Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Week 12 Perth Amboy NJ, Week 18 Mission

Stayin' in the Amboys!

So good news: I didn't get transferred!! Neither did my companion nor the two other Elders we live with. So me Elder Brimley and Elder Vargas will have live together now for three transfers! Our district is pretty much the exact same people. I was pretty 50/50 about getting transferred. I love this area and Elder Brimley has been a good trainer. But I also wanted to see the rest of Jersey and meet some new missionaries. But hey, the Lord called me here and I will give it my all. No worries. I am super pumped too because we have a few people set up for baptism as well. So happy I get to stay and see them take that next big step.

Spanish is coming along.... slowly. Ha I study it so hard everyday, and we talk Spanish during proselyting a lot. It takes a lot of work and prayer to learn a language that's for sure. I am so happy to have the opportunity and I know that when God commands, He always prepares a way. So it will be coming soon. So stoked!

We saw S___ and C___ a few times this week. I love them so much and their daughter A___ is like the happiest, smartest 2 year old I've ever seen. They are progressing, but not really toward baptism. They are kind of stuck because they need to get married first and they don't want to rush into that. Which makes since except that they have been together for the last 4 years! Ha come on we know you want to get married. We are slowly giving them a push to make something happen. Crazy how many people out here live some pretty terrible lives because they broke the Law of Chastity. After seeing how many lives have been shredded, its pretty clear how important the Law of Chastity is. Pretty easy for me to see the blessings of living it. Pretty easy to follow after seeing what I have seen...

Good news is that there is this guy who moved into the ward recently  named A____. He has actually been here for about a year. I may have mentioned him before. But he is the coolest guy. He grew up in Perth Amboy, Catholic with his family. He then joined the army and was deported to Iraq for a few years. Came back and had PTSD and some major problems. In his lowest of lows he basically remembered Jesus Christ and prayed for help to get back to church. He started searching for churches everywhere and he found things he liked in some churches and things he didn't like. He said I wish there was just one church with all the good stuff put together and no bad stuff. He found the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints through a friend and flipped out during the first lesson with the missionaries when he realized this was the church he has been looking for all his life. Then he got baptized. He has been LA for a little but recently came back and is just the coolest guy. He goes on tons of team ups with us and teaches and his testimony is so powerful. A third witness is so powerful sometimes.

This past week we wrote a letter to all the branch members in our area about missionary work. We were struggling trying to find new people to teach so we turned to the branch to see if they could help us out. In the letter we talked about how grateful we are for their service in the branch, and talked about what the baptismal covenant means to us. Then we invited them to share a letter with some of their friends and family with their testimony and thoughts of the church. We will see how it goes... Should have some great success. This is the Lord's work.

We had an area 70 come to our branch council yesterday. It was a big shock. He had a translator to help him understand. He just listened to the council meeting for a while and then at the end he spoke to us. He talked about how the Work of Salvation comes one person at a time. And the only way to preach this Gospel and really touch everyone's hearts is by the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost will show us all things which we must say and do. This is the Lord's work and he will show us how to do it and how to touch everyone's heart. That goes for relief society president and YM councilor too! Just trust in Him.
The weather is getting super cold. Almost unbearable. Different coldness than Utah. This is super windy and icy cold.  We are eating Thanksgiving at a Senior Couples missionary home. Ha so not too sure how much of a Spanish twist there will be. But hey if this is just straight up good old American Thanksgiving, I wont complain :) Plus its an old couple making it, should be delicious. Ha!
How is Sammy doing? Cant stop thinking about him. I love him so much.
Thanks for all, I love you with all my heart,
Elder Sumsion

The great little family they are teaching

Monday, November 18, 2013

Week 11 Perth Amboy NJ, Week 17 Mission

Como estan!!

I heard an awesome principle yesterday in church. God gives us commandments, so that he can better bless us. Just think about that. I will show you for example. God gives a simple commandment maybe pray. You follow it, are obedient, then you get blessed with help and a feeling of God's pure love. So God offers another commandment: read your scriptures. You follow it, are obedient, then you get blessed with inspiration. All the way until tithing. That was the essence of the talk I heard yesterday. BIG PROBLEM here in New Jersey. Nobody, very little amount, pay tithing. Super sad. But think God gives us the commandment of tithing. We follow it, and we get blessed with "opening the windows of heaven where there is not enough room to receive (the blessings)." So cool. The more obedient, the more blessings. So very cool. Ha maybe confusing, but interesting.

So this is my LAST week of training coming up. Week 12 of the 12 week program. Ha I have been gone for a few months and I'm almost a 'real' missionary. 12 week program has been great. Every new missionary has to go through with it. Tons of videos, studying, and the best: role plays!!!! Ha they are the worst, but I love them. Crazy how much I have learned from every singe role play. Its basically just practicing for our investigators. One person pretends to be an investigator and the other teaching, then rotate. Hard but worth it. So yeah, we don't really know what is going to happen next week. May get transferred, may stay. Its about 50/50 stay or go.

