Monday, September 30, 2013

Week 4 Perth Amboy NJ, Week 10 Mission


How are you all doing!!! Wow thank you for all the great news and sharing with me all the things that are going on at home. First off I cant believe that Chloe (his sister) is now down at the Provo MTC! That is incredible. I am so happy for her. The first few days in the MTC are rough, so keep her in your prayers and Brett. The mission is the greatest thing in the world. Its full of hard work and change, but the rewards of bringing souls to Christ are so great. Sam, I am super glad you got my letter. I will keep sending more letters to you. Keep it up brother. You mean the world to me. Dad, so glad to hear that you are still slaying it on your bike races/rides! Ha I absolutely love how you connected that with missionary work and life. It is hard work, but there are always times of joy(downhill) on the path, and the end result is so great. Hope the hand is healing up well and the shoulder. Get ready to get out those powder skis! I love you so much dad. You are the greatest example to me. So glad I have you as my dad for eternity.

Mom (and family)- I am doing great. Do not worry. The Lord is mindful of us missionaries. This week has been one of the toughest weeks of my life, but SOOO rewarding. The mission really pulls the weaknesses out of you, if you want it to. So I have been working hard to become that great missionary the Lord needs out here. Its hard work mentally, but I can already see the success of this hard work as I am becoming a personal leader and yes guess what? Better at making decisions!!!!!!!! Ha so fun. I love it so much.

This week has been so crazy though. I cant believe how fast time flies by! Every day feels way long but the weeks just go by. I am finally getting used to living on my own now. I have been living of cereal and frozen burritos for a month and I finally decided I need to make the change and buy some healthier food! Ha so thank you for that awesome grocery list that you sent, I hope I can afford those luxuries... No just kidding I should be able to. As long as I dont get distracted by all the other delicious sugary food. Its so fun buying my own food! Teaching me tons. We are going shopping after this so hopefully I am motivated to buy some healthy food.

I am justloving it our here in NJ. My trainer and roommates are great help to me to become the best missionary I can possibly become. I have learned so much from them on how to do things and..... how not to do things. Ha its nice because we all work together to build each others' weaknesses and focus on strengths. The last four week have taught me so much about not relying on other people but relying on the Lord. I thought that the first few months out here I could just learn and sit under the wing of my trainer.... Oooh how wrong I was. He isnt training me to become a timid missionary but a bold one!!! I have learned so much about being my OWN kind of missionary, not just my companion's trainee.

We had some cool experiences this week with a few investigators. I have been really focusing on miracle and faith the last few weeks. I dont know.. maybe I didnt have the faith that these people could change their lives. But the moment I made a decision to see everyones potential and faith they can receive it, everything changed. There is this one family we are teaching and they have been together for years but not married. They have a 9 year old daughter. So to be baptised they either had to serperate or get married. We were hoping for the second. We asked them to pray about it. We came back a few days later and they said they want to get married!!! So happy. Its taken 10 years for them to make this decision. And now they can continue with their desires to get baptised!! SO excited.

Thank you so much for the packages! It was super nice to see some  of the goodies from home. I loved them all. Thank you and continue sending in your emails all your cool stories and even small and simple things that happened from home. I love hearing about it.

The work is fun and hard. But we get nice rewards! Like last P-day. Last P-day we got a $30 credit from a member to this local D.R. (Dominican Republic) market. We bought 20 Epenadas and 3 bottles of soda. And after we played a short game of Harry Potter CLUE!! HA

I love you all,
Your son,
Elder Sumsion

Monday, September 23, 2013

Week 3 Perth Amboy NJ, Week 9 of Mission


Its is soooo good to hear from you every week! Every Sunday night I get so excited because I get to email you in the morning. I absolutely love all the pictures. It is so nice to see every one of you and home. I love it. Crazy week I am sure for you guys. I have been praying tons for you all as Chloe heads out this week! TWO DAYS!! Cant believe that it is already here. (Chloe going to Iowa Des Moines Mission) Chloe, you are going to love it. I cant believe its already fall! Have the leaves started turning colors? Dad, make sure you ride Armstrong trail for me (Once your shoulder and hand heal) and look at those amazing yellow aspens at the top by the Mid Mountain trail. Those are my favorite in PC. Kinda secret to find. You have to bike to be able to see them.

So I am going to answer some questions from mom (or from the whole family, but I was thinking they were mom's though because they were some "worry questions" ha love you mom (He knows me well) ) So here you go: Yes I got your package! Thank you so much. I'm not sure how we got it though. The other Elders picked it up. Shared all the cookies.  Ha so I am in zone 8 and for studying:

We study for 4 hours a day because I am being trained.
-One hour of personal study: Usually read 30 min Book of Mormon, 30 in Preach My Gospel
-Two Hours of Companion Study: We share what we read in personal study, prepare for lessons for that day and then go into the 12 week program, which is basically hours and hours or role playing and watching training movies. Way fun.
-Then one hour of language study: Reading spanish Book of Mormon, or doing grammer exercises.

