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
 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

May 7


Well this week was busy but the letter is short so sorry.
 
Monday:
After writing we went out to the bridge to Romainia and took some pictures on it (No we did not cross!)  That took most of the day and then we went contacting for the night.
 
Tuesday:
We had a meeting wtih Ivo first that went well.  He has a lot of deep questions.  Then contacting all day.
 
Wednesday:
From pure contacting to pure lessons.  We had 6 back to back lessons.  First was with an investagator name George. He is cool and old, but he actually kept his commitments which we are super happy about.  Then we had a dropped meeting, but a member showed up asking for help with a talk so it wasn't a waist of time.  Then we met another member for home teaching but he said he didn't remeber anything from confrence or last sunday.  We are not sure if he was joking or not and that worries us.  We then met with a husband and wife who only complain and didn't listen much.  We are giving them another shot and hopefully it will be better.  Then we had another meeting with a member who is amazing and strong.  The last meeting was one of the best.  It was with and investagator named Alex.  He brought a friend and had read a little.  It was really good to see them and the lesson went well.
 
Thursday:
First another meeeting with Ivo that went gread as always.  Then we had district meeting and lunch.  We then contacted, had a dropped meeting, English which is always fun, and finally institute.  Institute was tiring.  The Church Education senior couple were teaching and I was translating (that is why it was tiring.)  The lesson was really good but by the end my mind was a giant blob of bulgarian and english and I couldn't speak strait.
 
Friday:
Conatacted like crazy all day and had good success.  At night we had dinner with a less-active and the sisters.  We gave him a liahona and had a nice relaxing lesson.
 
Saturday:
First was English.  After english a funny thing happened.  We were having lunch when we got a call saying two people were locked in the church.  We ran down there and found out it was two english students who were playing ping-pong.  Everything was okay though.  Then we had a meeting with a new investagator named Tsveti that went really well.  We then went contacting and had another meeting with a mother and daughter named Marika and Simion.  The lesson went great as well and they came to church this week.
 
Sunday:
A lot of people came to church.  I was most excited about Marika and Simion and Miroslav.  He came in with my suit on and it was so nice to talk with him again.  We even got a meeting for friday so more about that later.  After church we planned for a branch activity.  We are doing a scripture scanvager hunt.  They are going to use the scriptures to find clues and the final treasure.  We need help though finding scriptures.  We need scriptures still for; a bus stop, stairs, strait, narrow red brick road, a yellow house, a restruant, a muesem with a statue next to it, a purple/pink building, a ramp down to the river shore walk, a chess board at the end of the ramp, Dock achor points for a ship, and some more stairs by a ship.  Remeber english puns won't work because this will be in Bulgarian and the words are different.  Also some of the people are new members or non-members so vague scriptures or ones you have to use a background or mormon culture with wont work well.  You can use all the standard works though but try to stick to the bible and book of mormon.  Well that is everything.
 
Love,
Elder Austin James Ewell

Monday, April 9, 2012

Ruse Again

First of all I don't have much time this week so sorry if this letter is shorter than normal.  This week was super busy though because we are supposed to have sisters in Ruse with us but until the new sister arrives we are on our one as a two elder district.  So it has been hetict doing double the work load.  It is all going good though and it was a good week.  First though My companions name is Forrest Wayne Babbitt (yes two r's, b's, and t's.)  He is from Mesa Arizona and fresh from the office and ready to work.  He is the oldest in his family and we get a long great.  My area is the same as last time because there is only one branch in Ruse and I do have the same apartment which I am happy about because it is my faviorit apartment in the mission.  So now onto the week. 

Monday:
After writing you guys we watched some movies, played pool, and got fed a great goodbye dinner by the other elders landlord.  After dinner we went to bed.

Tuesday:
All day traveling.  Me and my new companion finally got into Ruse around 3:30 and went strait to work. Our days have been full of meetings and preping the area for the sisters since we need to figure out who they should teach and lets just say it is a long prayerful process.

Wednesday:
We had a two elder district meeting which basiclly was just cleaning the area books and starting the seperation process.  We then had a meeting with an investagator who got baptized with his daughter on saturday.  He is a quiet guy but rock soild in the gospel and completely values prayer.  Him and his daughter (I will say more in the Saturday and sunday portion about her) are going to be great for this branch.  We contacted for awhile and then had a meeting with Tihomir a member I had started to reactivate last time.  He is now fully active and doing well which is really great to see and makes me feel good.  After him we had  a dropped meeting and then it was time for dinner and bed.

