Monday, December 29, 2014

Jersey City - Week 21 - CHRISTMAS

December 29, 2014


So nice to talk to you ALL this past week. I didn't even know that was possible to have us all on the same call. Not gonna lie, that was sweet. It really worked out well that we had just a little time with everyone. A little with mom, dad, and Sam. Then Chloe. Then Alexis. The family just built before my eyes. Very good to see everyone and hear everyone is doing great. Our family is awesome. Love it.

We had a good week this past week. We didn't get to teach as much as we liked but it was a really good Christmas week. On Monday our ward organized a caroling session right in journal square where everyone gets off of the trains from New York. It was mainly just the missionaries singing but hey we made the best of it and had some fun. I don't know if we sounded like MotAb but hey we brought the Christmas spirit to NJ. Ha we had hot chocolate and cards to pass out to people walking by. Ha who would've known Elder Sumsion would be singing in the middle of Jersey City to preach the Gospel. Yes, the mission changes people. Fun night for sure.

On Christmas we had a zone party in the morning at 7:30. Opened presents and ate breakfast then played a couple of board games together. Won in monopoly. It was a close call. Ha then we got to Skype with you. Then later that night we went to our members house and taught them and she made us lomo salteado. Delicious. Her mom who isn't a member even joined in the lesson. It was a happy Christmas. Nothing better than sharing the good news this Christmas season. We really did have a good day. Felt the love for sure and shared it as well.

Well our baptism with J___ we decided to bump to next week. He is still good to go, but we had plans to teach him the remaining last lessons but time was cut short, so instead of rushing through everything we just decided to push it to the next week. It was a cool experience though. We were waiting outside his house for him to show up to the lesson and we were thinking and decided to move it to the next week. When he showed up we explained it too him and he was grateful for it. But that night we sat down and for the first time in like 8 lessons his brother and C--- sat down too and asked us tons of questions about EVERYTHING.  They really were sincere and just wanted to know, they weren't trying to fight. We feel like we answered them well and it was a spiritual experience for everyone involved. They still didn't want to listen to all the lessons but it was good progression for them. We haven't even picked them up as investigators but it was awesome that night to see them be more involved. Finally, les caemos bien.

Things are going great. We have a nice chill week to get some work done and hit the streets hard. Next week we will have lots of meetings and exchanges. Super pumped though.

Cant believe its almost 2015!

How the powder skis floating for you, Sam?

Love you,
Elder Sumsion


Yeah I forgot my planner with everything written down. So next week ILl send em. THanks family for all the gifts though. Loved the socks, and white shirts, and ties. and that cool sweater

Video of Ben speaking a little spanish...

Jersey City - Week 20 Before Christmas

Dec 22, 2014

What a week! So good to see Alexis ha! It was pretty funny. We got to the temple about 15 min early because we planned ahead and so we were just standing as a zone outside when I hear my other name (BEEENNN!) Ha turn around and Lex is running at me. It was pretty chill. We just talked for like 10min then we went in. Everyone always asks if its hard to see her or leave her. I'm always sayin no its pretty normal actually. 

Holy smokes though. Planning for a temple trip was crazy. Look at us two 19/20-years-olds trying to take a group of 16 from Jersey into Manhattan and make sure we don't get lost or we leave anybody. Lots of planning and lots of prayers everyone made it in and out. We have very strict rules about going to the temple from the Area Seventy, just based on the fact that the temple is out of our mission. So we had to be there early and then make sure we got back to our areas by 6. No unnecessary walking in NY or nothing. Just in and out. Everything turned out great though. We took the PATH trains from Journal Square to the World Trade Center and then from there took the subway up to the temple. We planned the beginning part but the other half we asked these two senior missionaries to help us once we got into NY. So nobody got lost and we all made it there actually pretty stress free. Most chill temple trip I have been on so far. Things just worked out. And the new temple video is sweet! I have only seen two of the new ones. I heard there is more? I don't know but it was cool and very well done.


