Monday, June 30, 2014

Blessings in Azua . . .

What a blessing it is to have the opportunity to communicate with Elder Garrett McEwan each week so far in his mission. We learn so much from him and hope that we truly help him as well. What a wonderful time to be a missionary and the family of not only one missionary but two!

June 30, 2014

Dear Family,

I love you all so much!!  It is so amazing to have your support and love every week!!  I am so glad that I am able to hear everything that is going on in your lives!!  You guys are so amazing!!

So this week was packed full of work!!  It was amazing!!  We were working harder than ever, and we taught 46 lessons!!  It was amazing!!  I am going to jump right in to the investigators and how everyone is doing!!

My new District: Me, Elder Dabady,
Elder Reyes, Elder Cisneros
So we have Alexis, and he is super cool!!  He is a very hard worker, and he is doing an amazing job preparing himself to be baptized!!  His one problem is that he is not married.  He needed to get divorced, and he did that, and now he just needs to get married to the woman that he lives with!!  He also just recently got a job, so now he  has the difficulty of working on sundays...  He is already looking for a solution to this!!  He said that he is supposed to work 6 hours a day on sunday, so he is going to take his hours out of his lunch hour, like work through lunch hour the other 6 days of the week so that he can go to church on sunday!  He is really amazing, and his faith is incredible.  He is a person full of questions, and he is always asking us things, sometimes very obscure things, to try to confuse us!!  He is super awesome though, and it is really great to be able to teach him!!!

Next we have Edailin and Warior, and they are both 16 years old.  They live in Las charcas, and they are progressing really well!!  They live like 45 minutes away from La Colonia, and they went to the district conference still!  They are awesome!!  They are learning about chastity right now, and they are keeping all of the commitments!!!  They are hopefully going to be getting baptized on July 26, so that will be a very awesome day!!

Next we have Mary and Igrid, and they are both in the same situation...  19 years old, 2 kids...  Yikes.  They both seem really innocent though??  It is definately an experience though.  They both have the goal to be baptized in September, but they both need to get married first!!  They are really cool though.  They love learning, and have learned a ton, especially about the plan of Salvation.  They are progressing really well, we just have to start teaching their boyfriends, and help them to understand how that if they really love this woman, they need to get married, and that they can be an eternal family!!  But they are doing really well!!

Those are the progressing investigators that we have, but we have a ton of others that we are hoping will start to progress!!  We are also trying to help this branch become a ward, and the district to become a stake!  The work here in Azua is booming, and that means that more an more people are preparing themselves to receive the gospel of Jesus christ!!!  It is really amazing to see how the Lord has prepared this little place of Azua...  he really has touched this area to be a strong place in the church!! I am so priviledged to be able to work he as a missionary.

P-Day Activity BEFORE
So I sent a letter off to you, I hope that you get it soon!  I tried to include a little bit from each day, so that you can see exactly how the work is out here in good old Azua!!

So any way, yesterday I had a really cool experience.  We had a District Conference, and there were about 500 people there.  We were just talking to the people, and I saw a man.  He was dirty from head to toe, just standing off kind of by a big group of people, and no one was talking to him.. He looked really out of place, and he just looked different than everyone.  He caught my eye, and then called me over.  I went over, and he told me a really sad story about his life, that he couldn't find happiness, and what caught his attention was that all of the people in the church were laughing and enjoying themselves, because they knew that they were children of our Heavenly Father.  It made me really sad to hear how sad he was.  I started to talk to him, and he was just listening.  I shared a little bit about the plan of salvation, and it was really great!  I talked to him, and any way, we started to start to go inside the church!!  I invited him inside, and he told me thatt he would love to, but that he couldn't.  Then he turned around and walked out...  So I went inside.  I left for a second to answer the phone, and he went in!!  He called me over to talk to him, so I sat down next to him.  It was great.  he was so happy!!

