Monday, October 25, 2010

Fourth Week in Bulgaria-Where has the time gone?

Alright I think I freaked out enough in the subject heading of my message so on to my letter.  First of all thank you all so much for sending letters to me and sorry grandpa I have been getting your letters and I will try harder to make mention of you from now on.  This week was really slow but still really good.  Me and my companion didn't have that well of a weekly planning session for this previous week and it sure did show in the results but that was alright because we still got a look done.  First of all we got to meet with Mapko (Marko) three times this week and that was really fun and I will till you about each meeting seprately.  The first meeting we had a random drunk guy got in the evlevator with us and insisted on coming in on the lesson.  This was kind of bad because he was really distracting and since my companion had to handle him to make sure he wouldn't blow up or do something crazy I had to teach Mapko on my own.  Luckly I had my handy dandy Plan of salvation puzzle to save the day.  I did a overview of the plan of salvation with him and we than ended the meeting and set up another time.  I was really worried about him because of the whole drunk accident but when we called him later to confirm the appointment (because I wasn't a100% certain that I had it done correctly) he said not to worry that he knows this is a good thing and satan was going to try to stop it.  I am so proud of him.  Our second meeting went better.  In the second meeting he brought two of his friends!  This was amazing he said he would but still it was really shocking.  The lesson went really well we covered the first part of the Plan of salvation and when we asked Mapko to read he would stop mid verse to explain and point out the importance of it to his friends.  I don't know if his friends will come back I am hoping and praying.  Our third meeting with him was the best before the meeting we had assigned him to read 2 Nephi 2.  When we started we began talking about the creation, the fall, and the atonment (the parts we didn't cover last time)  and when we came to the fall we asked him what he knew about adam and eve and we braced ourselves for a hour long lecture on what he knew and was taught but instead opened up 2 Nephi 2 and basicly explained the chapter and how it was true and made since.  We than basiclly had a discussion about the rest of lesson because he had done his reading.  One more cool thing about him reading is that in the begging of the lesson we asked him if he had read and he brought out a study journal with his thoughts on the scriptures.  One of the thoughts was about 2 Nephi 3 in the chapter talking about Joseph of Egypt (see were this is going) and how he prophised about Joseph Smith!  The coolest part is that he had such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon that he didn't doubt for a second that this wasn't true and said that Joseph Smith was a true prophet because he was prophisied about.  But wait there is more he had also gone through the plan of salvation pamphlet that we had given him and had read through all of the questions in the back and had answerd them through the scriptures.  (There is still more)  Near the end of the lesson we went over the five things you have to have on this earth to be saved Faith, Repentance, Baptism, The Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the end.  When we got to Baptism he freaked out a little and said I haven't been baptised I haven't been baptised.  We had already planned this but after going over those five things we commited him to be baptized on November 13.  His one eye started to tear up and he said "Yes, Alleylua." (Alleylua is his faviort word)  He also told us that he would do anything that we asked him.  He also came to church sunday and watch a full session of genral confreence and would have stayed for the second half except that his work had called him and he need to go but it was alright the desire was there. 

Well now that that is finished let me go on about the rest of our week.  We did a lot of contacting while walking around to other apointments and to answer your question grandpa we do surveys to stop people than afterwards we share a short message with them and give them a pamphlet and maybe a book of mormon if they are intrested (this by the way is how we got Mapko (Marko) and one other investagator (He?? (Neli)) who I will talk about later.) This is what we do most of the time while contacting and I can almost do it on my own as long as they don't ask questions than I am doomed.  Luckly I have my compainion with me who can speak the language so he can take care of the complicated things.  We want to do Letter of Refferal tracking (were you get a letter by a member,  make many copies, drop it off at a block, come back a couple days or weeks later and use the letter to introduce your self,) but we haven't been able to set up an appointment with a member to write one.  Secondly we are working hard on getting permision from the city to street board hopefully we are allowed to.  Now on to H??? (Neli) we met her when we had finished tracking on an unresponsive block and had a very long meeting with a couple that only wanted to talk with us.  They were on the third floor so when we were done we didn't want to finish the block but I told my compainion we needed to and he agreed so we did.  The rest of the block wasn't fruitfull but if we hadn't finished ???? wouldn't have been out side of the door and we wouldn't have been able to meet her.  We gave her a book of mormon and set up a meeting. At the meeting she told us that she had been having a very hard time in her life lately but whenever she read from the book of mormon she felt better.  In the meeting I bore my testimony (with out knowing the previous I usally get an update from my companion after the meetings) in which I told her how reading the book of mormon will make you happier and you life easier because it has mine.  We then had her pray after the meeting and she said that that was the first time she had prayed infront of somebody in her intire life and that she was going to right it down in her journal it was so important.  We also have one other set of Investagators I already told you about (??? ? ??????? (gosh and Haydiyalka)) they are intrested in getting closer to christ so we gave them the book of mormon in our first meeting and since then every time we have walked up to there house they have been gone.  So we left them a note this last time saying we will come back tuesday at 7:30 but if they don't want to meet they need to call us. 

