Monday, December 30, 2013

Aloha from the Islands . . .

What a sweet letter we received from Elder McEwan's companion. These young men of the "MGM" are by far the BEST!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Dear McEwan Family,

Aloha from Hawai'i!

If Elder McEwan hasn't already told you guys, my name is Elder Telona. I am from Hawai'i and love to play the ukulele. I love being companions with Elder McEwan. I have been out on a mission now for almost 5 months. Already I've learned so much from Elder McEwan about being a better missionary.

I will return to Utah when I am done with missionary service and if it alright with you guys, I would like to visit you guys. If you guys have any questions you would like to ask, I would be glad to answer them. I am so proud to serve alongside with Elder McEwan and want to thank you all for raising a great son.

Aloha once again from Hawai'i and until next time.

Elder Telona

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas from the Islands . . .

Tender mercy that everyone's "cheese got moved" so these
Elders were able to talk to each other :).
What a GREAT day it was to be able to Skype with Elder McEwan all the way around the world on Chuuk. It was a bit difficult to talk across the Pacific Ocean because as good as internet is, it does have it's limitations. We were able to see his wonderful, happy face for a bit and hear his voice for almost an hour! It's so great to hear how happy he is and how much he loves his mission, loves the island, loves the Chuukese people, and loves the Lord.

The day even got better because times got a little changed with both Elders from what was planned, so all of a sudden . . . We had Chuuk on one computer and the Dominican Republic on the other! They were even able to talk to each other briefly, even though it was challenging for them to hear each other.
Today was a great "bucket filler" day! :).

December 26, 2013

Dear Mom and Family,
The birthday and Christmas packages that everyone sent in the mail came today!!! :) :) :). Thank you so much for all the letters and pictures from so many of the family. I also REALLY needed the new white shirts :).

I'm so glad that I was able to talk to you guys today, and I'm glad to see that everyone is doing well!!! It really made my Christmas to see everyone and be able to talk to you all!

Please know that everyone here, Elders and members alike, wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!! Thanks you all for all the gifts and for the help and support at this time in my life!!
Please every one have a safe and Merry christmas!! love you all so much!!!

Ai tong ngenikemi,

Elder McEwan
All the McEwan "boys" talking to each other
Christmas 2013 from Salem to Chuuk to the Dominican Republic!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

20th Birthday on Romalum . . .

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you so much for all of the birthday wishes that were emailed to me! I don't have enough email time to thank everyone individually, so I'm hoping Mom puts this on the blog so you don't think I am ungrateful.

It was great to celebrate my birthday on Romalum! Since it was on a Sunday this year, I enjoyed spending it at church and with my Chuukese family :).

Thanks for keeping me in your prayers and for your continued support.

Ai tong ngenikemi,
Elder McEwan

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sometimes It's Hard, But We MUST "Keep Trying" . . .

December 15, 2013

Dear Family—
I've been great! Things are good, we are just right now trying to find more investigators but it's starting to get super hard because it seems like everyone on the island (including some super super less active members) really hate missionaries and the church. But as of right now, we are still working with a young guy named Rico. He is so ready to be baptized right now, the only problem is that he wants to be married but the girl's parents don't agree with our church, even though their oldest daughter and her husband have been married in our church. So confusing, but that's just how it is here. We'll keep trying.

Everyone loves the family picture of all of us up the canyon, and they want to see more pictures of my family. Also, the gifts were awesome, thanks so much for thinking of me and Elder Telona this time of year. I also have a box that'll be heading up your way next month, just got some odds and ends that I collected while I was in Mechitiw.

The weather here is starting to get colder at night, but it's still super hot AND super rainy every day. I miss looking at the mountains during this time of year but I know I'll more than likely be going home to snow all over the place.

I don't know when we will be calling to set up Christmas calling times, but I do know all of us will be calling on the 25th and 26th here in Micronesia. It's weird to think that after that, I'll have one, maybe two more times, to call before I go home.

Thanks for sending me Elder Sorensen's correct email address. I'll make sure and shoot an email off to him today :)!!!

The letters and stuff haven't been seen yet, but I figure it'll either come today or I'll get it when we come in for Christmas.

Anyways, I hope you guys all continue to have fun and remember our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ this time of year, and evry day throughout next year.

Tong seni ngang,
Elder McEwan

Monday, December 9, 2013

What a Wonderful Life I Have . . .

It's been a few weeks since we have heard from Sean since he is now serving on Romalum. What a great treat to get an awesome (and long :) letter from him this week as they are all on the main island for Zone Conference!

December 8, 2013
First off, I'm so glad that you are doing great right now Mom and that you are being taken care of. I don't know if I could stand it if I was told something serious/life-threatening happened to my mother or anyone else in my family, especially at this time of the year.

That's so awesome that you all are having so much fun right now and enjoying this Christmas season. Me, it's been pretty good, just finding, teaching, baptizing, and just enjoying Chuuk. Parker and Dylan, keep reading from that handbook, if you can understand it early, you guys will be so much more ahead of the game when it comes time for you guys to "suit up".
I had one baptism this last weekend, a young man named Benjamin. Unfortunately I have not received the envelope from the Primary. However, I have gotten your box for the 12 days of Christmas. Me and Elder Telona are so excited to start unwrapping them this week (Thursday here, Wednesday there). Elder Telona has never done this befoe and wants to start on the 12th of this month so that we will be opening a gift every night until Christmas Eve.

