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Monday, October 10, 2016

THE WORK GOES ON . . .

October 10, 2016

Hi Y'all,

This week has been so great to be a missionary and to do the work of our Savior, Lord, and Redeemer. It has been so wonderful and the weather is changing here to be a little cooler and definitely not the same as when I came out in July. The humidity here is ridiculous and makes us super tired, but then when we talk about why we are out here doing this wonderful work then we somehow have that energy to finish the day and to push harder than ever before. We have felt the love of our Savior.

I have been doing some exchanges because Elder Benesh has been very sick so the other Elders have been so kind to go with me to go visit some of the people we have.

Tuesday: Me and Elder Downs went on exchanges and went to visit people me and Elder Benesh had found last week. We were only able to talk with one of those investigators but we were able to teach about the Book of Mormon and that was a great point for this guy to learn about our church. We even committed him to coming to church this Sunday and that was awesome, plus he even accepted that invitation.

Wednesday was a pretty good day because it was actually a little cooler which was a great time to go out :). Me and Elder Benesh have been finding a lot of people that we are going to go see. We have had a lot of Referrals this week that we have made contact with and that is awesome. Mostly we have been in the Hood or the Ghetto but we have been kept safe and it was a very humbling experience to have :).

Elder McEwan and Elder Benesh
Thursday was a pretty great day because we were able to go around and meet people :). Elder Benesh and I had a lunch appointment with one of our investigators but we decided to eat a little bit before we left. I'm glad we did because all this guy gave us was some chips and a banana plus a cold drink. This guy is actually pretty wealthy but we don't think he was sober at the time ;). We started teaching him and my companion drank the drink that he gave us and we kept teaching him. Well, he kind of kicked us out in the middle of the lesson because he "just had to go pick his sis up for work." As we were leaving Elder Benesh asked the guy what the drink was and the guy said, "Oh it's only sweet tea, hahahahaha." IT was funny because Elder Benesh had his first time drinking sweet tea, I didn't because I was told not to :).

Friday: So today was a pretty good day. We were able to plan for lessons to teach and areas to go knocking. It was one day after my three month and it feels like time is just flying by. We had a dinner appointment with a member and that was so fun. I had told them that it was a day after my 3 months on the mission. They bought a cake but the funny thing is is that they forgot who had told them about his 3 months and they gave the cake to one of the new guys who has only been out for 1 month :). Before we left I was able to give a blessing to the mom and the most amazing thing happened. It was not me who was talking. All I can remember is that I started the blessing and then that is all :). I can really feel the spirit and I love being able to use the Priesthood power that I am entrusted with.

Saturday and Sunday were the same and they were both great days :).

We were not evacuated from our area Hurricane Matthew. We only got the wind of the hurricane but people here were willing to let us borrow their phones to call home but we didn't need to :). There were some areas that were evacuated because they were right in the line of the hurricane and they are now going to be used to help clean up :).

Since we're seeing it get a bit colder, I could probably use my coat and some gloves but like not thick gloves:)


I LOVE ALL Y'ALL!

Elder Parker McEwan

PS That's so awesome that we finally have another state championship for sports in Salem instead of having the fine arts and drama taking over, hahaha :).

--
2 Nephi 31:20

Saturday, October 8, 2016

HURRICANE MATTHEW . . .

It's hard to believe that Elder McEwan has only been on his mission in Georgia for just over two months and has already experienced TWO hurricanes. So thankful for prayers, faith, and inspired leaders . . .

October 5, 2016

Dear Parents,

After consulting with local authorities, President Grayson is starting the evacuation of the missionaries in the East Savannah, Hilton Head, Ridgeland and Beaufort areas effective this morning as a precautionary measure.  They are coming to the Macon area and the mission home.  We will keep you updated as things change.

Thank you for your continued love and prayers.

Sister Jensen

October 6, 2016

Good morning families, we continue to wait on Matthew. Due to voluntary evacuation orders, we are moving (West Savannah Zone) Richmond Hill, Georgetown, and Pooler missionaries, westwardly. This means further on the west side of I-95. They were in the borderline areas. We in GA expect deterioration of weather and Matthew, Friday night into Saturday. As usual, we will email those families not seeing this information.

October 7, 2016
We are looking good in this area. All missionaries are safe and dry. Prayerful that the damage in the east side of the mission will be small.

October 8, 2016
Ok, now we are in the post hurricane phase. There are some power outages, fallen trees, but SAFE missionaries. The ones in Savannah, aren't ready to return quite yet. They are locally placed and helping do the missionary work, they came out for. As we say in our motto, "We are disciples of Jesus Christ.." They are being fed, and cared for. No fears, families...no fears.

Sister Grayson

Monday, October 3, 2016

INVITE TO ACT . . .

October 3, 2016

Hello Ya'll!

The words " WE INVITE YOU TO ACT" are not words from us but from our Heavenly Father and our loving Savior. These words speak loud to all those that hear them and when they hear them they are free to choose whether to act or not but they cannot build up their testimony without first reading the Book of Mormon or by then praying about what we as missionaries or members teach about. In one of the lessons we have as missionaries in preparing us throughout our mission is we invite people to commit and we follow up. In this we find that the only way to have success in this struggle to strengthen testimonies is to commit people to things such as praying to know what we testify is true or by reading the scriptures and really pondering. These commitments bind that person to finding out for themselves what we teach is true.  We find it tough in our day to day lives to help people see that the commitments are to help them in strengthening their testimony. As missionaries we teach that when we read the Book of Mormon or we go to church that we feel closer to our Savior Jesus Christ but it goes deeper and we work to make sure members and nonmembers see that with keeping commitments they aren't promising the missionaries or the member friends but they are actually promising the Lord himself to go to church and to continue reading the BoM as well as reviewing the missionary lessons daily.

