Monday, October 31, 2011

Long Week

Well this letter is going to be really short because I don't have much time and nothing happened this week.  Because of that there will not be a day by day account this time but I don't have much to right so sorry.  Well this week our whole mission was on a huge push to get six lessons all across the mission (that is a average count so that means everyone would have to get six lessons each.)  There are a couple reasons why first of all our goal for the last year has been 6 lessons and we have been at 5.7 for the last while.  So President Roth decided to give us a little incentive if we managed it.  So we were all excited for the week and we even had 12 lessons planned out and ready to go. 

Well that makes the week sound exciting, but hear comes the bad news.  Every one of our lessons couldn't make it this week.  So we were scrambiling all week to barely get 6 lessons so we could do our part.  So basicly we worked as hard as we could and barely got our 6 lessons.  Lets just say I was really frustrated with everyone of our investagators and the less active members we were working with.  Well we did get our lessons in and the ones we got in made up for all the hard work. 

First we met with Vasko a 9 year old who is the son of a member.  He is really cool but not well behaved.  Are lesson mainly consited of making the gospel (and missionaries) cool for him, because he doesn't like missionaries much because they would be strict with him because of his attitude.  Well the lesson went well and he really likes Elder Rowden and I now but his mom doesn't want us to come by for a while because of some stuff that they are going through. 

Are next lesson was with Georgi who is a new investagator.  He was pretty cool and interested, but other than that the lesson was average. 

We then finally got to meet with an investagator named Youly.  He is really smart and knows his bible really well.  That is a problem though because he is stubborn and likes to bible bash.  Well I tried something new I picked up from a talk I have listened to.  The talk is from Le Grand Richards and it is about his mission experances.  In it he says if you can tell our story right then there will be no arguments because they can't argue about it.  I also have been talking with Elder Rowden about how our church just makes sense.  So when Youly would bring up his bible bashing subjects I would just use common sense and telling the story strait to answer back (and maybe a scripture or two) and that would end the argument.  For example he would argue that God is just this mass of energy.  So first I asked him if he belived we were the spirit children of God.  He gladly agreed.  So next I pointed our how in life a human gives birth to a human, a dog to a dog, cat to a cat, and so on and so forth.  And I asked him if that was true or not.  He agreed.  So I then said alright then if we are the spirit children of god and are made in his likeness (like it says in the bible,) and also that like begets like, then it follows that God is not a form of energy but he is a perfected man because we are not blobs of energy (at least I don't think so,) but we are human and in the form of man.  It worked perfectly and he agreed with me.  The conversation didn't go exactly as quoted but the procces was roughly the same.  It was really cool though because it just ended the bible bash and got him to accept a principle of the gospel with out having to argue about it but just by listening to the spirit and useing common sense because the gospel makes since.  Well that was a long explanation but the lesson was really good.  Other than that we also met wtih 3 less actives and they went really well.  

Also I forgot we also had a halloween party.  It was really cool and a whole ton of fun.  My faviort thing though was a game that they played that was just hillarious.  Basicly you had people sitting accross from each other and then you blind fold them.  You give them each a contaner of yogurt and then they have to feed each other the yogurt.  It was hillaryos and I wished I could of participated but it may not have been the best missionary game to play.  Anyways the winning team is the team to finish the yogurt first.  I will send a pictue or two for my mom to put on the blog so if you want to see the halloween picks just  visit my blog at http://www.twoyearsinbulgaria.blogspot.com/  Well that is everything and I wish you all a great week.