Thursday:
In the morning we met with another member who I was trying to reactivate last time as well.  He is still strugguling but he did come to church this week and it seems like he is going to start coming more.  We contacted basicly all day and in the meeting had a meeting with Sabina a recent convert who was baptized two weeks ago.  She is awousem and really smart. She also will be great for this branch.  That was thursday.

Friday:
Had two meetings to day and weekly planning.  One meeting wasn't that long.  It was with a investagator who lives in a villiage outside of Ruse.  The meeting was alright but we only had ten minutes and we were outside.  Hopefully next time we can meet with him for longer.  The other meeting was with a member named Tsevtilin to help him with his talk on sunday.   He is really weird but funny and he was super happy to see me again.  That was it for friday.

Saturday:
We had the baptism for Stefi and Ivo.  Stefi is a 15 year old ball of energy and and super excited to become a member.  The baptism went great.  I will try to say more next week but I am almost out of time.

Sunday:
Well this was a very special day for me because Stefi asked me to give her the holy ghost.  For those who don't know that was the first time for me to do that and also the first time I have given a blessing in bulgarian.  It was a very precious experince for me.  The rest of the day was just contacting but we got 4 numbers which was really cool.  Oh yeah we did meet with some members.  It was a good meeting.

I am sorry this letter is so short and doesn't have much detial. I just don't have much time today and I promise next week I will send a bigger one.

Love,
Elder Ewell

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Experience

Our stake is holding a missionary prep class and the teacher asked if the missionaries serving from the ward could email and share an experience.  Here is Austin's.  I did not edit so I think he thinks in Bulgarian so he is having a hard time with grammar.  Enjoy!

One of the most uplifting spiritual experinces of my mission came when I started to pray with earnest for help from God.  Praying has always been a hard thing for me to get into a good habit of saying.  I finally have gotten into the habit of saying them everyday now and the blessings are very apparant.  One of the blessings that I feel are directly related to constant prayer is when one night a family investagated the church with out us doing a single thing (in fact at the moment we were trying to reschedual for a different time.)  Here is what had happened.  We had been tracting and we were on the 2nd floor of a apartment complex after having worked from the top down with little succes.  Once we not on this door immidetly two dogs started barking extreemly loud bad sign number one.  The door was opened by a young girl who before we could even ask for her parents just left (bad sign #2.)  The mother then showed up and said that she had guests over (bad sign #3) then before we could even explain why we were their and give her our information since obviously the time wasn't right 3 guys came up searching for a person in the house (bad sign #4.)  She went off to get him and then came back with chocolates to treat us because it was her birthday (good sign chocolate bad sign birthday.)  Then her husband came to the door which 90% of the time turns out bad (bad sign #6) and then her father (#7.)  All the while this little dog is yapping its head of.  At this point we are just trying to say that we would come back at a later time, but we kept getting interupted.  Then dispiet not having said anything all that important, about the gosple, or about why we were there she invited us in (7 bad signs + 1 good sign =  let in?)  We were thoroughly confused and just agreed to go in.  We went in and she took us to their living room where her mother and father and daughter were celebrating her birthday.  She then went and brought us some dinner and we were able to talk a little about the gospel.  The only thing that really had helped us get in is that my companion could play the piano (lesson two it is important to know some type of musical instrument to get let into houses) and they wanted him to play a little.  Anyways I was an amazing night and after talking for awhile we all sang together and my companion played the piano.  Then the daughter played and she was amazing.  We then manage to rescheadule another meeting with them for the next night.  The amazing part about this story is that; One, we didn't really do anything, but pray for succes and did the work, two that night and the next was the only two nights that that family had free and were all together.  So that was our only chance to find them.  We have now been teaching them and they are some of the coolest people I have met in bulgaria and are progressing in the gosple.  That was also the first time in a year and a half that that had happened to me.  I know that prayer is the most powereful tool we have and can bring to pass miricules.  My life and mission has become so much better as I have relied on prayer and I can feel the litterl strength I recive from it everyday.  I know this church is the true church of God on the earth and I am so happy that I decided to serve a mission.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Ewell

April 2 Transfers

Well as you can tell from the subject heading we had transferes this week.  You will never guess where I am going so just keep on reading and you will find out.

