Sunday, December 26, 2010

More Pictures

Austin said that they went to the old capital of Bulgaria on Christmas Eve.  

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day and Pictures

The Opera he went to

The mad goat

It was so fun to talk with Austin today. We got to hear some great stories. He looked fabulous and sounded great. I am so grateful that he is doing so well. Here are some pictures he shared. I could only download a few but as soon as I can download the rest I will post some.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Short Letter

Well this last week was really busy and I don't have much time to talk so this is going to be short. On thursday we had a meeting with a potentionl investagator named Nadezhda (means hope.) It went alright but we couldn't teach because she talked alot. We then had english and now onto friday. Friday we actually had some snow YEA!!!!!!!!!!!

Finally but because of this we had to go and shovel the walk way to the church and Ice it so that took a while. We then had a meating with our investagator Roomen. It went alright but we still can't get him to commit to baptizim. After that we went to have a meeting with a enternal investagator which was fun and we hopefully got them started on the way to baptism.

Saturday was english and the christmas party The party was great and a ton of fun. Sunday was great and we had a good turn out from the christmas party there too. Monday was weird because it was a work day and we basiclly contacted all day. Tuesdasy we contacted meet with a young investagator who had come to church for the last two sundays. She is really smart and already thinks this church is true.

A cool thing that happened on Sunday is that a lady waited outside of the church until we talked with her and she said she wants herself and her family to be baptized. That was really strange but the other Elders meet with her and apparntly she is liget and she has a date for the 19th of feburary.

Anyway back to tuesday. We meet with Roomen and we are 90% certain he will come to church now Yea. Wensday was fun we got to meet with Youly and his wife Julie who are very nice and very smart. After the meeting with them we went to the church were some very nice potential investagators held a traditional Provoslov christmas for us without the incence or Icons (pictures of saints they pray too.) It was actually really cool and full of sybolism that if I had more time I would explain but it is all in the jornal and planner and I will explain in my Phone call home.

Thursday we went caroling on the glav which may not of gotten immedate referals but it increadbly helped our image and we hope to reap the benifts for weeks to come. I was singing strait for 2 hours my voice was shot but it was fun. We then had English and went to a ligit opera concert that we were personaly invited to by the administrater of the theater and which we got permision to go to. It was amazing and alot of our english students were there as well. There was a Austrailian singing in the the concert as well and we actually got to talk with him afterwords. The concert was really good and I was really impressed. And now I have caught up with mondern day and today we are going to Velio Turnivo which is the old capital and seeing the Giant catsle/fortress there that should be aton of fun. Sorry this was so short but I get to talk tomorow so yea!

Austin James Ewell

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Austin's Zone and the Christmas Star

Late Letter

Alright lets start what is going to be a long email.  First lets start off with my last P-day.  It was alright.  We had to wait for a guy to come and tune the piano in the church so we basicly watched movies all day.  It was good though because I needed a vege out day because I had been running every were on my first transfer.  Anyways the piano sounds great now and that was that P-Day. 

 Now onto Tuesday.  Tuesday was a good day.  First of all after our morning routine we went to go meet a lady that wanted to give back the Book of Mormon.  She never showed so we went back to the church to grab the street boarding stuff and eat lunch.  After we grabed the table and board we went and set up and started street boarding.  How we were set up is that we have the street board on the stand and then we have a table that says free library that has book of mormons and paphlets on it.  It was a ton of fun and it was my first time actually doing it for more than about a half hour.  The greatest part though was that we took out around 15 Book of Mormons and about twenty of each paphlet and after three hours (two with just me and elder Patterson and one with elders Rowden and Korless there) we had to pack up because we were out and with every Book of Mormon we gave out we got a number.  YESSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!  