So much rain that there is no schools open
on days like this!
Also, it's funny that you mention that you guys are having the missionaries over and thinking of less-actives/non-members to have over as well, because we just finished up our District Conference and that was our topic, How can members help hasten the work of salvation. I know that this topic is inspired, because President Monson has also commited all of us in this Church to step it up and help in the work of missionary.
Hey so chek it out! We just got two new missionaries, one from Pohnpei (Elder Ladore) and one from Utah (Elder Monson). That's right, the nephew of the Prophet is serving here in my mission, on the island of Uman. Just thought you would like to know in case President Monson stands up in Conference and starts talking about Chuuk! J J J J

We are hoping to have two weddings and 4 baptisms this month. And right now, we are trying for a total of 750 baptisms here in Chuuk alone. I'm just amazed at how fast this work is moving, and I'm so glad that I get to be a part of it.
You know it's funny that you guys just finished watching the Christmas Devotional, because I also just finished watching something equally as inspiring, aabout the story of Ephraim Hanks and the Martin/Tyler Handcart Company. Guess they came out with a movie about it and from watching it, it really gives me a profound understanding of how powerful the priesthood authority of God can be when an individual stands ready and worthy when his moment comes. Makes me wonder, how many opportunities have I passed on or not been looking for, to share in the priesthood power to lift someone's hope, to strengthen someone's faith in the Living God and in His Son, Jesus Christ? How will I prepare myself now so that I can stand ready when my moment comes?

That's so awesome that you guys have a connection to Elder Monson through Stef. We all love him and think he's the best, he makes us all laugh and I know that he is going to be a great help to the Uman branch.
Our investigators are also doing well, and we had a few of them attend the District Conference taht just concluded. Me, I'm keeping on alright, just really starting to see my liife in a whole different way than before. I'm finally realizing that living my life for me and my wants, is not a good way to do it. The Lord has blessed me with some of the most amzing people in the world and I get to go and see and strengthen them every day. I get to exercise my faith with everyone that I talk to and pray that someday they will accept this Gospel. Right now, in my little chain of islands (the Fai-Chuuks), we are seeing our share of trials and adversities. People that were so open to the Gospel that have either been baptized and received callings and the priesthood and been so excited and adement about the Church, are now starting to fall away.

As of right now, no I don't know when I'll be calling yet, and I also don't know if I can add Garrett in as well to the call, but when I know, you guys will know. I'll be sending out some pictures and videos home so hopefully you guys like them.
Pwapwa epwe nonnom remi pokiten ekkewe mettochun ei fonufan ra sotunikemino pwan sotunikichino atun manauachkewe. Pwan ussum jok Mama, ngang mi pwan minaminoch usapw minaminamang ren ai we tuffichin nom non ach ei famini. Ngang mi fakkun sinei, me ua pwan tongeni annetata pwe Samach Kot won Ngang mi manau tori ikenai pwan Noun Ewe ach ewe Chon Amanau Jises Kraist. Non ei fansounun Kristmas, ouse mochen ousapw menukano usun uputiwan Jises Kraist; mutata pwe epwe nom remi fansoun meinisin esapw eu ran jok. Ngang mi sinei pwe ina mo sise juwen tufichin kunafengenikich non ei fansoun, ua jok nuku pwe Ewe Emon mi Fel epwe tumunikichino tori sia chusefan non fenuachwe Utah.

Tong seni ngang, seni ikenai tori feinfeino jok,
Elder McEwan ika Elder Mikimik

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving from Romalum . . .

What a wonderful Thanksgiving Day as we woke up to news from the "islands"! All the Elders had Thanksgiving together in Weno, so Elder McEwan was able to send a letter.

November 28, 2013

Dear Family--

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Things are going good right now, and I'm glad to hear that the sports
We even had a Turkey Bowl before Thanksgiving Dinner ~
with American Football!
equipment got off successfully. I don't even know if you guys told me what happened or if I just read it in the Ward Newsletter (BTW tell Sister Miller thank you so much for writing to me sending the newsletter every month), but I've been praying everyday that you guys will know what to do to get it off and now I hear that the Lord has given you all a very big blessing. I'm doing okay, just trying to open my mouth every day with new people and share this message that has become so dear to my heart. I realized last week that I'll soon be 20 years old, and after I'll be out a year on my mission.... I'll be honest, I don't want to go home. I miss you guys, and I love you guys but I have grown to love these people in such a way that I never thought I'd love anyone, and I can't imagine not having the Chuukese people in my life. Me and Elder Telona are doing awesome, we are hoping to have a baptism this Saturday, and then a ton more in December along with a wedding or two. Also, my branch president in Romalum wants me and Telona to start teaching an English class, and we also might start teaching a temple prep class.

What a GREAT Thanksgiving Dinner with my
brothers! We had SOOO much food :)
The rest of my brothers enjoying Thanksgiving.
We can't believe there are so many of us now that
we have to sit at two rows of tables!

Dad, have you had any luck in locating some of your mission pics? Also, one thing that my district is wanting to do to help the work move along is show our investigators pictures of us when we were baptized. If you guys can find some and send them to me through the mail, that'd be great. And I also told Elder Telona about the homemade Oreos that you sent me in the MTC, Mom. Do you think it is possilbe for you to send me some through the mail? If not, no harm no foul. I'm glad that you guys are going to the temple, continue to do so. Also, next month I'm sending a memory card home, please PLEASE pull the pics and videos off and send back the card empty so that I can continue to take pictures. Thers also some pictures and videos of the Primary activity in Mechitiw, so you all can see what the Primary is like in Chuuk.

Umm, I really have nothing else, other than yes Parker and Dylan, I'm still working out. Thankfully, I have a basketball court outside my house so I just go outside with Elder Telona every morning and we shoot free throws, jump shots, we run, we do suicides, and I feel like I'm losing weight and getting in shape. Speaking of basketball, how's the high school team doing? They any good? Thanks for keeping me in the loop. I know I'm not the best at keeping you guys in the loop, but I'll try to be better next month.

Well, it's late and we're having story time with all the Elders here (for some reason they always like when I tell stories). I love you all so much, and I hope you guys know that. I know now that this work is an inspired work, and I relish in the fact that I get to wake up every day and do this work.

Love, Tong, Kinamwe,

Elder McEwan

Monday, November 11, 2013

Humbling Experiences on Romalum . . .

