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!
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.


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!

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)

Elder Logan Sweet