Monday, February 22, 2016

Week 14 (Week 2 in Pantoja)

Its so hard to write everything I want to say and everything that I have experienced in only one email, but I am doing well and Elder Page and I are seeing A TON of success in Pantoja. This week we taught a ton of lessons, and almost all of them are with members. We go out and teach with members every day and it works WONDERS for our investigators.

This week I had to get a haircut... and Elder Suimataia (lives in the apartment with us) cut it for me. I lost all my hair and I look stupid, but oh well... It will grow back! 

ALSO!!! A bunch of missionaries had to go to the capital to do visa stuff and so Elder Page and I take the metro to the capital on Wednesday morning and when we get to the curb, a truck picks us up and guess whos in it??!!! ELDER ZAMORA!!!!! It has only been 6 weeks, but I missed the guy and we had a few hours to catch up and to talk about the mission and each other´s area. It was a ton of fun to get to see him again!

This week we received a reference from the Young Mens leader in our ward, and he is a 12 year old boy who lives literally behind the chapel. His name is Junior, and he attends all the young men activities and loves them. We went on Saturday to teach his family and they are SOLID. Wendy, the mom, grew up Catholic, but doesnt like a lot of the people there, so she quit going and now she is seeing a huge change in her son as he comes to these activities and so we started teaching them both and sure enough, they came to church on Sunday and they LOVED it. They are both looking super solid and I love seeing the Gospel change lives. Currently, we are working with about 10-11 investigators and we are just seeing a ton of success in this area. The reason this area is so successful is because of the ward. The ward works like CRAZY to do missionary work and it blesses our lives as missionaries.

As for the culture, I am still getting used to it, but I love it. I eat a ton of bread, and the best kind of bread here is called Sobao. Its basically a roll and I LOVE it. We dont eat a ton because the biggest meal of the day is lunch and so we eat a bigger lunch and rarely eat dinner because we are going out to work from 2-9, but we always stop at Colmados and Pandaderias to buy stuff when we are out working. As for travel, its crazy sketchy. We walk everywhere in Pantoja, but when we have to go to the capital, we take a taxi (fitting 6 people into one car, plus the driver) and then we take a Juagua (bus) to wherever we need to go. Things are sketchy, but its all apart of the experience.

Overall, things are going well. I still have my struggles and everything seems to slowly be getting better, but I will get there! Keep praying for me and supporting me, because I know I will need it. I love you all and I am thankful to be able to serve the Lord. I know this Gospel is true and it truly does bring happiness. 

Love Elder Bee!!

Pics- Elder Page and I today and then Elder Zamora and I at Wendys after the visa stuff!

Week 13 (Week 1 in Pantoja)

What a CRAZY first week! I got here late Tuesday night and slept in the MTC here, and then on Wednesday, I got to meet my new trainer and companion Elder Page! Pantoja is located right outside of the Santo Domingo and it is ON FIRE. It´s the most successful area in the mission right now. I was "born" into a great area! The area was doing so well that the branch requested that they have 2 more Elders in the area. So thats why I am here! 

Culture: Lets just say that I have experienced almost everything this week. The people are so loud and open and its because people are doing one of two things: riding a motorcycle, or listening to LOUD music. It´s absolutely crazy. The people talk SO fast. I have really struggled in understanding what people are saying, but i know it will come with time. Everyday we walk (no bikes or cars, only walking, everywhere, except to the city where we pay for a taxi) but people stop and look at us cause we are the only 2 white people in the area. We get called Americanos literally everyday, but oh well! I love it! Right by our apartment is a baseball field and everyday, we see kids playing baseball and i absolutely love it. it makes me so happy and i want to play with them so bad. for zone activities, we usually will get to play some baseball.

Living: We live in the same apartment as the other Elders in the area and so its a lot of fun to work with them. We get water dumped into a huge bin above our apartment 2 times a week and that water is for showering, but all other water have to buy "botellas" from the shops. So thats fun :) Showers are cold and so my shower time went from 10 minutes to about 3 :) IT IS ALSO VERY HOT AND HUMID HERE SO I SWEAT LIKE CRAZY. It rained twice this week and i got absolutely soaked, so yeah, this is going to be a lot of fun. Everything is going really well though. I am happy to be here and to work hard. Elder Page and I work really hard everyday and I am excited to serve here for the next little while!

love you all! please keep writing me and emailing me!

