Sunday, December 21, 2014

English or Spanish? . . .

December 20, 2014

Dear Family,

This week was a very busy week with very little rest.  We were able to finish up everything for the transfers, which was really good!!  On Sunday, we also went and ate with one of the sweetest member ladies.  She is a returned missionary, and she is about 32 years old now.  She is not married, but she is just really amazing!!  She treats the missionaries like they are her kids, even though she is not that much older than us!!  Any way, everything on Sunday went well.

On Monday we were going all over the place.  It was pretty crazy, It was a little bit funny!  Everyone was calling us to ask special permission to "Go to the capital on tuesday" because they had stuff they wanted to do Monday!!  It got to the point that I could tell what the person wanted before picking up the phone!!  Any way, we were able to get everything figured out, and everything went well.  We also dropped a missionary off at the airport who is going to Peru.  His family came to see him off, and it was a great experience.  He had been in our mission for a full transfer waiting for his VISA, and he finally got it, so we sent him off!!

Tuesday we went to the chapel in San Geronimo to have the transfers.  Everyone actually took the schedule seriously, and got there on time!!  We were a little bit worried about the bus. On Monday night we found out that it was Elias Pina, almost in Haiti, and about a four hour drive away, and we needed it to be in the capital at 6 in the morning...  So they left at 2 in the morning and were able to make it there on time!!  We got everyone loaded up, and it all turned out just great!!  Then we had the trainers and trainees capacitation meeting.  It was a great experience, and I spent basically the whole time translating.  The president has us say lots of things in english to help the new guys.  I wonder how much of the spanish they understand.  The english I am not going to lie was a little bit tough...  It is kind of funny!!  I can hear english and translate it into spanish basically with out thinking, and I can hear spanish and translate into english, but speaking for myself in english is a little bit rough because it just comes out easier in spanish!!  Any way, we got all of that figured out, and immediately started getting people off to their areas.  We wanted the people in the south to get on the 2 p.m. bus so that they wouldn't have to wait until the 5:30 p.m. one, so we took off!!  I got a phone call saying that luggage had gotten misxed up between a sister and an elder, so we picked it up and took it with us too to send on the bus!!  We got them there just in time, and they all went off to their respective areas.  Then we went and changed money for those who were going home, and then we bought pizza and picked up our stuff to go stay the night at the CCM with the people who were going home.  We ate, and then we played ping pong!!  It was great!!  Also, we needed Pedersen and Jardon to help us because we only have 2 people in the office who can drive, Van Katwyk and I, so they helped us!!  We just talked and got caught up with everything that has been going on, then went to bed!

So on Wednesday after about 2 hours of sleep, we were up taking people to the airport!!  It was early, but we got them all off and everyone was fine!!  Then we went back, cleaned the rooms in the CCM, and went out to work!! 

On Thursday we were supposedly having the PDAY that we missed last Saturday, but the PDAY consisted of waking up a little late and then going to work ;)  Any way it was a good day, and we were able to get some things done!!  The President invited us to eat with him, but I was feeling a little bit sick, so I was unable to eat. 

On Friday I was able to do all of the references for the year!! That is something that falls under my calling as assistant. In the past it's been a bit relaxed, so there were 85 to do...  I have to call all of them and get their information and everything then put them in the system and assign them to a proselyting area.  I was able to finish all of them, but it was a little funny!!  I am sitting there with all of this guy's information, his full name, phone number, and part of his address.  I ask him for the rest of his address to be able to send the missionaries to his house, and he tells me that they are already visiting him.  I say that that is perfect, and that I just want to be able to put him in the system because the church is a church of order...  and he wouldn't tell me!!  I read off all of the information that HE PERSONALLY put in the church system, and he wouldn't believe me.  Then I asked him who the missionaries are that are teaching him, and he wouldn't tell me that either!!  I got a little frustrated, so I told him all of my information and that I just was trying to help him, but he yelled some bad words at me and hung up?  Haha just life I guess!!  We also picked up a mini missionary and took her to her area, so we only have one companionship in the mission that is working in a trio!!  That is a big accomplishment because that means that these people are going to be able to work at their full potential.

I just wanted to thank you all for the twelve days of christmas that you guys sent to us!!  It has been a lot of fun to open them with Pena, and he says to tell you thanks for him too! 

So on Christmas day I will be calling on Skype.  I will get on the email to make sure that you guys are ready for the call right before.

Well Family, I love you all so much.  I miss you lots, and I can't wait to talk on Christmas.  Have a great week!!

Elder Garrett McEwan

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Great Week of Conferences . . .

December 14, 2014

Dear Family,

It was so great to hear all of the great things that are happening to all of you guys right now!!  It sounds like you are all just having a great time!  I am so grateful as well for your continued support while I am out here on the mission.

So this week was full of things happening!!  On Monday and Tuesday we had the Christmas Conferences...  and it started off on the wrong foot!!  Turns out that the Area Presidency was having some kind of banquet Monday at the same time as our Conference in the same place with the same catering service, so we had to change all of that stuff!!  It was a little bit hectic because we found out about all of that stuff on Saturday night, but it was ok and we were able to get everything figured out!!  We had the Conference in Azua on Monday, and we had to drive a ton!!  We made it there, luckily, at 7 in the morning.  We then had to go back to Bani to get more tables...  a half hour drive back!!  We went, got all the tables loaded up, and got the conference started!!  I was doing things the entire time, so I missed the majority of the conference!!  It seems like when ever there is a conference of some kind, all of the missionaries get sick right before coming!!  I spent the entire conference running people around to the doctor and to different farmacies...It is a little bit stressful sometimes because I am having to pay for a lot of the stuff with my own money and then wait for the reimbursement, but I guess it is good.  It is something that I guess is just preparing me to have a family, with kids asking all the time for money!!  Any way, the food turned out great, and there was a ton of it!!  Finally, a conference with food that was amazing!!  Then we watched all of the skits!!  Those literally had it all!!  From funny jokes to inside jokes to songs that the missionaries made up...  It was great!! Then when the conference finished, we took pictures and went home!!

