Friday, 10 July 2015

July 6th, 2015

Hey everyone,

So probably the last big email to update whats been going down!

Lots of cool stuff that I always wish I could write about, but I usually cant think of it all. Well anyway, I suppose to just talk about this week, today we played basketball with some not so active youth who are playing in this stake basketball tournament. So that was fun, although Manuelfi, the guy who draws anime and stuff, is obviously a lot better than everyone else in Villa haha. It was fun to play with them, although I still kind of suck at basketball and I usually throw the basketball like a rugby ball still. Good times though. Other stuff this week, well, our family reactivated here, their 9 year old daughter passed the interview and is getting baptized this saturday, so at least one baptism here in Villa before leaving, even if it is just a kid. Well, thats how President Nuckols was baptized, a 9 year old reactivation so who knows? Maybe she will become a great leader someday. She is the reason the family got reactivated so, good signs! Although, the whole divorce of her Mom has been a little impactful. Divorce is bad! But we are excited for her baptism, as its a big step for the ward and such. Hopefully the primary is all like there and supportive and stuff, apparently the whole agenda is getting set up by the ward... I hope....

So lots of fun doing the whole teaching little Dayi (thats her name by the way). Shes pretty funny, and kids always say exactly what they think about something haha, so her remarks are always a little direct, strange but always pretty funny. She like, would straight up tell the district leader that she doesnt like him and thinks he is a gossiper haha. And then that she doesnt like chinese people because the pica pollo (fried chicken place) workers werent very nice to her. So I had to talk her down on that one (being chinese haha). And she believes everything we say, even if I tell her that Elder Wassum fell off a pea tree even when he shows up the next day just fine. Then she kept on telling me its bad to lie, and I agreed haha. So many questions too, about everything! Anyway, shes really funny, but the whole divorce of her parents has messed her up a little, so we hope that the ward and her parents right now can fix that up. Gonna be a cool baptism anyway!

Lots of craziness, lots of people came to church that we have been working with. Finally had all three of the crazy O'soria sisters come. Lots of work there haha. They're like, less actives who are attending the church lots (its not just church attendance that makes you a less active). Its nice to see them making lots of progress anyway, and its been fun teaching them. One of them even reads the book of mormon and can actually like, relate all the stories back. Someone shot a gun while we were in a lesson, like, across the street. Luckily it was a small gun that might not have killed anyone, either way. They shot just because of some insult someone said haha. The wonders of drama.

So yeah its been good. Lots of fun with my comp, lots of walking and talking but that happens every day. Its been super cool with Elder Wassum, its been different being with another older missionary, but it turned out super good for the work and it was a good time. Hope to see Elder Wassum around again. Lots of the members have been great to meet with out here. Dominicans always have their little jokes, and the people in villa have had probably some of the best, especially since I understand them all now.

Well, so I guess this is kind of the end of my mission. It was super great, and this last week I hope to end it off well. It looks like we are going to try and visit with all the great people, and make one last effort with the baptism this week and everything. 

My words on the mission as a whole? AWESOME! Best experience ever, and great blessings for so little. I will really miss all the great people.

Well I probably write like one last time next week, but for now,

Sigan para adelante (Press forward)

Elder Sullivan

June 29th, 2015

Hey everyone,

So the big news for the week is that I went to Azua on monday! Visited all the people I had taught and baptized and a few members and such that I had worked with. The branch is in a strange state but otherwise they are doing really well. It was really cool to see everyone down there and be able to share with them one last time (well, there will always be facebook). We ended up staying there super late, because the Minyetti family just wouldnt let us leave haha we had to eat and talk with them. It was fun though, Im glad they are doing so well my dominican family. Unfortunately their son just failed school and isnt active and I didnt get the chance to talk with him and let him know how it is and such, but at least I saw him. At least the other family members are doing really well, like their callings and still want to go to the temple and such. Just gotta work with their rebelious son. I was glad to see them and they me, and it reminds me all of that story in the book of mormon about Ammon and such and how the people always remembered each other and had a close bond forever. Good stuff.

Here we are still preparing a 9 year old girl to be baptized by her recently reactivated Dad. We´re working super hard so that it gets done next week. Gonna be tough, but I mean shes like 9 so... we think it will be fine. The goal will be that the whole family stays active now. Other investigators are all not married and living together so this is our big hope. Although we did get this one lady to like go to church and stuff and accept a baptismal date and shes actually getting super into it and reading, and so we think she is really trying to get ready for baptism. She could actually do it, and has been like, repenting and stuff so thats good. Basically life is good, and I feel like the area is good enough to leave it and be like ¨yeah its all good¨.

Well, I cant think of much else to write and time is short.

Keep the faith bretheren!

Elder Sullivan

June 22, 2015

Hey everybody!

So life in Villa has been pretty good. We reactivated a family here, the couple has been interviewed and everything and like they are going to receive callings and stuff and they are doing good. We are going to be teaching their daughter to be baptized by her Dad pretty soon. The family is in really good spirits and they come pretty far from the north up to church. They have even begun a little bit of scripture reading and such. So its nice to see all the things coming together, although most of the success is really due to the bishop and his crazy home teaching and follow up on less actives. He is a machine, and the ward will see great growth because of it. 

A bit on the sad side, one of our investigators (Francsico) died from a heart attack. He had been going to church for a long time, but he got in an accident a little while ago, and so while he was recovering, his problems with diabetes spiked and he dided last night. We met with his son but the rest of his family we have yet to see. I think though that this will be better for him, as the injury could have crippled him for a long time and now he doesnt have any obstacles to be baptized. He will be missed here on earth though. Its nice to know that hes still out there though, making his little jokes haha.

Other stuff, our light got fixed, but it burned out one of our fans and light bulbs haha. Um... yeah. We played basketball today with the district and one of the young men and his brothers, it was fun but I sure felt kind of old. Good times with them though.

Well, Im kind of drawing blank on the rest of the week, it was really rainy.

Keep the faith bretheren!
Elder Sullivan

June 15 2015

So this week we went to the colonial zone in the east mission to see the old cathedrals and other historic things about cristopher columbus and other stuff. It was pretty cool, learned a bunch. The country's past is a lot more interesting than I thought it would be. Lots of intrigue, the natives here were actually really nice and peaceful and like just kind of mixed into the spanish race for the most part and most of the wars were with Haiti and such. If I remember right they didnt actually fight for their independence here, it was kind of granted kind of like in Canada. Turns out that even though columbus didnt land here first, this was on of his first colonies that was actually successful and made it all the way into current times due to the Taino people who helped them and stuff. They suspect that columbus was actually buried on Dominican soil, but the spanish deny that and yeah who really knows? Also lot of stuff about catholicism, its kind of weird all the stuff in the churches. Lots of paintings of demons to keep the demons out.... the old catholic religion was really into mysticism and stuff like that. Its a lot different nowadays.

The rest of the week was pretty good we taught some people and found some new people and are teaching stuff. Regular kind of thing. Francisco is in good spirits and we visit him to keep him happy and such. Haha. At least he has lots of time for reading now. Those less actives are a lot less less active now, they come every week and are doing super well so we hope we can keep that up.

Went and visited my old areas on monday, great experience. So nice to see all the people again. Wish I could have spent forever with them all. But at least I have all their facebooks and stuff. I hope to see them all again as well!

Well I was going to write more but we really didnt find that much time tonight when the light came back to write a bit.

Hopefully more next week, mayb esome photos... well I guess Im already back anyway but

con amor,

ELder Sullivan

Thursday, 11 June 2015

June 8th 2015

Hey everybody!

So just here, chilling in the DR (well, chilling isnt exactly an accurate description with the weather, more like sweating it out). Things are good though.

