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 Im going to be arriving home very much out of date it looks like.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