We had interviews with President last friday! Wow he is just the most inspirational guy ever. I love him. He went through and interviewed all 250 missionaries the last two weeks. Sounds like some hard work. He said to me that Elder Brimley is one of the missions best missionaries. I am super grateful. We have been working hard and getting great success.

Thank you so so so much for sending me my sweats, and some warm work out clothes, and the hat. Much needed. ....
We have actually been eating a lot better too. The members, I don't know why, have been feeding us less amounts of food. So sweet prayers answered! ...
We went on another exchange last week, which means switching companions for a day. My companion is District Leader so he has to go on a lot of exchanges, which means I have to as well. They are super fun. So far I been on 8 in just 11 weeks! Awesome. Last Friday I went with Elder Shepard. He is newer than me, so I was kind of in charge of talking all day. My Spanish had its first real test. We were on our own. Two new missionaries with no idea what we were doing yet, and we couldn't speak! Ha but it actually turned out to be one if the best days of my mission so far. I really had to step up to the plate with everything, especially finding, and talking. I was praying so much. Heavenly Father loves to bless us, especially when we ask.

Having a great time out here serving the Lord. Loved Elder Drew Harris' email a few week ago. About forgetting about the praise of man, and just focus on what God needs of you. Serve wherever God calls.

Read. Pray. Church.
Love you,
Elder Sumsion

Exchange with Elder Sheppard. Under The freeway.
Livin the good (hood) life!!!!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Week 10 Perth Amboy NJ, Week 16 Mission

Hello Family!!!

So sorry I didn't send out an email yesterday. Totally drove all the way to the library and ,you were right, it was closed.
Crazy good week here in Perth Amboy. But man, is it getting cold up here in the NE. Leaving the grocery store yesterday, this women made mention its going to snow the nest day. Sure enough I experienced my first New Jersey snow this morning!! So pumped, but its so cold. None of it really stuck to the ground either. But hey it was definitely snowing. Havent gotten that package yet, mom. Should be getting here soon. I think the mission home has it. I should get it sometime this week. Until then... I will survive. Ha no Im okay. But really the humidity shoots the cold straight to my bones. Its piercing stuff.

So yesterday for P-day we totalyl did have some extra time. So we totally went and looked around the New Brunswick mall! You know how much I hate shopping, but it worked out because we were only there for about an hour. We were just looking for winter clothing and sweaters. And ties... Ha what else can a missionary shop for? Ha nothing has changed- I didnt buy anything. But it was fun to look around. Crazy music in there though. I havent heard so much rap and rock my whole mission. Ha it felt super weird to me. Missionary mode is settling in! Then we ate an awesome meal at Chipotle.  We randomely saw one of our less actives, Anthony, and he ate with us. He spend the whole time telling us of his ward stories in Iraq! Crazy stuff. Then we went to the church and played some hard core basketball. It is so fun to me now. I used to hate it, but now we play it so much that I am becoming better so I love it. Then we spent an hour grocery shopping and then about an hour writing letters. So pretty awesome day. Really nice to get some exercise.

We had an awesome week with S----- and C-----. We planned on commiting them to fast with us on Sunday. We got there and she was all for it, but he did not see how going without food and water would answer his questions. He said he could do it though, just didnt want too. Ha tough guy attitude. Well we basically ignored that fact and asked him what he was going to fast for. He finally accepted and fasted for his wife, daughter, and purpose in life. At church the next day they came and I have honestly never seen them in such a happy mood. Thanks for the prayers. They were great. They were laughing and smiling and even teasing us with thoughts of food. How good does a burger from that corner store sound right now? - C-----, ha he was loving it. We broke the fast with them and showed them how much happier they were with each other and how there was less contention.

Went to Familia Grande's house. They gave me this wicked hot pepper to eat. They said it wasnt even hot for them. I was in tears! So fun.

I am doing great. That week flew by! Cant believe it. I am learning so much. Spanish is getting better. I have been studying and praying tons! Its a little difficult because we arent fully thrown into it here. Most of our investigators are Spanish, but there are tons of English missionaries. SO at district meeting, the whole thing is English. It takes lots of good work to get it down. I have been doing well.

Love you tons,
Elder Sumsion 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Week 9 Perth Amboy NJ, Week 15 Mission

Perth Amboy Halloween!