One of the MANY cotton fields in the South
Well this week has been one that I am excited to share was a very successful week :).

Thursday me and Elder Benesh went knocking in the hot sun and we wanted to die but we made it a goal to knock for one hr everyday so that's what we did. We were lead to three houses and these people were very open to learning more:). I knocked on a door and this guy answered. I said, "Hi, we are missionaries-" and the guy said ya sure come on in. We were so confused but we went in and we talked to them for a few minutes and we get to go back tomorrow to talk with them some more :).

Friday we had interviews and then went out to lunch with the new senior couple in our zone. We then came home and started working to get things ready for the rest of our day. We took a member with us and that was great because he had served a mission and also taught in the MTC so he was so much help.

Baby Gators
Saturday and Sunday were about the same as ya'll at home. We watched Conference at the church building and that was a blessing to be able to watch it. We also watched a session at the Flakes house (new couple missionaries). I enjoyed the talk about member missionaries, because we all need to remember that throughout our lives. We are working now to fill our teaching pool and we have some very good potential in these people out here:).

Sounds like y'all had a very busy week as well. Dylan stop getting tackled, just be like Forrest Gump and just keep running :). I know that we may get down on ourselves a lot because we want to be better than we were the day before but we sometimes bite off more than we can chew. In conference (by the way, I stayed awake) we learned that little by little we make a difference from either visiting or home teaching to actual missionaries. We all help each other to strengthen our testimony in Christ :).

Love y'all and please write me letters:)

Love Elder MCEWAN

P.S. We saw some baby gators and even had gator tail one day (it tastes like chicken :)). We also see plenty of turtles.

--
2 Nephi 31:20

Friday, September 30, 2016

SEPTEMBER ZONE CONFERENCE . . .

Mission tour with Elder Uceda and Elder & Sister Meurs

Dinner at September Zone Conference

September Zone Conference

Monday, September 26, 2016

PHOTOS . . .

The other Elders slept at our apartment last night, so
Bear and I slept on the floor -- STILL my favorite place :)

Thanks for teaching me how to clean the toilet, Mom.
I'm putting those skills to use.

We love LUNCH TIME!

WE ARE STRONGER WITH THE LORD . . .

September 26, 2016

Hey Y'all,

Some things that I have been told and things that I have been through this past week have made me reflect on the things that I want to share with y'all. With being a missionary, Satan tries his hardest to make you feel very worthless and that no matter what you do you cannot make the day positive. I absolute love being in the South and I love the people, but sometimes it is a real struggle with cause everyone wants to believe but they all have different opinions on how the Savior looks and how he acts (don't know how they know the actions). The one lesson, out of many, that has stuck with me since being in Georgia is how much we need to trust in the Lord and seek His hands that are still extending! We need to stand in holy places and I am reminded of that everyday. The people we see don't see us as people with badges, they see us as representatives of Christ, even though sometimes not very nice things are said about us ;). We need not be afraid of what ifs. We need to think about the 'whens' and 'hows' we are going to rise up to those challenges with boldness and with bravery but with the Lords help in our everyday lives!!!!!!:) We need to stand tall and show people that no matter our size, shape, or color that we are representatives of the Lord!!!!!

SO this week has been really good. I told Elder Benesh that I felt we needed to go tracting (knocking on doors) and he said that we could. So we went on Wednesday to a neighborhood and most the people were open to learning about Jesus but they didn't want anything to do with "the Mormons". We decided that we just needed to keep trying and so that's what we did. We knocked on this house and a lady answered the door. We talked to her and she said that she had just gotten out of the hospital that day and that she was super tired. Elder Benesh started walking away and I said, "Ma'am, why were you in the hospital?" and she said, "cause I have breast cancer." I thought to myself wow everything does happen for a reason! She was pretty nervous about us and didn't really want anything to do with us. I said, "Well I had cancer twice when I was younger and she was like, "Wow you look really good for having cancer twice." She said give me two weeks to recover and then y'all can come back :). I felt so blessed to have had an opportunity to share my story (a little bit) and have someone feel more comfortable with us :). I was so pumped that night. I got down on my knees and prayed and thanked Heavenly father for the experiences that I have had in my life :).

The rest of the week was pretty good in that we were able to find some places to knock for this week and some people that we can go see as just individuals that could one day become members :) .

I love getting the letters from y'all and hearing about all the awesome things that y'all are doing back at home :). Garrett and Sean good luck in life and work this week and always remember that your Savior's love is ten fold. That goes for you too, Dylan. I know high school is tough and it doesn't get any easier cause Satan knows that you are trying your best but that just means you need to work so much harder :0. Mom, Dad keep being awesome parents! I know that we never had it easy growing up and that we were not always the easiest children to teach but we learned life long lessons from two of the best people in the world . I look at the lessons that we were taught about hard work and I see that in the mission life right now. It helps me know that where ever we are Satan will be there as well trying to make us take the easy way out but the Lord knows that we are much better than that and Satan wants to push us to test our faith.