Any way that was basicly tuesday and it was amazing now onto Wensday.  On Wensday we had our district meeting and after it we decided to go street boarding again because of the succes we had yesterday and also because we only had one lesson schedualed and that was in the evening.  So all four of us go and start street boarding.  We bring out about 15 Book of Mormons again and started working our magic.  About an hour and a half after we started and we had given away about a third of our Books of Mormons and paphlets the police came.  They wanted us to get out and stop doing what we were doing.  Elder Korless showed them the letter from the national police force to prove that we did have permission to prosilite in this way.  The didn't care and tried to tell us that the letter only applied to Sofia when it clearly had the seal of the national municapality on it.  So because we wouldn't move they gave us a citation that said we didn't have the right documentation when we did and that we were saleing religious materail in public when our sign and actions clearly showed that it was all for free.  They didn't listen to us and said that if we have a table it means we are saleing something.  Anyway that may sound like bad news but is infact good because all across Bulgaria there have been similar problems but with this citation we can now do something about it and if we can't fix all the country at least we can fix Pleven.  So that was last Wensday my runin with the police. 

 We also had a lesson that day too with an progressing investagator.  We were teaching him baptism and we asked him if he would be baptized but he said no because as long as you belive in christ you are fine.  Arrrg oh well we will just have to keep working with him.  We have already decided that he needs to have his faith built more so we are going to work on that.  By the way his name is PYMEH (Roomen.)  

Now onto Thursday.  The beging of Thursday we had a meeting with a guy that we had found while street boarding on Tuesday.  He came which was good but he basicly took over and just told us about his problems for two hours.  That was our bad but now that we know what he is like we can act acordingly and hopefully our next meeting we can actually teach a little bit.  

After this meeting we went to attend the closing of an humanitarin project that the humanitarin couple had been working on in Pleven.  It was at an Orphanage for 3-7 year olds.  We had bought them two press irons, four washing machines, and two dryers because when the couple first went there the place were the kids were was imaculet and wonderful but the landuray room was just filled with clothes because they only had one working washer from the 50's and nothing else.  Anyway when we went the landuray room looked amazing and very organized.  After wards the some of the childeren there put on a little dance for us that was really cute and then we got a tour.  All in all it was really cool and fun.  I sent a picture of the dance to my Mom. 

 After that we went back to the church to begin English class.  The third level went great and we actually had some printed out homework and notes for them that helped a ton.  We covered should with them because bulgarian doesn't have that word you have to use a certian phrase for it.  Okay now onto Friday.  Well Firday was alot of planning for this week and then some contacting and tracking.  While tracking we found a really cool guy that has a family.  He asked us actuall questions and he also thought about our answers.  He agreed to meet again if he could keep Elder Patterson's pen so we agreed and we are going to go meet with him tonight.  That is all of Firday so now onto Saturday. 

 Saturday we had english first thing which was fun because we played Jeporday with the class and they got really into it especially since it was Boys against Girls.  After English we had our language hour and then waited for a meeting with a guy and his friend that we had meet on Tuesday while street boarding.  They never showed but when we went down to the church we found Elders Rowden and Korless there and Korless had a chello.  What had happened is that while street boarding Tuesday Korless met the conducter for the thearter that we always street board infront of.  He was a Chello player but he no longer had time to play with his new job so he told Korless he would loan him his Chello for the Transfere.  Elder Korless was so happy and we are already thinking of a million Ideas on how to use it to help us in our work.  Well after waiting for Satoslav and Boriss, the two that we had a meeting with, we decided to finish the Block that we had started the previous day.  Well next door to the cool guy was another almost as cool guy that we talked to for a while.  He didn't agree too another meeting but he didn't seem aposed to us coming back again so I guess that is a half-recived.  Alright almost done cause now we are onto Sunday wait I forgot this isn't a normal P-day week.  

So Sunday was very good.  First we had church and there were five non-members there.  Two were investagators and two were from English that said that they would come.  After church we had to catch a bus to Sofia for Interviews with the President.  We got to Sofia around 6:00 a clock and got to the mission home at 6:30.  The Interview went great and it is always a joy to have one.  Well we stayed in the office elders apartment for the night and then came Monday. 

