Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Arrival in Guam . . .

Sean left the MTC at 3:15 a.m. on Monday, January 28, 2013. Everyone at our house woke up at 5:30 to talk to him before he boarded his plane. He wasn't very talkative but we figured it was because he was tired as well as a bit anxious :). He and his MTC companion, Elder Vause (who we have now learned is from Ogden) were traveling together to Guam. They had a short layover in Los Angeles and then on to Honolulu. This second layover was a bit longer, so they both had time to call their families. Sean was much more talkative after getting some sleep on the plane from LAX. On the flight to LA, he sat by a man who immediately got on his phone and began using "colorful" language about his plight in life. Once they announced all electronics needed to be turned off, Sean said this man immediately closed his eyes and didn't open them until they were at LAX. Needless to say, he could tell this man definitely did not want to talk with him. On the flight to Honolulu, he and Elder Vause had the opportunity to sit by an asian lady who spoke to them a bit. He didn't leave the airport, but said Hawaii was beautiful and looked warm!

He arrived in Guam at 6:47 p.m. on Tuesday, January 29 (1:47 a.m. in Utah). Yes, Mom woke up at 1:00 a.m. She was able to get online and make sure the plane landed in Guam :). President Mecham called Tuesday afternoon and spoke with Parker. He said, "Elder McEwan arrived safely, they were going to orient him and then he would be on his way to his area." Sean will be serving on the island of Chuuk for his first area and will be learning the Chuukese language. After Sean received his mission call, we learned of another missionary, Elder Nick O'bray, who is also serving in the Micronesia Guam Mission since July 2012. Nick's family lives in West Mountain and he is also a graduate of Salem Hills High School (year older than Sean). Sean and Neely had the opportunity of talking with Elder O'bray's mom before Sean left and she told them lots about the mission and showed Sean the many pictures he had sent home. We never thought in a million years that they would serve together. However, Elder O'bray will be Elder McEwan's trainer! Even though living conditions are not the greatest on Chuuk, Sean was very hopeful that he would get to serve there at some point in his mission, but said, "I'm sure Nick and I won't serve together though since we are from the same town/area." This is a tender mercy from our Heavenly Father that Sean will be serving with and learning from Elder O'bray. What a great blessing for him as well as for us.

Sean will be in the city of Weno (pronounced Wooda we think :). His address is listed here. We have been told (from our new dear friends the O'brays), that letters take about 10 days and packages about 2 weeks to get to Chuuk. If you send a package, USPS flat rate boxes are the best and least expensive. Tape them very well. We don't think packages are gone through (like other countries), but we have learned from another family of missionaries that if you put a picture of Christ on the package, it will not be gone through. Most places are very respectful of this (All these new fun things we get to learn and share with others).

Sean will remain in Guam until Friday and then will have yet another flight to Chuuk . We are so excited for the experiences he will have and the people he will get to love. What a great opportunity for our family to also learn of these wonderful people and get to love them from afar!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

More News from the MTC . . .

Sean has been in the MTC for 15 days! His P-day has been Wednesday, so everyone at our home has been anxious to get the mail on Thursday and Friday. He has also been able to email twice. Many of his high school friends have been at the MTC during this time, so it has been fun for them to see each other.  He is in District A for "Awesome" as he puts it! His companion is Elder Vause, who will also be serving in the Micronesia Guam Mission. He is having a great time learning the things that he needs to be a great missionary in the Lord's hands.

Things are good here, I'm learning so much and It's weird to think that I'll be leaving on the 28th! Plus, I found Elder Minson AND Elder Flint!! :) Unfortunately, Elder Minson is not in my area, but we still share the same building for class and Sunday meetings. The bug that was going through is still here and many of the missionaries in my district are falling ill. I've given two blessings so far, and I'm hoping that it doesn't get any  worse. Right now, we are not allowed to shake hands with anyone, they only want us to do "knuckle bumps and elbows" as they call it.

We had Elder Holland come and talk to us about remaining active missionaries even after we come home. It was really cool to have him at the devotional because it felt like he was talking right to ME.

The MTC is getting full. We have two new districts coming in today, that's right, I said TWO!! There will be 12 in one district and 11 in the other. They're all going to Columbus, Ohio!! Elder Vause and I get to meet with all of them on Wednesday and Thursday nights for orientation, so we're trying to get that all planned out.

I've taught about . . . 10 or 11 lessons so far, and it's really coold to be doing it this way instead of just giving the lesson. I'm really liking it here and I'm sad to have to leave on Monday.

They made me Travel Leader of our group, so we'll see if we all make it there. There are only three of us flying to Guam. We have to be at the travel office at 3 am, so Elder Vause and I have decided that we are just going to spend the night packing and then we'll just already be up and ready to go. I will call from the airport on Monday, so I want everyone there (I can't talk to everyone obviously, but if you put it on speaker I could talk).

I love you so much!! I'm learning a lot, and hopefully I can use that to my advantage and help "bring others unto Christ". I am REALLY HAPPY! I can definitely feel that I'm changing and growing to be a better person. I hope I can make you all proud of me!!

Elder Sean Michael McEwan at the LAX Airport
I look forward to writing again from the islands. Hafa Adai!!