Monday:
After writing you guys we had a nice relaxing P-day.  At the end we went contacting and dropped of a cake at the Nikolovi because their four year old daughter's birthday was today.  They loved the cake and thanked us a ton. we then came back home to bed.
Tuesday:
In the morning we had a meeting with Toni a new investagatior.  She is really cool and understands religion very well.  We had a really indepth first lesson focussing a lot on the great apostasy and who is god.  We did run into one problem though about how she doesn't belive any man can see God, because the bible says know man has seen god.  We tried explaing that ment unworthy men and showed examples in the bible of people who did see god.  Nothing worked so we commited her to pray about it and she said she would.  Other than that hick up everything went great.  After the lesson we went out contacting for the rest of the day.  We even went tracting for a while.  I was rusty since it had been a while but we had a great time tracting and had a ton of succes.  There was the coolest doorbell while tracting as well.  It basicly was just a string attached to a bell inside the house but it was cool because it was unique.  I got a picture of it and will send it with this letter.  After tracting and contacting all day we came back in for the night.
Wednesday:
In the morning we had our last district meeting in Pleven together as a district.  It went well, I did a review of the previous Zone Confrence and then we all shared a spiritual experiance from this transefer.  After eating we contacted all day until the evening when we had a meeting with the Georgivi family.  We did a really good lesson on the fall, atonement, great apostasy, and restoration.  It was a really powerful lesson and also it was the first time their boy was there as well to listen in.  I really hope that they gain a testimony and get baptized.  After meeting with them the day was over and we came in for the night.
Thursday:
In the morning we contacted until lunch.  I wasn't feel all that well while contacting though.  It was all because of nervousness for transfere calls.  For some reason this time I am super nervous about what might happen.  I think it is because either I don't know were I am going or I knew exactly and I didn't know if I wanted that.  Anyways you guys will have to read down to Friday to find out were I am going and lets just say It was completely unexpected and unpredictable.  After lunch we had a meeting with Petur and recent convert.  He hadn't been coming to church lately and we wanted to know why.  Well we found out that his grandma had been in very bad health and had died on tuesday. That explained why he hadn't been to church lately so we focused on how we can see our loved ones again if we keep our covenets.  We then went out contacting until it was time for English.  English went really well and I enjoyed it a lot.  We talked about the indefinit artical (a,an) because they ,despite being in third level, still couldn't use it right while speaking.  We then went contacting until it was time to go in.
Friday:
In the morning we were supposed to have a meeting with Toni again.  She came but only to tell us she couldn't come and to give us her new number since she had switched phones.  She could only stay for a little because she had a job interview that she had to go to.  It was really great that she actualy thought to let us know.  We then had a another meeting that fell through.  We then had lunch and then had our weekly activity with Vladi.  We taught him the piano most of the time.  After Vladi we had transfere calls.  So here is the big shocker, you could say also it is a first in our mission.  I am heading back to Ruse.  This is the third city I am going back to.  First was Stara Zagora, then Pleven, and now Ruse.  I am going to be serving with an Elder Babbit who I will tell you more about next week when I know more about him.  Also unlike last time Ruse will have sisters in it.  So instead of 4 elders there will be 2 elders and 2 sisters.  I am very happy with that transfere call and am really looking forward to going back to Ruse again.  After reciving our transfere calls we went to go see the Geogivi investagator family again.  The meeting was more like a goodbye party but it was alright and I am happy that I have gotten to know them.  We then came home for the night.
Saturday:
In the morning we had English.  I got into a little Physics discussion with my students and they were all shocked that I knew so much about Physics.  We then went out contacting for a while and then had lunch and language study.  After that we had our weekly Mutual improvment soccer game.  Almost nobody came,but we had a good time anyways.  Vera an old investagator of mine did show up though which was great.  I got to see her before I left and that she got to socialize with some of the youth.  We then tried to go see the Nikolovi one last time but they weren't home.
Sunday:
Church was alright, but we were stuck there for about three hours after church had ended because of some branch work.  We then had to pack because we might have to travel to Sofia monday and so we needed to be prepared.  We then went to the other elders' place so Elder Law could Weekly plan with Elder Walker who he will be serving with until his Greenie comes in.  Once all of this was done it was time to head home for dinner and bed.