The next day we had the conference in the capital.  It also started off with a problem with the tables, just because the Bishop of the building that we were at did not show up....  So I spent the whole morning getting tables again!!  I missed the entire morning session of the conference!!  The food was even better, and there was even a chocolate fountain!!  It was really cool, but I did not eat out of that because I KNOW how unhygienic those things can be...  Especially when there are so many people!!  150 people from different countries dunking a marshmellow in a chocolate waterfall in two different languages?  Does NOT sound appetizing to me!!  The skits were also very funny as well!!  Lots of laughs, good acting, and some funny lines as well!!  We did (as usual) have one awkward moment when a missionary from Mexico said the "N" word in a rap...  He doesn't know english, so for him it was normal, but it definately caught the president of guard!!  Any way, then we finished up all of that and went home!!

On Friday, we had the big activity at the President's house for the netire capital!!  It was a great success!!  The choir from our ward and from Las Caobas sang, and it was amazing!!  They sang really well!  We also had two sister missionaries sing, and they stole the show!!  It was seriously like listening to snow white sing!!  I was honestly just waiting for all of the little lizards and rats and cockroaches to come out, hypnotized, to do their bidding!!  It was great, and there was a turn out of about 300 people, so it was great!!  Really had a great time!!

Saturday was the day that we finished up the transfers.  It is a very good thing that I made up the formats for all of the things, so all we had to do was fill in the blanks with the names!!  We got it all set up, and then went and celebrated in CHILI's!!  It was fun, I got a soup and salad with a frozen strawberry lemonade!!  Then we took some sisters to San Cristobal to sing in a baptismal service, then went back to our ward party!! 

Today was Paulino's last Sunday, so he spoke!!  We had a great Sunday, and I have had a huge change about how I feel about Sunday!!  It legitimately is a day that I look forward to!!

Well, that is what has been going on!!  Also, I am very glad that you got my Christmas Package!!  Hopefully it made in there in one piece, because it is very fragile!!

So for Christmas...  We will be Skyping in the afternoon.  Not sure at what time yet, but we will be in contact.  As the assistants we always have to be on our personal emails and the assistant;s email just to make sure that nothing get's sent to us that we don't know about!!  So, I will let you know!!  All that I know is that the 25th is an all day PDAY, as well as the 31st.  The PDAY for those two weeks will be changed to those days!!

I love you all so much!!  Have a great week!!

Elder Garrett McEwan  :)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Great Leadership Learning Experiences . . .

December 6, 2014

Dear Family,

Thank you so much for your email this week!!  I am so lucky to have such a great family as I do!  I love you all so much!  Thank you for sharing your experiences with me!!

So this week was very long and interesting!!  We have been super busy every day this week.  We had a trainers capacitation meeting on Wednesday, another one on Thursday, and the Zone Leader Council on Friday.  Next Monday and Tuesday, we have the Mission Christmas Parties, one in the South and the other here in the Capital.  It has all been super busy, because San Juan also has their district conference this weekend.  We also have the transfers coming up at the end of the week, as well as an activity for all of the wards in the Capital at the president's house. Elder Paulino is going home, and then we have the week of Christmas!  We have to plan Zone Activites for Christmas day, service projects through out the week, as well as help with a Flash Mob for the Institute and make a choir to sing at the park next to the temple.  I guess we could say that we have been super busy lately, and that we will continue to be busy until 2015!

So on Wednesday,we had the first of the two trainers capacitations.  It went really well!!  It was a lot of fun because I got to see my son, Elder Fallentine, and my grandson, Elder hansen.  They are both doing really well, working hard in their area, which is actually the neighboring area to Los Girasoles.  Any way, we were able to pull the meeting off with out a hitch, and ate really good food as well!!  It was like a late Thanksgiving dinner, so that was awesome!!  My part in the capacitation was fairly simple!  I spoke a little bit about budgeting and helped them to make an example budget plan.  I also spoke a little bit later about Preach My Gospel and how important that is, as well as gave them a little calendar to study Preach My Gospel.  Finally, I just spoke in the division that we did between the trainers and trainees about Conversion, and how important it is that we are truly converted before we try to convert someone else!!  It went really well!!

Thursday was the other capacitation, this time in Azua.  It was really great to have the opportunity to go back there and see everything that I used to see every day!!  I got to talk to my old Zone Leaders, as well as with Elder Castillo and his trainee.  They said that the area is going well, and that Alexis is getting baptized this next Saturday and so is Evelyn, two people that I taught, so that was really awesome to hear!!  Also, Mercedes, one of my converts, is getting her eyes operated on finally, so hopefully all goes well with that!!  The meeting went well.  The kids were a little bit tired because they had to travel a lot more than the people from the Capital, but it still went well!!

Friday was the Zone Leader Council.  We had everything ready, and then the president told us that he wanted a copy of our new ZL manual that we did for everybody, so I had to run home and print off 15 copies of a 46 page manual....  let's just say that that was not a short trip home.  We were able to get it all printed off, and went to the ZL Council.  It was a lot more calm in this meeting for me because I did not have much participation!!  :)  I had a half hour participation talking about the new Christmas program "El es la Dadiva", so that was super easy!!  I could have talked about God's love for us and His Son Jesus Christ for 30 years, and I only had 30 minutes, but it went well!  Then we took people to where they needed to go to go back home, and went and taught some lessons.  The lessons have been a little bit hard for me lately because the people just aren't progressing.  They might go to church fairly often, but they don't keep the commitments to read the Book of Mormon and they aren't praying for answers!  It is hard and a little bit tricky at times to try to help them along because I don't want to offend them because they are my companions family members, but I really want to help them understand that we aren't just there to be their friends and have a bible study class, but that we are there to help them change their lives!!  Hopefully all of that will start to pick up soon after the transfer finishes!!

