Monday, August 25, 2014

Another Incredible Week . . .

August 25, 2014

Dear Family,

Wow, what a great exciting week you guys have had this last week!!  Lots of changes, lots of new things going on for you!!  I loved all of the pictures that you sent me!!  Parker and Dylan have grown up so much!!  I barely even recognize them!!  Dylan is almost as tall as the door frame, and Parker, as always, has his "flow violento"  going on!!  

So Sean did tell me that he was transferred, but not to be a Zone Leader!! What a great opportunity for him!! I know he will be a great zone leader!! Also, that is cool that you guys were able to go to Haley Baum´s mission farewell. She was in my Medical Anatomy Class my senior year, so it is cool to hear that she is headed out on the mission!!

So Dylan, I am glad that you are so happy to be starting school and such again!! It seems like you are pretty prepared to be going back!! I am glad that you like your body conditioning class as well!!  You gotta take advantage of that!!! Nice Jersey by the way!!  ;)

Parker, dude, I can not believe that you are a Junior in High School!!  It seems like yesterday that I was just starting MY Junior Year!!  I hope you love it!!  Junior Year is by far the toughest and most stressful, so the best advice that I could give you is to just always do your homework, never get behind, and take good notes!! It will make all the difference for you!!  Also, the car stickers look sweet, you have probably got one of the sweetest rides in school, huh?  That is pretty cool!! And, last but not least, congrats on the job at the Junior High!!  I knew that you would get it!!  What a great opportunity for you to be able to work and gain more experience!!  It will pay off for you in the future, I promise!!

Mom, I am happy to hear that you are still loving your job out there at the Junior High!!  It really is a blessing to be able to wake up every day and love what you do for a living!!  It is a blessing for me as well to have such hard working parents to be able to learn from you guys!!  Thank you for your example!!

Dad, congrats on the progress at work!!  I am so happy for you!! Also, I am glad that you are going to be able to start up the FHE again with your ward!!  That will be so fun!!  This calling is preparing you to be a bishop in the future!!  ;)  Don´t worry, Sean and I will teach you how it all works  :)

So this week was pretty great!!  We were able to report 13 baptismal projections from my companion and I, as well as 4 from the other companionship in the house for the mega baptism that we are going to have!!  We have been working super hard with all of these people!!  I am just going to describe a little bit of their progress to you real quick!!

So with Feyo, we finally asked him if that was his real name, and he told us no, but that every had just called him that for so long that it was basically his name!!  He told us the his real name is Andrés, but we still call him Feyo along with the rest of the world!!  We have officially finished the lessons with him, and have really been focusing on the Book of Mormon. He is right now in 1 Nephi 4.  He loves the Book of Mormon!!  Also, we were a little bit nervous about his level of understanding with the lessons because he is a really simple man, but he did amazing when we did a small practice of the baptismal questions!!  He is super excited for his baptism, and we are also preparing him to be able to receive the priesthood after being baptized!!

Deysi is also doing great!!  She went a little loose there for two weeks and didn´t come to church, but we had a really frank discussion with her and she told us that she wants to be a member of this church so badly!!!  She is progressing well, and is really changing her life, leaving behind coffee to be able to complete with the word of wisdom!!

Mery is also doing really well, and is a dry member!!  She is so cool!!  We have been working with her about punctuality in her church attendance, and she now is usually one of the first people to arrive, beating the majority of the members there!!  She is a great example of faith and perseverance!! She is someone that I have learned a lot from, that even with great trials we can prosper through the help of our Savior!!

Alexis, finally, will be baptized!!  He has more knowledge than most people I know in the church!!  We have been talking with him lately just about the questions that he has because he has had all of the lessons memorized for like 2 months, and we have gone into some pretty deep doctrinal stuff!! Stuff about the temple, sealings, and stuff like that!!  It is a lot of fun to go teach him, because he just gets super excited like a little school boy to have his questions answered!!  Some times before we have even answered his question, he is throwing another one out at us in a completely different direction!!  But he is great, and is also being prepared to receive the priesthood after his baptism!!

Ice cream and Dominoes with the "brothers"
on P-day!
Mercedes, Abigail, Elianni, and Darilennis are doing amazing!!  I am so excited to see their baptism!! They have made a 180 degree turn in their lives, and are doing so great!!  Mercedes, who has been legally blind for the last 3 years, was able to buy some new glasses, and the first book that she read?... THE BOOK OF MORMON!!  She has not been able to read for a long time, and she picked up the Book Of Mormon and read a chapter!! What a blessing!!  She is also helping her grand daughters, who have the lessons memorized!! They study the pamphlets more than their school work!!  

Nayeli and Carmen are also doing really well, just slamming out the Book of Mormon!!  Carmen has also officially gone a month with out smoking or using Tabacco!!

Edailyn and Guario are doing well, just really busy with school right now!!

Wilton is doing amazing, and he is getting married this thursday!!  They turned in their paper work today and are going to be married on thursday!!  I even get to be one of the witnesses!!