Love,
Elder Ewell

Monday, October 24, 2011

Busy Week

Well this week was really busy.
Monday:
It was 1 degree celcious so we just watched movies  since we didn't want to freeze to death.  Then we went contacting for the night.
Tuesday:
This day was busy too.  Manly because we were contacting all day.  We did have two meetings though.  One was with an investagator.  His name is Iliya.  He has amazing faith and we actually have a date for him on the fourth of december but he can't read.  So we are working with him and if does everything we say he will be able to read by his baptizim.  He is going to need a lot of work though so please send your prayers his way.  He is really faithfull and extreemly nice.  Other than him we also home taught a member.  She had an inactive friend over so we got to teach them both and the lesson went really well.  That was tuesday.
Wednesday:
We had district meeting first and also got some A&W root beer from some american soilders in the area.  It was amazing and it made our week (we each got 4 cans.)  Then other than lunch and language study we had a lesson in the park near out apartment with some new investagators.  The guy is Dimiter and he even brought his roomate Angel (Yes that is a bulgarian name, but in bulgarian the G is pronouced and it doesn't make the J sound.)  They were both really interested.  So we gave them both a book of mormon and shared a little bit about it.  Then we schedualed another meeting with them for friday and then we left because a park isn't the best place to teach.  We than did some contacting and met a member at the church to home teach him.  His name is Ivan and he has recently become active.  He is pretty cool and the lesson was a lot of fun.  After the lesson we contacted home and then had dinner.
Thursday:
Yea we were contacting all day and then English class.  English was fun except a student got into an argument about economics with me.  I didn't argue about any economic moves being made I just simply said if people would live within their means and save a little money, water, and food for rainy days, that there would be no problems with economics.  He would not belive me even though I told him that the previously metioned method was proven by scientists and specialists.  Anyways there is a new rule in my english classes were we will not discuss politics, economics, or other subjects relating to these.  So after english we went home to bed.
Friday:
Outside from contacting we had two meetings and a ton of prep work because Patriarch Neueschwander was coming into Plovidiv to visit and we had a baptisim on saturday along with a fireside.  So the meetings were with Iliya and Dimitur and his roomate Angel.  Both meeting went really well and even though Dimitur and Angel got lost trying to find the church when they finally got there they loved the building and it was really cool to see how amazed they were (have I metioned that having a reall building is amazing.)  Other than the meetings and all the prep work we just had a normal day.
Saturday:
Talk about busy.  First of all we had english which was fun.  Then we had lunch and the whole rest of the day was preparing and holding the baptisim and Fireside.  The baptisim was for a girl that has been taught for 8-10 months (I can't remeber exactly.)  She is really cool and the baptisim was awesoum.  I was incharge of taking all the pictures so lets just say there is an over flow of pictures that I took.  You will hopefully get some too since I figured out a way to get pictures from this computer zala it will just take me another week.  So yea the whole day was really great because of the baptisim and the fireside (I didn't get to attended because I was too busy cleaning up the baptisim with the others.)  I did get to meet the Patriarch and his wife and they are really cool and I like them a lot.  After everything was done we went home to bed. 
Sunday:
Well Sunday was a suprise because at church we watched all of priesthood session of genral confrence in priesthood.  From what I understood it seemed amazing and I can't wait to read it in english.  So that made church go super long but it is alright.  We then had to stay afterwards to take care of a couple of things.  Then we went to a members to drop off the baptisimil pictures so she can make a really cool slide show for the new converet Maria.  Then we still had to weekly plan and it was 5:30 so we contacted home and planned, ate dinner and went to bed.
Dispite how busy the week was it was a really good week and I enjoyed it a lot though I am ready for my P-Day.
love,
Elder Ewell

