Saturday, December 28, 2013

Dec 9, 2013

Mommy! and family!, Just kidding I love you all!

Hey this week's letters were great!!!!!! I absolutely loved all of them!!! Ty you did a really good job and I can't even tell you how happy it makes me to hear how you are doing! Its good to feel like I am back home when I read your letters! And WHAAAATT? Are you serious about a nephew? Oh my goodness I am soo excited!!!! When I read your letter Brooke I can't tell you how happy the news made me! I felt all warm and happy! I hope this semester goes well and ends well! Oh and speaking of Ty, it brings peace to my soul that you have pulled your grades back up. I think it wise to tell you that life is easier when you work harder on your grades and study the scriptures. Tell me what you learn next week. Your humor makes me very happy. Be happy!
Mom your letter was amazing because of the detail and vitality of it. It felt completely real and more like you were talking to me rather than writing an email. In cant wait to talk to you at Christmas. In my next email I will answer your questions.
Our companionship is teaching some great people. A lot are inactive members or less active members. Three come to mind that have made a big impression on me. Firstly a man named Jauriel has started coming back to church since I arrived here. We have visited him frequently and he has progressed since we started talking to him. He is a man who found the church I think it was maybe two or three years ago, but he became offended and stopped coming. We met with him and talked about the value of the sacrament and how it is meant to symbolize relinquishing the pains, sins, and sufferings of the week through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The lesson was powerful and he realized later and said in his own words "I had allowed one or two people to keep me from receiving the blessings of the sacrament." He is right. He allowed Satan to convince him to stop coming. He has since again felt the blessings of the gospel and holy ghost return to his life by measures and I can't wait to see him keep growing.
It says in the white handbook I am not supposed to say anything negative about my area or companions to people or in letters home. I don't like everything about Bayonne or my companions or other things but I want you to know I am happy. I know I am supposed to be here and I do have a lot to learn. 
We are also teaching a new investigator named Medhat. He is Egyptian, 22 and has had some recent struggles with many things. He, however is very nice and genuinely interested! He has a lot of potential. He swam in the junior Olympics for 100 butterfly and breast so I think he is super cool.
The branch is small and different, but I like many of the people. Most are converts and we average about 15 people per sacrament meeting. You remember last week I told you about Brother Hill. I am constantly more impressed by him. He is so sincere and innocent.
People here are generally guarded. Most people as one of the Assistants to the President put it, "Have a wall." But just like anywhere else there is no general rule that applies to everyone in Bayonne. There are many people here from many places and it is fun to see all the diversity. I am truly enjoying it.
The city is a city. It is set up on a grid, with streets running north to south and east to west. Broadway is right in the middle and it is my favorite street. Lots of stores and food, with Christmas lights adorning the trees and lots of people to talk to. The street Sister Rodriguez lives on, if I told you about her. 
Me and my companions work well together but don't get along perfectly. I think we just have different ideas to get to the same goals so I am trying to listen to the things they tell me and learn because I am new. We run into problems because I don't think they are always willing to say when I do something that bothers them. I am trying to get them to open up and let me know so I can fix it and I am trying to be nice, but things in general aren't bad. Its really only one of them who I worry about anyway. I will try to keep you updated.
The most challenging thing I think is the whole experience, the funnest part, the whole experience. Life of a missionary is fast. It's a growing experience for me and, I am willing to wager, for others as well. So the best part for me is seeing growth, in myself, in others, and in Heavenly Fathers kingdom. The most challenging part is getting that growth, because it doesn't always come easy, in fact, just about never.  
We walk and use the bus to get around. I'm plenty warm mom so don't worry! It could be much worse and you raised a tough kid.
Rules for skype, haven't a clue. I'll tell ya next week!

Love you all!
Elder McKay Showalter