Being positive has really helped me a lot this past week get through some hard things. I know that Satan tries and tries to pull missionaries down. I see that everyday and it is nice to know that the savior is always there for us, 24/7 -- everyday!


Love y'all so much!

The camel back is GREAT!!!
Love Elder McEwan

P.S. Thank you so much for the package! The camel back is working great when we ride our bikes.

--
2 Nephi 31:20

Monday, September 19, 2016

KNOCKING IS HARD BUT THE LORD SAYS 'KNOCK' . . .

September 19, 2016

Hi Y'all!

So this past week was super busy and we had lots of stuff to do, well, until we got dropped by two people :0.

Tuesday was Zone conference and Elder Uceda and Elder Muers (new) came and talked to us for a long time. They talked about the important role of us being a missionary and that we need to first convert ourselves to the Lord. We then talked about reading scriptures and helping others see the importance of reading as well.

On Wednesday we were working at the food bank that we do every Wednesday and that was so much fun. We were able to fill 230 boxes for a disaster relief aid. It was a ton and we were drenched in sweat! Afterwards, we went to visit a lady who seemed really interested in the BOOK OF MORMON and we even gave her one but then we went by and she said that she didn't want us there to teach her. She said she was going to learn on her own and that if she had any question she would find a way to contact us. This is the funniest thing that I have heard in a long time :). The next guy we went to visit was the same way. He said that we and his church taught the same thing and kept saying that he loved the King James version of the Bible but didn't understand why the Book of Mormon was so important. We were just about to leave and I said, "Whats the same about the two churches," and he said, "Well there is a God" and that's all he said. I was trying to teach him the restoration and he didn't want to talk about it so we left.

It has been slow because its been very hot here and sometimes the people just aren't very nice to us and don't see the importance of us being out here. Last night we did an exchange and I went with the zone leader. It was a great time because we were able to knock and find people who showed a little bit of interest. Knocking in the south is hard but we love the Lord and if he tells us to knock then we knock!

The work isn't easy and there are times on the mission where you just think, " . . . and I came out here for doors to be slammed in my face." But it goes deeper than that -- How much of your time and effort are you willing to put into being a missionary? How far are you willing to go to find that one person? The Lord doesn't ask too much of us but he asks just enough from us to make us push ourselves to the end!

The people here feed us like crazy! I feel like I'm getting a little chunky :/.

So that is great that ya'll have been having fun this past week and that there is so much going on. I'm glad that Ricky was able to get married in the temple. We have new member and he and his wife plus their two kids are being sealed on Saturday in the Orlando Temple and that is so awesome!

Keep being positive and working hard and everything will come fast but the way we handle it is through the Lord!

Love Elder McEwan

P.S. Momma -- We can listen to music, so if ya'll want to send me a flash drive with music, that'd be great! Maybe some meditation music, too. I could also use the Insanity work outs :).
--
2 Nephi 31:20

Monday, September 12, 2016

YOU CAN'T CONTROL EVERYTHING . . .

September 12, 2016

Sup Y'all,

So this week was a great week and was very eye opening for me. I realized what missionary I wanted to be when I get done and when I land in Salt Lake.

Elder Swank, Elder McEwan,
Member in Valdosta,
Elder Benesh -- Elder & Sister Swank's
Farewell Party
So You CAN'T CONTROL EVERYTHING! I didn't get this concept until this week and how it came to me was actually really fun to be honest:) I was sitting in our ward correlation and that's when it hit me but the back story was interesting. On Sunday we had Fast Sunday and we fasted of course. I usually break my fast after church because that's when I find my answer or the strength that I need, but this time I decided to fast two meals and this was such a good idea :0.

Tuesday we got two new elders in the district that Elder Downs is training and they are super cool. One is from Pocatello and he says he knows my great aunt that lives up there, even though I forget her name sometimes. The other one is from Vegas and he is super cool as well:)

This week was very good and I was super happy at the end because of all the positives that happened in our week. SO the week starts Monday and goes till Sunday so we had a pretty awesome week:) We went down south on Tuesday and tried to meet with a lady that seemed interested in learning the gospel but she hasn't been home lately and so we decided to go knock in a trailer park and we found a lady who is Methodist and she seemed very opened to knowing more. She is a young mom that has been through a lot in her life. She and her husband have 3 kids that are super sweet, the only problem with them is that both the husband and wife like to smoke and he seems content in the ways he was raised. We then made contact with a potential investigator that has been on the list to visit but my companion said he didn't think we should go. We got to her house and we didn't see any life in the house or around it. We started driving away and I said, "Elder Benesh wait, we need to go at least knock and see. We got to the front porch and she pulled up in her car and she told us that she was wanting to join our church and become a member but she hadn't met with the missionaries for a long time. So we went back on Wednesday and taught her the first lesson and she was really receptive. We think she could be baptized but we need teach her a little more :). We went to a guys house on Saturday to visit him and help him stop smoking. He has expressed that he wants to stop but doesn't know how. So we got him some LDS addiction recovery stuff and took it by and that was a great experience. As we were getting ready to leave he said, "I am going to give my smokes away to a friend that needs them." Elder Benesh said, "Well we will help two people out so you can give them to us." This guy is super funny and he said, "If I hear of my LDS missionaries smoking and they need to know where they got them I will deny everything to your leader person :). We laughed and told him we would never do that :).
Valdosta Ward Missionaries had dinner with
Bishop David & Sister Maren Hyer and their family

Sorry that BYU lost. I was well informed about the game, even in Georgia they too love the blue and white :).

