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Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Week in the Life of the Santo Domingo West Assistants to the President

October 25, 2014

Dear Family,

It is so great to hear that everything is going well with all of you back home!!  I am glad that work, school, and all of the extra stuff is going so well!!

So things here as one of the Assistants are really different than I thought that they would be!  I am going to start from the very beginning, just to kind of give you guys an idea of what I mean!!

So on Monday night, I went and said goodbye to a couple of people, including Mercedes and her grand daughters!!  That was really hard, and those good byes are the hardest part about transfers, especially about transfers that are so unexpected as this one was!!  It was a good moment though, and we all had a good time!

On Tuesday morning I woke up early and finished up all of my packing, then went to the bus stop to buy my ticket.  I called the current assistants, told them what time I was going to be there, and then gave the phone to Elder Castillo.  Yupp, that is right, traveling alone to the capital with out any way of communication... yikes.  So I got to the capital at about 8:45, and just started to wait... and wait and wait and wait.  Turns out that I was waiting, and they other missionaries were looking to find me, and they didn't see me or something because they came and picked me up about two hours later!!  It was funny because you always here stories like that from back in the day, but it was a little funny that it was happening to me!!  Any way, they finally came and picked me up, and we went to the office.  On the way there, they were telling me about the weekly devotional that they do with the president, that was where we were going, that we would be there in 5 minutes, and that SURPRISE!!!  I was going to be in charge of the message to share!!  Welcome to the Office!!  Haha but so any way, I only had time to drop my stuff off at the office, and then we went to the meeting!  It was fun, and the president's wife even made chocolate chip banana bread!  We talked all about the whole mission, weekly numbers, and all of that good stuff!!  It was a really eye opening experience to get to learn just how much goes on behind the scenes in the mission!  After that we went out and grabbed some food, and then started the day!!  We were just running all over the place, buying medicine, paying bills, talking to doctors, and do all of that kind of stuff!  We went to give a sister missionary a blessing, and also called all of the sick people in the mission to check up on all of them!!  It was a little bit funny because before we left, they just tossed me the keys and told me that I was driving!!  Ok, so I did it, and it was super fun!  The truck is a Toyota Hilux, and it is white and super nice!  Then while we were in the car, Elder Polanco, the person who's spot I am taking, called someone, told me who it was, and then told me to talk to them about their problem...  On the very first day!!  

We are in charge of all of the sick people, so he was just getting me used to it or something?  It was fine though.  Then in the night we went out and taught a little bit.  We taught two you who are getting baptized next Saturday, and that was really fun.   Then we taught an older couple about the Plan of Salvation, and they were semi receptive.  The cool thing is that Elder Paulino, my companion, is related to both of the people that we visited, the first two being his cousins and the other two being his grandma and grandpa.

On Wednesday morning we gave a Conference of trainers and trainees.  We went back to San Geronimo, and it was a lot of fun.  I had to speak a little bit about finances in the mission, as well as translate a health presentation for Hermana Nuckols, who is still learning spanish.  Then, we broke up and I went with the American Trainees, and we just had a really good session.  We kind of just let them let everything out, everything that was hard and all of that stuff, and then I got to teach them about testimonies and conversion.  It was a lot of fun, and took me right back to when I was that age in the mission and just starting out!!

Thursday we gave the same conference to those who are training in the campo.  I was the one who directed the meeting, and it was a lot of fun because I got to go back to Azua.  We rode with the president and his wife, and we all just got to talk and ask questions.  It was a lot of fun.  Then in the night we asked a member to come teach with us to make better use of our time, and I went with Paulino to teach and Polanco went with the member.  It was cool, and I am hopefully getting to know the area a little bit now!!  It is a little bit tough because we don't have like a set route that we take every day, it kind of just depends on where we are! 

Friday was a really busy day, as we had another meeting with the president to help him witht he preparations for the upcoming transfers!  It was a lot of fun, and it was cool to finally see the mission home... It is huge!!  It is also really nice inside, and it was cool to see a home decorated in American style, with family pictures hung up on the walls and things like that!!  Then we spent the whole day driving, taking people to the doctor, trying to get phone situations figured out, and taking people back to their areas.  In the night, we helped a member man move into a different house.  It was a lot of work, but it was fun!!

