Monday, December 29, 2014

"If Those are the blessing I can recieve in the Temple, then I want them!"


Hey all!

How's life nos Estados Unidos?  Tudo Bem?  Life here in Brazil is going pretty well.  We had another baptism this past Saturday, his name is S.  He is such an amazing guy, I've thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him.  My companion wanted me to perform the baptism too!  That was pretty cool.  He's so eager to live the gospel, its truly incredible.  The last lesson that we taught him was about the temple, and he really wants to go to the temple.  He didn't even ask ´´how on earth am I going to get to Campinas?´´ but basically said ´´if those are the blessings that I can receive in the temple, then I want them!´´  We also have three new investigators.  It was kind of funny, they seemed pretty disinterested when we first contacted them.  Its a family of a grandma, her daughter, and the daughters son.  We met the grandma because we were walking by on the street and she was sitting on the sidewalk in a lawn chair.  Elder A. just started talking to her, and she let us into her home.  There we met her daughter and grandson.  They gave us some water, and we asked if we could come back the next day and share our message with them.  They said yes, but didn't seem to excited about it.  Initially, we weren't even going to go back.  When people are that uninterested, you usually just move on.  Elder A.  felt that we should though, and so the next day we stopped by and shared the first lesson, the restoration with them.  It was so cool seeing how drastically their attitudes changed as we told them about the first vision and the restoration of the fullness of the gospel.  Its a pretty interesting message!  We've got angels, visions, prophets, the whole 9 yards!  We then invited them to do what Joseph Smith did, and pray to God and ask him if what we had taught was true.  We are going to meet with them again tomorrow, I'll let you know how it goes.

The language is coming along very well!  It's still pretty difficult to understand what people are saying, and sometimes people get really frustrated because I cant understand what they're saying.  I just have to keep working at it though, and the language will come.  I think we are probably teaching somewhere between 5 and 10 investigator lessons each week, but I don't know the exact number.  We are working hard to talk to more people too. 
Its getting so much easier!  At the beginning of my mission I was a little afraid to talk to people, but now the fear is almost gone.  There's still a little, but its wearing off pretty quick. 

I've attached a couple of pictures from the baptism too.  I hope you enjoy those!  I love you all so much, talk to you in a week!

Love,
Elder Sweet


Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Skipe with Elder Sweet


Part of our Christmas Day conversation with Elder Sweet over skype.  Trevor, Amy and the rest of us.




Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A letter

 











Dear Sweet Family,


It is with great pleasure that we receive your son in our mission. Elder S. arrived here with good health, enthusiasm, and desire to preach the gospel to the people of the Brazil Goiânia Mission. He is prepared and has a strong testimony of the restored gospel. I feel honored to be his Mission President and I know that there are many people already prepared to hear his message of the restored gospel.

Your son will be expecting letters of love and support. E-mail is a good, fast, and safe way to communicate with him. If you want to send handwritten letters and packages in the mail, you can send them to the mission office and we will deliver them frequently.
Thank you for everything you have done to prepare your son for this great work.

Sincerely, President                                

Monday, December 22, 2014

Itumbiara Brazil, the best area in the Mission!

Here's the sign outside of the old church building. 
 I'll send a picture of the new one soon!  I love you guys!

Hey there, Minha Família!  Tudo Bem?  Okay, the first order of business is explaining why I didnt call you while I was in São Paulo.  The pay phones there were wierd, they werent accepting my calling cards (Btw, theres no apostrophe button on this keyboard.  Sorry about that!).  So, I tried paying for it with my debit card, but I forgot to tell Wells Fargo that I was going to Brazil so they cancelled the transaction.  I didnt have any Brazilian currency with me, and there wasnt a place in the terminal where I could go to exchange what I did have.  I tried calling collect to Moms phone, the house phone, Dads phone, and Sheelas to give you the number that I was at and call you back, but all of your phones are blocked to collect calls.  Im so sorry about that, I was really looking forward to talking to you all!  I still get to talk to you all on Christmas though, and Im pretty excited for that!  Dad, whats your skype name?  Send it to me in an Email, and Ill check it right before I get on to skype.  Ive told the member that is letting us use their computer for skype that 4:00pm (everyone uses a 24 hour clock hear, so 16:00) is good, so thats 11:00am for you guys I think.  Let me know if that works.  If any changes need to be made, let me know as soon as possible so that we can make the necessary changes.  Letting me know through Email will be fine, just make sure to send it the night before so that I can see it when we first get to the members house.  

