Monday, September 30, 2013

The Work Goes On . . .

Dear Family and Friends,

I was not able to buy a camera yet...  We need to go to a bigger version of the store, called La Sirena (The Mermaid),  to buy one. Hopefully we can do that next week!!

Dylan,  I am glad that football is going so well for you!!  That is what hard work does for you!!  Have you been working out every day!? Do you like your new room?  I want to see lots of pictures!!  That is cool that you got to see Cosmo!!  One of my room mates is pretty anti BYU, so he was a little mad when I told him about that!!

Parker, are you just rolling in the dough now!?  Seems like it, with how much you are working!!  Just make sure that you continue to attend social events, and have fun, and do school stuff!!  It is important to be well rounded!!  Dude, we recently had Fifth Sunday too!!!  It was weird being in with the Adults for it instead of with the nursery or sunbeams...  But it was cool!!  We learned about tithing and the uses of tithing, since we only have 8 full tithe payers in the ward!!

Mom,  our Primary Program has happened as well.... the kids sang all the songs in spanish ;).  But it was really different!!  They do not have choir seats, so they had the children sit on folding chairs!! The reverence was very different, but it was good!!  They sang a lot more, and talked a lot less!!  They didn´t really have parts, they just bore their testimonies!!  It was cool to listen to what these kids believe in.  They all have a very strong testimony of prayer, and that God listens to us!!

Dad, I am glad that you have been able to progress into a new role in your job!!  I forgot to tell you, but I saw a Nature Sunshine shuttle type car here!!  Just a little taste of home!!  However, it had the older logo on it!?  So that was cool!!

Well, this week was a little tough!!  We have been working hard to be able to find new people, but it felt like we weren´t having any success!!  We spent a lot of time contacting, and found some people!!

Our best family right now is la Familia Suarez.  They are a family of 6.  It started out that we were talking to a man in a park, and they were there, and they said that they were interested in our message.  We started teaching them, and they are very open! They read the Restoration pamphlet in one day, then prayed about it.  They invited their whole family to our next lesson, and they loved it too!!  They read the pamphlet again as a family, and then prayed to know that it was true!  They felt peace, and that they had never understood the will of God so well!! They have started reading the Book of Mormon, and we are hoping that they will know that it is a true testament of Jesus Christ!!

Dominguito and Raquel are in a tough situation right now...Dominguito just got a job that requires him to work on sundays..  It is sad, but we haven´t taught him in over a week.  We pass by often and teach Raquel, and she is doing well!!  The coolest thing was when we went and were able to talk to Dominguito.  He told us that he is working to get Sundays off for church, and then we asked him how he felt about the church.  He picked up his book of Mormon, and said ´´I know this is true, and that I hold my salvation in my hands´´. So crazy!  He also told us that he is wanting to work so that he can pay tithing!!  They are a great couple!!

As far as other investigators go, we are in the early stages with most of them.  It is hard, because the economy here is very bad.  The poor people have nothing, so they have no hope that anything can help them. They sit in the cuñada and play dominos all day.  The rich people have to work or go to school, so they are hard to have return visits with!!  It's hard, because we have about 6 families that are rich that have a good desire to learn, but are too busy to meet!!  We have been creative in scheduling our return visits ;).

Anyway, my apartment doesn’t have a dirt floor, but it is really dirty all the time  ;)  I sweep every day, but since there are no glass in the window panes, the dust blows in!!  We have almost no power and no water!!  It is a thing on the roof that is called a tinaco that gets filled with water, but the people who fill it have been turning the switch off so we have no water!!  Then the government turns off the power all the time, this is difficult cuz it is unbearably hot!!  The only good part about that is that I have been sweating off all my fat!!

I am so thankful that you guys taught me how to make a budget!!  I have been living within my budget, and I have been happy and had good food!!  My companions don´t understand how I can eat so well with so little money, and I say ,¨No tengo dudas que mis Padres le conocieron¨.  Alma 56:47.

Love you all so much!!

Elder Garrett McEwan

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Week Full of Challenges and Experiences . . .

