Monday, April 27, 2015

Keeping Our Covenants . . .

April 27, 2015

Dear Family,

Thank you so much for the package that you sent us. It was heavily inspected, all of the eggs opened and dumped in the bottom and the card was opened as well, so I am assume that they were looking for drugs, but the protein was intact!!  Thanks so much! We loved it and it was much needed!!

Things here are going well.  We are continuing to work hard, even though we are not seeing any results!  We now have about 3 weeks of just knocking on doors all day, and no one will let us in!  It is a little bit funny because we knock or call into their house, a person will come out, and they say, "I'm catholic". I just have started responding, "Nice to meet you Catholic, I am Elder McEwan." It is funny because before even knowing what we are doing they are rejecting us!  We have been trying to do lots of service too, and they are rejecting that too!  The only person who accepted our help was someone who needed help putting a Pack'n'Play down, and the instructions were in English, so they let us help.  When we asked if they would like us to help them with anything else, because they were moving, they rejected!  It was weird...  but anyway, we just keep working! Sometimes they ignore us and pretend like they don’t see us. It doesn't get to me though.  I don't get sad, because if we get sad it makes us get disanimated, and that can lead to losing your testimony, so that is why I don't do it!!I listened to a really good talk by Elder Holland saying that this is just my chance to get a glimpse at what the Savior went through.

So this week we lost the last person we had that was progressing.  Celsi decided this week that she didn't want to meet with us any more, so we are officially to zero.  It was sad, because where she stopped was the word of wisdom, and I think that it was just because she has problems with it.  She smokes, and so I think that she just doesn't want to give that up!  It was sad, but hopefully in the future when she is able to give it up she will get baptized.

So we were talking a lot this week about the priesthood, and how much power and authority it gives us, and it was really interesting to me to see the difference between the power and the authority.  Every man who has received the priesthood has the authority, but we receive the power through keeping our covenants, especially the covenant of the priesthood that is found in doctrine and covenants.  It is like trying to use a cell phone that isn't charged.  Every person who buys a cell phone has the ability to use it, but if they don't plug it in to charge then they will never be able to use it.  We plug ourselves into the priesthood and become endowed with the power as we learn to recognize the promptings of the spirit and keep the commandments and covenants that we have made.

I love all of you.  Don't give up on the things that you are doing.  Things might get tough, there might be struggles, but that is what makes us stronger, and makes the achievement of our goals that much sweeter.


Elder Garrett McEwan

Monday, April 20, 2015

More Contacting . . .

April 20, 2015

Dear Family,

Sounds like you guys had a great week!  We too were able to have a good one here!  We just passed the transfers, and my companion and I stayed together!  That was good, even though he has been here for a really long time!  He has already been here for six months, which is the very typical time, so he will be staying just a little bit longer here!  Our zone is going to get switched up quite a bit, and about half the zone is leaving!  It is kind of exciting to get to see more people that I have become friends with out here, so that will be good!

So this week was a lot of the same as the last one...  CONTACTING!!!  It has gotten to the point that I am teaching my comp to yell random things in english so that people will come to the door!  Yesterday he yelled "Merry Christmas", and I was dying!!  We are working with him on english so that he will have that opportunity for when he goes home!

Celsi is still doing really well, the only difficulty with her right now is that they just took out here four front teeth from an accident that she had... so she is very self conscious about it.  She did not go to church this week because of that, but she is hopefully getting the replacements this week, so hopefully she will keep coming!  We also found a new guy named Guillermo.  We were just walking, and we saw him, talked to him, and put a lesson.  We went back and he told us that he had been meeting with the missionaries about two years ago and that the only reason that he stopped was because of a stroke that he had.  We are hoping that he will begin to progress.  We have only met with him one time, but hopefully he will want to keep learning more!!