Well that was my week other than I got to listen to genral confrense in english this week and there were some good talks and I loved Elder Uchtdorf's joke on "what does it have to do with planes."  Sorry about the pictures I will try to pick it up but it is hard to get them all in the computer but I figured out how to pick and chose them now and know which ones they our so that shouldn't be that much of a hassle any more.  After that long spiel I am kind of written out and all I have left to say is the language is coming ( I was on fire this week with it! Yes!!!!)  Kenzie, Katie get along and have fun at Sadies.  Don't worry about me and money I am not going to go out of the way but if you want a christmas present I need the previously mentioned information.  I think the money thing is a great Idea for a present (but packages our very welcome too just make it a group packege to save money. Oh and don't insure it above 20 dollars and just lable it school supplies or somthing because if you don't I have to go through costums to get it and it will cost me a ton and I may not get it.)  Something intresting about bulgaria: one Haloween is brand new here and they don't know how to celibrate it, two on New Years they do have fire works but they don't shot them in the sky they have wars with them.  The weather is chilli here right now but not two bad espiclly after it rained for two weeks strait.  I am in the middle of the country and apparntly it doesn't get that cold here in the winter.  Tell me about your selfs.

Austin James Ewell 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Third Week in Bulgaria, Where does the time go?

First I would like to say were did the last two weeks go didn't I just get here yesterday AHHHH!!!!!!!  Okay now that, that is off my chest I will continue with my letter.  It was a fun week this week.  We got an incredable investagator named Marko.  He only has one eye but he is incredably cool and does his homework.  Our last meeting with him he even asked if he could bring a friend.  It felt like the heavens had opened.  Were has this guy been hidding.  Any way we meet with him again today and I hope nothing wierd or strange comes up as so often does 'knock on wood.'  Any way this week was kind of averege we did a lot of contacting and I am working on doing a survey and giving a broucher on my own.  The only problem is if they ask a question then I am screwed.  Luckly my compainion will be there and he can understand them so I don't miss something important.  We also meet with this couple this week were the husband (I think) only has one arm (I know it seems like I am starting a ward of criples doesn't it especially since our branch pres is in a wheel chair, we have one with either OCD or Schitzophrenia, and two other ones that we have been warned about.)  The meeting was a book of mormon drop off meeting.  Their names our Gosh and Haydiyalka (Hay-dee-yal-ka.)  We meet them while street boarding within about 5 min's.  We were talking about the book of mormon and they were intrested.  They want to become closer to christ so we told them that by reading the book of mormon they could.  So we set up a meeting at there house.  The first time we went we got lost because we thought it was a block (apartment complex) and not a home. It was alright though because they were out of town anyways.  We met with them the next day and they were really intrested.  They also wanted to watch a movie so we watched the restoration video and loaned it to them.  After wards we prayed and set up another oppointment to teach them more on thursday wish me luck.  This sunday we had a district confrence in plovdiv and that was alot of fun.  There were enough members there to fill up the entire chaple and that is impressive.  I had alot off fun and got to meet a lot of people.  There were some good talks when they were given in english and some good chances to learn a lot more bulgarian.  We also met some girls that the previous missionarys had been working with.  They were pretty cool but the previous missionarys forgot to tell us that they had just turned sixteen.  Anyway past that accuradness the meeting was really fun and we are going to play amercian football with them and a bunch of their friends today so that should be fun.
Well that is my week.  Sorry that it isn't as long as my other letters but sometimes you just get a nice good flowing week. First to answer some questions.  One sorry grandpa the video link didn't come through so I didn't get to see it.  Second Thank you for the recipies mom.  Third I liked the pictures and I am glad you guys had fun in moab.  Fourth Mckenzie how dare you kiss him before I gave my permission, you have my permission I finally remebered who Destry was and tell him sorry that I couldn't remeber I am terrible at names and how is the debate team doing.  Finally what are your guys shoe sizes and please give me the european versions for example mine is a 48.  Just my imidate faimly please and katie of course it is pertanant that I get this information asap other wise, well you will find out I already have given away to much information by asking for the sizes any ways.  If you can't find out Eruopean I think that will be fine it will just be a bit harded for me.  The Eruopean should be on a tag on the tounge of most of you shoes so double check for me and dad what is you faviort color?
Love The Amazing
Austin James Ewell

