Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Mothers Day!

    This week was cool. We have a baptism for the 2nd of June. With a young man named Raul. He is 19. He is very cool. Each week he seems to be brighter and to be building a stronger faith in the gospel.
    My first month in the field was the lowest amount of baptisms in the history of the Santo Domingo East Mission. We did pretty bad as far as baptisms go. That kind of stunk but on the other hand they should check the retention rate. Like how many are still active.
    We talked to this crazy guy and heard he walks around at night with no shirt with a machete. 
    Quisqueya is okay. Yesterday we had a 10 year old boy walk around with us to do missionary work. One of the few members that have helped us with our member present lessons. His name is Angel he is way cool. I wish more people had his desire to help and serve the Lord. 
     Happy Mothers Day! With the Skype thing, I think I will have to call you later today. I will try to skype in Quisqueya but I'm not sure if it will work. 

Love you!
-Elder Cudd

Monday, April 30, 2012

Mother and Daughter... Oh my!

    This week was a good one. We had a mother, daughter and little baby come to church yesterday. Raul, who´s grandma is a member but is inactive. Even if she wanted to come it would be a slightly long walk however  she could take a motor concho (motorcycle taxi) quizas (perhaps). Anyways, we had these 3 investigators. We got the second councilor of the relief society to come also. We were ecstatic to have such a great turnout. We are going to try to put fechas (dates) for baptisms.
     This was the first time I talked more than my companion in a lesson this week. That was something new. We get a long really well. I talk a lot more in lessons and we are more like equals now. I'm glad he has a good sense of humor or living out here could stink a little. What helps learn the language is I read the Book of Mormon in Spanish with the English one side by side for an hour each day. I learn a lot of new words each day. It helps me out a ton.  This is what helps me speak the language better. I turn on the District 2 videos. The district 2 is like a reality TV show but for Mormon missionaries. I read the subtitles in Spanish but the video is in English. It's a fun way for me to learn during language study. I actually love watching the District videos. My companion always laughs and says, "wow, look at America with there nice church buildings, cool A/C and missionaries with cars."  There are other comical things in it also. I'm cooking a lot better now. We buy groceries in San Pedro after our district meetings on Thursdays. I'm a lot smarter at buying food. I feel like dad now cooking hamburgers. I'm pretty good making burgers and cherry juice.  We also have bitter oranges and we turn those into juices. I recommend subscribing to the Liahonna! I love reading stories out of there. I have pretty sweet agenda. We cut out pictures of comic strips in the old liahonna of Joseph smith  and laminated it to my old cover of my agenda. Its way cool looking. Elder Wood showed me how to do it. I just love whipping it out of my bosilla (pocket) cause it looks cool and I'm starting to understand the importance of being organized on your mission. I'm really organized now which helps me accomplish my goals.  I'm always writing in Spanish in my journal entries. So, I guess only mom can read them.  I have given a lot of thought teaching Logan or Jaxon Spanish. I think that would be so cool! 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Cherry Drink, Anyone?

So, things are doing good here in Quisqueya. We have a cherry tree outside and Elder Wood picked it and made a cherry drink. It was really good. There are more cherries on that tree then we could ever pick. What a blessing it is to have an unlimited supply. We have a new district leader and he is the companion of my companion when they were in the Provo, MTC. He says its un poco raro (strange).
                       Me voy a tratar escribir en español a Mama. Yo he comenzado escribir en mi cuaderno a noche en español porque yo lo encontré mas facil escribir en español ahora. Este es una poca extrana.. Yo sé pero pienso lo estará beneficio para mi. Así muchas cosas pasado este semana. Pero todavia no muchas personas llegaron a la iglesia este domingo. Esta triste. Pero el Presidente nos dijeron que debemos sentir bueno porque hicimos nuestro parte. Los missioneros de Los Llanos (el Campo como nosotros) nos dijo hoy que el Presidente de la Mission no les espera conseguir un bautismo allí. A menos este lo que ellos nos contaron. Pero mientras Yo estoy todavia en Quisqueya. Voy a tratar bautizar algiuen antes yo salí este area porque estoy determinado.
                       Okay mom there is my paragraph to you in Spanish. Tell me what you think of my Spanish. It also pretty much sums up my week. I forgot to bring camera to the Internet center. I saw the biggest spider in my life and recorded it. It was in our house. It scared me so much I didn't even say anything when I saw it. Lol This week I could understand so much of what everyone was saying. Throughout my whole transfer I have taught my companion bunch of grammar concepts that I figured he already knew but didn't.
                       Anyways, I miss and love all of you! I love hearing about everything. I'm excited that our new zone leader is Samoan (or something) and supposedly he's the best basketball player in the mission. So I'm excited to play him and ask him if he has a uke. Also, i might get a guitar, maybe, I'm not sure. My companion played the big bass in high school and he says he would know how to read it from the hymn book and would teach me. He also plays the piano. So I trust him teaching me if I get one. 
                       Love you!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

To Smile or Not to Smile ;)