This was just a really strong testimony to me that God does not make exceptions of any person.  He wants all of His children to hear His word.  It was hard for me to go talk to that man, because he was so different, and looked so bad.  but then I thought to myself, "How does God see me?"  With all of my sin, with all of my imperfections, I am sure that I look like that man to Him.  But He sent His son,  Jesus Christ, to bring me back to Him, just like he has sent me hear to bring the people of the Dominican Republic back to Him.  I am extremely priviledged to be here, doing this work, and to be able to be an instrument in His hands.
I really do love the mission, and I really am taking advantage of every second I have here!!  We are working harder than ever, and I am so glad that we are able to help so many!! 
P-Day Activity AFTER

So Dylan asked me what are some of the blessings that I have received on the mission.  Probably the biggest blessing tha I have seen in my mission is the greater understanding that I have of the Atonement of Christ! I know that He suffered for everything, and that he did these things because he loves us.  He empowers us, with strength to over come any challenge that presents itself.  He gives us His spirit to be able to soften the hearts of his children.  he gives us the faith to carry on.  He loves us perfectly.  I can say that I know for certain that this Sacrifice thatt He did for us is the greating blessing in our lives!!

My other biggest blessing is my new found knowledge of the Plan that God has for families.  My family is the biggest thing in my life, and I thank God every day for giving me the opportunity to come on the mission and become the man that my Future Family needs me to be as a husband and father!!

I love all of you!!  I can not wait to hear all of your experiences for next week!!

Love, Your Son and Brother,
Elder Garrett McEwan

Oh p.s. we pulled weeds as a service project!!  everyone was asking how I knew how to do it so well!  I just told them that I learned from La Maestra  ;)

Monday, June 23, 2014

I'm FINALLY Out in the Campo! . . .

June 23, 2014

Dear Family,

I am so glad that you are all doing well!!  It really is such a blessing to have an amazing family like you guys to support me through my mission!!

So I am just going to jump right in to the new area.  It is called La Colonia, and it is in the zone of Azua.... Finally I am out in the campo!!  The funny thing is... this is the nicest area that I have been in!!  Well, actually 2 areas!!  We work in the area of La Colonia and Las Charcas, and las Charcas is still just a little group!!  We go out there on tuesday, saturday, and Sunday, and that is an experience!!  We are the branch presidency in Las Charcas, meaning that we do everything, from blessing and passing the sacrament to speaking, conducting, leading the music, and presiding!!  It is really awesome though!!  

The house is really nice, we have a pretty legitimate weight bench and weights, and we have light and water all the time!!!  I love it!!  My comp's name is Elder Dabady, and he is a Haitian guy that is 24 years old.  He speaks french, creole, and spanish perfectly, and knows a ton of english!!  We only speak spanish though, so that is really good!!  We put a goal to work on english with the rest of the house because they are all native spanish speakers!  I am the only American in the house!  But it has been really good so far, I have been having a great time!!

So now on to the investigators...  TO tell you the truth, I don't know all of their names, we have so many and they are all kind of hard names to say!!

We have a guy named Alexi that is really cool!  He always areads, he goes to church every week, and he is just an overall stud!!  We taught him the law of chastity, and he was waiting for a divorce to go through, and it finally did last week!!  Hopefully he can get married to his girlfriend soon, because he has a huge desire to be baptized!!!

Next, we have the daughter of a member named Laura, and the daughter's name is Rubi Casi.  They are really cool, but the mom has been really sick lately, so that is hard, and we have only been able to teach her once!!  But she is cool!!

The last one that I am going to mention is out in Las Charcas, and it is a young man named Edailin.  He has basically the whole restoration pamphlet memorized, and he is awesome!!  He is only 17, but wants to be baptized!@!  He is someone that I look at as a future missionary!!

Well, that is what has been going on!!  I love you all so much!!  Talk to you soon!!

Love, your son and brother,
Elder Garrett McEwan

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Planting Seeds in La Altagracia . . .