Okay, about my trip.  Overall it was pretty uneventful, except for one totally incredibly crazy awesome thing that happened!  When I sat down in my seat for my flight from Atlanta to São Paulo, a young looking guy from Brazil sat down next to me.  He was probably in his late 20s or early 30s.  I talked to him in Portuguese, and got to know a little about him.  I found out that I had the honor of sitting next to someone who had recently completed his Ph.D. in Number Theory!  I thought ´´Okay!  I dont have to worry about entertainment for this flight anymore!´´  I picked his brain for a good 3, maybe 4 hours, and he was so cool about answering all of my questions!  Man, it was so much stinkin fun!  His name was Marco.  Our conversation was all over the place, mathematics to science to philosophy to logic and then back to mathematics!  We talked for quite a while about infinites and infinitesimals, the different kinds of operations that you can do with them, and their application in probability.  He told me that he was on his way back from a Mathematics conference that he had in Montreal where he met with another Mathematician who was working on the same problem that he was, but who was attacking it with number theory whereas Marco was coming at it with Probability.  He briefly explained to me the problem that hes working on, and I understood absolutely none of it lol!  That was so cool though!  How on earth do I get so lucky? :)

Okay, about Brazil!  So the first thing that I did after President Kuçeki picked me up from the airport was try some fresh coconut water and cane juice.  President stopped at a stand on the side of the road and bought me one of each.  The lady selling them pulled a coconut out of a big metal cooler, chopped the top off with a Machete, and handed it to me.  It was so good!  Then she took some sugar cane and put it through this machine that pressed it and shredded it, kind of like a juicer but for sugar cane.  She collected the juice in a bottle, and gave the bottle to President Kuçeki.  He poured me several cups, it was really good!  There was a really faint taste of fresh cut grass, but overall the juice was delicioius.  We had Brazilian Pizza from Pizza hut for dinner that night at Presidents house, and a Christmas party the next day with the whole mission!  I got to see Elder S., my MTC companion, there too!  It was so cool seeing him again.

We also figured out where were being assigned and who with at that meeting.  I dont mean to brag or anything, but I got the best area in the mission.  Ive been assigned to work in Itumbiara.  Its a town with about 100,000 people in it, and one branch.  A brand new church building will be dedicated there next month, and in preparation for that President Kuçeki has decided to hasten the work in Itumbiara.  The entire city is one area.  As most of you know, there are usually 2 missionaries per area.  In order to ´´hasten the work´´ here though, President has assinged 8 missionaries to work here.  We have one Sister missionary companionship, the 3 assistants to the President, my trainer and I, and another Elder named Elder M.  Im so excited!  Its going to be really unconventional, well be going on splits with the assistants basically everyday this transfer.  The people here in Brazil are so amazing!  When we talk to them on the street and ask them if they want to hear our message, most of them say something along the lines of ´´ Yeah!  I love Jesus, you can share your message!´´  Its actually really rare for someone to turn us down, its pretty different from Arizona in that sense.  The people here live in far more humble circumstances than we do in the US too, its helping me to realize just how much we have! 



Well, I've got to go.  I'll send some pictures really quick, and talk to you all on Christmas!  I havent taken too many pictures so far because Ive seen enough of Brazil to know that carrying my camera around at night is a bad idea, but when I can I'll take some more to send you.  I love you all so much, vai com Deus!

Here's the view outside of our house!
Its a bit different from Arizona,
that's for sure!  I'm learning to love it though :)


Love, Elder Logan Sweet



Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Text Messages from Atlanta!

Text: "Sister Sweet,
I'm enjoying dinner with your son before he jumps on the plane to Brazil.  He sounds great and I'm sure he's going to be a great missionary.  Have a great evening.
Jason T. from Bountiful, Utah."






Text: "Just had a nice visit with your son. 
He will be a great missionary!"


Text: "Here is Hna. T. in Honduras." 




The T. Family saw Elder Sweet in the Atlanta Georgia Airport and invited him to their table, they were on their way home with their daughter who had served in the Tegucigalpa Honduras mission.  Logan mentioned his cousin Jonah B. had recently returned from serving in that mission and Hna. T. said she knew him!  So we asked for a picture we could forward to Jonah.  We're grateful to the T. family who loaned Logan their cell phone and allowed us to have a conversation with him for about 20 min.  It was the last we heard from Logan until the next day when we called the Mission office in Brazil and learned he arrived safely and was actually sitting in the chair across from the Elder we were talking to!  

We Thank the T. family who reached out to Logan and made his long trip to Brazil a lot more interesting.  We felt like Heavenly Father knew where Logan was and put this family in his path.  It's a tender Mercy we are grateful for! 

I'm Thankful for you!


Hey Mom!

I’ve wanted to write Thanksgiving letters to everyone in the family.  My days have been so busy that I haven’t been able to get around to it until now.  Being busy is a healthy problem, though!

We’ll I hope that you’re Thanksgiving went really well!  What did you do?  How’s your family doing?  I know that Amy & Trevor came down for “pre-Thanksgiving” too, how was that?  I wish I could have been there but Tucson, Arizona’s nice this time of year too : ) .  The ward members are super nice & we got invited to more Thanksgiving dinners that I care to count.  We ended up just going to two, but it was still fun. 

This Thanksgiving, Mom I’m thankful for …..You!  Mom, where do I even start?  You’ve been there for me literally longer than I can remember.  I’m so thankful for all that you’ve done since before I was born to help me along & provide the necessities of life.  In addition to that, you’ve done so many things just to put a smile on my face, to go the extra mile.  I remember you making cookies for us every Tuesday for “Child appreciation day.”  You made me Halloween costumes & a “rocket cake” for my birthday when we lived in Georgetown.  You’ve also been an outstanding example of Christ Like service & love to me & the rest of the family for as long as I can remember.  You drove me up the hill to seminary, school, concerts, & other activities countless times.  You helped teach me to be a safe driver, & you also taught me how to sincerely care for other people. 