So yes we are in a walking area, but it is pretty small. We walk between 3 and10 miles a day. It was tiring at first but I am getting used to it. I love my shoes though. We bought the perfect ones. (Ecco) All those hours shopping paid off! We are so exhausted at night that I sleep amazingly well. Usually I can get a whole 8 hours of solid sleep. Its one of the best feelings to work hard and then get to sleep. We see the other two Elders all the time. We eat all our meals with them usually back at home. They are awesome, a little crazy, but they bring some laughter and fun.

This week was a little rough. About half of our planned lessons fell through so we only taught around 15 lessons this week. It was tough on me for a few days because we only taught 3 lessons in 3 days! And one day we taught none! I cant imagine those Europe missions. Dad, way to stick it out until the end. It takes a lot of faith and trust to work this hard and not see the fruit of your labors. Thanks for being such a great example and serving an awesome mission Dad. I know you blessed many lives, many you don't even know.

We got super blessed yesterday on Sunday though. So we had been trying all week and last to get into this inactive members home and talk with him. His name is C_____. He is inactive and the rest of his family are not members. Finally, with the help of a branch member who was this man's friend, we set an appointment for last Saturday at 10 AM. We told him we would play basketball with him if he decided to listen to our message. He agreed! So we played a round of two on two basketball and then taught him a lesson on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He did not seem super receptive. But we invited him to pray and we dowloaded an LDS app on his phone for him so he could read the scriptures easier. We almost set an alarm too. So we left thinking that we didnt do much. But last night his member-friend called us and told us the best news I have heard so far out here. Such a cool story, he said that C_____ told him that he had locked himself in his room and prayed for 15 minutes one of the deepest prayers he had ever given. The whole time his nonmember wife was knocking on the door of his room asking to open the door. He told her to leave him alone for a while. After he finished his prayer he went out and talked with his wife. He told her that he had been praying. She said: Why havent you been praying with me! I want to pray too! He said: but the missionaries told me to pray alone! Ha so funny. So we are going to tell them this week it is ok to pray as a family at our next visit. Way awesome/ funny.

All is well here, I am really learning to love it out here,
I love you all,
Your son
Elder Sumsion


Monday, September 16, 2013

Week 2 Perth Amboy NJ, Week 8 of Mission


So I am just absolutely loving it here! I've been here for only 2 weeks and I feel so good here. I really feel like this is where I belong. I feel so blessed because of all my opportunities and tender mercies from the Lord. I really am in the right place. Let me just say that one day in the MTC I realized that God really does know us perfectly, so then why not trust him! I decided to get on my knees and I prayed and told Heavenly Father I would give my mission to the Him, every second and every ounce of strength I could conjure up. I actually have to shoutout to Alex Harris (our nephew/his cousin) for inspiring me to do this. I still remember his homecoming talk when he shared his experience of sleeping on the wet dirt floor the first day in the field and deciding to pray to give it all to the Lord. So I did just this, and I can just see how perfect everything has worked out from that moment. Trust in the Lord, He knows us and will help us be our best selves. I'm not very good at explaining this so go check out Al Foxs Blog (  Ben has commented several times on how she helped strengthen his testimony). Or even better: THE SCRIPTURES. There are so many verses that talk about trusting in God. (Proverbs 3:5)

So things are working out awesome. I am loving it out here and I love the service I am giving. Thank you for all your prayers! I really can feel them. It has been crazy hard to get used to this life and this place, but I have learned to embrace and love everything. Our area is absolutely poppin! Slow with the investigators, but the members absolutely are awesome! When we arrived we had no progressing investigators, and now we have worked to get about 7! And three have baptismal dates. So blessed! Love it. The members though are just amazing. We get fed probably around 7 times a week! The best Mexican/South American food I've ever had, probably because its REAL. Ha. But really this one member, Sister C____, has fed us 4 times and invited us to breakfast this week. She fed us Peruvian hot chocolate one night, and last night she gave us some fried rice with this homeade lime juice. She is so amazing. Her son is autistic and she serves him so much. We have been teaching her husband who is an investigator of the church. Love them.

Church is so fun here because its bazically three extra hours of Language study! So fun. Everything is just straight Spanish, the talks, classes, Sacrament Prayers. EVERYTHING. It really helps me learn. The cool thing about the Spanish here is that I am learning so many different accents as well. Along with all those nationalities last week, this week we met Argentinians, and a Bolivian family. I am so glad I get to learn so many different types of Spanish and associate with so many different cultures. And so glad I get to enjoy all their tasty food!

