Wednesday, July 18, 2012

July 16

Well this week was good even though we were melting to death.  We did manage to start to teach a lot of the people we had found from the last two weeks.  Also the elevators are always a fun adventure as you will learn as you read.

Monday:
Manly just walked around and did a little shopping until family home evening in the evening.  The activity was to play basketball which was a lot of fun.

Tuesday:
We had a good day but long.  We mainly contacted all day in the heat and met with Georgi.  Georgi is doing good and is improving with little by little.  Sadly I will not be able to see him be baptized before I leave but he is determined to be baptized and the only thing holding him back is smoking.  It will happen it just needs more time which I am happy with.  We also tried to find some less-active members with little succes.

Wednesday:
District meeting went really well and then it was contacting and a meeting with Babcheto who is doing really well and it is always a pleasure to meet with her.

Thursday:
We got to meet with two of our reciveds which was good.  The first was is named Petur.  Oh also I was on splits with Elder Stults from my district.  We get along the least but after splits everything is good and we are good friends now so it was good having splits.  Anyways back to Petur.  The lesson went well but it seemed a little off.  We think we need to teach him more simply because he looked confused.  We also met with a guy named Predrak.  He brought his children with him and eventhough we only had 15 mins we had a really good first quick lesson.  Then it was just english.

Friday:
Mainly contaced and went less-active hunting all day.  Did have one meeting with another of our reciveds.  His name is Dobri and he is really cool and is outstanded about what we teach.  Needless to say we had a great first lesson.  The only problem is that he doesn't live in burgas and commuting here in bulgaria isn't cheap enough to do all the time.

Saturday:
Saturday went really well.  We first had English which went well and then a meeting with a lady we met on friday.  Her name is Tomislava and she is really cool and likes to read about religion.  We only got to talk for 5 minutes and give her a book of mormon but she does want to meet again and talk more.  After that meeting two Austrian walked into the church who are biking across Europe.  They are members and brother and sister.  The brother just got back from his mission and this was a trip he was taking with his sister before they both went off to college.  I then practiced the piano since I am the only one that knows I thing about it here and so I am told I need to play on sunday.  Lets just say I am struggling since I don't have much time to practice but I am coping with hopefully 40% correctness while I am playing.  We then had a fireside which went well and then played basketball again with our only youth and the austrians.  It was a ton of fun.

Sunday:
Church went well and the piano player was nervous and messed up a lot but it was better than having to sing accapella.  A lot of guests were at church which ment translating which was maybe more nerve racking than playing the piano.  Despite all of this I really loved church this week.  After church we had meetings and met with a member.  Then it was time to weekly plan and bed.

Well that was the week and see you all next week.

Love,
Elder Ewell

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I'm melting!

Well as you can tell by the subject heading it has been incredibly hot here and humid.  You just step out of the door and you are already wet.  Luckly our main contacting spot is in a nice windy area so it keeps us a little cool.

Monday:
Had a good P-day and we played catch for a while with a baseball.  I actually managed to make some pretty impressive catches on luck so it was fun.  We then for the evening had family home evening which was fun and a good way to end P-day.

Tuesday:
Basicly we contacted all day but for two meetings.  We met with a new guy named Plamen that is quiet but listens intently and understood everything that we taught him.  Also we met with Petia.  She is still struggling but we met with her later on this week too and she is doing better now.

Wednesday:
Had District Meeting which went all right and then we had a meeting with Georgi.  Even though his apartment got burned up because of smoking he still isn't quiting.  He wants too but then out comes excuse after excuse and it is thoroughly frustrating because we have done everything that we can.  We are still going to support him but we are starting with the bare basics again to bear up his faith. We then met another potential in a cafe but even though he lived with a family from our church for two years he has no interest in joining the church or learning more.  He does really respect us though and knows all about our beliefs.  He is really well off though and he fed us calamary and lamb.  We were in heaven and despite it not turning out how we wanted it was a good way to end the Fourth of July.

Thursday:
Had a meeting in the morning that fell through and contacted all day until a meeting we had that went really well.  We met with a guy I had met on Tuesday.  He is way cool and his name is Kamen.  He has been searching for a long time for god and he is super smart with gospel doctrine.  He even whipped out the word ordained when we talked about the priesthood being restored (in english as well which is even more impressive since we were teaching him in english.)  I really look forward to teaching him some more.  We then had english even though he still wanted to continue but we commited him to come to church and once he found out that we basicly just discuss doctrine in church using the scriptures he agreed wholeheartedly.  Also he has read the Book of mormon twice before the last time 5 years ago so he is familiar with the story.  English went well but the best parts of the day was Kamen and contacting which for some reason I was on fire and it went amazing.