So today is PDAY, but we are only getting to write to our families.  Other than that it will be a normal day because we have a zone activity on Monday, so we are changing the parts of PDAY other than writing to monday to be able to go. 

The office is a really fun place.  We are always busy, and this week has just flown by!  There is never a dull moment.  The schedule is a little bit funny....  Go to bed at 1:30 in the morning and then wake up at 5, but it is fun.  We eat on the run usually, but we eat well.  We have lots of responsibilities and lots of things to do always, but I just think that it is preparing me even more for the future.  It really has been a blast these last few days!!

Regular Pday is not on Saturday.  We are just going to be having the activity this monday, so we are just getting to write today. Gotta go, we are going to buy new appliances and celebrate the presidents wife's birthday!!  LOVE YOU! LOVE YOU! Well, I hope all is well back at home!!  I love you all so much, and I can't wait to hear from you!!

Love,
Elder Garrett McEwan


P.S:  I forgot to tell you this, but I also have my own smart phone out here as the assistant!  ;)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Another Dearest Mother Letter . . .

October 25, 2014

Dearest Mother,

Elder Polanco is going home in two weeks, and he is planning on moving to BYU to go to school and also marry a returned missionary who served in this mission, but only if he has a job.  He is a dominican, and he is really smart and knows english. 

Could you talk to Steve Buffo about the probability of him being able to get a job with Steve?  His family owns a pest control business here, and they spray all of the houses of the missionaries in the whole county, as well as all of the churches, and even the temple, so he knows what he is doing!

Thank you so much!!  He is going to visit, and would like an interview.  He is going in December like the 15th throught he 20th or something like that!!  Thank you so much!!  If he gets the job, then that is when he is going to move!!  :)

I love you and all that you do for me and everyone!

Love,

Elder Garrett McEwan

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Few "Lasts" Before Transfer . . .

"Working" with the Excavador
Elder McEwan and (darling) Future Missionary Friend

Last time with Alexis
Last day in Las Charcas
Last day with the Family
Kinsino, Yoli, Kiosbel, Jose, Kinsino's daughter
My District before transfer to Asistente

An Unexpected Surprise and "Killing the Cow" . . .

October 20, 2014

Dear Family,

Thank you so much for your email this week, it is always so great to hear how well all of you are doing and the great things that are happening in your lives!!  I can not wait to be a part of all of that soon!!

So anyway, the area and the people are doing really well!!  We are still contacting lots, and trying to find lots of new investigators that truly WANT to know more about the gospel!!  We got shut down pretty hard this week, but we are still pushing forward!!!

Bags all packed for the transfer
So the unexpected surprise....  On Saturday night, I was called as the new Asistente to the President.  My new companion will be Elder Paulino, who is finishing his mission in December.  I will be taking the place of Elder Polanco, who finishes in two weeks.  I will be going to my new area tomorrow, and I will be traveling alone.  I will receive a brief two week crash course of Asistente, and then I will be doing it all.  My role will be the person in charge of the physical health of the missionaries, as well as the trainers and trainees.  It is cool because that is what I want to do after the mission, so that is cool to be able to have this opportunity to be able to prepare a little bit for that!!  It will be a big blessing!

So this week we had a Zone Conference, and we had the Area Seventy, Elder Cornish, there to speak to us.  He is a really cool guy!!  He told us that we need to "Kill the Cow"...  And we all just kind of looked at him?  He then told us the story of a man who saw a struggling single mother and her young son, and that all they had for income was the milk they sold from their old cow.  So what did he do?  He killed the cow.  He then was walking by the same place 20 years later and saw a huge mansion.  He asked a person in the street who"s house it was, and he told him that it was the single mother, with her now grown up son!!  The man said  "I knew it"  and walked away. 

