Monday, 27 October 2014

Oct 27th 2014


So the adventures at home are once again extensive! I really liked the story about the boat that almost got destroyed, but Im really glad thta everything went well, and that Dad and Uncle Rich were around to help the man and his boat, even though the world was basically splitting in half. Crazy weather it sounds like. Sometimes the seas are violent, shes not an easy beast to tame. But wow thats interesting I guess you guys are superheroes now! Saving boats left and right with nothing but long lines! Seminary sounds great too, all the little activites sound really interesting mom! Nice way to keep everybody attentive. Reminds me of my scripture study in the morning, which is ten times more effective now in the mission than when I began, always falling asleep haha. The armour of God is a really interesting concept that I really like (as you already know) since we really are warriors! Thats too bad people dont go to dances, its kind of a lost art that I wish everyone would take up! All latins dance and its pretty cool, everyone should learn to move the hips like me and my companion do haha. I hope and pray natasha´s exams go well and that all the knowledge she has obtained is brought to remembrance in the precise moment, and congratulations for the concert. I also hope Christina can figure out the school thing.

Dad asked a couple questions, well that family is ok, they´re not starving or anything haha, but I think they feel loneyish because they want us to visit lots haha and talk. Theres no dad. We visit them a lot because they go to appointments with us and are really good with the missionaries, even though theyre kind of goofy. We didnt actually end up going to the temple, it fell through but we are trying now to do it a different day. 

Well, the week was good. Lots of work, but its kind of strange to already be on our last week of the transfer. Time is running out too fast. We had a cool activity today with President at his house. Our whole zone went and played basketball, dodgeball, volleyball and even threw water balloons. We were playing that catch game with the water baloons at first, but at the end President grabbed a few and starting attacking a bunch of the Elders and so began the fight I think President won with the nice direct hits on the assistants haha. Anyway it was fun, I hope I can be super fit just like President Nuckols when I get older haha. Not that hes overly old. My skills in sports were pretty low but so were everyone else´s so I did pretty well, even in basketball. Dodgeball was the funnest though.

We have this cool investigator who has been coming to church consistently and stuff and really likes it. She lives in her sister´s house right now without a job so she has tons of time to share with us and go to church haha, and she already has been kind of dropping her catholic stuff and integrating into our church. Those old ladies in Relief Society do a good job. Her favourite thing about church is when this lady in Relief Society came up and gave her a huge kiss on the cheek (which is a normal tradition here for ladies) and was super funny during the class. Good job members! Otherwise shes learning really well and is really on board with everything and will probably get baptized if we figure out the one little problem of the boyfriend in Spain. Life isnt perfect! That same haitian med student is still asking really deep doctrine questions and believes our message, but still needs that security of an answer from God and the stupid med student schedule is too busy. Other people are doing good, but I have the strange feeling we will be dropping the family we are supposed to take to the temple. We have lots of less actives becoming active again, we helped this one couple out this week visiting them and gave the wife a priesthood blessing. She was pretty sick and was crying in pain and stuff. Two days later she was in church with her husband and calm as ever. One week with renewed covenants, success!

Well our time in Herrera is sort of winding down, since we are pretty sure Elder Suazo is heading out and Im sticking around, hopefully to train since its my dream to train again. We did exchanges with the MTC group and I went with a super cool Elder from Texas who didnt have a Texas accent at all. But it was a lot of fun, theyre so excited from the MTC and are so fascinated with the country and stuff haha and work really hard. My comp knew lots of spanish even, so even better! The little taxi rides stuffed like sardines were a little weird for them but they thought it was awesome haha.

So thats just a little bit of what happened. Really cool moments with the MTC crowd, things always go better with them and they bring a powerful testimony, we wowed the socks off of one new investigator when my comp told her how important what she was learning was. He was just like ¨This message is totally going to change your life, it sure has changed mine!¨ and the lady could only answer ¨Wow, that was beautiful.¨

Anyway, transfer calls this saturday, although we are already fairly sure of what is happening.

Thanks for everything family and I hope the week continues well for everyone. Always press forward in the faith. I love you with all my heart.

Siempre con amor,

Elder Sullivan

Oct 20th 2014

Hey everyone!

Wow everytime you write everything at home is different. Im glad the holidays went well and hope the regular lifestyle is not too hard going. The salmon run sure sounds cool, I hope you guys got to sample some of the bounty. I hope you have a nice trip Dad sailing again! Are you sure you havent retired already? Congrats for Tasha and the oboe playing and I hope to hear the music sometime. Most of the music around here is salsa and merengue and bachata, and the streets resound with it everyday. I have the chorus of some songs memorized. Im glad the seminary thing is all working out, its really too bad I failed it haha. I hope everything goes well at home especially the health scene. 