Well, this week was interesting. Sort of a sifting through people kind of week as a bunch of people we just have kind of dropped or missed because they werent home. We dropped two youth recently who we were really fed up with. They were just toying with us and not learning anything and who knows why they were taking the lessons with us, they just kept on demanding things and not paying attention and so, we told them how it was and left. We had been patient for at least a month with them, so that was kind of the final straw, and it looks like they wont be talking with us for a while. I have decided to never become a teacher of students in a school, Im not very good at it haha. 
Otherwise, Francisco is still at the hospital, apparently he is suppsoed to be operated today. Pray it goes well! Other people are progressing but still not married, but at least they are working on it. So far, it looks like the only hope of seeing a baptism before leaving the area will come from reactivating this one family and having their daughter be baptized. But we are still working hard on it, the ward is really supportive so I think we will come out on top here!
What else went on... well we didnt have water or light for most of the week. So lots of sitting on the porch, wondering when life will begin haha. Im a granddaddy out here in the mission, Elder Herrmann is now training a kid from Oregon, so thats cool. They be working hard, his new comp is kind of shy met him today but he'll be a sassy dominican by the end, Elder Herrmann certainly is, haha. We had an activity today playing basketball, and Herrmann and I caought up a bunch. Good times.
Been called chinese a lot lately. People are kind of racist about it actually, especially in basketball today haha. Ah well, I guess I mostly lost in basketball anyway. 
The rest is kind of fuzzy. Still a little weird to be so close to finishing the mission, weird that I recognize its the end but still cant even imagine what it will be like to be finished and someplace other than my little apartment here in the DR. Going to miss the people here in villa, super nice guys. And that one guy draws anime and stuff, we learned a bunch from him haha. 
Well, those are the adventures for now, keep the faith!

Elder Sullivan

June 1st 2015

Hey everybody,

So what to say about the week, its been good. We managed to get out more without so much rain. We even contacted and found some new people. Taught some really cool restoration lessons there in the first lesson, that was fun. Its cool how people relate better with the restoration than any other of our lessons. 

Anyway, some cool happenings. Francisco got hit by a motor, so his foot is broken. He is coming back from the capital sometime soon, but we may be rolling him to church in a wheelchair. Who knows, maybe the experience will help? For him to... I dunno... speed up getting married? Or something, either way, kind of unfortunate, we hope hes ok. Motors are dangerous things, gotta watch the street when you walk on it. Although, we all seem to walk in the middle of the street, and just dodge them when they come.

Well, other cool things, we have a lot of people coming out to church, members and non members. Its like a fiesta or something. Anyway, its cool to see everyone out there, and really lots of our investigators are progressing really well in terms of their learning, repentance and overall lives, the only problem is that so many are not married. But, if they got married, they would be baptized tomorrow haha. All we need now is a new shipment of book of mormons, and a few miracles in the paperwork/marriage department. Hopes are high!

We are having lots of fun, had some cool dinners with some people and watched the restoration movie with one investigator with food and everything. It was cool, and unique that someone actually had a functioning DVD player and TV (although, it was a super old DVD player haha). Some dog attacked me, but backed out at the last moment before actually jumping on me haha. Probably had something to do with Elder Wassum yelling at it haha. I have oficially decided also to never teach juniour high or elementary school except maybe for like piano lessons. Because kids that age are super annoying, and its super hard to teach them and basically is just this huge patience game. hey but they are fun to have around in church because they're pretty goofy haha.

Um what else? There is this cool guy named Felix that we teach who is progressing really well with the book of mormon, hes actually getting into the story and he comes to church straight from his job as a security officer, he doesnt even sleep until after, and he really likes the church, gets super into the classes. He even filled out this little self-sufficinecy thing when we did like a provident living class thing (I didnt even fill it out haha, I probably doodled during that class). Another cool youth we are teaching finally came to church, hes super quiet and stuff but he was liking the lessons and getting into the book of mormon reading super far and actually understanding the story. Too bad hes moving into the capital, but at least he progressed with us. We had some good times with him, playing dominoes and learning the gospel.

Other stuff, kids are crazy in the DR. They almost kill each other on like a daily basis. 

Good times had by all. Oh right, its transfers. Im staying here with Elder Wassum, but our district will be seeing some big changes. A guy who was in  Azua is coming in, so Ill have to talk with him about my people there. Otherwise its stay the course for now. President sent a special note to our group of missionaries, seeing as we will be taking almost a quarter out of the mission with us. He wants us to leave the legacy. So thats what we are doing.

I heard that Elder Perry passed away, a great man. Ill miss him. I guess the world is still changing, somewhere out there.

Keep the faith bretheren, never give up.

Hasta entonces,

Elder Sullivan

Monday, 25 May 2015

May 25th, 2015

Hey everybody!

Hope everything is well!

So, here we are another week. This week was mostly, rain! We were severely rained on basically every day. So we got a little wet and ended up a little demobilized, but we still managed to get around somewhat. 

The week showed a lot of good progress with less actives. We have mostly been visiting them so far. We have these two sisters from the hills on the other side of the highway who have been coming back to church. Their kids are really needy and annoying, but they are cool. Really nice to us at least haha. The two sisters have been inactive for a few years, but we found them one day contacting. After talking a bit, we got them remembering about all the times they had with the first missionaries who baptized them. They especially remembered getting the pamphlets, reading, the weird games we always play as missionaries to have people pray (the nose game is a favourite) and various other experiences. Thats mostly our job with less actives, is to remind them why they made covenants in the first place. And when they remember the missionaries who baptized them and all their experiences with them, it always helps them. We taught these particular two a lot about repentance and are trying to encourage them that getting back on top is possible, itll just take some effort and they should never feel bad about coming back to church, its not a shameful thing. So far response is good, and its nice to see them changing. Maybe even their little kids will be a little happier (not likely). 
Well lots of other less actives coming out too, we are having lots of good times with them, since they are happy to receive us and the ward actually home teaches them and stuff. We even ventured out to the north to visit a few more out there, everyone is a little more excited about church and such now. We have a young man coming back now, hes super cool. I probably already talked about him. He draws anime and stuff, hes drawn me a few things haha and Ill probably send a picture he drew of me and stuff. Hes really cool, into animation class and stuff. Fun to sit with in church, he can like draw stuff in just a couple of minutes and it looks awesome. Im trying to learn a few things from him, but my drawings are still really bad. At least I have the shapes down better haha.
Still waiting on the marriage situation for the investigators or extended church attendance for the youth so... well... baptisms are going to be tough but we have big plans for Francisco to get on the bandwagon haha. At least everyone is making progress little by little, although teaching youth is always a pain (they just never like to pay attention and rebel against us whenever they can, but they all went to church). Anyway, all is pretty good!
Had a funny talk with Francisco cartoons. He thinks that dragonballz is really good, I dont really think so. He then called most japanese cartoons demonic. Dragonballz is totally japanese. Ah well. He always tells me I look ugly until he puts his glasses on, then suddenly Im a handsome dude. 
We had a kidney shot war with our little deacon during some ward wedding that happened (its our fellowshipping of youth style haha). We locked him in a room for a bit, after thoroughly destroying him with kidney shocks. And then some big 8 year old kid showed up who weighs 120 pounds. I picked him up but it was a huge effort and I guess I made a weird face. He will one day be a super fat boy.
There was probably other stuff that happened... but I cant remember it all

Have a nice week!

Elder Sullivan

Sunday, 24 May 2015

May 18th 2015


So hope everything is all good over there!

