Monday, April 28, 2014

"One By One" . . .

April 28, 2014

Dear Family,

It was so great to hear from all of you this week!!  The rocks are looking amazing, and the yard too!! Congrats on the new car!!  You guys are very lucky to have that!!  Definately something that I miss!!  We walk lots here, but we get to appreciate lots of beautiful scenery!!  Also, Mitch and Clay look great, just like the missionaries that they are!!  So proud of them and everything that they have done!!

So on Wednesday, we went to Chili's to get some food for Elder Pedersen's birthday!!  They charged us an arm and a leg, but it was definately worth it!!  It was really good, and we got to just enjoy a good American Lunch!!

Thursday we had a zone conference, and it is most likely the last one that we will have with President Rodriguez.  Because of their housing situation, they need to leave to go live there this next week...  In CANADA!!  Not quite sure why they chose Canada, but that will be tons of fun for them!!  I got the Easter Package, we colored eggs, and made a cake for Pedersen's birthday!!  Also, we put up balloons, and I got him a basketball!!  FUN DAY!!!

Elder Pedersen's Birthday "Party"
Everything is going great as usual in the mission!!  Just loving the work, and really trying to consecrate myself to that!!!  We have been working really hard lately, knowing that the Lord is going to bless us one day!!!  We recently decided that we were going to find all of the members in our half of the area, and so we set out with the list and are going street by street, alley by alley, looking for these people!!!  We have taken on the challenge that is given in the Book of Mormon, going "one by one" to rescue the lost sheep!!  It has been a crazy adventure, and I am sure that people think that we are from the CIA.  I am not going to lie...  I sometimes lean my head over to the side and whisper something into my shoulder, but my hand to my ear like I am listening to something, and click my pen when we walk past a group of people!!!  We were talking with Erika, and investigator that we have had for a while, and she is really nice!!  But anyway she was joking around that people see to Americans walking around and think we are from the CIA, and I said that we were!!  She said she didn't believe me....  Challenge Accepted!!  Finished the lesson, prayed, and got up to leave!!  Walked out the door, and I just held my pen up over my shoulder, popped the top off, dropped it in the middle of her front room, and took off running!!  My comp got the joke and took off too!!  She freaked out and jumped behind the couch!! Came back in, dying laughing, and it was just a good old time!!!  Hopefully we can just get her to church now, and she can start to progress more!!

Love my Easter basket!
So now on to the others, starting with Darline.  This is a situation that just kills my heart.  She does not have the means to move out of her exboyfriend's house, and so she sleeps on the floor to keep the law of chastity.  She comes to church every week, and now has 8 times consecutive in church!!  She is truly amazing!!  She is working so hard!!!  It is awesome to see her progression, and I have truly felt the spirit manifest itself in our lessons!!  She is also teaching me French, so hopefully by the time I go home I will have that as well!!  

Next we have Yackeline!!  She asked us a really profound question this week, about how she could REALLY get an answer!!  She told us that she is a person that wants to know, and so we talked a ton about prayer and the spirit!!  She has been praying very hard, and hopefully we will be able to help guide her down the path!!

The mission really is the most fulfilling part of my life that I have lived.  The level of my conversion to this gospel has grown at an amazing rate!  The Lord didn't need me personally;  there would be others.  But I was the one that needed the Lord.  I was the one that needed the help, the change, the opportunity to help others have the joy that I feel!!!

I love you all so much, and just want to let you know that I know that the gospel is true!!

Elder Garrett McEwan  :)

Monday, April 21, 2014

I Love This Church . . .

April 21, 2014

Dear Family,

One of "our" beautiful flowers in the DR
Wow, the flower bed looks really nice, as well as Easter stuff and all of the pictures that you sent me!!  I am so glad that you were able to enjoy all of the festivities, as well as remember our Savior Jesus Christ!!!

I am not going to lie, this last week made me so happy to be a part of the one and only true church of Christ!!!  The Semana Santa is a holiday that is observed by the Catholic church and has been instituted as a national holiday in the majority of Latin American countries!!  But it is like spring break here, and everyone is off from school, EVERY SINGLE store closes, and then every one goes to the campo, the country side where they are from!  In essence, no one is home, so it was definately very hard this week!! WE were doing everything that we could possible think of to stay busy!!