Oh and yes the mission president is just fine. In fact hes super awesome! He is really animated and likes to joke around haha. In the zone conference he set a new goal for the mission, and he calls it the pulse. He is really athletic and is a cyclist and he talked about the cronometer and how we need one in the mission. So he took the average numbers needed to baptize one person and reactive one person every month, and put those as the new minimum pulse. So we all have to work at a new level. I really liked the comparison, since Ive been really getting into working out and stuff. You always have to push the body, show it who has dominion. I really like to work out until break point, so hopefully I can apply it better to missionary work as well. Elder Herrmann gave me CDs for the P90X workout program, so Im pretty excited and already have one week down of the exercises. Its nice that theyre only 30 minutes so I always get through them with time to get ready and stuff in the morning. Hopefully we see results in both the spiritual and physical, so we can start the salvation of the soul, seeing as the soul is the body and spirit. I put some new posters up in the house about working out for my compadres, I hope the advice is taken. 

I wrote a handwritten letter with more of the things said by Elder Cornish, so Ill leave that to reach you guys... whenever that may be. The gist of the conference was that we need to supervise and organize ourselves better and break out of our conception of what we can achieve as missionaries. They really want us to set new standards and goals and execute, so I think that is what well do!

This week on saturday we are going to have a little temple grounds tour and discussion with two families that are iffy on the whole marriage thing. One family we are teaching, of whom I spoke last time and one from the other two missionaries. We really hope it can change their minds and focus them more on what Gods plan is in place of the bathroom or whatever other doubts still hold them. We will also be taking some recent converts to do some baptisms for their ancestors which will be really nice. A very family focused week, which is great because thats the way it should be. Our investigators are still somewhat without direction, although we almost set a baptism date with the guy who is studying medicine, (almost all our investigators are med students) but he shut us down. He said he believes in the story of Joseph Smith though at the front of the BOM so, faith starts with a little seed. I really want to see him progress, hes funny and totally in love with a member from our ward haha. Shes too sarcastic and mean I think, but if hes happy about it....

Anyway, its still been lots of fun. I hope we can change Herrera from its laxitivity into success overnight haha. We had some fun seeing the rich sections of town for an activity we did with a different ward where we invited a bunch of people to a conference they were having. Wow, the rich here sure are rich and like to show it off. Im kind of glad we arent proselyting there, it kind of looks like nobody lets you in. Met a cool member from Atlanta Georgia who married a Dominican and so he lives here, really close to the president of the country and the mission haha. The ride around the city was pretty neat, and how cool to be in an air conditioned car wearing a seat belt haha, although later in the back of a truck haha. 

All in all, thank you family for always supporting me. I will always hold that dear and continue onwards with faith. I hope that everything continues well at home and constantly pray for your safety so that I can return with great happiness to find all safe and even stronger than before.

Que el SeƱor les cuide hasta que nos volvamos a ver,

Elder Sullivan

Oct 13, 2014

Hello from Herrera!

Thanks for the pictures of the coast, wow it looks amazing! The places you guys went look even cooler than before, and the boat sure is large and luxurious (thank you the bank of Dad). I miss sushi, I hope to make some here, I bought a few surimi sticks from the supermarket, so maybe I will have sushi! The boat sure is fast! I once again forgot that it was canadian thanksgiving, but happy thanksgiving! You all look very well in the photos, still goofy (especially running around the easter eggs) and like real sailors all there with the winds high and the sails tight. Lots of rain though. And who is the red head with you guys? I dont remember having another sister. Things have changed I guess!

Well, I guess I better participate in the thanksgiving tradition. Right now, I am so grateful for all of you. Dad, because I am the man I am today because of you and all the tireless hours and years all given to me that I cannot repay but will do my best to appreciate and all the good times because of your sense of humour, even if it has to do a lot with the toilet (be ready for my poop stories upon returning). Mom, because your love, the pure love of mother, has truly lifted me, inspired me and being your son is the best thing ever, everyone always says my mom is beautiful and I proudly say its true. Mine sister Natasha for the great example and toughening my core muscles from all the beatings and tickling and for giving me my appreciation for good music. Mine sistery Christina for her goofiness and always playing games with me and watching anime and for giving me appreciation for a good joke. Also, all the opportunities I have had in such a blessed life with my family. I am eternally grateful for the Saviour, and have such a deep appreciation for the joy of the plan prepared for us and I am so glad to have been born in a family raised in that same plan and that I have so much knowledge of the plan of happiness. I am grateful to be here in the DR, serving the Lord through these wonderful people, all the companions Ive had they have all been wonderful and especially the Minyetti family whose sealing in May or April I am dying to see. Mostly Im grateful for everything, ¨I have no complaints¨ and I hope everyone spent thanksgiving well.

