Monday, October 28, 2013

Adventures of the Week . . .

Dear Family,

This week has been really good!!! It is good to get all of your pictures and such from you!!! I also want to see what our new Japanese brother looks like when he gets there!! Too bad about the whole cycling thing, maybe we can change his paradigms!!!

So the mission is going well. We had an intercambio within our district, so I was with Elder Thomas. He let me lead the lessons, which helped teach me a lot. My spanish is really coming along nicely, so that is a really cool thing to see. The Lord continues to bless me greatly as I serve, and I am so glad that I have been able to learn so easily.

I have been unable to watch the World Series, for obvious reasons, but it is kind of funny that my two least favorite teams are in it!!! The people here all want Boston to win, because David Ortiz is Dominican. They like to sit in the Colmados, drink and watch baseball all night, with music on super loud!! THe music is not nice bachata, it is called Dembo, and it is a loud rap style... so annoying because they have big sterio systems!!!!

We have to move the baptism dates from the 2nd to the 9th, so that the girls can be introduced in church this week!! But it is ok, we can still teach them more!! Their names are Amaris and Genesis, ages 13 and 9!!!

All the investigators are the same, doing really well!!

Enmanuel was an interesting lesson this week... I was with Thomas, so I was leading it. I was teaching about the Spirit, and I taught him how he could receive an answer, using I think it was Moroni 7;16 and 17. It was cool, and I taught him that we pray like we pray through a telephone. We don´t say what we need to say and then hang up, we need to wait to listen and receive a response!! I challenged him to pray on his knees always, and to wait!! He did it, and when we went back with Galindo to teach, he said that he liked what I said, he tried it, and he received his answer!!! SO cool!

Dominguito and Raquel are getting baptized on November 30th!! They finally decided to get married!! It was cool, because Galindo told me that there have been missionaries working with them for over a year straight, and it never clicked. He said that maybe they were just waiting for me. That hit me pretty hard... Maybe they legitimately were waiting for me, and that there are more out there waiting for me specifically!! Such a great experience.

So Galindo and I were contacting an area yesterday that neither of us have ever been to!! It was super far out, and not many houses. We saw a mansion, and it was one hundred percent abandoned. We could not understand why no one lived there, because it was super nice!! We walked in the garage, and looked at the wall. There were all these super weird symbols and letters in weird patterns on the walls, and none of them were words... we decided to go in. I was in front, because he was a little scared. I got to the threshold of the door, and I felt super strong to turn around and leave. I turned to him and said ¨Come on, we are leaving.¨ We start walking out, and he goes all weird for a second, and goes ¨I really really really want to check that place out.¨ But I could not shake the feeling I had, so we left. Just felt evil. We left, and I slowly felt better the farther away we got. We talked to the ward mission leader later, and he told us that there were two men that lived in that house that were doctors, and that they got excommunicated from the Church for some evil things that they were doing in there!! Glad we listened to the Spirit and didn´t have to encounter something creepy or bad!!!

To be honest about Christmas you don’t need to send me anything. I can get most things here that I need. If you want to, probably just money in my account! The problem is that with a package, it will come out of my weekly money, so if that happens, that means I get less money... Like about 800 pesos (20 dollars) less. That doesn´t seem like much, but it is, and it will come out the money I get. I can buy stuff here to open on Christmas day. Also, the people in Customs just took stuff out of Elder Galindo’s birthday package... Like all the candy was opened...SO I don’t know!!!

Love yoU!!

Well, that was my week!! I have also been getting ties and such from other dying missionaries that I met and they liked me, so my tie collection is pretty substantial!! SO cool the brotherhood that we all have. I also got a letter from Sister Miller in the ward, the Ward Newsletter, so that was really cool!!!

I love you all!! See you next week!!

Love you all so much!!

Elder Garrett McEwan

Monday, October 21, 2013

Awesome and Humbling Week . . .

Dear Family,

This has been a really awesome and humbling week!!  I have grown so much in my patience, my understanding of the gospel, and the love that my Savior has for me!!

First, I want to start off with church.  The average number of investigators at church in the mission for a companionship is 2 each week....  We just had 15 this week!!  Huge number!!  8 have a baptismal date for this month,  2 will most likely have one for the first week of December, and then 5 inactives!!!  So cool!!!  I was in charge of a group during the investigator class, a full family of investigators  (La Familia Suarez).  So amazing!!  A little awkward, because I had to teach a group of 19 to 50 year old people about chastity, but still good ;)

So first, for progressing investigators,  we have the Suarez Family. They are progressing well, and have now gone to church twice.  Their baptismal date is on the 16 of november!!  The dad, who had previously not been sharing with us, went to church this week!!  We just had a lesson with him, and we just went off!!  Back and forth through the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and Testimonies...  He just didn´t understand how the Catholic Church and their baptism was wrong!!!  SO funny!!  I then asked a super blunt question:  Do you think that babies who die will go to heaven?  He said yes.  I then asked him to show it to me in the bible, and he couldn´t, because such a scripture doesn´t exist.  Then it clicked!!  SO spiritual!!!