We had a good time this week, topping it off today with an activity at President´s house where we played a bunch of sports. Elder Wassum and I did Villa proud in a few of the games, we ended up being the last two in a game of bump in basketball and he won so thats cool haha. Things have been nice up in the Villa, a little rain has cooled stuff down a bit and its nice to be working really efficiently up there. This week we didnt really get as many lessons due to lots of people not being around and such but we still got lots of people at church, the chapel was fairly full. Lots of less actives came back that day, probably because of the solid home teaching efforts here and we are focusing a lot on working super hard with less actives very specifically We were super happy to see two sisters go that live up in the hills. We had been talking with them lots about repentance and such, trying to help them see that its fine to come back, and that the shame of the people is all just imagined and that really it will just be good for them. I hope it was, and the bishop was cool running around and talking with everyone. Our schedule is a lot more organized now, so we are even planning to run up north a little bit to see how the northern folk are doing haha. 

Other cool stuff, I guess according to an old guy in the street the church isnt true because there are 80 000 orphans in the world. Interesting statistic, keep paying fast offerings I guess! Some goofy kids of our ward mission leader are really sassy. The were around for one of our lessons, and kept on saying that Elder Wassum was going to pray, and then they kept saying amen through the lesson, Common kid stuff, but they are super sassy when they do it and they always say no when I ask them stuff why do kids always say no?

Other stuff, we cleaned the house really well and threw out the trash finally the truck came for that. So it smells normal again. We had a cool meeting with the capital and talked a lot about converts. I was happy about that, and the mission is really focusing on the whole converts thing. President made all these little books for us to use and fill out for all our converts and things on the mission so we can remember it all and he put all his contact info there too. Its nice that he wants the mission to be an experience to be remembered and that the people always stay with us. I really like that, and will try to always be writing all the cool people that Ive met and gotten to know so well. Lots of nostalgia in the conference when I thought about all the great people Ive met, lots of cool stuff. I hope that we can have a few baptisms here in Villa to spark it up and stuff. At least we had two 8 year old baptisms on saturday haha. One girl totally cried, the other was just fine. Good times. Lots of lessons this week about the sabbath day, trying to get people out to church and not working on sundays. Its working, I think probably because its a huge focus in the whole church right now. Sabbath day observance. We will see what happens. Shared a cool scripture, in 2 Nefi 32 about the Spirit and that talking to about prayer. I like those, especially one verse (I think verse 3) where Nefi is all like ¨And if you dont figure all this out, its because you do not ask or knock, and therefore you are not brought unto the light (or to church, or baptism, or happiness, or success) and must perish in darkness¨ You gotta step out of the darkness, and ask and knock and look. Thats when it all gets clearer. I hope the investigator we were teaching understood that, since everyone is a little too content with just sitting around and waiting for something to happen. Make it happen!

Well I cant remember what else really happened this week.


Elder Sullivan

May 11th 2015

Hey everybody,

Another short message, but such is life.

This week went well, happy mother's day everyone! Hoping to see big progress with people. The only big story I really have to tell is that Francisco will probably be getting married finally, even if its by the catholic church. Otherwise life is normal, were doing good. Church was fairly full of investigators and such, so its exciting.

Well, I think thats all I have for now, Keep the faith bretheren. Little scripture for everyone. "Those who wait upon the Lord shall not be ashamed". Onwards!


Elder Sullivan

May 4th 2015

Hey everyone!

Well the entry for the blog here will probably be pretty short.

Life is awesome, Elder Wassum and I just went and taught a bunch of good lessons, rocked some awesome numbers, even being a little sick and crippled. We saw lots of people we are teaching in church, less actives and investigators a like. Exciting things are happening. Lots of chilling in the jungle regions.

Well the rest I dont really have time to write sorry.

Elder Sullivan

Sunday, 3 May 2015

April 27 2015


So here we are in Villa Altagracia, my comps name is actually Elder Wassum, not Watson. Hes got a lot of time in the mission too. He goes home like a month and a half after I do (one transfer after). Interesting change. Its nice at least that we both can teach really well and he knows lots of spanish and stuff. We have been working on relations with people, and we seem to be doing really good, especially with new people. Elder Wassum had some good ideas about it and we did some funny little ways of presenting us and having the investigators present themselves as well (I think in english it makes more sense to say introduce themselves, right?). Anyway, its fun, we know the whole mission and stuff and Villa is a really friendly open place that is super happy to have Elder Wassum. Itll be fun, and now my name isnt the only one that appears on the active missionaries in villa list (although, it was funny to see one email President sent about companionships that had achieved 5 investigators in church or more each week for the month of april, and there it says Sullivan and mini haha.)
Well, the week went well. We went out and taught a bunch of people, at the end of the week we went and got a bunch of new people too. It was good times, and the ward has been receptive. The investigators are doing well, still the same problems with marriages, a few different things with the new investigators, mostly not coming to church because they belong to a different church. But we are working on that, and most of them live really close to the church anyway. Still a lack of books of mormon. Lots of fun times out in the hills, running into random people who want to hear us under the banana treees and such, its really hippie like or something. Found a cool family with a guy who actually has read the bible a lot and such. Of course, they were super confused about the nature of God. So, Elder Wassum whipped out the bible and we started clarifying doubts on that. The whole Godhead thing is kind of confusing for people out here, but we made it real simple with Matthew 3 where Christ is baptized. We taught that lesson twice in one day, it really helped people and got them excited to learn from us. Other cool lessons with less actives, we convinced a bunch to come to church, mostly we just invited them, but it must have stuck for once. Elder Wassum was blown away by the whole being a ward thing but being super small out here in the middle of nowhere haha. We actually have a lot of active priesthood, and thats probably why we are a ward. Bishop is helping us a lot, leaving with us, throwing down the word wherever he goes haha. We are excited for what is to come. Wassum met Francisco finally, interesting time haha. Hes cool and interesting that Francisco, hes just plain scared of his wife haha and wont tell her they are getting married. The Bishop has plans for him though haha. Funny meeting with the priesthood about that, sometimes the man doesnt govern the house (usually doesnt govern the house). There is kind of a sense of patriarchism here though, so its strange for men to not be the leaders of the house haha.
Well anyway, good times. Most of the other stories I cant remember. 
Keep the faith bretheren!

Elder Sullivan

PS forgot, my comp is from Wyoming, hes got 4 other siblings, all are younger than him. 

April 20th 2015

So here we are another week gone. Transfers tomorrow. My mini is back off home to prep for Nicaragua, Im sure it will be great for him. Im going to miss him though, it was fun stuff. I will be receiving an Elder Watson. I know who he is by face but not much else haha. He only has a little bit less time in the mission than I do. So Im sure we will have fun, trying to ¨fill the chapel¨ as President put it. Its exciting though, and with two missionaries with lots of time we can either be super efficient or super ¨dead¨ as we say here haha. We shall see, I like a little challenge and doing work with the ward here in Villa is a lot of fun and the leaders are receptive and friendly so it should go over well.
So far all things have been going well. I´ve got some good relations with most of the families and people we are working with, so maybe with a new Elder here we can kind of get them moving a little more. It will be nice to have two experienced missionaries around, since there are only two for an entire town of people. It has been a little difficult to manage, but hey, as they say here ¨Dios todo lo puede¨ which means something like ¨God can do all things¨. so we are going out there with some faith that we will find some people and get the ones we have right now participating actively in the ward.
Well basically everybody is still not married, but we have hope. They are consistently in church and are basically members who need to as we say ¨get dunked¨. Although of course they all still need preparation to take the full covenant of baptism on, so far they are keeping up with everything, so I have no complaints about this wonderful area haha. Francisco still needs to get married and figure out what he really wants to do about his wife not really wanting to meet with us and stuff. I hope Elder Watson has some new insight, because really he should be figuring it out, but still hasnt taken the steps haha. Oh well. Our search for new investigators has been cool, exploring the vast jungles of the hills and galavanting amongst the coconut trees, but yeah those people still have to cross that highway and come to church. Everyone is pretty weak about crossing the highway even though Im pretty sure we do it like 5 times a day. Ah well, they just need more faith. If Jesus walked on water, Im sure that they can cross the highway. And the new less actives will need some more support from members and home teaching visits, as it appears just us is not enough to get them to church yet. But we will see what happens in the coming weeks.
A bunch of random people were super flirty this week, and I think a few people told me if I wanted to go out sometime that would be cool. Or at least, thats what my companion told me. I was kind of not paying much attention as usual. People are starting to figure out that I really like to dance, probably because I always move around a little when I hear the salsa or merengue or bachata. Haha, this one convert was all like ¨before you go home I will teach you how to bachata good¨ and we had to explain that Im still a missionary until they remove the calling. So much for that. Whenever we get offered free food, I always accept but my companion often says he is full. One investigator always gets annoyed saying that its just because he doesnt like it. Not true, he likes it he just isnt a missionary yet and will learn soon that when the food is offered freely, it is better to just eat it haha. It offends less people and you end up with a full stomach without having to cook or nothing. Luckily I will eat anything. I will miss my companions cooking though as its pretty good. He cooks it nice and stuff, I always try to light the meat on fire by throwing vinegar in the pan with oil. Its fun. 
Still doing P90X. Its fun.
Ummmm.... I cant think of too much else. It rained on us again, but not as much as usual. The weather is a little hotter. Elections are coming up I think, mostly its just an excuse to make more noise I think.
Well... Im kind of drawing a blank. Mostly because tomorrow is transfers. More stories to come.
Que les vaya bien,
Elder Sullivan

