Monday, September 29, 2014

Blessings Come When We Follow the Spirit . . .

September 29, 2014

Dear Family,

It is great to hear that you are all doing so well!!  Cool to hear about all of the experiences that you are all having!!  I am sorry that Dylan got a concussion, those are no fun at all!!  Parker, that is great that you were able to ask someone to home coming, I don't know this girl but I hope you have a great time!!  Mom, that would be really cool if you were able to be in charge of the 4H clubs in January, you would learn lots and have a really good time!!  Dad, I am glad that you had fun at your talent show night, I hope you continue to enjoy yourself in this calling!!  :)  Sean, It was also great to hear from you!!  Sounds like your Zone Leader calling is really teaching you lots!!  I am glad that you are getting to know the island well, and having a good time!!  Do you get to drive?!  If you do, I am super jealous!!  I haven't driven in a long time, and I think maybe I have forgotten how!!  JK HAHAHA

So this week on tuesday I recieved a new companion.  His name is Elder Castillo, and he is from Honduras.  He has almost 9 months in the mission and completes a new month the same day as me, the first day of every month!!  It has been fun so far with him, and we are hoping that we can find lots of new people to be able to teach!!

Just a great P-day!
This week was a really good one, and I learned some new things!!  On Tuesday, we were supposed to go to Las Charcas, but with the upcoming transfers and everything, not knowing when my comp would come, I cancelled that trip and decided to capacitate members at night!!  Well of course, nothing went according to plan and my comp, instead of getting there at 5 in the afternoon like we thought, he got here at 9 in the morning!!  Ahh, and we had no citas and had told everyone that we would not be able to go by them on Tuesday!!  So with no citas planned and a cancelled trip to Las Charcas, we went to the house.  I decided to do something new, and I came up with something that I call the Scripture of the Day.  We chose a scripture and came up with 3 questions:  Who is speaking, what does it teach us, and how can we apply it to out daily lives!  Then we set out to teach every single member that I know!!  We started off, and the response was startling....  The members, just about all of them, started to cry.  They said that they had been having a hard day, or that something had happened in their family, and they just needed a little bit of support.  They loved that us as the missionaries took time out to show them love as well!!  It was a really good day!!

Acting out a battle of history
Hermanas acting out a battle of history
Wednesday was great, as we were able to introduce my new comp to all of the recent converts that we have in our area of La Colonia!!  He really liked meeting all of them, and is exciting that we get to help keep them active!!  We capacitated Hector Manaurys in his calling of Family History Coordinator, and then he gave some lessons to the recent converts about family history.  It was a great experience, and we were able to have very spiritual lessons!!  The people are super excited to go to the TEMPLE!!

Dropping a bomb!
Anyway, this Sunday was a good Sunday as well, as we are trying to progress even more in Las Charcas.  The branch president of La Colonia came, as well as his counselors, secretary, and the Elders Quorum President.  They were a little tiny bit awkward, and didn't talk a whole lot, but it was good to have them there to support the people!!  WE also determined that there are 5 people in Las Charcas that will be given the priesthood in 2 weeks, so that was amazing!!  We are trying to help them grow, and they are all progressing really well!!  I had to speak again, because a young woman that was supposed to speak from La Colonia didnt make it, so I had the privilege to speak again.  It was good, we had a really great time, and every one was really happy!

Riding the canon with Elder Cisneros and Hermana Duran
Today, Pday, I got to meet the two new sisters in my District.  They are Hermana Padgett, from Springville, and Hermana Rivera, from Guatemala.  It was Hermana Padgetts birthday, so we got together and played  some futbol, ate pasta, drank soda, and ate a dominican dessert that I made, dulce de batata con leche!  It was good, like carmel, and it was a lot of fun!!  We also took some pictures in the park, and got quite a few weird looks!!

Anyway, everything here in Azua is going well!!  I am loving it out here!!

Love you all!!

Elder Garrett McEwan

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Work Moves Forward . . .

September 22, 2014

Dear Family,

Thank you all so much for all of the pictures and emails and support!!  It really makes it a lot easier to know that I have such a great support group back home!!!

So Elder Gallo is going home on Wednesday, so this whole last week has just kind of been saying good bye to everyone and making sure that our people stay active in the church!!  I am doing well, a little stressed right now, but fine!!  I am actually here in barahona, saying good bye to an old area of elder gallo! But things are going well, just getting ready to get Elder Castillo from Honduras! Elder castillo has about 10 months, and is coming from San Juan.  Elder Gallo said good bye to you too!!  Elder Gallo and I are sharing a computer....

Overall it was a really good week, packed full of getting to know new people as well as spending a little bit more time with some people that we have come to love a lot!!

Well, the Meetings for church in las Charcas went really well this week, with an assistance of 22 people.  I really am hoping that this will continue to be a normal thing, because we are hoping to have a little rented building here soon!!  I also feel like that will be a good motivator to people.  It will let them know that we are still here, and that the church is trying to be strong in Las Charcas!!!  Also,  we are hoping that more and more references will begin to spin off of the new converts that we have, as well as some less actives that we have!!  For example, a man named Duber is beginning to reactivate himself and his wife, and he is doing great!!  He recently gave us the reference of his two children that live with his ex wife, but they are going to move in with him!!  They are 14 and 12 years old, and they came to church for the first time this last sunday!!  They loved the church, so hopefully they will continue to progress!