Monday, October 11, 2010

Week Two In Bulgaria

Were to start.  First this week has been a lot of fun.  To begin me and my companion (Elder Spencer) came into the city brand new to it.  This means none of us have ever been here before.  The missionarys here call it white washing.  When we came in we only had one investagator and he was having surggery so we haven't been able to meet with him.  When me and Elder Spencer saw this we were determend to make that change.  Well you can't have any investagators if you haven't contacted or found anybody to teach so this week we basicly did a whole ton of contacting, and the strange thing is I like it a ton.  You know how I always said that whenever I get a job I hope I am in a position to talk with people.  Well contacting is just talking with people and that is just it and I have the funest time doing it even if I get rejected I just had fun trying to get them to listen and watching there reaction.  This is practicly the best job for my personalty.  I have set ways in wich we are supposed to find and teach people but other than that I can chose which ones I use, how I use them, and were I can use them at.  I have my rules to guide me but I also have the flexibilty to work in a way that is most comfortable with me.  I also learned that I have the most succes when I talk to eveyone on the street, WHENERVER we are out and about.  Whenever I pass someone and I didn't even try I feel terrible because what if they were ready to reacive the gospel and were looking for it.  Oh well no use crying over spilled milk I just got to live and learn and that is what I have been doing.  My trainer is very helpful in this He teaches me what I should or shouldn't do and when it comes to the language he makes me right down everything I don't know, Tells me how to say something (like a certain way to approach), then he makes me do it he doesn't let me slack off.  He makes shure that I am always working whenever I have strength.  That is another good quality he doesn't overwork me, he can till when I need a break and coensidly slows down enough for me to catch my breath but than he keeps me going. 
The language is still frustrating but I know it will get better.  It already gets better everyday despite me not learning that many more words.  Though I was almost killed on sunday because the english copies of General confrence were buggy and we only had the bulgairian ones.  So I was privleged to sit through four hours of bulgarian.  I guess I will have to wait tell two weeks from now before I can hear the sunday sessions in english.  The reason why is in the branch here since we don't get it live we have to wait for the dvd copies to come and then we take two sundays and watch both days one days worth of sessions one day and the next days worth on the next sunday.  Dad don't worry about sending me a Confrence ensign.  We will get enlgish ones for the missionarys here within a month which would be about the same amount of time it would take  your packege to reach me since I only reacive mail every time there is a zone confreence. 
Now to answer some questions.  First Starza Gora isn't that big Elder Spencer and I can walk across it with out going to the far outskirks in about 20 mins.  It is the only major city in bulgaria with strait streets and it is very beautiful here.  Second, yes mom I do have a washer, but no dryer but that is fine we just hang dry and that works out well except I have to always Iron my shirts.  Is there a trick to making it so they don't wrinkle if they hang dry.  Third, we do have a pretty nice apartment.
Now for some highlites from my week.  First highlight,  me and my companion were at a big intersection when all of a sound we here tires sweel, a thump, and horses scream.  We look back into the intercection and there is a black van slowing driving away from the middle of the intercection and from behind it there is this gypsie cart with its horse lieing on the ground with its tounge out and its head and front right leg shaking.  Me and my companion thought it was dead and were both thinking -Great now we have to help haul a dead horse from the middle of the intercection.- Well we didn't have, the driver of the cart got out and while his wife was most likely swearing at the other drive in gypsie (me and my companion don't know gypsie but she was shur mad.) the driver grabbed the reigns and pulled on them.  The horse stoped shaking looked around as if it didn't know what had happened and then got up (it took about three tries it was still a little woosy) and walked out the the intercection.  Aparently what had happened was that the van had tried to beat the cart while making a turn but then some one else had cut him off so he had to stop and then the horse tried to stop but couldn't and so ran into the van and was knocked uncouncious.  I have never seen a anamil get knocked uncouncious and to tell the truth after we knew the horse was fine it was really funny.  Next to that we found some pretty cool people that I hope will investegate the church.  Taught my first to english classes (I basiclly just gave the spiritual thought and shared some examples.)  Had a language hour with one of the members here (her name is Lily.)  She knows perfect english and is really cool.  I have now had my first Bulgarian Banitsza, Milka bar, and ???(N-i-ya)walflee (soo good.) 
I am running out to talk about my self sor now onto you guys.  First Mckenzie have fun at sadies and the best way that I found to get along with marcus and erik was by just loving them and trying to take a intrest in some of what they did.  That applies to you to Katie.  Second Granpa Harmer take care of your self you mabey able to run a marathon but that doesn't mean you have to beat the young people at it to.  Still love you to death though.  Dad I will take you on that push up challenge because you haven't seen my companions push up work out that he makes me do.  He promises me that with that work out every single one of his companions have been able to get to one hundred push ups.  Mabey I will send you a copy of it.  One more thing it seems unfair over the course of two years I will get lighter and you will get fatter.  Just kidding (about the you getting fatter part of course.  aparrantly it is really hard to gain weight on this mission even my companion who eats as much as an elephant is still losing weight. Mabey it's because there is only healthy food here.  Mom sorry I have No picks for you but I will try again next week. Max don't worry it is really fun out here and it isn't that heart wrenching nerve racking incredibly frustrating to learn the language.  Plus you got a boost on me you will be in country learning the language I can't tell you how much it helps just being able to listen to other people speak the language all the time.
I love you All So Much Hang in there.
Austin James Ewell