That was the week and I am super excited to be heading back to Ruse.  I hope you all have a great week.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March 26

So this is another big letter because I had some extra time.  This week was tough and tiring because a lot of things fell through and I was sick.  I am good now and know that there are always bumps in the road and we just need to keep on going no matter how hard it gets.  Well here is the letter.

Tuesday:
After writing you guys we were going to go bowling but the other elders got held up with some urgent branch work so we just ended up watching movies all day.  At 6 we went to the Nickolovie's house.  They are doing so much better since when I saw them at the beging of this transfere.  I hope though that they will still come to church while I am gone.  They need to be called in the morning so they can wake up and I am afraid that the next elders may not do that.  They need it right now though and hopefully they will later have the strength to come on their own, but as of now they need to fed with milk and not meat.  They meeting with them went well we brought up the temple as a goal for them and hopefully that will help them push forward and make the extra effort to follow the gospel.  I truly hope they continue in the church and come back to full activity.  After meeting with them we contacted a little and then came home for the night.

Wednesday:
Today was a flop but alright.  In the morning we went street boarding.  I was starting to get sick because of the weather change to spring like every year at this time, so I wasn't doing a hundred percent.  That was alright though because my companion was on fire and got two numbers while we were street boarding.  After street boarding we had lunch and then started a long four hours of waiting for four dropped meetings.  During the spare time we contacted some more but it was a huge flop.  Luckily we were able to reschedule 3 of them for other days.  Another good thing happened too.  While we were walking around doing a little contacting when we ran into Angelina.  I had help baptize her last year but for the last 5 months she has just dropped off the Radar.  Well aparantly she had moved to a differen't apartment and her phone is with her mother so she techinally doesn't have one.  She gave me her email though which is great because we now have a way to contact her.  That just made my day and whole week.  After waiting for all of our meetings and then language hour We had institue.  I was teaching institue for this week.  I started from the old testement teaching manuel since we haven't been teaching from it, mainly because we didn't have any.  The lesson went well and we got some good questions in.  I was even able to use some of the things I learned from the book have been reading "Belive Christ".  It is a good book and about beliving Christ can save you and not just belive in him.  After instituet we it was time for dinner and to head in.

Thursday:
In the morning we went streetboarding again.  While street boarding I ran into an old investagator.  We talked for a good while and I found out that she had read the whole Book of Mormon even the index.  Also we talked about baptism and she said that she needed to be baptized but admitted that she didn't want it at the moment.  We talked some more and something that really shocked me is that she started crying because she was so happy to see me.  I never knew that I have made such and impact on somebody here in my mission and it was really touching.  She gave me her contact info so we wouldn't lose tract of each other and then I joined Elder Law with street boarding.  After streetboarding we had lunch and languge study.  We then went and taught a lesson to Dimiter the guy that had sent a complaint to us.  This lesson went better but he loves to talk and so it is hard to keep control of the lesson.  He knows a ton about the basic principles of the goesple though which makes it easier yet harder to teach him.  We don't have to explain a whole lot but we then we don't know what needs to be explained.  The meeting went well though.  We then had english prep and english.  English went well after enlish we contacted a little and for dinner we took out Elder Hotchkiss to dinner because his birthday was Wednesday and we didn't have time then.  After dinner we came home and prepared for bed.

Friday:
In the morning we went to go see Iveta and Nickoli.  We had a lesson on coming to church on sunday because they still weren't doing it.  Nickoli understood and he said he would come to church.  Nickoli's son was there which was my first time seeing him.  He is a cool kid and apparantly wants to be baptized but his mom is completely against it.  It is a complicated situation but the kid is really cool and smart.  The meeting went well and we had a good time.  After that we came back to Pleven and took Vladi out to the Panarama.  The Panarama is a muesem here about how the Russians helped free the Bulgarians from the turks about 170 years ago.  At the top level it has a rotunda with a Panarama which matches up with the outside but is painted of the battle in Pleven around 170 years ago.  It is really cool and Vladi liked it a lot.  We then had a short lesson on how we are all fighting wars in this life with sin and how we need to always gaurd ourselves.  It went well, afterward we had language study, dinner, and then bed.