So I had a great experience in church this week!  I have been trying to be the best that I can be, and it has been a tough process.  Everytime that I try to be better and think that I am progressing so much, I realize another little thing that I need to change!  I guess that is why they say that perfection is a process that takes us our whole lives!  So anyway, in church I had some cool thoughts!  We always say that in our church we have the plenitud of the gospel.  My thoughts were these:  WE SHOULD ACCEPT THE GOSPEL IN ITS FULLNESS.  THIS COMES THROUGH COMPLETE AND PERFECT OBEDIENCE TO EVERY COMMANDMENT AND ORDENANCE THAT HAS BEEN GIVEN TO US.  IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO SIMPLY KNOW THAT WE HAVE THE FULLNESS OF THE GOSPEL; WE NEED TO LIVE IT IN ITS FULLNESS.

I feel like this was a great reflexion point for my mission.  It isn't enough to simply know that we have the fullness...  If we don't live it in its fullness, it doesn't do us any good!  I challenge you to try to live each day in the fullness of the gospel!

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


Elder Garrett McEwan

Monday, April 13, 2015

Cleansing & Sowing . . .

April 13, 2015

Dear Family,

Sounds like you guys all had a great week!  It is always so fun for me to hear about everything that you are all doing, and that everything is going well!

So things out here are still going well for me too!  I lost my voice almost completely for about 4 days, not really sure why, but I am thinking that it is because I got sick.  I don't know what it is about the time when missionaries are finishing the mission, but it seems like at the end, everyone who has had almost the whole two years of being perfectly healthy just gets sick!  I didn't let it stop me though, and still went out and worked every day!

The week went well, and it was a week that the area definitely needed!  We used to have lots of "investigators", but the thing is that they were not people who really wanted to change their lives, they were people who became really good friends with the missionaries, and the missionaries just didn't want to stop visiting them.  For me that was a little bit hard, because I want the people to progress and change their lives, not just like me and change for me.  So, we started doing what I have done in all of my areas, and just did a deep cleansing of the area.  We prayed to know who truly wanted to listen and change, and that we would know who did or didn't want the message.  We then realized that through their church attendance, their reading, and also just with how they received us who truly wanted to learn more about the gospel!  It was hard because we were left with only one person, Celsi.

That was a little bit hard because we had no one to visit in the day besides her, and even she is struggling a little bit because she just had mouth surgery, so she was unable to go to church this week.  My comp was a little bit sad, and was struggling with wanting to get out of the house.  He was taking a really long time to get ready and such, and when I asked him why, he told me that we didn't have to hurry because we didn't have any one to visit.  I just put a big smile on my face and told him that we did.  He asked who, and I told him I didn't know.  He asked when, and I told him that I didn't know, and that I didn't know even if we were going to visit the indicated person that day, but that we were going to find them!  So he got ready and we left.  We went the whole day knocking on doors....  aaaaannndddd passed the whole day with out finding any new people!  The next day, I told him the same thing, and we had the same results!!  We now have four days of doing the same thing with the same results, but I am happy.  I used to think that it was all about teaching and baptizing, but I realize now that every phase of the work is important.  Sometimes we go to areas to be the one who sows, and sometimes we go to be the one who reaps the harvest.  I decided that I was going to find my purpose in this area, and if my purpose is to sow then I am going to sow the whole area, house by house and person by person!.

So that is really all that has happened this week, nothing really new to report!

I just want to tell you to stay strong in your faith!  Lots of times there are things that maybe we don't understand, or things that we are unsure about, but I promise that this is the true gospel.  I know it because I have lived it and continue to live it.  I know that we are put in different situations for our own benefit, as well as the benefit of others.  We must constantly live in harmony with the gospel to know what we need to do, and I promise that through your faithfullness and diligence that you can know what your purpose is, and how the gospel can work in your life if you just open up, let it in and embrace it.

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


Elder Garrett McEwan

Monday, April 6, 2015

Week of La Semana Santa & General Conference . . .

April 6, 2015

Dear Family,

First off, thank you so much for helping me to get things going for college and apartment stuff. I’m excited to be rooming with Sean. It will be great to go back to the good old days J! It will definitely give us a chance to get to know each other again.