I could fill volumes with all of the wonderful things that you’ve profoundly impacted my life for good.  This single page is hardly volumes, but I hope that the same message came across; I miss you & love you Mom!  Happy Holidays : )

Love,  Elder Logan Sweet

Monday, December 8, 2014

Brazil Goiania Mission Address

Brazil Goiania Mission
Rua 18, 110, Salas 1105 a 1107
Ed Business Center, Setor Oeste
74120-080 Goiania - GO
Brazil             

Atten: Elder Logan Sweet

Mailing Tips:
When you write or send packages use the United States Postal Service, it has a greater chance of getting to him in the shortest amount of time because the Mission can forward USPS mail and cannot forward other types of mail.  Also address Elder Sweet as Elder Logan Sweet because there may be another missionary with the same last name.  Smaller packages under 4 lbs are best with no more than 7 items with a total value of less than $15.00 and he won't be charged again for customs.  
Thank you!  : )


Stereotypical Mormon Missionary!

How are you guys doing?  I hope California is treating you all well, it'd serve you right!  I'm glad to hear that you got the window regulators on my car fixed, that's so awesome!  That's a good little car, take good care of it!  Congrats to Landon too, I'm so happy that he finally gets to go back to Paraguay!  How long will he be down there?  Make sure that his friend picks him up from the airport, that way you know he's being picked up by someone that you can trust.  I know that he's going to love his time down there.  He and I will only be a few hundred miles apart I think!  Maybe I'll see his plane fly over on his way to Paraguay lol!

Well, here's this weeks report.  It's kind of short because not a whole lot went on this week.  First, I got some information regarding my departure.  I will be going to the airport around ....... on December ..th.  That's basically all I know!  President Passey told me that they'd already booked all of my flights.  Of all of the Visa waiters they've had, I've had the second shortest wait!  I'm pretty thrilled to be going down to Brazil, but I have grown to love Tucson, Arizona.  It's a beautiful place and there are so many great people living here.  I also went on my first official companionship exchange!  My trainer is the district leader, so he has to go on an exchange with each of the missionaries in our district once per transfer.

This is a picture of Mt. Lemon during the rainstorm,
 it looks like it's straight out of a movie!
I got to spend Thursday with Elder C. in a biking area!  Biking up some of those hills is hard work, let me tell you!  I'd have to get into much better shape to do that each day!  It occurred to me that that's the only day in my whole mission when I get to be the stereotypical Mormon missionary!  In Brazil I'm told that I'll just be walking everywhere, and that they don't use bikes down there.  So, I got one day!  It also rained too.  I didn't bring a coat with me because I rarely need one, but when I woke up and saw that it was raining outside I realized that that had been a mistake.  Elder C. lent me a sweater that he had, so I put it on and we went about our business.  Around 2 o'clock it stopped raining and started warming up, so we swung by our apartment to drop our sweaters off.  I happened to look in the mirror after doing so and saw that my shirt, which had been white that morning, was now blue all the way around the collar!  Elder C. lent me a "bleach pen" that he had and the blue came right out.  I wish I had had the foresight to take a picture though, it was really funny!  

On Sunday one of our investigators dropped us too.  That's the first time that that's happened to me, so it was kind of difficult.  There are so many things that I wish I'd done differently, so many things that I should have said.  I'm trying to learn from it and move on though, so I won't vent too much :)  I know that God loves his children, and that a way is prepared for them to accomplish the things that he needs them too, even though I may not see the beginning from the end. (1 Nephi 3:7 and 1 Nephi 11:17)  I have faith in Heavenly Father's love and in his plan!
This is a dead cactus arm.  I just sent you this because I think it's kind of interesting. 
 I used to think that cactuses are like cucumbers on the inside, 
but they're actually very sturdy and have a lot of wood inside them. 
 I heard about a Saguaro cactus that fell across a road.  
A guy who was driving a truck down that road decided he'd just 
blow through it without slowing down, expecting it to blow up like a watermelon. 
 His truck stopped very quickly, and the cactus didn't go very far!
I also cut my own hair for the first time today.  I can only describe the experience and terrifying; terrifying beyond almost anything else that I've ever done.  It turned out ok though, and I learned from it.  I'll be a pro pretty soon here :)

Well, that's the gist of what's gone on this week.  I don't know exactly what time I'll be able to call, but I'll probably have a pretty long layover before my flight to Sao Paulo.  I'll try to let you know if I get more details, otherwise just be ready for my call!  I might be able to call on the 17th too when I get to the Sao Paulo airport, but I'm not sure.  I'll give you more details as they become available.  I love you all so much, keep being awesome!

