Monday, March 31, 2014

Please Pray for US . . .

March 31, 2014

Dear Family,

Not much has been going on this week.  Trying to find people still, and it is just going a little slow.  I am not going to write a whole ton right now, because my memory card just broke, says that the formatting is not the right kind for the camera, so it isn´t working and I am a little upset about it.

This week we did the same things as usual.  Elder Sanchez is doing well, and it has not been raining a whole lot here.  That all happens here in the winter time, but other than that it is just hot and humid.

I am so glad that all of you are having the opportunities to be missionaries and things like that.  That's awesome that Dad was called to be on the High Council in a BYU Stake! There will be lots of good experiences there :).

I hope you got the birthday package that I sent you mom, I sent it over three weeks ago.  Happy Birthday, and I love you so much!!

Have you heard from Sean lately? I haven’t heard from him for a while.

Well, that is all I am going to write.  We have no progressing investigators right now, so yeah, PLease pray for us!!

I love you all,
Elder Garrett McEwan

Friday, March 28, 2014

Monday, March 24, 2014

Always a Bright Side . . . Sometimes You Just Have to Look . . .

March 24, 2014

Dear Family,

I am so glad that you are all doing so well!!  It is always nice to here about all of the amazing new things that are happening back home!  Congrats to Khristian about the mission call, that will be a way fun place for him!! That’s good that you guys get a spring break. I wish that I did J. What a waste of time for you to go to chuck-a-rama, haha, jk! I want to go there really bad! But we do get to go to Wendy’s tomorrow. We don’t really have restaurants, just all fast food!!  Everywhere makes chicken, rice, fries, and stuff like that.  Lots of like fast chinese food!!  I wish we had an actual restaurant!! I had to pay the gas this time because the latin comps just want to save their apoyo, so I had to spend 500 pesos.  THey all also want to eat less, so I have to try to find some way to suplicate it!"!! Dylan -- Send me some of your egg salad alejandro. Haha J. We make chicken, rice, fish, pork, pasta, pancakes, waffles, eggs, omeletes, all types of stuff!!! Sometimes I just want a cheese quesadilla, but tortilla shells are expensive, and so is cheese! I can’t believe that third of my mission has just ripped by!! Sometimes it is a little rough for Elder Sanchez. He is the only member in his family, and he is 26, so it is hard for him.

So this week started off not good!!  I got home from using the computer on Monday, and was not feeling good.  Fought through it and went out to teach.  Came home and went immediately to bed, and did not sleep at all!!  I had a fever of 104 degrees and was in and out of the bathroom all night, more than ten times!!  So sick to my stomach, and my entire body just ached!!  I woke up the next morning and didn´t eat.  Got ready and went to the english class and spent the whole time in the bathroom.  That was just a nightmare.  Went home from that and went to bed, not eating lunch.  They called the zone leaders and they told us to stay in the house and that when I was feeling better that we needed to go get a stomach test done at the clinic.  I still had a raging fever and was super achy, still not having eaten in a while.  SLept all day.  The next morning, wednesday, I woke up and was fine?  What the!!  They thought that I had amoebas or dengue or something, which are at the very least 3 week illnesses, and I was fine the next day?!  Super lucky!

So we had another mission activity this week, and this time it started 2 hours late, and it was a trial... The branch leaders showed up late, and then never got it going!!  It was very hard.

I also finished reading all of the books in the missionary library, when I finished Jesus the Christ and Our Legacy this week!!  I was very happy!!  Next, the standard works are the goal, and I want to read all of them before I go home!!

I also finally like cold cereal again, which I hadn´t like since way before the mission!!

The investigators...  are down to zero progressing.  Literally, there is no one to write about.  THere are the ones that I wrote about last week, but they are all in the same place...  also the church attendance is really down.  Please pray for us, that we can find people that legitimately want to listen to us, and change their lives, because I want to help these people in this area more than anything!!

On the bright side, we are going to the temple tomorrow, so I am super excited!  We have all day at the temple, then we are going to go eat at Wendy´s!  Who ever thought that Wendy´s would be such a luxury?

Well, that is all for this week!!  I love you!

Elder Garrett McEwan

Monday, March 17, 2014

Progression is the Key . . .

March 17, 2014

Dear Family, 

I am so glad that all of you have been doing so well lately!!!  Sounds like you are all staying super busy with good things!!!  That is cool that you got to go to the Schmidt´s homecoming.  They really are amazing people!!! St. Patrick’s  day is just like a normal day, except we went and bought food at the store!!

I am sorry to hear that about Chuuk...!  That is a very sad thing!!  They need to make sure that every single one of those missionaries know exactly that they are not to be climbing trees ever!!  I am very sorry to hear that elder toa passed away... I know he was a dear friend to Sean. I know what it is like to be in a different world though and you do service by helping the natives with the things they need in their world. I fell off a wall with a machete in my first area cutting vines because the wall broke!!  