Elder Peña is doing great, we are having lots of fun!  We are both just trying to get accustomed to the office life and trying to find what we can do to improve the things that might not be functioning the way that they should be here in the office!!  We have some big plans for when the transfer comes, one of which includes the idea to only work in the office in the morning and try to be out teaching in the afternoon!!

Dad, congratulations for applying for the new job!!  I know that it is hard, but things happen for a reason, and we need to put our best foot forward.  It is never easy to change something that has been done for so long in a certain way, but there is always room for improvement!!  That is something that I learn more and more every day here in the office.  Some of the things that we do here have been done in the SAME way for YEARS!!  If something doesn't work, we have to find a way to make it better.  If we are not progressing, we need to find a way to progress!!  I love you so much and I wish you the best of luck in the new job hunt!!  I LOVE YOU!!

Family, I love you all so much!!  I hope you have a wonderful week, and I can't wait to talk on Christmas!!  Love you!!


Elder Garrett McEwan

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Word from Elder y Hermana Clawson . . .

I sent a message to mission office couple, Elder and Sister Clawson, thanking them for taking care of and teaching Elder McEwan as well as to check on the Christmas packages that we shipped on Friday, November 28 for Elder McEwan and his companion. The tracking information said they were delivered and signed for at the mission office by Ramona and it's only been 4 days!!

I wanted to share the sweet message I received from Elder y Hermana Clawson:

December 3, 2014

Dear Sister McEwan,

Thank you for your kind words, but, we’re sure that the learning part is coming from President Nuckols and not us. It is very possible that his packages are here.  We mostly deal with the packages that come through the local post office. Usually, one of the elders or Ramona, (who cleans the office ) will sign for packages which come directly to the mission office.  If one of the office elders receive a package, it is given directly to him or placed in his area.  Right now, Elder McEwan and his companion are with the President and his wife in a training session with some missionaries and then they will take some elders to the doctor.  We can check with him If we are here when he returns.

Elder McEwan is a fine, young elder.  We are amazed at his maturity and business mind.  He is one of two elders that we have seen who have exhibited these qualities in the 18 months that we have been here.  You have done an excellent job with him.   As he continues to be faithful in his service to the Lord, he will one day become a strong leader in which others will look to for guidance.  We love and appreciate him.  Elder y Hermana Clawson

p.s. Your son returned and he has received the packages. He has not opened any of them J.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Christmas Initiative . . . "He is the Gift" . . .

November 29, 2014

Dear Family,

It has been a really busy week this week, with some new fun things!!  This week we were able to call 2 new missionaries to be in the office!  We know have Élder Peña and Élder Girón here in the office, with Peña as my new comp.  He is from Beliz, and he is also from my group in the CCM.  We were there together and always wanted to be comps, and now we are.  It should be fun.  We both just like to work, so I think that we are going to get along really well! 

This week we have been working hard with the Christmas initiative!  We are doing our best to complete with the goal of making at least 10 contacts with the cards!  We went out, and as the assistants we have the huge blessing of having cell phones with the internet on them.  We took advantage and showed the video of "He is the Gift" to anyone who would be willing to watch it!!  It was a great experience to all of us, as we were able to contact some complete families!!  That was the biggest advantage that we had, because the message of Christmas is most appealing to a family, so it was really nice!

We have also officially started with the next transfers, what with trying to get everything ready and help the president with everything that he needs!! It is a lot of work, but it is really worth it to see how many people that we can help!!  I love this opportunity that I have to serve in this position!

We also were able to help a man in our ward move!  We had to make a bunch of trips in the truck, but it was fun!!  He gave us lots of advice for after the mission, as well as for marriage!  It was good to see his point of view of it, because he has been home for about 2 years now and has been married to his wife for like a year now.  It was fun, he is a good guy, and he is also the son of one of the counselors in the mission!!  It is a little sad that he is not going to be in our ward now, but he will do fine!!

Lately we have been working a lot with all of the people on the Book of Mormon.  We want all of them to know about it and o have very strong testimonies!!  It is a little funny because sometimes they do not understand the difference between reading and studying!!  A lot of the people read, and they just open the Book to where ever they feel like and just read one verse and close it!!  Others just read the same part over and over and over again to try to memorize it!!  Others try to look for the questions that we could possible ask in the lesson to try to have all of the answers!!  It is a testimony to me that we need to really be fully committed to the daily study of the scriptures, and actually studying them!!  The Book of Mormon is a story, and like all stories it needs to be read in order to be able to be understood completely!!  It also needs to be read often to be able to have it fresh on our minds!!  It needs to be marked and written in to help us to have the knowledge that we acquire on hand at all times!!  I never really understood the ability that the Book of Mormon has to convert people!!  It really is the difference maker, and if we want to convert ourselves even more, we need to read the Book of Mormon!!

So all of the investigators are doing well, just trying to help all of them to progress!!

The fun different thing that we were able to do this week was that we had Thanksgiving with the President, His Wife, and the Carters.  They are a couple that are friends with the Nuckols, and came to visit them for Thanksgiving!  So on Thursday, we worked until noon, and then we went to the president's house.  We sat down and began to eat!!!  It was turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, salad, and rolls!!  We also had pie!!  It was just an overall amazing day!  Then that night I went out on an intercambio with Elder Jensen because his comp, Elder Jardon, was feeling a little bit sick!!  It was a lot of fun to just get out there and work!! We taught some lessons, and it was really good!  One lesson was a little bit difficult though...  the woman told us that she didn't believe in the Book of Mormon at all.  She was very rude and disrespectful, and the thing that made me the most sad was when I shared my testimony and her and her daughter just laughed in our faces about it.  I was not very happy about that, so I pulled out the Book of Mormon to 2 Nephi 29 and read to them what it says about the bible.  Then I had them look up in their own bible John 20:30, and had them read it!!  It was super funny because they said that the bible has everything, so then to read a verse in the bible saying that it doesn't have everything was super funny!!!  Hopefully it was enough of a wake up call to help them to keep giving the Book of Mormon a chance!!