November 10, 2013

Dear Family!!

Things are good here, and I am so glad to hear that you are all having so much fun! Dylan, I'm trying to be better about getting up and exercising, and I try to go outside and shoot some baskets with the little kids at my house. Parker, that's awesome that you got to sing for Veteran's Day. What song(s) did you sing? That's too bad about the football team though, but that's good that they did that well. Also, I'm sending a letter your way for your birthday, hopefully you get it before your birthday.

Me, I'm doing great, even though the work is sort of slow for me right now. We have 2 investigators on baptismal dates, Rico and Benjamin, but we have a TON of people that we have been talking to, but they haven't really expressed any interest in investigating the Church, but I know they will.

Oh my goodness, the Lord has blessed me so much lately, it's hard to find a good place to start. But, I think I will just start with yesterday at Church, and about the new girl in my life . . . ;) a cute little newborn girl named Jaslyna Josef, and yesterday, because her dad was not in attendance at Church, I was given the privilege of blessing her in Sacrament Meeting. Man, most humbling experience of my whole mission, not to mention my whole life, and now that beautiful girl has a very special spot in my heart, along with her family. That's the one thing I've noticed about my life in Romalum, is that my love for the people has deepened and grown to a level that I didn't know that I could go to. There are days when all I want to do is simply just go and spend the whole day with the people, and that's why it's hard for me to have to come in at 6 pm.

Anyways, I've been having some great study sessions as of late, specifically in Alma 5. By far my most favorite chapter in the Book of Mormon that I have never really read until now. The chapter just talks about a series of questions that the prophet Alma developed to determine ones readiness to return to Heaven. The verse I'm studying on right now comes from verse 10, which asks on what conditions are we saved? I'm studying through the footnote for the word "saved", and I'm finding a lot of conditions and things that we need to do in order to be saved. And man, there are so many good verses and passages that it would take up about 2 or 3 more emails just to explain all of them. But, I look back on my time before missionary life and feel sad, because I didn't take advantage of the time to read and really enjoy the Book of Mormon. And now, the Book of Mormon has become my best friend, I read it maybe on average like 10 times during the day, and I can feel like my testimony of it is really growing and deepening as I try to apply what I learn.

Rodney doesn't report to the MTC until next March, the 11th I think, but Keireen leaves this January 28th, the same day I left the MTC. I love serving on Romalum with Elder Telona. With blessing Jaslyna and trying to spend as much time with the people as possible, I know that they love me and I can't imagine what my life would be like without these people, and no offense, but I actually dread the day I have to come home, not even just that I'll no longer be a missionary, but that I'll have to leave these beautiful amazing people. I know that my Father in Heaven has put me here for a purpose and a reason, and I feel like I'm starting to learn what that reason is. I know that this Church is true, because every time I teach to someone about the Restoration or the Book of Mormon, and they don't accept it, it breaks my heart, but at the same time I realize that I still have my own testimony. I pray everyday that my Heavenly Father will help me in His work, and that I can develop myself to become like the Sons of Mosiah (Mosiah 28:3, Alma 17:9). I realized on Saturday that I have just 1 year and 2 months left in this, so it's now or never. I know that this work is true, that at this time the Lord is hastening this work, and I simply pour my heart out in thanks and gratitude for this opportunity to serve among these Chuukese people.

I love you all, I miss you all, and I pray for you all the time!! I'd also love it if you guys would send pictures of what you guys are doing (actual pictures) because I love looking at them, and the people love looking at them too.

Seni ewe aten Romalum, pwan fiti an tong mi fakkun tekia,

Elder McEwan

P.S. Also, if you look on a map, you satiw (drive down) from Weno, and then you run right into Romalum. Kinda far out, but I love riding the boats. Don't know if you guys knew that, but that's the only way that we can get to all the other islands. :)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Things Are Good . . .

Dear Family-

Things are good with Elder Telona, we have a few people on baptismal dates. Rodney will be going to Provo before Hawaii, and Keireen will also be serving in Hawaii. Thanks for the letters and I'm so glad that you all are doing well. Please send pictures and letters, I love you all!!

Elder McEwan

Monday, October 28, 2013

First Transfer . . .

After nine months, Elder McEwan has experienced his first transfer! He will definitely miss Mechitiw, but is looking forward to new experiences on Romalum. His physical address is the same except for the city is now Moen instead of Weno. This didn't really make sense to us because it is the same PO Box. However, we have been told that it used to be called Moen until about a year ago, so maybe some still use the old name.

Dear Family and Friends—

I don't have a lot of time, so I'll just make it quick. I've been transferred from Weno to an outer island named Romalum, which is so much more relaxing than being "inner island". Things are good, nothing too exciting to report because right now me and my companion, Elder Telona, are trying to go around the island and find those investigators that him and his companion were teaching first that they got on baptism dates. Glad to hear that you guys are all doing well, and all I will ask for is pictures and letters in the mail, since it's hard for me to email you guys every week.

Hey when you guys have time, look up on the internet "Operation Hailstorm." Just the name of hte attack that the US launched to help take back Chuuk back in World War 2.

They do actually celebrate Halloween, just without the costumes and all that. They still have all the candy and such. So if you want to send some the kids would love it. I can also share with Elder Telona and our missionary in preparation, Rodney Rain. He's so cool, I wish you guys could meet him. He'll be serving in Hawaii, along with a sister that I helped to do her paperwork, Keireen Matheus.

I love you all, I miss all of you, and I hope this email finds you all well.

Elder McEwan

PS Here's my address for those who don't have it:

Elder Sean McEwan
PO Box 861
Moen, Chuuk

Monday, October 21, 2013

Kapongs from the Islands . . .

Ran Allim!!