June 16, 2014

Dear Family,

Wow, sounds like all of you guys are doing so great!! It is always nice to get a nice email saying that all of you  are alive and well, and that everything is still in order back home!!  It sounds like you are all progressing so well, and that life is just treating you amazing!!  

Public transportation contacting :)
So this week, Elder Wassum and I really went hard on the contacting, contacting for about 2 hours a day!! It was long, it was tiring, and it was very unsuccessful!!  We are trying to catch what the president is calling ¨The Fever¨, which is just saying that we are going to have the contacting fever.  We are doing our best!!  We have talked to many people, and we are planting many seeds as we try to further the work here in La Altagracia.

So this week, we were able to put a fecha to be baptized with a girl named Erika, a 19 year old that we have been teaching for a while.  We felt like she was ready, and we wanted to extend this commitment to her.  We were a little unsure of when she should be baptized, so we sought the guidance of the Spirit and decided to extend the commitment for the 9th of August.... Turns out that that date will be here 20th birthday!!  The Lord works in mysterious ways, and it was amazing to be able to put a huge commitment like baptism on her birthday!!

We also recieved two references this week, one of a kid named Carlos and the other is a kid named Ambiorys, as well as their two families.  They are both 16, and they asked the Young Men's president here in the branch how they could get in contact with us as the missionaries to start learning.  We have taught them one time, and when Carlos prayed, he did it perfectly, so assuredly.  That is going to be fun to teach them!!

So I was able to go on one last intercambio with Elder Pedersen this week because Connell was sick.  It was a lot of fun working with him.  It is going to be hard not living in the same house as him anymore, and it will take some getting used to, but we will keep in touch!!

Probably the last time at Sweet Frog
Yupp, I said it, I am getting transferred!  They told us on Saturday night, and we will find out where I am going tonight at about 9 o clock.  It has been rough not knowing, but I do know that the Lord has His plan for me, and all that I have to do is follow it!!

So on Sunday, Elder Zivic came to our ward.  He is in the first quorum of the 70, so it was great to have him there.  He spoke to us about tithing and fast offerings!!  Also, the attendance in church was better than ever!!

So I got one letter from Dylan, and it was from a while ago!?  Sometimes the letter system is really messed up and takes forever, but don{t worry, they get here eventually!!

So now for a surprise......  I know how to play the guitar now!!  I bought one about a month ago, and I told myself that I wasn{t going to tell you guys until I knew how to play it well!!  Well, th
Playing my Guitar!
e day has arrived, and I am telling you!!  I know how to play a couple of hymns (God Speed the Right,  Venid a Mi,  God be with you til we Meet again)  as well as a couple of other ones, such as 15 by Taylor Swift,  I wont Give up by Jason Mraz, Wipe out,  Follow me by Unkle Kracker, and All of you by John Legend!!  So surprise, new talent that I picked up on the mission!!

I love you all so much, and I can{t wait to here from you guys next week!!

Elder Garrett McEwan

Monday, June 9, 2014

Just a "Thank You" . . .

"Pay Day" for parents to see that maybe we are doing something right. As a parent, you always hope you are raising your children the right way, but in a mortal world there are many doubts and also those who tell you that you're not. Sure love this young man and proud of the person he is now and who he is becoming.

June 9, 2014

Dear Mom and Dad,

I just want to thank both of you for always knowing what is best for me!!  Even still out here in the mission, I see what a blessing it is to have such amazing parents, always guiding me and doing what is best for me!!  I LOVE YOU BOTH SO MUCH!!

Love, Your son,
Elder Garrett McEwan

Hitting it with the "Finding Fever" . . .