So why did he kill the cow?  It forced the people to work even harder.  It took away every excuse they had, and took away every possible source of life that they had.  So why did he do it?  It was the only way for them to be able to see and to work and achieve their potential.  SO in the Zone Conference, he killed our "Cow"  and challenged us to discover our top potential.  I challenge each of you to do the same thing, and to find out how much we can really do in this life that we have!!
I also had to give a surprise talk!!  The president stopped me in the conference during a brief break and asked me to speak, so I did!!  It was fun, and I was able to give a good semi pep talk about the work, and how we can never give up, that we need to find our true desires for the work!!  If you want to know more about it, study Mosiah 28:3!!

That is pretty much all that has been going on this week!!  I did not get your letters yet, but that will fall under my responsibilities soon as well, to collect all of the mail!!  I hope they come soon!!  Also, just so you know, I will be in the District of Altagracia again, and I will be in the area of Bella Vista, so that should be fun!!

There are opportunities for EMT courses that I would like to do before college starts in the fall so that I can have a job!! Mom, If you could look into some that would be great!! Even if you can talk to the city and see if they do any that would help me be able to get a good paying EMT job, preferrably before I have to go up to college!! Thank you so much, I love you so much!!

I have got to get going, but I love you all so much!! Thank you for your examples to me, and for all that you do!! LOVE YOU!!  Have a great week!!

Love,

Elder Garrett McEwan  :)

Monday, October 13, 2014

My Dearest Mother . . .

I absolutely love my "dearest mother" letters. They definitely bring a smile to my face (and my heart!). This one was not what I expected and made me laugh . . .

October 13, 2014

My Dearest Mother,

I am in a desperate need of chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and oreos.  If it would be possible, could you please send me recipes for these things?  I would be very grateful!!  Thank you for all that you do for me!!  I LOVE YOU!!

Love, Your Son

Elder Garrett McEwan

Contacting and Getting Fired . . .

October 13, 2014

Dear Family,

Thank you for your email this week!!  I was so happy to hear that Dylan won his game and made it to the play offs, and that Parker was able to have a good time at Homecoming!!  I’m glad you are both doing well in school. Remember, it’s super important to stay caught up on everything. Also, Mom, congrats on all of the good work at the Junior High, and I hope you had fun at your girls nights!  Dad, that must be a lot of fun being able to take days off and work in the yard!!  It is a little bit strange to say, but I miss it!!  Any way, good luck with your Halloween party this week, I hope you have a great time!!

It is crazy that Craig is going home soon, and that Tyrell is home now!!  This time is going to start flying by...  Next are sean and derek, then dakota, then me and Zac!!

It is going to be weird because Holly’s and Ronel’s baby will have like 4 or 5 months when I get home!! Hopefully she recognizes me from the cardboard me when I get home!

So anyway, this week was full of contacting and getting fired!!  It was a little bit of a tough week!!  We put lessons with people, and the next day when we went by, the people were not there!!  It was a little bit funny, and I could not help but think of Alma or the Sons of Mosiah....  Did they ever get fired in their lessons?  Just happened to be passing by a random tent in the wilderness and put a lesson, then the next day when they pass by, the tent is just gone??  How many times did they yell into a little hut, and here the words that no one was home??  What do you mean no one is home, we can see you?  Nope no one is home....  A little bit funny to think about!!

Well, as I was saying, we are in the process of trying to find new people to teach, and I have been praying and fasting hard to be able to find them!!  I thought that the answer would come as we found new INVESTIGATORS, but I was wrong...  The "New People"  that we have been finding are actually OLD people, and by old people I mean less active and inactive members.  Some of these people have YEARS with out going to church, and they have forgotten basically everything!!  It was a little sad in one lesson, because the man was talking about how "No one was ever going to take him out of his church, because he loves his church and he will never go to another one".  So, I asked him what church he was talking about...  A baptized Latter Day Saint...  And he responded "Im Catholic."  What?!?!  He continued on by saying that the missionaries in the 1990s tricked him to get baptized??  Haha I dont know how they tricked him into 3 months of church attendance, marriage with his wife, and a confirmation, but he swears that they did!!  Also found another woman that stopped going to church about 3 years ago, and guess where she goes now...?  The church literally across the street from ours!! 

