Saturday, October 29, 2011

Four Down, Five to Go ...

With the first four weeks done of my MTC experience, things are looking pretty up.  My new companions and I are finally getting into the swing of teaching as a trio and learning how to teach in general.  A lot of the workshops have to do with the 8 fundamentals of teaching, which I don't know all of off the top of my head, but a few of which are revelation through the Book of Mormon, Revelation through Church Attendance, Revelation through Prayer, etc., though not all of them have "revelation" as the first word.
I don't have as much time to write today as I normally do.  The computers have been absolutely booked today for some odd reason.  But something that I want to share is something from our Sacrament meeting that took place this last Sunday.  The main speaker was our Branch President, President Ricks, and his message was in a round about way related to enduring to the end.  He related the stories found in First and Second Nephi in the Book of Mormon, with Nephi's family.  But he didn't look at Nephi, the example of obedience.  He took the stand of Laman and Lemuel.  He described how, even though they didn't want to do most of the things, they actually did do them.  Even when it meant travelling a couple hundred miles to and from Jerusalem, twice, to get first the Brass Plates, and then the family of Ishmael.  They complained, but they went.  And when they got to Jerusalem to get the plates, Laman was the first to go.  The difference between Laman and Lemuel and their brother Nephi was not always in their obedience, it was in their willingness.  Where Nephi said, "I will go and do" without question, Laman and Lemuel went and did after complaining, saying "it is a hard thing you have required of us."  The biggest difference was that Laman and Lemuel murmured; they murmured against their father, their brother, and the visionary aspects of the commandments Lehi received from the Lord.  The verse he pointed out to us in closing was in 1 Nephi chapter 3.  It was not verse 7, he quoted verse six. "Therefore go, my son, and thou shalt be favored of the Lord, because thou hast not murmured."
We need to remember to keep an open heart and mind to receive impressions and revelations from the Lord.  Remember the commandment to pray with a sincere heart and real intent.  Many can pray sincerely to know the truth, but if they have no "intent" to act on the revelation or impression they receive, the answer comes in vain.  When asking a question in prayer, first seek to know and study it out with a desire to know the answer, have the faith to receive that answer, and then pray in that faith.  An answer will come, but it may be a long time in coming.  The Lord answers on His time and in His way, not ours.  The key work is "ask"; don't tell the Lord what you want and give Him a time limit on our patience.
I've learned most of this before, but it has taken on a whole new meaning as I have come to start teaching "investigators."  To all you future missionaries, pay attention in Seminary.  Try to read the full cannon of scripture before leaving.  And study ALL of Preach My Gospel.  "...first seek to obtain my word..."  *Dad, I'm sure you can help me out with some of these references, I don't have the time to put them all in before I send this**
When feeling down, always look up.  God will lift you higher.
Elder Matthew Dewsnup
Shout Outs:
Haslams: I got you letters this morning!  Thank you for sending them.  They made me smile.  Braxton: Remember to always look up.  Always pray for strength.  The example of others becomes your example when you choose to follow in their footsteps.  Ten un Buen Dia!
Dewsnups/Bastians: Thanks for the letters and email (Sarah and Brandon). They mean a lot and help me keep going. Dad especially, I always seem to get a letter from you when I need to hear it most and when my deepest thought it what you address.  Thank you all.
Mom/Dad: I haven't yet received the letter in regards to my companion, but I do know from Mom's "Dear Elder" that it's on its way.  Dad, tell the priests to study Preach My Gospel and to do all they can to read not only from the Book of Mormon, but also the other Standard Works.  It will help them even more if they are familiar with the stories that their investigators will know and if they can relate passages interchangeably from both the Book of Mormon and the Bible.
Meg/Marvin: I hope you've gotten a nice elk by now.  I'm rootin' for ya! 
Sarah/Brandon/Annie: Thanks for the picture.  I don't have the ability to print it, but it made me smile. As did the opening "Dear Uncle Dweebus" ;)
Joseph: Always keep in mind the end goal of Seminary.  It is to prepare you for a mission.  Read the full cannon of scripture if you can.  Set goals in which you can measure daily progress and get through it.  Also study in Preach My Gospel.  It will help you prepare so much more if you get it all read before you come out.  I wish I had.  Kia Kaha.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Weekly Update