We had a big all mission Christmas party this last Friday in Morristown. Wow our mission is big. Ill send the all mission photo we took. But it was a good party? ha I told Kelvin that it was a mission party, but then I realized that it really wasn't a "party." More of a conference. It was pretty much just talks and eating and talking to other missionaries. But hey it was a party to us. Saw all my old companions. Talked a lot to Elder Vargas. Man, he only has a month left! The mission is awesome. We are all pretty close together geographically so its really social. Which causes problems at times but usually its a blessing to be around so many missionaries. Super fun though. I loved seeing all my old friends and people who were in my zone and district. A lot of them are gone, but many are still here. We played a couple of minute to win it games and the price is right. President and Sister Taggart were fun and funny. We all got our packages at the end. Its like Christmas day. Dad, Shout-out for the tooth brush. I have had so many people ask. Ha

Well J--- (our investigator) is doing great! He has a few questions about modern day prophets and Joseph Smith. He was asking us about it and we did our best to explain but it all came down to just praying about it. That's what everything comes down to really. So he is praying about it and he will be all set for the 28th. Really though this guy is amazing. He missed church a week ago and we came the next time and we hadn't even invited him again and he said he would be there that week. And he stuck to his word because he came yesterday! He is getting to know the ward more and more. He always texts US and follows up on his own reading or just to say whats up. Please pray for him that he will be ready for the 28th of December for his baptism. He is such a stud.

Pumped to get to talk to you. Honestly, we have been planning tons of zone stuff, but Elder Bellavance and I have no idea what we are doing or where we are going for calls. I will give you a quick call to tell you whats going on. Probably on Wednesday. Oh and we have our time changed to only 40 min this year. SO a little shorter than last. Im down for whatever; if we want to do it together. I will see what I can do. But we will find something.

Hope all is good. Pumped that Sam got a new job at Rocky Mountain Chocolate factory! That's whats up!


Elder Sumsion

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Jersey City - Week 19


Woohoo we survived! What a week we had here and sounded like a crazy but fun week at home as well. Seriously, The busiest week of my entire mission, I swear. Ha we had to give lots of trainings this last week and lots of prep for this upcoming month. We had transfer conference on Tuesday and spent a lot of that night running around getting zone members their stuff. Holy smokes some missionaries have A LOT of stuff. I was amazed. On Wednesday we gave a zone meeting with all the zone there with all the new ones who just came in. Friday, we went to Morristown and Elder Bellavance and I had to each give separate trainings at the New District Leader training. All the new zone leaders, district leaders, and sister training leaders were there and we each gave a half hour training. Ha us two and one other old zone leader was there so we were the only ones who got picked to come give trainings. It was funny. Who am I to give a training to all these new leaders? President talked a lot about how those in that room are leaders and heroes for the rest of the mission. Wow It feels so weird to be one of the old zone leaders in the mission. Next transfer I'll be an x-zone leader. To me its sometimes hard to think that I am a leader or hero to a younger missionary, but it keeps me seeking to be my best self and be an example. Ha I still have a long way to go... Hopefully my zone sees past my imperfections. I love it though. It really is fun being able to give all these trainings. Then we did a short training/role play in the English ward's ward council yesterday and then gave a training to our ward missionaries in our Spanish ward right after church. It was nuts. But for our reward we get to go to the TeMpLe tomorrow!!!

Ok so we saw J--- again this last week. Miracle lesson with a member with us! We discussed the Gospel of Jesus Christ and he had some really good questions about baptism. We helped him answer a lot of them himself after we read a few verses and asked him questions back. The Spirit was super strong and we were able to set his baptismal date for the 28th of December. He is rock-solid. Never had an investigator like him. He texts us and tells us how his reading is going. He has been to church twice. Couldn't go yesterday. But he is doing great. Still coffee free and committed to live la ley de castidad. So excited for him

Break-through with the H--- family yesterday. They came to church! Wow what a miracle. It was their first time going since they began getting taught by two other Elders in August. So a big step for them. We had an awesome member pick them up and take them to church. We unfortunately had to leave to go to the English Ward's ward council, but we left them in good hands with the ward.

We taught N--- this past week. He is doing good. He was committed to church yesterday as well but something happened with this ride. A ward member went and tried to pick him up but they couldn't find each other or something. Oh it was a bummer, so he didn't make it yesterday.

We have been seeing some cool miracles lately. It all has started from that meeting with Elder Kacher two weeks ago about changing our mindset from our work to giving the work back to the Lord and be an instrument. Much less stress too. We are so happy to see this area improving. We have been working really hard and praying a lot to get our area an example area for the zone and now its finally getting there. We are just relying on the Lord for everything. I know that sounds pretty generic but its so true. He is taking care of us. ITs been a great week and we are pumped for the next week.