However, we have found some interesting new people.  One of them is named Leonardo, a single father of 3 children.  He is very smart, and likes to read.  He read the whole pamphlet in the first visit, and he is really focused on his family.  It was really interesting to get to know him a little bit this week, and to be able to hear all of his different opinions.  He already believes lots of stuff that we believe and that we are teaching him, so that is nice!!  WE are going to focus on him really hard this week so that hopefully he will go to church!!

Next we found a young mother named Vanesa.  She is 23 and has a 4 year old, as well as a little girl on the way!  She really liked talking to us, and her husband works a lot, so that kind of sucks!!  Hopefully we can get a lesson with him as well so that we can teach their whole family!

Lastly, we found a woman named Evelyn.  She is the daughter of a member, and she is like 24 years old"!  We were just passing by to visit her mother, and her mom wasnt home.  She started asking us some questions, so I invited her to church.  She said that she couldnt go because of her job, and i told her that if she truly had faith in Christ she would at least talk to her boss to try to get the hours changed to be able to go to church... So what happens?  She does it, and goes to church yesterday!!  What a huge blessing!!  We are going to have our first actual lesson on WEdnesday with her.
Speaking of Wednesday, we have a birthday party for Milagros, the woman who threw my birthday party back in July, in the night, and the Zone Leader will be there on an Intercambio with me!!  Wish us luck!!

I love you so much too mom, I cant wait to see you again!!  I will be home before you know it!!  I have to get going now, but I love you!!

I love you all so much!!  Castillo is doing well, the area is doing well, and all of the people as well!!  I LOVE YOU ALL!!

Elder Garrett McEwan

Monday, October 6, 2014

Teaching with President . . .

October 6, 2014

Dear Family,

Thank you so much for all of your support and all of your love!!  It was great to hear from all of you, and to hear that everything is going well!!  I was also really glad to hear that you enjoyed conference!!  The speakers who spoke in spanish were obviously not translated, and it was an amazing blessing, and a true answer to some of the people in the congregations prayers.  Lots of people think that we are just a North American Church, so it was great that there were lots of people who had the opportunity to speak in their native languages!!  I really loved this conference!!

So this week was a pretty normal week until Wednesday, when the mission president called me at 10:30 at night?  He asked me what we were going to be doing the next day at 4:00 p.m., because he was interested in teaching a lesson with us?!  WHAT!?  He lives like 2 hours away from us, but he really wanted to teach with us... and he came!  He brought his wife as well, as they needed to sign some paper work here in Azua, and then they went to teach Alexis with us!  It was just a regular lesson, but the spirit was so strong and so.....  different, I dont even know how to explain it!!  It was just so amazing!!  Alexis really felt important and loved that someone like our mission president would want to come and visit him!!!  The lesson went well, and the president and his wife were both able to share parts of the lesson!!  SO GREAT!!!

The rest of the week was filled to the brim with contacting as we try to find new people and put a special emphasis on teaching families!!  We contacted on Friday for like 3 hours, and had 35 contacts...  heres to hoping that they progress!!  We are really working hard to get the word out to every single person that we know, and we are really hoping that the Lord will continue to bless us with success!!

So conference for me was really great!!  WE all went to the district center and watched all of the sessions, including the priesthood session!!   It is amazing how if we go into conference with a question, we will ALWAYS recieve an answer!!  I was thinking about the my last october conference before the mission, and the question I had was about the mission, and the age was lowered!!  Thinking now about this october conference, and how much has changed in my life, and I realized that the way the Lord works has not changed!!  He provides the way to recieve our answers, and know how to help us!!  I will share more about my conference experience in a letter!!

So today we went on a hike with Wilton and Natali to a waterfall as a district, it was super fun!!  We got a little sunburned, but had a great time!!  They are doing so well in the gospel!!

I hope you are all doing great!!  Azua is amazing, and Elder Castillo is doing well as well!!  LOVE YOU ALL!!

Love,

Elder Garrett McEwan  :)