What an exciting week in the life of Elder McEwan! I don't know what it is about our Elders and cameras though . . . Such experiences he is having. We're so grateful for the strength that prayer and faith give each of us to know that he is where he is needed to help build the kingdom of God and that our Heavenly Father will protects him and keeps him safe :).

Dear Family & Friends,

This week was a little rough...  The zipper on my back pack got stuck while I was running to an appointment, and ripped, spilling my things every where.  It was 9 o clock at night, and super dark. My camera fell out and was lost.  My scriptures got ripped.  All of my stuff is super dirty. I am sorry I lost the camera.

As far as the teaching goes, it has kinda been a little hit and miss. We have a family of women, all related to each other, that we are teaching that are super good.  They understand the Book of Mormon to be the word of God, and that it is about the inhabitants of the Americas.  They are very open to the Gospel, and are keeping their reading commitments.  I think that they´re name is the Suarez Family.

We also have a man named Beriguete.  He is a very humble man.  He has a baptismal date of the last week of October.  He can´t read, so that has been a struggle to teach him, but he has a strong desire to be baptized.  He told us that he knows that we teach the words of God, and that he must follow us.  SO awesome!!!

The rest of our families are a little stagnant right now.  We had to drop several families because they were not progressing or keeping their commitments.  The law of chastity is usually what gets people here.  They have these young women called frecas, and they are just women with very loose standards.... That is most of the women here. But we do our best!

I am glad that you guys are all doing so well!!  Pork, are you making a lot of money working for Matt!  Are you keeping our family name proud as Umpires!  Dylan, I am glad you are doing so well at football!!  You are awesome!!  Dad, I am glad that you have had the opportunity to progress in your job!!  Mom, that is so cool that you are in charge of the cupcake club! :)

So today on P Day, we got to go to the Botanical Gardens!!  It was really cool!  There is a museum, and a train, and giant turtles!!  I caught a turtle, but no one was able to get a picture!!!  Then we had a picnic!!

The fruits and vegetables here are a little sketchy,  but we are able to get bananas, mangos, potatoes, avocados, and tomatoes.  The avocados are the best!!  They are as big as your head!!  SO good!!

Also, just so you know, we witnessed a murder!  These guys came and shot a guy off his motorcyle, then took off!! Then a group of guys came by with machetes to try to kill those guys!! SO crazy!!  But we are fine, we are protected, and the gansters here love us!  So don´t be worried, but just wanted you to know!!  Mom, you don´t need to call the mission president or anything, just wanted you to know!!!

Also, about the Primary Program, it was last week!!  The kids sang, and bore their testimonies.  There are about 60 kids in the Primary, so that was cool. The songs are better in english though for the most part, because the spanish is a literal translation!

Any way, just wanted to let you know that I am doing well out here!! I hope that you have received my letters, as well as the post cards. How is sean doing!  I haven´t heard from him in a while!

I love you guys so much!  I will talk to you next Monday!!


Elder Garrett McEwan

Monday, September 16, 2013

First Letter/Email from the "Field" . . .

What a great day! It seems like we have been waiting forever to hear from Garrett. We've been "stalking" the computer all day. Then, I leave to take the other boys to their activities and come home to great news waiting for me :).

Dear Family,

Sounds like you guys have been having a very good week!!  I am so glad that you have been enjoing your work!! and i am sorry for the bad spelling and punctuation, but the key board is in spanish, so it
doesn´t work well!! The computers... are not the same as the USA...  They are slow, bad connection, and don´t work!!  But thank you for the emails!!  It is they high light of my week to read about everything that you are doing!!  I love you guys so much!!! 

I have been doing so well!!  The Lord has been kind to me, and has allowed me to understand much  about the language and the culture and the people.  I am learning fast here!!

So anyway, much companion is named Elder Galindo.  He is from Mexico, but was raised in texas.  He is really cool, and likes to work hard!! He has been on his mission for 5 months, and I am his second companion.  Kind of a cool thing for me, cuz he seems like he has been here for a long time!!  My room mates are Elder Thomas (Wyatt Thomas) and he is from Genola.  He is friends with Thomas Oldham, which is really cool.  He has been here for 21 months.  His companion is Elder Pedersen from orem, who went to the CCM with me.