Things are going good here. Lots of rain last week but the sun is out now. Its not too cold right now. Sounds like you are having such a great time together at home. I love you all and miss you tons. Ill be calling on Christmas! Thank you for all the Christmas stuff. We got our 12 days of Christmas and we started yesterday.

Love you

Elder Sumsion

HA So pumped for PCMR and Canyons. That is sweet!!!! Its like a dream come true. Two best resorts put into ONE!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Staying in Jersey City

Hola familia,

Ok first off: Im staying in JeRsEy CiTy!!! Yess!!! This place is the best. Ha so pumped to stay for another. This will be my first area staying more than three transfers and Jersey City is the bomb. Staying with Elder Bellavance as well which is super good. We get along, work super hard, and I know God is blessing me with fun companions because we are laughing pretty much every second. Its such a bonus to the work. We've got a million things to do but hey "too blessed to be stressed." We just laugh everything off. The zone is changing up a little so we will see who is coming in, but a lot of the ones who I am close with are staying so it will be another awesome transfer (just like them all!!) So this is the last transfer I will probably be a zone leader too. So Im going all in to the end. Not for sure but usually zone leaders get called for 4 transfers and then released and can get back to the streets workin'. Pumped for the transfer though. 

So Christmas season has started. In the mission it is crazy. Its sometimes called p-month just because there are so many activities in the mission and wards for Christmas and we are always just running around. We are not in our areas as much as usual but we are preaching the Gospel in different ways then just walking street. Its like Christmas day for three weeks straight. This week and next week probably the craziest of life!!! But hey its all good. 

We had Traditions with the Taggarts on Tuesday in the morning. They fed us tons of really good american food. It was a breakfast I haven't had in a while. French toast, sausage, fruit, bacon, juice, eggnog. We were there with zone 12 so I got to see Elder Drewes and Elder Beard there as well. We ate and then sang and the Taggarts prepared a little program with Scriptures and more singing and homemade hand bells. It was awesome. Nice way to start off the Christmas month.

Last night we had our massive NJMM spanish Christmas Fireside in Newark. It was super successful. Everyone is invited in pretty much all of NJ. There was probably about 300 people there. Each zone had their own part to preform. So our zone did Nephi 11:14-20 where an angel appears to Nephi. So we sang Noche de Luz. We practiced ONE time as a zone (us 7 in Spanish) and we couldn't stop laughing the whole time. We aren't the best singers. And miracle. I didn't have a costume until like 2 hours before this thing start. And I asked 1 member and she had something for me there at church. So super big blessing and the rest of the night was amazing. Sh--- came!!!!!! I got to see her again. The last time I saw her was almost a year ago. The M----s were there (ha it only like an 1 1/2 drive) Everything in Jersey is pretty close. So fun to see them all. Elder Class, Elder Lundquist, Elder Lopez, and Elder Drewes were there. Elder Vargas as well. He only has one more transfer left! Ha. It was nice to see everyone again.

We had mission leader council this last week. Elder Kacher from the Seventy was there. It was one of the most productive meetings I have ever been to. He didn;t come prepared with anything specific. We all discussed what the mission needed and then he had like 3 hours to answers everything. Very very effective. The biggest thing was changing our mentality and having more faith, and working better with wards and wards councils. There was a cool ladder of missionary work mentality that he brought up. The bottom is: 

  • This is too hard, I cant do this. Then:
  • This is hard but I can go through the motions. Then: 
  • I can work hard. Then: 
  • I can do this with the Lord's help. Then the top mindset which is the easiest:
  •  The Lord can do this, I can be an instrument in his hands. 

It was all about following the spirit and trusting the Lord to do is work. We are just instruments in His hands. Very inspiring. 

Jesus came to church this last week again! He is going good. He always calls us just to talk and last night he asked us what chapter he should read. We had a cool miracle lesson. We stopped by on Thursday night and his whole family party was going on. But then everyone had to leave. So we got to teach him for about 20 min on the Word of Wisdom and now he is off coffee!!!! He is a stud. 