So what's happening in school and with the home life? I recommend and invite y'all to keep a positive journal that you write down all the positives in the day. I know that when we are positive that nothing will break us and no one will make us give our lives away but that we, and that's a WE, can be happier with the positives in our lives.

Love y'all so much and y'all are in my prayers everyday :0

LOVE ELDER M
--
2 Nephi 31:20

Thursday, September 8, 2016

HELPING AT THE FOOD BANK . . .

Elder McEwan gets to provide service to those affected by the flooding in Louisiana . . 

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- Many organizations stepped in to help during the recent devastating flooding in Louisiana.

The non-profit Feeding America continues to feed hunger by providing disaster relief boxes.

Second Harvest of South Georgia is responsible for packing all 2,400 boxes.

They started Wednesday morning with volunteers from local churches and schools.

They says they'll be distributed nationwide to those in need, but some will stay locally.

"Given the disasters we've seen in Louisiana and here locally lately, disaster relief boxes are running low in the network and that's why we are replenishing those, so we know that we are ready when the next storm hits," says Eliza McCall, Chief Marketing Officer for Second Harvest.

She says the boxes are bigger than normal and have added paper products, like toilet tissue.

http://www.wctv.tv/content/news/South-Georgia-food-bank-helps-disaster-relief-nationwide--392657271.html

Monday, September 5, 2016

TWO MONTHS, ONE TRANSFER, AND LESSONS LEARNED . . .

September 5, 2016

Hi Again,

So this past week was kind of very different from the rest. We had an exchange on Tuesday and it was going pretty well until we went to this guys house and he asked me a question but didn't specify what he meant so I gave my answer and it didn't sit very well with this other person in this house and she was mad about what I said. I felt really bad about it because I had said that I was never going to mess up and that I was going to always speak what The Lord wanted me to say. I texted President about the situation and he told me, "Elder McEwan, you need to remember that mistakes are to be learned from and if we don't learn from our mistakes then we just are going to keep making mistakes." This really helped me cause I was feeling bad about the whole situation.

On Thursday we were informed that there was a tropical storm that was going to hit us and that we were in the way of the entire thing once it hit the border of Georgia so that was really fun. President texted us and said that we needed to stay inside from 8 pm on Thursday night to about 3 pm Friday afternoon. We were kind of scared because we were watching the storm trackers and it was suppose to be a big huge thing. The storm came and brought heavy rains. It wasn't like Louisiana so that was a big positive. Then we woke up expecting it to be super bad but we saw that it wasn't too bad. The power lines were down in part of the city and the street lights (because they are on wire not poles like at home) SO that was really cool. We went out and saw the people and we were told the storm which was potentially a huge storm had broken up and that we had only gotten part of it:) SO there is a lesson for us all and it explains why we need our mothers in our lives. When you're a missionary you get a ton of moms from the President's wife all the way to the senior couples and the bishop's wife but you can never forget the one that gave you life and I firmly believe that it was the faith of our mom(s) that the storm was not as strong.

Saturday was my first transfer call and I am still in Valdosta for at least another 6 weeks. We will be getting two new greenies down here in Valdosta and we are losing one to be transferred elsewhere in the mission so that means LOOK OUT VALDOSTA, WE HAVE 7 MISSIONARIES!

Glad everything has been going great for y'all back at home.

Love Y'all So much!

Love ELDER M
--
2 Nephi 31:20

Friday, September 2, 2016

HURRICANE HERMINE . . .

At 8 a.m., Hermine had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, the Hurricane Center said. It was centered about 35 miles northeast of Valdosta, Georgia, and was moving north-northeast near 14 mph.

As Hermine moved north, Georgia Power estimated about 19,000 homes and businesses were without power statewide early Friday. Many of those were in Valdosta and surrounding Lowndes County, about 15 miles north of the Georgia-Florida line. Lowndes County spokeswoman Paige Dukes said crews were dealing with fallen trees and snapped power lines, but no injuries had been reported. Winds exceeding 55 mph had been recorded in the county, with 4 to 5 inches of rainfall, she said.

I have been following the weather this morning. The worst appears to be over. Here are some updates from the mission Facebook page –

16 hours ago
Parents and Families of our great missionaries, wanted to let you know we are keeping abreast of the weather,
especially in areas of the mission that may be impacted greater by Hermione. We have a system set up to report any needs or problems. Tonight and early day tomorrow will see a lot of wind and rain, so we watch and wait.


4  hours ago
Hi Pres. & Sis. Grayson! Just wanted to let you know that all the missionaries (both sets of elders, the sisters and the Swanks) here in Valdosta are safe and accounted for after the hurricane passed through our area. The four Elders are all at the same apartment (Elder Down's apartment) as that apartment has their phone working. We have massive power outages along with widespread issues with downed power lines and we have asked them to please stay in their apartments due to electrical hazards until we can be sure it is safe. The emergency alert call went out saying that there are widespread power outages over north Florida and South Georgia & that crews are working to restore power but there is the possibility that power could be out for a couple of days. We hope all is well in Macon and we send our love.