Okay, so I had an very interesting week. I first met the parents of Alexi Ogando which is the relief pitcher for the Texas Rangers. We contacted their house and will probably go back later this week. Then we contacted the cousins of Alfonso Soriano.  Alfonso Soriano is a left fielder and second baseman for the chicago cubs. The cousins love us and it would be way cool to convert them. One is a lawyer for a big hotel and the other lady is like head of the education in Quisqueya. They have a nice house. Alexi´s parents said Alexi Ogando lives here when he is not playing baseball.  They are leaving soon to the states to watch their son play for a period of time. So they are not serious investigators just people we stop by to meet. But the Sorianos have a chance to become members I believe. Hopefully it goes well with them this week.
         I don't think anyone in the zone of San Pedro got a baptism this transfer. I really want to experience a one. I know its really hard to get baptisms out here. But still. So ill share this with you. So, I've been out on my mission for 3 months and my companion for 8 months and he has only had 2 baptisms. He said at this rate he would be lucky to have 10 at the end of his mission. Also, do you remember that Polynesian missionary that I talked to a while back, Elder Wolfgram. He said he has only one baptism in 7 months. He lives in La Romana, the only other zone in the country. I really hope I get a few at least in the country.   Something way cool  happened this Sunday. We got our Second Councilor to come back to church. That was probably the highlight of the week. He only came for sacrament and wasn't dressed in church clothes but it was really exciting to see him.
         Okay mom I got my list ready of what I want: 1) my ukulele (just buy a 35 dollar one at that pawn shop dad and I went to that one day. Just a small one. Like Tavita´s ukulele because I don't have tons of space to carry it. Send it remotely fast if you can. Make sure you send it to package mailing address and not the letter one. Just look in my call packet for the package address and can you send that asap. My companion can play the piano and read music. We are going to play the ukulele on our patio at night and on P days. No one plays a guitar here. I cant believe it. No one really does a lot in this country. They are way laid back. You would think they would have at least an instrument to play with being way out here in the country.
2) Mormon Tabernacle CDs that's a must also. 
         Have Christy tell you the really weird story I wrote to her. I told mom about the small things that came in handy in her personal letter. Anyways I have to go. And yes you can have instruments on this mission. Ive checked.
Love all of you go to go.
Elder Cudd
I have a weird story that just happened yesterday. So we have an investigator who came to church yesterday. At the last second she got up to leave before it started. My companion and I got up to ask her what was wrong. She then said she could only tell my companion. So I just watched from a distance and then later we went back inside to have sacrament.  I was assigned a talk 5 mins before it started. My talk went well, I just talked a little about myself and bore my testimony like he asked me too. Then after sacrament meeting the investigator left. So keep in mind she was one of our best investigators and said she wanted to be baptized. Right after the meeting my companion said we have to stop seeing her. I said why? He was a little reluctant to tell me. Then said I don't know how to tell you, its really weird. Then he said "she fell in love with you." I just started laughing. She is a mother with 2 kids and a husband. I was weirded out. He kept going on how she said she knows how you cant have girlfriend on a mission cause against mission rules. Then mentioned she has been doing everything for the wrong reason. We told our District Leader and Zone Leader and all had a good laugh on my behalf. I'm pretty sure it will spread around our small zone. They said stuff like that happens here and not to worry.  I started reflecting and thought, what did I even do to make her "fall in love?" I blame my SMILE. But this is not even the first time where girls come on strong. We are constantly getting "psss" at. Its what they do here. They call girls here frecas. (fresh girls). 

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Great vs The Disobedient

I will apologized ahead of time for this letter being so short. I have to go soon. I have had another week where people seem to be excited to come to church and then don't show up. I was told not to get discourage or upset. It´s just how it is. So I have been dealing with "failure" perhaps you could say to my expectations. I'm still a little disappointed. It never feels good when people tell you that their going to church and then don't go! I have been told that Quisqueya is one of the hardest towns and slowest progress. This is Elder Harker telling me this. Hes in my district and lives in Los Llanos and he said he gets 7 or 8 people committed to go to church and don't show. Then have only one investigator show up who still needs to get married. They have assured me its not easy for people to progress in the country to succeed. To put in perspective there are 9 zones and 2 of them are in the country. He told me you have to be special to be put in the country. He also said some missionaries in here go their whole time in this mission without going to the country. He assured me it is a blessing. My companion told me they put 2 kinds of missionaries in the country. Great missionaries and the ones who are disobedient. The president punishes them by putting them in the country. Anyways, I have to go. Oh, I can promise you I'm strictly obedient! If anything I might stay up a little to late writing in my journal about my day and the spiritual parts of the day. I need to stop writing in pencil its starting to smear lol. Anyways Alfonso Soriano lives here and Alexi Ogando (pitcher for the Rangers) I love you all. I'm doing great! I love my district and companion. I love you all!
Elder Cudd

Monday, April 2, 2012

It's better to look up than looking down!

