Thursday, August 29, 2013

Rain . . . Rain . . . Rain . . .

Dear Family,

I am so happy to hear that all of you are doing so well!! What a big time in all of our lives!  I am also very greatful for the pictures that you sent, they made my whole day!!

The MTC has been a great experience!!  I am so glad that I have been immersed in the language, because I am being able to learn it much faster.  I would also like to apologize for any grammatical errors or spelling errors that I make in my emails...  everything is just starting to come out in the way Spanish is supposed to come out.

But anyway, the language learning is still progressing!!  I need to work on understanding "Dominican Spanish",  because it is not the same Spanish they are teaching us here in the MTC.  It is kind of funny how fast they speak.  They will be so tired and out of breath when they finish speaking that they can't even breathe!! So funny.

I have been out in the city twice now, just going to the store both times.  It is similar to Walmart, just on a smaller scale!!  The things here are pretty inexpensive in comparison to the U.S., so that is very nice.

As far as the teaching goes, I am doing very well.  Right now, I have 2 investigators, name Victor and Euladio.  I teach Victor in the morning and Euladio at night.  They are just role play activities with the teachers, but it feels so real!! The teachers are mostly converts to the gospel themselves, so they react how they would react while they were actually investigating the church.  Euladio has committed to be baptized on September 10, and Victor is not far behind.

It continues to rain pretty much every day... The problem is that it rains during our exercise time at 3:30!!  I have played basketball in the rain more in the last few days than I have in my whole life!  Multiple missionaries have gotten hurt from slipping, because they do not use asphalt here.... They only use concret with some kind of weird finish on it!! So when it rains, people get hurt... Not good.  Everyone also takes turns getting each other sick!!  All the food, close quarters, and new germs are messing with every one of us.

I have had the opportunity to email Sean every week.  I am so glad, because he has a lot of experiences that I need to here about.  It seems like a lot of the time, something he is going through is happening to me as well, so I am glad he can help me with it.

Back to the rain... It is a hot rain.  I feel like I am in a sauna, there is that much water in the air!!  You could probably drown from breathing this air, because there is so much water!!  It condences on your skin and it is misserable, but I am getting used to it!!

Dylan ~ Happy Birthday!!  The big 1-3!!!  SO excited for you right now!! You are no longer a baby... You are a man!!  Love you dude!!

So what are your favorite classes right now?  Do you have any of my old teachers?  I hope school, football, and work are all going well for you guys!!  GOOD LUCK!!

Elder Garrett McEwan

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Language is Coming Great . . .

The MTC has been a great learning experience for Elder McEwan! He has been there for three and a half weeks already! Another Elder from our stake will be leaving for the Dominican Republic MTC this week, so he is taking a package to Garrett ~ with stamps for him to mail letters. Hopefully we'll get them in a couple of weeks and can post more of his MTC experiences. When we tried to buy stamps at the Post Office before he left, they told us postage had to be purchased in the country they were mailed from. Hmmm . . . sounds like US Forever stamps work everywhere :).

I know some of the spelling and grammar in this letter are not what we're used to from Garrett. However, I decided to leave it the way he sent it because it shows how much he is integrating and grasping the Spanish language :).

Dear Family,

I am so glad to hear that you guys are doing well!! I helps me to know that you guys are ok and that the Lord is taking care of you!!

I have heard from sean, which is a relief!!  My companion is named elder phillips...  he is from wisconsin. The MTC is good, but so busy!! I don't even have time to use the bathroom!!  the rooms are smaller than my room back home, and there are four people in there... not good!! I sleep on the top bunk, and wake up at 5:45 every day and work out! :)

So Dylan, good luck with your first game!! I know that you will do so well, and that you are a great player.  Keep working hard, and keep working out!! That is the part of the game that makes all the difference, is the strength part.  I know it's hard, but it will benefit you in the long run!!

Parker, congrats on finishing driver’s ed!!  It is so sweet!! YOu are one lucky dude, and I know you will be a great DRIVER.  Just drive exactly how I taught you to drive, and you will be fine ;)

To both of you, good luck with school!! The best advice I can give you is to not try to be so cool,  or be too cool.. The kids who do that mis out on a lot!! I look forward to the time when I get to see you guys!! Learn the school songs too!!!

Mom and Dad, I hope that the work situation is ok, and that you are both happy with your jobs!! Keep working hard, and you will continue to be blessed for your diligence.

Things here have been going well.  I can write in my journal in only spanish, and carry on a conversation.  I have twaught 4 investigators, a.k.a teachers,  and we are only allowed to speak spanish!!  It is crazy, but I am happy with the situation here.

That is awesome that you guys saw Jake's family!! I am i glad to hear that he got his visa!!  I have yet to recieve thae hand written letters, but it is being said that letters take roughly ten days?  and that is good that daniel will be coming here!!!