We have been doing really well!!  We started from zero investigators when I first got here,  and we now have 6 who are progressing towards baptism, and 2 that have a baptismal date of october 6!!  That is a cool story, because I was the one who invited them to be baptized.  We were sharing witht them the doctrine of christ in 3 nephi 11,  and also about the tree of life in 1 nephi 8.  They fit well because they say that the only way to be saved by baptism and belief, and that god wants us all to recieve these blessings.  I felt like they were ready, and asked Galindo about it.  He said that they had tried to commit them, but they said no.  I felt a prompting again that they were ready, and so I began to ask them.  Before I could finish, they were both saying SI, SI!!  SO cool!!  The husband was crying and the wife was laughing hard.  They´re names are Dominguito and Raquel.

So my house is nice, except that we have no power ever!!  The people here steal the power by using their own cords to the power poles, so the government shuts is off!!  Crazy, I know, but it´s life.  I have a complete list is a letter I sent today, so hopefully you get it soon!!

I bought groceries today, and It was awesome!! I bought a ton of food, and budgeted well!!  Spent 2000 pesos on food, and I have about 1200 left for next week, but i bought food for 2 weeks, so the rest is for transportation and little snacks!!

Love you Forever, love you for always,

Elder Garrett McEwan

Friday, September 13, 2013

Arrival in the "Field" . . .

Word from the Mission Secretary, Sister Schmidt. She has been awesome already! I found her blog a few weeks before Garrett left for the MTC but didn't know she and her husband were right in the mission office. So thankful for the news that he arrived at the mission home. Kind of made me get teary . . . I'm a "Hermana" now :).
What an incredible sight ~ 34 New Missionaries report to the
Santo Domingo West Mission
on Tuesday, September 10, 2013 ~ WOW!
Hermana McEwan,
     Elder McEwan arrived in the mission on Tuesday at 6 am.  We spoke with him.   He was interviewed by President Rodriguez, had his picture taken with he and his wife, got his new companion, was oriented, filled out paperwork, had lunch and was sent on his way.  We spoke with him.  He is doing very well.  You have a fine son!  (My husband says he does well with the language!)
Elder & Hna Schmidt
Secretario de Finanzas
Misión Santo Domingo Oeste
República Dominicana

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Humbleness of First Area . . .

September 12, 2013

Dear Family,

Well, I am in the field! It has been so great. My companion's name is Elder Galindo. He is 19 years old and from Mexico. I live in an area call Los Girasoles. It is a very cool place. There is no carpet on the floors, but it has nice tile. There is a toilet, a washing machine, a shower, and electricity. However, the toilet doesn't flush well, the washing machine is broken, we can't take an actual shower, and the power is off from 8 am until midnight. Let me explain the shower situation. We have a limited use of the water every week, and when it's gone, it's gone. It is not much water at all, and it is our sink water, toilet, shower, and washing machine water. So when I shower, it is like a bucket shower; I use enough water to be wet, wash everything, then rinse off. The End. it's not bad here though. We have a small gas stove and fridge/freezer. I work out everyday at 6, and it is cool!

Anyway, we have some really good investigators!!! One guy name Dominguito is ready to be baptized, but he has to be married to his wife first. He wants to get married but his wife is unsure. People here just don't care about marriage much. We are hoping that they will be married, because then both of them will be baptized.

We also have a girl named Jordania. Her mother is a member. She is progressing well, and is reading the Book of Mormon. We are hoping that she will come to church, because then she will feel the Spirit and know that what she is learning is true.

I love you guys so much! Hope everything is well!

Elder Garrett McEwan

Sunday, September 8, 2013

More CCM Experiences and Opportunities . . .

September 8, 2013

Dear Family,

I hope you have by now received my letters and postcards! I hope that you were able to translate the postcards! Sorry that it was probably hard, but I just wanted to give you postcards written in my Mission Language.