    Last week. when we got home after writing to our families our tinaco had water. So we had running water again. We kind of fixed the leak. We just try to stop it so only a little still leaks but at night we have a full bucket of water to share at night half and half. It works perfectly now. We get just enough water that we need.
    Mom, I still have that peanut butter and jelly jar. I eat so many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Its close to being gone. I'm not sure about the appliances. I guess 110 like America. Our only small appliance is a blender and I'm not sure where Elder Wood got it. He bought it from another Elder. He doesn't know where he bought it. My companion is a smart guy. He got a 30 on the ACT score his junior year and didn't feel like taking it again. Did you know if you live in New Mexico where he is from and you go to a instate public university, all tuition is paid for if you maintain a 2.0. Its called the Lottery Scholarship. Apparently lot of people lose the lottery so that's where the money comes from.  

     I was slightly disappointed this Sunday. We left 45 Min's before church started (conference Sunday) to visit our investigators homes to remind them of church. We visited our top 3 families we have and only one mom came. Its important for investigators to come to church because they have to come at least twice to get an interviewed for a baptism. So we need them to progress. If they don't come to church in 3 weeks they are really not serious about the gospel. Lucia is the the mom who came and she has already shown early interest in a baptism however she has to be married. Not a lot of Dominicans are married. They say they are although they aren't by law. So, she has to do that before she can be baptized. She has an awesome testimony of feeling the spirit. She use to smoke then one day on the bus she just was like, "I'm done with smoking " and felt the strength to stop. She even remembered the year she stopped, back in 93. In preach my gospel it says your investigators have been prepared before we have ever came on a mission. I guess in this situation, almost back when I was born. Hopefully her daughter will also. The father is this German guy who cant speak Spanish or English and wants nothing to do with the church. We hope to find a German Book Of Mormon to give to him to read cause he is always reading on his porch. They have been together for about 3 years.  We are hoping to have 2 baptisms this transfer.

    They say baptisms are way hard in the campo and now I know why. Sometimes I wish they would just say they're not going to church instead of misleading us. I felt like Jeffrey R. Holland and plan to be a little bit more firm. I will have to express to them, "if you want us to return you have to make going to church a priority and you cant progress unless you come to church." My companion told me this statistic that out of 14 million members only 7 million are active and only 3 million are full tithe payers. We wonder why Jeffrey R. Holland is so bold and It's because anything less doesn't quite get the job done. I'm not going to be preaching fire and brimstone but be more firm with them. I have to go now. I'm love you all. Every day just seems to get better. Something I have learned is that this who I am. Kind of what Sister Tryons nephew said, to have a positive attitude is how it always should be...  To always look up! I read this talk. Well, Ive read many talks but in last conference Carl B. Cook said he was a little bummed his first week being a general authority. He felt heavy laden and the prophet walked in the elevator and Elder Cook head was still down not knowing who walked in. He than heard, "You know its better to look up than looking down." Its how I kind of felt. Looking down for whatever reason such as no electricity when we're suppose to, being hot, not understanding everything,or kids occasionally laughing at you. I than remember this story and tell myself Its better to look up than looking down. I've heard it takes a great missionary to be happy when things are going bad suppose to be happy only when thing are going good.

Yours truly

Elder Cudd

Monday, March 26, 2012

Settling in Quisqueya

    This week I was hoping for a lot of inactive and investigators to come to church. We contacted 73 people this week and contacting is when you find out there names, share a small message of the restored gospel, invite them to church, and return visit.  Ten people told us for sure they were coming. We revisited many of them on Saturday night to confirm they were coming to church. Only one inactive came to church. It was very disappointing! We are going to start calling to remind them once we get this phone situation worked out. So, we can call more than just the district leaders. We will call the people Sunday morning or walk to there homes to pick them up. I´m not exactly sure what we are going to do but I´m sure we will find a way.
    Other news, we haven't had water for a week. Our nice neighbor Oneida lets us fill our buckets and we use that bucket to clean our dishes, to shower with and flush the toilet. I really had it good in America. Í´m not sure I told you but we don´t A/C here however the frequent rain cools the temperature quite nicely. I enjoying eating cereal or studying the scriptures on the patio when it's raining to feel the cool breeze. It's relaxing!  We don't have an Iron, its a good thing we got those wrinkle free shirts or else I would be in trouble. Yes we cook for ourselves. I heard they use to have cooks like a few weeks ago. They use to go to members home to eat but we cant now cause missionaries were wasting too much time eating instead of working. I make cereal, Ramon, omelets and ham, macaroni and cheese, sandwiches, and oatmeal (soon not yet but I did buy it). Yeah, that's pretty much it so far. We don´t have siestas. I wish we did. Although the people take their siestas. The tea time I heard we have 20 Min's to grab something to eat. I just usually grab some crackers or something. I have lost 5 pounds more or less. I learned how to use the dryer it´s not that bad, it works.
    Thanks Andy for that advice. About don´t let the time pass by I still think about that. Thank you for the analogy that's pretty cool. Tell Rachel thank you for writing me. I love when people write me it makes me feel good. Something I have learned is that God knows us in Alma 40 it talks about how many hairs we have on our heads. I have been missing everyone so much. The only thing that makes me feel good is sharing the Gospel and opening my mouth. I love you all so much and think about you all a lot. That´s funny about Alex and Russ. Oklahoma. lol Well I have to go! I love you all! Keep writing me I enjoy hearing from everyone.
-Elder Cudd