Week three done.  It's seemed like a mix between only three days and in many ways like three years.  I've had a bit of a companion transfer, so Elder Jones and I are no longer companions.  I'm now companions with Elders Vance and Nielson in my same district.  They're pretty cool and we're getting along well, so we'll see where things go from here.
To all of you who sent me letters last week, thank you, but I didn't get any of them until Friday or I'd've done a few more shout outs.  The biggest thing that happened this week is probably that we had one of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints come and do the Tuesday devotional.  It was Richard G. Scott.  His talk started out with two separate thoughts.  The first being directed at the elders to watch and learn from the Sisters and to follow their example.  I think it ought to be pretty obvious as to why we would receive council like that (women are generally better at almost everything I can think of).  The second thought... is escaping my mind at the moment and I don't have my note in front of me.  He continued to the main body of his talk by addressing topics such as the Holy Ghost, Service, Love, etc.  There were two other microphones standing in other places as well so that people could go up and comment.  Elder Scott asked for people who would be willing to go and either read things or answer questions to stand in line... and I went up.  I wasn't going to at first, but I felt the prompting several times until I couldn't leave off any longer, so I went up.  The question I was asked involved Doctrine and Covenants 50:26 - "He that is ordained of God and sent forth, the same is appointed to be the greatest, notwithstanding he is the least and the servant of all."  When Elder Scott turned to me, I had two thoughts in mind about that scripture.  The Savior washing the feet of the Apostles in John 13, and the story of Ammon among the people of Lamoni.  I shared my thoughts, relating them to the fact that these two were great men (the Savior being the greatest of all) who loved and served the people they were with.  Jesus Christ washed His disciples' feet (a nasty prospect for a people who went everywhere on foot in sandals), and Ammon defended those his people hated against their enemies so much so that the king was speechless.
These accounts really put into a better focus what I was sent out here to do.  Yes, I'm here to preach the gospel, but the way to do that is through love, service, and example, rather than argument, debate, and compulsion.
Hey, I need to get going, I'm running out of time.  I'll send another next week!  As Elder Jones would say, Stand Steady.
Elder Matthew H. Dewsnup
Shout Outs:
Mom and Dad:  Thanks for the messages of love and encouragement.  Mom you made me cry with your first letter (the part about when I was five), and Dad, your encouragement continues to be a God send.  And I don't mind that you send me things from airplanes.  I'm glad that you had fun and didn't get replace my mission with a guitar ;)  Also, something that I really loved.  The MTC cafeteria always has deserts at lunch and dinner.  Last Friday's desert... was carrot cake!  I got to celebrate my mother's birthday with a nice piece of carrot cake (though it doesn't compare with Dad's).  Glad you had fun with Sam and his wife!
Meg and Marvin:  I hope you get that beast soon!  I'm looking forward to hearing all about the size of the animal you bag.  The last quote you sent was from the Swan Princess (duh), I got it as soon as I opened the seal on the letter.  Rothbart's best line (except for "let's see if you can defeat, me...")
Michal:  By your British boy, I was indeed referring to the one who moved to England.  It's great to hear he's on a mission!  I send a blog update every week.  Elder Calder's doing well, though we're no longer roommates.  He did think it was really weird to see you on my wall and go "wait, I know her, why's she on Dewsnup's wall?"  Good luck with the time travel thoughts.  As for 3 Nephi 17:7, it's more a scripture that I've come to really appreciate as a lifter when I think of Christ healing those who are afflicted in any manner.
Sarah and Brandon:  I hope you both and Annie are doing well.  Mom mentioned that she got some time with her drooling wonder baby on her birthday.  I wish I could just have five minutes.  Hope to hear from you soon!  (P.S. my temple time is Thursday, and we usually do a session at 7:00 or 7:20, just in case you ever have the opportunity to come)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

End of Week 2

To all,
Two weeks have officially been completed.  Things are getting a lot easier now that I understand the way things work and now that I'm getting into a routine.  My companion, Elder Jones, and I are both doing wonderfully and have continued to build our relationship together and with God.
Each week, our zone here at the MTC does something that they call the "zone challenge."  Original, right?  Anyway, the zone challenge is when two companionships get together for a forty-five minute teaching workshop.  We take turns acting the part of investigators and teaching each other.  Our first time through didn't go so well, but we're starting our next wave tonight and feel a little more confident in our ability to get to know the investigators a little and start teaching according to their needs.  We also finished teaching Franco, who is now our other teacher, Hermano Robinson (hermano means "brother" in Spanish). 
In this last week we've picked up two new investigators. Tati (short for Santiago), and Macarena, and yes it's pronounced like the song and dance.  Tati is 21 and living with his LDS grandfather who asked us to come and begin to meet with him.  He loves guitar (Dad, he's your kind of guy) and he loves both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.  He's got a great spirit and a willingness to learn, though he's not all that enthused.  He listens to our halting Spanish and acts interested, but we know that he felt the Spirit at least once during our last lesson.  Macarena is a little tougher.   Her friend Maria is LDS and they both go to UVU.  Macarena both studies and teaches Spanish, though I didn't exactly catch where (I think at an elementary school?).  She was a kind enough to let us in, but she spoke really quickly and we had to ask her to repeat herself a few times.  But we were able to get across that we were missionaries and shared our testimonies about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith.  She asked a few questions of the two of us as well that helped us to guide our message.  By the way, both of our "investigators" are our classroom teachers who've served missions to Argentina; one went to Cordoba, the other to Mendoza.
While the language is still hard, it's slowly becoming a little easier to articulate and share messages as we study words and grammar.  We've begun to help each other a little more fully to develop our plans to study both by ourselves and as a companionship.  Things still are a little hard sometimes, especially when we miscommunicate with each other, but we're beginning to really get a feel for one another and how our minds work.  We still hit our bumps and potholes, but it's getting easier to steer around them.
I have found that it's easier to send messages like this when I have questions to answer, so send me some.  I'd love to hear from y'all. (Yes, I just said that)
Serving faithfully,
Elder Matthew Dewsnup
Shout outs:
Meg:  Thanks for the letter you sent.  It really meant a lot for you to share your feelings and thoughts about the conference talks and I usually get your messages the same day you send 'em.  My favorite talk was probably Elder Holland's, but then I also liked the one from the young women's leader on raising daughters.
Mom and Dad:  Happy anniversary five days late!  I can only send things on Thursdays, so I hope you get the card I sent soon!  And Happy Birthday Mom!!

