Monday, January 27, 2014

Clinton - 6 MONTHS OUT - Snowed In

Nice Family - the Mandes who feed them!! THANK YOU
Elder Aspinall and Elder Sumsion

The craziest week of my mission. So much stuff happened and a lot didn't happen. We got snowed in twice this week. So getting out and teaching was super tough. No idea why there is this much snow in Jersey but hey at least its fun and changes things up every once in a while. It has been very cold as well. We are lucky enough to have a car so we can stay warm some times. The cold actually helps us get into lessons as well. Doesn't work in the English program as well but when we knock a door and its just freezing outside they usually let us in. Last week actually we knocked a random door and the door opened and we didn't say one word and they said come in! Its freezing out there. Ha so we got to be in the warmth and teach them a lesson. Its always a win win situation for everyone involved. 

We went on an exchange this last week with the zone leaders. I got to go to Plainsboro,NJ with Elder Vellinga from Clinton, Utah. He is the man. Such a great servant and hard worker out here. He is 24 and had tons of good stories and thoughts about the mission. Always a huge help to be with somebody who has more experience than you. He taught me a lot and helped me teach a lot stronger and simpler. ...He .. taught me a lot about being persistent with people out here. Jersey people have some tough skin to get through, but once past the first approach they get a lot more friendly. Great exchange and he gave me tons of encouragement. We exchanged back in some back-roads of Jersey. Ha super suspicious. A bunch of men dressed in suits meeting on this road in the middle of nowhere in the woods. Ha 

Not much happened with investigators this week. They are all on the same page. We did get to teach El-- and Rosa---. They were asking great questions and will be baptized if they receive an answer through prayer that these things are true. Super excited to help them progress more through the Gospel. But super slow week with all the stuff going on. We are pumped for the weather to clear so we can get out and teach more.

We had interviews this past week with President as well. He was so nice and encouraging. You always leave interviews with him feeling so excited to be a missionary. He is the best. 

Yesterday was a tough day for my companion. We got a call from President Jeppson informing Elder Aspinall that his grandma passed away. They were very close. She is straight Samoan and was practically his second mom and helped raised him his whole life. She sounds like an incredible women. ........Tough day yesterday for him. We didn't even get to church. We just sat there on our couch and he was telling me stories of her and showed me a picture of her. He got to call his family and talked to them for a while. I think it helped him out a lot. He was trying hard all day to be happier. He is such a strong missionary. He is doing much better now. He recorded a song for his grandma on the Ukulele, Oh Lord my Redeemer, and is sending it home for the funeral. 

Shoutout to Brock Deluca! (His friend heading to the Houston Texas Mission on Wednesday) So happy to hear that his whole family came to support him yesterday. Wish I could have been there for the talk. I guess I will just have to come to his homecoming. Glad to hear he is pumped.
Love you all so much,

Sam, nice job on getting that Eagle Project going! ... Thank you dad for your great letter to me and working hard so I can be out here. Love you
Elder Sumsion

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Clinton, NJ - Week 2, Week 26 Mission

Monday holidays are hard!  We didn't get this email until 5:00pm yesterday! 
Hello family!

This week has been a nice breather; finally feeling caught up on all my new responsibilities as district leader. Its really not that much stuff to do, it was just such a shock the first week and so much on top of running a new area for me. I am the youngest (mission age) District Leader in the whole mission right now. So humbled at the fact to serve my fellow men and missionaries more. Every week I have to prepare an hour and a half district meeting, make accountability calls (which is just checking up on each companionship and following up on zone goals and making new goals with them), organizing exchanges (Me going and training a missionary in their area), writing weekly reports, and being an example of obedience. Ha the last one is the hardest. Not because I'm disobedient, I just haven't learned all the specific rules yet. Usually you learn them over time with your senior companion but since me and my companion are fairly new, we have to learn it all together. Its fun though. My companion is the best and we get along super well.