So this week was really good, even though it was a lot different than usual.  This week was la Semana Santa, which as you all remember is a Catholic church holiday...  So they give the entire week off from school and work to literally the whole country!  We were really a little bit nervous because with that we could have two possible outcomes...  The first is that every one is home and we teach out of our minds, and the second is that no one is home and we aren't able to teach hardly anyone....  This year our luck fell to option number two, so we we not able to teach very many people this week. We were knocking on lots of doors, and no one was even home.  The problem was that the majority of the people who live here aren't from here, they are from a place called El Cibao, a little town that is close to here, but is in the Santiago mission... so everyone went home because it is so close to here!  We were able to have some other opportunities this week though that made it a great week!

On Friday we ran out of drinking water, called, and they weren't working because of the holiday.  We decided to just move on with life because we had an activity at the church, because it was Viernes Santo, the day when Christ was crucified.  The activity started with a good little journey through the last week of Christ's life, and it was amazing.  I hope the people were able to feel the spirit.  Then we started to play betiyah, the street baseball that they play with the tops to the water jugs.  It was fun, and we also ate lunch and had habichuelas con dulce....  I am going to have to make it for you guys when I get home, because it is too hard to explain what it is, so you will just have to see!  We watched the new Exodus movie, which was interesting, and then we were able to teach a little about that because lots of people had questions about whether the story really went with the movie. 

On Saturday we were able to go to all 3 sessions of the conference, and we went to the stake center for the first two...  It was like being back home!!  Air conditioning, soft chairs, watching the conference on a nice projector...  It was nice to be able to watch it like that!!  It was a much needed conference, even though it was a little bit sad because it was my last in the mission.  After the first two sessions we went back to our chapel to support a baptism that the other guys in the house were having, and it was really good.  About ten seconds before it started, I was asked to speak, so I spoke on the restoration of the priesthood and how necessary the priesthood is for the ordinance of baptism.  It was good, and then we watched the priesthood session!!  We also didn't get the water call because we were out of the house all day, and were not there to receive it!!

On Sunday we woke up and had big plans for the day...  We were going to study, teach some lessons, cook, and eat before the conference...  So we woke up, studied, and I went on an intercambio with Avina to teach.  I left, and my comp started to cook.  I came home and he told us that the gas to cook ran out.  It was Sunday and we didn't want to full on buy gas, so we just heated up the toaster oven thing that usually is for waffles and cooked fried eggs and ate salad.  We went to the sessions and it was amazing, and I loved it!  We finished that, and then we went home.  We had a bag of charcoal because a kid in our house has like a Haitian oven, which is just a can that has a little grill thing on it.  We decided to use that, and ended up making a really good locrio, which is rice and meat and vegetables all cooked together!!  It was really good, and we ate more salad! 

Today we went to the stake center and had a zone activity where we ate pizza, played basketball, and talked.  It was fun and everyone enjoyed themselves!

They also announced a new temple... in Haiti!!  That was awesome to hear!

My favorite talk from conference was Elder Bednar from the Saturday afternoon session!  It was about fear, and how we can not let fear run our lives.  It was interesting to think about.  87% of people in the WORLD let the fear of failing stop them from even trying.  87% of people won't even start for the fear of not finishing.  I just started to think about that....  How would the world be if we were never afraid to do what is right?  It would be really different.  We would share the gospel more, we would use Christ's atonement more, and we would do everything possible to keep the commandments.  He also gave us three tips to overcome the fears that we have.  First we need to first come unto Christ.  Don't doubt, don't fear.  We need to assure ourselves that we go unto Christ, so that we can live in His care.  Second, we need to edify ourselves in Him.  We need to live and complete the covenants that we made, and live worthy to be prepared to move forward and make more covenants with God.  Lastly, we need to follow Him.  We need to follow Him with a firmness and a true desire to walk where He walked, not for obligation but out of love!  If we do these things, we will have eternal life!!

I hope you all loved the conference.  I would love to hear about what your favorite talks were, why you liked them, and specific plans about how you are going to put them to practice in your life!!

Elder Garrett McEwan

P.S.:  Tell Rob and Cammy and the boys thanks for the letter.  I just got it last week!!