We lost Marius, he is being deported back to Haiti because his visa is expired... we are trying to help him contact the missionaries there!!!

Then we have Amaris and Genesis.  They are going to be my first baptisms!!!  SO good, so ready to be baptized, and they really want to grow in the church!!!

Next we have Enmanuel. He is about 23 years old, and has a lot of questions.  He believes that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and the book of mormon is true.  He is so smart!!!  He really has a desire to know for himself!!  He also gave me a movie, called  Prueba del Fuego, or in English, Fireproof..  I obviously can´t watch it, but just to see the joy on his face when he gave it to me was priceless!!  He has a fecha for the 16 of november!!

Next we have Marcel.  He used to own the convenience store across the street from us, but he sold it..  He knows perfect english, which is a little weird!!!  We taught him in joint english and spanish, and that is super cool!!!  He gets it!! and the best part is, he is ready.  He wants it!!!  So cool!!

Rapquel hadn´t been to church in a while, what with work and everything. SHe works 3 jobs, and Dominguito works all day at a colmado (convenience store).  But, she was there, and she is trying to
be ready to be baptized!!!

The inactives are Nicauries, Josefina, Nicauries´s Mom, Yulekis, and Hilary.  We have worked very hard with them, and they are going to church now!! We treated them like new investigators, and now they have testimonies of what they didn´t believe before!!  Everyone says that reactivating someone is as good of a feeling as a baptism, and I think that it is!!  I feel really good!!!

So I cut Galindo´s hair the other day with only scissors...  THAT was an experience to remember!!  It looks alright!!  On a scale of one to ten, probably a seven.  It was super fun!!  I also got my hair cut
professionally, and it looks sweet!!  The guy was going crazy, so that was funny to see.

I have purchased the camera, and been taking pictures!!!  It is hard to send pictures in email, but I will send the card home in like 3 weeks, if that is ok!!!  Also, I bought some protein powder here.  I
just am not getting enough foodj!!!  Our weekly money is not much, and food here is expensive!!!  But yeah, that was good!!  I just figure that I can get things here, rather than have you guys send it to me!!! That is easier!!

I love you guys so much!!  I have not yet worn the pants, because the tailor is making them!!  The picture I sent was of the fabric and the ties!!  They will be done in two weeks!!

I love you guys so much!!!  I pray for all of you!! Keep doing what's right!!!


Elder Garrett McEwan :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Life in Los Girasoles . . .

Elder McEwan & Elder Galindo
Dear Family,

I am doing well here.  Me and Elder Galindo have been really going nicely lately, because by Spanish is to the point where I am conversational in just about anything.  It is a really cool feeling, and sometimes I forget what language people are even speaking.  It just feels so natural to be in Spanish or English.

So last week I received your letters, and I was so happy to get them!! I loved hearing about all the wonderfull things back home in the USA!!!  Thank you so much!! :)

Anyway,  here is how the investigators are doing:

La Familia Suarez is working to be prepared for their baptism, just working hard and reading.  They are currently reading in the Book of Mormon, and they are in I think 1 Nephi 18 as a family, after only two weeks of having a Book of Mormon.  They have received the first three mission lessons (La Restauracion, El Plan de Salvacion, y El Evangelio de JesuCristo.).  They have a baptismal date of November 16, and it looks like we will be able to make that goal.  There are now 3 of the daughters and the Mom who are going to be baptized.  The Dad works as a pharmacist, so he has a weird work schedule.  He is very interested, so we need to try to meet with him!!

Marius is doing well.  He has received the first 3 lessons as well, and is working towards a baptismal date of November 2.  It looks like we will be able to make that goal as well, so that is good.  He has expressed an interest in going on a mission, so that would be really cool!!  I usually talk more than Elder Galindo when we go there, because Marius is so intrigued that a white person could know a different language.  SO that is kind of funny!!

We are now meeting with a girl named Angela.  I guess that she has received all the lessons in the past, but couldn´t be baptized because her and her husband are not legally married. That is a huge problem here, having people be legally married, and go to church.  THe chapel is about a 45 minute walk away, and people here.....  Let´s just say they don´t like to walk!!!  But she is progressing to a baptismal date of December 7.

We are teaching these three little girls, ages 13, 13, and 9.  Their grandma is a member, and they are very interested!!  They read all the pamphlets, and then want to start reading the book of mormon.  They have a baptismal date of November 2, and we will be able to  make that date!!  When I asked them why they wanted to be baptized, I was expecting them to say ¨Because grandma is a member.¨ But instead they said ¨Because we want to a part of God´s church¨.  That was a very good experience to have.