Information from the Mission President

My parents received a letter from Matthew's Mission President and there are a few things we wanted to make sure that we shared with all of you.

The address is a bit different from what it was originally on the sidebar, so please note the change and the side bar has been updated...

Elder Matthew Hyrum Dewsnup
Gral. Lavalle 1828
1646 San Fernando
Buenos Aires, Argentina

****To Send Packages
Sister Karen Gulbrandsen
Gral. Lavalle 1828
San Fernando
Buenos Aires, Argentina

For the packages put your missionary's name by the return address so that we will know to whom the package is to be delivered to.

John Smith
1234 Holly Lane
SunRise, Stat 98765
Elder Matthew Dewsnup

Sister Karen Gulbrandsen
Grale. Lavalle 1828
San Fernando 
Buenos Aires, Argentina

"We have seen mixed success in getting packages to missionaries. The best approach is to send SMALL PACKAGES UNDER 4 POUNDS. The priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope available at the United States Postal Service is the best method to use. It has been our experience that these envelopes generally come directly to the office instead of passing through Customs. Placing religious stickers or symbols on the package DOES NOT ensure that the package will deliver without inspections. As stated in your missionary's call packet he or she will use personal funds to cover the costs of receiving packages that are delivered to Customs. NEVER SEND ANYTHING TO YOUR MISSIONARY BY FEDERAL EXPRESS, UPS OR ANY OTHER PRIVATE MAIL CARRIER IN THE US. The packages will not arrive to the missionary. 
The best gift for a missionary is to deposit money directly in a personal debit card account. DON'T SEND PERSONAL CHECKS OR MONEY ORDERS! They cannot be cashed or used here."

The above paragraph came directly out of the letter from Matthew's Mission President. Please follow the instructions so that Matthew can receive whatever it is that you sending to him.

If you want to contribute/donate money to Matthew, please contact my mom at and put "Money Contribution" in the subject title. Include your contact information in the email and she will get back to you as soon as she can.

Keep sending those letters to Matthew. :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The First Full Week!!

To all,
Wow, the first week has flown by.  Ups, downs, all arounds.  I don't remember all that I included in my last letter, so I'll say now that we have taught Franco (our first investigator) three lessons, in Spanish, and have another appointment with him in about three hours.  !!!  This lesson's focus is on the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel as outlined in 2 Nephi 31, which we challenged him to read and pray about last time.  I brushed up on that chapter during personal study this morning so I hope it will go well.
My dad wrote in a letter to me the other day that my MTC experience would either be a Sinai or a Gethsemani experience, and at the end of the paragraph said I'd probably have a good mix of both.  He was right.  I've had so many spiritual highs and wonderful feelings as I've taught with my companion and as we've prepared messages and grown to love one another.  And then I've felt pretty down sometimes, mostly because of the amount of things all of our teachers and other leaders expect us to do, with seemingly almost no time to do it.  Fifteen minutes is a gift here, where everything seems to be moving on fast forward.  It's hard to believe that I've already been here a week, and at the same time I think about it and say to myself "It's only been a week?!"  But that's the way it will go.
I love my companion.  His name is Elder Jones, from Lehi Utah.  He's the oldest in a family of eight kids and he's crazy!  He likes to quote movies with me, has an enthusiasm that I admire and sometimes envy, and a surety of spirit that I love working with, even if he can find ways to grate on my nerves a little sometimes.  We've really grown together quite a bit.
Conference was great!  At the MTC we all gather in the Gymnasium with overflow seating in the main administration building, and watch conference on big screens.  I'll tell you though, those seats give you really bad bleacher butt, or TB (tired buns) after sitting on them for so long.  In order to even get a good seat in the Gymnasium, we had to be there about a half hour early, so we were sitting in there for about 13 hours altogether over the sourse of Saturday and Sunday.  My favorite talk was Elder Holland's during the Priesthood session of conference in which he gave an "in your face" talking to to young men to get ready to go on missions.  I left my notes in my room, otherwise I'd quote some of it to you.  I also liked all the messages that were presented on loving people, and I don't remember which talk this was, but one in particular mentioned that when talking with a member of another faith about the Church, we need to have a conversation with them, listen to them speak about their own beliefs as well, and so forth, then converse and not argue.  Showing love is the most important thing we are taught here in the MTC.  The investigators will feel if you're just trying to get another number on Church records, but if they feel that you truly and sincerely love them, they will be more open to the message and feel if more from you.
Through all the good times and the bad, we need to keep our heads up.  I received a letter from a dear friend yesterday, in which she quoted from Mosiah 4:27 (I think is 27) in which we are counseled not to run faster than we have strength, and so forth.  Look it up and take it to heart.  It was a relief to read and hear at a time when I felt a little down, so heed its message.
I look forward to hearing from anyone and have had a few surprising letters come from people I didn't really expect to hear from.  Thank you to those of you who have written and the messages and encouragement you gave to me.  I love all of you and want you to know that I am serving the best that I can.  Thank you all.
With Love, Go with God,
Elder Matthew Dewsnup
Chernichs:  Thanks for the message and for the encouragement.  I think of you all often!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