We have no asian markets here, but there are pica pollos (fried chicken restaurants that have chinese people running them). In fact, today, one of the ladies at the pica pollo really thought I was chinese and tried to talk with me a bit haha so I had to explain that I was only half chinese. Next time, we have decided I will try and speak some chinese with them, but if they speak mandarin well thats too bad. Maybe get some free chicken out of the deal?

Otherwise the week was somewhat but also not normalish. President Nuckols came to our zone meeting to announce that one Pday we we´re all going to the mission home to play basketball and eat food as a zone, yeah! We have a zone conference tomorrow, so Im excited to see Elder Herrmann again and a few other people out there in the neighbouring zones. I also got to go on an intercambio (um, a companion exchange?) with Elder Peterson, my mission Dad (aka my trainer)! It was really cool, hes a zone leader here so I went with him to his area and we preached there. It was fun, they sure work hard in that zone leader area but I really enjoyed that and it was really cool to be reunited with Elder Peterson, kind of like Ammon finding Aaron and company and preaching together again. It was just like old times, other than we know way more spanish and preach much more effectively than before. It was nice to see another area and talk with the people there too. Met a really neat young member couple, it really makes me want to get married hahahahahahahahaha. But Elder Peterson is doing great, we did some really hard exercises early in the morning called Insanity, it was fun and it was nice to catch up after many months. 

Herrera is doing great, we had some more people come to church, we are sort of close to getting a dry member couple to get married and baptized but its going to take some more push on the whole marriage thing. The father wants to get baptized and married really badly, he still reads the pamphlets and scriptures and comes every sunday on time, but the wife is still a little iffy on the marriage thing and shes a little caught up in building their bathroom. Elder Suazo and one of the zone leaders had a super funny conversation about that with them while I was with Elder Peterson. The dad kept on telling the wife that he could get married tomorrow if she wanted to but that she was too caught up with the bathroom (they still have to buy a new toilet or something.) So he told her that she was marrying him, not the toilet and that she just wants to get married to the toilet so she can go marry the toilet if she wants but that the toilet cant go to heaven with her but he can. Anyway, it was really funny. They shared a scripture in the sermon on the mount about putting God before material things. And thats pretty much how it is, you have to put God first, especially before the toilet. Other than that, people are coming to church but are unfortunately university students in medicine so hard to visit. But they are pretty cool, we sort of need to give them more direction by setting baptism dates and stuff, but they are really searching the church well.

Well, I think thats kind of all that happened. Its fun to be with the members of Herrera they are really funny. We have a few that we see pretty often who like to joke with us, especially one about us being fat and ugly because we once saw this car on the way to an appointment with an investigator and we were walking there with this member and on the car was a sticker saying ¨No gorda¨ or ¨No fat people¨ and we said to the member ¨well, looks like you cant ride in that car¨. Haha, anyway, its pretty fun.

I love you all dearly, I hope everything goes really well. Hope thanksgiving was great and that the adventures continue.

Con todo mi amor,

Elder Sullivan

Monday, 6 October 2014

October 6th 2014

Hey everybody, I forgot to take pictures this week, sorry!

Wow, the boat is really really nice! Looks fast and yet, quite a lot more luxurious haha. It will probably be a big hit. I´m glad that general conference went so well for everyone. Lots of great lessons to learn in any language (here it was spanish, kind of strange to always listen to translators instead of the actual people, but Elder Christoffersen´s ¨muy buenos dias¨ got a good laugh out of all of us). The spanish speakers was really appreciated here. The internet was fuzzy at times and so a lot of things were interrupted, especially the prayers, a lot of which just cut out before finishing. Ah well, the wonders of technology here in the DR. Happy birthday again Mom! Im glad it was super great! Sorry I wasnt around to clean the garage! Enjoy the ocean at high cruising speed!

So, this week was fairly normal other than the conference. We got one of our haitian investigators to come for a session! Yeah! I guess we concinved him with all that talk of the Restoration (more likely, the Spirit convinced him that it was a least a little bit true so he came to find out!). Unfonrtunately, his church attendance will only ever be every other week due to his medical internship. But hes really cool, lots of questions always questions us about the Restoration and if it really could have happened and evidence of the BOM in the bible and stuff. But hes doing his part so it should be pretty cool! His name is Micoh (sounds like how Po Po says my name), and hopefully it works out, one of these days I may testify in french for him if the moment arrives haha. Our other investigators are still lagging a bit behind, someone here in Herrera needs to read the BOM other than the members, who are actually super awesome and faithful and do missionary work, yet the ward only carries 3 baptisms this whole year. So something is up. Hopefully we can do something about it haha.