April 13th 2015

Here we are in the last week of the transfer... wow. Soon I´ll be here in Villa with someone else. But at least the mini and I have one last week to do some good and have some fun.
Well, what is there to tell... This week was super rainy. We got soaked 5 days straight haha. Today is our first day dry, and we spent it all in the capital anyway. Rain brings other blessings though, apparently it means that our wives will be better looking the more rain that gets us during proselyting. I hope its true, because we walked through a couple of rivers on the streets a few days. There was a mini waterfall on one of the bridges we crossed haha. Even with umbrellas it was still really wet. But it was fun, it makes you a man or something. We are making some good progress with the people, lots of people still coming to church. Marriage is still on the way for most of the couples. Our young woman investigator even read the introduction of the book of mormon. And almost understood what the gold plates are! So thats pretty good. We got the members out there preaching with us a few times too. And luckily it never rained on them. Just on us. We had some cool lessons with some new people near our house who like read all the stuff and have good questions. We even played a bit of dominoes and checkers for a couple of minutes with them. They totally won the checkers, but we tried playing double 12 dominoes so I won that one. Here in the DR they only play with double 6 dominoes. Its faster and I would say probably more fun to play double 6 anyway. 
We had a couple of bible showdowns this week. The first one was with a less active guy whos mom we are teaching and she is actually interested in returning to activity. The son just wanted to ask some contentious questions. So I answered him swiftly with the word of God. I was looking forward to a highly intellectual deep bible swap, but it turns out he really didnt have anything, so he shied away haha. Too bad. Next we taught our good old language professor guy. He had some questions about stuff, in gospel principles class on sunday too. In both cases, the members answered his questions. It was kind of too bad, because I was ready with some wonderful scriptural doctrine, but everyone kind of just used their own words haha. The Elder who was with me on exchanges was super bummed he didnt get to use all his scriptures in the bible bash and that the member kept interrupting instead. Oh well, he was complacent with the answers. Now, he kind of needs to pray and ask if we really are the true church. Im gearing up to invite him to be baptized in the next meeting. Its gonna happen.
Also, we went to our ward mission leader´s house to have a family home evening with some relatives of his and played Clue. And ate great food, and I made brownies for it (Ive learned how to bake in the mission isnt that something). And I won clue. Its mostly because the other three playing didnt really know what they were doing, but the mission leader is pretty good at it. Anyway, its a good way to get to know the family.
We are rocking on. Good times had by all. I cant remember much of what else happened though Im probably forgetting something fairly drastic haha. Anyway, Im hoping to see great things out here in the villa, and Presdient said yeah, Im staying out here to finish. So LETS FINISH STRONG.
Keep the faith, if you dont fight, you cant win, if you fight, you can win!
Elder Sullivan

PS for Mom and Dad, President Nuckols surfs on the Baja California as well and has heard about Scorpion Bay. He was interested in it.

Monday, 6 April 2015

April 6, 2015

The people!

Happy Easter! Am I kind of glad its over? Yes. Now, we can actually go and visit people and no one will complain that its holidays haha. Ate a lot of this strange bean dessert that is called "habichuelas con dulce" or like, cream of beans or something like that haha. Anyway, its really sweet and like heavy and its cooked kind of like a stew of beans with a few other things. Anyway, its pretty good but I dont like it all that much ahah. We got stuffed with it anyway. Lots of people had inflated pools around. Kind of tempting to preach to them as they couldnt really move from their pools, but they were mostly drunk or in bathing suits so we kind of just wandered the streets trying to find people it reminded me of a slow western movie where the hero cant find anyone and just wanders the ghost town with the tumbleweed and everything. Except the tumbleweed was beer bottles haha.
Anyway, it was still a good time and general conference made it a lot better. Nice to hear modern revelations. Shows that we still need it, who knew back in the day what to do with a cellphone haha. I really liked Elder Oaks little thing about cellphones in the sacrament meeting. Something about how youre not feeling the spirit if you are texting, chatting or something like that during the sacred hour of the sacrament. Im going to be arriving home very much out of date it looks like. Back in my day, only the cool kids had cellphones and the rest of us had to use the home phone (that sometimes was wireless, yes!).
Anyway, all inspiring stuff. I liked the focus on the family and The Atonement. One of our investigators who isnt married came to the saturday morning session. I think it left an impact, he seemed a little different after haha. Nice to see that some of our efforts are paying off with a few of the couples we are teaching, they are basically doing everything but being married. Just one more law to keep haha! I hope it happens for them, I have been in prayer for them for a long time now.
Other things this week, well we had a cool activity today with the zone where we made pizza and played basketball. I ate more than a whole pizza. Its still sitting there in the stomach haha.
We wandered the jungle out past the highway this week, and found some members out there we hadnt seen ever. Some less active, one active. The active member is blind, but she still gets around and comes to church and everything. The jungle environment was really nice out there, and receptive people mostly. Although a few closer christian churches have the power gripped out there, since our church is too far away for those of little faith. Forward!
Anyway, thats kind of all I can think of that happened that was really cool. My stomach is a brick right now thanks to that pizza. P90X tomorrow to work it off haha. Its a little strange being close to the end of the mission, but its all good. Those stinking members are always telling me "well, youre already at home". Yeah, no, not yet haha.
But, have a nice week everyone

Que El Senor les cuide,
Elder Sullivan

March 30, 2015

Hey everyone,

I hope life is great!

Here in the Villa, we are ¨enjoying¨ slightly warmer weather, with a lot less rain. Also, happy Holy Week everyone! Its time to celebrate Easter, the advent of the Lord´s ressurection. Here, we will be celebrating for a week and a bit. Unfortunately, that means lots of people leaving for the beach and parties in the street. Ah well, opportunities to hand out our pass along cards to the drunk throngs. And the bonus is lots of families around in their houses! Woohoo!