Best,

Elder Sweet  

Friday, December 5, 2014

My Two Month Report

Dear Dad,
They've got really cool looking
 mountains here in Tucson! 
This one is called Mount Lemon

     Hey!  How's my totally awesome Father doing?   You asked me to give you a 2 month report on my mission, so here it is!
     They say that the days are long but the weeks are short on the mission, but I'm finding that the weeks are short and the days, well, they're short too!  A little too short to be honest; it hit me a couple of days ago how quickly time is going by.  I may still have 22 months left, but if they continue to go by at the same apparent rate then this mission will be over soon.  I need to work hard & savor every moment of it while it's here.
     The work here is great.  Finding is really hard though.  Most neighborhoods have laws in place that make tracting pretty difficult (for example; "no distribution of printed materials")  We've increased our contacting goal to 58 a week, so we'll see how it goes.  We have 3 investigators right now, whom I told you about in my E-mail.  Hopefully we'll find some more in the next couple of weeks.
     My Trainer is awesome.  He's from Tegucigalpa Honduras.  He's our District Leader & he's a very hard working missionary.  President P. has used him a few times to "rescue" an area that previous Elders messed up.  He's extremely persistent especially when it comes to contacting referrals & assignments from the Bishop.  He goes back each day if they don't answer & or it becomes apparent that they're avoiding us.  With as difficult missionary finding is here, working with members & gaining their trust is crucial.  Elder C. has also done a very good job of that;  the members here really like the missionaries & are actively engaged in missionary work.
     I'm also working hard to improve myself.  I've set goals to stretch me & help me to gain more confidence.  Going up to people & sharing the Gospel is still kind of difficult, but i am getting better at it.  It's funny how difficult it is to share with people.  First, you have to find them.  Most people here are at work most of the day or in their homes.  Often we can hear them, but they don't come to the door.  If we do get to talk to someone, they usually say "I'm a christian, I'm not interested."  It's funny how often we get that. Occasionally someone at best accepts a pass along card though, so that's good!
     I'm also setting fitness goals for myself.  I'm running & stretching each morning, doing push ups & sit ups, & Shaolin-seu.  I'm also carefully watching what I eat for breakfast & lunch since I can't really control dinner.  I shoot for 600 cal. for breakfast, 400 for lunch, & that leaves me about 1,000 for dinner.  I've lost weight since coming to the field & I'm becoming stronger & gaining far better endurance.  30 minute runs are easy now, so I'll probably start getting up earlier to do a 45-60 minute run & more Shaolin-Seu / Resistance training
They have these awesome warning signs! 
 I can't help but laugh whenever I see the
 electricity monster with the face on it lol
     Overall, the mission is teaching me to rely on the Lord, do my part & it is helping me gain a better picture of the man I want to be.   I still have a long way to go & many weaknesses to overcome, but I'm doing all I can.  The Lord is teaching me here a little & there a little what he wants me to do & be He's giving me a greater knowledge of the relationship that I have with his children.  That is my report!
     Love, Elder Sweet (by Letter)





Monday, December 1, 2014

"That Greenie Aura"

Hey there! 

 We went to a dinner appointment last Monday and I completely forgot my tie!  The Father in the family asked if I was a greeney, and I said yes.  He said it was because I had the "greenie aura" about me, but that it was a good thing and that I should never lose it.  Towards the end of our appointment Elder C.  noticed that I was missing my tie, and mentioned it to me.  The Father of the family then said that that's how he knew I was a greeney!  It was an awesome laugh :)
How did Thanksgiving go for everyone?  How was the trip up north?  We don't get to call on Thanksgiving, typically it's only Christmas, Mother's day, and when we're in an airport.  I'm sure that everyone had an awesome Thanksgiving anyways!

Let me tell you a little about my Thanksgiving, and what we've been up to the past week.  We weren't able to meet with our investigators this week because they were either out of town or just not there (We did have dinner with the D's family, but he wasn't able to make it).  For Thanksgiving we went over to the M's home, they're a family in our ward.  We had an awesome dinner, and we sang Christmas songs (All missionary approved) on their Karaoke machine!  It was a lot of fun :)  We went and visited some other people too.  One of them served his mission in China somewhere, and majored in Mandarin in school.  He told us a lot about Mandarin.  He knows the ancient chinese characters, the old ones, and the simplified ones.  The ancient characters are a lot like hieroglyphs, their very pictorial.  He also taught us some Mandarin tongue twisters!  His wife is less active, so we shared a message with them too.


We got to teach a lesson to a brand new investigator yesterday too!  Her name is L, and she's from Guatemala.  She's in the United States visiting her family right now, and wants to be baptized.  Her parents recently granted her permission to do so, so we got called to teach her.  She was so receptive to the message of the restoration, and said right off the bat that she wants to be baptized.  It's so neat seeing someone who already has seen the blessings of the gospel in the
lives of others, and wants that for herself.  People like that are a lot like King Lamoni, whom Ammon taught in the Book of Mormon.  They are so ready for the gospel, and so eager to learn more.  We're going to be passing her off to the Spanish speaking sisters in the area, but I'm sure that we'll keep in touch and hopefully hear some more good news soon!

Lately our focus has been the "He is the Gift" initiative.  It's about how Jesus Christ was the first gift of Christmas, and how we should keep him at the center of this season.  The centerpiece is a brief film that you can watch online at christmas.mormon.org.

  You can also watch it in Portuguese at http://www.mormon.org.br/natal .  We were given pass a long cards to distribute when we talk to people, and a lot of people have responded very positively to it!  We've had everyone from Atheists to Christians stop to here a bit about it, and it's so much fun seeing how this season unites people and causes them to open their hearts.  Jesus Christ really is what it's all about, not just this holiday season but the gospel itself.  He was a gift from our Heavenly Father, and our salvation is a gift from him.  That's what's most important in our lives, recognizing our reliance on Christ.  Christmas is a wonderful time to grow closer together as families and make cherished memories, but let us try to do so this season by coming closer to Christ.  As we do so, we'll gain a greater appreciation for what he and Heavenly Father sacrificed to provide us with the opportunity to grow and become that we now have.  By so doing, we will be able to see just a little more clearly how dearly they love us.