What To Eat?

Hi Every One! I just wanted to say I love it here and if you want to hear more read my letter that is posted every week. I do have on thing I would Like to ask? Can I get some recipies espesicaly my chocolate chip cookie one? You know what reciepy I am talking about mome and can I get many more so I can make some pretty cool dishes here. Also does any one have a good Pizza dough reciepy that I can have? That you and I wish you all luck and успех (oo-spehh)(Succes.)
Love Elder Ewell

Monday, October 4, 2010

First Letter From Bulgaria

Were to start.  Okay first I got here safe and sound.  The plane rides weren't to bad except I couldn't go to sleep on the big 7and1/2 hour one over the Alantic.  Sorry I couldn't get a call in at the airports my phone card wouldn't work and then the phones in Austria wouldn't let me call anybody even though they worked for everyone else.  Phones must hate me.  When we finally landed for the last time in Bulgairia we were picked up by the Mission President, his wife, and the two brand new AP's.  The took us to the cars (This means no costum problems though I did almost forget my passport on the plane.)  When we got out of the parking garage it was rainning so that basicly cut out going tracting for us.  We drove on down to the mission home and you were right brat Purv and brat Mattinson the Bulgairians do park and drive crazy.  We had to take a detour through Sofia's Mahala because of traffic.  The place was weird first of all there was a house with only 3 walls but 5 sattilite dishes.?  Well once we got out of the Mahala we made it to the mission home with was really nice.  Once inside they gave us some snacks, a survey, interviews and to us that didn't get a chance a call home.
After the interviews with Presideint Roth (He is pretty cool) we basiclly took a tour of the mission home and then was fed dinner by Baba Vikie (and yes brat Purv I did tell her you loved her very much.)  The dinner was some Mycaka(moosaka) (wich is kind of like shepereds pie) with yougurt on top (the bulgairian kind not american.)  We also had some Shapka Salat wich is a tomato cucumber salad with seranea on top.  Both of these dishes was delicious but my faviort was Sister Roth home made Rasberry Keyslow Mlyako(Rasberry Yogurt.)  That was amazingling delicious.  We then were shooed up stairs for bed after a picture with the Mission Pres and his wife and haveing them plus the AP's introduce them selves.
The next morning I woke up at 6:15 and was so proud of myself for being able to adjust like that.  We all got showered and dressed and then went down ate some myously which basicly granola and yogurt put to gether with some other personal prefrences.  After breakfast we went to the park were Bulgaria was dedicated and were given the chance to dedicate our own missions there.  That was a pretty cool experience.  We we got back we were assaigned our Trainers in a big meating.  My Trainer is Elder Spencer and we are both starting out brand new in Starza Gora.  Elder Spencer is really cool and really strong Pres. Roth made him do a pushup with me on him and he could do it.   He is a hard worker and very organized so he should be able to teach me alot plus he makes me talk and helps me in the best way learn the language. 