So far lots of cool stuff has happened, Im not sure I remember it all though. Yesterday, we just gave some serious ¨boches¨ or like, really frank and direct talks haha. Told one guy that today, we receive modern revelation and thats why no wine in the sacrament. He kept on trying to argue all this law of Moses stuff about like the Word of Wisdom till we told him how it was. Back in the day, it was pretty hard to clean meat. Not so much anymore, so its just fine to eat pork. He agreed. Next, we told a man who was unmarried and living with his wife for like 30 years that.... he is living in sin its time to get married and baptized. He sort of accepted, we need to find his wife and talk to her more haha since hes obviously not very persuasive. Next, told a couple who are not married what the law of chastity is. We told them it was probably time to start the divorce and marriage papers, no matter the cost, since the ward will help with that.  I explained to the couple that they can separate now and get baptized and work on the marriage papers separated, or we can try and get it all done with the court and various other things all before July. We have left them to think and pray about that. 
The rest of the week was spent finding less actives everywhere and trying to help them come back. A few were receptive, others took some effort. We convinced this one guy who said he had erased his memory of mormonism to listen to us again. We also helped this one lady feel good about the church and that no she wasnt forgotten (well, at least by the Lord) and she ended up crying in the prayer since it was probably the first prayer said in her house for years. Great experience to find her totally by chance. Lots of work on reactivation right now, kind of a change of gears from before. Results are being seen with a few families and random young adults who people have been inviting to church.
We pushed a truck down a hill a few days ago. Like, 5 times. it finally started up and we made it to the far out neighbourhoods we are teaching. Lots of success with the getting rides out to that distant area so far. Home teaching still is bad here, if only people would just do it. Ate a lot of food. One member made us these tacos with like beans and beef and guacamole, she served her mission in Guatemala so she made it really good. More tacos in another house, more Dominican style though. Ate fried chicken today. Played basketball too, with this one member who is the only young man left in the ward. Hope he can stay active and go on a mission, though its pretty hard being the only one. Working a lot with that family, since they are not entirely in harmony. Im sure that the young man´s life will all come together when hes a little older though. I mean, it sort of happened for me (at least, Im on a mission!).
Well, other stuff.... I dunno. It was a good week. Lots of jungle travel, having lessons with people. Listening to that strange Argentinian accent from that one lady. Lots of people come to church, so thats cool. They just need to be married or not so youthful and rebelious haha.
Nice to see some progress here in the ward, everyone is pretty willing to help, so thats nice too. At least we may have some reactivation work getting done. Baptisms will still take some serious paper work.
Keep the Holy Week holy, and try to do some good this week and remember that because Jesus lives today, we can also live everyday to the fullest.
Elder Sullivan

March 23, 2015

So here we are, writing again (didnt this just happen on wednesday?).
What more has happened? I probably already wrote about the temple, it was cool and awesome, always a comfort to rejoin the Lord in His house. I always hate having to leave, but service is more important than sitting in meditation forever.
Um otherwise preaching has been fairly normal. A guy we are teaching just realized that he has to get married to be baptized, so he said he would work on that. YEAH!  We are out in the jungle a little bit now, on a hill at the base of the mountains, meeting new people and having a nice tranquil setting to teach people in the coconut trees. Its been fun finding people, teaching and stuff but we kind of suffered working with the ward a bit. Everyone in the world needs to realize that home teaching really is a big deal and it has to get done. And if it would get done, how much better we would all be off. The youth are going to seminary more consistently though. Yeah! Attendance went from 0 to 5 youth, so thats pretty good. Did it require bribes, hard talks, and probably the young women wanting to flirt with my companion? Maybe, kidding about the flirting haha.
Well.... Im a little blank on big experiences.
Met a lady from Argentina. She had a weird accent, but was friendly and stuff and was fun to teach. They always say the word for I ¨yo¨ with a super harsh J sound like ¨Joe¨. Its kind of scary and sassy sounding. We have this language teacher that we are teaching who is super cool with lots of questions and is super intelligent but we are probably running into that same problem with all smart haitian investigators... the whole progress thing. He comes to church though and has good friends in the ward. He loves Canada, and a few relatives live out there in Montreal. Got those people out in the distant little neighbourhood to church yesterday, although we had to waste all the minutes on the phone to get it done. Ah well.
Maybe its just me, but all the people have seemed a lot sleepier lately. I think its something in the air, I find myself sleepy if I sit still too long. Gotta fidget and keep active and work out. Ill get my companion doing those push ups soon. We have to work off all the extra oil, salt, fat and sugar used in Domincan cooking. Its death. But we just bought a bunch of vegetables and stuff from the market today (it was super heavy, next time we bring a wheelbarrow) so our health should be better.
Well I think thats kind of it. Life is good. Going strong.
Keep the faith bretheren,
Elder Sullivan

March 18, 2015

Hey everyone!

So, a big week. Received the mini missionary, Elder Uribe from San Cristobal. Hes cool, 19 years old and about to leave on a mission to Nicaragua in may shortly after this transfer terminates. So that will be tight. We just spent two days getting his papers ready, that was a lot of travel and pain. But it worked out and we may not run out of money. 
So a lot has happened, we had a stake conference with some decent church attendence, we actually always have lots of people in church they just have other things to sort out to get baptized. Hoping that someday we will get there, sooner than later would be nice. But its alright, most people are on their way, step by little step and thats the important part.
Alright, so last week Elder Holland came to the mission. The whole mission got together and that was super awesome. Elder Holland came in and decided he wanted to shake each missionarys hand. So he did, even mine. Didnt say much, I just said where I was from and he said that was good. But later, when he explained that by shaking our hands really he was just looking into our eyes to see what he called into our souls, he said that most of us were getting it and doing good. Made me feel a lot better, more worthy to be doing what Im doing and having an apostles approval. He was a great speaker, probably the best speech Ive ever heard. Really got in our faces haha. But it was cool he explained a lot about what a mission is and what it should mean to us, first explaining that his mission meant so much to him. He almost didnt go, since his family was mostly less active, there were work opportunities and he was dating the girl who would later be his wife. There were lots of reasons not to go on a mission. But he went, and look at where he is today. He explained that every opportunity in his life he had obtained by deciding to go and serve a mission. Then he got a little bit more intense about how we had better value our missions and use what we learn and gain for the rest of our lives. What really struck me is how he explained that the mission force is an elite circle in the church, and whether it is fair or not, people think we are perfect, even though the mission president and the twelve know for sure we are not. He told the story of a little old lady in a gospel principles class where the teacher asked a classic question to start an Atonement lesson. What perfect person do you know? He expected them all to say Jesus, but the lady in the back answered, the Elders, referring to the two missionaries who had taugth and baptized her. As President Nuckols always says, people always call the missionaries angels, and they thank him for sending us out. Basically, people have a very high image of us, these 18 to 26 year olds that the Lord himself sends out. So, Elder Holland told us to value that, to live every day in that image as the representative of Christ for the rest of our lives and realize that we can never go back, never be the same. The mission is meant to be permanent. I agree, and hope I can apply that more as a missionary, and I have always shared that deep and sincere respect Elder Holland talked about with peoples trust. Trust of the church, investigators, members, the apostoles, everyone. So our job is a pretty big deal, but making the best of it! He also talked a bit about the book of mormon, and how it is the sign, the signal of the restoration and that when we give a book of mormon to an investigator, that is the sign, that is their signal that the restoration is now in their hands, and they are supposed to be able to recognize it. Thats why we have Moroni on all the temples, the angel with the trumpet proclaiming the fulness of the gospel, or in other words, the book of mormon. Huge section on it in 3 Nephi chapter 21, look it up. Anyway, good stuff, we should always be sharing the book of mormon, its our signal to the world. Also, awesome to see all those old friends from the mission and catch up.
Well, preaching was good. A few lessons that went well, hoping that these investigators can pick it up a little. Elder Uribe has put us in charge of helping the youth get more active and go to activites and seminary, so far, a little success. The youth always need help especially here, there are basically none.
Also, today we went to the temple. Super cool. The session was nice. A great blessing. Although, next to no sleep so time is moving a little slow haha. I always learn something more from the temple, hope to make it more regular attendance after the mission haha.
Well, thats all I can really think up right now, that long section on Elder Holland kind of ate up most of my thought process and time. Bunch of shenanigans running around doing all these things in the captial for a passport for the mini, and lots of figuring out the ward a little better here. Its a work of heart.
Anyway, keep on pressing forward, never look back because life was meant to change you so dont bother trying to be the good old guy you used to be, always look forward to better things.
Con amor,

Elder Sullivan

Friday, 13 March 2015

March 9 2015

Hey everybody!