So, it's good to hear from you AND to hear that you are doing so well!!  Anyhow, things here are great for me, we have about 5 or 6 people on baptismal dates, and the sad thing is, they've all been rescheduled as of yesterday because they didn't come to church!! That is THE biggest killer of people on baptismal dates, is that they won't walk the 10-30 minutes to come to church. Oh well, we'll just keep working with them and get them coming next week.

You know the one thing that I have loved doing lately? Teaching families!!! One of my recent converts, Pwas James, had us over to teach his wife Ansita yesterday, which was a huge blessing, because while I was teaching him, I kept asking him to bring his wife into the lessons, but he kept saying "No no, I'll talk to her about it later" and later never happened until she sat down in the lesson on Saturday that we had with him about member missionary work. I didn't even realize that she had sat down until he looked at me and said "Well, that was a good lesson, and look Ansita joined for the last little bit." Then he asked when we wanted to come back and teach her!! Oh yeah, gotta love this work!! I know that the Spirit of God was upon that man and was right in that moment, because if it wasn't, I know for a fact that his wife would not have sat down and listened.

So now, I've come to the part of my email that I've been dreading. This week right now is the week that I do not like. TRANSFER WEEK. I've been here in Mechitiw for 8 and 1/2 months right now, which is a long time to be in one area. I've been thinking I'd stay one or two more, but now i've been hearing rumors that I'll transfered to an outer island, which means no emailing, which means not being able to talk to you (unless it's an actual letter). Mechitiw has become my home, and I don't want to leave because it makes me kind of nervous. Then again, I felt the same way when I left Utah. It's crazy to think that in three months, I'll be at a year as a missionary. And what do I have to show for it? Tons! Along with learning so much more about the gospel than I knew, talking to people that in the beginning were total strangers, I have also learned how to be human and have fun, which is something that I believe Heavenly Father wanted me to learn while on my mission.

Man, so much is going on in my life, and every day I'm happier, I'm more productive, and I can't imagine being anywhere else in the world. Chuuk has become my home, and I would do anything to be able to stay here.

Ngang mi sinei pwe ach ei Mwichifel mi wesewesen ellet, o a fen niwinsefan me ren ewe soufos Josef Smit. Ngang ua mochen pwe aramas meinisin repwe feito ren ach Samon Jises Kraist, me ua sinei pwe ika ngang ua fori wisei me afanafan ewe ellet, ir repwe mina.

Ai tong ngonuk seni Mechitiw, CHUUK

Seni ewe aten Mechitiw

Elder McEwan

Ps. I'll learn how to write letters again :). Keep having fun and being good!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

My BEST WEEK So Far . . .

We absolutely LOVE it when P-Day comes early for us! This week we hear from Elder McEwan Sunday evening. It is sooo awesome to hear that he is having his best week so far. We definitely hope that every week is always the BEST . . .
Hello Family!!

So good to hear that everyone is doing so well at home. Me, I'm having the BEST WEEK of my mission so far!! So crazy thing first. Mom, you'll probably remember better than anyone, but when Sister Obray was talking to us about what she knew of Chuuk, and she mentioned the drunk people? Well, I've never met one or even seen one, until this last weekend!! 3 of them, all members too!! It was like, we'd get through telling one to leave, and then 5 minutes later, another one showed up!! After the second one, I was just beat and didn't even bother with saying anything. But now, I think things are back to normal (fingers crossed ;))

So I got to conduct the baptism that we had this last weekend, this makes my second. It's weird to conduct a baptism, but I was just happy to be a part of it. Then, the guy that got baptized, KM, asked me to confirm him a member!! I've never taught this guy, he's from Nantaku (a completely different area from mine) and yet he still wanted me to confirm him a member and be a part of that. WOW WOW WOW!!!

So we also had Branch Conference yesterday. Lots of people showed up, which was good, but then right in the middle of it, a couple of members got in a fight in a house down by ours and kind of disrupted things, but overall it was a good experience had by all.

Elder Schroath is back here in Chuuk now, me and Elder Toa went and picked him up last Thursday. He's from Idaho, Boise I think. Totally different procedure from mine by the sound of things. But at any rate, glad to have him back in the Zone.

As far as shoes go, same style of Crocs works for me, as long as there are no holes on top or bottom. Ties are also holding up well, just running low because I let them out to members so that they can wear white shirts to church. I think that's one of the things that I love so much about Chuuk, that I feel so needed. They are they best people in the world, and I feel so blesseed to be here!!

Give my kapong (greetings) to everyone back in Salem and the surrounding areas. Any more mission calls that you all know of? Who's getting engaged or married? How are Holly and Ronel doing? I got an email from them last week I think, and I'm so glad that they enjoyed their trip.

Man, there's so much to write and so much to say...and so little time. But, I think I'll close by relating the last two days of my studying. I've been reading out of the Chuukese Book of Mormon lately, so that I can better understand the language and how to use this specific translation, and every time I see a word that i don't understand, or a passage taht is not clear, I read through it in English, and suddenly it's like the whole world opens up and light just shooots out from the book!! I've been reading just from 1 Nephi 1 up to chapter 17, and already I can feel myself changing and with my new attitude of living every day like it is the first day in my mission, I know that the Lord will help me to be successful.

I love you all, I miss you all, and it's crazy to think that Thanskgiving is coming up soon. Don't worry, we will still have a dinner and all that. Then, just a few more weeks and I'll be talking to you guys again for Christmas!! WOW then a few weeks later and I'll be at 1 YEAR AS A MISSIONARY!!!!!!!!! Time sure flies, and I'm grateful for every minute of it.

Ai tong ngenikemi!!

Elder McEwan

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Happenings in the Pacific . . .

October 7, 2013
Chuuk Zone Conference ~ October 2013

Dear Family---

Things have been great here for me. Just had zone conference last night and so we are all in here on Weno. Transfers are in like two weeks, and I don't know if I will still be in Mechitiw, but will see. I glad that everyone is doing well, and staying busy. Yes I knew Micah and Emy and Kavika really well, that is so awesome that you guys are able to get to know them. Please keep helping them, because I love them so much. Do they remember me?