P-day lunch with all the "brothers"
Well, right now our only progressing investigator is Darline, and she is doing wonderful!!  We have decided to really put the emphasis on her, and get her super prepared for her baptism on May 17!!  She is reading in the folletos, and then she circles the words that she doesn´t understand, and we come and teach it to her!!  ALso, we have been reading everything with her to help her understand, and she retains it really well!!  ONe time this week, something super cool happened, and she was trying to explain to us what she learned, and she couldn´t think of a word in spanish!!  She was struggling, so I told her to just say it in Creole, or French, or which ever.  She said the word in french, but in my mind it just sounded EXACTLY like english!!  It was the word for "disobey", talking about Adam and Eve!!  SO cool!!  She is doing amazing!!

P-day in Payless!
So that is about the most memorable experience from this last week, except that this last week was the first time that I have been denied entrance some where because of my Religion!!  We wanted to go into a big residencial area to contact on Friday, and the guard stopped us.  He asked us what we were doing, and we told him all about the mission and our purpose, and then he tells us that this residencial area is Catholic, and that we can´t go in during the Semana Santa!!  He told us to come back on TUESDAY! Wow, it was crazy, but we will be back there tomorrow!!

Elder McEwan and a statue at the restaurant
we went to for lunch
We are also going to have another Zone Conference of Wednesday of this week, because the president is going home in 2 weeks!!  We will be getting a new president shorly!!  Also, we will be going to Chili´s on Thursday for Elder Pedersen´s birthday!!

Today was fun, we played some basketball, and finally me and Pedersen were on the same team!!  We wrecked, and then went home and showered!!  Went to a buffet that was like a chinese buffet, and it was amazing!!  I ate 8 plates and 2 bowls of ice cream!!  Went home, took a nap, and here we are!!  Also, last night we had a fun night, we pulled the mattresses out in the front room and watched two movies, Fireproof and Courageous, both by the same director who did Facing the Giants!!  They were seriously amazing, even better than Facing the Giants!!  Both talk a ton about the family!!

Well, that was the week!!  Love you all!!

Elder Garrett McEwan  :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Come Back in an Hour . . .

This letter must have gotten lost in the mail because it was written in February but arrived in April. Of course, it did have to travel halfway around the world to get to us :).

February 16, 2014

Thank you so much for the Valentine's Day card. It made me so happy to see it! It is just sitting on my desk right now, just like how we used to put cards on the fireplace at home.

So things in the mission are going really well! Lessons are still a little hard to come by because the investigators we have seem to think that we are only teaching specifically them! We go to an appointment and the people always ask if we can come back in an hour! That is super hard, because EVERYONE wants us to come back in an hour! It is a little frustrating, but we do what we can with it.

Elder Fallentine is doing really well out here. He is working really hard and has recently kicked up his Spanish study. He is a really fun companion to have and really works very hard!

I hope that work is still going well and that you are still enjoying the snow in Utah! I love you all so much!

Elder Garrett McEwan :)

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Great Week . . .

What a difference a week can make! Just goes to show that everyone has trials, even MISSIONARIES :). We sure love Elder Garrett McEwan and are so proud of him and the things he is learning from his mission, his companions, and the people of the Dominican Republic!

April 14, 2014

Dear Family,

Sounds like you are all doing so great!!  I love reading all about what you guys are up to back home, working hard in the church, school, work, etc.  I love hearing aobut your cool spiritual experiences and things like that as well!!  I must say, you guys have gotten really craftsy while I have been out here with the rooms, the cortinas, and the jardín.  It all looks really nice!!

View of the new area ~ Los Palmas

So on Tuesday, I went to the church in San Geronimo to get my new companion.  They told me that his name was Elder WATSON, so I got to the church, was just talking to everyone, said hi to some people and started looking for my comp.  I hear a voice behind me saying,  "Elder, there is your comp."  I turn around, and my comp is standing there... Elder WASSUM.  Haha I had just barely said hi to him and didn´t even know he was my comp because they told me the wrong name!!

Elder Wassum is from Wyoming, and he has 7 months in the mission.  He is from the group right after me, so that was cool to see someone with about the same time as me.  He is 19, and really likes playing soccer, was all state first team in Wyoming.  He likes to write, and wants to be an author and coach when he finishes the mission.  He has his own fiction book that he is writing.

Pizza Place for our Friday Pizza Night :)
But anyway, we hit the ground running this week, and turned it into the best week that I have had in this area.  We taught more people, we did more fun stuff...  It was a great refresher!!!  We had a Zone Meeting on Friday as well, and I got a letter from Mom, Dylan, and finally some correspondance from Sean!!  He sent me a little arrowhead thing, which I tied to my scripture case!!!  Thank you all for writing me letters, it is such a nice surprise to get a letter in the mail at a zone meeting!!