So, another beautifu week in Villa Altagracia, unfortately with not so great news, Elder Jones is leaving for San Cristobal, meaning I am going to be left all alone in Villa! Well, almost alone, apparently I will be receiving a ¨mini missionary¨ which means a member who lives somewhere in the mission who will be my companion for.... who knows how long? No one knows who it is, or why here all I know is that I am the only missionary in the mission with a mini and no other details haha. So that will be interesting.

Otherwise, all has been well. Today we did a bunch of farewelling in the district.

 Random tip, I might be writing on wednesday instead of monday next week for a temple trip...

So yeah we made pizza with the district and stuff, good times. Played this strange card game about the book of mormon, I think I won but only because I had an invincible combo that I think the creators didnt think about. So fun.

Um, we did a bunch of farewelling this week. Um, oh I did a split with our district leader who was here in Villa when he started the mission. Really cool, he helped us find this one less active we are teaching now and it was cool for him to see the old area and old friends of his, one couple that we are hoping to get married and baptized haha. It was fun and stuff, and the district leader almost matched me in P90X so I better start working out harder. 

Other cool things, we made some big steps with people. We got a little more direct on the getting baptized thing with people even not being married, we even set some long term goals with them. Looks good. We were teaching these two eternal investigators who are not married and Elder Jones got all direct about baptism with them, and the wife started ¨dando pela¨ or giving it to her husband that they were not married and needed to be keeping the commandments and stuff. It was crazy, but he came up all defensive and such. Well, Elder Jones started doing some crazy questioning and stuff and we uncovered that it turns out this guy just doesnt actually understand the Restoration, and so he doesnt believe that the bible can be the basis of religion nor all the bad religious leaders of the past that have created the modern religions. Turns out the restoration answers that doubt super well, so he was kind of taken back, and we plan to follow up there, especially since he sees more need to get married right now for social and financial reasons, so its looking up there. The ward is willing to help out, the new guy and I will be working on that. The bishop is pretty excited about working on some certain people, and so I think if we can get all the unmarried couples into position, the ward will help us get them married and free of nasty sin! We had some kind of repeat experiences with other people. One guy who can actually get married super easy if he and his wife will just do it, keeps on saying he needs a firmer answer, but he promised Elder Jones one day he would get baptized. We are going to see if we can make it sooner than later. He needs some more reading and praying, and a little push on the whole commitment thing, but its exciting to see maybe another marriage in the mission yeah!

Well, I cant think of too many other things. We had fun, preached a bunch, heard lots of boches from this one member who kept on talking about tithing, coming to church and reading the book of mormon. He gave a huge thing in priesthood about how people who work on sundays do not trust in the Lord´s promise of tithing, that they work because they dont trust giving him his day and his money, and he said that those people will always suffer financial problems and never feel peace of mind. Interesting point, I think I will never work on sundays no matter what, its not the biggest sacrifice in the world. It still strikes me in this ward the happiness of the married couples, and the apparent lack of peace in all the people just living together who arent members. Its gotta be commitment, and the commitment of some of the members is so apparent, and so they liev great peaceful lives, but our investigators are still missing that. I hope some of them can determine what they really want and go get it.

Contacted a lot of people this week. 100 in total. Good times, its nice to talk.

Played clue with the ward mission leader last week. Fun times, supposed to play today as well. Best thing since sliced bread!

Well its all good here and I have no complaints other than the whole mini missionary thing but I just need to be more patient haha.

Have a nice week!

Que el Señor les cuide siempre,
Elder Sullivan

March 2nd 2015

Hey everybody!

So life in the Villa is going super well, and its already hard to believe that on saturday we will receive transfer calls. Wow. It turns out I only get 3 more transfers and then Ill be transferring permanently. Ai yi yi! We did lots of stuff this week, although mostly the members dropped out on us and the people we are hoping for the most progression have started flaking a bit. We didnt even get out to see the Solano family out in the remote part of villa, but we did have ward council which was.... fun? We also went to another Dominican funeral for the mom of a member. Sad, as always, but I find Dominican funerals mostly just uncomfortable and kind of strange how everyone kind of just sits in the house all day looking at a coffin and crying a lot. And then some preacher guy got up and started giving a strange sermon. At least we paid respects and gave our feelings to the member who had suffered the loss. Of course, this meant our meeting later started late and the bishop was upset about that saying the members had forgotten the scripture let the dead bury their dead, because everyone stayed at the funeral up until the grave procession which lasted forever. When I die, my funeral will definitely be nothing like these haha. I hope everyone has a party or something, instead of sitting in plastic chairs waiting for.... something. At least the member knows that her mom is ok and waiting in the spirit world better than she was here, 
Other things, we set a baptism date in this month of march with one of our long standing investigators. He has like... months in church but is still not married. He committed to the date though, and we are going to work our buns off for the marriage and stuff. Hes just a little slow about things, but hes really cool and understands all the stuff and just needs a little bit more surety about whats hes doing. I like having goals though with investigators and taking steps to reach them a lot better than floating around waiting for a testimony to appear out of the air. Tip for all, it doesnt happen. Gotta move from A to B, not float around. Commitment is the way to Christ.
Found out this one member draws these awesome anime drawings, a little nostalgia there. Hes one of the only young men, and is moving towards reactivation. He passed the sacrament recently even, BONUS. All it took was... basically no work from us just from his Dad. 
Church was a little sparse this week due to rain, but thats a common thing.
Hoping for some big things this week with some cool family home evenings and lots of work with the members. We even got a lunch date with one partial member family, hoping to strengthen them especially the 12 year old son who is the only deacon. The ward out here is still kind of lacking in something, but I havent really put my finger on it. We are just lacking progress with reactivation and such right now. We even had this one less active basically like lash out and attack us in one lesson. We were just sharing a nice little scripture to encourage her to read the book of mormon and she got all angry about how she doesnt go to church and she has other things to do and that we didnt understand because our lives are comfortable and easy. Well, that went poorly, but we recovered by changing subjects and mostly just accepting her accusations instead of hitting back. So now we are the guys with comfortable lives who just walk around teaching people about stuff. Accurate? Somewhat I guess haha.
Got a chance to catch up today with some old buds in my last area. We headed down to the big supermarket Jumbo in the capital to pick up some stuff (like, a new bag for me and a bunch of stuff for laundry and some fancy foods like Pop Tarts haha) and we ran into Elder Laws and Hasler. Caught up with them, nice to hear about Cruz Maria being good and strong and her husband is going to be referred to the missionaries in Spain YES! We also chatted a bunch about stuff, like Elder Holland coming soon to the mission to probably send us all home haha. Nice to see old friends, and eat that awesome food from Wendys. 
Also, found out that one of our investigators is a surfer too! We were talking with them about faith, and he started using an example I always use to explain faith with surfing! So that was cool and related to the lesson and stuff, and it was awesome to relate with him on that. It turns out the sea just calls to some people, and there is no turning away. The story I always use with surfing is that  when one paddles out, first you have no idea what is waiting beyond, but you hope its good. When youre out in the surf, you cant see the horizon, cant see where youre trying to reach. Instead you battle the waves, diving under, ducking them or just driving forward. Often you dont make much ground, but if you stop and let the wave get you, you lose all the progress made. Its usually a battle getting out, but if you dont stop eventually a gap opens and you reach the line up at the horizon, the sun is nice and bright, the waves calm and you sit and wait for a good one to come haha. But you cant stop in the break zone. Its just like faith, you gotta keep going and always make steps, even if they go nowhere. Because the horizon is there, even if you cant see it, and the reward is so much better than 5 minutes of paddle battle.
Anyway, there is my little spiel haha.
I hope all is well with everyone, and Im sorry if I forgot any interesting stories (I dont think I mentioned there was a little tiny earthquake last week, did I? Well there was, the house was vibrating haha but it was pretty minor and we just continued with the lesson)
Hasta que nos volvamos a ver,