Friday:
In the morning we had our interviews with the new mission President, President Wilstead.  He is alright and I know he will be good for the mission it will just take a while to get used to him.  His wife is really cool though and an Aggie so we got along great.  We then went contacting and then had a meeting with a young kid and we had another great first lesson with him.  It seems that this week we just happened to start teaching three golden people at once which is really nice.  We then had a meeting with Petia again and as I said earlier she is doing better.  We contacted most of the rest of the day.

Saturday:
English first and it went alright.  Then we had a reschedualed meeting that fell through, contacted, and cleaned the building.

Sunday:
Church went well and there was a family from Ukraine there.  They live in Kiev but are still two hours away from the temple.  There was the mom a daughter and son.  The daughter is named I think Ivana and the son Ilia.  Ilia is actually in a mormon message about the ukraine temple.  They are really cool and it was fun to see some new faces.  Other than that the day wasn't much we just gave the sacrament to Baba Raina and visited her and then it was time to weekly plan.

I am worn out from this last week but I am happy and content.

Love,
Elder Austin Jame Ewell

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

June 25

So this week was really good but it had an interesting twist at the end.  You will have to read my email to find out what the twist was.

Monday:
Had a good P-day.  After writing we window shopped, bowled, and had family home evening.  While window shopping I found "The Giver" in bulgarian.  I love finding things like that.  Also while bowling I got 70 which is a high score for my mission.  Family home evening went great too and the family from Slovacia was there and it was nice talking to them again.  We then came home for the evening.

Tuesday:
Tuesday was good.  For the majority of the day we contacted, had a dropped meeting, and met with Georgi.  We met some cool people contacting and Georgi is doing great.  Also I was reading the October 2007 Liahona and I found an artical in it by a bulgarian titled "Enduring to the Beginning." I think it might be in the 2007 New era for october if anybody wants to read it.

Wednesday:
Had district meeting then lunch.  After lunch we tried to find some less-active members, but got lost.  We had to go back before finding them though because we had a lesson and Institute.  The lesson fell through and institute went well.  After institute we met with a recent convert who has been trying to be a missionary with her friends and they keep asking her questions from the bible and she keeps trying to give them answers.  It is destroying her testimony though because she wants them only from the Bible and not from the book of mormon or modern revelation.  It is said to see so please pray to five her strength.  

Thursday:
We mainly contacted all day and also made lunch with a member.  We also had english which was good and after english we went on companionship exchanges for the night and Friday.  I went with Elder Furtado kind of as a birthday present to my self.

Friday:
Splits went great we did some contacting and had a lot of success.  In the morning I was thirsty so we decided to buy some water and Elder Furtado said he wanted to go to buy water from this one lady that he has been wanting to talk to but has felt too guilty if he doesn't buy something from her.  Well she was really cool and we gave her a Book of Mormon and she started reading it right there, then we had two other reciveds litteraly one right after the other and a really good conversation with a girl who just lit up at the mention of eternal families and the plan of salvation.  All that happened seriously one right after another and it was really cool.  That was the perfect being in the right place at the right time.  We also had three meetings but one dropped.  The other two were with members.  The first was with Babcheto for lunch.  During that I got a call from President Roth.  The call was an Emergency Trancfere.  My companion Elder Bryce is going into the Office and Elder Dropla (the elder I cleaned up A.K.A. my daughter) would join me in Burgas for the rest of my mission.  The reason was that Elder Bryce is young and really good with people and President Roth wants somebody who isn't that attached to a President Roth mission to be in the office when they make the transition which happens this Friday.  So the rest of the day was contacting and then I made a cake and pizza and we all celebrated my birthday.

Saturday:
Well I had to go pick up Elder Dropla and drop of Elder Bryce at Sofia so I was on a bus all day traveling for 13 hours.  Fun!!!

Sunday:
Church went really well and I really enjoy being with Elder Dropla again.  After church we had lunch at a members house then gave the sacrament to Baba Raina. We then weekly planned and went to bed.

Monday:
Well we have plans to play some baseball and I will tell you more next week.  Thank you all for the letters and Birthday wishes.  It really means a lot to me.  I am loving my mission and these last three transferes have been the best on my mission so far and I plan to keep it that way.