We have hit the rainy season here in Chuuk and so it has been wet here every day. As far as my clothes, I do need a new pair of crocs and some white shirts and ties. I did hear about Garrett and his camera, hopefully he finds a new one.

All of us at the Blue Lagoon Resort

The results of my T/B culture on the cyst still have not come in. However, the surgeon's staff promised Sister McClellan that they will contact her as soon as it does, and she will forward on the results to me and you. We actually have another Elder who has the same thing going on. He is in Guam for the same surgery. He has a different surgeon though because the one that did mine is going on vacation. The surgeon who is doing Elder Schroath's surgery came from Arizona just one month ago and is an ENT. He said he has removed many in his career and seemed to recognize "the classic" symptoms immediately. He said it is called a Thyroglossal Ductal Cyst. It is something that usually shows up during puberty. As it was explained to us, it is an anomaly that happens in about 1 in 10,000. In embryo about 5-6 weeks when the thyroid gland and the tongue move into their proper position sometimes a small single thyroid cell adheres to the hyoid bone (this is the bone the tongue attaches to). Puberty hormones sometimes set it off to grow or swell a little, usually painless; however if a pin point home forms in the duct attached to the hyoid bone, infection can get in. A cyst then forms, causing pain and difficulty eating and swallowing. He also said if the duct wasn't clipped off of the hyoid bone, another cyst could form, or maybe never again (I hope the surgeon who did mine clipped what he was supposed to :). My surgeon never told us what it was called or what caused it, so maybe he didn't know. The coincidence of two elders having this same thing, around the same time, and serving on the same island is kind of amazing to all of us.
Investigators are doing good right now, still trying to find more of the elect from The Lord. I love you, and miss you all.

Parker and Dylan--Groceries that I buy on pdays consist of ramen, pancakes, rice, tuna, sardines, and whatever else we feel like we need. Not really a whole lot to do on pdays when we are all together, but usually it ends up that we play volleyball or basketball, or me and Elder Toa and the sapuk elders go and hang out in Mechitiw. The most different kind of food that I have eaten so far...octopus, or nipwe as they call it. Hopefully that helps you out pal. Love ya!

Elder McEwan

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Work Goes Forward . . .

It's kind of fun to see this English and spelling "scholar" taking to the Chuukese language to the point it's affecting his spelling! What a blessing for him and our whole family to celebrate the culture of the people of Chuuk. Hopefully someday we will get to meet some of these wonderful people. With every passing day, we love them more and more :).

Dear Family!!

So so sorry that I haven't emailed you in FOREVER!! Things have just been really busy here and we have a ton of people that we are teaching right now, and yesterday at church...94 people at sacrament meeting, with 6 of them being investigators. I'm back with Elder Toa, and right now we have about 6 or 7 progressing investigators and 4 set up for this Saturday for a baptism. Things are going super great right now, except for the fact that right now some of the member families are having issues and some of them have even split up. It's causing me some headaches because I really love these families, and I get sad every time I hear that one of them has broken apart. All I can do is pray and try my best to find them all, and help bring them back together.

As far as fruits and veggies, I've got breadfruit, bananas, "tonga", mangoes, etc. Definitely miss applesauce though, and peaches. The Primary in Mechitiw is preety large actually, with maybe about like 40-50 kids every Sunday. No, I don't think that they do a Program, just because we are trying to help the members in charge of Primary because we are very limited on our resources to use in Church (manuals, DVDs, etc.) because there are only a few people that can read AND that understand English. The teaching is really helping with that, because we have been finding a lot of families that want to be taught and be baptized, and we have some of those families coming up soon.

I love the camera too, and the people do as well. I haven't sent any more pictures home yet, but when I do, I will send home the card that has all those baptisms on it, and I would like for you guys to download them and clear the card. And as far as anything that I need from you, the little kids here love candy. I don't eat it as much as I used to, but they love it when they know that there is "okasi" (candy) in the house. A resistance band would be nice as well, if not two (with handles).  Also, if you could send another flash drive, great, if not that's okay.

So mini miracle before I close. You all know that my house got broken into while I was gone, and the shirt, the basketball, and the pump were stolen. Well, I was getting ready for church a few Sundays ago, and I had been praying that I would find all of the things that you guys had sent me. Then when I was getting dressed, I heard a knock at the door, and it was an investigator, asking if he could use our pull up bar that is in our house. I told him that it was Sunday, and that if he came back the next morning, then he would be able to. He just said okay, and then asked for water. Gave it to him, and while he was drinking, I noticed the shirt that he was wearing was blue...LIGHT BLUE. I asked him about it, and he said that somebody in our village gave it to him to use. I kept asking him about it, and noticed that he also had it on inside out. I asked him if I could look at it and see if it was a Chuukese shirt. I pulled it up a little bit, and the first word I saw was "HILLS". I am so glad that I found that shirt and was able to get it back.

I love this experience, this wonderful opportunity and privilige that I have to serve here in Chuuk, and working with these wonderful people. I had the biggest revelation last night about something that a recent convert in GUam told me right before I left to come back here. I'd share it in this email, but I don't have much more time. With only two computers to serve like 10-12 Elders, it makes emailing hard. But I love you all, I miss you all, and I pray for you all the time!!

---Elder McEwan

Oh, one more thing. Does anyone know how much is it to mail something from Chuuk to Santo Domingo? THat'd be good to know!! :)

Monday, September 16, 2013

September Zone Conference . . .

Thank you to Sister Crisp for sharing these pictures of September Zone Conference. What would we do without these wonderful opportunities to see our Elders at "work"!

Learning, Learning, Learning . . .