Elder Sullivan

Monday, 23 February 2015

Feb 23rd 2015

Hey yo!
Well, another week gone, this one pretty well. We had a conference with President and a couple other zones. It was pretty cool, President is still going strong with the pulse motto, and the mission really is responding well. Some people are going crazy with the amount of members they get into their lessons, and the goals in the mission are being achieved to great new heights. He talked about how he ride his bike and stuff, and how his new fancy dancy chronometer has helped him push much harder since now he knows how hard he is really exercising. He then said something about how that is his workout not things like P90X, so I flexed my overly large biceps when he mentioned P90X and now everyone including President knows I do P90X haha. Anyway, President is super right about needing a way to measure our performance, because we need to ¨break paradigms¨. We all think we have certain levels of achievement, boundaries, limits everything. Those levels really only exist on a mental level, and the Lord has provided us this wonderful life to see that really, we can break any paradigms and reach higher than ever. Thats the purpose of the Gospel. Repentance is really breaking our limits, not restricting ourselves. Rather than saying ¨I cant¨we can always say ¨I will¨. Because the nice thing about the Gospel is that when we reach our limits, just liike the body releases hormones to keep the body moving in times of need and adapts itself quickly to keep going, the Lord gives us the strength to keep going, to still be ¨decent men in an indecent time¨.
President also talked a lot about keeping covenants, so it must be important. I finally managed to ask him about surfing, he rides a 9 foot 3 board, cant quite hang ten but he really loves surfing and is probably like those guys out on the San Juanico shore, without the hanging ten haha.

I wrote last week about a little satellite neighbourhood where we went with a member, taught some stuff and it was great. Well, an entire family of 6 came with that member in his truck to church this sunday! It was awesome! They really liked it and arrived early basically I see nothing but opportunity with them other than they are probably not legally married but Ive seen people get married before so... Anyway, it was nice to see that working with the members pays off, and nice to meet such a cool family who like was willing to just come to church and received us, I hope we can meet with them more, although we are a little restricted by the distance. In that sunday we had like 10 investigators come. It was crazy. Two of our unmarried couples came, just becase theyre cool, and a couple young women (still no young men) one of which we have been teaching and she has some great potential, wants to be baptized and has a good member friend. And this one lady came who has been an investigator since forever ago. It was funny, we were teaching her a couple days ago, and we had decided to try and get her to keep going to church. So, in my classic zero tact manner I asked ¨Hermana, why dont we see you in church anymore?¨ Yeah, so she explained that with her family not going and seeing all the other families there it made her a little depressed. We convinced her it would make her feel better and that her family would follow, and after knocking on the door that morning to wake her up, she came and felt great! The blessing of follow your dreams and passions haha and missionaries being probably a little too direct.
Taught lots of new people, its always fun to run up against the whole ¨every church is right¨ and other classic Dominican statements about why they dont live the gospel of Jesus Christ. Good times, and seeing new people is always exciting as you never know what theyre going to say, and I think first visits are the best time to really have people feel the spirit of the message.We are lately seeing lots of the devestation of not keepoing the law of chastity in the lives of people. ITS REALLY IMPORTANT!
Anyway, it was a good week. Ive been getting more direct and tougher in teaching people, maybe its a reflection of my personality but who knows. All the leaders have been telling us to be more direct about commitments, so its happening haha.
Well, thats kind of it. Our house is super clean right now. So bleached and scrubbed. AND I FOUND MY DEODORANT SPRAY YESSSSSS. So I smell like manly roses.
Gracias por todo, sigan adelante!
Elder Sullivan

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Feb 16th 2015

Hey everybody!

So I hope everything is great off in the cold lands of the North! Its still pretty cold here, but that might just be me.

Well, it was a good week, I dont remember much of it but it was good. Oh, Happy Valentines day world! Turns out its a real big celebration here in the DR, with everybody wearing red, couples going out and our colmado had a big dance party with balloons and stuff (see the photo). Some larger older lady almost danced into me, but luckily I was skinny enough to get away. Other than that we didnt have much trouble, and the day was fairly productive even. The Villa is still as beautiful as ever, the mountain views looking good. 

So this week, we had a zone meeting, which we were late to since we got lost and left a tiny bit too late. Of course, President was there. He didnt seem to mind though.  We have been teaching some really interesting lessons, and we finally set a baptism date. I went on a split with a member and we headed on down to this lady we are teaching who is super interested and reads and everything, but her husband is super evangelical and kind of hates us. So shes kind of afraid about that. But she totally committed to baptism because we talked about the Book of Mormon and she thinks its good and she thinks what we teach is true and it brings her great peace.  Either way, she accepted the date and is on her way. Other cool investigators doing their reading and overall finding things out, but its still been difficult to get them to commit more and get married. Marriage is probably going to be both an eternal blessing and an eternal problem around here. The members though have been super good and we have done some great work with them. Just yesterday we made banana bread for this one guy with a truck and his family, it was super cool, we taught a lesson there with an investigator who is a friend of his daughter and they go to church and stuff yeah. He then left with us out to a further part of the area to teach some references and some friends of his. It was super cool, we now have two new families all references with an easy ride to church and great potential, they really liked the message and we had two members with us so it was even cooler. The members out here really like to work and are excited for their friends in the town to hear the gospel, and they really like to share their thoughts and feelings in teh lessons we have, its really a great blessing and makes for cool experiencse. 
Other cool stuff, I had a battle with a lady on a bus. She started handing out Jehovah Witness pamphlets, and I contacted the whole bus with a classic big announcement thing where I stood up and said who we were and that people could talk with us about Christ and stuff or find our church and yeah basic stuff. After I sat down, that lady starting handing out pamphlets like crazy and gave me like 5, I guess for my apostasy or something. It made for funny reading for Elder Jones at least, apparently all governments are evil and religion should be the government and yeah a lot of strange stuff but its fairly common out here.
Met a maybe golden investigator this week, a cool guy with previous contact with the church and a really good friend who is a member. He is super interested, and let us in the door first time, nice! Hes humble and stuff and is a DJ (not sure if that is good or bad?) but at least he is nice and is willing to follow our stuff. I guess we will find out more as it goes on. 
We played some bitilla today as a district (baseball but on a smaller scale). I think we lost, but it was close. Our district is only 6 guys and stuff but its cool they came out here and we made pizza (Elder Jones makes this really cool pizza recipe). 
Well, Im sure we had other adventures, but mostly its been teaching people slowly, hearing lots of rants about stuff from all the older men we teach haha and being asked why are there so many churches. Every time we explain though, everyone just passes it off that all churches are true. More Restoration teaching! A missionary here just got back from his mission in the east, hes pretty cool and knows my MTC companion. Cool stuff.
Well, I think thats kind of it for now.
Have a great week and remember, never give up! The mountain isnt going to move, but you sure can move up it!

Elder Sullivan

Feb 9th 2015

Hey everybody!

