists clogging the streets.

We visit a lot of people usually in a day, but have taught so few investigators lately haha. We really only have two steady investigators right now and a lot of door knocking, which gets more and more interesting with each one. Elder Nelson was contacting this one guy, who told us we needed to preach to those who didnt already have the truth and Jesus in their lives and that he already had the truth, because only those who dont have the truth need to be preached right? Elder Nelson said ¨Well, thats something, but its not true. Here is a card with our number call us if you want to hear the truth one day.¨ I doubt he will call. Basically people who are really rude to us hear it very straight from us, in a cordial manner, that they are wrong. For being missionaries, people think they can treat us different than human beings, and thats just fine because we arent anyway! We are children of God! Some less actives also are coming back to church not really from much of our effort, mostly their own, but its nice to be helping and seeing the branch improve a lot right now.

As you may have seen from the host of photos, we went to the beach again, but this time to a white sand one on the other side of an arco. The white sand one was awesome, with legit soft and smooth sand kind of like Tofino (not the same fine grind of sand though) and it was super easy to see the fish, we took a bunch of underwater pictures in the shallows. Elder Lindsay tried to catch a lobster we say that was like yellow and redish but wow they are fast. He was trying to use a stick to drive it out onto the beach, but it was way too fast in some sand that got easily kicked up and cloudied the water, so it got away. Nearly got Elder Lindsay, Elder Lindsay basically flew out of the water running from it. Next was the crab, who tried to bury himself in the sand, but when Elder Lindsay started getting him with a stick, he put up a big fight trying to battle the stick and eventually was brought to the shore, pincers out and everything. Elder Lindsay won, and the crab was so tired at the end he blew his bubbles and had to rest for a second before he could move again when we let him go haha. So that was fun! Otherwise, the hermanas combed the beach dry of shells and we had fun running in the sand and I splashed a lot in the shallows and it felt good to see the ocean again and feel that revitalizing effect of sea water in the face.

Well I hope all is well! It is here! Have an awesome summer!
Con amor,
Elder Sullivan

July 14 2014

Hey everybody!

Great to hear about Europe! France sounds pretty quaint and stuff, I would like the whole cafe and bakery lifestyle I think. It sounds like they like their gardens a lot haha and that´s cool that you saw all those palaces and things. We heard about the world cup, although it is not popular at all here, and I suppose its nice that Germany won haha. Here is a little different than touring, since we live here, and the first day we always have help from companions and other missionaries, so we´re not ever all that lost and without things to do. And if you happen to enter a blanked out area, well thats fine you just contact a lot of doors haha. There arent any big basilica churches here. I´ve only seen a couple ¨large¨ church buildings and they really arent all that grand, most of the churches appear somewhat poor, maybe because the people in them are paid and so the buildings dont expand. Our buildings are some of the largest, and definitely the most modern and nicest. But at least Europe has pretty churches!
Ok so I accidentally pressed send because my computer skills are a little lameish. Sorry.

Anyway, so this was a really good but also slow but cool week. With all the investigators being baptized, we have to look for them now, and the whole reference receiving thing has slowed down to about nothing. But we try! We have been contacting quite a bit at everyone´s doors, and hopefully we dont run out of area to contact, or else we might have to venture out into some strange places I have never even seen before other than some outlying trees. Today we had a guy fix our washing machine. I almost forgot that a washing machine was supposed to spin so fast and actually clean a full load of clothes. So thats nice. We also saw some cool things. Some cool birds flying around. We got to teach our converts a bunch. THey are super cool. Of course, each person has their own little problem, but bit by bit they get better. Such as I give way too many piggybacks to my convert. And they always are running around and are nuts. Its a patience trial or something. The family menyetti is still super awesome, although the son hangs out with a poor looking crowd and needs different friends haha. I think the mom kind of holds a lot of it together. Our elder´s quorom recently changed leadership, so maybe they will actually do stuff and be a cool kind of quorom or at least something that resembles one or I dunno haha. Originally, we just kind of hit a brick wall with the last guy but the new guy is kind of cool other than he doesnt really live here much, he lives in the capital during the week. Ah well. We made banana bread again for our people as you may have seen, and it was super good again (although, that cake pan is definitley stolen from the hermanas. They want some too, but Im not sure if they are getting any). It was funny because one guy there started falling asleep right when we asked who wants to pray and Junior said ¨Well, somebody is all ready to do it!¨ because the guy´s head was totally already bowed. So he said it. Some guy while we were contacting knocked on his own door back at us. So I told him to enter. That made him knock the door even harder and basically pound it. I hope those hinges dont break. We left that house to find some catholic people who totally just ignored us when I was staring right at them. These kids keep asking if we want coffee. Elder Nelson called them out on it and said, ¨well bring it then¨. They were lying, they had no coffee. I did a baptism interview, with a guy who can´t read and stuff but he knew what was up. We chilled a lot. They cut our light for a couple of days because they lost our account. So we lived in the dark for a bit. At least we had water. And its not like light is totally necessary (it actually defrosted our fridge and freezer, so that was nice). I left the house with some very unironed shirts though. And overall happiness and morale was a little bit lower haha. But it was a cool enough week. We have this new cool investigator who has a bunch of questions, especially about strange stuff in the bible. Like, obscure passages in psalms about how we are gods, which we explained to him as being like his children and stuff yeah. But hey, he wants to come to church, and he might be the only one.