3 hours ago
Good morning families! All our missionaries are fine! No power outages reported by them and senior couples and leaders. Rain and winds continue in the eastern and southern zones (Valdosta, Tifton Savannah , Augusta) We are central(Macon) winds and rain are picking up. Those west of us in Columbia zones are essentially unaffected .

47 minutes ago
Damage in Valdosta
Weather missionary update: All are fine. There are new power outages in the Savannah area, but no complaints other than that, from missionaries, voiced. Taking advantage of this downtime to study and plan. Phones charged., bishops are aware of their needs. Watch The Weather Channel, they are broadcasting from Savannah.

Dear Parents,

This email is to let you know that the missionaries in the Georgia Macon Mission are all safe and accounted for during our recent tropical storm/hurricane. There is a lot of rain and several power outages but all is well.  Thank you for your faith and prayers.

Sister Jensen

Secretary

Monday, August 29, 2016

IT'S REALLY, REALLY HOT . . .

August 29, 2016

Hi Yall!

So this week was pretty exciting and it was actually pretty good! We went to find a lot of people last week that are very less active and the ward has kind of given up on helping them come back to church. So me and Elder Benesh are pretty much now home teachers.:).

It been really hot down here and I just want to die because i'ts so hot. The coolest it got last week was on Wednesday and it was 85 with 80 % humidity. On Friday it was probably the hottest it's been the whole time I've been down here and it was 105 and 90 % humidity! I was drenched in my own sweat and it was really really gross.

This is what we made at the Happening. He looks
just like me, don't ya think?
Thursday we went to this event called the Happening, which was held at the university here called Valdosta State University. This is an event where clubs and organizations plus businesses come together and show the students what's happening in Valdosta this year:) We teamed up with the Sisters and the other Elders and went to this and presented the church to the students. Some were really interested in learning more, another just said that Jesus wasn't white. Again I really wanted to be sarcastic (just the way the south is) but figured it wouldn't get me anywhere besides the plane home.Then we went and ate at a members house and that was great:).

The time here has flown by really fast. It is the start of week six and I have been out on my mission 8 weeks (cause the 2 weeks I spent in the MTC). I love the work I am doing here and will most likely stay here for another 6 weeks to finish training:) Transfers are next week.

Love you all and hope you are doing great:)

Love Elder(Parker) M
Still most people cant pronounce my name :) Sorry dad
--
2 Nephi 31:20

Monday, August 22, 2016

JUST STOP IT! . . . A GREAT TIME TO LEARN . . .

August 22, 2016

Dear Family,

So to be honest being I haven't had the right mindset since being in south Georgia. I was convinced that no one was going to want to listen to me. This was my legit feelings that I had and was having and I was considering coming home because of the way I was feeling and thinking. People have a hard time because they feel uncomfortable talking to their nonmember friends so the work has been really slow down here and it made me rethink the reason I came out.

View of Valdosta
In a meeting we had with the President last Wednesday, the answer came to me very very clear and it was to stop it! Stop thinking the bad things about life, stop thinking the bad things about the mission, and STOP thinking that the people are saying no to you. Elder Sitati came for stake conference a week ago and said very firmly "THERE IS NO REASON FOR YOU AS A  MISSIONARY OR YOU AS A MEMBER OF THE CHURCH, OR YOU AS A CHURCH LEADER TO FEEL BAD. THE PEOPLE AREN'T SAYIN' NO TO YOU BUT ARE SAYING NO DIRECTLY TO THE LORD HIMSELF THROUGH YOU."

So this week has been very long because we had interviews with the President and then me and Elder Benesh had the opportunity to drive to Macon for a meeting with the other "greenies" and trainers. This drive was a 2 hr drive there and 2 hr drive back to Valdosta.

On Saturday we biked a total of 23 miles in the hot humid heat of Georgia and it was terrible. Then I thought about why we were biking and I was able to be lifted:) That night me and Elder Benesh went to visit a recent convert in the hospital and that was awesome because she wanted to have a blessing. Elder Benesh asked her which one of us she wanted to do the first part and the second part. She asked me to give the blessing and I had no idea what I was going to do but I said o.k. and gave her a blessing. It was the coolest experience and I have learned that you really have to be ready for any time you are called upon :).
Another view of "my" city

Yesterday was a challenge because we went and saw the Lytle family. They are the nicest people ever. She is a member and an RM and he is not a member. We asked them what we could do to help them and what we could do to be good missionaries. They told us that one elder basically told brother Lytle that he was going to have to get baptized or he will lose his wife and their first child because they wouldn't be sealed in the temple. They also said that we (Me and Elder Benesh) were the first ones to make contact with them since they moved down here and got married. They have been down here in Valdosta since October of last year.

We are doing a lot to help reactivate this area. There were two wards in this area and there was a branch in Quitman (also where we serve) and now there is just one. A lot of hard work to be done down here:).

So Saturday I had to use my baby powder for the first time and I started thinking when the last time was that I used baby powder. Then I realized that it was when I was a baby, but it worked :).

Valdosta Missionaries
Mom -- Do you know a Kim Schramm, because she grew up in Payson from elementary to high school. She lived on 700 West. Her daughter is in my District right now:).

So good luck at school and work this week let me know how everything is going and how ya'll are doing:).