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hello from Plovdiv

Well I am have now served in Plovdiv for about a week and despite winter like weather I am loving it here (alright I love the cold so that is a good thing too.)  Alright lets answer some questions first.  First of all my companion is from my same group which means he was in the MTC with me.  As I said before he is from Canada and the city is Kitchener which is about an hour from Toronto.  He is really fun to be around and we get along really well and he is really easygoing.  Oh and about the whole senior companion and junior companion thing, he is senior because he is older.  Since we are groupies it doesn't mean much but hey it is kind of nice to be a junior again.  Anyway this week was really fun and good and I am looking forward to the rest of the transfere.  (Oh I forgot my planner again so I will try to add some detials but don't expect much.)
Monday:
Well after writting to everybody we went off with Ayri again.  He took us to this village name Nickolovo.  We went to a park near it that was really beautifull and very peacefull.  I would send pictures but I don't really trust the computers here so give me a week or two and hopefully more pictures will be on there way.  Oh also there was two bears in the park too that we got to see (don't worry they were in a cage not just roaming around.)  After this we got back home watched a movie and then went to cleaning.  Since it was the last P-day of the transfere we were supposed to do a deep clean for the night instead of contacting (it helps with transfere numbers.)  So we did clean for a little but also we went to Miroslav's so I could say goodbye.  We had some Home Made Concord Grape Juice.  So Mom and Dad I did manage to get some this year.  I also played chess with him again and got thourghly beat again.  Then we talked a little and we headed home so I could finish packing.
Tuesday:
Lets see got on a bus at 8:30am with Elder Neuenswander stopped in Sofia and caught another bus to Plovdiv and got to Plovdiv around 4:15pm.  We then took our bags to the chaple (yes we actually have a building in Plovdiv.  It is so nice and wonderful.)  We waited there for about an hour for the other elders.  When they got there Elder Rowden and I had a lesson which was kind of desapointing.  The guy was going to be baptized this Saturday, but something came up and he had to go to England on Friday and he didn't know when he would be back.  So we are going to stay in contact with him and as soon as we know where he is in England we will direct the nearest missionaries to him.  After that we had another no show lesson.  Then we dropped my bags off at the apartment and went shopping for food for the week.  When we got home I unpacked and we went to bed.
Wednesday:
Lets see we had a bunch of dropped meetings and contacted all day and that was about it.
Thursday:
We had district meeting in the morning thursday instead of Wednesday because our District leader Elder Brinkerhoff was sick on Wednesday.  District meeting was good and afterwards we went to a turkish restruant that was just amazing.  After lunch we had language study and then contacted to a office supply store to get more whiteboard markers to teach english.  We then got back to the church to teach English.  English was alot of fun I am teaching 3rd level again and even though I have only 4 students they all like to particapte and understand english well enough that I can talk at full speed.  After english we went home for dinner and bed.
Friday:
Was fun.  We surveyed all morning and then we had a lesson at the church with a guy named Stefan.  He is really cool and actually interested to learn more and to actually read and pray at home.  His only problem is his only free day is Friday so maybe some extra prayers his way so he can be able to come to church on Sundays.  After the meeting we contacted till lunch and language study then we went out and did a power hour which is something new our mission is trying were for an hour (and it doesn't matter what type of contacting you are doing) you put forth 200% effort and just burn out.  It is really fun and I like it a lot.  Also it reminds me of when I was with Elder Spencer because we would do that all the time (this was before it was a mission thing.)  After that it was time to go in for weekly planning.  Elder Rowden as part of his mission tradition made homemade rolls for weekly planning.  They were really good and after weekly planning they made for a great dinner. 
Saturday:
Well Elder Rowden had a baptisim in Sliven so we traveled there and went to it.  The Baptisim was an old investagator of his and it was a really nice baptisim.  After it we came back home and had language study, dinner, and bed.
Sunday:
Was amazing.  I didn't have to do anything because the branch is big enough to support its self (around 45 active members.)  That was the first time in my mission that it was like that.  Also we were in a reall chaple and not just a rented office building or something else like that.  So as you can tell I thoroughly enjoyed church and it made my day.  After church we had two home teaching appiontments with president Cherpolkov (he is part of the mission presidency.)  They went well then we had dinner as well.  OH I forgot.  Two American Air Force soilders came to church this sunday as well because they were in Plovdiv for some training.  They brought with them two Giant bags of Marshmellow Maties and to huge jars of Extra crunchy Jiff Peanut butter.  So even though we are sharing the merchandise with the other elders it is still amazing and made my day as well.  Anyway after the home teaching appiontments we had lunch and after lunch we went contacting too a less-actives house to home teach him.  He was really nice and just wasn't comeing because he just stopped coming not because of any major thing so hopefully we can get him to come again because he is a really nice guy.  After that we hurried home changed and then went to the zone leaders place to have dinner.  We had pizza which was really good and then we came backe home for the night.
Monday:
Well we cleaned, studied, and now we are writting you guys.
Love,
Elder Austin James Ewell

Monday, October 10, 2011

Transfers






Well this week was a lot of fun.  First we had a great P-day, then transfere calls, and finally I finally after a year got to listen to confrence in english.  Though only the Saturday sessions.  And also even though I wasn't there the Payson temple ground breaking happened.  If anybody wants to see pictures of it or any of the other temples go to google and type in lds temples and click the first link.  Then put payson in the search bar our anyother temple.  Anyway lets get on with my week.