Well, that was the week!!  Everything is well here!!  I love you all so much!!


Elder Garrett McEwan :)

P.S. Also, if you send me a package for christmas, can you send me an Anatomy and Physiology book in both english and spanish?  That would be a great help, and the President has given me permission for that to help me with my spanish.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Strong Testimony of the Book of Mormon is Key . . .

November 22, 2014

Dear Family,

I just want to start off by telling Parker Happy Birthday on the 20th of this month!!  I can not believe that you are 17 now...?!  What?!  17 years old...  it seems like just yesterday that I was 17!  Time really does fly!!  I hope you had a great birthday little brother!!

It is always so great to here about your experiences through out the week!  Sounds like you all have a pretty good routine going on!!  It is always nice to hear that all is well back home, and that you are all enjoying life.  Keep up the good work!!

So I have been great, super busy, but really great!!  Elder Paulino is doing well as well, just trying to finish up all of the last preparations before he goes home.  We are needing to train his replacement starting next week, which will be crazy because I have about a month here in the office, but it should be fun!!  We just recently finished up a couple of Manuals to hopefully help the Zone Leaders to complete all of their duties.  We also made a manual for the Assistants so that they would know exactly what their duties and responsibilities are as APs, and that hopefully the week of the transfers can just be a stress free time where everything goes as planed!!  Obviously there will always be unknown circumstances, but at least we can always try to be over prepared and do everything in our power to make sure things go off with out a hitch!! The people are all doing well, just having a hard time with the baptismal dates...  All of the people are hard core life long Catholics, so we don't want to force anything on them!!  It is a challenge, but hopefully the people will come out of it even stronger than they were before!! 

We are going to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, on Wednesday we will be having a Thanksgiving Feast with the district, then on Thursday the president and his wife have invited us to their house to eat!!  I am very excited...  It has been a long time since I have eaten traditional American holiday food! 

So this week has been full of work!!  We are about to enter in to one of the busiest times of the year for the mission...  We have a Trainer/Trainee meeting on the 3rd of December, another one on the 4th, the Zone Leader Council on the 5th, Christmas Conferences the 8th and 9th, an activity of 6 zones (Half the Mission) on the 12th at the President's house, and then the 13th through the 16th will be the transfers, all with trying to train a new assistant and a new office elder as well!!  We are going to be so busy, so this week I spent the whole time trying to get everything finished that I could, so that I could have all of it out of the way.  I do not want to have to be doing things in the spur of the moment, especially because I am still here learning new things about being in the office as well!!  I have just been working on all of the Agendas and Logistics for those meetings....  Just trying to stay ahead of the game!!

Also this week we had a huge new batch of sick missionaries... all with the same thing!!  There is a little virus that is going around that is attacking the lungs of the missionaries.  It has affects similar to those of asthma:  It makes your chest feel tight, you feel short of breath, and you feel like your throat is swelling and closing off!  We are trying to get all of the missionaries informed of how to treat and prevent this sickness!

So as far as the teaching goes, we are spending a lot of time on the Book of Mormon with the people.  We really want them to have good strong testimonies of the Book of Mormon because if they know that the Book of Mormon is true, they will never waver in knowing that this is the one and only true church!!  We have been working really hard lately with Paulino's grandma and cousin, and they are finally starting to get it!!  It has become a pleasure for them to read the Book of Mormon, and they are loving it!  They have even been reading and marking.  We asked them some questions about what they told us that they had read, and they had basically memorized what they had read, all of the ideas and key concepts and such!!  It was a great experience to see that!!

We also are teaching the Rosado Family.  They are some what progressing, with their 11 year old daughter progressing more than anyone else!!  She memorizes, literally memorizes word for word everything that we leave for her to read!!  She loves everything about the church, and now we just need to keep her mom and dad up to speed with things and help them to develop their own personal testimony of these things!!  We are currently speaking about the Restoration, and they really liked the part of the prophets and how important prophets are.  They said it was really comforting to know that we have a prophet on the earth today who talks to God and knows His will!  They are a great little family, hopefully they will start to come to church more often!!

Today, P-Day, I went to San Jose de Ocoa for the first time!!  Elder Paulino had served there when he first started the mission, and wanted to go visit!! It was also very convenient for me because I needed to pick up some things that I had a man out their make!!  It was a good trip, a little bit long, but a lot of fun!!

Tonight in the night we are also going to have two sessions of stake conference, an adult session and then a priesthood session.  It will be m first stake conference since like march, so that will be good.  This stake seems to working pretty well, even though the attendance of our ward is a little bit low.  We are working hard, and we are going to start planning a little bit better so that we don't just have to be the Assistants, but we can be missionaries and teach as well!!

Miscellaneous items for the week....  Something funny that happened or any cool experiences....  Not really anything?  Hmmm...  I guess one thing that was kind of funny was that one night, I was so tired that I almost got in the back seat of the car, when I was the one who was supposed to be driving!!  It was like midnight, and I had been up since 5, running on about 3 hours of sleep and I was just dead.  It was basically like just lining up under the wrong player when playing QB, instead of being under the center, I was under the guard.  So close, yet so far!!  I even went so far as to open the back door and put my foot up in!!  The only reason that I even knew that I had messed up was when I didn't have to adjust my body around the steering wheel... super embarrassing!!