Love,
Elder Ewell

Monday, June 11, 2012

June 11

This week was really long and we did a ton of contacting.

Monday:
P-day was good we checked out a new mall and shopped then the branch had a family night.  They made banizta and Elder Furtado and a return missionary member did a spiritual thought.  It was all really good and it is really nice to see a branch actually do that here.

Tuesday:
Contacted all day until the evening when we met with a member (Petia) and talked about callings and the priesthood.  We then had Institute which went really well.  I am super impressed with this Branch.  They are so strong and actually work together.

Wednesday:
Again contacted most of the day.  We had one meeting with Babcheto.  We went over callings.  It is a little hard to teach here because she loves to talk and it is hard to get her to listen.  Also the Assistants to President came in at night because they went on companionship exchanges with us on thursday.

Thursday:
Had district meeting again.  It went really well and everybody liked it which makes me happy.  Part of the reason might be because I brought a treat for them but who knows.  After lunch I went to work with Elder Bishop.  He is from my group and currently one of the Assistants to President.  We had fun together and mainly contacted.  We did haveone meeting with Gerogi (you pronounce both G's as G's not J's.)  He is an investagator who wants to get baptized.  His only problem is smoking and coffie.  So we started him on a plan to stop.  He can't go cold turkey so we are going bit by bit and hopefully he will be ready tro be baptized by the end of July.  Please keep him in your prayers to help him, he is really trapped by this addiction.  In the evening we had English which was fun.

Friday:
Had proably the most frustrating meeting in my whole mission.  We met with a potential investagator and he brought his friend who is a Easter Orthadox Priest.  That priest only wanted to argue.  I now know how Alma felt when he called out the lawyers for trying to lay traps for him with his words.  It was so Aggravating and even though I tried not to argue it still took me around two hours to calm down.  We then had a meeting with a lady who despite only having five minutes still dropped byt the church to learn who we are and get a Book of Mormon.  That was really thoughtful of her and most people don't do that here.  Other then that we contacted all day.

Saturday:
Had English in the morning then met with Babcheto again and went contacting some more.

Sunday:
So we had a city confrence at Varna for the branches in Ruse, Varna, Shumen, Dobrich, and Burgas.  This was President and Sister Roth's last time to see all of the members before going home.  It was really cool and it was really nice to see everyone there.  My old investagators (Mariyka, Simiona, and Peter) from Ruse came as well.  I was so happy to see them all.  The confrence went really well and President Roth gave a really good talk.  I was so happy to see everyone and it made my day.  We finally got home with barely enough time to weekly plan.  Despite that it was one of the best planning sessions I have had.  That was the week.

Love,
Elder Ewell

Monday, June 4, 2012

First Week in Burgas

So first of all to answer all of the questions that you probally have about my companion I will metion that first then continue on with the week.  First he is from Orem, Utah.  His name is Andrew Phillip Bryce.  He has 3 brothers and he is second oldest.  His dad is a personality expert and I think mom you might have taken a course from him.  He uses the colors Gold, Green, Blue, and Orange and I think you know him because he has these quick refrence picture cards that I recognized from the one time you showed one to me.  His mom is a stay at home mom.  If you have anyother questions ask away but for now that is it.  Oh and sorry I will send a picture of him next week for your computer wizzes he has a blog www.apbryce.com that you can check out.

Well I love it here in Burgas and it is so nice to be by the beach.  We can't go near it though because like most of Europe clothing is optional and lets just say Bulgarians like there options.  Anyways other than that I love it here and here is a view of my first week here.

Monday:
Well the day was filled with getting ready to leave Ruse and last minute shopping

Tuesday:
Because of some complications due to transferes I was told to travel on Wednesday.  So I had one last working day in Ruse.  In the morning we contacted and after lunch we had 3 lessons.  The first one was with Ivo.  He brought his wife along and we finished teaching the ten commandments.  The lesson went well then we said good bye.  We then met with Peter.  We showed him the short Restoration video and we were going to committ him to baptism but something felt off.  We hope it wasn't anything to big and that after time it will all be good.  We then had a meeting with a new Investagator named Konstantin.  The lesson went well.  Then it was time to head in.

Wednesday:
Woke up at six and traveled to Burgas.  I got their around 12:30 but the bus station that the other Elders weren't waiting at.  They found me about an hour later then me and my new companion, Elder Bryce, went to our apartment.  Our taxi driver got lost which was fun.  We finally got there, planned for the day, had lunch, went to a branch activity where we learned how to dance a traditional bulgarian dance, then came home and went through the Area book to learn what we had to work with.