June 9, 2014
Memorial Plaque when the D.R. was dedicated
for missionary work by Elder Ballard

Dear Family,

Elder Wassum is finally better, and we are going to hit it hard tomorrow, with the ´´Finding Fever´´ that our new president has implemented for the mission.  The goal is to contact and find as many people and families as possible, teach them, and help them into salvation and integrate themselves in the ward.  We asked the President´s Wife for a book to learn french, she told us that she is going to check up on that!! The investigators are all doing well, but they are not going to church.  We had a couple people with baptismal dates, but they have all fallen.  It has been a little trying because we haven´t been able to leave, so we haven´t been able to give them the needed follow up to help them progress, but I am hoping that we can help them this week, as well as find new people to teach!!

The Cave
So this week has been another week full of sitting in the house!!  I have been able to go on a few intercambios with the other elders in my house!  It is always interesting to see how other people work, teach, contact, and just overall how other people are!!  It was really fun though!  Lots of the people thought that I was from Cuba though, they said my accent is Cuban?  I have never heard a Cuban speak before, so hopefully that is a good thing!!  But we went on a few intercambios, tried to have our ward mission activity, and no one came, the computer wasn´t working, so it was all just a little disorganized!! But we were ok!ª

INSIDE the Cave
So we as the missionaries are all singing in the ward choir in church next week because a member of the first quorum of the seventy is coming.  His name is Elder Zivic, and he is from Argentina.  He is part of the area presidency of the carribbean, and he actually spoke in conference in april.  He is a really cool guy, and he is coming to our little branch!!  Hopefully everything goes well!!  We are singing  ´´God speed the right´´, which I had totally forgotten the name of that song in english!!  I basically forgot all of the hymns in english!!

Our Zone with President Nuckols at the dedication site
Today we had a multizone activity, and we went to a big field to play games!!  It was really fun!ª!  There was an  underground cave as well as the memorial site where the DR was dedicated for the church to start mission work here.  It was overall a really great day, even though we all got sunburned!!

The yard at home is looking different with all of the rocks. Hopefully less work for weeding. I love the flags on the front of the house. We are officially a triple nationality family :).

I love you all so much, and hope that life keeps treating you well!!  I love you!

Some of our Zone
Elder Garrett McEwan

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Reading, Studying, Cooking, & Sitting on the Roof . . .

My area from the Water Tank
June 2, 2014

Dear Family,

Thank you so much for your email, it is great to read how well all of you are doing!!  Elder Wassum now has pneumonia, and so we spent the whole week in the house!!  It was crazy, because I have left the house for a total of probably 24 hours in the last 2 weeks!!  It has not been fun!!  I have just been reading, studying, practicing my cooking skills, and sitting on the roof!!  I am not sure how the investigators are doing because they have not been coming to church and we haven´t been able to go visit them!!  I called and talked to all of them, and they say that they are doing well, but they all still just need to come to church!!
Cobbler I made

So the new president, President James H. Nuckols, is super cool!!  He is fluent in french and served his mission in spain, so he knows spanish as well!!  He likes to surf, play baseball and basketball, camp, and go hiking!!  He is a really kind person, and he spent a really long time just talking to all of the missionaries!!  It is amazing to see how much he loves us all already as missionaries!!

This is one GIANT Pig!!
So today for P Day we just went hard cleaning the house, then Wassum and I went to get food.  I just got a salad, and it was really good!!  He just like forced us to leave the house because he is so bored!!  The only times he has left is to go to church for three hours and that is it, so he just dragged himself to eat!!

I went on an intercambio with Elder Connell on friday, and we went to my area for a little bit!! We visited our people, and then we climbed up a water tank that is like 150 feet high and took pictures!!  Over all it was a long, boring week, but it was rewarding as well!!

Palé vous francais??  Comment allez-vous?  Also, I have started learning French!!  Qué vous voule de moi?  Haha it has been hard, because the book I have is supposed to be teaching English for people who already speak French, so I am trying to do it backwards, but it is super hard!! I am going to talk to the mission president to see if he can get me the french MTC books!!

I love you all!!

Elder Garrett McEwan

P.S.  I did not recieve your letters yet, hopefully soon!!
Contrast of the City and the South