The final cool thing of the week is that we received a bunch of new little cards to make contacts with, but these ones are different!!  They were designed in a world wide missionary effort by the First Presidency of the Church, and are for ALL members!  It is called "El es la Dadiva"... not really sure what they are calling it in English.  All I know is that we are trying to invite everyone to know, accept, and share the love of Christ, with the focus being on the immense love of God in sharing His Only Begotten with us!!  The project centers on the scripture of John 3:16.  As missionaries, we have been given the challenge to make 10 contacts a day using these cards for 28 days.  By the end of the time period, that will be 280 contacts for the month for every companionship...  resulting in 34,000 contacts for the mission!!  Right now we are doing about 7,000 contacts in a week, so this would be a huge change!!  We can do it, it just takes a little bit of extra effort!!

I just want to finish by sharing a small part of my testimony, that I know that this church is the church of Christ.  I know with out a doubt that He loves me, and that He does everything that is possible to help me change my life!  I know that He wants me to be happy, and that all of us can be happy.  I know that if we follow His commandments, He will show us the way.

I love you all and I hope that you have a great week!!

Elder Garrett McEwan

P.S.:  Please send pictures of just like basic things i.e. the house, the yard, the cars, you guys, etc.!!  ¡Gracias!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Lord's House is a House of Order . . .

November 15, 2014

Dear Family,

Wow, things seem like they are going super well for all of you back home!!  Sounds like life is just treating you all great, and that you are all having a great time with all of the school, dating, work, and activities that you are all doing!!  I can not believe how fast the time is flying by!!  It just seems like we were at this point LAST year, and another year has already come and is on the way out!!  Pretty crazy, but it is the reality!! 

Any way, sorry that this email is coming in the night time...  The thing is that there is just always so much to do!!  I still have not had an actual PDAY here in my time in the office!!  The only PDAY thing that we do is email, but we work like a normal day!!  It is definitely interesting, and something that we are going to work on because I have a very firm testimony that PDAY is a needed part of the week!!  So we are going to be better about that!

So this week we had the special visit of the President's daughter in law and grandson.  She is from Germany, and speaks English and German, but no Spanish.  We didn't really see them a whole lot, but it was cool to at least meet them.  I had no idea that the mission president's family could visit him while he is serving, so that was an eye opener.

This week we have also been working super hard on a couple of things to help make the mission better.  The first thing is the part that Paulino is in charge of, which is the Zone Leader Binder.  It is a binder full of the things that a zone leader needs to do to fulfill his calling.  It talks all about the meetings that he needs to attend, the meetings that he needs to have in his zone, activity ideas, etc.  It should hopefully help us out a lot to be able to strengthen our zone leaders and strengthen our mission!!  The next part is the part that I am in charge of, which is the Assistant's Binder.  It is full of everything that we need to do to be good assistants to the president.  It talks a lot about the transfers, and I am outlining and organizing all of that stuff about the transfers so that everything can just go perfectly and that we won't have any problems in the transfers.  We are almost finished, so that will be nice to have that out of the way!!

Also, we had an interesting experience this week...  The assistants from a mission in Argentina wrote a letter to the president, directed to us, asking us what we are doing to have such great success in our mission.  They said that they heard of the success of our mission, and want that same type of success in their mission.  It was really amazing to know that the missionaries here in the Santo Domingo West Mission are making such a big impact.  It made me super proud to be a part of this mission. 

So the teaching has been going about the same as usual...  We are trying to teach who we have, and help them to progress.  Right now we have a new person named Amelia who is really cool.  She is 19 years old and is just finishing up high school.  She works a ton, so we have to meet with her at like 8:30 at night, but she accepted a baptismal date.  She told us that she prayed about what we have been teaching her, and that she has never felt the way that she felt in that moment.  It was amazing to listen to her say that, because in the lessons up to that point she had seemed pretty disinterested in the message.  But, after she received this little answer, everything gave a 180 degree turn!!  I am hoping that she goes to church tomorrow so that she will be able to reach her goal of baptism and have a true conversion.

I also was finally able to get my hair cut today...  And I finally found a place that does it nicely!!  I was so happy!!  It costs more money, the guy took about 45 minutes to do it, but it is so worth it!!  He legitimately cut my hair, with scissors and everything!!  It was very refreshing, and I am very happy with how I look!!  About time that I find someone who can cut "Pelo Bueno"  ;)

Well, so that was basically my week!!  Hopefully in the upcoming week we can have a little bit more to share that will be a little bit more interesting!!  The office life is a different kind of life, but I am going to try to change that because I miss being out there working and teaching all day!!

I love you all so much!!  Have a great week!!

Elder Garrett McEwan  :)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Mormons Need Another Taxi . . .

November 8, 2014

Dear Family,

It is so nice to hear from all of you!!  I am so glad that you are all having such a great time in life, that things are going well with school and work and all of that!!  It seems like things are going well back home!!

Elder McEwan and Hermana Kjersten Collins
(from Salem) ~ What a small world we live in!
Speaking of home, I just had an experience with how small the world really is!!  I went to the CCM today to buy some things for missionaries at the temple store.  I was just talking with Paulino, and I just hear someone say hi to us.  I turn around, and it was Kjiersten Collins!  What the!  I had heard that she had been called here, to the East mission, but I hadn't heard anything about it other than that!!  Let's just say that it was a huge surprise to see her!!  We took some pictures and then headed out!!  Great surprise!

So this week was super busy and stressful, just because of the transfers.  Up until today, I had slept a grand total of 8 or 9 hours this week.  On Monday, we finished up all of the final planning and stuff like that, and then got ready for all of the stuff on Tuesday.  All of the missionaries who are training, as well as those who were going home, came to sleep in the office, just so that we could all be ready to go on Tuesday.  Anyway, Tuesday was a super busy day!!  I was in charge of all of the transportation for the people coming, and then going back to their areas!!  It was a big responsability, but it was good.  I think I called the taxi company probably thirty times, and the people were probably tired of hearing that the Mormons needed another taxi, but all went well!!  I also was able to have a part in the capacitation of the new missionaries and trainers, as the translator for Sister Nuckols, my companions, and then for myself!!  It was super funny, because I would say something in spanish, then I would have to translate it into english for myself!!  It was a good experience though, and it seems like we have a really good group of kids!!  After all of that was over and all of the people had gone back to their areas, we cleaned the church and set off for the CCM, to be with the people who were going home!!  We ate pizza, then while they had a testimony meeting, Elder Van Katwyk (from the office) and I played ping pong.  We stayed up pretty late, and then finally went to bed!! 

