Sunday, December 21, 2014

English or Spanish? . . .

December 20, 2014

Dear Family,

This week was a very busy week with very little rest.  We were able to finish up everything for the transfers, which was really good!!  On Sunday, we also went and ate with one of the sweetest member ladies.  She is a returned missionary, and she is about 32 years old now.  She is not married, but she is just really amazing!!  She treats the missionaries like they are her kids, even though she is not that much older than us!!  Any way, everything on Sunday went well.

On Monday we were going all over the place.  It was pretty crazy, It was a little bit funny!  Everyone was calling us to ask special permission to "Go to the capital on tuesday" because they had stuff they wanted to do Monday!!  It got to the point that I could tell what the person wanted before picking up the phone!!  Any way, we were able to get everything figured out, and everything went well.  We also dropped a missionary off at the airport who is going to Peru.  His family came to see him off, and it was a great experience.  He had been in our mission for a full transfer waiting for his VISA, and he finally got it, so we sent him off!!

Tuesday we went to the chapel in San Geronimo to have the transfers.  Everyone actually took the schedule seriously, and got there on time!!  We were a little bit worried about the bus. On Monday night we found out that it was Elias Pina, almost in Haiti, and about a four hour drive away, and we needed it to be in the capital at 6 in the morning...  So they left at 2 in the morning and were able to make it there on time!!  We got everyone loaded up, and it all turned out just great!!  Then we had the trainers and trainees capacitation meeting.  It was a great experience, and I spent basically the whole time translating.  The president has us say lots of things in english to help the new guys.  I wonder how much of the spanish they understand.  The english I am not going to lie was a little bit tough...  It is kind of funny!!  I can hear english and translate it into spanish basically with out thinking, and I can hear spanish and translate into english, but speaking for myself in english is a little bit rough because it just comes out easier in spanish!!  Any way, we got all of that figured out, and immediately started getting people off to their areas.  We wanted the people in the south to get on the 2 p.m. bus so that they wouldn't have to wait until the 5:30 p.m. one, so we took off!!  I got a phone call saying that luggage had gotten misxed up between a sister and an elder, so we picked it up and took it with us too to send on the bus!!  We got them there just in time, and they all went off to their respective areas.  Then we went and changed money for those who were going home, and then we bought pizza and picked up our stuff to go stay the night at the CCM with the people who were going home.  We ate, and then we played ping pong!!  It was great!!  Also, we needed Pedersen and Jardon to help us because we only have 2 people in the office who can drive, Van Katwyk and I, so they helped us!!  We just talked and got caught up with everything that has been going on, then went to bed!

So on Wednesday after about 2 hours of sleep, we were up taking people to the airport!!  It was early, but we got them all off and everyone was fine!!  Then we went back, cleaned the rooms in the CCM, and went out to work!! 

On Thursday we were supposedly having the PDAY that we missed last Saturday, but the PDAY consisted of waking up a little late and then going to work ;)  Any way it was a good day, and we were able to get some things done!!  The President invited us to eat with him, but I was feeling a little bit sick, so I was unable to eat. 

On Friday I was able to do all of the references for the year!! That is something that falls under my calling as assistant. In the past it's been a bit relaxed, so there were 85 to do...  I have to call all of them and get their information and everything then put them in the system and assign them to a proselyting area.  I was able to finish all of them, but it was a little funny!!  I am sitting there with all of this guy's information, his full name, phone number, and part of his address.  I ask him for the rest of his address to be able to send the missionaries to his house, and he tells me that they are already visiting him.  I say that that is perfect, and that I just want to be able to put him in the system because the church is a church of order...  and he wouldn't tell me!!  I read off all of the information that HE PERSONALLY put in the church system, and he wouldn't believe me.  Then I asked him who the missionaries are that are teaching him, and he wouldn't tell me that either!!  I got a little frustrated, so I told him all of my information and that I just was trying to help him, but he yelled some bad words at me and hung up?  Haha just life I guess!!  We also picked up a mini missionary and took her to her area, so we only have one companionship in the mission that is working in a trio!!  That is a big accomplishment because that means that these people are going to be able to work at their full potential.

I just wanted to thank you all for the twelve days of christmas that you guys sent to us!!  It has been a lot of fun to open them with Pena, and he says to tell you thanks for him too! 

So on Christmas day I will be calling on Skype.  I will get on the email to make sure that you guys are ready for the call right before.

Well Family, I love you all so much.  I miss you lots, and I can't wait to talk on Christmas.  Have a great week!!

Elder Garrett McEwan

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Great Week of Conferences . . .

December 14, 2014

Dear Family,

It was so great to hear all of the great things that are happening to all of you guys right now!!  It sounds like you are all just having a great time!  I am so grateful as well for your continued support while I am out here on the mission.

