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:).

Monday, August 5, 2013

Still in my home of Mechitiw :) . . .

Dear Family & Friends--

Me and Elder Rainey having dinner with a famil
You will all be happy to hear that no, I did not get transferred this last week. I'm still in Mechitiw, this time with an Elder from Sapuk named Elder Toa, from Utah. He's super funny, super smart and super excited to be in Chuuk. Definitely misses Sapuk though, but hopefully I can help him to make Mechitiw another home. I actually don't have a whole lot to write about right now, other than I think I have picked up an infection somewhere. Man, if ya'll could see my neck....
Love Elder Toa already!
Anywho, things are great even though I've been down and out for four days due to this sickness and infection. I just gotta remember that this work stops for nothing, and if I do my part, it'll just keep moving faster.

When you guys get time, please send me the other Elder McEwan's email and mailing address. So fun and exciting to be the older brother of an 18 year old missionary.
I love you all, I miss you all, and I'll write more next week!!
Me and Elder Toa just doin' the work :)
Elder McEwan