We had so many spiritual experiences this week but the biggest was during my training meetings. We had two days of 8 hour long Training this past week. yeah Sounds miserable right? No, it was awesome. We got to be taught by the Assistants and the President and his wife. Then did role plays, and then we got breaks every two hours to eat and talk. I really learned the role of the Spirit here on my mission. The Spirit is EVERYTHING. It shows us exactly how to teach and exactly what to say. The trick is that we have to learn to listen for Him and then act. When we do, THAT is when miracles are produced.

I also met some super inspiring missionaries at these meetings because It was a bunch of Zone Leaders, trainers, and then the new trainees. So the best missionaries were there teaching us and talking with us. Its super clear who really is out here to serve. The missionaries who are here to give it their all and trust the Lord, they are the ones who perform miracles and they change lives, as well as their own lives.
Dad this is for you: I met one of the coolest missionaries out here in NJ at the training. He leaves in a month and everyone here knows how great he is and powerful he teaches. One of the most happy people and most humble, inspiring person I have met in a while. His name is Elder Smith. His dad is S____ Smith??!!!!!!! He says his dad is super close to Uncle Kevin. How crazy is that!!! He knew Taz Murray and everything. I take it you know his dad pretty well.  Is his dad one of those guys you hung out with in High School? I actually think I remember you told me about him one day.  Elder Smith is such an amazing missionary. His mom passed away on his mission, however, he is the happiest missionary here! He said it was tough and one of the hardest things he has gone through. But he trusted in God. He bore his testimony and said that it is the Atonement, and Jesus Christ where his joy is. Such an awesome example.
Elder Smith and Elder Sumsion
Things are going great. Thanks for the prayers.

(This is a sweet payback to parents.  I hesitate to leave it in but hope it helps someone.)  I love you so much family! You have no idea how grateful I am for the many blessings I grew up with because of YOU. You are the best parents I could ever ask for! I owe so much happiness to you and the Lord. Thank you for teaching me truth, because the truth is what set me free. I could not have asked for a better childhood. Thank you for raising me in the Lord. Thank you for founding our family on the foundation of Christ. I love you so much. Stay true to the faith family! You will never regret it in the end!!!!

I love you so much,

Your humble son,
Elder Sumsion

Monday, September 9, 2013

Week 1 Perth Amboy, NJ; Week 7 of Mission

Hola Familia,                                                     Sept 9, 2013
I got my new companion, Elder Brimley! Such an awesome guy. He has been out for 15 months or so. He heads home in May and is from American Fork, Utah. He is a pretty fun guy and he likes to run so we run together which is nice. Went to BYU for a year before he came out. But he knows how to WORK HARD. Its perfect. He is a very dedicated missionary and an awesome trainer. He is following all the rules and the 12 week program format. He gives me plenty of opportunities to take the lead and talk. He really is great. Thanks for the prayers. I know the Lord is mindful of each and every one of us. All of the people in the world. He knows EXACTLY what we need.

Elders Sumsion, Brimley, Packer, Morrill
So after we got our trainers, we went to our first mission transfer conference. This is where missionaries get assigned to new areas and companions. Our mission has 200 or so missionaries. About 100 were there being transfered. So fun, everybody was getting so excited to hear where they were going, even President Jeppson was cracking some jokes and Sister Jeppson had to come over and tell him to focus! So funny. Wow I love them both. We also got to hear a few testimonies of missionaries who are leaving, they were so inspiring. Man, being like them in two years seems like a long ways away but I cant wait to love my mission just like they do!

Our apartment is good. We have two other missionaries with us so its not lonely or boring. Its a wicked nice apartment though. One of the nicest in the mission. It gets a little cold at night, but we have a heating/AC system. My one blanket you sent is doing great! Our APARTMENT HAS LAUNDRY MACHINES!!!!!
Apt Kitchen
 So we took off and are in a town called Perth Amboy, NJ. Right by long Island, NY. (actually it is right across the tip of Stanton Island) Check it out online. The city is pretty big, but our area is super small. We are seriously probably the only two white people here. Everyone is Hispanic or Black. Its awesome. There are so many nationalities around here. Most of the people are the people that wanted to live the American Dream in NY but realized how expensive it was and ended up moving to the suburbs in NJ. These are all the different nationalities we have found: Peru, Puerto Rico, Honduras, Mexican, Dominican (Dominican Republic). The first being the easiest accent to understand; the last the most difficult. Spanish is absolutely insane. I can barely speak anything, and can understand little to none. Starting with the Peruvians, I can understand 25% of what they say. And the Dominicans: I probably pick out one word out of every thousand they say. So funny.