My address for the D.R is 

Elder Ethan Bee
Dominican Republic Santo Domingo West Mission
C/Hatuey #73
Urb. Los Cacicazgos
Santo Domingo
Dominican Republic

Phone # 1-809-482-7545

Friday, February 12, 2016

Week 12 (Week 6 in Riverside) sent: February 8, 2016

Ah this week was kind of crazy and the fact that I am still in the United States is weird. I was supposed to leave for the D.R early this morning, but the kind Senior Couple missionaries that were taking me thought my flight left at 7:00 and not 6:00 and so I barely missed my flight. So I American Airlines worked it out and I will fly out tomorrow at the same time and take the exact same route to the D.R. So I will be there tomorrow :)

This week... WOW. More blessings! We worked so hard to end the transfer on a high note and we did! We continued to teach Oscar and he actually opened up a little more about how he LOVES the church. He moved here a little over a month ago and he was walking around looking for a job, well upon walking, he ran into some Jehovah's Witnesses and they asked him if he wanted to come to church with them. He politely declined and said "I have a church, I just need to find it" HE WAS TALKING ABOUT THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS!! He had a friend in El Salvador that took him to church, but he had never met with the missionaries. So when he saw us, he got super excited and hoped that we would stop and talk to him, and sure enough, we did!

Another miracle happened this week. I member of one of the English wards here called us while we were on our way to dinner, and she told us that a man she knows really wellm, Marco, is having a super hard time in his life. His wife of 30 years just separated from him and his daughter (22 or so) doesnt really care what he has to say and he basically has nobody. He doesn't have any friends or anything. He also struggles with depression and attempted suicide the week before. This member told us that he needs a blessing and so we went and gave him one. He loved it. We taught him a lesson or two that week and then he came to church on Sunday and LOVED it. He was participating in the discussion and enjoyed everything that was being said. He literally told us that he wants to be baptized. He has never smoked or drank or anything and he is one of the most humble people I have ever met. 

As I leave the California Riverside Mission, I cant help but feel grateful that I have the chance to serve in 2 missions. We went into our area and absolutely NOBODY to teach, and we were able to work hard and progress the area further than it had been in months. Hard work pays off. The Lord truly does qualify those whom He calls. I know that I came here for a reason. I know that The Lord needed ME to meet Oscar and Marco and to help them come closer to our Savior Jesus Christ. 

Se que este evangelio es verdadero. Jesucristo es nuestro Salvador. Ya he visto milagros, todo lo que necesito hacer es trabajar duro. Estoy preparado por La Republica Dominicana. No puedo esperar por la oportunidad para servir la gente alli. Estoy muy agradecido por mi tiempo aqui en California, y yo espero que puedo ver el mismo exito que vi aqui en Corona. Cuando yo dudo algo, yo pongo mi confianza en el Senor. Estoy listo por la proxima viaje y quiero servir con todo mi corazon. Tengo un testimonio fuerte de la obra misional!!!! Gracias a todos ustedes por la soporta, la necesitaba esta semana. LES AMO!!!!!!!!!!

This picture is of me and Oscar on Sunday at church :)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Week 11 (Week 5 in Riverside) Email sent: February 1, 2016

This week was interesting...

We worked really hard and did as much as we could, but didn't see a ton of success. 

We were teaching a lesson this week to a family who we taught earlier in the month, but they didnt answer the times we went back... so we stopped seeing them because we couldn't ever get in to teach them. Well, we went contacting on their street this week and we found them and they invited us in and we taught them a lesson. Well, while we were teaching them, someone came by our bikes and stole our helmets... so yeah, that was fun.

We were contacting and we found a man waiting on the corner of the street, and we just happened to stop and talk to him. His name is Oscar and he has only been in the U.S for 1 month, because he is actually from El Salvador. He has 1 set of clothes and is looking for a job here in Corona. We were hesitant to teach him, but he actually has a place to live and he actually was looking for a church to go to. We taught him a lesson, and it went really well. We invited him to church and he said he would come. Well Sunday came around and it was raining like crazy... and we know he walks everywhere, so we were worried he wouldn't come. We were sitting in sacrament meeting and another missionary in the ward told us to come out into the foyer and there Oscar was! Soaking wet, but there! We had the rest of sacrament meeting and then went to Gospel Principles and then to marriage and family class with the rest of the ward. He loved it! Tonight we are having a ward FHE and he said he would also come to that, so yeah! 