We have been praying hard to find new investigators here in Clinton. When I got here, the previous Elders had worked super hard and contacted hundreds but there still wasn't much success but we have been working hard and are making more progress here. We found 6 new last week, which is actually a good amount. We have knocked tons of doors and been asking almost everyone if they know any Hispanics that would be interested in learning the Gospel. That festival thing was a great idea mom. Hopefully we could find one to go sing at. I am loving singing now, me and my companion start every companionship study off with a Spanish Hymn. It really brings the Spirit. Well this last week we have been teaching tons of Restorations in Spanish. Its some fun work. We met this man named Ne--- and he was super interested in what we had to say. He called us a few nights ago and said he had been reading the Book of Mormon. We were pumped. Investigators don't usually give us any calls back but he did, and he is reading! So cool.

We ran into this old contact a few days ago. Her name is Il---. She is 18 and living with her mom sister brother and step father. She talked to us about how her dad died a few years ago. We shared with her a quick message on her door step of the Plan of Salvation and bore strong testimony that she would see her father again. She said we could come back and see her so we are going back this week. We also started teaching her step father. His name is Ed---. He is the investigator I have been praying for. He is super prepared and accepting and did not try to fight with us but accepted the message and wants to learn more. I have some real hope for him and his family. We have been praying for them. And he started feeding us which is a good sign they like us. Ha!

We also are teaching this one man named Ge--- and wow he is the best. He absolutely loves the Bible and will do anything to discredit the Book of Mormon and our Bible. ha little does he know that our Bibles are the same Bible! So funny. He listens but he tries to check it with the Bible too much. We are trying to really get him to focus on the Book of Mormon and reading it. One of my favorite lines in Preach my Gospel says,"The Book of Mormon, combined with the Spirit, is your most powerful resource in conversion." So I try to make sure all of our investigators are reading and praying because that is really how they will be converted.

It is snowing like crazy outside right now. Its about 8 inches or so of snow. Its funny how much the town just shuts down here with that much snow. We were all grounded today, which means no driving. So we didnt get to go out much. Most of our investigators live about 4 hours away walking. We did get to shovel some sidewalks though and met with the district for a district lunch at a senior couples house. We read some awesome talks there and played some ukulele while waiting out this storm.

Ha funny you mentioned that famous red mill here in Clinton. We drive past it everyday. It looks awesome with all the snow. This place is pretty beautiful. Lots of farms and deer and trees and water. Such a different feel from the city. We are getting fed here, mainly by American ward members. Nice to have some classic American food again. The ward is super nice. The Bishop is super focused on missionary work.

Loving it out here,
Elder Sumsion

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Clinton, NJ - Week 1, Week 25 Mission

I got transferred last week out west to Clinton, New Jersey. Super small town out towards towards Pennsylvania. Wow, Clinton is SOOOOOOOOOOOO different than my last area. Its like I'm in a new mission. So fun and plenty of good work to be done out here. We cover a huge area. I think it is or is one of the biggest in the whole mission. Takes about an hour and a half DRIVING from one side to the other. The Elders before opened the area and drove 6000 miles in two transfers (3 months). So it is very very big. We now get about 1500 miles a month.

The funny part  is that we are now over an English ward and there are white american English people everywhere. Ha so different than my last area where everyone was Hispanic. Yesterday at church it was weird to hear everything in English. Our Spanish area covers over two English areas. And so all six of us make up the district and all go to the Clinton ward. Last area we could walk down the street and just talk to anybody to teach them because everyone was Hispanic. Here its a little different because we cant just talk to and teach the English speaking people on the street because that's the other Elders' and Sisters' job. We are to only teach the Hispanics. 

This area just got opened for Spanish speaking too in October, so we don't have a lot of people to work with. We hardly know where any Spanish speakers are! Right now we just always hit up these two apartment complexes where we have found a few. haha its actually pretty nuts how much racial profiling we have to do out here just to find and knock on a house with Hispanic people inside.  Its taught me so much about talking to people and spreading the Gospel to everyone though. We are kind of desperate for lessons so any Hispanic we see we just have to run and talk to and we always quickly bring up the Restoration of The Gospel. Its teaching me to really open my mouth more with EVERYBODY. I love it.