Can you please send me some stamps and flash drive?  I need stamps because i guess they don't exist in the DR... We haven't ever had stamps here!!  I have many letters with details of my time in the MTC to send, but no way to do it!!  The flashdrive is because i tried to email pictures, and they all were downloaded to the computer, and erased from the memory card....  about 100 pictures.  That would be very much appreciated!!

I love all of you so much!!

Elder Garrett McEwan

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

University Contacting . . .

August 24, 2013

This has been such a stressful week! I'm glad we got to email back and forth a little bit. I hope you are all doing well and staying out of trouble. I hope school is going well for everyone. I want to hear who your teachers are and how you are doing in school.

Things in the MTC have been a little hectic . . . The schedule always seems to be wrong and we never know what is going on. Like I said in my email, there are no stamps, and they don't pick up the mail for us very often. It is frustrating because people are waiting for things that aren't coming. Good think I love it here!

So yesterday, I was able to go contacting at the University that is 10 minutes away from the MTC. We were handed two Books of Mormon, 16 pamphlets, and left with the instructions that we had one hour to talk to people. So we set off. It was strange because everyone was so willing to listen and to test their knowledge of Christ. They have a lot of faith in Jesus Christ and were very receptive. The second person we contacted was very receptive of us. She was a little apprehensive at first, but really began to open up when we started talking to her about her life and what she thought her plan was for life. It was awesome!

I don't know if I mentioned this before, but my companion is half-black. His name is Elder Phillips. He looks like a native Dominican. People always try to talk to him and he never knows what they are saying! While at the University, the people we were talking to were asking him all the questions and he just kept saying, "Si, Si," because he didn't understand! Therefore, he agreed that his mother moved back to Africa after having him, his parents were doctors in the U.S. Military, and that he was going to go live in Africa with Monkeys . . . SO FUNNY! It wasn't until after I taught the lesson that I was able to explain what had been said! He was so embarrassed, but he laughed about it, too. I love him.

I love you guys so much! I miss being home, but I know that I am where I am supposed to be! I will be waiting to hear all about your week!

Elder Garrett McEwan

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Learning in the MTC and Loving It . . .

Elder McEwan received the postage stamps we sent and was finally able to mail the letters he had written about his MTC experiences. We got letters in English and postcards in Spanish :). What a great day!

August 13, 2013

Dear Family,

So I wanted to tell you about my MTC experience so far.

I wake up at 6:00 every morning. I workout from 6:00 until 6:45. Then I get in the shower, which is always cold! There is very little water pressure. Sometimes the water even shuts off! We get breakfast at 7:00 a.m. It is very similar every day: pancakes or French toast, sausage, eggs, and banana oatmeal. It is pretty good, and there are lots of bananas.

Then I go to personal study in my classroom. That is where I plan my lessons for my nightly investigator. After one hour of personal study, I have an hour of companion study. Sometimes if my companion is doing something else, I just attach myself to the companionship of the district leader and his companion.

After "companion" study, we have language study with Hermano Fernandez. He is a very nice teacher and his wife is having their first baby in October. Next, we have lunch. It is always bread, rice, chicken, and beans. It is very good. After lunch, we have more language study with Hermana Escorbores. She just returned home from her mission 4 months ago. She was born, raised, and served in the U.S., but moved here because her parents are Dominican.

Then we do what is called "TALL." It is a computer program to help us learn the language better. After TALL, we have physical time. I usually play either baseball or basketball. Then we have dinner, which is always beef, beans, and rice. After dinner, we have one hour to prepare and then we teach our investigator. His real name is Hermano Rodriguez, and he is also our grammar teacher. He is having his birthday in 6 days, so I am going to get him a present. So his pretend name is Secundinho Brito. We have taught him several times, and all of the lessons have been 100% in Spanish! It has been a great blessing learning Spanish already!

So I have already said the nightly MTC family prayer, shared my testimony, blessed the sacrament, memorized the Missionary Purpose, and given a talk on Faith, all in Spanish. I am loving it here!

I miss you all so much! It is hard to be so far away from all of you guys!

Elder Garrett McEwan

p.s. I'm sending some pesos home . . . They look like pirate money! 42 pesos equal $1 U.S. Dollar.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Love it Here . . .