Love forever,
Elder McEwan
Sean will leave Monday, January 28 for Guam. He will spend the night at the mission home with President and Sister Mecham. The next day he will get to open his "call" and find out where the Lord needs him to serve. We will post the mission office address until we hear where he will be serving.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Week Two at the Provo MTC . . .

June 14, 2013

First off, I'm sorry my last letter was short; nothing had really happened in the short time I'd been at the MTC and I figured you wouldn't want to hear about me sitting in classes and meetings. But boy have things gotten busy around here! I guess the first thing I want to tell you is that after meeting with the branch presidency the other night, they me and Elder Vause Zone Leaders! At that point we'd only been here for one day. That's because the first Zone Leaders and their district are leaving tomorrow (for California and Florida I believe).

There are 3 districts in our zone (District A, B, and C). My district is District A with myself, Vause, Jorgenson, Lee (like I mentioned in my last letter). The other members of our zone are Elder Teichert from Wyoming, Elder Ashby from Arizona, Elder Crowell from Pocatello, Sister Forsythe from South Jordan, Sister Van Wagoner from Provo, Sister Albertson from Taylorsville, and Sister Carlsen from West Jordan. So all in all, there are 7 Elders and 4 Sisters in our Zone. However, we're getting 12 new missionaries our zone next week (actually this Wednesday) and there are a lot of things I am trying to help get ready for them.

As far as how many are flying to Guam . . . it is just me and my companion, Elder Vause. Everyone else in our district is going to the North Carolina, Charlotte Mission. Now . . . what else? Oh yeah, I'm eating a lot every day but I'm also exercising a lot (I've gained about 4 lbs so far though!). I love my district, I love my companion, and I just love the MTC!

So back to the district that's leaving. Those Elders are now some of my closest friends because we've shared laughs, crazy moments, and so many lessons that I can take to the Micronesia Guam Mission. There's one companionship that I'm really going to miss, Elders Bettridge and Cullimore (they were the Zone Leaders before me and Vause). These two are like the older brothers I've never had. They've taught me how to serve everyone with an open heart and kindness, and I'll forever love them for that.

Also, I found Elder Seth Mason twice so far!! :) I didn't think he'd still be here, so that makes me happy!!  So . . . a bit of a heads up. This letter is probably super long, but they only want us to write on P-days, so that's what I'm doing. Right now, I'm sitting in the laundry room with my district, listening to all the new missionaries come in and out. I love it right now, because all of these "newbies" are treating us like the older missionaries :) (which I guess we kinda are). So, I want to tell you guys a little about Elder Vause. He talks a mile a minute. He is definitely different than me! But God has shown me just how important he is going to be as a companion.

I love you all so much and I'll send home pictures soon!

Elder McEwan

Saturday, January 12, 2013

First Letter from the MTC!

What an exciting day for our family to receive our very FIRST missionary letter! Such an overwhelming feeling of pride (good pride :)

January 9, 2013

Dear Family,

Well, it's the end of Day 1, and I gotta say . . . it was interesting! I got to take part in some mock lessons (of which Dale Bowman was a part of), try the cafeteria food, and meet the other Elders in my zone. They're a good mix of guys, with one district being totally cool and personable guys and the other being A LOT more work oriented. In a sense, I imagine this is sort of what college would've been like had I roomed with guys my age.

Not quite unpacked though, as I'm still trying to decide whether it's worth it to get everything unpacked. By the time you get this letter, I'll have already met my Branch President. There are four of us in our "home" if you will . . . myself, Elder Vause (pronounced VAH-SS), Elder Jorgenson, and Elder Lee (read that last one to Garrett and see if he finds it as funny as I did :). Elder Vause is heading to Guam, too, and we're pretty sure that we're the only two here, because we haven't seen or heard of anyone else going there.

I bumped into Elder Collin Steadman earlier, then Elder Connor Olson went through registration and check-in with me. I found Elder Haskell after our meeting with the MTC presidency, and yeah :), good first day!

I love you guys, I miss you, and I'll write you again soon.

Elder Sean Michael McEwan
"District A (for Awesome)"

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The MTC . . .

Elder Sean Michael McEwan was set apart on Tuesday, January 8, 2013, as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by President Roy W. Silcox, who is the Stake President for the Salem Utah West Stake. What an incredible blessing he was given. He was promised many blessings for himself, as well as our family, as he served faithfully. He was also told that "being happy is a choice." I hope this is something that Sean will remember throughout his mission and his life, as well as each one of us.
His brothers were very excited to give him the "Elder Sean Bear" they made for him. He got to spend some time with his Brinkerhoff cousins before leaving. They reminded him how old they would be when he returns (most of the cousins shared their calculations with him over the last few days!)

What a great day our family had with Sean as we went to lunch together and then took pictures across from the MTC before we "dropped him off." The "MTC" sign is no longer there, so we had to make our own (Sean is an exclamation point!) What fun times for brothers!

As we approached the MTC, the sidewalks were lined with missionaries to welcome the "greenies." What an AWESOME sight to see so many young people who are willing to leave their families for two years so that others can be with their families FOREVER!

It was overwhelming to see him welcomed so warmly. He was ready to go. We said our last "good-byes" for two years . . . .  and he never looked back.