So this week was full of things happening!!  On Monday and Tuesday we had the Christmas Conferences...  and it started off on the wrong foot!!  Turns out that the Area Presidency was having some kind of banquet Monday at the same time as our Conference in the same place with the same catering service, so we had to change all of that stuff!!  It was a little bit hectic because we found out about all of that stuff on Saturday night, but it was ok and we were able to get everything figured out!!  We had the Conference in Azua on Monday, and we had to drive a ton!!  We made it there, luckily, at 7 in the morning.  We then had to go back to Bani to get more tables...  a half hour drive back!!  We went, got all the tables loaded up, and got the conference started!!  I was doing things the entire time, so I missed the majority of the conference!!  It seems like when ever there is a conference of some kind, all of the missionaries get sick right before coming!!  I spent the entire conference running people around to the doctor and to different farmacies...It is a little bit stressful sometimes because I am having to pay for a lot of the stuff with my own money and then wait for the reimbursement, but I guess it is good.  It is something that I guess is just preparing me to have a family, with kids asking all the time for money!!  Any way, the food turned out great, and there was a ton of it!!  Finally, a conference with food that was amazing!!  Then we watched all of the skits!!  Those literally had it all!!  From funny jokes to inside jokes to songs that the missionaries made up...  It was great!! Then when the conference finished, we took pictures and went home!!

The next day we had the conference in the capital.  It also started off with a problem with the tables, just because the Bishop of the building that we were at did not show up....  So I spent the whole morning getting tables again!!  I missed the entire morning session of the conference!!  The food was even better, and there was even a chocolate fountain!!  It was really cool, but I did not eat out of that because I KNOW how unhygienic those things can be...  Especially when there are so many people!!  150 people from different countries dunking a marshmellow in a chocolate waterfall in two different languages?  Does NOT sound appetizing to me!!  The skits were also very funny as well!!  Lots of laughs, good acting, and some funny lines as well!!  We did (as usual) have one awkward moment when a missionary from Mexico said the "N" word in a rap...  He doesn't know english, so for him it was normal, but it definately caught the president of guard!!  Any way, then we finished up all of that and went home!!

On Friday, we had the big activity at the President's house for the netire capital!!  It was a great success!!  The choir from our ward and from Las Caobas sang, and it was amazing!!  They sang really well!  We also had two sister missionaries sing, and they stole the show!!  It was seriously like listening to snow white sing!!  I was honestly just waiting for all of the little lizards and rats and cockroaches to come out, hypnotized, to do their bidding!!  It was great, and there was a turn out of about 300 people, so it was great!!  Really had a great time!!

Saturday was the day that we finished up the transfers.  It is a very good thing that I made up the formats for all of the things, so all we had to do was fill in the blanks with the names!!  We got it all set up, and then went and celebrated in CHILI's!!  It was fun, I got a soup and salad with a frozen strawberry lemonade!!  Then we took some sisters to San Cristobal to sing in a baptismal service, then went back to our ward party!! 

Today was Paulino's last Sunday, so he spoke!!  We had a great Sunday, and I have had a huge change about how I feel about Sunday!!  It legitimately is a day that I look forward to!!

Well, that is what has been going on!!  Also, I am very glad that you got my Christmas Package!!  Hopefully it made in there in one piece, because it is very fragile!!

So for Christmas...  We will be Skyping in the afternoon.  Not sure at what time yet, but we will be in contact.  As the assistants we always have to be on our personal emails and the assistant;s email just to make sure that nothing get's sent to us that we don't know about!!  So, I will let you know!!  All that I know is that the 25th is an all day PDAY, as well as the 31st.  The PDAY for those two weeks will be changed to those days!!

I love you all so much!!  Have a great week!!

Elder Garrett McEwan  :)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Great Leadership Learning Experiences . . .

December 6, 2014

Dear Family,

Thank you so much for your email this week!!  I am so lucky to have such a great family as I do!  I love you all so much!  Thank you for sharing your experiences with me!!

So this week was very long and interesting!!  We have been super busy every day this week.  We had a trainers capacitation meeting on Wednesday, another one on Thursday, and the Zone Leader Council on Friday.  Next Monday and Tuesday, we have the Mission Christmas Parties, one in the South and the other here in the Capital.  It has all been super busy, because San Juan also has their district conference this weekend.  We also have the transfers coming up at the end of the week, as well as an activity for all of the wards in the Capital at the president's house. Elder Paulino is going home, and then we have the week of Christmas!  We have to plan Zone Activites for Christmas day, service projects through out the week, as well as help with a Flash Mob for the Institute and make a choir to sing at the park next to the temple.  I guess we could say that we have been super busy lately, and that we will continue to be busy until 2015!