Saturday:
In the morning before english we had a meeting with a new investagator.  She is pretty cool.  She is curious about religion and wants to know more about us.  She said that she was willing to meet everyday as well so we will see how that goes but it is really nice and refreshing to have somebody that willing to learn.  After our short meeting with her we had English class.  After English we had lunch and then a small member crisis.  The crisis got taken care of and then we went to the church youth soccer game.  Soccer went well and it was a good game.  It is good to for the members because they make friends and also we almost always have a investagator or two there.  After soccer we helped clean the church and then it was time for bed and dinner.

Sunday:
Church went well but I had a nasty cough like I always get near the end of my semi-annual cold and all the members thought I was going to die, even though I felt better then I had all week.  After church we had lunch and weekly planning.  That took the rest of the day but for the evening which we used to go teach the Georgive (members.)  The meeting went well.  We used an object lesson with a jar potatoes and rice.  The jar was our life, the potatoes the kingdom of god, and the rice worldly wants.  The lesson was about how if we put God first in our lives that we can fit everything good into our life, but if we don't we can't fit everything.  Vladi enjoyed it a lot and it was a good lesson.  We then talked about a couple of things they could do to put god first and challenged the parents to ask for a calling.  We then came back home for dinner and bed.

I have been asked to share my testimony by a couple of people as well so here it goes.  Before my mission I would say that I knew the gospel.  I knew all the answers but I just had information.  I even commited on this to a couple of people that I knew it all in my head and I belived it up their but my heart seemed not to know.  I craved for a heart felt testimony.  While I have been out here I have gone through many trials and uplifts but I can now say that my heart is bursting with testimony now and is still growing.  I am so thankful I came on a mission and now I know with my heart and my mind that the gospel is true and it helps me so much knowing that.  I bear this testimony in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Love,
Elder Ewell

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

3/20

Well this week was really good and thank you guys a ton for all the letters this week.  This week was really good and I enjoyed it a lot thank you guys for all of your support.

Monday:
Well we had a really relaxing P-day after writing you guys.  At 6 we went to the Nikolovi's to meet with them like every monday.  They are doing so much better.  You can really see the difference the spirit has made in their lives.  After meeting with them we contacted a little and then went in for the night.

Tuesday:
We went out to a members house in a nearby village to help them with their spring yard work.  They are the Karojovi and they had us removing cement posts and old grape plants.  They have two giant German Sheperds.  Those dogs are really smart.  I was trying to get a grape plant out and one wanted to play fetch.  I told it in bulgarian that I needed to remove the plant first and to help me.  Immedetly he started grabing the grape plant with his teeth and pulling and digging trying to get it out.  It was amazing and I was astonished.  With the dogs help it took little time to remove that grape plant.  Tip don't remove grape plants they are a pain and don't want to be removed.  It took us all morning to  remove all the posts and plants.  We also burned all the weeds and leaves that had gathered up during the winter.  It took all morning though because there were a ton of bees there and we had to be careful to not be stung.  After doing all that we had lunch which was delicious, played with the dogs, talked, and striped a long branch of bark while we waited for a train.  The train finally came and we got on it and headed home.

Wednesday:
First thing in the morning we had district meeting.  District meeting went really well.  We then had chinease for lunch and I ate a little to much.  After lunch we had to pick up some packages for the church and then we had a meeting with Rumen.  We talked about callings and then president Taty came and gave him an interview.  He has been called to be the young mens president and young single adults president.  So we taught him a little about how to be a leader and what types of activities he should organize and how often.  He is amazing and picked it all up really quick. After the meeting with him we had a ton of branch work to do with President Taty.  First thing though was that we had recived a complaint from somebody.  Apparantly missionaries had called him multiple times for a meetings and hadn't been there for the meeting.  We were confused because the number that he listed as having called was the number for the Elders in Varna on the otherside of the country and nobody their has served in Pleven and shouldn't know him since he was contacted in Pleven.  Well We called to apologize and the guy was okay with it and still wanted to meet.  Aparantly the complaint was just a complaint saying that the system was broken and to please fix it.  You will hear more about him on friday's section.  Since everybody we called had never even heard of him I am saying that he is John the Revolaters or the Three Nephites contact.  The other branch work was just a finacle mess that is fixed now but took us three hours to fix.  After that was all done we had a language study and then institute.  The new CES senior couple were there and it was great to get to meet them.  Institute went really well and I enjoyed it alot even though I was translating.  Afterwards we had some treats and then it was time to go in for the night.