Transfers were September 12, 2013 in Chuuk. Elder McEwan continues to serve in the Mechitiw area, which he loves as his family. There are now 26 Elders and 1 Sister serving on Chuuk (this includes Elder and Sister Crisp :). Wow ~ I think there were 14 when Sean arrived in February 2013 ~ only 8 1/2 months ago!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Working to Increase Investigator Pool . .

Dear Family!!!
Hey so first off, Dylan Happy Birthday!! Just looking at these pictures, you look a lot older than 13, but that's probably just because I haven't been with you for almost 8 months. Hope your day is the best that it can be for you, and know that I am with you in spirit.
I'm so glad that you guys are having fun and doing fun things. Thanks so much for the pictures, I'll print them off so that I can keep them. No, I haven't been able to locate that stuff yet, but I have a pretty good idea of where it might be, we'll just pray that it is in that spot.
Parker, tell Mr. Bills that I'm going to send him an email and let him know that I am doing great. That is awesome that you are singing Tenor 2, that's where it's at right there. But I think between the two of us, we know who the real tenor 2 is ;) I'm glad that everyone is happy and doing well.
I'm doing well, just trying to find more people to teach. Elder Toa got transferred to an outer island and Elder Pita is my companion right now. I don't think it's permanent, it'll just be til the end of this transfer, but with that, I think that I will be staying in Mechitiw one more transfer.
Tell Ronel and Holly Israel that I miss them both and I'm so happy for them, even though none of the other Elders believe me when I say that they are married :D

Ai tong ngenikemi, ena tong esap much tori mano
Ai tong epwe pwan nom remi tori ach chusefan
pokiten Kot a sinei netipach me a mochen sipwe
tongeni nom fengen tori feinfeino jok.
Ouse mochen oupwe pwan anisei pwan apwonueta ai tengoremi
Ouse mochen ousap ekisiwinin atun ai fansounen misineri
Ua fakkun tongekemi!!

Elder McEwan

Aten Chuuk mwa!!!!

Someday we're very hopeful that we will understand what he is saying in Chuukese :). We did purchase a Chuukese to English dictionary, but it doesn't seem to be much help for translation. Maybe translation will come next week. It would be nice to learn a little Chuukese while Elder McEwan is on his mission so that when he returns home we don't all just look at him with a blank stare like, "Ok, whatever you say, Elder :).

Monday, August 26, 2013

I'm Back "Home"!

It's so wonderful to see how the experiences Sean is having is molding him into an even better person than when he left for Guam. Even though many of the things learned on a mission are sometimes things that our parents, grandparents, other family, friends, coaches, church leaders, etc. try to teach, it is received more fully when we are "in the field". Lessons are learned much better when we're far from our familiar life.

So grateful for all of the young men and women and those in their "twilight years" who give their all to help others ~ both those who are serving as well as those who are waiting to hear the gospel and have the long awaited for true happiness that can only come through the light of Christ. You never know when you are going to be an answer to someone's prayer(s) or how long they have been waiting for that answer.

Dear Family and Friends,

Wow, I just back to Chuuk late last night and I am definitely feeling it! That's so incredible, that experience that you had, Mom. I just printed it off and am going to store it with the rest of my letters. Thanks for sharing it with me.

Yeah, I can receive pictures through email. In fact, I just got one from Elder Hill the other day. Looks like he is doing well and having fun.

I'm so glad that every one is doing awesome and busy with school and such. Nothing too exciting today, just typical basketball P-day in Chuuk. But I'm sooo glad to be back. I really missed my Chuukese family. I found out that I did receive the package you sent, but the basketball, pump, and t-shirt were stolen because some people broke into our house while I was gone. Luckily though, the pictures, the tie from Holly's and Ronel's wedding, and the filtered water bottle were still there. I also received all of the letters as well.

One last thing from my time in Guam with Elder Gasu. Now it'll help to know that he has become my best friend and I can't imagine where my mission would be right now if I didn't know him. But while I was with him, he taught me the importance of setting goals for myself and coming up with a list of traits and talents that I want to develop while as a missionary. I thought about that for a little while, and realized that he was right. We can all do that though, not just the missionaries. Heavenly Father has given us and blessed us with this time on Earth to learn and to grow and to better ourselves, so that we can become the best that our Heavenly Father knows that we can be. I know that the things I have listed as things that I want to learn more about will not just bless me during my time as a missionary, but also when I am through being a full-time missionary. I invite all of you guys to try it, to just think of some spiritual qualities that you all want to work on, and then write them down and do your best to work on them this week. You'll be surprised to see how much you guys will grow from those things that you write down. I pray that this email finds you all doing well, and know that I pray for you all everyday.

I watched the Joseph Smith movie today (in my Zone Leader's house) and it really struck me how tight Joseph was with Alvin and Hyrum, and especially those people that joined the Church after that. And it got me exactly have I been an example like that in my life, to my family and to my friends...and I realized that I have some things to work on, because I know that even though there were times when I was a good example, there were also times when I know that I was not. But being in Guam, and especially being in Chuuk, it has taught me about brotherhood, and how important that really is. Brotherhood is like what every coach has taught us in football. Brotherhood is trust in the guy next to you on the line, to know that no matter what, he is not going to fail in his responsibilities and duties. Brotherhood is knowing that on defense, all you have to do is worry about your own specific area and trusting that everyone else has put in the time and effort to do the same. That's what I relate this work to, a football team. If everyone has practiced and studied, and then they continue to study and progress in their knowledge of the gospel, this team will win day in and day out. But we have to be completely focused on our goal, we cannot be distracted from our goal. Any time that someone drops a pass, I've always thought, "Oh man, that guy is gonna hear from his coaches later." But one thing that I have realized is that the best teams in the world don't focus on what they did wrong, but how they can ALL improve and win. That's your job, that's my job, that's OUR job. Every time we have a companion that doesn't get up on time, we don't belittle them, we don't yell at them. We are simply honest with each other, we talk about how to make each other better. Every time our companions don't put in a good effort for studies, we simply push each other to be better. That's why God and Jesus Christ have recommended that this, the most amazing work on the face of the planet and in the history of the world, be done "two by two". Two scriptures that have really helped me with this come from Ecclesiastes 4:9 and 10. I invite you to read them sometime, either for studies or just when you have a minute, and try to think of how you can apply this to your companionships in your life.