Well, I hope you all have a great week!!  I love you all!!


Elder Garrett McEwan

Monday, August 18, 2014

Testimonies of the Truth . . .

August 18, 2014

Dear Family,

Wow, it sounds like you are all doing amazing right now in life!!  Crazy to think that the summer is now over, thatt school starts this week, and that for me, it is always summer!!  Even though there is no ´´Summer Break´´ for the missionaries, I wouldn´t have it any other way!!  By the way, congrats on the new phones!!  wow, tecnología has changed a lot since I left...  those are like the thickness of a piece of paper!!  :)

Any way, things here in Azua are going really well!!  We looked at a house, and it was huge and super nice, with four bedrooms and three bathrooms, and a nice gazebo out back!!  We want to move in to it, but they told us we have to find a house that is brand new...  I am going to try to call the president tonight because we need to move...  We have been having to buy purified water to shower because we haven´t had any!!

Any way, all of the investigators are going well!!  We had some good experiences this week, lots of testimonies of the truthfulness of this gospel!!

So Alexis has been trying for months to get baptized, but he couldn´t!!  He wanted to get married to his girlfriend, but she told him that she wouldn´t marry him.  He put his faith to the test... and separated from her!!  It is sad to see them separate, but amazing to see that he took the advice of Christ, and left behind everything that would prohibit him from his Salvation!!  He truly is amazing!!

We also have a woman named Claribel that separated from her boyfriend for the same reason!!  It just goes to show the importance of the gospel and the family, and how we need to be united as a family in the gospel, because if we are not, we can never be truly happy!!

So Mercedes, an investigator that I told you guys about, presented us to her grand daughters that she is raising!!  She is basically their mother!!  ANy way, she has such a strong testimony of the gospel that she committed the grand daughters to be baptized with her!!  It was crazy, because she did it like a missionary!!  She didn´t force them, like she could have as their legal guardian, but she invited them, and they accepted!!  Crazy to see how much she has changed her life!!

All of the other investigators are doing well, working hard, and we are working really hard with them to reach their baptismal dates!!  We have really focused hard on the book of Mormon!!  I encourage you to continue reading to be able to change you life as well!!  :)

As far as the Coke goes...  Yes we do drink it, but I don´t buy it!!  I only drink it if someone gives it to me, because I am trying to eat healthy!!  I haven´t bought it since I was with Fallentine in Los Girasoles, my first area!!  But the people here love it!!  We also have an elder, Cisneros, who is addicted!!  He is from Nicaragua, and there is a huge factory there, so it is super cheap, and he drinks more coke than water!!!

We also got a new Elder, Elder Alvarez from Mexico.  He is cool, and has 20 months.

Well, I am going to end here!!  Love you guys!!


Elder Garrett McEwan

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Temple Trip with Members . . .

August 11, 2014

Dear Family,

It is so great to hear everything that has been happening to all of you!!  It is crazy how fast the summer has gone by!  Where did it even go??  It seems like just yesterday you guys were telling me about Salem Days 2013, and now it has passed in 2014!!  What a crazy thought, to think how short the mission is, and how quickly the time goes by....  I didn´t even remember that it was Salem Days this week!!

Any way, this week was really good, and just flew by!!  On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to do two more baptismal interviews, one of a woman named Nancy, and the other of a man named Israel.  They were both really prepared, and have progressed and gained that testimony that we want all new converts to have!!  I was also able to teach Israel about the priesthood, and helped him prepare himself to receive the priesthood yesterday!!  That was a cool and humbling experience, and I know that he is going to be a great and strong member in the future!!

On Wednesday we just had a normal day, and we went and visited all of our people:  Feyo, Deysi, Ingrid, Mery, Alexis, and all of the rest of them!!  We taught a lot about church, because that is the only thing that is a little week right now!!   All of these people are so strong in their belief in the church, it is just a little tough to have to fight against something that is part of the culture!!  Dominicans don´t like to leave their houses, so it is a little tough sometimes to get them to come to church, but they are all going to try harder, and that is all that the Lord asks of them!!

We had our last District Meeting as a District on Friday, because Elder Reyes is getting transferred and Hermana Stewart is going home!!  It was fun, we had a good time!!  Hermana Stewart and Hermana Flint also made me no bake cookies, because they know I love them!!  They have made them 3 times out of the 6 that we have had district meeting this transfer!!

On Saturday we had the amazing opportunity to go to the temple with the branch, new converts, and a few less actives that we helped activiate!!  We left the house at 6:30 a.m. to go to the church, and then sat on the bus for 3 hours to get to the temple!  It definately made me super appreciative for the opportunity that we have in Utah to be able to get to more than 10 temples in that amount of time!!  ANy way, we got there, ate breakfast, and then went to the Baptistry.  We as missionaries are not allowed to baptize or be baptized because we are commissioned to preach to the living, but we were able to help with paper work and watch the people perform the ordinances!! Some were even moved to tears as they were baptized and confirmed for their family members and friends that have passed away!!  It truly was a beautiful experience to be able to participate in!! After the temple, we went to the CCM and ate lunch!  I was able to talk to a few new missionaries, as well as some of my old teachers!!  It was cool to see that they recognized me on sight!!  It was a great day!!  Then we went home, and Elder Cisneros and I talked for a really long time!!  He is just about done with his training, so it was cool to be able to talk just me and him and see how he felt about the mission!