We also recieved the step father of Nayelis as a reference!!  He is a member of the Pentecostal church, but we are hoping that the example of his daughter, as well as his mother in Law Carmen, will help him!!  His whole family are members of the church, a lot of them are inactive, so we are trying to help all of them at the same time!!  It is a little rough, because he fights against the spirit alot, but it is super interesting to teach him!! 

So this last sunday we were able to confirm Edailin, and that was really good!! Also, we gave Wilton a tie, and he came to church in slacks, a white shirt, and tie, and looked like a life long member!!  It was such a triumph to see how much the gospel has changed his life!!  He has also given us a bunch of his cousins as references, and we are also going to try to teach his parents hopefully as well!!  Wish us luck with all of that!!

So the work in la Colonia now is going really well as well!!  I have recently gone into the mode of trying to get a reference from every single person that I talk to, and so far it is working!!  I have decided to put a huge enfasis on working with the members, especially with the recent converts to be able to help keep them active!!  It is going great so far!  There is a member named Hector Manaurys that is really helping us a ton, and we are going to recieve two references from him on Wednesday!! One of them is his brother and the other is a neighbor!!

Well, our most promising investigator right now is Alexis!  He came to the baptismal service that we had last week, and he loved it!!  His one challenge is that he needs to get married!!  He recently got divorced, and needed to pay 200 euros, which is the equivilent of about 350 dollars and about 12000 pesos!!  He really put his faith into action and talked to the lawyer and his exwife.  He got the price lowered to 150 euros, and the exwife said that she would pay 50, so he is going to be responsable for 100 euros!!  We are going to see if we can help him out a bit as well!!

We are also putting together another baptism service for the 25th of October! We have three men that will be getting married so that they can get baptized, and another one that is married already that is going to finally take the step of getting baptized!!   Alexis is the only one of my investigators that will be getting baptized on that day, but the other elders in the district have 3, so hopefully that will all be a success!!  The three investigators of the other guys are all spouses of members, so that will be nice to see some families completed!!  Alexis is also going to hopefully help his wife, Yajaira, to be able to get to know the church!!  She has gone to church before, but goes to the University now on Sundays until December, so hopefully she can change that class!!

We also had our interviews with the President last week, and that was really good, It was fun to talk to him!!

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


Elder Garrett McEwan

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Preparations for the Baptisms . . .

September 15, 2014

Dear Family,

People who attended the baptism
Things here are going great!!  Thank you so much for the package that you sent me!!  I loved all of the new ties and shirts that you sent me, as well as the candy.  I also loved the letter from Grandma Losee with the little camel and story!! Please thank her for me!!

So Elder Gallo is doing great, just getting ready to go home!  He is really excited to be back in his country!!  It has been great to be his comp, to learn some new things from him.  He is also going to be my first comp to go home from the mission, so that is kind of cool!!

So this week was all about getting everything prepared for the baptisms!!  We worked super hard all week, and we were able to do everything that was needed to be able to have the service!!

On Friday, we went and bought a bunch of cakes and stuff, and I stayed up super late baking cakes!!  Luckily, we were able to get everything done, and the cakes were a success!!   The whole branch was super happy, and they all loved it!! it was funny because it was just little cakes from Betty Crocker!!  They loved it!!

Saying good bye to Elder Gallo's "people"
So now to Saturday!!  We woke up, and we started to study!!  It was super fun, and we started to get everything ready!!  We went to the church at 5... and all of the people were there!! They were there an HOUR early!!  It was really amazing!!  There were also over 100 people who attended, so that was awesome!!

That is what happened this week!!  I will send lots of pics!!  Love you all!!


Elder Garrett McEwan

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Blessings of the Temple . . .

September 8, 2014

Dear Family,

So this week was a really good week!!  I got to go to the temple on Tuesday, and I can honestly say that it was the most spiritual experience that i have had in the temple in my entire life!  I went with a lot on my mind, and the Lord honestly answered every question that I had!!  

We also had a visit from some Elders that needed to stay in our house to be able to go to the temple with us.... Let{s just say that I am glad that I only live in a house of 4 missionaries, and not 8!!  It was a little stressful because we all needed to shower, and we only have one bathroom, but it was just for a day and we all did great together :).

We were also able to have the baptismal interviews of our 11 people that are going to get baptized this week on Saturday!  They all did really well, and we are just helping them to be as prepared as possible!!  We were even able to listen to 6 of the people bear their testimonies yesterday in church!!  Their testimonies were amazing!!  They ranged from knowing that the priesthood can bless their lives, to the Restoration of the gospel, to wanting to grow up and be missionaries.  It was something that really touched me!!  To see how much these people have change is truly amazing!!  Some of them needed to get married, break addictions to drugs, or start to live the law of Chastity, and all of them have made huge changes in their lives and are all really prepared!!