So yesterday, we contacted 52 people, which is a ton.  The usual goal for a week is 68 for our zone, so that was cool.  I had a very cool experience with a young member girl and her family.  She is probably 18 or 19 years old, and we contacted her family, not knowing that she was a member.  They invited us in, and we started teaching.  She prayed in the exact way that we teach investigators to pray, and then proceeded to tell us that she was a member, but she was currently inactive right now.   We kept teaching, and the family didn´t seem to get it, because they are all super hard core Catholics.  I felt prompted to ask her why she became a member, and she then told her whole conversion story that was super spiritual.  She teared up, and the Spirit was so strong there in that little room.  Then the uncle stood up and went crazy about how wrong she was.  He paused to take a breath about halfway through, so I cut him off and tried to continue, but he started yelling over me.  He was crazy!!  When he finished, his neice, the member, said,  Ï have prayed to these things, I have studied, and I can´t deny that they are the true church of jesus christ, and that these two young men bring our salvacion with them.¨ So cool that she stood as a witness to Christ, even against her crazy uncle.  We were able to finish the lesson on a strong point, and set up an appointment to come back!!!

So the camera I was able to purchase is a Sony CyberShot...  It looks nice, and small!! Should work really well!!

I also went to a place called El Canal today.  It is a mix between a clothing/shoe/home care/decoration/fabric store, and it is huge!!!  I bought some fabric to make some dominican pants, and two skinny ties!! So excited!!  It is something that first companions do a lot here, so we did it today.

It has been pouring down rain lately, like so much that we can´t go out right at 2 when we are supposed to!!  We have gotten over 10 inches of rain in the last 3 days!!

So we contact a lot of Haitians, but it is hard to teach them because they have super bad work schedules.  They are easily the hardest working people I have ever seen!!  They work for every ounce of stuff that they have!!  They are really cool, very friendly, and accepting of the gospel.  THey don´t understand spanish as well as some people, but they feel the spirit very strongly!!

Also, I had no idea about a japanese guy coming to live with you!! I must have missed that!!  Hopefully he knows english well.  There is also a very strong asian influence here!!  I don´t know why, but there is!!  They have these little restaurants that they call ¨Pica Pollos¨ (chicken beaks).  It is all chinese food, cooked by asians.  It is good, but super fattening.  I have only eaten there one time!!  I have been working out every day for an hour, and eating healthy.  The only unhealthy things that I have eaten are Wendy´s one time, Taco bell one time, and at a pica pollo!!!

I love you all so much, and I hope you continue to do well!!

Well, I love all you guys!!  Good luck with this next great week!

Love with all my heart,

Elder Garrett McEwan

                                                 Just so you know how hot, rainy, & humid it is here :)

Monday, October 7, 2013

General Conference Weekend in the D.R. . . .

Dear Family,

I am so glad to hear that you are all doing so well!!  Sounds like life if going super well for all of you guys!!  Dad, I am glad to receive the forward of the Nature Sunshine Staffing Changes!!  SO cool!  By the way, I saw a Nature Sunshine truck here.

I am doing very well!!  The weather is super hot and humid here all the time.  Just got sunburned a bit today walking around, but other than that I am doing fine!!

We were able to watch conference here in English on the Bishop´s laptop!!  We could have watched it in Spanish, but it was so good to hear the actual voices of the Lord´s servants!!  I learned a ton about the family, eternal families, and positive attitudes.  Unfortunately we were unable to attend the Priesthood Session because it started so late (8)!

So about how the teaching is going...  I will start with the Familia Suarez.  They are progressing so well!!  They have been taught the Restoration, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Plan of Salvation!! They believe in all of it so strongly, and have a baptismal date of November 16!!  That is three girls, ages 16, 20, and 23, and a mom. The dad will most likely get baptized, if we could ever meet with him!! He comes home super late!!  Two of the girls actually came to conference and loved it!!  The mom and youngest sister were unable to come because they had the flu, so that was sad, but they are going to watch it on the internet!!

Next, we have Dominguito and Raquel... They are in a bad financial situation, so they work a lot.  They have had a hard time coming to church because they have to work on Sundays, but they are super ready to get baptized!!

Then, we have a man named Marius.  He is Haitian, and has been taught all the lessons, and reads the Book of Mormon.  He has a baptismal date of November 2!!  He is very ready to be baptized, and wants to serve a mission!!  He is 23, so we will be helping him towards that goal!!  He is a very cool guy, and came to conference with us this weekend!!  His favorite part was Sunday Morning when the prophet spoke, so that was amazing!!