My companion Elder Aspinall is just the coolest Elder. He is from Samoa and just the happiest guy. His family moved to Provo when he was young and yes he played football for Timpview and so we made some connections there talking about how awesome the Murrays are. He keeps me laughing and being positive out here. He has been in Clinton his whole mission. He is one transfer younger than me so he just got being done trained. So its crazy, we are just the youngest companionship in the mission. Both of us have been out less than 6 months and so we have still no idea what were doing but all we know is to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are figuring things out together.We have about the same level of Spanish too so it forces us to speak tons. We are getting along great and trying to work harder and harder everyday.

Its very weird not having a senior companion- because its me now! I was so used to just listening to my trainer and following his lead and his work ethic. But now its me and my turn to do the leading and the responsibility of the area lays on me. Its is teaching me so much and giving me a lot more responsibility. Leading a district of 2 Elders and 2 Sisters as well is teaching me how to be confident and how to be a good leader. Its also helping me to become a great decision maker mom so yours prayers for me are being answered!! Its a good change happening in me. Its been tough, very tough to click into but its going to bless me forever. I know it. I guess the Lord is trusting me, so Im doing all I can to forget my worries and to trust Him too. Its been a blessing, maybe the biggest of my mission so far. I can really see how the mission is changing me.

I am doing good. Our apartment is super nice and we have a weight bench and bar and we went to a member's house yesterday and they gave us some weights so Elder Aspinall showed me a mean chest workout this morning. So getting ripped as well. Ha the best part though is that he plays the Ukulele, so every night I get to hear the sounds of the song: Somewhere over the rainbow. Oh wow, It's heaven... loving life.

Love you so much. Thanks for the prayers. They were much needed this past week with all my new responsibility. I'm doing much much better now.

With all my love,

Elder Sumsion

Monday, January 6, 2014

Week 18 leaving Perth Amboy, Week 24 Mission

Hello family!  1/6/14

I don't even know how to describe this past week! Really it has been nuts. Wow so much has happened. Big news though: Sh--- got baptized yesterday!!!!

Inline image 2

We taught Sh--- on the day before New years eve. We went over the Baptismal Interview Questions with her and she knew everything really well. We were getting pumped for the baptism. Really had to get her to stay worthy. Ridiculous how much Satan tries to attack. On New years night her Brother has a party at their house. But Sh--- remained strong and didnt drink at all!!!!! Oh man we were so excited for her. She passed a real test that night for her. 

We taught Ch--- once or twice. Man, I just love him so much. This guy is pretty crazy but just so sweet and sincere at times with us. He is really just so committed. He is so far in the Book of Mormon. He asks us almost every time when we are going to give him a baptismal date, but due to various things..., we aren't allowed to give him a date. He has to be coming to church for another three months to be even eligible for baptism. Ha just think about that one...

We went on an exchange on Friday. I went again with Elder Shepard to his area. Weird because he has only been out two transfers and me only three. So it was a super young companionship for the day. Good though because we both got to use a lot of Spanish and the members and investigators slowed down a little to help us. Ha really miracle exchange though. We taught 5 pretty good lessons with two and a half in Spanish. God was definitely given us some help with our knowledge and Spanish ability. Super fun time.

Went and taught N----- and he actually read the BOM on his own last night. First time!

Sh---'s baptism went super well after church on Sunday. The water was a little cold but everything else was good. Still in shock she got baptized. We asked who wanted to baptize her and she just couldn't decide she almost made us do rock paper scissors for it. But me and Elder Brimley talked it out. He hasn't baptized before and he leaves in three transfers, so I felt perfectly okay to let him. While they were changing back into dry clothes, we through on the restoration movie at the baptism. While watching it, I felt the Spirit stronger than I ever have before in my whole life. It was so cool to be part of helping someone find the Gospel, something that will change their eternity... So blessed to be part of it. I love this work with all my heart. The best part is when she said, "I'm a Mormon now!" ha