So today, P Day, I was able to go to the beach, and it was a lot of fun!!  WE did some mountain climbing and such, and had a good time, and only got burned a little bit!!  By the way, my bee stings all got better, so that was a huge blessing!!

That is really all that has happened this week!!  We are just super pumped for this Saturday and all of the baptisms!!  Here's to hoping that all goes well!!  LOVE YOU ALL!!

Elder Garrett McEwan

Monday, September 1, 2014

Wedding, Waterfalls, and the Temple . . .

September 1, 2014

Dear Family,

My District
Things here are going really well!!  We were able to maintain all but one of of baptismal dates, and it wa a decision that we made to be able to make sure that the woman, Deysi, will stay active!!  But other than that, all of the people are still on for their baptismal dates!! We are super excited, and the people in the whole stake have been invited to this baptism, because it is going to be the biggest service that Azua has seen, maybe even in the whole country!!  We are hoping that everyone will come support us, because we really want to make this service super special and spiritual, so that all of the people feel welcomed and loved!!  That is one of the 3 main keys to helping these people stay active!!  A friend, a calling, and to be nourished by the good word!!!!  So we are hoping that they are going to recieve that right off the bat!!

Any way, so now I am going to give a run down of the week so that you can now exactly what I have been up to lately!!  :)

Elder McEwan, Elder Cisneros, Elder Gallo
Ok, on Tuesday we went to Las Charcas, and it was a great day!!!  We got everything squared off with Chichi to rent a bus to take people to the baptism!!  We are hoping to have a big support group there from Las Charcas, because we really want all of them to stay strong!!  We are also hoping that it will be a good opportunity to be able to get some references of family members of these recent converts!!

On Wednesday we had an intercambio.  I wanted to see how Cisneros is doing in his learning and teaching, because his training is going to be finished up this week.  I went with him to his area, and it was really good!!  It was crazy to think back on my time of being trained!!  Was that really over a year ago?!  Holy Cow!!  I was able to teach him about how to recognize the needs of his investigators through asking inspired questions!!  It was a really fun day, and we were able to teach lots of people!!

Elder Gallo, Abril, Wilton, Natali, Elder McEwan
Ok, so now for the highlight of the week,  Thursday....  Natali and Wilton got MARRIED!!!  I made them two cakes, and we went to Las Charcas to be able to watch the ceremony!!  We got there, and Natali was getting ready!! She looked great, and they were both super happy!!  Their little daughter, Abril, is super cute as well!  We went, and the judge even recognized us as the missionaries in the ceremony, that they were going to be married legally, and that we would teach them how to have their family forever!! It was super cool!!  They were all so happy!!  Then we went back to their house, and I made them do the cake tradition, where the bride and the groom feed each other cake, and told Wilton to kind of get Natali on the nose, and he did it!!!  ;)  Then we played Parchesi!!  Not sure if that is how it is spelled, but it was super fun, and I even won!!  Not sure how, but it was a good little break from the normal stuff that we do to be able to play a board game!!  Then we went to a family home evening with Kinsiño, and went home!!
Paisaje Dominicano

Friday we did a practice of the baptismal questions with the people, and they all did super well!! They don´t sturggle with hardly anything!! Some get confused with the name of The Word of Wisdom, but if we tell them that it is about health, they can explain it perfectly!!

Saturday was a great day in Las Charcas!!  We were able to meet the extended family of Edailin and Guario to be able to invite them to the baptism!!  We are also hoping to be able to start to teach them, because they looked really interested, and they are really supportive of their kids!!

Sunday was good, we had 17 investigators in church!!  I also gave 2 talks, taught the Señor Primary, and taught Sunday School!!  We also got the baptismal clothes all figured out!!  Any way, about the talks!!  It was my turn to speak in Las Charcas, so I was ready for that and expecting it!!  But, the President of La Colonia said that they needed a speaker, and wanted me to speak!!  I was able to speak on Repentance, so that was really cool!!  I was super excited, and the ward really liked the talk!!  Then we went to Las Charcas, and it was super good as well!!  All of the investigators came, and that was a huge blessing!!
Las Cascadas

And then today, I put together an activity!! We left at 5 in the morning and went on a hike to these waterfalls!"!  THe District President took us, and it was a blast!! Long, hard, and full of hornets, but was super sweet!!  The water felt great, even though we could only get our feet wet!!  We took tons of pictures, and it was fun to be able to get to know the President better!!  

Well, I hope you all are doing great!!  Something that could help you all is that you could study in a family home evening in PMG lession3 about the restoration!!  It is something that every member needs to know how to do!! Also, you should practice the practices at the end of the chapter with each other to be able to teach it!!

In some sad news, our Mission President was in a car accident, him in his car and a motorcyclist.  The motorcyclist ended up with both legs broken... :(  The president is fine, but obviously he (and his wife) are very shaken up.

In some good news, we go to the temple tomorrow and get to have a Special Meeting with the Temple President!!!

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

Elder Garrett McEwan

En La Orilla del canyon!