So on Wednesday,we had the first of the two trainers capacitations.  It went really well!!  It was a lot of fun because I got to see my son, Elder Fallentine, and my grandson, Elder hansen.  They are both doing really well, working hard in their area, which is actually the neighboring area to Los Girasoles.  Any way, we were able to pull the meeting off with out a hitch, and ate really good food as well!!  It was like a late Thanksgiving dinner, so that was awesome!!  My part in the capacitation was fairly simple!  I spoke a little bit about budgeting and helped them to make an example budget plan.  I also spoke a little bit later about Preach My Gospel and how important that is, as well as gave them a little calendar to study Preach My Gospel.  Finally, I just spoke in the division that we did between the trainers and trainees about Conversion, and how important it is that we are truly converted before we try to convert someone else!!  It went really well!!

Thursday was the other capacitation, this time in Azua.  It was really great to have the opportunity to go back there and see everything that I used to see every day!!  I got to talk to my old Zone Leaders, as well as with Elder Castillo and his trainee.  They said that the area is going well, and that Alexis is getting baptized this next Saturday and so is Evelyn, two people that I taught, so that was really awesome to hear!!  Also, Mercedes, one of my converts, is getting her eyes operated on finally, so hopefully all goes well with that!!  The meeting went well.  The kids were a little bit tired because they had to travel a lot more than the people from the Capital, but it still went well!!

Friday was the Zone Leader Council.  We had everything ready, and then the president told us that he wanted a copy of our new ZL manual that we did for everybody, so I had to run home and print off 15 copies of a 46 page manual....  let's just say that that was not a short trip home.  We were able to get it all printed off, and went to the ZL Council.  It was a lot more calm in this meeting for me because I did not have much participation!!  :)  I had a half hour participation talking about the new Christmas program "El es la Dadiva", so that was super easy!!  I could have talked about God's love for us and His Son Jesus Christ for 30 years, and I only had 30 minutes, but it went well!  Then we took people to where they needed to go to go back home, and went and taught some lessons.  The lessons have been a little bit hard for me lately because the people just aren't progressing.  They might go to church fairly often, but they don't keep the commitments to read the Book of Mormon and they aren't praying for answers!  It is hard and a little bit tricky at times to try to help them along because I don't want to offend them because they are my companions family members, but I really want to help them understand that we aren't just there to be their friends and have a bible study class, but that we are there to help them change their lives!!  Hopefully all of that will start to pick up soon after the transfer finishes!!

Elder Peña is doing great, we are having lots of fun!  We are both just trying to get accustomed to the office life and trying to find what we can do to improve the things that might not be functioning the way that they should be here in the office!!  We have some big plans for when the transfer comes, one of which includes the idea to only work in the office in the morning and try to be out teaching in the afternoon!!

Dad, congratulations for applying for the new job!!  I know that it is hard, but things happen for a reason, and we need to put our best foot forward.  It is never easy to change something that has been done for so long in a certain way, but there is always room for improvement!!  That is something that I learn more and more every day here in the office.  Some of the things that we do here have been done in the SAME way for YEARS!!  If something doesn't work, we have to find a way to make it better.  If we are not progressing, we need to find a way to progress!!  I love you so much and I wish you the best of luck in the new job hunt!!  I LOVE YOU!!

Family, I love you all so much!!  I hope you have a wonderful week, and I can't wait to talk on Christmas!!  Love you!!


Elder Garrett McEwan

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Word from Elder y Hermana Clawson . . .

I sent a message to mission office couple, Elder and Sister Clawson, thanking them for taking care of and teaching Elder McEwan as well as to check on the Christmas packages that we shipped on Friday, November 28 for Elder McEwan and his companion. The tracking information said they were delivered and signed for at the mission office by Ramona and it's only been 4 days!!

I wanted to share the sweet message I received from Elder y Hermana Clawson:

December 3, 2014

Dear Sister McEwan,

Thank you for your kind words, but, we’re sure that the learning part is coming from President Nuckols and not us. It is very possible that his packages are here.  We mostly deal with the packages that come through the local post office. Usually, one of the elders or Ramona, (who cleans the office ) will sign for packages which come directly to the mission office.  If one of the office elders receive a package, it is given directly to him or placed in his area.  Right now, Elder McEwan and his companion are with the President and his wife in a training session with some missionaries and then they will take some elders to the doctor.  We can check with him If we are here when he returns.

Elder McEwan is a fine, young elder.  We are amazed at his maturity and business mind.  He is one of two elders that we have seen who have exhibited these qualities in the 18 months that we have been here.  You have done an excellent job with him.   As he continues to be faithful in his service to the Lord, he will one day become a strong leader in which others will look to for guidance.  We love and appreciate him.  Elder y Hermana Clawson

p.s. Your son returned and he has received the packages. He has not opened any of them J.