That nice house in the photos is not our house by the way haha. That was somebody we helped move. Our house is a classic mission house. Its clean right now though, we just cleaned everything in it. It would be nice to have a couch one day. But it probably wont happen. Running water is nice though.

Ummm, other things.... some kid always talks to me about video games and anime that we visit. Hes cool, but too lazy to go to church even though he goes to night time seminary? Weird, but hes kind of cool.

Something really cool about conference I noticed was that the apostoles and prophet are asking us to be better. Elder Packer said if the spirituality of the members does not increase, the numbers of missionaries and new members will never matter, so we better do better haha. Lots of talk about a testimony, how its obtained and why its important. I notice that missionaries often have stronger testimonies just for doing the simple things we do, like bear it frequently, live more worthy, read the scriptures and do good for the Lord. Every person needs a personal witness of all truth, but its only found if you look. So I keep looking, even though the mind can fill with doubt, the heart doesnt. And even though no one can attack the church and win, its still more important for them to know personally from God than from our words of defense. I liked what Elder Oaks said about how to treat all people with love and not contend, its an attitude I hope to adopt more here in the mission.

Well, I love you all and hope everything goes really well. Remember to not be like the battleship Bismarck and venture alone. Look for friends and for God!

Con todo mi amor,

Elder Sullivan

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Sept 29th in Herrera

Hey everybody!

So, here in Herrera! I am serving in a ward now, which is kind of different. More organized and stuff. We are a four man apartment, and its pretty small the apartment. I dont have to lead our four man district (YES). Yeah Elder Suazo is from Nicaragua and he only speaks spanish so thats more fun that we speak spanish now. The other two in the house are a chicano (which means an american who speaks spanish) and hes training a new guy from Las Vegas. So thats kind of neat.

So the adventures sure are interesting! You guys bought another boat? Just so everyone can make even more fun of me out here for having boats? Well, its sounds pretty neat I hope it all works out! A faster bigger one haha yes! Dont worry about seminary Mom, the kids get something out of it! I have yet to play rugby out here. The young men played like full contact tackle rugby? Wow, its actually pretty dangerous when you dont know what you´re doing they should probably just play touch haha. Nice to know the rugby ball gets used though. Wow you guys are doing lots with church and everything, the kind of members that missionaries like to have haha.

Well this week was mostly a week of adjustment. The captial here is really different full of toxicated air and lots of cars and stuff like that. Herrera is super hilly so we are up and down all day, walking little tiny alleyways and stairways and stuff. Way more exercise haha. And way more people to see, there are so many houses and people. They are at least somewhat interested and its pretty fun. Never taught so many new people before since starting the mission, and never really had to do so much contacting and teaching new people in Azua. The work is a little different in the capital so far. I would say its a lot harder, since there is so much to do. I always tell people I come from the countryside, because I cant stand paying so much for vegetables and fruits especially bananas and I keep on almost dying on the street from all the cars and stuff. The whole crowded thing is super weird, and the streets are really noisy, but the house is really quiet since there is no more colmado underneath. Being in a ward is nice, the organizations all run smoother and we dont have to be present for everything that happens and strengthening the ward so much. But it still needs lots of work, they only have 3 baptisms as a ward with 4 missionaries this entire year. Obviously we arent doing something right haha. But its been pretty awesome. We went to a supermarket today and my mind is still a little blown about how big it was and how amazing all the stuff was. 

Elder Suazo is an awesome Nicaraguan! We have lots of fun hanging out, hes super short though but really happy and likes to joke around. His knowledge of the bible is super impressive, we´ve had a couple bashes and have won so thoroughly that this one really nasty evangelical lady by the end gave us a ride to our next appointment and wants to have the missionaries visit her because of our vast knowledge of the gospel haha. So we´ll send somebody over there, hopefully they are ready to deal with her. She likes to shout. It was super convincing for the investigator as well, the promise of you shall not be confounded before men really is true. If you have the Spirit you cannot lose!

Other than that we sure teach a lot of Haitians. Lots of new people, lots of bible use, and Im still getting super lost in the hugeness of the concrete jungle.

Well I hope this week goes really well, Im always praying!

Con todo mi amor,

Elder Sullivan