 Monday dawned and so did zone confrence.  We had to be in the mission home at 9:15 because we had to practice a song that we were suprising the President and Sister Roth with.  The Sofia Elders were going to sing two verses of joy to the world in german and the rest of us were going to sing the first verse of it in bulgarain and english.  After we were done practicing we waited around for zone confrence.  One exciting thing we did find out during zone confrence was first the new plan of salvation paphlets that the office missionarys had been working on were finally done and ready for us.  That is really cool because now we can pass out that information too when we meet people instead of talking about it only.  Zone confrence went great and another piece of good news is that because we have reached our goal of 48 baptisms President Roth decided to give us an extra P-Day on Christmas Eve as well.  So that meens I can skype on either the 24 or 25 depending on what you like but I will send more details later to my family.  

At the end of zone confrence Sister Roth did a fun activity were we made a christmas star together and then had a testimony meeting.  It was really spiritual and wonderful.  After that we watched Mr. Krugers Christmas as a Zone and then Rowden and I finally went and got our Lichna Cartas.  Yea, I am finally legal.  After getting those we got a bus back to Pleven and went to bed.  Tuesday came and it was a regualar work day.  We did all of our studys and then went out.  First thing we did was a little contacting while we went to go meet a another person we met while street boarding.  Her name is Hedezhda and the meeting went alright.  She talked the entier time but she is really smart and doesn't have any crazy ideas about the bible.  Our only concern is that one of the reasons why she is meeting with us is that she wants finacial support so we are going to have to adjust accordingly but she does have a lot of potentionl.  After that we went to have another meeting with PYMEH (Roomen) at the church.  The meeting went great and I am looking forward to are next one with him.  After that we stayed to help a member clean because we had the keys and then went up had a chicken for dinner and went to bed.   

Done yes.  My companion is great he is a musician and very funnie.  He has only been out for six months so I have to try harder because I can't rely on his knowlege of the language but that is fine.  I am doing great and I love all of your letters they help make my week.  Grandpa Ewell I love the quotes you send and that chrismas link is great.  Well until Chrismas.

Have a Very Merry Christmas Love,
Austin James Ewell

Monday, December 6, 2010

Elder Ewell's First Baptism

First Week In Pleven

Well even though is titled first week in Pleven I am actually starting with my  last sunday in Stara Zagora.  Our district leaders came up for the day because they were just going to catch the bus from Stara Zagora to there transfere areas because they would have to come up here any way to get anywere because most buses come through us any ways and they wanted to spend a P-day in Stara Zagora.  After writting my very long letter we went to the new mall in Stara Zagora.  It was huge yet really emptie because they didn't have all the store fronts filled in with stores yet.  We looked in some  of the stores and I found a hat I really wanted but they were one size too small.  Curse my incredibly smart and large brain because of it I can't find any hats that fit right or look good.  While we were in the mall we went to the techno market.  Techno market is bascilly a Big buy here for electronics.  First I was crushed because they had Star Craft Two and it was 119 lev!  That is about 80 dollars.  Oh well I have two years and hopefully by then the price will have gone down.  We also found the new Xbox controllar.  This is the Kinect and it is a camera.  You stand in front of it and your body becomes the controllar.  It was a ton of fun and suprisingly good .  We got to play a demo game on it and I am excited that two years from now it will be cheaper and all the bugs worked out. 

Well after that we went and watched Star Dust because Bennet had never seen it and I didn't mind because I like it enough to watch it multiple times.  After the movie we all got ready and went to the Dunns because they wanted to give us a good bye/thanksgiving dinner.  It was really good they had a turkey and you guys would be proud because I tryed the cranberry sause and broselsprouts and I actually liked them.  I am going to be coming home and I will beable to eat everything.  After the dinner they drove us back home and we went to bed.

 The next day Racker and Bennet went off to the Aftogara (bus station) to catch there bus to there new cities.  Me and Spence didn't need to leave till 2:00 in the afternoon so we finished packing and preparing the Area book for the next pair of elders that were coming in.  They new pair that were coming in were Myrak and another greenie.  After finishing packing Davis, Truman, and Brown stoped by to drop off Brown while they were heading to Sofia. We said our goodbyes and then because we had some time we went to one last restrant that Spencer had wanted to go to the entire time we were there.  When we first got in they asked us if we wanted smoking or non-smoking.  I was shocked because that never happens in Bulgaria.  Well we sat down and they actually had some really good food for some really good prices.  After that lunch we went and caught our bus to Sofia and Brown to Haskovo.  After a very boring 3 hour ride we arrived in Sofia and then I had to run to catch my next bus wich left in 15 minutes I said good bye to Spencer as we parted ways me to Pleven he to BPship in Blagovgrad. 

