Sunday, November 23, 2014

Strong Testimony of the Book of Mormon is Key . . .

November 22, 2014

Dear Family,

I just want to start off by telling Parker Happy Birthday on the 20th of this month!!  I can not believe that you are 17 now...?!  What?!  17 years old...  it seems like just yesterday that I was 17!  Time really does fly!!  I hope you had a great birthday little brother!!

It is always so great to here about your experiences through out the week!  Sounds like you all have a pretty good routine going on!!  It is always nice to hear that all is well back home, and that you are all enjoying life.  Keep up the good work!!

So I have been great, super busy, but really great!!  Elder Paulino is doing well as well, just trying to finish up all of the last preparations before he goes home.  We are needing to train his replacement starting next week, which will be crazy because I have about a month here in the office, but it should be fun!!  We just recently finished up a couple of Manuals to hopefully help the Zone Leaders to complete all of their duties.  We also made a manual for the Assistants so that they would know exactly what their duties and responsibilities are as APs, and that hopefully the week of the transfers can just be a stress free time where everything goes as planed!!  Obviously there will always be unknown circumstances, but at least we can always try to be over prepared and do everything in our power to make sure things go off with out a hitch!! The people are all doing well, just having a hard time with the baptismal dates...  All of the people are hard core life long Catholics, so we don't want to force anything on them!!  It is a challenge, but hopefully the people will come out of it even stronger than they were before!! 

We are going to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, on Wednesday we will be having a Thanksgiving Feast with the district, then on Thursday the president and his wife have invited us to their house to eat!!  I am very excited...  It has been a long time since I have eaten traditional American holiday food! 

So this week has been full of work!!  We are about to enter in to one of the busiest times of the year for the mission...  We have a Trainer/Trainee meeting on the 3rd of December, another one on the 4th, the Zone Leader Council on the 5th, Christmas Conferences the 8th and 9th, an activity of 6 zones (Half the Mission) on the 12th at the President's house, and then the 13th through the 16th will be the transfers, all with trying to train a new assistant and a new office elder as well!!  We are going to be so busy, so this week I spent the whole time trying to get everything finished that I could, so that I could have all of it out of the way.  I do not want to have to be doing things in the spur of the moment, especially because I am still here learning new things about being in the office as well!!  I have just been working on all of the Agendas and Logistics for those meetings....  Just trying to stay ahead of the game!!

Also this week we had a huge new batch of sick missionaries... all with the same thing!!  There is a little virus that is going around that is attacking the lungs of the missionaries.  It has affects similar to those of asthma:  It makes your chest feel tight, you feel short of breath, and you feel like your throat is swelling and closing off!  We are trying to get all of the missionaries informed of how to treat and prevent this sickness!

So as far as the teaching goes, we are spending a lot of time on the Book of Mormon with the people.  We really want them to have good strong testimonies of the Book of Mormon because if they know that the Book of Mormon is true, they will never waver in knowing that this is the one and only true church!!  We have been working really hard lately with Paulino's grandma and cousin, and they are finally starting to get it!!  It has become a pleasure for them to read the Book of Mormon, and they are loving it!  They have even been reading and marking.  We asked them some questions about what they told us that they had read, and they had basically memorized what they had read, all of the ideas and key concepts and such!!  It was a great experience to see that!!

We also are teaching the Rosado Family.  They are some what progressing, with their 11 year old daughter progressing more than anyone else!!  She memorizes, literally memorizes word for word everything that we leave for her to read!!  She loves everything about the church, and now we just need to keep her mom and dad up to speed with things and help them to develop their own personal testimony of these things!!  We are currently speaking about the Restoration, and they really liked the part of the prophets and how important prophets are.  They said it was really comforting to know that we have a prophet on the earth today who talks to God and knows His will!  They are a great little family, hopefully they will start to come to church more often!!

Today, P-Day, I went to San Jose de Ocoa for the first time!!  Elder Paulino had served there when he first started the mission, and wanted to go visit!! It was also very convenient for me because I needed to pick up some things that I had a man out their make!!  It was a good trip, a little bit long, but a lot of fun!!

Tonight in the night we are also going to have two sessions of stake conference, an adult session and then a priesthood session.  It will be m first stake conference since like march, so that will be good.  This stake seems to working pretty well, even though the attendance of our ward is a little bit low.  We are working hard, and we are going to start planning a little bit better so that we don't just have to be the Assistants, but we can be missionaries and teach as well!!

Miscellaneous items for the week....  Something funny that happened or any cool experiences....  Not really anything?  Hmmm...  I guess one thing that was kind of funny was that one night, I was so tired that I almost got in the back seat of the car, when I was the one who was supposed to be driving!!  It was like midnight, and I had been up since 5, running on about 3 hours of sleep and I was just dead.  It was basically like just lining up under the wrong player when playing QB, instead of being under the center, I was under the guard.  So close, yet so far!!  I even went so far as to open the back door and put my foot up in!!  The only reason that I even knew that I had messed up was when I didn't have to adjust my body around the steering wheel... super embarrassing!!

The final cool thing of the week is that we received a bunch of new little cards to make contacts with, but these ones are different!!  They were designed in a world wide missionary effort by the First Presidency of the Church, and are for ALL members!  It is called "El es la Dadiva"... not really sure what they are calling it in English.  All I know is that we are trying to invite everyone to know, accept, and share the love of Christ, with the focus being on the immense love of God in sharing His Only Begotten with us!!  The project centers on the scripture of John 3:16.  As missionaries, we have been given the challenge to make 10 contacts a day using these cards for 28 days.  By the end of the time period, that will be 280 contacts for the month for every companionship...  resulting in 34,000 contacts for the mission!!  Right now we are doing about 7,000 contacts in a week, so this would be a huge change!!  We can do it, it just takes a little bit of extra effort!!

I just want to finish by sharing a small part of my testimony, that I know that this church is the church of Christ.  I know with out a doubt that He loves me, and that He does everything that is possible to help me change my life!  I know that He wants me to be happy, and that all of us can be happy.  I know that if we follow His commandments, He will show us the way.

I love you all and I hope that you have a great week!!

Elder Garrett McEwan

P.S.:  Please send pictures of just like basic things i.e. the house, the yard, the cars, you guys, etc.!!  ¡Gracias!

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