The other night, we were riding to an appointment and I turned really sharply on my bike and I sort of fell off and scraped up my arm... :) I cant go a very long time without hurting myself.. OOPS!

This week was a long struggle for me personally, but I am trying my best... I've prayed harder than I have ever prayed and I have tried my hardest to work hard. I don't know how it will turn out, but that's part of the adventure I guess! 

Thanks for all of the love and support! 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Week 10 Email (Week 4 in Riverside) sent: January 25, 2016

This week went a lot better than last week! We found a lot of people to teach and are seeing some more success. The work is moving along slow, but we had the best week yet. Nothing too exciting happened, but I am learning and growing a lot. :)

My Spanish is coming along well. The thing that is still hard for me is really understanding what people are saying. I can say almost anything I want to say, but I can get it out effectively. I study Spanish just as hard as I study the scriptures, so I am learning a lot and practicing all the time. I try to say different things in Spanish and I am constantly trying to learn new sentences and phrases.

I started reading the New Testament for the first time in a few years and I LOVE IT. I love reading about Jesus Christ. I read through Matthew this week and I loved chapter 14. Aren't we all like Peter? We all want to have the faith in Jesus Christ to walk on water, but at times, life scares us enough to doubt our faith. When we start to sink, we reach out for Christ and He is there "immediately" to catch us. Rely on the Savior and have faith that you can do ALL things in Jesus Christ. 

We went to the Fender Guitar Factory today for P-Day and it was really cool, even though I have no clue how to play the guitar :) I want to learn after my mission! But that's what we did today :) 

Thank you all for your love and support and for all the things each of you has done and do for me. I love you!! 

Se que este Evangelio es verdadero. Si podemos vivir los principios del Evangelio cada dia, tendremos felicidad, paz, gozo y fuerza en nuestras vidas. Se que Jesucristo nos ama y murio en la cruz por nosotros. Tenemos un Salvador. Puedo ver la diferencia en mi vida cuando yo aplico la Expiacion.

Sorry for the errors and the words without accents. I dont know how to do it with accents :)

Week 8 Email (Week 2 in Riverside) sent: January 11, 2016

This week was really interesting! It rained all of Tuesday and most of Wednesday. We didn't dare ride our bikes, so we walked basically everywhere. This mission doesn't believe in tracting, but because it was raining, we were allowed to tract. Tuesday we met a lot of people who were willing to have us come by another time, and then Wednesday we tracted for almost 3 hours and didn't find a single person who was close to interested in hearing what we had to say. It was definitely hard, but our teaching pool is getting bigger and we are having more appointments being set up now. The hard work is slowly paying off. I really do care about these people. 

Spanish is coming along well and I actually have a spiritual experience about my Spanish. On Saturday we went on exchanges with some English Elders. Elder Drebot and I went teaching and contacting the whole day. We taught lessons in English to some people in his area and we contacted people in English and Spanish in both of our areas. We were walking down the street and a lady was sweeping leaves off of her driveway. She only spoke Spanish and so I took the lead and started to talk to her. I saw an extra broom and I grabbed it and started to help her, just because I wanted to help. She told me that I didn't need to help her because I was wearing a white shirt and she didn't want me to ruin it. I told her that I wanted to help her and I told her that we are representatives of Jesus Christ and that we are supposed to serve others and do as Jesus would do. I helped her for about 15 minutes and when we finished, I asked her if we could come by sometime and share a message about Jesus Christ with her and she gladly agreed. It was such a great experience for me because I was the only one who could talk to her. Elder Drebot doesn't know any Spanish and I have a very limited knowledge of Spanish, but I was able to serve this woman and we were able to get a return appointment. It made my day.

On Tuesday, we met a girl street contacting who said to come by her apartment during the weekend, so we got her address and we went back on Friday afternoon, but she didn't give us her apartment number, so Elder Beck and I just started knocking on doors and the first door we knocked on, a lady opened the door. She let us in and poured out her life story to us. Her husband is a preacher and they drive all the way to Los Angeles everyday, because he works there. She had a son who died when he was only a little boy. She gets verbally abused by her husband and she's illiterate. After about an hour of talking, we asked if we could come back on Sunday and she whole heartedly agreed. Well we came back last night and her husband was there and we began to get to know him and teach the both of them. Well he being a preacher made it really difficult, and he started to bash us and then their older son, who is like 25, came home and the wife left to go talk to him, so now we are sitting there just trying to teach a lesson and not bash, because the Spirit leaves quickly in that setting, but it didn't turn out very well. So I don't know what is going to happen with them. I really feel like this woman is prepared to hear the Gospel, especially after we told her that she can see her son again and that we believe in a heaven. We are trying our best.