I got a hair cut today. I hadn't had one since Mom cut it before I left for the MTC :). Good luck with the wedding and such and remember the Elder in Georgia, especially since I didn't get to participate in the Bachlor Party and go golfing and to dinner :).

Love you Guys,

Elder McEwan

--

2 Nephi 31:20

Monday, August 15, 2016

WEEK OF GREATNESS . . .

August 15, 2016

Dear Family,

So i guess I will be speaking in a new ward when I get home, kind of weird that you guys would send that this week. I had told my comp that it would be funny if my family moved and I didn't know anyone in the "new ward". So that will be exciting. Why did they do that and who are all the bishops etc?

So this week was definitely exciting because we have not had any success this week.Everyone is baptist and they have been "saved" by Christ. I told them that they should take this card and see what our church has to offer:) We had zone meeting on Thursday and it was super good to hear what other missionaries had to offer for help and guidance. We never truly are humble until we hear something from God through others that are applying those words to their teachings:).

Yesterday we had Stake Conference and it was super awesome. We had Elder Sitati from the Seventy come and it was very needed in our stake. Our area has a lot of in actives. On the prospective Elders list that we have for our ward we have a total of 156 prospective Elders, not to mention the Elders sheet that has a ton of in actives (like 145) so we could potentially have multiple wards down here in Valdosta, but it's got to be a priority to help the ward stay active. Elder Sitati made it very clear that we need more member missionary work in the church in these days because of how much confusion there is in this world.

We met an inactive member yesterday and his wife isn't a member. They invited us to dinner tonight and we are going to hopefully share a message.

Football season is starting up down here and they are good and would wreck any of the teams back home even Bingham.

Thank you for "greenie" package and the blue package!
I know that through patience and hard work all things are made easy through the eyes of Christ.We all just need to realize that through Christ our lives would only get easier and we would be a lot happier.

I taught an investigator on Friday about the "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet and he really wants one so that is great:0. We had to drop an investigator because he wants to bash the Book of Mormon with the Bible and that's all he did with our time one day so he isn't ready yet.

So Momma, I now only have one suit because I put the charcoal one in the dryer and the leg seam just ripped entirely :(. Maybe I'll just burn it for the two year mark :).

Well hopefully this week will be great for all and that all the plans will happen. Good luck with school and work and the wedding. I did the tie and the invitation/announcement and have been showing it to everyone! I was going to call and RSVP but figured this would be easier. ;).



Love Elder M ( they still cant pronounce my name)

P.S. Who's in our ward now?
--
2 Nephi 31:20

Monday, August 8, 2016

ELDER vs BIKE . . .

August 8, 2016

Dear Family,

Elders in Valdosta
So time is flyin’ out here! It’s amazing that I have been out here for about 1 month on the mission and I couldn’t ask for a better place to be. There has been so much going on out here but still no baptisms. We have been talking to people and they are willing to listen . . . Finally!

The awesome and funny thing about the south so far is that they "HAVE ALREADY BEEN SAVED" I told Elder Benesh that I wanted to be like, “So if you have been saved then why am I standing on the front porch of your house?” But i didn’t because that wouldn’t have been very nice :).
On Thursday we were biking and I hate biking in the heat because I literally die every day. It started down pouring on us and we were about 15 miles away from our apartment. We went to a bunch of houses and no one was home, or they saw that the Mormons were coming hahaha. We were leaving a house and my bike lost control and I went over my handle bars. It was not very pleasant. My bike and clothes are fine, just my hands and arms got scraped up. We had dinner that night with the members and I haven’t been able to work out because I scraped my hands pretty bad.
Me & Elder Benesh "biking it"
Saturday we were knocking doors and then found three Methodists who let us come in and talk. They said we could come by anytime and talk about Christ. As we were leaving two boys came to me and said how old are you? And I told them Ii was 18 and they didn’t believe me. They asked if I was a virgin and I said yes I am because it is important to save that until you find someone that you marry and can share that with and then went into the law of chastity. It was a good experience to teach that lesson and be completely honest with them:)

So that is cool that ya’ll have had a busy week. Have fun at all of the Salem Days activities this week :).

So how’s the wedding coming along? Garrett, I am the best man because I am getting ready to give my speech.

Love ya’ll so very much :)

Elder McEwan
--
2 Nephi 31:20

Monday, August 1, 2016

MY FIRST AREA -- VALDOSTA, GA . . .

August 1, 2016

Hello Ya’all!

SO where in the State of Georgia am I? I live in Valdosta and yes we are the furthest area south of Macon. It’s about 2.5 hours away.

Me and Elder Benesh, my trainer
Well first off, President Greyson and his wife are super kind and awesome and sweet. Pretty much everything that I was told about them is true. Monday we stayed at the Mission home and had dinner there as well as our first interview with President.