Wednesday was an early day. We started to take people to the airport, and that was definately an interesting experience.  All of the people were just in shock, and didn't really know what was going on!!  They were all pretty happy though, so it was good to see that!!
A surprise note from the Hermanas thanking us for taking them
to the doctors

Thursday was just a normal day, but we were having to plan tons of things, because we had the monthly leadership conference on Friday.  We got all of that planned, and then Friday we did the actual conference!!  It was cool and a lot of fun to see all of my friends from my group who are leaders in the mission!!  It all went well, and then we went home.  Over all it was a stressful week,  but I learned lots and it was lots of fun!!  :)

So my comps name is Elder Paulino, he is a dominican who is going home in December.  There are lots of things to do in the mission, lots of things to try and fix so that they can work better, but overall everything is going great!! 

Love you all!!
Elder Garrett McEwan  :)

p.s. Thank you for the recipes mom. They are much appreciated!

Monday, November 3, 2014

The "Moving Crew"

What a great time we had doing service for a family as they needed help moving

The "Moving Crew"

Carried a couch up the stairs. This is my war wound

Pizza for the "Movers"

Blessings Come in Different Ways to Each of Us . . .

The Bottomfields -- They are a senior couple that finished their mission in New York and came to visit the temple
in the Dominican Republic. The other Elders contacted them, brought them to the office, and they took us all
out to eat in Wendy's, for free!!! So amazing!! They are a blessing to us!

Elder McEwan, Elder Paulino, and Brother Bottomfield
Wendy's all decorated for Halloween

Surprise selfie with Sister Bottomfield :)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Learning More Each Day . . .

November 1, 2014

Dear Family,

I am not going to lie, it is really late here, and I am not super full of animo to be typing a huge message, so this one is just going to be really quick!!! Glad you are all making caramel apples. Haha a tradition that I helped start, and now it continues on as a living memory of my legacy  ;)

We live in the office... literally.  The office is upstairs and I live downstairs!!  We are never in the house, but it is cool!!  :) Right now there are seven of us in the house, but one is going home on tuesday.  There are the two APs, the two office elders, and two others!
Hermana Melgar, who goes home on Tuesday

So this week we have been working hard with the transfer stuff a lot this week!!  We finally finished, and all of the people now know where they are going and who their new comps will be!!  I used to always think that that was just something that was easy to do, but it is definitely not!!  It is tough, but a lot of fun, and has taught me a lot.  I feel like the Lord gave me this calling to be able to learn how to manage my time in difficult situations, to help me with my future profession!!  :)
Elder McEwan, Elder Paulino, Brandy, Brandol, Elder Polanco

Today we had two baptisms, of two investigators named Brandol and Brandy.  They are the cousins of my companion, and it was a great experience!!  They both shared their testimonies, and Brandy, the younger brother, even testified of the words of his brother, like we always do as missionaries, so that was great to see!!

We also were able to have a good time today at a medical service project with the ward!!  We had 5 different doctors here and we were able to help give evaluations and things like that, as well as give out medicine and prescriptions.  It was a really good time!!

I FINALLY got a new nametag! Because the last part is worn off,
I was just a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ
for about 6 months.
Things here are going great!  I am learning lots, and having lots of fun!!  There is a lot of pressure, but I always say that you find out what kind of person you are when you are under pressure.... And after all, we all know that I "was never a practice player".  The pressure brings out the best of the best, and I am hoping that I can continue to grow and change and become better!!

I love you all!!

Elder Garrett McEwan

p.s. I am also getting my own membership to a grocery store here called price smart, which is almost like cost co!!  It even has the kirkland brand!!  How great is that?!  :)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Week in the Life of the Santo Domingo West Assistants to the President

October 25, 2014

Dear Family,

It is so great to hear that everything is going well with all of you back home!!  I am glad that work, school, and all of the extra stuff is going so well!!

So things here as one of the Assistants are really different than I thought that they would be!  I am going to start from the very beginning, just to kind of give you guys an idea of what I mean!!

So on Monday night, I went and said goodbye to a couple of people, including Mercedes and her grand daughters!!  That was really hard, and those good byes are the hardest part about transfers, especially about transfers that are so unexpected as this one was!!  It was a good moment though, and we all had a good time!

On Tuesday morning I woke up early and finished up all of my packing, then went to the bus stop to buy my ticket.  I called the current assistants, told them what time I was going to be there, and then gave the phone to Elder Castillo.  Yupp, that is right, traveling alone to the capital with out any way of communication... yikes.  So I got to the capital at about 8:45, and just started to wait... and wait and wait and wait.  Turns out that I was waiting, and they other missionaries were looking to find me, and they didn't see me or something because they came and picked me up about two hours later!!  It was funny because you always here stories like that from back in the day, but it was a little funny that it was happening to me!!  Any way, they finally came and picked me up, and we went to the office.  On the way there, they were telling me about the weekly devotional that they do with the president, that was where we were going, that we would be there in 5 minutes, and that SURPRISE!!!  I was going to be in charge of the message to share!!  Welcome to the Office!!  Haha but so any way, I only had time to drop my stuff off at the office, and then we went to the meeting!  It was fun, and the president's wife even made chocolate chip banana bread!  We talked all about the whole mission, weekly numbers, and all of that good stuff!!  It was a really eye opening experience to get to learn just how much goes on behind the scenes in the mission!  After that we went out and grabbed some food, and then started the day!!  We were just running all over the place, buying medicine, paying bills, talking to doctors, and do all of that kind of stuff!  We went to give a sister missionary a blessing, and also called all of the sick people in the mission to check up on all of them!!  It was a little bit funny because before we left, they just tossed me the keys and told me that I was driving!!  Ok, so I did it, and it was super fun!  The truck is a Toyota Hilux, and it is white and super nice!  Then while we were in the car, Elder Polanco, the person who's spot I am taking, called someone, told me who it was, and then told me to talk to them about their problem...  On the very first day!!  