I can bear testimony that the Spirit will guide us if we humble ourselves and listen. I have struggled with learning how to listen to the Spirit, because a lot of the time I am thinking an overwhelming power will come to me and tell me where to go and what to say, but I learned this week that the Spirit comes in soft, simple ways. Gordon B Hinckley said that if the thought or emotion prompts you to do good, it is of God, it is of the Spirit. If it prompts you to do evil, it is of the devil. I learned this week that having the Spirit is definitely something that takes some learning to have, but ultimately, if the thought or prompting you get is something good, it is from God and He will work through you. Just like the story I just shared. We pray everyday to be guided to where we need to go, and sometimes we have no clue where to go, but we ended up going to try and find a potential's apartment and we ended up with a woman who is ready to hear the gospel. Things happen for a reason and I am doing my best to be a servant to the Lord.

Love Elder Bee

Picture of me in my rain coat before I went out and got soaking wet :)

Week 9 Email (Week 3 in Riverside) sent: January 18, 2016

2 months down! What?! This week had its ups and downs, unfortunately, more downs than ups.
3 out of the 7 days, we rode around our area and tried to teach lessons to some of our potentials who said to come back on those specific days and times and when we showed up, nobody answered the door or they told us they couldn't do it at the moment. It was awful. We are praying so hard to find those people who God has prepared for us, but we are having such a hard time finding them. 
Although it was a difficult week, we are still working has hard as we can. I come home exhausted each night. Tuesday we went out with a member of our ward, trying to go teach some potentials, well that was one of the days when we didn't teach a single lesson. As we were walking down the driveway to go back to Hermano Felix's car, Hermano Felix stopped and asked us if we wanted to eat a little chili (people grow them near their front doors for some reason), well, Elder Beck said he would give me a dollar if I ate it, I said no of course. Hermano Felix pulls $20 out of his wallet and said he would give me $20 to eat it. I pulled the little chili off the vine and stared at it for a moment and then put it in my mouth. They both yelled "DON'T SWALLOW IT!" and about 5 seconds after I put it in my mouth, I spit it out. IT WAS THE HOTTEST THING I HAVE EVER HAD IN MY MOUTH. I WAS DYING FOR ABOUT A HALF HOUR. Needless to say, it was a memorable experience. 
We did teach a really cool lesson this week. We were struggling to get in the door of a potential and we decided to go see the Castillos (they fed us while we were contacting my first week here) 
The mom answered the door and their son was there with her, he's 15, and they let us come in and teach them. We talked for awhile and then we got to teaching. We taught the Restoration and asked them to read and pray about what we taught and they said they would! It was a great experience, even though it was one of the only lessons we taught all week. 
Now, for some bad news, one of our potential investigators had to tell us that we cant come back and see her because her husband doesn't like that she has been talking to us. It's so sad when a family wants to hear the gospel and learn more, but the husband won't let them. It's difficult for us to see.
We are trying our best. We are praying hard, working hard, and planning hard. I can't say we will have any success this week, but we will go where the Lord wants us to go and do what we can. 
News: Elder Beck and I moved into a new apartment today. We went from a 4 man apartment and now Elder Beck and I have our own apartment. 
The address is 1270 W 8th Street APT 19M, Corona California, 92882 
Love, Elder Bee

Extra Email Sent: December 30, 2015

Today is not my P-Day (Monday is), but the President allows all the new missionaries to email home to let all of you know that I am safe! Today was my first real day in the mission field and it is extremely different, but I am getting used to it. I have my first official trainer, and coincidentally, his name is Elder Beck. He has been out about 19 months and is from American Fork. I am in a little city south of Riverside called Corona and it is where a majority of the Spanish speakers are. I am excited to learn Spanish here and then go to the DR and learn it all over again! but that's okay.

Last night I was in my first official Earthquake. It was only a 4.3, but still. It wasn't even that bad. It felt like the time they were doing road construction outside of our house. I barely felt it. I am okay though :) I know that these next few weeks are going to be rough. I am in a whole new environment and I have to stretch myself, but I know that I will grow a lot. President Mullen said that I will likely be here for one transfer (6 weeks), as I know my Visa shouldn't take too long. Dad, did you send that FBI clearance letter back to the church? Cause they need that. Thank you.