Tuesday: Today was a pretty awesome day besides the fact that the humidity sucks and I need more short sleeve shirts! Today was the day that we found out our trainers and our areas. There were 19 missionaries who were new. My Comp is Elder Benesh and he is from Colorado. A member told us the other day that we looked like we could be brothers J. I did see Elder Rollins and Elder Lane as well and it was awesome to talk to them. I will probably not be comps with Elder Rollins since he doesn’t have too much time left in the mission. We got back to our apartment and I got to unpack but I didn’t really want to. We had the car for the first day I was here and it was nice. We went shopping and then went to visit some people. It was interesting when we got to our first person because a guy came up and started talking to us about how we NEEDED to give him a ride but we told him we couldn’t. I started getting a bad feeling about this guy and looked at him and he had this weird case sticking out of his pocket and then he left. I told Elder Benesh that we too needed to leave and as soon as we did a cop came pulling down the street and stopped by that guys house. I am never going to think I can do this mission on my own again.
Elder McEwan and the Poulsen Family.
Parker and Taj went to school together and they
have been our neighbors until a few weeks ago.
Parker found them in Valdosta, Georgia!

Wednesday we had a service opportunity with helping at a soup kitchen and a storage area with handing out teacher supplies because down here they start school on Wednesday. Then we went out to lunch to a Chinese restaurant. We had a meeting with the ward mission leader and as the other elders came to pick us up, since me and my comp had bikes, they started talking about a kid named Taj who was going to Vietnam on his mission. I said, "Hey, I know a kid who is going to that mission and his name is Taj. They said, “Well is his last name Poulsen?”  Yes! On Saturday we went and saw him and his family and they were so surprised that I was here in my first area and saw them in Valdosta.

Our apartment in Valdosta
Thank you for the package you sent. It was waiting for me when I arrived. It was VERY green J. So dad is in the bishopric now? That’s cool. Sounds like you’re back in the ward we started in on campus.

My bears like my bed
I love this work that I am doing. We have met a few people that are recent converts and they are still wondering if I am really 18 but who are they to judge. I have been peed on twice now in the same day by members animals so that was great :) Good luck on school and weddings and remember that I’m still out here and it’s so freezing cold;) It’s like 105 was the highest last week and that came with a rain storm on Friday. The lowest was 85 and that was last night. We split the car with the other set of Elders, so biking is what we do the last part of the week (Thursday to Saturday).

Love Elder M (They can't pronounce my last name our here) 😂

A water tower outside our apartment. It's also the think I
look for at the end of the day when we have bikes because it's
so HOTTT out here :).



CHALLENGE FOR EVERYONE: Read the entire Book of Mormon and write your thoughts down as you go. Then when you finish look back at your thoughts and reread sections again :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

LETTER FROM PRESIDENT GRAYSON . . .

How wonderful it was to hear from President Grayson and learn where Elder McEwan will serve in his first area! He is pretty much on the "Florida-Georgia Line" as he is serving in the farthest south area of the mission.

July 27, 2016

Dear Brother and Sister McEwan,

We were so delighted to meet your son as he arrived in our mission on Monday and to be able to spend time orienting him to this new phase of his service. On Tuesday morning we had our transfer meeting which included instructions to the missionaries, inspirational talks, some heartfelt testimonies and assignments to their first companion and area of service. Following the meeting, Elder McEwan and his companion traveled to Valdosta to his first assignment.

We know he will prosper here in the days ahead and assure you that we will do everything in our power to help him find joy in his service and success in his labors. Your weekly emails will do much to support Elder McEwan as he labors in this wonderful work. Elder McEwan will be able to email home on Preparation Day which is each Monday. Just a reminder, when Monday happens to fall on a national holiday, those who use the public libraries will not have access to a computer, therefore, they usually email on Tuesday instead.

Your missionary is about to make an eternal difference in the lives of others. We hope you will be encouraged and comforted by this quote from President Lorenzo Snow. “There is no mortal man that is so much interested in the success of an elder when he is preaching the Gospel as the Lord that sent him to preach to the people who are the Lord’s children” (Millenial Star, July 16, 1894, p. 451)
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all you have done to prepare Elder McEwan to faithfully serve a mission. We look forward to getting to know him as we serve our Heavenly Father here in the Georgia Macon Mission.

We are extremely pleased to have your son here serving with us.

President Roger Grayson
Georgia Macon Mission

Monday, July 25, 2016

ARRIVAL IN THE "FIELD" . . .

We were so happy to receive a text from Elder McEwan when he arrived in Georgia (from President Fussell's, Counselor in the Presidency, phone) . . .

Hi Momma! It's Elder McEwan. We landed and are going to the mission home right now. Love Everyone

Shortly after, President Fussell himself texted . . .

This is President Fussell. Thank you for your sacrifice in lending your son to us for 2 years!! May our Heavenly Father richly bless you for it.

Later an email from Sister Jensen, Mission Secretary . . .

This is just a short note to let you know that your missionary arrived in the Georgia Macon Mission safely.  Today is such a long day for them that I will be sending out only a group photo today.  You will receive an individual photo of your missionary with President and Sister Grayson.  Everyone was in good spirits and anxious for dinner since they had been up since about 2 am already.  Tomorrow they will find out where they are assigned and who their first companion in the field will be.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

FINAL WEEK IN THE MTC . . .

July 20, 2016

Dear Family,

The food is good here but I really just want to make my own food because this food has been giving everyone in the zone stomach problems since day one.

Well, so we have had a fun time here at the MTC with learning how to help investigators and teach them.

Me and Elder Bowler had a fun time last night (really afternoon). We were teaching one of our teachers as like mock lessons and it did not go very good and we ended the lesson early. Our teacher called us back in to evaluate what happened and he said very bluntly and firmly "WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT?" Let’ just say we went and had a companion study about that and our lesson with our TRC investigator went amazing. We are going to thank our teacher for that talk :).