So thats a lot of what has happened. Heard some chinese music in a store run by chinese people recently. Heard some cool christian music in a park sung by some haitians. And I shut down a bike trip some of the hermanas were going to do because it was totally unsafe haha and so hopefully they didnt go. And thats kind of what happened this week!

I hope everyone is doing really well and everything is great. I know the Lord is taking care of all of you really well, so I don´t have to worry. Its been really great this week to meet new people and start having new chances to reveal the truth to people. The Restoration has always been my favourite thing to teach, its so hopeful and uplifting. I hope it touches some pople as it has touched all of us.

Anyway, I love all of you and hope that your week is great!
Con todo mi amor,
Elder Sullivan

July 7 2014

Hey everybody!

Well all that business in the europe sounds pretty cool! And the Queen was around while you guys were. Cool! I´m surprised they didn´t call saying ¨The Duke and I would like to have a spot of tea with the Sullivan clan¨. We also have sore feet from walking lots hahaha. But it sounds pretty cool, all the swords and stuff at least. And visiting people and eating that wonderful British food (haha). I suppose artifacts might be pretty cool. The culture here is interesting but we dont really learn much abot the history and stuff like that. Church sounds interesting over there and romantic isnt a great word choice to describe a mission. More like, going around hanging out with cool people and crazy people and knowing a buttload of crap about the gospel and sweating a lot. My life is good. Real good.

I havent received the package, but I did see the deduction on my money so hopefully that was it. The whole mail receiving thing is a little slower out here in the south, since it only gets out here when the office comes or the zone leaders go to the office.

So this week was pretty cool. We were pretty busy running around doing a bunch of things to run an activity where I ran a lot to keep everyone entertained since there were no other adults, and just us two missionaries. But I showed them up with my running speed, they´re all too short and never work out in the gym on their legs haha. Taught some cool lessons and stuff, trying to find new people wherever we can (mostly that means the street knocking on doors and visiting the members so we can drink their water hahahaha). As you may have seen in the photos, we had two baptisms (and the zone leaders had one too!). They are a group of young men we have been teaching for the past 3 months or so, and they havent missed a single day of church or seminary or really anything. So they finally got their desire and were baptized on saturday! They kind of stink with the whole reading thing but thats cool, theyll get it one day. Anyway, so it was super cool that they got baptized. They have such a strong desire to be members for some reason, and something is motivating them to do it and as they say ¨leave the street¨. Unfortunately, no parental or family support, just the usual ¨Oh its good they´re joining a church yes I´ll sign the paper.¨ Ah well. But they are super cool, strong testimonies especially of prayer. The really skinny one, Juan Jose, he says some great prayers and really knows that prayer has power, and just really wants to be a rocking member. So now he just has to keep that up. Ezekiel is a goof but he knows and got a lot better, realized you have to be serious about things. Anyway, they´re all still goofs and little boys, but when they become men, then it will be different. They received some real cool promises in their confirmations, things that barely even seem possible, but they really believe it can. So I hope all the ADHD and their goofiness never makes them lose what they have found. At least everyday is different with them, and I´m getting stronger from all the piggybacks. So they were baptized finally and it was a cool thing, they were super happy to finally be baptized and now be members and they received the priesthood later and yeah they feel awesome. Brayan feels cool too because he got to baptize his friend and that made him feel special and yeah now he has one baptism already under the belt before his mission haha. So Azua has been super cool, wow. Those young men are really special to me, it was a lot about caring for them and trying to be the discipline and love that they lack at home and still be cool guys to show we was friends. 