I pray that the Lord with keep you and continue to bless your life, and He has mine. Never forget that I will always be here for you, and that I constantly pray that you will have that Hercules strength :)

Ai tong ngenikemi
Ena tong esap much tori mano
Usap pwan menuki ami non ai iotek

Kot epwe nom remi ach chusefan

Elder Sean McEwan

Aten Chuuk mwa!!!

Monday, August 19, 2013

An Answer to a Prayer Near and Far . . .

We were very excited to receive two letters from Sean this week! He shared a very personal experience with us. We have debated whether or not to share it here, but feel that it may help someone who reads it with their own testimony whether it is strong, building, or don't think it's there at all . . .

. . . Things are good here in Guam. It's been nice to be here, but I definitely miss my home. 
So I'm glad to hear that you guys are still keeping busy and having fun, it always makes happy to hear what you everyone is up to. I want to try and keep this email short to tell you guys about the experience that happened to me last Friday before the surgery...
. . . Leading up to the surgery, I wasn't super nervous but that's only because I'm from Chuuk now and nothing scares me. But just the day of, I'd been hearing stories of some crazy things happening to missionaries out here, so I became a little nervous. But Elders Gasu, John and Samachy gave me a blessing the day of the surgery, and so I went off. But when I got there, they had me change into a hospital gown, but they told me that any undergarments could stay on. That was a huge relief, because I had been feeling that if I was still able to wear my garments, I would be okay. But then the nurse came back in and told me that I had to take my "undershirt" off. That got me panicking. But I did it anyway, because I didn't want something like that to push the surgery back. Then they got me all situated, took my vitals, started my IV, etc. But I was still just feeling very nervous at the thought that I had taken part of the garment off. So while I was just laying on my bed, I said a little prayer that Heavenly Father would bless the surgeon and the nurses that they would be able to help me and know what they were doing, and also that I would be comforted before the surgery. And right when I said "in the name of Jesus Christ, amen" I opened my eyes...and the most amazing thing happened. I saw Grandpa Ockler walk in, along with you guys right behind him. And I didn't say anything out loud, but you all talked to me and I talked with you guys. Sister McClellan didn't see you guys, neither did any of the nurses or doctors, but I did, and it filled me with this overwhelming sense of calm to see you guys and hear your voices. You all stayed with me in my room, and then walked with me down to the end of the hallway before the OR, and I know that that was a direct answer to my prayers from my Father in Heaven, who gave me that one moment to experience something that has strengthened my testimony and my faith in Him. Just thought I would share that with you guys to let you all know how much you mean to me and how much I truly miss every single one of you. 
God loves each and everyone of us, I know that, and I also know that if we are striving to do things His way and in His time, we are going to be part of miraculous things. 
I love you all, I miss you all!!
Kot epwe nom remi ach chusefan!!
Elder Sean McEwan

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Experiences in Guam to take back to Chuuk . . .

Part of Sean's letter for this week. He seems to be a bit more coherent with not as much pain medication in his system :). So grateful for the wonderful doctors, nurses, church members, missionaries, etc. who have taken such great care of him.

 . . . THings are good, it's so great to see all of these miracles happening in the Guam Zone, but I can't wait to again be able to help out the Chuuk Zone. But it's been okay. The AP's actually just got back from Yap today, so I've been staying with a tri-panionship of Elder Gasu, Elder John, and Elder Samachy. It's been great because Elders John and Samachy are from Chuuk, so it's been great to still be able to speak Chuukese, and I've learned a lot from all of them. The AP's are Elder Allen and Elder Gubler. 

The surgery went great, as far as IV stuff I just went to a clinic for that, and it was just in 3 day segments. As far as the "plan from here", I have a follow-up appointment on Friday, and then I hope to fly back on Sunday night, the SUPER SUPER late flight. But as far as people I'm teaching in Guam, a few Chuukese people (which has been fun to teach since they've become my people), and a few Pohnpeians. But mostly we just walk around and tract, something that I have never had to do in Chuuk, so that's been a new experience for me. It's been fun though, learned a ton of new things that I want to use in Chuuk as well as after my mission, but yeah, send me questions about the people in the pictures because I have sent so much home, it's hard for me to remember all of them.
I feel great now, just got a 3 inch long incision under my chin, but I'm happy, I'm still reading the scriptures, the Church is still true, and I'm excited right now. I'll write more tomorrow.
Elder McEwan

Friday, August 16, 2013

Words from the Patient . . .

Recovering at Sister McClellan's
"sick bay"
Dear Family & Friends --
Here are the pictures that the nurses took at the surgeons, please excuse the fact that I am very whiskery in my face, just something that they told me not to do so that this thing would not get more infected. Thank you so much for your prayers, they really did help. I'll write more about that on Monday, but I wanted to get these off right now.
Ai tong ngenikemi!! Kot epwe nom remi ach chusefan!!
Elder McEwan
That wasn't bad! :)

Good News from the Islands . . .

We are very grateful for all of the prayers on Sean's behalf. It seems like a small thing to have a 12-minute surgery, but it's hard when he is thousands of miles away. So thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who puts angels like Sister McClellan in our path to help us along the way . . .

Dear McEwan Family,

As I am sure you have been anxious I want to let you know he did great.  I was going to let him email you also; however, he is still sleeping here in my guest room (sick bay) so I can monitor him closely.  The surgery to remove the cyst only took 12 min. however he coming out of anesthesia made the surgery center visit about 2 hours post-op.  He has pain medication available.  He was given IV dose of Clindamycin.