I have been reading in the Book of Mormon and highlighting words and phrases like crazy. Something I have realized now is that there is a lot of” Lord” or “God” in the scriptures and it makes sense because this is His church and we are just the messengers teaching like HEAVEN :) I write in my journal nightly and have also purchased another triple so that I can highlight more stuff that I can’t in the other set of scriptures.

We had the greatest day on Sunday. We got to watch the Character of Christ by Elder Bednar because they like to show this to all the new missionaries, which by the way, the total that came in with me was 640 missionaries and close to 750 last week. But anyway, we were watching that as our devotional on Sunday and after it was done we see the MTC 1st councilor stand and make the stand-up motion and GUESS what!!!! Elder Bednar came in and we had a Q and A with him and we had the spirit speak to us so strong that night. :)
Elder McEwan & Elder Graham (Salem Hills Buddies)
I got a Sunday calling and it’s the sacrament coordinator. Basically I'm the Deacons President, the Teachers President, and the Priest Assistant. Glad I had a little bit of training in my youth :). Also we went to the Provo Temple today and last week and did an endowment session which was pretty cool.

Thank you for the package you sent me! All of the Elders were pretty impressed with the homemade Oreo cookies :). I bought a calling card so that I will be able to call home from the airport before I leave. I was able to see Elder Carson Hill and Sister Mckensie while here at the MTC as well as all my other friends from high school. :)

We are having fun and loving the work we do. We are ready to leave the MTC and go to the world and bring them HEAVEN ( haha see what I did there). Speaking of my flight, it is on Monday at about 836, weird time, and we will be leaving here about 4:50 or 5:00. I will try to from the airport. I love you guys so much and want to hear everything that’s going on back home.

Love Elder McEwan
--
2 Nephi 31:20

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

WEEK 2 IN THE MTC . . .

So grateful to loving leaders who help us to see the big picture when Mom and Dad aren't there. Already seeing the tender mercies of a loving Heavenly Father in Elder McEwan's mission.

July 13, 2016

Hi Everyone,



So today is the start of week two and I just have to say that I never want to come home because I love teaching the gospel and I love the people I have been teaching in my TRC training.

Elder McEwan & Elder Bowler
So what’s been going on with everyone? How was the reunion and the family? I saw that Dylan passed drivers ed and that he won’t be getting pulled over or else I’ll come home to teach him a lesson ;) but how is work stuff and the basement and my garden !?:)

So last week was a blast. I met my comp and he is from Enterprise, Utah and plays baseball. His name is Elder Bowler and he is super awesome. In my district there are only 4 of us going to Macon but in my zone it’s about 12 or 14 with 3 sisters going as well.

Elder McEwan & Elder Christensen (Salem Hills Buddies)
So recently people have been questioning me and my age because everyone thinks I’m too young and that I don’t look like a missionary. The first time I was questioned, I didn’t really feel anything but then some other missionaries, even senior couples were saying, “Elder, really you can’t be in here because this is only for missionary work not to look for brothers.  I thought, “Well I don’t know any more if I can do this when other members are telling me that I don’t look like a missionary. I was super down on myself and was really set on talking to my district president to send me home because it was too hard to have people tell me this. I was really crying because I wanted to be a great missionary but then my people I live with and talk to (all mtc) were being this way. So I talked to my district president and his wife and his wife said, "Who says they get to question if you’re a missionary when a servant of the Lord called you to serve?" She was also telling me that if I didn’t have my name tag that would be different. I thought about Elder Bednard’s Christmas devotional a few years back when he talked to the MTC and said, "This is not about you. There is no "I" . This is about the Lord and his work." And I just thought that is so true that we are never on our time (I am feeling this is going by so fast) but that this is the work of the Lord and we are just the messengers and voices for him to help his brothers and sisters come unto Him and live His teachings.
Elder McEwan & Elder Watson (Salem Hills Buddies)

I love each and every one of you and hope you are having fun :)

Love Elder McEwan

PS Send me letters! I am getting lonely out here. Also we have been told that our departure is the 25th of July but we haven’t had that confirmed.
--
2 Nephi 31:20

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

DAY 1 IN THE MTC . . .

July 6, 2016

Hey guys, this is Elder McEwan!

Today has been a very fun and exciting day.  I have met all the Elders so far from Salem Hills. Elder Morley came in today as well. We have been having a lot of lessons and mock teaching moments, which really open up your eyes when you see that not everyone has the same understanding as you. I met a guy from the DR and he said he didn’t feel like the Lord loved him because of a few things but that he really wants to know and try his hardest.

I Love you guys and will write a letter soon and tell you all about today. This day has been very, very busy.
Love Elder McEwan
--
2 Nephi 31:20

AND HE'S OFF TO NEW ADVENTURES . . .

Tradition of M-T-C-! Picture
. . . And he never looked back!

FINAL SEE YA'ALL LATERS . . .

All the brothers 
The Family 
Former Elder McEwan #2 & Current Elder McEwan
Former Elder McEwan #1 & Current Elder McEwan


Future Elder McEwan & Current Elder McEwan

Mom & Elder McEwan 
Dad & Elder McEwan

Grandpa Losee & Elder McEwan

Grandma Losee & Elder McEwan