I become more converted to the gospel and the work everyday, and I'm learning to love the people. My capacity to work hard all day long is increasing.  I've adapted to the schedule really well, and am actually getting up 30 minutes early each day now to go for a 30 minute run.  I'm getting a sharper idea of what a good missionary does, and I'm working towards that.  I've also really enjoyed seeing the spirit work through us.  I'm gaining a stronger testimony of the principle that we need to treasure up in our minds the word of God, and then give no thought before to what we will say and that it will be given us in the very moment that which is needed.  I've seen this principle in action so many times in so many little ways, but they're still present and strikingly displayed.


I love you all!
Elder Sweet
I met a celebrity Mom!  He's in Frozen!
 He even let me take a selfie with him!
And then Elder Chavez and I got
 a picture together with him!

I came by to visit the next day though,
and I found this...He melted!!!


And then I wept. :(
I hope you all have a great week!  Have lots of laughs!  
Talk to you soon!
Elder Sweet


Monday, November 24, 2014

An Awesome Week!

   How are you doing?

 It's been an awesome week, let me tell you what's been going on!  So, my first week here was really dry.  We worked and worked and worked, but we didn't have any new investigators.  This past week we got three referrals though, and now we have three new investigators!

The first one is from a part member family.  They just moved in, and were referred to us by the Sister missionaries from their previous ward.  We talked to the husband who's not a member, and he said that we could come by and teach him.  He's still a ways from making up his mind in either direction, but he says that he can't possibly learn enough about the religion that his daughters will be raised in.
 
The second is kind of an unofficial investigator.  She's also from a part member family.  Her husband is in the Navy and he's studying here at the UofA to become an officer.  He's shooting to become a pilot, so I picked his brain about that!  His wife isn't a member, but she said it would be ok if we came by to share some more with her.  They're a super cool family!

Our third investigator is super cool.  He's a young man, I think he's 17.  The missionaries met him when he came to an after school devotional at the seminary building.  We've been trying to contact him for quite a while, but we were never able to catch him.  We went to try again several days ago, and as we walked up to his house his Mom came out onto the porch.  She said "You're the boys that "D's" been talking too!  Come on in!"  
She then brought us in, gave us some cookies that she made, and called "D" in.  Then she started talking to us too.  At one point, she said "Okay, I know just what you're Mom's are thinking right now, so I'm going to tell you."  She gave us a talk about being safe, not being too trusting of people, being aware of our surroundings, basically just telling us to be smart and safe.  She was so nice!  It was kind of weird at first because we rarely have non-members be that nice to us, even a lot of the members aren't that nice.  She was super nice, there is no way to overstate that.  She asked us why we decided to serve missions, gave her thoughts and comments on our decision (which were all super positive, by the way).  After that, we talked with "D". 

He's already read the Book of Mormon all the way through the end of 2nd Nephi, it was awesome!  He went to Stake Conference with some of the members here, and he said "he (the Stake President) was saying a lot of the same things I say, I just didn't know that other people said them."  We told him a little about what the Book of Mormon is, and that was that.  When we were talking to "D", his Mom just invited us over to Thanksgiving dinner with them too!
  We didn't even say anything about a return appointment, she just brought it up!  I didn't know a visit could even go this well!  We taught him the restoration on Friday at the home of a member who's son he's friends with, and he said that he'd be baptized if he prays about the Book of Mormon and learns for himself that it is true.  Super cool!  
 
Now, you were asking me to tell you about the first door I knocked and how I'm interacting with my companion and with the ward.  First, the door.  We actually don't do much tracting.  When we want to find people, we usually do it on the way to an appointment.  We'll park at the edge of the neighborhood and walk in, talking to everyone that we pass by.  Elder C. said that he's found that people are way more receptive when they're out walking then they are when they're in their homes.  We've set a goal to contact 28 people each week, which is actually pretty tough here because people keep to themselves so much.  We've been doing a good job with it though, and it's paying off!  Referrals are so much more productive though.  We probably talked to 25 or 30 people last week, and not one lesson came from it.  Then we got three referrals, and now we have three new investigators!  We do knock doors, but that's usually when we're trying to contact less actives.  Generally they're pretty nice.

My companion and I are getting a long really well.  We both work hard, and he's such a good example of diligent missionary work.  I also speak to him in Portuguese, and he speaks back in Spanish so I can still practice Portuguese a bit!  He likes pulling little pranks too.  For example, while I was sleeping once he tied a rope around my ankle and tugged on it until I woke up.  He'd set up his camera before, and now he watches the video every morning!  I had a pretty confused look on my face when I woke up, it was pretty funny!

The ward is great too, I don't think I've ever seen a more missionary minded ward.  Everyone invites friends to activities, and missionary work really is the focus of the ward leadership.  In ward council on Sunday they spent the first 20 or 25 minutes talking about ward activities and other such business, and then the remaining hour or so was dedicated to missionary work: investigators, less actives, helping people progress to ordinances, and so on.  It was so neat to see how the ward pulled together, they're an incredible example of the members being equally yoked with the missionaries in the work.