After another long 2 1\2 hour ride we finally arrived in Pleven and I got to meet my new companion Elder Patterson.  Elder Patterson is really funnie and he is Canadian.  He is from the Vancover Island which is right above Seattle.  After settling in for the night we went to bed and woke up to my first day in Pleven. 

First of all I found an Milka Advantcalander for 7 lev in Metro (their version of Costco) so that morning I finally got to break into it.  It just isn't December or Christmas without my Advantcalander.  Okay onto normal day things.  We got up and did our normal morning routines and then went down stairs to the church (we live above the church here!)  At the church we had our district meeting which was basickly a get to know the city meeting because only Patterson was left from the previous missionaries that were here.  After the district meeting we went around and tried to finish all the tasks that we need to do for moving into a new city. 

First on the list was get new hangers because Pattersons last companion had took all of the ones that were in my side of the closet.  I didn't bring any because according to Spencer the apartments usally have a good supply for people that come in.  After trying to find some and doing some contacting on the way we meet with a potintail investagator named Youly (means July in Bulgarian.)  He is a incredibly nice guy he took us to a cafe and paid for a hot chocolate for each of us.  I also had my alarm clock because my first night here the transformor blew.  He was a electricion and I thought he could help but he into construction not circut boards but he did make a few calls and found a place five minutes away that could fix it.  So after the little meeting we had he took us there and the guy looked at it and he said that the transformor was completely dead and I would have to buy a brand new one if I wanted to fix the alarm clock.  I don't have the time or money here to do that but mabey back home I can fix it so I am keeping it. 

The next day we had English classes.  Here they have three seprate levels for their classes.  Rowden and I were in level 3 wich means that they can speak english and just really need to practice it.  It was fun like always.  After english we had one more class because level 1 and 3 are taught in the same hour just different rooms but then level 2 comes and hour after the end of level three.  My companion Elder Patterson and our DL Elder Krowler teach level two and one together so Rowden and I were in the other room cleaning out the closet.  That closet was were the libary was and it was a mess but now it is nice and organized after haveing been cleaned up by me and Rowden.

 I don't remeber much of Friday other than we planned for a really good week and met another investagtor.  Something really funny happend actually.  Well it kind of morbid humor but still it is funny.  Okay so with this investagator Evan we told him that we belive that we will be able to see our families again and beable to live with them forever.  He then told us that his wife was on vacation at least that is what my companion thought he said.  So Patterson said good that is great Evan than said no it isn't shes dead.  Apparntly the word going on a vacation means rest as well and if you use the perfected form it means you are resting for life or basicly a nice way to say that somebody is dead.  Oh well that is my first lesson mess up while I was here.  Luckly it wasn't too bad and he understood that we had misunderstood him and the rest of the lesson went well.

 We also meet this couple who the husband is english and the wife is bulgarian.  They were really fun and nice and we talked with them for a while and they invited us to there house for dinner on sunday.  That was Friday on Saturday we had english and then contacted all day which was fun. 

Now we go to Sunday.  Sunday was alot of fun first we had church and it was also testimony meeting so all of us new missionies went up and interdused ourselves and bore our testimonys.  The Sacrament Meeting was good and so was the Sunday school.  In Preisthood we discussed the goals for the next year and than after church we had a lesson with a progressiong Investagator.  The lesson went great and near the end when I was explaing the Five principles of the gospel (Faith in Jesus Chrits, Repentance, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, Reciving the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, and Enduring to the End) I didn't stubble once in the language, it was great. 

We than had our dinner with Steve and his wift (they are the half English half Bulgarian couple) dinner was great and the lesson went well except that they seemed to only listen to be polite and not to learn anything.  Oh well we will just have to keep trying.  Sorry this letter isn't as detailed as normal.  I forgot my planner and couldn't use it to give me refesher of the week. 

Austin James Ewell