So last night (Sunday night) was call night for transfers. Guess what? Im gone. Im leaving Perth Amboy... Elder Brimley and I were both pretty set on that I was staying and he was going, because that's how it usually happens with new missionaries. But turns out Im leaving tomorrow... Kinda super sad. I love Perth Amboy with all my heart. Probably some of the greatest memories there. So yeah don't know where I'm going tomorrow but I will let you know. I got one other thing to tell you, I got called to be a district leader last night! Still in shock. Im going to a new area, with a new district and I am in charge of them. Oh man, crazy crazy crazy... I have to give trainings to a group of missionaries who should probably be training me! Ha no a little nervous but hey I trust that this is the right thing. I am going to be relying on the Lord more than ever before. Cant wait!!

Stay sweet family. I love you all. This church is so true. Never been so sure about anything else in my life.

Love you,
Elder Sumsion

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Week 17 Perth Amboy NJ, Week 23 Mission

Jingle with the Jeppsons - in front of the mission home.

What a good week it was for me out here! We had an awesome Christmas party and I got to talk to you all! I felt so blessed to be able to see you and talk to you again. So glad that Skype worked.

 Christmas here was super fun actually, a little bummed I couldn't be home with the family, but hey I have the rest of my life for that. So blessed I can spend two Christmases giving all my time to the Lord. There wasn't much of a buildup to Christmas out here. I remember when we used to get out of school at home and there was nothing to do but focus on Christmas day during break. But here we have been super busy everyday teaching and planning and preparing, that Christmas kind of came super quick. All of the sudden we woke up at 6:30 and soon enough we were opening Christmas Presents. 

Messy Room opening presents
We went over the East Brunswick Chapel on Christmas morning for a big zone party. Two nice families in the English Ward there made us all breakfast. Nice to have a REAL american breakfast for once. Ha. Then we had a secret santa gift exchange. Got a sweet nerf gun. Ha. Then we went to the gym and played some laser-tag!!! One of the ward members had about 20 guns, so we turned off all the lights and moved a bunch of tables and obstacles for protection into the gym and just battled. Way cool Ill send some pictures. Then we went over to the senior couple's house, Elder and Sister Smith, for a Christmas dinner and phone calls home. Funniest thing, the reason there skype wasn't working was because it was version 2.5 or so. So it asked if we wanted to update it and the newest version was version 8!! Ha classic, old people and new technology. Love it.  (I wish I could thank all these people that do these nice things for their local missionaries! THANK YOU!)

 So we have been teaching this man named N_____ for like 4 months. He is just kind of a slow learner and not much desire. We have been working with him because the rest of his family are members and they really want to get sealed. But he is just a little lazy. Comes to church every once in a while. But we have been just trying to build his testimony of the Book of Mormon with him by reading. He seems a little bored all the time and never reads the stuff we give him to read. But this last week we were reading in 1 Nephi 13 where it talks about the bible being changed, and some of the truths distorted. He started asking tons of questions and getting super interested. Cant wait to see what happens next week. The Book of Mormon and the Spirit are the two greatest tools in this work.

Taught Sh___. She is getting ready for her baptism. Being majorly temped the last week with all these parties and drinking. And got in a big fight with her mom. Her testimony is so solid though. She just loves it and keeps telling us she is ready for change and also wants to get out of Jersey. (We keep giving slight hints to move to Utah, Ha). But she is doing great and should be good to go for next week. 

The Gospel really changes people out here... I have seen it so much. It has completely turned Ch___'s (Sh___'s ex-boyfriend) life around. He has gone from an angry gangster to a God fearing man. He is loving the Book of Mormon and is on Alma 30. So pumped. 

 Our new Mission President in July 2014 is Paul and Jane Taggart from SLC, Utah!!!! Crazy stuff right there.

Happy Anniversary mom and dad!!

Love you all,
Elder Sumsion

Thank you all for the many wonderful gifts and letters for Christmas!! I can feel your love in every one of them!
Grandma gave the same tie to all 3
of her grandsons serving missions 

Tie from Grandma - Thank you