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!