Just chilling here in the jungle heat (although its still pretty cold at night). I just fixed some pants today all by myself so I feel pretty boss right now haha. Yeah thats a random story and they will probably break again next washing but at least that hem will stay in one place for a week!

So there were requests for information about Elder Jones. Hes from California, hes 18, he is an amateur filmaker, he cooks well, hes really into improv comedy acting, he knows a lot of spanish for a not yet 6 monther and hes single and a looker (self proclaimed). He has only been here in the villa so far, and we have lots of fun. Hes into a lot of the things I like, so, its cool, like we talk about legend of zelda a lot and filming and acting and he likes to ask deep questions about stuff like doctrine, overall its interesting. Fun times.

Dad said something about being in top shape. Dont worry, I am in top (ish) shape. Working out, preaching good and everything is functioning really well, havent been sick for a while so thats good. I think it has to do with the nice air out here, nice and clear. I even feel less tired. The only thing lacking are the big supermarkets to buy my unhealthy fast foods (my motto is, just work out harder and you can eat whatever!).

Anyway, had my first sunday actually in the ward here. They have sacrament meeting last, although theyre changing that since theyve realized its not very effective and we are the only ward still doing it. We actually have a lot of priesthood holders for an outskirt town, I think thats why we are a ward and not a branch, although only a few of them are really involved in the work. Most are pretty young, like in their 20s and some in their 30s. The rest are super old. Lots of crying babies and kids running around in the ward haha. Lots of the kids are pretty funny, some of them are always sassing me especially when I wouldnt give them popcorn (other people were hungry too haha). The bishop is super cool, it would just help if all the leaders didnt work so much. We talked a lot about home teaching, so we may be going out and helping them with that this week, doing some splits and stuff. Ill probably get lost. Its a busy ward.

We are teaching lots of people right now, our days are pretty full, and yet we always seem to end up with less lessons taught than I did in Herrera, lots of the times people arent home or we take too long somewhere. Its a little tight. The recent convert of Elder Jones, Stacy, is super funny but she lives on the edge of the area up a hill. She always makes fun of us for something new, although she is happy since we gave her her baptism photos and some tacos we made at home. At least she is super excited about stuff and is sharp of wit and intelligence. Also, teaching all those unmarried couples. One are these two older people who arent overly well educated but wow the husband is always in church hes come for like 3 months now, hes basically part of the priesthood and actually has really cool comments and rants ahah. Hes a little upset he cant get married since his wifes papers are bad and she is pretty sick and she is recently quitting smoking so a whole host of problems all in one. Hopefully that goes better. Also taught this guy named Francisco. Hes not married to his wife either, and she doesnt really want to get taught by us, although we did talk with them this week about love and stuff and being married. I shared with Francisco about the Familia Minyetti from Azua, hoping to inspire him to achieve greater goals, but hes still convinced about his slow approach to things. Hes been attending church for months, so I think we will be making progress soon if he will just talk to his wife even just once about marriage so they can make it official.Theyve been together for 30 years anyway, so they just need  that Fiddler on the Roof scene with Tevye and Golde where they decide they love each other and get happily married and baptized and it will be great. Our teaching and stories seem to touch him, at least it has him living a more interesting and peaceful life. He watches hockey, little side thing. Other people we teach, a lot of new people with different stories. We ended up teaching this one lady in a dark wooden house. After we sang and prayed and started talking, she just started crying. She said her dad had died recently and the song made her think of him. So we talked a lot about Gods plan and a little about what she thought about it, hopefully it helped her and next week she can find some peace on that. Oh also a 14 year old girl we are teaching read the assigned chapter we gave and prayed and felt peace and believes the BOM is true. So thats a step, and she seems a lot more confident about it and seems determined to read the book more now. Hopefully we can start setting goals for baptism, we are at a big lack there right now. So good things all around, other than some family dropped us over the phone, not cool.

Well, thats a lot of stuff. Im getting through the New Testament in spanish, interesting that after Jesus paved the way, really the greatest success of the church was with the apostles. I guess the Lord had a plan in doing that, and that it turns out it doesnt really help everyone believe even if they see Him. Turns out missionaries in all times face challenges, and we are no different today, breaking false traditions and such. The week was good, this week we hope even better!

Thats all for now, keep the faith bretheren! Fear no man!

Que el Señor les bendiga,

Elder Sullivan

Monday, 2 February 2015

Feb 2nd 2015

Hey peoples!

So here I am in Villa Altagracia, a kind of border town right on the edge of the mission. Its a jungle! With a bunch of nice mountains, a dirty river and a ward! The air is clearer, the weather a whole lot cooler and it rains A LOT. We got destroyed the last few days by the rain, we ended up having to walk out in it. I was sitting in a puddle in a few peoples houses that day haha, and my hair was extra spiky. Somehow our shoes are ok, they required some work to dry though with the fans haha. The prices are cheaper here (YES) so I of course bought more stuff to compensate for the extra money haha. I find myself really cold at night here, and I kind of shiver until I start working out. P90X is a great thing (props to Tony Horton). Other cool things about Villa, we are in a ward without young men, and a few young couples basically consist of the whole ward. Lots of less actives, there was a problem with retention earlier, but it seems to have been resolved. People are nice out here, and are a mixture of rich and poor. An american retiree lives out here in a little outskirt village who is a member, his house is super nice with a pool table and everything. He retired out here to get out of the city life. Life is pretty peaceful out here, although we have our work cut out.

So in terms of teaching people, we have some less actives who recently went less active. It seems that they kind of just fell off for either coffee drinking, or fellowshipping or theyre just goofy. Otherwise, lots of cool investigators who read the book of mormon, go to church and are fun to talk to. All of them are unmarried with the person they live with. Some of them have problems with papers, complicating the process. Mostly we went around and gave some law of chastity talks, and mostly got resistance in response. Although there is this one cool guy who has come to church a lot who is willing, but we dont teach his wife.... so that could be difficult. He said it was super interesting that I am a mixed culture baby, he thought it was weird to see a chinese guy, and even weirder that I was actually half british too. I tried to explain that not everyone is racist, I think he understood. Everyone always tells me wow those chinese genes are a lot stronger, eh? Yes, yes they are. Yeah, so the people are great, we are teaching a few. So, with all the good book of mormon reading and church attendance, I guess they just have to get baptized but it seems that this part is the most difficult. Everybody is still praying for an answer, when they really havent taken that final step, commit. We will see, a 14 year old girl has some potential, but shes still waiting for something.

We had a special conference broadcast for the caribean on sunday. Super awesome, Elder Packer and Elder Holland and Elder Andersen and Hermana Oscarson all spoke. Elder Holland and Packer impressed us with some spanish, and everyone knew that Elder Andersen already spoke it. Elder Andersen gave a super cool talk about faith, and explained how it really works. It should be based in Christ, it should be the focus of all our desires and it must have works. He explained that one should always move forward and never turn back. It was really cool and I hope that the unmarried couple who came to the conference really took that to heart and never turn back, even if their steps dont get there right away. Elder Holland talked about a bunch of things we can do to stay in holy places (good for the less actives especially) but I really liked the part where in his imperfectly spoken spanish bore powerful testimony. I found it endearing for the spanish speakers, hopefully they got over his accent and really felt his words. The whole center went dead silent when he started speaking spanish, so I hope Gods love for ALL people got to them there. There were other things, but I cant remember them all I have them written down somewhere. Oh, Elder Packer gave a cool testimony in which he stated about the saviour that he knows him, and that Elder Packer wishes he could give everyone his testimony of the truth, but all must come to their own faith in this great work. Anyway, it was super uplifting, lots of good advice on faith, holy places and especially the family, a struggle here in the Dominican. I hope we can do great things here in the villa.

Well thanks for all your love and support, keep the faith!

Elder Sullivan