So today we went on a hike to this radio antenna in the mountains!!  It was pretty cool!!  It was funny though... to get to the top took about a half an hour...   I remember hiking Mt. Timp on my birthday for like about 6 hours!! What a difference  ;).  Any way, there was also a baseball field up there in a clearing, so we went to watch for a second.  We were just watching, and a ball came over by us that was batted, so I fielded it and threw it in!!  They invited me to play, and it was just like back in high school...   I felt great!!  I did really well, they invited me to hit, I went in to hit, and hit 3 homeruns on 8 pitches!  That was a good feeling!!

Any way, I hope this email finds you all well!!  Keep up the good work, and the Lord will continue to bless you all!!  I LOVE YOU!!


Elder Garrett McEwan

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

One Year in the Mission . . .

August 4, 2014

Dear Family!!!

I love you all so much!!  It was great to hear about all of the progress that you are making!!!  I love all of the updates and such, it makes me feel like I am still back home!!  It´s nice to know that the yard will be so nice that I won´t have to work in it for a while after I am home!!  ;)  Haha but any way, Azua is really good, really hot, but good!!!  We have been working really hard!!!

So this week it rained a ton, which is not typical for this time of year here!!  I don´t think that it stopped for 3 days straight!!  We were constantly soaked, but it was worth it!!  We were able to finish preparing a recent convert to recieve the priesthood, and he also recieved his temple recommend!!  His name is Hector Manauris, and he is super awesome!!  He worked super hard to change his life, and he is still progressing!!  He wants to serve a mission when he completes a year in the church as well!!!

On the 9th of august we have a temple trip with the ward, and we are going to support the recent converts!!  We have really focused on that part of the mission lately!  For me, the end goal isn´t a baptism, it is the Temple, and lots of people that we have been working with have just recieved their first temple recommends in their lives!! There is Maria Isabel, a recent convert of about 2 months, and we have been working with here a lot!!  She was baptized in May, and we have been teaching her, as well as inviting her to lessons with us!!  She recieved her temple recommend, and even did some family history work so that she can get baptized for her mother and step mother!!  There is also Hector Manauris, who has the calling of family history coordinator.  We also have Lucy, who got baptized in 2012, but went inactive!!  We have been working with her for 2 months, and she just went active!!  She recieved her first temple recommend in her life, and is also working hard in family history work!!  So those are the three people that we have been working with as far as Recent converts and less active members, and they have achieved the goal of the temple recommend!!  Hopefully they all continue progressing!!  We also have 2 members in Las Charcas that are going to go as well for the first time!!  We are super excited about that!!!

So this week I completed one year out in the field, and it was a lot of fun!!  We had a zone meeting, then went out to eat at a little Restaurant called La Esquinita!!  IT is a great little place, so cool!!  Then we had a really good day teaching, and in the night, I completed the mission tradition of burning a shirt!!  You would really be surprised at how fast those things burn!!  Literally in like 20 seconds!!  I am so glad that I have never been exposed to open flame here in the mission.....  Or else it would be all over!!  But it was a good day, gave me a lot of time to think about the mission, and life in general.  I looked back and missed a lot of things, but looked forward and realized how many great things are yet to come!"!  I have my whole life ahead of me!!  There are millions of Dominicans waiting to hear the gospel, and I want to make sure that every single one of them gets to hear it!!  It really is great to see how the Lord moves His work along in such a short period of time!!  One year, hundreds of people taught, Thousands of seeds planted through contacts....  It truly is amazing!!

So all of our people that we have are doing well!!  Nayeli, a young woman from Las Charcas, even shared her testimony this week of how she recieved her answer that this was the true church!!  It was a really humbling experience to hear how hard she searched for her answer, praying that God would reveal to her the path!!  She is doing really well!!  We also had the opportunity to listen to lots of heart felt testimonies in La Colonia!!  These people really do know that this is the one and only true church!!  The power of a testimony is amazing!!  It was also very humbling to listen to some of our recent converts and less actives share their testimonies!! Those were the ones that touched me the most!!  It was a witness to me that the gospel is all about progression!! These people had been in the lowest points of their lives, and now are on such a spiritual high that it is contagious!!

So we finally got an update about the paperwork for Hermano Taga...  It will be ready within six months!!  A super long time, but the only thing that matters is that it will come through!  He will finally be recognized as a man named Altagracia!!  He will be able to get married and his wife will be able to get baptized!!  We are still going to try to keep working so that it can be ready a lot sooner than six months, but at least we have finished, so that it will be finished for sure!!

Well, I hope you all have a great week!! I love you all so much, and I can´t wait to hear from all of you again!!  :)


Elder Garrett McEwan