Wow so much good is going on here and sounds like there has been some major changes to the stake and ward back home. So exciting! I can't believe they split up the wards again. Sad to hear the families who are leaving the legendary Snyderville Ward. Super nuts that they put Colony and Sun Peak in the ward. The Aldens and Bensons and many others are back! Sounds like Zeke's family might have gotten switched too! Super surprising news to hear that they switched everything. I will be coming home to a much different Snyderville ward. Ha! And my amazing Young Men's President Carl Richards is now the Bishop! Woah He and Bro Peers and Bro Barrett will be outstanding. They have been some truly loving and inspiring leaders to me, and they will do great in the leadership of the ward! WoooHooo!

Thanks so much for sending all the stuff for Halloween last week! We had so much candy to pass around. Luckily we only ate about 10 pieces each then we were about done. Check out the pictures I will send of everything. Such a fun Halloween out here in New Jersey. We had to be in our apartments by 6:00 PM on the 30th and 31st because it gets pretty dangerous. On the 30th they do something here called "Night of Mischief" which is something that doesn't happen in Park City or Utah I don't think. Its basically a night a pranks, where all the high schoolers and everybody pull some crazy pranks. So yeah pretty dangerous so we all had to stay inside. But we made both nights a party! On Halloween, Elder Brimley and I ordered some crazy good Chinese food for the occasion.  Mmmmm delicious. We spent basically all night playing Phase 10. It took us about 3 hours both nights to finish the game between the four of us. Elder Vargas is a boss and totally creamed us, even after all that practice I have had at home. Ha such a fun time. And yeah ate candy as we played. But we all got sick of the candy pretty fast. Didn't eat very much at all.

Guess what!!!!! We had a baptism last week! Ha okay kind of.... He was only 9, and had to meet with the missionaries, but still: it was awesome!!  I guess he was planning on getting baptized at age 8, but he was waiting for his dad to come back from Mexico to be there! Super sad, because his dad never came! So after a year of waiting Hugo and his mom decided to have him be baptized now. So yeah once someone turns 9, it is considered a convert baptism and they have to receive all the missionary lessons. So we have been teaching him almost everyday the last 9 days and we finished about all of the missionary lessons with him and he was baptized last Saturday. The 1st Counselor did the actual baptizing. So pretty neat experience. He is an awesome kid and had a super strong desire to get baptized. It was nice to go through the whole process and be able to teach him everything. But yeah counted I guess as a convert baptism so Perth Amboy had its first convert baptism for the last couple months.

Nelson's baptism fell through. He just isn't 100% committed yet, but hey, thats alright. We are still working with him tons. S___ and Ch___ had a pretty interesting week. Full of ups and downs. We showed up to teach them on Tuesday and things were not looking good. There is always just tons of people in their house because they live in her parents house with her two brothers and all of her brother's crazy 20 year old friends are always coming in and out. We moved the lesson upstairs because either her brother was playing FiFA 2014 or her dad was watching the latest Hispanic reality TV show. Can't remember but its usually one or the other. So we were sitting in their daughter's playroom basically in the attic and we were all just sitting on the ground. But basically they told us they wanted to split up, they had been fighting tons and tons. .....We were super sad and didn't know what to do at first, but the Spirit provided and we told them they need to pray TOGETHER. Even if they were super mad. We left and the next morning we got a text that said that they did it and it went really well, with a smiley face. So yeah things are going much better with them. Its crazy to see how small things like praying and reading the scriptures change people. It truly was a miracle. When things are going rough and no matter how much we sometimes don't want to pray or read the scriptures, reading and praying is exactly what we need to do!

We are getting along well. We are one of the last four-men apartments in the mission. There is only 3 others we know of!! President Jeppson is trying to get rid of them, because they truly are less productive. I have been in a four man my whole mission and MTC, so I didn't really know the difference until my exchange last night. 

I went on almost a 40 hour exchange with my great Zone Leader Elder Bell from Saturday night until now (Monday morning). It was awesome. We focused so much in their little apartment and just had the happiest day on Sunday. He is a super great guy. He is from Bountiful. We get along super well and for that, it was probably some of the happiest days of my mission yet. We even got to do the zone numbers for the week of baptisms, lessons taught, referrals, and other stuff and send them to the assistants to the President. It was a great opportunity. I got to go to an English ward yesterday. East Brunswick English Ward. I hadn't been in an English ward since home! And guess what? This ward has over ONE MILLION people in its boundaries!!!! The Bishop, in his testimony, said they had lots of missionary work to do. Ha!

Sorry wow this seems long. Great week. Love you tons!!!
Your Son,
Elder Sumsion

Elder Shepard, Sumsion, Vargas, Brimley

Changing Colors

The Halloween candy stash (thank you friends for sending)

New 9 year old Hugo's baptism - He really wanted to be baptized!
PS - My satchel bag is working great, and I have gotten tons of compliments for it. Great idea mom!! I love it.  (Timbuk2.com Classic Messenger Bag size: small ballistic nylon black / polybond black / ballistic nylon black)