Now on to the investigators.

Dari....  She now has a baptismal fecha of May 16.  We want to take it really slow with her.  She wants to get baptized ASAP, but we want to make sure that she is understanding us perfectly, because there is a little bit of a language barrier between the Spanish and the Creole.  But we are working hard with that, and she is understanding more and more each day!!

Beyilin....  That was a little hard this week.  All of the missionaries who have been through this area have said that she is a such a sure person, and that she was going to get baptized like it was nothing.  She had one of those roaming fechas, meaning that once she finished her course in school, she was just going to get baptized straight up.  We were reading with her and I just felt prompted to ask her about how she felt about baptism.  She told us that she knows that it is something that is needed to go to heaven.  Then I asked her how she felt about HER personal baptism that she is working towards, and she said that she didn´t know.  We just went back to square one, trying to build a testimony for her.  Lots of people here have this problem, they get baptized with out their own personal testimony.  We want to avoid that and build converts, not baptisms.  So we are working hard with her, and she is doing great!!

Esmeralda and Yasmín....  We were not able to meet with them much this week, they cancelled us like 3 days, so hopefully next week we can meet with them a little more often!!

Dolores....  She is a less active that we just reactivated!!  She now has 5 times consecutive in church, as well as going to all 4 sessions of conference!!  She reads usually 3 chapters in the Book Of Mormon since we started reading it with her, and we are reactivating her mother, who is like 70 years old!!  She is about to finish 1 Nephi!!

Angelica....  We started teaching her again.  Went by her house to let my new comp meet their family, and she told us that she wants to learn!!  I have read all her old teaching records, and she has been investigating for 4 years!!  I asked her bluntly why she investigates and nothing happens, and she told me that it is because she felt pressured in the past by the missionaries!! So we are just going to go really slow with her, and not force anything, just let her come unto Christ!!!

We also had our ward mission activity, a little rough as usual because none of the leaders showed up, and they are the ones in charge!!  It says ward MISSION activities, but we are just supposed to go and support, and we have no responsibility.  But it was ok!!

We also have made the goal to work with the members as much as possible, so we have put some citas with the people in the ward, and asked them to invite non member friends!!  Hopefully this works!!

I love you guys so much!!  Keep being awesome!!

Elder Garrett McEwan

Friday, April 11, 2014

Be Humble Because You WANT to Be . . .

March 28, 2014

How are you guys all doing? How has life been treating all?! I hope that you all are doing amazing, enjoying school and work and whatever else you might find yourselves doing!!

So things out here in the mission field are still going well. We still are having a hard time with investigators, mostly just because no one comes to church! It is just a very different area. I think the main reason the people don't come to church is because they feel like they don't NEED church. They all have their nicer houses, cars, motorcycles . . . They are very fortunate. They just are kind of in the phase of feeling like they have everything they need. It feels a little bit like the Book of Mormon, when Alma is preaching to the Zoramites. The Zoramites had everything they needed, and felt strong in their own abilities. Only the poor, the people who needed to change something, came and listened to Alma. Alma says that he "sees that they are meek of heart, and if that is true, thou art blessed." What the people in the Book of Mormon who didn't look for the word of God, and a lot of people in the world, don't understand is that EVERYONE NEEDS THE WORD OF GOD! In Alma 32:14, it says that these people are blessed because they have been humbled, but how much more blessed will the people be if they humble themselves because of the word!

This is something that I have learned as well, and I am trying to apply it more in my mission and my life. Be humble because we want to be, not because we find it necessary now that we have been humbled. Always look for ways to be humble, to serve, and to help others come unto Christ!

So now on to a funny story. In our house, we have 3 big tanks to store water, because the water only comes every other day . . . The tanks usually last 2 days, just perfect for the schedule . . . Well, today marked the fourth day in which the water didn't come. We had no clean dishes, no water to shower, and also the light was gone! We went to the church, and I bathed in the sink of the restroom! Pretty funny! We got home, and about 2 hours later, the water came. We immediately started filling up the tanks. So funny to see how much something simple like water means when you don't have it and you have no way to get it!! This place doesn't have a well, so it wasn't an option to bucket water like we used to in Los Girasoles!

Well, I hope you are all doing well and that this letter finds you all very well! I have sent like 3 others and you guys still haven't gotten them! Hopefully you get this one!!

Love your son, brother, and friend,
Elder Garrett McEwan :)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Thanks Mom . . .

I just wanted to share part of a letter Garrett wrote me for my birthday. This is a parent's payday :). Sure do love this boy soooo much! I certainly can't imagine my life without him.