On Friday, the 6th, I had the opportunity to go on splits again with a real missionary. I was paired with one of the "Office Elders." These Elders are in charge of all the paperwork, money, mail, etc. for the mission. They only get to go out contacting once a week. It would be kind of a hard job, but they like it. Because they only go out once a week, we didn't have any appointments. Their main focus is to help less active members. We visited some members and did some contacting. The area we were in was called Bella Vista, or Beautiful View. It really was amazing. It was in the city, and the people were wealthy. They all gave us drinks, which were amazing! But the best part was being able to understand their words! I am understanding Dominican Spanish, which is not like regular Spanish. They do not anunciate words well here at all, and they speak very quietly, so it is very hard to understand. However, I am getting much better.

Another cool experience was Saturday. I have mentioned before that we have sometimes gone to the temple parking lot and talk tot he Gua-Gua (Bus) drivers. To this point we had obtained 3, which was pretty good. On Saturday, there was only one gua-gua there. The Sister missionaries were supposed to go contact him and the Elders were to speak with the temple patrons. After speaking to the patrons, we walked over to the gua-gua. The Sisters were standing there and neither them nor the driver were speaking. They didn't understand or know what to say. I started talking and my mouth was filled with words. It was amazing. We obtained his address and phone number after a brief lesson about how God is our loving Heavenly Father. I hope the missionaries were able to meet with him.

I just wanted to let you all know that I am doing great and that I cam excited to leave the CCM. I just want to begin helping people out and help bring the gospel into their lives.

I love you all so much! Let me know how life is going!

Elder Garrett McEwan

Thursday, September 5, 2013

CCM (MTC) Splits with Field Missionaries . . .

September 5, 2013

Dear Family,

I am so sorry that my email fue horrible esta semana . . . El laboratorio fue occupado por todo el tiempo. (Sorry that my email was so horrible this week, the lab was full the whole time.) It is a big issue here, because no one is obediente to the rules, especially email time and laundry time. Also, I'm sorry but I keep writing in Spanish! I don't even notice until after I have finished writing! Anyway, since we last talked, I was able to receive the package! The flashdrive has been lost in transfer and I never saw it. But oh well, the pictures are replaceable. I will be sending home a picture disk when I leave the MTC.

Last Friday, I was able to go on splits with the missionaries in the field! It was a great experience. I bore testimony, prayed, taught, and gave the baptismal invitacion, all from memory! It was an amazing experience! Also, the city is so cool! There is much to see and do, and many people to talk to! I have also purchased a tie for Dad, Sean, Parker, and Dylan from the DR. They are handmade! I bought Mom a shirt because she doesn't wear ties! When I figure out how to send a package, I will send one!

Back to splits . . . A man came to me while I was on the metro, and asked if I spoke English. I said yes, and he says to me, "Tell me everything you know about your church before I get off the Metro." The Metro is the subway by the way. In the 25 minutes we were on the train, I frantically tried to explain everything I knew, premortal life, creation, agency and the fall, earthly life, Christ's ministry, atonement, Christ's death and resurrection, apostasy, restoration, Joseph Smith, Book of Mormon, Sabbath Day, Word of Wisdom, etc. He wanted to know more, so I gave him the number to the Mission Home and him to call them to get other missionaries there. It was an AMAZING EXPERIENCE!

I am excited to be leaving to the field on September 10, 2013. I am nervous, but I feel prepared! I cannot wait to continue my service to the Lord!

Questions in Spanish! (Please respond in Spanish in emails):
-- Como esta futbol americano por, Dylan?
-- Cual es su clase favorita, Parker?
-- Tiene mucho asignaciones en su trabajo, Mom?
-- Ha ejercido cada dia, Dad?

Estas preguntas en mis cartas pueden ayudarles a aprender y entender espanol. Si ustedes aprenden espanol, lo bendicira sus vidas diariaments. Siento benolcido que tengo la oportunidad a aprendes espanol!

Love Your Son and Brother,
Elder Garrett McEwan