We had lunch then had to run to catch the bus to Starza Gora.  I have to admit I feel asleep on the bus but it is alright because I still had some jet lag.  Once in Starza Gora (which is very beautiful) we got a quick tour from an elder that was on our bus who had served there before.  After the tour we unpacked and went to sleep.  We woke up the next day and after all our studying went to the church to clean it up with the senior couple the Forceness's and an English couple named the Dunn's.  The church was a mess because it hadn't had water for two weeks and lets just say it looked like it would take two weeks to clean.  We cleaned from 10:30 till 2:00 because by that time the Dunn's and Froceness's were cleaned out.  They are both elderly.  After cleaning the Dunn's took us out to dinner to a pizza and salad place in the mall which was really good.  They gave us a low down on the Branch and we got to know them a bit.  After the Lunch we had apointment with a member who wouldn't make it to church this week because of work his name was Demeeter and he was really cool despite the fact I couldn't understand him.  This is getting a tad long so I am going to make some leaps and bonds.  We then caught a bus to Varna to see the baptism of one of my compainons investagators.  The baptism was really cool and the members amazing to.  The baptism was in the black sea and we got lucky because it was too cold so nobody was out.  After the Baptism (I do got pics)  all of the trainers there (there were three) made us three greenies try some boza (Me, Furtado, and sister Loss.)  It wasn't too bad but I would never actively go after it.  We then came back to Starza and went to bed.
Sunday was cool and no we don't get a broadcast in Starz's.  The Branch presiden't was gone so my companion had to conduct and also translate for all three meetings because the Forceness's and Dunn's don't speak/understand Bulagarian fluently though they are better at it than I am.  Don't were my MTC teachers I paid attention the entier time to the Bulgarian that was being spoken and even though my brain was dead at the end of three hours I pushed on through (Oh we only had ten show up 5 had missed their bus.)  After church the Dunn's invited us to dinner and we said yes.  The Dunn's have a very nice house and garden.  Basicly everything we ate was out of it.  During dinner they gave us a more detailed discription of the branch for our benefit and they got to know us.  I forgot we also took the sacrament to a member named papa John.  He was really cool and intresting.  He showed us of all the missionarys he had meet in 8-5 years we are not shure of his baptism date.  And guess what I saw Brat Wahlgrenn in his picture collection.  For the Benefit of others Brat Wahlgrenn was one of my MTC teachers.  Back to the Dunn's.  After dinner they gave us a bunch of produce from their garden and some eggs from there chickens and took us back to our apartment.  We then had weekly planning since we missed it on friday and then went to bed. 
Now it is Monday.  We cleaned our apartment because the previous missionarys left it a mess and are now writting home.  Now to answer questions.  First yes I am in the Kiev district for temple work but the temple is about 29 hours away by train.  So I don't think we will be going there anytime during the mission.  Second we should get confrence tapes hopefully in both English and Bulgarian sometime this week and then watch it next sunday.  Third a very nice missionary left his coat in our new apartment so lets just say I don't need one any more.  And finnaly How is it going and keep up the mailing.  My address is ul marin drimov 21 bulgaria, sofia.  This will send the mail to the mission home well give us our mail any time they are out here or we are in Sofia.  Forgot on thing.  Brat Mattinson I found a CD for you in our Apartment.  The title is Music For Horn.
Austin James Ewell