We are in charge of all of the sick people, so he was just getting me used to it or something?  It was fine though.  Then in the night we went out and taught a little bit.  We taught two you who are getting baptized next Saturday, and that was really fun.   Then we taught an older couple about the Plan of Salvation, and they were semi receptive.  The cool thing is that Elder Paulino, my companion, is related to both of the people that we visited, the first two being his cousins and the other two being his grandma and grandpa.

On Wednesday morning we gave a Conference of trainers and trainees.  We went back to San Geronimo, and it was a lot of fun.  I had to speak a little bit about finances in the mission, as well as translate a health presentation for Hermana Nuckols, who is still learning spanish.  Then, we broke up and I went with the American Trainees, and we just had a really good session.  We kind of just let them let everything out, everything that was hard and all of that stuff, and then I got to teach them about testimonies and conversion.  It was a lot of fun, and took me right back to when I was that age in the mission and just starting out!!

Thursday we gave the same conference to those who are training in the campo.  I was the one who directed the meeting, and it was a lot of fun because I got to go back to Azua.  We rode with the president and his wife, and we all just got to talk and ask questions.  It was a lot of fun.  Then in the night we asked a member to come teach with us to make better use of our time, and I went with Paulino to teach and Polanco went with the member.  It was cool, and I am hopefully getting to know the area a little bit now!!  It is a little bit tough because we don't have like a set route that we take every day, it kind of just depends on where we are! 

Friday was a really busy day, as we had another meeting with the president to help him witht he preparations for the upcoming transfers!  It was a lot of fun, and it was cool to finally see the mission home... It is huge!!  It is also really nice inside, and it was cool to see a home decorated in American style, with family pictures hung up on the walls and things like that!!  Then we spent the whole day driving, taking people to the doctor, trying to get phone situations figured out, and taking people back to their areas.  In the night, we helped a member man move into a different house.  It was a lot of work, but it was fun!!

So today is PDAY, but we are only getting to write to our families.  Other than that it will be a normal day because we have a zone activity on Monday, so we are changing the parts of PDAY other than writing to monday to be able to go. 

The office is a really fun place.  We are always busy, and this week has just flown by!  There is never a dull moment.  The schedule is a little bit funny....  Go to bed at 1:30 in the morning and then wake up at 5, but it is fun.  We eat on the run usually, but we eat well.  We have lots of responsibilities and lots of things to do always, but I just think that it is preparing me even more for the future.  It really has been a blast these last few days!!

Regular Pday is not on Saturday.  We are just going to be having the activity this monday, so we are just getting to write today. Gotta go, we are going to buy new appliances and celebrate the presidents wife's birthday!!  LOVE YOU! LOVE YOU! Well, I hope all is well back at home!!  I love you all so much, and I can't wait to hear from you!!

Elder Garrett McEwan

P.S:  I forgot to tell you this, but I also have my own smart phone out here as the assistant!  ;)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Another Dearest Mother Letter . . .

October 25, 2014

Dearest Mother,

Elder Polanco is going home in two weeks, and he is planning on moving to BYU to go to school and also marry a returned missionary who served in this mission, but only if he has a job.  He is a dominican, and he is really smart and knows english. 

Could you talk to Steve Buffo about the probability of him being able to get a job with Steve?  His family owns a pest control business here, and they spray all of the houses of the missionaries in the whole county, as well as all of the churches, and even the temple, so he knows what he is doing!

Thank you so much!!  He is going to visit, and would like an interview.  He is going in December like the 15th throught he 20th or something like that!!  Thank you so much!!  If he gets the job, then that is when he is going to move!!  :)

I love you and all that you do for me and everyone!


Elder Garrett McEwan

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Few "Lasts" Before Transfer . . .

"Working" with the Excavador
Elder McEwan and (darling) Future Missionary Friend

Last time with Alexis
Last day in Las Charcas
Last day with the Family
Kinsino, Yoli, Kiosbel, Jose, Kinsino's daughter
My District before transfer to Asistente

An Unexpected Surprise and "Killing the Cow" . . .

October 20, 2014

Dear Family,

Thank you so much for your email this week, it is always so great to hear how well all of you are doing and the great things that are happening in your lives!!  I can not wait to be a part of all of that soon!!

So anyway, the area and the people are doing really well!!  We are still contacting lots, and trying to find lots of new investigators that truly WANT to know more about the gospel!!  We got shut down pretty hard this week, but we are still pushing forward!!!

Bags all packed for the transfer
So the unexpected surprise....  On Saturday night, I was called as the new Asistente to the President.  My new companion will be Elder Paulino, who is finishing his mission in December.  I will be taking the place of Elder Polanco, who finishes in two weeks.  I will be going to my new area tomorrow, and I will be traveling alone.  I will receive a brief two week crash course of Asistente, and then I will be doing it all.  My role will be the person in charge of the physical health of the missionaries, as well as the trainers and trainees.  It is cool because that is what I want to do after the mission, so that is cool to be able to have this opportunity to be able to prepare a little bit for that!!  It will be a big blessing!

So this week we had a Zone Conference, and we had the Area Seventy, Elder Cornish, there to speak to us.  He is a really cool guy!!  He told us that we need to "Kill the Cow"...  And we all just kind of looked at him?  He then told us the story of a man who saw a struggling single mother and her young son, and that all they had for income was the milk they sold from their old cow.  So what did he do?  He killed the cow.  He then was walking by the same place 20 years later and saw a huge mansion.  He asked a person in the street who"s house it was, and he told him that it was the single mother, with her now grown up son!!  The man said  "I knew it"  and walked away. 