Thursday:
Had my first District Meeting today that I was leading.  Everything went well and it was a good District Meeting.  After that and lunch, we contacted all day until around 6 when we had a meeting with Dima.  She is a investagator here and she has a desire to learn and wants to get baptized,  but we aren't sure if she understands what that intails.  We are going to deffinetly,  meet with her more and see what happens.  We then came in to language study and dinner.

Friday:
Basiclly contacted all day, had two dropped meetings, and met wtih the Branch President about english advertising.  We live super far from the church building here and it is taking me a while to get used to the travel time.  This slows down the work a bit, but I think I am used to it now.  Also I got to see the sea (it has been rainy and cool so we were safe to get that close) There is a park right next to it.  It brought me a lot of peace to be near a large salt body of water again.

Saturday:
Mainly contacted all day again and advertised for English.  We did have a meeting with a recent convert though.  Her name is Maria but we call her Babcheto which means little grandma.  She is a very energitic Baba (Grandma) and I had a lot of fun getting to know her.  She also said she would show me how to cook a bunch of traditional Bulgarian foods, which is cool.

Sunday:
Church was good.  The Branch here is super strong and very bonded.  It doesn't have very many people but they all love each other which is amazing.  I am so happy I am in Burgas for my last transfere it is a great city.  After church we took the sacrament to a member who lost her left leg about a year ago.  She was a very happy lady though and asks a ton of questions.  We then contacted a bit and came home to weekly plan.

Love,
Elder Ewell

Thursday, May 31, 2012

two letters from President Roth





 22 May 2012



Dear Bother and Sister Ewell,

Thank you for sending Elder Austin James Ewell to the mission field and supporting his service to the Lord.  It has been a great blessing for Sister Roth and me to have him serve in the Bulgaria Sofia Mission.  He has served with distinction and has brought honor to his family through his service.

Elder Ewell returns with a greater knowledge and firmer testimony of the mission of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His Gospel, of the establishment of the Lord's Kingdom on the earth in these latter days, and the importance of following the Savior's living Apostles and Prophets.  Elder Ewell has gained a profound love for the Lord and for all of our Heavenly Father's children.  He has learned the value of work, of personal integrity, of keeping sacred covenants, of daily personal prayer and scripture study, of planning and setting goals, and of selfless service to others.  These are lessons that will bless his life forever and bring joy to you as his parents.

Sister Roth joins me in this expression of gratitude.  We recognize the sacrifice you have made to have him in the mission field.  Thank you.  We were privileged to labor with him in the Bulgaria Sofia Mission.

We pray the Lord's blessing upon you and your loved ones.

With warm regards,

Gerold Roth, President

Bulgaria Sofia Mission 2012


31 May 2012



Dear Bother and Sister Ewell,


I am pleased to advise you that your son, Elder Austin James Ewell, has been given a new assignment in the Bulgaria Sofia Mission. As of May 30, 2012, Elder Ewell has been serving as the District Leader in the Burgas District.


Elder Ewell is a great missionary and we love having him in the Mission. In this assignment he will have the responsibility to lead his District of Elders and Sisters as they seek to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the people of Bulgaria.


Thank you for your love and support of him and his service to the Lord.





With warm regards,


President Gerold Roth


Bulgaria Sofia Mission

Monday, May 28, 2012

Last Transfer


This week was super busy, but it didn't seem like it.  When we added up our weekly numbers we were shocked at all that we had done we even recounted because we thought we had counted wrong.  So this letter is going to be really big so be prepared for a long read.
 
Monday:
After writing you guys we basicly shilled all day until 6 when we had a meeting with Peter.  He is a new investagator who has come to church and a Branch activity.  We met with Ivo and the lesson went great.  Ivo helped a ton and Peter is really smart and caught on to everything.  We then met with Yatsek the guy from Poland.  We had a good Plan of salvation lesson with him and he is really smart and wants to know about religion.  We are worried though because we feel like he is learning for knowledge's sake not salvation's.  Anyways we gave him a Book of Mormon in Polish which he was exctatic about and said he would read it while on his buisness trip this week.  After that we came home for the night.
 