Thursday:
First thing in the morning we had a droped meeting that was reschedualed for two in the afternoon.  So we had lunch and then went to the Nikolovis and helped them gather and chop wood to use to cook with and heat their house with.  My back and arms are still sore from doing that but we got a ton of wood for them.  We then rushed back home to change so we could be to the meeting we had at two.  Well we were on time but the guy wasn't.  So we waited for him.  Our other meeting with Anna started at three before he showed up and then right before we said the opening prayer he showed up.  Well we couldn't just tell him to go away so we re-taught the restoration to Anna and taught Simion (the late guys name) the restoration for the first time.  Well the lesson was a little chaotic but it ended on a good note and we will be meeting with Simion again.  After this double meeting we had english prep and then English.  English went well and after english we went contacting for a little bit then we had language study, dinner, and got ready for bed.

Friday:
First thing in the morning we had a meeting with Vasil.  He is a communist that wants to know about all the major religions that influence the world.  He is learning about ours because of Mitt Romney.  We are letting the Book of Mormon do its job.  We taught him a little about the restoration but not a whole ton because he had a lot of questions that we were answering.  After the meeting with him we met with the complaint guy from Wednsday.  He actually is very spiritual and knows alot of basic gosple truths from his own life experinces.  The only bad part is that it took him 40 minutes to explain all of this and he uses really big words so it was hard to understand.  We taught him a little and asked him to read the Book of Mormon and the Restoration booklet that we have so we could talk about it next time.  We then had lunch and then went street boarding for about 3 hours.  We then went to a Young single adults activity were we all played soccer.  I was super rusty and now my legs are sore (I just hurt all over now.)  It was really fun though and we have it figured out that we can do that once a week.  That well be a great way for some of our investagators to make friends with the members.  After soccer there was a service project at the church.  It was for the Relief Society 170th annirversy.  We were deep cleaning the church and because only two women could show up all of the youth but three who had to leave helped as well.  After cleaning we had language study and then dinner and bed.

Saturday:
The morning was really stress full.  Because we live above the church and have a big kitchen we were incharge of cooking all of the food.  So we made a huge batch of rolls and two things of lazagnia.  It was very stress full but everything got finished and everybody loved the lazagnia and rolls.  In facted they couldn't eat all the rolls which is impresive because bulgarians eat bread like it was water and they are dying of thirst.  I was really happy that I had mangaged to overfeed them.  After the whole thing was done we cleaned up and then had two meetings that fell through, language study, contacting, and weekly planning to finish off the day.

Sunday:
Church was good and I enjoyed it alot.  After church we had to rush to get all of our stuff gather and head to the Bus station for a bus to Sofia.  They had said there was a bus at 1:44 and we were at the station at 1:31 to find out that the bus was really at 1:30 and we had just missed it.  I was a little mad but not really since bus stations are always confusing with their times here.  Well the next bus wasn't until 4:30.  So after a long 3 hour wait we finally got on a bus to Sofia.  We got in and then had our interviews with President Roth.  I love my interviews with him and I always look forward to having them.  After the interviews we went to the apartments were we were staying and I was voted as the cook.  I don't even think I can cook that good but they all wanted it and with some help in the spice department the food turned out grate.  We then talked for awhile and went to bed.

Monday:
Zone Confrence was a blast.  There wasn't as much doctrinal stuff this time around but I have to say I felt the spirit more in that confrence than in any other one I have been in before.  A funny thing that happened was that for dessert for lunch there was a supposed unlimited supply of oreos and milk.  Well one elder wanted to prove them wrong and ate around 80 oreos all on his own and asked all of us to help.  It was hillarous and good fun.  After the zone confrence we picked up everything that we needed to take back to Pleven (it was a ton) and caught a bus.  Back in Pleven we took one of the city buses back to our apartment to head in for the night and I guy started asking us questions.  We had a nice conversation and gave him our number.  Well we got off the bus and about a minute later we got a call from that guy saying that I had left my scriptures on the bus.  Well after talking with him for a while we figured out how to get them back and now they are safe and sound in my apartment.  

Well that was the week.  Thank you all so much for all the support and letters I will here from you all next week.

Love,
Elder Austin James Ewell