Dear Family,
I am very worried about Sean.  I have been praying for him to have good health, but didn't know why. He told me that he is needing to have surgery on his neck, and that scares me. Please pray for him.
So Dylan, that is so sweet that you got to be in the parade!!  You are a champion!!  So proud of my little bro!! Making me proud every day!!  A lot of big things are happening for you right now!! Just do your best, play hard, and do whatever your coaches ask of you and you will be fine!! :)

Parker, that is amazing that you have gotten in to road and range so fast!! Your hard work has paid off and you will continue to be blessed for that!! I am so jealous of you, because you will have your license by your birthday!! You are a stud!! Keep working hard!!
Mom and Dad, I am glad that Salem Days was a success!! I know how stressful it was for you, but the Lord promises us that He will not try us above what we are able to endure!!  I know this to be true, and testify of the power of Prayer.  If we have faith, through the Lord we can do anything!! :)

So now I have taught ten lessons!! It is crazy!! The teacher, Hermano Rodriguez, told me and my companion that we have the best Spanish in the group and that he felt the spirit very strongly with us!!
Just wanted to share with you my testimony in Spanish!!
Hola hermanos y hermanas. Mi nomber es Elder McEwan. Yo soy de Utah, en los Estados Unidos. Quiero compartir mi testimonio con ustedes. Yo se que JesuCristo es mi Salvador, y tambien mi hermano meyor. Yo se que el libro de Mormones un libro verdadero. Yo se que Jose Smith es un propheta de Dios, y que Thomas S. Monson es un propheta tambien. Yo se que familias son eternas. Yo se que Dios es mi Padre Celestial, y que En el nombre de JesuCristo, Amen.
I love you guys!!
Love, Your Other Island Missionary,
Elder Garrett McEwan

Friday, August 9, 2013

First P-day in the DR . . .

On the Dominican Republic Temple Grounds
We were sooo excited to receive the first official letter from Elder McEwan! To top it off, there were pictures shared by President & Sister Freestone, the MTC Presidents of the Dominican Republic.

It is incredible to see the difference in this awesome young man in just a week since we put him on the plane to begin his mission!

August 8, 2013

Dear family,
I am so glad to see your letter!! Sorry it has taken me so long to write, but P-Day is on Thursday here, so that is why!!
I am glad that Dylan got nice football pads, and that they fit him well.  Good equipment is a nice thing to have.  Just like in sports, the gospel too has equipment.  We must put on the full armor of God, and stand as a witness to Him and bear testimony of His greatness!!  I am sorry about your phone too dude!!  You can use mine but the touchscreen doesn't work, so the only thing you can do on it is text and call.
Parker, get on the range!! You need to have your licenser so that you can preactice more!! Practice practice practice,  sleep a litle, then practice some more!! You will get to drive more than me these next two years ;)
President & Sister Freestone
Mom and Dad, I hope that Salem days has gone well for you guys!~! I know  is a lot of stress, but the Lord will bless us in anything we do, as long as we perservere and endure to the end!!  I know you guys are very prepared, and that you are leaders in this community.  People look to you for guidance and reassurance, and trust you to get the job done!!.
To answer previous questions:
I am great!! The MTC Food is very good, and there is plenty!!  Surprisingly, I have neither gained nor lost weight!!  The weather is hot, humid, but also pleasant in a weird way!!  It rained last night, and that was a sight to be seen!!  So much water, spectacular lightning.. It was amazing!!
Today, as with every P-Day,  I will attend the temple. It is a great blessing to me!!
I have been learning the language pretty quickly.  I bore my testimony on Fast Sunday in Spanish, and only pray in Spanish now.  I haven't prayed in English since like last Saturday :)
My MTC District ~ Back Row: Elder Kirk, Elder Laws, Elder McEwan,
Elder Phillips; Front Row: Sister Verzello, Sister Layng, Sister Haramoto
I hope this letter finds you guys well!! I love all of you so much!!
Elder Garrett McEwan

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Hello from the Dominican Republic . . .

Hey everyone, it's Elder McEwan.  Just wanted to let you know that I am in the DR.  I have had a few opportunities to speak with people about the book of mormon, why we serve missions, and keeping the sabbath day holy.  It is very hot here, and the people drive like lunatics! Thank you all for your letters.  I love you all so very much, and can't wait to see you again!!
Elder McEwan

Farewell at the Salt Lake International Airport . . .

We arrived at the Salt Lake International Airport at 5:15 a.m. on Thursday, August 1, 2013. Everyone was quite tired, as we had already been up since 3:00 a.m. We weren't able to check Elder McEwan in on the kiosk, but there weren't many travelers at this hour, so we walked right up to the counter. His checked bags weighed in at 51 pounds and 46 pounds. His carry on bag weighed 18 pounds. Hmmm . . a mere 115 pounds for two years!

Elder McEwan with his "Elder Garrett" bear we gave him after he was set apart as a missionary

There were six total missionaries traveling to the Dominican Republic, but they had either already gone through security or hadn't arrived yet. Garrett was so brave (much more than we were) as he made it through security and headed toward his gate for departure. We were kind of waiting for a last wave, but he never looked back (probably learned this from his big brother, Elder Sean McEwan, who also never looked back :).

We look forward to hearing from him and sharing his many adventures here with the many family and friends!