March 27, 2014

Dear Mom,

Happy Birthday!! I love you so much, and I am so glad that you are my mom! You have taught me so many things in my life, like how to clean, cook, do laundry, and work hard! Thank you for teaching me these things! They have helped me a ton on the mission and I know that they will continue to help me in real life! Not that this isn't real life, but you know what I mean, just life after the mission!

Thank you for always being such a good example to me in always doing what others ask of you and always being willing to step in and do what needs to be done! It means a ton to me to know that I have a mother that I can always count on to help me with whatever I need help with! I know that other people see this example and that they know that if something needs to be done, Neely McEwan is the one to call, because she gets the job done!

I just wanted to write this little letter and tell you how much I love you, that I miss you, and thank you for all of your support that you have given me in the mission as well as in the rest of my life! It really does mean the world to me to have you as my mom! I cannot think of a time in my life where I did not have your support! For as long as I can remember, you were always there for me, at my games, performances, taking me places, picking me up, always being there for me! Thank you so much! I love you more than you will ever know, Mom. I LOVE YOU!

Love Your Son,
Elder Garrett McEwan :)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Experiences that Teach the Missionary . . .

April 7, 2014

Dear Family,

I am so glad that you are all learning so much and helping the gospel move forth more and more everyday!!  I am so happy to see that you are all working hard, and having fun!!

So now on to the week!!!  We had the english class on tuesday, and we played Trashketball to enjoy a little bit more the class!!  It went well, until my comp started messing with a member kid, who is autistic.  I told him to stop and continued to teach the class.  All of a sudden, my comp has thrown this kid in a headlock, and is fighting him!!  I was the only person who saw that part, then the kid pushed my comp, and my comp yelled at him, calling the attention of the class.  We ended the class, and left!!  I was super mad, because my comp was telling everyone that the other kid started it, but I was watching it the whole time, and he started it!!  I told him we weren´t leaving the house until he called the President, and he wanted to fight me too!!  My district leader told him that the two of them were going to stay in the house, and I left with Pedersen!  We did the intercambio, went to the houses of their investigators, talked, went and saw the country club, and then went home!!  Also, we talked to the kid´s family and they told us that they weren´t mad at us.  Found out that my comp was leaving the area, so yeah.  Here we are today, a week later, a threesome companionship.  I am getting a new comp tomorrow!!

So during the week, we just went around to all of the other guy´s investigators.  We went and visited mine, told them the situation, and moved on!!  We set citas with them when we could, and did our best!!  It was a different experience for sure!!!  I learned a lot about patience, not judging people, and the love of God, and the Atonement!!!  It was overall a good week!!

So on to the investigators!!

Dari;  We lost contact with her for a while because she was working as a live in maid, but she quit, and I am going to start teaching her again!!  Hopefully she will be baptized by the end of this transfer!!  I saw her in the street and she ran right up to me and told me that she wanted me in her house as soon as possible to teach her!!  SO amazing to see a person who wants the gospel that badly!!!

Beyilin:  She is going to finish up in the university soon, meaning she will start to go to church again, and she will be baptized as well!!  We go by and read the BOM with her a lot, and she is in 1 nephi 14 or something like thatªª  Hopefully she is getting a testimony of this amazing book!!!

Alex and Jackeline moved, so we are going to give them as a reference to someone, not sure who yet!!

Esmeralda and Yasmín...  still not reading, but they are reading the bible a bit, so at least they have faith!!  That is the place to start for sure!!!  :)

We also have a lady that is really cool!!  She is a perfume maker, and she get´s the bases of all these big name perfumes for cheap!!  She gave me a little bottle of a mix that I made of Aqua Di Gio, and two types of Pacco Rabanne.  She liked it so much that she is going to sell it in her store!!!  We have taught her a few times, and she wanted to talk about the law of chastity, so we did, and she understood it, and then we left!!

I also bought a new memory card, and will be trying to send home lots of pictures!!  Here’s a picture of me as proof of the new memory card. I hate the haircut, the almost mohawk/missionary mohawk was a lot better!! Did you guys ever get the package that I sent!!?  Also, where are you guys sending the packages that you send me?  Elder Clawson asked me to tell you the address, make sure that it is this one!!

Elder Garrett McEwan
C/ Hatuey 73
Urb.  Los Cacicazgos
Santo Domingo, Republica Dominicana
I hope you get it soon!!

I love all of you, and can´t wait to see you all again!!  Keep working hard!!

Elder Garrett McEwan  :)