We have been working so hard!!! We are in a walking area so we walk everywhere! Those European trips with you all have been some good practice for all the walking we do. I get home at the end of every day and am completely exhausted! Sleep is so precious, especially right now because I got little sleep the day I traveled from Mexico to here. But the work is great. I can feel like I am really giving it my all. We taught 19 lessons the first 5 days! So awesome. I do my best to help out in the lessons and talk and ask questions but when the people respond, I have no idea what they said and have to wait for my companion to answer them. Way funny. A little tough at first, but like my district leader said: It will come with time. BE PATIENT! So true.  I got to teach a first lesson on friday and invited the man to be baptized and he said YES!!!! I was so excited. We ended the lesson super late so we had to run for 15 minutes home and I had a huge smile on my face! So happy. But it all comes with hard work.

Me and my companion got doubled-in meaning that we are both new to this area, so we both know nothing. So we started off meeting with so many members! They are the best. They feel just like families back at home and I can really feel the Spirit in their home. They cook some amazing Hispanic food as well. We get all sorts of flavors because there are so many different nationalities.
Amazing Peruvian meal from a member. With grilled bananas!

Typical knocking street. So many people live in each house. Like 4 apartments in a single house!
First Sunday was yesterday. We, of course, had to give talks because we are new. We heard five minutes so I prepared a talk for five minutes. Got there are we were the main speakers. I managed to somehow (Lord's help of course!) speak for 15 minutes so cool.
I love you with all my heart,
Your son,
Elder Sumsion
Thanks to all who emailed and...

Sumsions (cousins) : thank you so much for the letter and all the advice! Your prayers mean the world to me! Keep up being the great people and examples that you are.

The church

First apt meal - Cholula sauce Baby!!!! (we sent it to him - he loves it)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

ARRIVED! - NJ Week 1, Mission Week 6 -

So I finally made it here!!!!!!!!! So happy. We flew in late so we couldn't see much, but Ive been able to see a lot the last couple days. Its so green here its ridiculous. Never realized how dry Utah was. I honestly 100% feel like I am in the middle of a forest. Trees, and huge ones too, are everywhere! The last two days have been awesome. I was in complete shock for the first 24 hours, and still are but Im doing a lot better. First morning in the mission home we are at a seminar on driving in the mission. I felt absolutely terrible! Terrible about everything; the mission, driving, Spanish.  Then right after we have an orientation meeting with President Jeppson. But this just changed everything. He said he had been dearly praying that the Lord would send him missionaries with a desire to work hard. He said that the Lord must really trust us to send us to the NJ mission. I know probably every mission president says that, but it really hit me hard and I felt the Spirit so strong. Its hard to see why I need to be here, but I know that the Lord has called me to the right place.

After this we all loaded up in the car and headed to Zone Transfer meeting. We got our companions here. Mom, I have been praying so much for a good trainer and a good first companion because we are with them 12 weeks. I could really feel your prayers too. It was a cool experience. All the new missionaries were on one side of the room and the trainers were on the others side. I was praying so hard right then to please bless me with a great comp. Right then I looked up and saw one of the Spanish Elder trainers. A great sense of peace came over me and I knew he was my companion. I could really feel the Lord's love for me. I could almost feel him saying that he loves me and I need to not worry but to trust him.
Love you all so much!
Elder Sumsion

In his phone call from the airport, he said he loved hearing from everyone but a printed letter (dear elder or US mail) is better since he never has time to read them all, especially longer other missionary updates.  His address is on the side of this blog and a post below.  He truly appreciates all the support though and everyone writing to him - THANK YOU!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Sunday Sept 1st -
We had two great devotionals tonight! One from the MTC President, and a recorded one from Elder Christofferson. We are just about to go eat dinner, then say our last goodbyes and call it good. We gave blessings today and I got  the opportunity to give one again! So cool, I could really feel the Spirit working in me.
 Anyways, We are planning to get to bed by 8 or so. We have to wake up at 2:30 AM! bus leaves at 3:30 AM. We are all packed up ready to go.
Love you tons, Cant wait to get out there. Im flying out with many people including my companion to Atlanta, then its only Elder Packer, and three others heading to NJ.
Love you so much family,
The work is so real,
The Gospel is so alive.
The Atonement makes everything alright. 
Elder Sumsion
Ben was able to call us from the airport in Atlanta.  Luckily, his flight was delayed because it took him a long time to find a working pay phone in the airport!  He sounded good and maybe a little worried not knowing what to expect as he actually gets to his mission area.  He sent another last night late after he arrived in NJ and had been up since 2:30am! 
I made it!!!!!!!!!
So easy to find the mission president and the APs. They were right there. There is probably about 20 of us new here. We got to the Mission home and enjoyed a great roast and mashed potatoes. So great. No idea whats going on. I'm absolutely exhausted. Had such a rush of information today. Tomorrow we get our assistants. (training companions?)
Love you so much! 

So glad I could hear your voice today. Changed everything