Manual's Baptism on March 8, 2014
with Elder Fallentine
So this last week was a super busy week!!!  We had a Zone Conference, and learned lots!!!  We had to all prepare a talk on faith, and then the President called on people at random to give their talks!!  I did not have to speak, so that was good!!!  I got to talk to a bunch of people from my same group, and meet a lot of new people as well!!  So they fed us after the conference, and I was sitting at the end of the table. Elder Chunga invited me to sit by him, so I picked my plate up to move...  the plate broke in my hand and spilled all over the floor.  I kind of just stood there in shock, then me and Elder Chunga and Elder Paulino cleaned it up, and I got more food!! I was semi embarrassed hahahaha!!!  After the conference was one hundred percent done, we went to a place called Helado Bon, an ice cream shop similar to Cold Stone!! It was so good!!!

We are still doing our english class, and it is going well.  We have 10 students right now, with the ages ranging between 14 and 29.  They are taking it really seriously, and Elder Sanchez knows how to present himself and tell you a few basic things that he likes to do!!  We are working really hard with all of that!!

So now the investigators...  Dari is doing well.  Her and David are having a hard time, and they separated...  That made me really sad, but it was their decision.  She has accepted a baptismal date for March 29, so that will be a really fun thing!"!!  She is attending the english class, and already knows a ton of english!!  She is pretty much for sure going to be baptized march 29, she just needs to be taugh like 2 more things!!!

Beyilin.... Still waiting to finish the course, but we finished teaching all the lessons, finishing with the law of Tithing!!!  She is doing well, and hopefully will be baptized the first week of May!!!

Ariela....  This is a reference that we recieved from another zone.  She moved into our area, and has a baptismal fecha for the 29 of march as well!!  We still need to get in touch with her, but hopefully we can do that tomorrow!!

Alex and Yackeline....  This is a couple that has had a really hard time in life.  The husband, Alex, got shot a little while back.  While he was healing, his son got shot.  They both healed, but another son just got shot in the neck, and it paralyzed him.  He can not move, and so it is hard for Yackeline to leave the house.  However, Alex did come to church on sunday, so that is cool!!  The only thing is that they are moving soon, so we will be giving a really good refence to someone, not sure who yet!!

So now on to just some fun things we did...   On Saturday, I made scones and home made syrup!!  It was super easy, and turned out really well!!  The syrup was banana cream!!  We also went to a little chinese store, where everything was supposedly original, but it wasn´t!!  I bought some adidas cologne, but the label said ´´Adidoss´´.   They did not have the box to put it in, so they put it in another box that was supposedly Ralph Lauren, but it said ´´Raern Laupern´´.  SO funny!!!  I finally also bought some bitillas, the little capts that they play baseball with, and I think that we are going to be playing soon!!  We also have a ward mission activity every wednesday, so that is fun!!

Well, That has been the week!!!  Love you all!!!
Elder Garrett McEwan

P.S.  Dad, what is Nature´s Sunshine called here in the DR?  I just bought a product at the store that says ´´Vida Natural´´, but it has the logo of Nature´s Sunshine!! !!  It is just a soy product, to get more vitamins!!  I don´t want to get sick like lots of missionaries do from the lack of vitamins!!  It only cost me 165 pesos!!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Prayers & Pizza Friday . . .

March 10, 2014

Dear Family,

Congratulations to all of you on such a great week, what with the dance, the choir stuff, the championship, the work, the banquet, and everything else!ª!  Also, everyone´s rooms look super nice, so congrats on that as well!!!  I love you all, and hope that you are still doing well, and by the looks of it, staying super busy!!!

So now I will start in on the week!!  My area is super cool!!  We went to Burger King and ate as a district, which was super fun!!!!  We had a zone meeting and found out that there are 5 out of 16 missionaries in the zone are from my CCM group!!  SO that was cool to reunite with some of them for a few hours!!! Also we have a missionary activity every week in the ward, and we watch a movie, and invite investigators and less actives to come and participate!!!  I have also decided that I am going to continue the tradition of pizza friday, because I can buy a pizza for 150 pesos across the street from my house, so I am going to keep that tradition alive!!

So on Sunday, the branch president came to me and asked me to speak in sacrament meeting... just to remind you guys, sacrament meeting was going to start in like about 3 minutes and it was my second sunday in the area....But I did it, and it went really well!!  I was able to talk about the prophets, and I filled my whole time with out notes or anything!!  Everyone was dead silent, and listened so well!!!  It was a truly amazing experience!!!

SO my investigator that I left in Los Girasoles, Manuel, got baptized on Saturday!!  I asked the president if I could go, and he told me no...  So I was pretty sad!!  He really was one of my favorites to teach, and I taught him for such long time!!  Hopefully he goes to the temple in a year so that i can go with him!!

So now on to the investigators!!  Right now we have a couple but they do not come to church!!  We have Beyilin, who is what we like to call a dry member!! She is just waiting until she can get baptized!!SHe is amazing really, a 22 year old with a super strong testimony of the gospel!!  She reads in the Book of Mormon a ton!!  She is going to be baptized hopefully in April!!  We also have Dari, the lady I told you about last week!!  SHe is the haitian lady, and we are working super hard with her!!  She is amazing as well!!!