So why did he kill the cow?  It forced the people to work even harder.  It took away every excuse they had, and took away every possible source of life that they had.  So why did he do it?  It was the only way for them to be able to see and to work and achieve their potential.  SO in the Zone Conference, he killed our "Cow"  and challenged us to discover our top potential.  I challenge each of you to do the same thing, and to find out how much we can really do in this life that we have!!
I also had to give a surprise talk!!  The president stopped me in the conference during a brief break and asked me to speak, so I did!!  It was fun, and I was able to give a good semi pep talk about the work, and how we can never give up, that we need to find our true desires for the work!!  If you want to know more about it, study Mosiah 28:3!!

That is pretty much all that has been going on this week!!  I did not get your letters yet, but that will fall under my responsibilities soon as well, to collect all of the mail!!  I hope they come soon!!  Also, just so you know, I will be in the District of Altagracia again, and I will be in the area of Bella Vista, so that should be fun!!

There are opportunities for EMT courses that I would like to do before college starts in the fall so that I can have a job!! Mom, If you could look into some that would be great!! Even if you can talk to the city and see if they do any that would help me be able to get a good paying EMT job, preferrably before I have to go up to college!! Thank you so much, I love you so much!!

I have got to get going, but I love you all so much!! Thank you for your examples to me, and for all that you do!! LOVE YOU!!  Have a great week!!


Elder Garrett McEwan  :)

Monday, October 13, 2014

My Dearest Mother . . .

I absolutely love my "dearest mother" letters. They definitely bring a smile to my face (and my heart!). This one was not what I expected and made me laugh . . .

October 13, 2014

My Dearest Mother,

I am in a desperate need of chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and oreos.  If it would be possible, could you please send me recipes for these things?  I would be very grateful!!  Thank you for all that you do for me!!  I LOVE YOU!!

Love, Your Son

Elder Garrett McEwan

Contacting and Getting Fired . . .

October 13, 2014

Dear Family,

Thank you for your email this week!!  I was so happy to hear that Dylan won his game and made it to the play offs, and that Parker was able to have a good time at Homecoming!!  I’m glad you are both doing well in school. Remember, it’s super important to stay caught up on everything. Also, Mom, congrats on all of the good work at the Junior High, and I hope you had fun at your girls nights!  Dad, that must be a lot of fun being able to take days off and work in the yard!!  It is a little bit strange to say, but I miss it!!  Any way, good luck with your Halloween party this week, I hope you have a great time!!

It is crazy that Craig is going home soon, and that Tyrell is home now!!  This time is going to start flying by...  Next are sean and derek, then dakota, then me and Zac!!

It is going to be weird because Holly’s and Ronel’s baby will have like 4 or 5 months when I get home!! Hopefully she recognizes me from the cardboard me when I get home!

So anyway, this week was full of contacting and getting fired!!  It was a little bit of a tough week!!  We put lessons with people, and the next day when we went by, the people were not there!!  It was a little bit funny, and I could not help but think of Alma or the Sons of Mosiah....  Did they ever get fired in their lessons?  Just happened to be passing by a random tent in the wilderness and put a lesson, then the next day when they pass by, the tent is just gone??  How many times did they yell into a little hut, and here the words that no one was home??  What do you mean no one is home, we can see you?  Nope no one is home....  A little bit funny to think about!!

Well, as I was saying, we are in the process of trying to find new people to teach, and I have been praying and fasting hard to be able to find them!!  I thought that the answer would come as we found new INVESTIGATORS, but I was wrong...  The "New People"  that we have been finding are actually OLD people, and by old people I mean less active and inactive members.  Some of these people have YEARS with out going to church, and they have forgotten basically everything!!  It was a little sad in one lesson, because the man was talking about how "No one was ever going to take him out of his church, because he loves his church and he will never go to another one".  So, I asked him what church he was talking about...  A baptized Latter Day Saint...  And he responded "Im Catholic."  What?!?!  He continued on by saying that the missionaries in the 1990s tricked him to get baptized??  Haha I dont know how they tricked him into 3 months of church attendance, marriage with his wife, and a confirmation, but he swears that they did!!  Also found another woman that stopped going to church about 3 years ago, and guess where she goes now...?  The church literally across the street from ours!! 

However, we have found some interesting new people.  One of them is named Leonardo, a single father of 3 children.  He is very smart, and likes to read.  He read the whole pamphlet in the first visit, and he is really focused on his family.  It was really interesting to get to know him a little bit this week, and to be able to hear all of his different opinions.  He already believes lots of stuff that we believe and that we are teaching him, so that is nice!!  WE are going to focus on him really hard this week so that hopefully he will go to church!!

Next we found a young mother named Vanesa.  She is 23 and has a 4 year old, as well as a little girl on the way!  She really liked talking to us, and her husband works a lot, so that kind of sucks!!  Hopefully we can get a lesson with him as well so that we can teach their whole family!

Lastly, we found a woman named Evelyn.  She is the daughter of a member, and she is like 24 years old"!  We were just passing by to visit her mother, and her mom wasnt home.  She started asking us some questions, so I invited her to church.  She said that she couldnt go because of her job, and i told her that if she truly had faith in Christ she would at least talk to her boss to try to get the hours changed to be able to go to church... So what happens?  She does it, and goes to church yesterday!!  What a huge blessing!!  We are going to have our first actual lesson on WEdnesday with her.
Speaking of Wednesday, we have a birthday party for Milagros, the woman who threw my birthday party back in July, in the night, and the Zone Leader will be there on an Intercambio with me!!  Wish us luck!!

I love you so much too mom, I cant wait to see you again!!  I will be home before you know it!!  I have to get going now, but I love you!!

I love you all so much!!  Castillo is doing well, the area is doing well, and all of the people as well!!  I LOVE YOU ALL!!

Elder Garrett McEwan