So now we dont really have many investigators. Just one reference from a youth who is about to turn 18. Lives in kind of a hard situation with the family but she really likes what we teach and something must have changed because she came to church on sunday. I think her friend is working really hard with her. And its paying off! She sure reads a lot and must pray and do cool things like that. Too bad we only visit once a week. If we visited more, we could be not knocking on doors so much and just sitting in houses. So far we just visit a lot of converts and less actives haha. At least they want us in their houses haha. Its fun to visit the people we have baptized and keep on helping them, I hope they can keep on being as strong as they were they day of becoming a member. They need more support from the ward, but at least they understand the great plan waiting for them and that they have such great purpose here. Met a guy recently who had left the church and become a really bitter dude, I guess he had some troubles and said that there was too much bad in the world and just wants to sit in his house miserable and tell everyone about it haha. So that was fun. Happiness really is a choice, thats why Heavenly Father gave us choice, is because thats really all it is is choice. Who wants to be happy and do good, and who doesnt.

Anyway, thats kind of all I can think of that has really happened that was cool. I like doing district meetings because I get to do what I want ahaha so I get to talk about my thoughts for the day with everyone haha and I often quote stuff and maybe I just like talking too much. Probably. Me and Elder Nelson are having fun and like to talk and chill and I like teaching with him. People seem to understand, and we both really like helping people out not so much obligating them to do stuff.

Yeah, so thats the week. Its been fun! I hope everyone is feeling great and having a good time, especialy out in holidays in Europe. 

Con amor, 
Elder Sullivan

June 30th 2014

Hey everybody!

Its nice to see pictures and hear about your adventures off in London, it sounds pretty cool! Lots of neat buildings and stuff to see (like swords). And lots of old stuff (including you, crippled father haha kidding). Thanks so much for the stories and pictures, its really neat and inspiring! I hope the trip keeps going well and that Dad gets better fast! It would have been cool to see the battleship. Thanks for making the package, hopefully we receive it here!

Your trips are probably a little more exciting than this week, although it was a pretty good week. The sun is getting hotter, but I usually feel just fine except for when the sweat starts to get sticky at night. I guess we are coming into summer. Otherwise, everything feels good, Im not sick at all or anything and its nice.

So we are having a good time Elder Nelson and I. He speaks english, but speaks awesome spanish and knows a lot about how to contact people effectively, so that we actually end up with people to teach after. Basically, we speak a lot less and only go to their house if they are there for their return appointment haha. We did quite a bit of knocking on doors, mostly because we are super low on investigators, but lots of converts and less actives. President has asked us specifically now to go out and visit converts and less actives and teach them a lot, because really we need retention and eternal life is only achieved if one can reach the temple. So thats what we do, is the work of salvation mostly with converts. Our two youth guys are doing really well and are going to be baptized this weekend after months of attending church. They are supe cool and ready and have really changed a lot, like mellowed down and become more serious and its kind of surprised me. I just hope they can continue, because I dont want to just keep having youth go inactive like sometimes happens with youth, so we are trying to see their families at least a little bit. Anyway, at least the program has lots of support for them because the young men´s leader is super good and the youth are super strong, President commented on it. So its going pretty well there!

We had our district conference, lots of people attended. Especially random less actives and the like. We are yet to become a stake, but apparently it will be soon. I suspect the strength of the priesthood still isnt there. But hopefully we are developing it. All the talks were about the family and there was one about tithing haha. The mission president shared a lot at the conference. He wants retention in the branches really badly. He wants no one lost. He did this really interesting thing that was really powerful where he took one of the branch presidents and had him name three recent converts. He then talked a little bit about what Jesus told Peter when they were out fishing again after he had been ressurected. The whole, ¨Feed my sheep¨ thing. And President did that same exercise with the branch president and his three names he had given of recent converts. Really striking, and he talked a lot about how the names of people are written down and we make memory of them. He says we really need to work with people, with names and should do everything possible for these names of people. He still wants us baptizing, but wants us in converts houses a lot. Luckily, we were already doing that mostly because they are just a lot of them and we can´t let them go inactive. So it was really cool what president had to say. We will hear even more of it in the zone meeting coming up.

So that was the big event, the whole conference thing and mostly trying to find people and keep everybody rolling. Being a district leader mostly stinks, its kind of like how everyone thought being a prefect in school would be super awesome (well, it was) but it was mostly just a lot of work. Its sort of fun though, I guess. I gave some botches (um like, harsh talks or like reprimands) out yesterday haha, hopefully everyone left feeling better and not worse. I also have to do a baptism interview soon. So that´s good. We are eating good food, and we actually cleaned the house really well today. I wear a lot of deodorant and have a very nice odor haha and have been using softener and scenter kind of things on my wash so everything is beautiful haha. I´ll send a photo of my collection of hygiene products someday.

Anyway, thats kind of all I can think of that was really cool. The gospel sure is neat! I hope everyone is doing great. Love you all!

Con todo mi amor,

Elder Sullivan