Monday:
Well after writting you guys we went to another cave monestary and an old fort with Ayri a member.  It was a lot of fun and I will send some pictures that will be put on my blog.  After that we got back watched a movie and then went to work.  Nothing else very exciting though.  Oh I did pick up half of my clothes that were being refitted and found out that the guy could custom make me a suit for 115 lev.  I will wait till the end of my mission but that might be an opption that is thoroughly explored.  We are going to check out his fabrics today actually. 

Tuesday:
In the morning we contacted people and then went to city express a mail servic to pick up Ayri's mission forms so he can go on a mission.  It will be so cool to see him go on a mission and we are doing our best to help him prepare.  After that we had lunch and then language study.  After that we did a small service project to fix a members tolite but we didn't have the right tools or proper expertise to do it so we told them we would have another member come by who knew how to do it.  We then went and met Ayri at the church and started filling out his mission papers.  That was a lot of fun and just as stressfull as the first time.  We then had seminary with everybody which was fun and a good language study.  That was the night.

Wednesday:
We had district meeting and then we went back to our apartment and made burgars all together and to celebrate my year in country mark and losing 50 pounds I bought a whole No Comment Cake (one of the best cakes in the world) for every body to share.  It was all so good and then we all started to make a Pinata for the branch activity we were having that saturday.  I will also send pictures fo that to.  We also went on splits and after making the Pinata we had a meeting fall through and did some contacting.  That night we added another layer to the pinata.  Oh and we had a amazing smoothing basicly cake, ice-cream, and milk.  It's a cake shake so unhealthy but so good.
  
Thursday:
Elder Neuenswander and I went and payed bills first thing because a day later and they would be late.  We then had a lesson with homeless lady that is actually smart and has her head on her shoulders, but you can't sit within five feet of her.  She is really sweet though and tends to understand the gospel.  We hope she can get a job and a place to stay soon.  After that we sent something of to Sofia and then had lunch and language study were I added another layer to the pinata.  We then switched back to our regular companions and did some contacting and had english class.  Oh right before english class we had transfere calls as well.  Normally we would have them on Friday but President Roth was going to be in Burgas on Friday and he wouldn't have the transfere board with him to make anouncments.  So here is the news I am going to Plovdiv with my groupie Elder Rowden.  I am really excited because Plovdiv is one of the cities I have been wanting to serve in and I really like Elder Rowden and belive it will be a good transfere.  For everybody else: Elder Dropla is staying in Ruse with Elder Walker my groupie, Elder Seymor is staying in Ruse with Elder Bennet my groupie, and Elder Neuenswander is going to Plovdiv and is being zone leader with his groupie Elder Carson.  Outside of transfere calls english was alright and I am excited to be moving.  Oh year Elder Rownden is from Canada near the great lakes area.  I can't rember the exact city and I want to be correct so next week there will be more information.

Friday:
In the morning we had a meeting fall through and just contacted.  Then after lunch we walked out to members house to home teach him got lost and then eventually found his place (the adrress was wrong on the branch list we have.)  We didn't have much time though so we didn't get to stay for long.  After home teaching him we came back home and went to play basketball with some members and investagators but no one showed up so we went to the other elders apartment and started decorating the pinata since we were already in gym clothes.  That was the night.

Saturday:
Elder Neuenswander was sick again (I think because of all the cake.)  So that ment that Elder Dropla and I had to get everything ready for the party.  So we had to cancle english and all morning we were shopping and cleaning and pinata decorating.  We then had lunch and a lesson fall through so we contacted for a little and then had the party.  It was a lot of fun and everybody enjoyed it.  We first demolished the pinata, then we had tacos, then we taught everyone how to make their own Pinatas.  Everyone liked it and we had about 12 people there which is a good turnout for Ruse.  We are a pretty small branch and we don't have very many people so 12 at a party especialy since half of that were non-members was a good turn out for us.  We then cleaned up the party mess and went home. 

Sunday:
Sunday was really good.  We got to church around 9:15 and got ready to watch confrence.  Confrence was amazing since a member named Krasi, who knows perefect english, brought here phone with confrence sound recorded on it then she synced up the sound with video that we had so I finally after a year got to listen to confrence in english.  I loved all the talks but I would have to say my faviort part was President Monson anouncing the temples.  It was good to hear his voice and see his energy and it was really funny/cool to hear the gasp when he annouced the Provo tabernacle temple.  Other than that I love confrence and hopefully next week I will be able to listen to the sunday sessions in english as well.  Well we will see.  After Confrence we cleaned up the church and then went and dropped off some food at a members house.  We then did a little contacting and packing before going to bed.