That's what's been going on this week!  A lot more happened this week then last, hence the novel.  Trevor and Amy's stay sounded super fun, I'm so happy that you were able to get together.  Keep me up to date with what's going on in your lives!  Have an awesome Thanksgiving too.  

I love you all!

Elder Sweet


P.S. The first dear elder that you sent got in 2 days ago.  The packages all got here several days ago, so those must be delivered faster for some reason.  Getting a letter in the middle of the week is such a treat, so keep 'em coming!  It's also fun to sit down on P-day and read E-mails too, so feel free to use either medium.  I love you!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Arizona is a wonderful place!

Hello my wonderful Family!

Just before soccer!  The sun was right in my eyes when we took the pic,
 but I did an okay job of forcing a smile!

   How are you all doing?  I hope that school's going well for Savannah and Landon, and that's life treating you all well!  What's the status on the move, Amy and Trevor?  Let me know!  I'm loving Arizona so far, the people here are great and I've got an awesome trainer.  He has us working so hard, it's awesome!  We're working with 16 people right now, but none of them are investigators.  Re-activation is important too though, and I've really enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about why we go to church each week.  I learn so much from teaching these principles to people.  There's a young man that we've been trying to contact for the last several days named D.  He has an LDS friend, and apparently he's been reading the Book of Mormon and coming to church functions a lot.  He came to Stake conference a couple weeks ago, and also told the missionaries that he'd be interested in learning more about the church!  It's difficult to catch him at home though, so hopefully our schedules will line up soon.

   Arizona is a wonderful place, but it certainly is different.  Elder C. and I did what we call a "Park and Walk" last night to go to our dinner appointment.  We parked our car at the entrance of our neighborhood, and then walked in to the house where we were eating dinner.  Either nobody in Arizona likes walking, or they all have "missionary detectors" and hide whenever we get within half a mile, but whatever the case may be it's pretty rare for us to find people on the street.

After our dinner appointment, we were leaving to walk back to our car.
Arizona sunsets are gorgeous!

I loved that comic you sent me, it was so funny!
 I'll have to see if I can print it out and put it up in my room somewhere! 
Brother W, the member who's house we ate at, told us to be careful of snakes on the road as we walked back.  We both had forgotten our flashlights, so we had to walk in nearly pitch black for the half a mile or so back to our car.  Every now and then we'd here a rattling off the side of the road, but most of them were probably caused by bushes moving in the wind.  Luckily it was pretty cool out, otherwise we might not have been the only ones on the road!  Elder C. and I are definitely going to carry our flashlights with us from now on!  Snakes are something that I never had to worry about back home, but I'm definitely learning to be a bit more mindful.
 
 Well, I love you all and miss you!  I hope that everything back home is going well, keep me up to date!  Have an awesome week, and I'll talk to you next week!
Best,
Elder Sweet

 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Arrival of Elder Logan Sweet


President and Sister P. Tuscon Arizona Mission
November 11, 2014

Dear Brother and Sister Sweet,

It was a very special experience to personally greet your son, Elder Logan Reuel Sweet at the airport upon his arrival in Tucson.  Photos were taken with us which are being sent to you.  We were impressed by his great spirit and desire to serve.  We are grateful to have him serving here with us until his Visa arrives for Brazil.
Tucson Arizona Missionaries at the Mormon Battalion Monument
From the airport we took him and the other missionaries to the Mormon Battalion Monument in downtown Tucson, where we talked about commitment, and leaving behind all the cares of the world to focus on the work of the Lord.  Afterward, we enjoyed a nice luncheon at the mission office where they met the office staff.  The Elders and Sisters then received instruction and training from the Assistants to the President, Sister P. and myself.  I had the pleasure of interviewing your son and getting to know him personally and to feel his wonderful missionary spirit.  Later that evening we dined together and took the opportunity to discuss our purpose as missionaries.

Elder Sweet has been assigned to the North Zone, located in Tucson, Arizona with Elder M. as his companion.  If, in case of emergency, you need to contact your son, please call the mission office at 520-577-7076.

As you write to your son, please encourage him to continue to serve faithfully, being completely obedient throughout his mission.  We know that he, and the Tucson Mission, will be in your prayers.  We also know that the coming months will bring many blessings into your lives by your son’s faithful service and the sacrifice you are making for him to serve the Lord and his fellow men.  Thank you very much for having prepared your son to withstand the rigors of missionary life and now to be serving with us here.

May the Lord bless you.  We send our love and appreciation.



President P.       
Sister P.
Arizona Tucson Mission


Attached are photographs of your missionary.

Visa!!!



Hi!!!
Well, I've got some awesome news.  Are you ready? Here's the drum roll:ddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd BOOM!  My Visa came through!!!  It's been approved by Brazil, and is "Ready For Pickup!"  I'll still stay in Arizona for the rest of this transfer, but I will be flying down to Brazil the week before Christmas I think.  I'm so excited!  I get to call you twice for Christmas!
Sorry for not E-mailing you yesterday.  Our P-days are usually on mondays, except for transfer weeks when we get our P-days on Tuesday (Transfer day).  This week was a transfer week, but Tuesday was a holiday so the library was closed.  Our mission president gave us permission to E-mail on Wednesday instead, so here I am!  I'll including a picture of my companion too.
 