Next, we have a man named Hermano Jr.  He is the spouse of a member, Hermana Josefina.  He was going to be baptized before, but fell away. I felt prompted one night to share with him specifically, and we just started talking.  I shared with him in Mosiah 4, when King Benjamin is chastising his people.  He is telling them that there is one and only one way to be with God, to be saved if you will.  I felt prompted to talk about repentance and the Atonement, and then shared in Alma 7. This was so cool, because when I invited him to be baptized, he said very humbly that he was not worthy to be in God´s presence.  We told him that through the Atonement, he would be worthy.  He now is going to be baptized on November 16.

We continue to work hard, and look for a camera.  We are going to go to a place called El Canal next Monday to look for a camera. The El Canal is like a mall. Hopefully we can find one!!  Also, some little kids, like 13 years old, stole my food through our window.  The window has bars on it, but they just reached through and stole all of my cereal, so I had no breakfast food.  Good thing I budgeted so that I would have over a thousand pesos of apollo left, so I went and bought more today.  I talked to them about it, and they lied.  We used to pay them to do little chores, like take the trash out so we could kind of help them because they are really poor!  But now, we won´t anymore.

So about food, we don´t eat with members, it is a rule...  But I eat really well!!  Chicken, hot dogs, avocados, apples, burritos, lasagna, rice... pretty much everything I ate at home!!  So good!!  My weight is staying constant so that is good!!  Probably the best thing I have had is empanadas with chicken and cheese and beans!!  So good, so
worth it!!

Transfers are in two weeks, but no one in my house will be transferred.  The other new elder, Elder Pedersen, is being trained as well, so all of us will stay.  Then after the next transfer, Elder Thomas will go home and Elder Galindo will most likely be transferred, because it will have been his sixth transfer here.  Me and Elder Pedersen will most likely stay in Los Girasoles for a while!!  Elder LeFevre is in our district, and will most likely stay with his companion, Elder Rodriguez.

I am glad that you are getting closer with the Eagle stuff!!  I want to be able to help them, because they have almost nothing to play with!!  So that will be really good!!

I am glad that you received the pictures.  I still have not received your letters, but maybe they will come soon!! is a good place, and I usually get those letters within a week!!

Well I have to go, I have a cita in like 15 minutes, so I will talk to you guys next week!!  I love you all so much!! say hi to dad for me!!

I love you all so much, and hope you are doing well!!

Love forever and always,

Elder Garrett McEwan :)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Letter Written on Arrival Day at the Mission Home of the Santo Domingo West Mission . . .

We received a letter and photos in the mail today (October 4, 2013) that Garrett wrote the day he arrived at the Mission Home in Santo Domingo (September 10, 2013)! We hope all letters don't take three weeks to come through the mail, but it was so awesome to hear more details of what his experiences are like in the Dominican Republic. While we are ever thankful for email technology allowing us to communicate each week, the joy of receiving a letter in the mailbox is very exciting. (Wish I would have been able to capture Dylan's face when we stopped at the mailbox and he saw there was a letter from the Dominican Republic ~ It was absolutely PRICELESS!)
My "Arrival" photo at the Mission Home of the
Dominican Republic Santo Domingo West Mission

Dear Family,

I am on my way! I am currently sitting in the chapel, and am about to find out where my first area will be, and who my companion is! I am so excited to serve the Lord. I had an interview with President Rodriguez this morning, and it went well. He knows a lot more English than he did before, so that was cool, but I spoke only in Spanish. That is a big goal of mine, is to use Spanish as often as possible. My ultimate goal is to be 100% fluent by Christmas, meaning that I speak Spanish as well as I can speak English. It is a lofty goal, but I know if I work hard, I can do it!

In other news, I have received a new filter bottle from the Church, so I have two now! They say you could put orange juice in it, and it would filter out pure water, so I will definitely need to try that! It is the same bottle that Aunt Kelly sells in her shop, so that was cool to find out.

The church here is very nice. The building I mean. They have nice tile floors, and the foyers are open-air foyers. They have slats that close when it rains, but it is kind of cool. It echoes very well. There is no carpet (alfombra) here, and I guess that is a fairly common occurrence here. No one has carpet, which will make push ups interesting, but I can't wait!

P-Day is on MONDAY here, so we have missed it this week :(. I will have access to email every week, though, via an internet cafe. There are many of those here! So that will be good. We also email the President every week to let him know that we are still alive!

I have received my debit card. We are given about 3800 pesos every two weeks. We are required to pay utilities, but we will be reimbursed. Depending on the area, we might not have utilities to pay, with no electricity, water, or heat, etc. I will know all the details about that later.
Elder Garrett McEwan with President and Sister Rodriguez,
who are native to the Dominican Republic

Good news, there are people (Missionaries) here who have access to workout equipment! I am excited to be able to work out. I just had my weight and blood pressure checked here in the chapel. My BP was 126/80, and my weight was 205. This is good, because I want to stay the same!

I hope all of you are doing well! Let me know how school, football, work, church, and driving are going!

I love you all so MUCH!

Elder Garrett McEwan