He was calm and ready to get this done.  His temporary companions gave him another blessing before going to the center.  He will remain here until he feels well enough (recovered well).  His companions will be coming over to stay the night with him.

The post op nurse didn't have the dimensions of the cyst removed; however she said they took a picture and sent the specimen to a lab for biopsy.  I truly feel he will recover well, he has a F/U appt. with the surgeon next Friday, Aug 23rd, so he will remain here in Guam until the Dr. gives release.  I know he has been anxious to get back to Chuuk; but understands the need to follow Dr. orders.

If you have any further questions please feel free to ask.  Hope this relieves some concerns.  I promise to take good care of him.

Sincerely, Sister McClellan

Thursday, August 15, 2013

News from the Nurse . . .

News from the mission nurse. We have been so grateful to be able to "talk" with her this week and stay as updated as possible as to what is happening on Guam. She is such a sweetheart to this family that gets very anxious about the word "lump" :). What an amazing "family" he has to take care of him. We are truly blessed to be a part of this part of the world. It is Friday morning in Guam:

Dear McEwan Family,
Swelling has gone down significantly after 3 days
of IV antibiotics

I truly understand your concerns.  Elder McEwan is scheduled for surgery this a.m. to have the cyst removed. It is to be biopsied. He will be under general anesthesia.  The nurse that will be attending him happens to be our YW president.  He is in good spirits.

As soon as he is recovered and knowing their is no risk of infection and cleared by the surgeon, he will be returning to Chuuk.  However, you need not worry about him missing missionary opportunities.  He has been able to keep a regular routine and every time I speak with him he is positive, cheerful and upbeat.

He is likely to stay at my artment at least this night to keep a close monitor, and providing dsg. changes, teaching him how to care for himself, etc.  I promise to take good care of him.  Bless you all with peace.

He forgot to bring his charger for his camera; however I did take a few pictures of him.  The ones in the surgeons office was taken after 3 days of IV antibiotics and some of the swelling had gone down.  This is an added adventure in his missionary memoirs.  I will let him email you this evening after surgery.

Sister McClellan

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Excitement in the Life of a Missionary . . .

August 12, 2013

. . . Well, I'm super glad that you guys are all busy....because right now I'm having to work to stay busy. Sounds weird yeah? Well, I'm gonna be honest with you about what's going on. Right now, I'm in Guam for my neck and I'm going to have to have surgery on it on Friday.....

My neck/face/chin before surgery
That's about the most exciting thing I can write to all of you about, I'm still going out and teaching. One thing is for positive, I definitely miss Chuuk like crazy!! I keep hoping and praying that this trial will be over soon so that I can get back to the work in Mechitiw, because they have pulled Elder Toa out and put him in Sapuk....

I'm so glad that you guys are doing well and I hope you all continue to see blessings from your hard work.

I love you all, I miss you all, and I'll talk with you later!!

ELder McEwan

This is the letter we received from Sean this week. Needless to say, we were a bit concerned that we had not received word of this from anyone in the mission. So grateful for email technology! It was the middle of the night in Guam when we received this message. We were able to send a message to the Crisps, the senior couple on Chuuk. They sent this reply first thing in the morning:

Brother and Sister McEwan,

Elder McEwan was not feeling well and had a swollen neck.  He seemed to be recovering, but he got feeling worse.  He was in contact with the mission nurse on Guam and I got a call to check on him.  It was determined that he should go to Guam and get it checked out, so we got him on a plane Tuesday of last week.  

I was told that he had a cyst of some sort in his neck and they were treating it with strong antibiotics. They were to have a consult yesterday to decide if the antibiotics were shrinking it enough or if they needed to go in and take it out.  From your note it appears that they are going to take it out.  He was in good spirits and the last I heard is that he is anxious to get back to Chuuk.  

I would have sent you a note, but really didn't know very much and did not want to alarm you.  I thought that the mission office or the nurse would fill you in.

I have gotten a few updates on how he is doing and each has indicated he was much better and just waiting for it to go away.  

We are ready for him to return.  When I put him on the plane last Tuesday, he was just ready to be well and hated to be leaving.

Elder Crisp

Elder Crisp also gave us information for the mission nurse, so we were able to contact her. All of our questions have not been answered, but we do have more information than was received at the beginning of the week :). Sister McClellan, Micronesia Guam RN, had more insight into the situation since she is taking care of Sean:

Dear Brother and Sister McEwan,

Thank you for contacting me. Your fine Elder was brought to Guam for the best quality care he could receive in the mission. He has what we now found by an Ultra Sound is a cyst right under his chin that pressed up under his tongue making it painful for him. As soon as he go off the plane I brought him to FHP an Urgent care facility that I feel has the best care providers. He has been on IV antibiotic therapy daily since  the 6th. He has been a trooper and tolerated it well.

On Friday I went with him to a general surgeon for evaluation per FHP phys referral. On that day it was determine that the antibiotics are effective. The cyst had diminished some and Elder McEwan was no longer having pain or difficulty eating, so the surgeon felt surgery to lance or remove the cyst could wait. He wanted your son to receive further antibiotic therapy through the weekend and reevaluated yesterday (12th). I have had to come to Saipan so the AP's took him for his appt. I have tried to make contact with them and your letter lets me know the surgeon must feel the cyst is not diminishing as he had hoped. It will be done in his surgical facility. I will be back in Guam to be with him at that time.

He is a sweet young man and still doing his mission work while going through this. He has had a positive attitude and followed mine and the doctors instruction in detail. I will keep you informed. He has received a blessing. He is doing well. Bless you all with peace. We will take good care of your son.
Sincerely,Sister McClellanRN

We know that trials, whether big or small come to all. It is our loving Heavenly Father's way of refining us, helping us to grow and realize that we can do hard things (even when our son is thousands of miles away :). We know that Sean is receiving great care and has wonderful amazing, caring, knowledgeable people to take care of him (a few extra prayers don't hurt though:).