Love,
Elder Austin James Ewell

Monday, October 3, 2011

October

Bats!

It Must Be October

Cave Monestery

Sunset

Someone's Roadkill
Hello everybody.  Well to answer the big question, no, I will not be able to see confrence for maybe another two weeks if not a month.  And then it will most likely be in bulgarian so I will have to wait till next month or even later for the Liahona issue.  This week was pretty crazy though so it was good anyways.

Monday:
After writting you guys we went on a trip to a cave monestary with Ayri a member which was a lot of fun.  When we got back we just hung around for a while and then went to work.  It was a good evening though nothing special.

Tuesday:
We contacted about all day and had a meeting fall through.  At six we had seminary and then on the way home there was a classical rock concert in the center of town on the way home.  It trunked me out but the band was really good so it was okay.  We got back home and started to realax.  It was around 9:45 and I am reading in my bed just getting ready to go to sleep when I here one of the annoying bugs, that are like little green beatles, come into our room and flying into the walls (they are really stupid.)  I don't pay it any mind and continue reading when all of the sudden I hear a swoosh swoosh.  I look up because that is not a bug and as soon as I look up a bat flies infront of my face.  I yelled and got out of the room and by the time I was out there was three bats in our room trying to get the bug.  We took some pictures and then realizing they weren't going to get out on there own we tried to help them.  Okay I tried to help my companion just took a broom to one and almost killed it.  But after looking like an idiot for about 15 minutes I finally managed to get them all out.  Well that got me up and it was even funnier because none of my stuff was harmed but my companions bed was pieed on.  Lets just say it was revenge for the broom attack.  Well that was fun and pictures and hopefully a video will be on the blog.

Wednessday:
We had district meeting and made some plans for a branch activity next saturday and then just contacted all day and home taught Tihomir.  He is doing good and he is incredibly smart and it is always fun to teach him.

Thursday:
Well the day was just normal contacting except for lunch.  We had lunch with the Americans that are living in ruse.  The boy is named Chris and his girlfriend is Hanna.  They are here because Hanna has a scholarship from American Goverment to teach english in bulgaria.  They are a really nice couple and hopefully with continued contact they will be interested in the gospel. Other than that nothing to interesting.  Oh yea we home taught our branch president which was a lot of fun.  He is a good guy and it nice to have a branch president that cares about the members.  Also we had english which was the same as always.

Friday:
Basicly contacting and weekly planning.

Saturday:
Well after our morning studies we had english.  English was exsasperating.  We were teaching past tense but to teach it was have to use incorrect bulgarian sentences because they don't have correct translations if we use correct bulgarian.  Well half of our class are bulgarian grammar teachers and they couldn't and wouldn't let us use the examples and just kept trying to teach us bulgarian.  It was argravating but it was alright.   After english we contacted a little and then cleaned the building.  After cleaning the building we found out we had no sacrament cups and so we had to go buy some cups and make some so we could use them for sacrament.  We didn't have any normal ones because the mail service that we use here was closed on saturdays and we were supposed to pick it up on saturday.  We then had a lesson with Miroslav which went really well.  We taught him about being a member missionary and service and he understood everything just fine.  We then came home for bed.

Sunday:
It was a good day.  Church was good especially since Miroslav recieved the Aronic Priesthood.  It is really cool to see someone recive and the priesthood and hopefully next week he will be blessing the sacrament which will be really good to see.  After church we went to go find a member I have been trying to find for the last 4 months and we finally got to talk with him.  He is really nice and has actually been to america and knows perfect english.  He has completely lost his testimony though and it was really sad to see that and hopefully as we continue to work with him he will regain it.  Oh yea his name is Roman.  Other than all of that we just contacted all day.  One funny story from contacting is that we stopped one guy and his daughter to talk with him and when we asked him if he we could he asked for his umbrella from his daughter and then acted like he was going to beat Elder Dropla with it.  He then stopped and sad he was joking but it gave us a little scare.  He was actually really nice and cool.  He just has an interesting personality.  That was sunday for you.

Well sorry that this letter isn't that long this week I forgot my planner so I had to do everything from memroy and didn't have a reference to help me rember. 

Love,
Elder Austin James Ewell