Things are going so good. I am glad you got to have a fun Christmas party with the office and learned how to cook! So cool! And the gingerbread house tradition lives on!!!! Sam, how was skiing? How is the park they set up?

 Elder Sumsion


Watts: Awesome Christmas package full of so good food and warm clothes!!! Thank you so much

Traditions with the Taggarts Zone breakfast

Turkey Bowl - in the snow

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Jersey City - Week 17

Hola Familia
Happy dia de accion de gracias!

Haha nah who am I kidding. All the Hispanics here just say "thanksgiving." Its way shorter to say it in English than Spanish. Ha Okay sounds like you had a party at the house for thanksgiving. And wow that turkey was massive too. Only on the west coast can you go to a Turkey Auction. Thanksgiving here was awesome as well. We woke up and we drove to Newark for a missionary Turkey Bowl. We played football with zones 5 and 6. The Taggarts came to our as well. Oh my goodness. There was like an inch of snow on the ground on the field. Everyone was slippin and sliding everywhere. It even started snowing huge flakes when we were playing. So awesome. Then we went down to Bayonne and ate a thanksgiving lunch with some missionaries and the branch down there. We played a couple of games with the members as well. It was so funny. I was laughing a lot. Then we drove over to one of our members who lives in downtown Jersey City. Super Nice Apartment. They fed us a mix of American Thanksgiving and Bolivian food. They even had a honey ham. It was a delicious meal. Then we played this game where everyone has to write down words but we played in Spanish so they all wrecked us. Good day though. I love being with all these happy missionaries all with the same purpose. They are all so excited and full of energy and we are always laughing together. I really love this mission.

Things are getting freezing though! On Wednesday we had a no driving day because it was supposed to snow and it did but it was more of like super slushy snow. Terrible for powder skiing. So we were soaked through in like an hour and then the wind chill made it like 5 degrees and we were already sopping wet. It was a cold day. We did get to teach our investigators the He--- family that day. They aren't progressing too strong right now. We cant seem to figure anything out with them. There is no drive in their faces. I don't know we are going to try a little harder with them. A lot of people here just need that little bit of a push. We have been way more bold with people lately and trying to help them see they can do it with faith. But today it is super warm. We are going to play ultimate Frisbee as a zone. Its like 60.

We hopped out of our car on Monday and these two black guys in a car drove by and were like," Hey you Mormons? Meet us around the corner we want to talk to you for 5 min." Ha little sketch but it didn't feel anything dangerous or anything. So we went and talked to them. Turned out that we talked to them for about an hour. They had some crazy good questions about how we recognize truth. Yeah they were a little out of it at times but it was all good. Then this old guy walks by and joins the conversation. Ha they called him "old g." Ha they had some boss questions and some answers they said to our questions were just hilarious. The way they would express themselves though was so great. They all just used so many hand motions and such loud speech. If you were a person walking by, it would look like we were fighting or something. Ha they were nice guys though and we helped them see the path.

We had an investigator come to church yesterday. His name is J---. First person that has come to church in a few months. He is a boss. Probably 30 years old and from Honduras and works down in Hoboken. He lives with his brother. But he loves having us over. Ha the way we recognized him as being interested is because he actually called us back. We contact around 50-70 people a week and only about 10 of those give us their information and we only get about maybe 1-2 real potentials from those each week. The way we recognize them is if they call us back. We are always calling all the contacts we get and trying by their houses. But man, if they call back on the phone. Woah. GOLDEN. Ha

Did a big correlation meeting yesterday in our ward. The Bishop is really trying to push President Taggart and the Stake President's vision in the ward. So us and the sisters missionaries gave a training to all of the ward missionaries. It was good. Like an hour and 15 minutes. We did the whole thing on the spot though. I guess you just get good at that as a missionary. So many times we have to just teach random lessons or things on the spot. We planned on preparing with the sisters before church but something came up so we had this big meeting to give and like 5 minutes of prep. It turned out good though. We did role plays with all the ward missionaries.

Love the skiing pictures!!!! Where is the snow! Looks like PCMR wants skiing almost as much as I do.. Ha. Thanks for all the pictures. Wow what a week. Mom, we got put in charge of our ward Christmas program too. Well really our ward mission leader but we are helping out.

"Too blessed to be stressed" - Elder Beard, my old zone leader. Haha love it.

Love you all,

Elder Sumsion