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



Saturday, March 17, 2012

3/12

Well this week seemed to drag by so there won't be much to report. 
Monday:
After our P-day we had a meeting with the Nickolovies.  The spirit in their house was a ton better than last week and they could feel it.  Now that we have a system to get them to church we are now working on reading everyday.  I used to be frustrated having to go so slow with people but out here I have really appreaciated how powerful doing the little things can be.  They are improving though and hopefully they won't need to so much help soon.
Tuesday:
Today was a lot of contacting.  We did help the Nickolovies though gather some wood which was fun and frightining.  There boy does not know how to handle an ax safely.  I was just waiting for an accident.  He wouldn't listen to us but luckly nothing happened.  We also had a meeting with Anna which went well.  I really hope she can keep coming because we found out her son had stopped her from going to other churches before.  Please pray for her.  Other than that a whole lot of contacting.
Wednesday:
Wednesday was good but other than district meeting it was pure contacting.
Thursday:
Well other than english which was a ton of fun it was all contacting again.
Friday:
Today was busy.  In the morning we went to Nickolia's and Baba Iveta's place.  It was a good visit but we also got into a discussion about not judging and let me just say I don't think it went as well as aunt Anna's.  Anyway after them we had our time with Bladi.  He is a young member (12) so once a week we hang out with him and try to teach a gospel princeple or too.  So you could say we are the Scout/Young Mens/Only Friend in the church combantion.  Anyways we watched the other side of heaven with him and talked about missionary work.  After him we finally got to meet the the Georgievies again (the investagators.)  It was a very good meeting.  We talked about the plan of salvation and they had a lot of questions.  Please pray for them, they are a amazing family and the church is just perfect for them.  After meeting with them we came home for dinner.
Saturday:
Same as thursday, just english was in the morning.  We did meet with the Georgievies (Members) at night though.  We talked a little about doing the little things to keep the spirit with us.  The meeting went well and it was a nice fun evening.
Sunday:
Church was good but like the rest of the week we contacted all day again. 
Thank you guys for all of the support and keep sending the letters.
Love,
Elder Austin James Ewell

Updates 3/5

Well this week was a good week though no suprising let ins like last week.

Monday:
Well after a nice chill day of relaxing we went back to work and visited the Nikolovies.  We talked a lot on how they need to come to church and to focus on the good in life.  It was a long talk but it did some good.

Tuesday:
Basiclly we contacted all day until a meeting we had a meeting with Ana.  We reviewed the Restoration with her again just to make sure she understood. after her it was time to go in.

Wednesday:
We had district meeting and then a meeting wtih Mima, she is a lady who I had met with a year ago.  She is still doing good, but her husband still won't let her get baptized and it is to the point where she doesn't want to be baptized anymore.  We are still working with her but we now know that we need to focus on her husband.  Hopefully we can go somewhere with that because he likes us and all but we don't know why he won't let Mima get baptized.  So we are going to work with him to try to find a solution.  After the meating with her we contacted and then had institute which was good.

Thursday:
We managed to contact a ton of people on thursday.  It was amazing.  We basicly hit our goal in two hours while contacting for the the whole week.  Other than than we just met with the new member family the Georgivy.  They were doing fine and I am happy I get to work with them.  Sadly we couldn't meet with the Georgivy investagtor family because their son got sick but hopefully next week.

Friday:
We had back to back meetings on Friday.  First we met with this communist who is actually open to religion, though just to find out what it is about.  His name is Vasil and while contacting him I felt that we should let the Book of Mormon do its job.  So that is what we are doing with him.  He is really nice and respectful and he wants to read the Book of Mormon all the way through and learn about us.  So please pray that during that time that he will feel the spirit and become converted to the truth.  Then we were with Blady the only Young man and Deacon here and we basiclly had seminary with him about the stippling warriors.  It was fun and then we had Ana again.  We started on the Plan of Salvation and it was a good lesson.  I learned a couple of things and she definatly learned.  Overall it was a good lesson.

Saturday:
First we had english which was fun.  I was teaching third level which was fun.  Only one of the students showed up though.  It was still good and I had taught him last year so we got to know each other.  After english we had a wonderful lesson with Bioleta a new investagator.  The lesson was in a park and it was nice to outside in sunny weather.  She is pretty cool and wants to know more but she hates church organizations because according to her everyone she knows about is evil and of the devil.  We told her that she still didn't know about us though and she agreed and said she wouldn't judge until then.  We then did a deep clean of the church/helped the Branch President with church stuff the rest of the day.

Sunday:
Yesterday was good and I had a great fast sunday.  A whole lot better than last fast sunday when I was sick.  After church we contacted for a bit and we got approached by two people and got their numbers.  It was really neat because we didn't have to stop them they stopped themselves.  At night we went to the Georgievies again (the members.)  It was a good meeting, but they still got a long ways to go if they want to get to the temple.  Luckily they have the desire. 

That was about everything for this week.  Now that I have written it doesn't seem like much happened but this week felt really good and I felt like I had the spirit with me.

Thank you for all your letters. Love,
Elder Austin James Ewell