The ward here is awesome, and my mission president is the best.  The bishop is super gung ho about missionary work, earlier this year he even called the mission president and asked for a different set of missionaries because the ones that he had weren't working hard!  My trainer is a super hard worker though, so I'm sure that we won't have that problem.  

After we landed the mission president met us at the airport, we piled into the vans, and then we went to a Mormon Battalion memorial in Tucson.  We parked the cars a little ways from the memorial, and then we all had to run there.  It's a mission tradition, and it's meant to teach us that there's an urgency in the work that we're doing.  After that we went to the mission office, did some training, had interviews, and ate lunch, and then we went to the mission home.  The church takes good care of their mission presidents, let me tell you!  The mission home is a big, beautiful home in a nice neighborhood, and right behind it is a wash.  The AP's took us on a "nature walk" through the was while the Mission President did more interviews.  It was really fun!  Apparently the monsoons down here are pretty crazy, too bad I won't be here to see one.

Also, did you know that there's a $5,000 fine for messing with a Saguoro cactus?  That's pretty hefty!  It's also the law in Arizona that if someone comes to your house and asks you for water, you have to give them some.  Kind of interesting!
They have another type of cactus called jumping Choyas.  When you bump them they move a lot, and you get a lot of cactus on you.  The pieces break off really easily, and the thorns have microscopic barbs on them that make is so they don't come off very well.  Yikes!  I'll send you some pictures of my companion and I in a bit, I hope you like them!  I love you so much Mom, keep being awesome!

Love,
Elder Sweet

 

 
This is a picture of a "Jumping Cholla."  
If you bump them pieces of them fall off, and they have little barbs on their spines
 so once they get stuck in you they come out easily.  They're actually pretty cool!



And here's a close up

 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

My Last Letter from the MTC


Irmao M.!!!  (Professor M.!!!)
  Hey Everyone!

 It's so cool that there's a new missionary in our ward!  I actually have some good friends serving in the India Bangalore mission.  If I remember right, Sister A. P. is serving in the India, Bangalore mission.  Elder J. P. and Elder N. S. (I can't remember exactly how to spell that) are serving in the India, New Delhi mission.  If he sees Sister Pedely have him tell here that I said hi!  Well, the past 6 weeks have absolutely flown by.  They say that time flies on the mission, and it is so true.  Saying goodbye to my professors today was hard, they're such incredible people and I feel like I've really gotten to know them over the past month and a half.  The days don't feel too long, but it is a ton of work.  The weeks fly by, and the months (or month, rather) just sneak up on you.

    Congratulations on the baptisms!  I know it's a lot of work, but the remaining baptisms will come if it is God's will and we exercise faith.  In our in-field orientation we were told about an area in the mission that President Monson presided over in Canada.  It hadn't had a missionary baptism in something like 6 years.  As a result, it gained a reputation as a "hard area," and most missionaries went into it with low expectations and faith to match.  President Monson eventually closed the area, and he also learned that Brigham Young himself had preached there much earlier and had baptized 40 people in 30 days.  He quickly spread word around the mission that he was going to be opening up an area (without telling the missionaries which) in which Brigham Young had preached, and had tremendous success.  He assigned 4 missionaries to re-open it, most of them being new missionaries who hadn't heard of its reputation.  It quickly became the highest baptizing area in the mission, and I know that there were at least 80 baptisms there in the first transfer or two.  Faith goes a long way in missionary work, so keep your hopes up!  When we set inspired goals and exercise faith unto action, we will achieve!  One of my Portuguese professors, Irmao Machado, told me a couple days ago that he baptized enough people on his mission to have had a baptism for each week that he was out.  Pretty cool!
    
    I've been pondering a lot on meekness lately.  As I pondered on what it truly means to be meek, and how this is achieved, an interesting thought popped into my head: "Meekness is knowing from whence our power comes."  After receiving that, the concept of meekness made so much more sense!  A truly meek person is not one who is submissive to all and easily pushed around and taken advantage of, or a person who is so sensitive that they fail to act.  A meek person has even greater confidence than one who's will to act is based upon personal pride, because they know that they are doing God's will, and they know his power.  Often when I've thought of meek individuals, the image that comes to mind is a quiet person that's, standing in the corner, not saying much, and looking at their feet.  There are so many great individuals in the scriptures that were just the opposite though!  Look at Elijah, Esther, Moses, Ammon, Nephi, and of course Christ himself.  None of these individuals had any problem when it came to acting, or speaking up when needed.  They knew from whence their power came.  It's also interesting to look at pride from this perspective.  I believe that pride is Satan's counterfeit for meekness.  It grants people the courage to act, but gives the individual the glory.  Meekness also grants the courage to act, but gives God the glory because it is by his power that we act.  Who's power would you rather have backing your actions, yours or the Lord's?