Anyways, I am excited to experience 2 missions instead of just one. I am not sure what time I will be able to email on Monday, but I get 90 minutes or so to email and I don't know if I can email back and forth. So we will see. Thank you for all of your support and prayers, I can definitely feel them and I'm grateful for them. I am leaning on the Lord a lot. 

OH! for those of you who want to send letters or things while I'm here, send them to 5900 Grand Ave, Riverside California, 92504

I am excited to be here and I know that the Lord has people here for me to teach until I can go to the DR. Love all of you! Thank you for all that you do for me!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Week 7 (Week 1 in Riverside) email sent: January 4, 2016

All I am going to say is that the part of Corona that we are in needs a ton of work. Elder Beck has been in the area for 6 weeks now and I am just starting and we basically have nobody to teach, so we go out to walk and talk a lot. This mission doesn't believe in tracting so we do street contacting a lot. We have a few decent investigators, but we have only taught each of them once. We are working hard and we are trying our best to find those who need the Gospel. 

Spanish: The only place I struggle in Spanish is street contacting, cause we barely learned how to contact people in Spanish in the MTC. Once I get into lessons, I am able to understand and listen and speak super well. We taught a young family last night and it was my like real first full lesson, and I was totally feeling the Spirit. It was great! This mission really is changing me.

Health: I AM A TON HEALTHIER. I eat an apple a day and I work out hard every morning and I love that I have an actual schedule to do things. It makes life so much easier. Plus, Elder Beck and I are on bikes and so I get a great leg work out everyday. 

Weather: I know its California, but it gets so cold at night. I should've kept my sweaters, but I didn't think I would need them. Oh well, all apart of the mission experience. 

We are working really hard. I am trying to learn the language and I work hard to really think positively. We get told no a lot and Elder Beck gets a little frustrated, but I always just have to remember that the message we are sharing is like walking around with a $100 bill, and if people don't want it, then we will give it to someone else. We talk to everyone we can about the gospel, so hopefully this next week picks up a little more.

I read Elder Zamora's letter and I know that I am blessed for serving in the US for now, cause it sounds so bad down there, but I am also so excited to get there. 

The mailing address I gave everyone last time is for the mission office and they forward all USPS to our box, but another Elder said it takes an extra 2 weeks, so oh well. Just send everything to this new one, it will come straight to me. 

Thanks for all the support. Sounds like everyone at home is doing good. Happy New Years to all of you. 

Love, Elder Bee

Week 6 (MTC) email sent December 26, 2015

THIS IS IT! I leave for California on Tuesday. I have no idea how long I will be there, but I am there until I get my visa. This week went a lot better for me. Spanish isn't a huge problem for me. I know that will change once I get out in the field. 

We have our last class tonight and then everyone leaves on Monday and I'll be flying on Tuesday morning. 

Christmas week here was pretty cool. At first, it didn't seem all that great, but Elder Bednar came and spoke to us Christmas morning and we got to have a giant Q and A with him and I liked the answers he gave. I felt the Spirit a lot and got answers to some of my questions. Later Christmas night, we had another devotional, but we didn't know what it was. We got there and found out that David Archuletta would be singing to us. He put on a whole Christmas concert and talked about his mission a little bit. It was really cool. After that, the MTC showed Ephraim's Rescue. Another great Pioneer movie and how Ephraim listened to the promptings of the Spirit his whole life and how Heavenly Father was preparing him to save members in the Willy and Martin hand cart companies. 

I am doing the best I can to qualify for those blessings that I need to perform miracles in the mission field. Like Ephraim said in the movie when asked why he does what he does and how he knows Heavenly Father will help him, "I try"

Elder Bednar talked a lot how we are agents to ACT, not be acted upon. Heavenly Father helps those who help themselves. In order to receive blessings of the Spirit and to be tools in the hands of the Lord, we must act. In teaching lessons, we must prepare and then not be afraid to open our mouths. We are promised that the Lord will fill them. I know there are people in California and the DR who will be prepared to hear the Gospel. It doesn't matter how well I speak the language or how well I teach (although I am doing my best), missionaries aren't the teachers. Ever. The Spirit is the teacher. Our job is just to open our mouths and talk to everyone and give everyone the chance to feel the Spirit and hear the gospel.

I am excited to work hard. All I have ever known is how to work hard. This will be no different. I will have hard times, but I know the Lord will make me equal to my calling.

Love, Elder Bee