First Week, well sort of..... ;)

Hey everyone!!

My name is Megan and I'm Matthew's sister. He has asked me and my mom to post his letters on this blog for you to be able to see what he's up to. He has been instructed that he can only send and receive emails from family so please send him snail mail (addresses are to the left on the side bar) or use which is free. All you need to do is create an account and you're set. If you would like to leave comments after his emails here on blogger I will copy and paste them into my emails to him and then he can respond to you individually or include his response to you in the form of a shout out below like he has done for me. 

Let me offer a few words of wisdom as I have been through 4 missionaries (friends and brothers) before Matthew. He is there to serve the Lord. The first few months are rough. He is growing spiritually and mentally, but also struggling as well with all the trials that come from the adversary when you devote all your time and energy to the Lord. He needs our support. In talking with missionaries that are serving now and ones that have served and are serving, the best support that they can get is not only the prayers but the letters. THEY NEED LETTERS!!! They need that connection and support. The letters, though the are old fashion, mean more to a missionary than anything. It's something that they can hang on to and read where ever they are. This will be the most difficult yet most amazing and rewarding 2 years of his life thus far, and all the support he can get from friends and family will mean the world to him!!! :)

Here is his first letter...

Hola a mi familia!
I just sent a letter off in the mail this morning, so if you get this before that letter, know that it's on its way.
Week 1 has been hectic thus far; exhillerating, exhausting, exciting, fun, and hard.  We've moved pretty fast in my classes and have begun a deeper study of the language.  The classes aren't as intense as everyone had told me they were, but then, I've always been one to catch on quickly, too.  The hardest thing was probably teaching our first lesson (I don't remember whether or not that was in my letter, so I'll just put it here as well). We had to teach the investigator in Spanish, on day two, with little instruction other than how to pray and a very basic and simple way to bear testimony.  We've come a little farther now, but it's been quite the ride.  I spoke during most of the lesson, relying heavily on the Spirit, my past knowledge of the language, and a desperate grab at my memory for the things I'd tried to memorize before beginning the lesson (no I did not just leardn the stuff in the half hour before hand, but more within the previous 12 hours, so it was almost as bad).  The "investigator" we are pretty sure was an LDS RM from Texas who went on a mission to Argentina, because when he spoke in English (very few times just to explain that he "didn't know much Inglies") it was with a perfect middle Texan accent and pronunciation.  But then we were told that half of our investigators would be real and the others would be members just acting.  We also felt like he was directing us a little in what to say.  We taught him a little about prayer and how to pray.  And... we get to teach him again on Monday.  We're still not entirely sure what we want to teach, but we'll find out.
There's not a whole lot else that I can think to say, so if you have questions let me know.  The only e-mails I'm supposed to get are from Family or my mission leaders, otherwise, I'm supposed to get physical letters. So, to my family, please forward any questions that I get on my blog or you get from others and I'll try to answer them.
My love to all you at home and my many friends who are reading this! And my apologies for any grammatical or spelling errors.
Yours in the Lord,
Elder Matthew Dewsnup
Shout Outs:
Meg: Thanks for sending me the note. As you can probably see, I've been fine thus far, if a little overwhelmed.You probably also see that I'm not supposed to get emails from other people so for the sweet swop stuff and guest posting if you'd personally send me the stuff you want, that'd be great.  And yes, I am loving being back in Utah.  It's AWESOME!  I've missed these peaks.