Tuesday:
Had two meetings Tuesday.  First was with a guy with Dobri.  The lesson was alright but it seems like he just wants to meet to learn english not the gospel.  Then later in the day we met with another guy named Peter.  To tell the difference between the two we call him Peter the Rock.  The meeting went really well.  We watched the restoration film and the spirit was really strong.  We commited him to read and Pray and he said he would which is great.   Other than that we contacted and tried to find people all day.  In the evening the zone leaders came in for splits and district meeting on wednesday.
 
Wednesday:
Splits was a lot of fun today.  First we had district meeting and then we went out to lunch and we found a restruant that was having a 50% sale on all of its food for a month.  It was so cheap and the reastruant was so good that we ordered a ton of food and despite that we were still under 10 lev each even though we tried to go over in the hour that we had to eat.  We then contacted all day and were swamped with tasks we had to do.  It seems like that always happens with splits.  We also met with Lubomir a new investagator.  He has been coming to english and the Branch activity that we had.  The meeting went well and he wants to meet some more which is really cool.  In the evening we went to a concert that a member was performing in.  The concert was really cool and the member's dance group's number was amazing.  I have vidoe of it all but sadly it is to big to send over email and I don't have time to upload it.  You will all have to wait until I get back home. 
 
Thursday:
Met with Ivo in the morning and we did my lesson on the ten commandments which everybody likes a lot.  We then had a meeting with another new investagator.  His name is Toedor and the meeting went really well and he even prayed at the end of the lesson.  We also had english which went well.
 
Friday:
Went out to the Petrovi family which ment a 4 hours of bus rides in totall.  They are doing good though and they are coming to church this sunday which is good that they are coming at least once a month.  We also gave them a preisthood blessing while we were there.  Once back in Ruse we had 2 meetings and contacted.  The first meeting was with the Peter from monday.  He had read from the Book of Mormon and was at 1st Nephi 17 which was great.  He also remebered a ton from it and a lot of the lesson was descussing what he learned and trying to apply it to the restoration.  He is amazing and when he said the closing the prayer he said it was easier to say prayers in the churh.  We told him that was because of the spirit and we can always have that with us if we are baptized.  He liked that and next time we plan on commiting him to baptizm.  The next meeting was with a guy named Angel.  He is searching for the truth but he also is very set into his belifes and it was hard not to argue and bible bash with him which is what it seemed like he wanted a lot.  Anyways he did accept a Book of Mormon and said that he would read it so that is good and we will meet with him again.
 
Saturday:
Well this was a really trunky day because we saw the sisters off.  Seeing Elder Kinkead off was hard for me.  Luckly we had english right after that and going back to work helped me shake off the trunky feelings.  After english we had two meetings contacting and transfere calls.  The first meeting was with a lady named Yanka.  We met her on friday buy the Danue.  She is very talkitive and also very curious.  That makes it a little hard to teach her but she is really searching for the truth and she even helped us clean the building and came to church.  After meeting her we contacte and then we we recived transfere calls what you all have been waiting for.  Well here it goes
 
I...
 
                               am...
                  
                                                          going....
 
                                                                                                      to....
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Tell you were my companion is going to first.  He is staying in Ruse and he is going to get a greenie and be training.  Also they are going to be on their own in Ruse for about 4 weeks which is crazy since we are already super busy not including the other areas work load which is huge as well.  Alright I guess I have teased you guys enough so I am going to
 
Burgas
 
I will be District leader and I will be serving with Elder Bryce.  This is my last transfere in bulgaria and I am really excited.  Also this is my first time being district leader so it is going to be intresting.  I am really excited and a little nervous but everything will work out.
 
Sunday:
Had church as always and I said good bye to everyone.  Also 5 of our investagators came to church.  It was amazing after church we met with Marika and Simiona and showed them the restoration vidoe testified and then commitid them to be baptized on the 23 of June, and they said Yes.   I am super happy and excited and this transfere couldn't have ended in a better way.  We also met with with Dimiter Drive. We haven't met with him for a while because he is super busy, but he still wants to learn and even though he didn't get the chance to read he is having a break from work soon and said he would read the whole book of mormon during that time.  We also met with Stefi since she wasn't at church and I said good bye to her.  She is seriously like my sister and I have really enjoyed getting to know her.  We then came in and weekly planned and I packed.
 
Monday(today):
We did a massive deep clean today and I finished all my packing and then we came here to write.
 
This was  a super good week and I hope it is a precurser for how my transfere in Burgas is going to be like.
 
Love,
Elder Ewell