   The past week has been excellent.  My Portuguese is really coming along, and I feel like I'll get it down fairly quickly once I get to Brazil.  The Visas for the other missionaries have been coming through really fast too, very few of us are having to be Visa waiters.  I'm fairly confident that mine will come through quickly.  It will be nice to have some time in the US though, and I certainly wouldn't mind spending Thanksgiving and maybe Christmas here.  I'd like to go to Brazil more though, so I hope everything comes through quickly.  Today it also occurred to me that getting good at a martial art is nearly the exact same process as learning a language.  Your training your body to take in information, and respond through trained muscular movements.  You learn a language by learning the fundamentals, repeating them until you feel confident in them, and then learning more advanced material, and repeating that until you attain a decent degree of confidence.  You achieve fluency when the pathway between input (eyes and ears for a language) and action (contractions of the diaphragm and various throat and mouth muscles) becomes second nature and requires no conscious thought.  This is what our goal is in martial arts as well, achieving fluency so that the pathway between input (eyes and feeling) and action (contractions of various muscles throughout the boday) becomes second nature and requires no conscious thought.  Hence, I think that a similar learning model can be applied as well.  It's amazing just how similar the learning models are; there's so much focus on repetition in both, as well as memorization.  This gives me a little more direction in how to train over the next several years, and I hope that I get companions that are willing to help me out every now and then.
    
Tell everyone else that I love them, and that I'm looking forward to talking to you all on Monday!  I love you so much, see you soon!
Here's a picture of my district and our professors.  The two who are kneeling at the front are our professors.  Irmao S. is on the left, and Irmao M.  is on the right.  (Ordem E Progresso on the Flag means Order and Progress)

Love,
Elder Logan Sweet

Friday, October 31, 2014

Arizona, Tucson Mission

Hey all!  

We usually don't get to E-mail on non P-day's, but I'm told this is an exception!  This is my reassignment letter, I will be serving in the Arizona, Tucson mission until my Visa comes through!  I'm so excited!!!  There are a pair of Sister Missionaries in my mission going to Cape Verde, and they leave on the 10th and arrive in Cape Verde on the 13th.  That's a lot of traveling!  My flights will probably be a bit shorter :)  My companion got his Visa as well, so he's going straight to Goiania!

My district has been through a bit of an emotional roller coaster today.  One of the Elders in our district went home today.  He said that there is something going on at home that he has to help with, and as soon as it is resolved he'll be back in the field.  I don't think we realized how close we had grown together over the past month.  It was so neat to see the district pull together to support him and one another.  After that, we all got our reassignments or itineraries, which was so exciting!  I think that as a whole our district is going to sleep pretty well tonight, it's been a long day!  I am loving my mission more with every day, and can't wait to serve the people in Tucson!

I'm so glad that your cut-overs are going well Dad!  I hope that you get a new contract secured soon, too.  Do you think H. F. will bring you on again?  

I have had some interesting insights lately too, but I'll write it up in a letter so I can give you some more details.   Watch the mailbox for my letter!

I love you all so much, and I hope that you can feel that.  The hour we get each week feels like hardly enough time to keep in touch with those we love, but it's what I have.  I do love you tremendously.  

Talk to you soon!
Elder Sweet





Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Elder Bitter

Hey there my totally amazing family!
Left to right: Elder S. (My companion), Elder H. (My roommate), me, and Elder N. (My previous DL)
You guys rock, do you know that?  Thank you so much for all of the letters and packages, you've got no idea how cool it is to get one.  They definitely make my day!  So how's life on the home front?  How're the cut-overs coming, Dad?  How's my car doing?  When does Savannah get her permit?  What's Landon up to?  Have you guys gone fishing again lately?  Tell me what's up!  By the way, thank you so much for that care package and for sending me my totally awesome Brazil futebol jersey!  It's an awesome jersey and it's getting a lot of use.  I've had a couple elders try to buy it off of me actually, but I'm not selling it!  It's too cool...

Well, here's the news on my end.  On Sunday I was called to be the District Leader for the remainder of my time here at the MTC.  The Branch Presidency didn't have time to let us know beforehand, so all of the calls came from the pulpit just like in the olden days! 
It's Brother Sukow!  (a former member of our ward)
This picture is right outside my classroom 
It was fun.  


I also met a Senior missionary here named "Elder Bitter."  When he saw my name tag he couldn't help but come and introduce himself! 

Nothing new on my Visa, but a lot have come through lately.  One of the other districts decided to fast that their visas would come through, and half of theirs came through the next day!  Pretty cool!

So how'd Trevor's interview go? ... Anyhow, I hope that everything's going well and that Trevor gets the job he wants!  I've attached some more photos,
and a link to one of my favorite Mormon messages.  I like how Elder Christofferson talks about God cutting us down, so that he can build us up into something greater.  

Also, have you heard David Archuleta's song "Glorious?" It's for the church film "Meet the Mormons."  I'm amazed at the success that the film has had; after just 10 days it was the 37th most successful documentary ever, and it was in the nationwide top 10 highest grossing film list for the week it came out.  I'm sure the Red Cross is pretty happy, seeing as they get all of the profits!  

The church is doing some other really cool things in the near future, we got a sneak peak at a devotional a couple of weeks ago.  I'm not supposed to talk about it though,
so you guys can just keep guessing!
 
                             Thanks for pointing me to the "We lived with God" film,
                                                           It was awesome!
 I love you all so much!  I've got the best family ever!  Thank you for your prayers and letters, they mean a lot to me.  Talk to you soon!

Love,
Elder Logan Sweet