Will you all please pray for us??  We need these people to come to church, so they can feel the spirit!!  I know that this will help them!!

I love you all so much!!  Sanchez is doing well, and he is helping me a ton with spanish!!  We are going to try to start an english class, and the first class is tomorrow in the morning!!  Pray for that as well!!

Love you all!
Elder Garrett McEwan

Monday, March 3, 2014

What a Great Opportunity This Is For Me . . .

We were grateful to receive a letter from Elder McEwan this afternoon so that we would know where he had been transferred to. He didn't go to the "campos" but it sounds like he's pretty much loving where he is :).

March 3, 2014
Sunrise in Las Palmas, Altagracia -- BEAUTIFUL!!

Dear Family,

Me and Elder Sanchez at the ruins of Taino Prince's Palace.
The Tainos are the natives here and they were
exterminated by the Spanish.
Our District in Las Palmas -- Elder McEwan, Elder ?,
Elder Sanchez, Elder Pedersen
This has been a really cool week!!  I was transferred, as you guys all know, to a zone named Las Palmas, in the area of Altagracia.  I am with a Latin companion, specifically a Dominican, named Elder Sanchez!! He is a little bit older than me... he is 26!!  Super funny, but also so, so, so fun!!  I love having a comp that I have to speak spanish with all the time!!  My spanish has grown even more with this experience!!! I am in the nice part of the city now... by nice I mean that we have 24 hour light, 24 hour water, the chapel is like a 5 minute walk from the house, and the streets are clean!!  We never have to take public transportation which is really nice!!  The house is huge, with a large bedroom, my first bedroom in the mission!!  Also with a huge kitchen, so I am very happy with where I am living!!

Elder Pedersen and I are still living together!!  We got the transfer calls, and found out that we are both going to Altagracia, so that was cool!!  He is with a dominican as well, so that is really cool!!

Our ward is not a ward, it is a branch!!  The building is really nice, but is small.  THere are about 50 or 60 active members, but there are a ton of less actives here!!  There are enough less actives that if all of the less actives of this branch were active, we would be a stake!!  Crazy crazy crazy!!!

Me and my new friend at the Ruins :)
This branch does do some cool things, such as movie nights, basketball twice a week, baseball, softball, ward dinners, and ward family home evenings!!  Pretty cool, but they are really organized here in this branch!!  It is cool to work with leaders of the church that really want the work to grow, and are willing to put in the effort to do it!!
Archway in Plaza of Flags. Also a memorial for
the Unknown Soldier
There are also legitimate baseball fields here and basketball courts as well!!  All of them have lights, grass, mounds, and dug outs, and the basketball courts look like Venice Beach!!  Pretty sweet!!!  We have been invited to play a couple of times, but we have not had the chance to do so yet, but that is ok, we will find some time!!!

So now on to the investigators....  This is going to be a little bit short because I don´t know them well, but I will do my best!!

Beyilin... She is a woman of 22 years, and she is super cool!!  She keeps all of her commitments, and has gone to church a ton!!  The only thing is that her mother is in charge of paying for her education at the university, and accidently signed her up for a course that is on Sundays!!  She can´t stop going to the course or else her mom won´t pay for her education anymore!!  The course will finish in April, then she can continue going to church and will be baptized!!  She is really cool!!

There is a family named the Soto family, and they are a part member family.  The wife was baptized a long time ago, the hus 
band is a recent convert, and the one son is a recent convert.  They have a couple of teen agers that are not baptized, so that is a little rough!!  But we are working with them, and we will see how everything goes!!  Pretty cool family overall!!

So these are the progressing investigators, we have more, but we are going to wait on them until next week to see who is progressing!!

Beautiful lake we also visited on P-day

There was a Haitian lady in church today that has been going to church for more than two years, and she is not baptized.  Her name is Dari, and she is cool, but does not speak spanish very well!!  We went for the first time to teach her, and she was talking, and told us that her boyfriend is a member, but that he doesn´t go to church.  His name is David, and he is very cool!!  He recounted the entire story of his life to us, and told us that he left the church because he was ashamed of having relations with this woman without being married!!  So he tells us all this, but that he wants to go back, he wants to marry her so that she can be baptized too!  And he also wants his son of 10 years old to be baptized!!  He is looking for a job to find money to pay for a wedding, but that has been rough for him!!  We kept talking, and he tells me that he is going to show me a picture of HIS MISSIONARY.....  He brings the picture out and tells me it was a sister missionary that he loved more than anything, and that she changed his life in the most spectacular way!!  He said that he lost her number to call her, and he cried for 3 days while he looked for it and never found it!!  He hands me the picture.... and it is SHANTELLE FICKLIN!!!  Wow!!  He was so happy that I knew her!!  He gave me his number to give to her, and asked her if she could call him!! He was ecstatic!!  So crazy to see that this could come full circle, and that what she started, I could complete with the baptism of his family!!!

WEll, that was the week!!  I love you all so much!!

Elder Garrett McEwan  :)