Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Clinton NJ Week 16, week 40 mission


Wow we had a busy week! So many things going on out here in Clinton. Its been some good work. It all started off with Elder L Tom Perry Monday which was just so good. Such a powerful man. We did a question and answer session and during his answers he was pretty much quoting Preach my Gospel. Made me realize that Preach my Gospel is just the best of the best. It really is the words of the prophets and the BEST way to do missionary work. This is the Lord's way of doing this work which means it is the easiest and happiest way. 

We found this guy probably about two weeks ago. We were knocking doors and he let us right in when he saw us. His name is Cor--- and he is straight from Newark. Probably like 27 or so. He isn't Hispanic and doesn't speak Spanish but from hearing about his past we decided it probably wasn't the best things to let the sisters teach him. They cover the English over our area, but this guy was pretty hood, so we talked to the sisters and they said we can continue teaching him for a while. He is a cool guy and loves learning about the Gospel. We saw him about three times this past week. He has tons of problems and tons of false beliefs but he is willing to listen. We really got him into the Book of Mormon this past week. He is doing great!

We had zone conference this past week. It is a 7 hour meeting with our zone, the East Brunswick zone, President and Sister Jeppson, and the assistants. We have these about every 3-4 months. It is way fun and super social and also super spiritual. Nice to see my old zone again. Perth Amboy was part of them. We played this super fun game for lunch in the gym. So  we all had a bouncy ball and we put them in this box. And President takes out about 5 bouncy balls. So think musical chairs. Then we all stand in a circle and President Jeppson is in the middle with a box full of bouncy balls. So then he throws the box up (holding onto the box) in a way where these bouncy balls just go everywhere. And from there on, it is a fight to the death. You have to grab a bouncy ball and if you dont get one, you are out. So they take 5 out every round. I made it pretty far about the 5 round or so. Like 10 of us left. At this point it is all these Elders and one sister. And again President throws the balls and it just gets crazy. Just picture all these missionaries (in suit pants and white shirts) just fighting to grab one of these balls. Elders were diving and sprinting across this gym floor. It was so fun and so intense. My companion totally ripped his suit. Luckily he had a good attitude about it. Oh sooooo fun. Love this mission. 

After President gave a super good training on the Atonement and how it is the driving force behind everything we do. Especially our consecration. He went through from the beginning. Went through Adam and the fall and spiritual and physical death and the need for the Atonement to be resurrected and have eternal life. Then we watched this video of some young adults singing and seeing clips from their life when they used the Savior's Atonement. I am pretty sure every single person in that room was crying. The spirit was soooo strong. Then we listened to The MoTAB come though fount... So powerful. My faith grew so much in that meeting.

We did some service on Friday and Saturday for this running race. oh my - Saturday was the longest day of my life. I changed clothes 6 times!!!! We woke up at 5:15 and had to help move a bunch of tables for this running 5k race (think Turkey Trot) then we had to be course marshals to tell people where to go in the race and cheer people on. I figured it was a good chance to just go all out. I was cheering and yelling and encouraging people for 2 hours (it reminded me of cheering people on  in Leadville) So fun. I got so many runners who looked so dead to smile as they ran past. Totally  lost my voice yesterday on Sunday. Ha I could barely talk yesterday in ward council meeting. So fun. But after that we went home changed and went out proselyting. Then came back and I changed into my suit to do a baptismal interview for a lady the sisters were teaching. She passed and was baptized yesterday. Then we went to sports night and played soccer so I changed again. Then somebody needed a blessing after so we changed back into proselyting clothes and then finally came home and planned. Crazy day but so fun.

Service for 5K - made this balloon arch and cheered all day

We found these people from Egypt yesterday and taught them a short lesson! They were actually Christians!!!! We were shocked. They knew so little English but we could communicate. Ha it was pretty funny. We had a Book of Mormon in Spanish, they had a Bible in Arabic, but we were teaching them in English. Trilingual lesson right there. Ha 

Fun week, seeing miracles everyday. Sounds like things are going good at home. I love you all so much!!!! I love this chance to serve out here in the world's best mission. NJMM for life!

Elder Sumsion.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Clinton NJ Week 15, week 39 mission

Such a good week. The sisters in my district had a baptism this last Monday (a week ago) which was a good. It has been since about October when the last one had happened in Clinton. So this was BIG!!!! Ha it went super well. As a district leader I got to interview the man being baptized. His name was Taylor and he was 19 and graduated the same year I did. He had such a strong Spirit in the interview. Soooo prepared. I was amazed. Neither of his parents are members but they both came to the baptism and were pretty supportive. It was a good start to this week.
I got to go on exchange this past week with the Filipino in my district, Elder Ragma. He is the most humble person ever and is so fun to be around. He is still learning English but speaks it super well. He is an awesome teacher too. We taught one of their investigators who was really prepared by the Lord. He works at a gas station by day and a Tattoo artist at night. He has crazy tattoos all up his arms. So at first sight it seems like he is on the wrong page in life, but he is the most sincere guy. Everything he does is for his wife and his 2 year old son. We taught him the Restoration and his wife was secretly listening in the kitchen so we started asking her questions too and she got pretty involved. She said, pointing to the Book of Mormon, " All  I wanted to know is what that book is." So we explained all about the Book of Mormon and how it is the key to knowing that Joseph Smith was a prophet. They are the greatest family and progressing along quite well.
We have been finding tons of new people this last week. So many people just handed to us. I swear in every apartment here there is at least two families or one family and like three other random guys that live there. So whenever we teach an investigator, it is pretty easy to invite their friends into the lesson as well. Last night we taught one of our investigators, Ul---. He had his friend staying with him that day so we invited him to the lesson and really taught to him and his needs. He became super interested in the Book of Mormon which we testified super strongly of. We now have a return appointment with them both this week. So many miracles.
We have been searching everywhere lately for more people to teach! We honestly just walk roads to see if there are any other Spanish areas in our working area. We ask everyone if they know where any people that speak Spanish live and they always refer us to the two places that we already know about and spend most of our time. We street contact the most out of anything to find new people. There are tons more Hispanics out here but its probably like 1 house for every 50 American houses. So door knocking is not super effective. We tried focusing on members a little more. We only have a few members in our area, like 3 families so we don't get a ton of referrals from them. So we street contact a ton!!! Its the best. We just get to walk up to everyone, literally every singly Hispanic and many times Caucasians too. We are working super hard to talk to everyone the lord puts in our path.
Elder L Tom Perry came yesterday to our mission!!!!!! It was so cool to see an Apostle of the Lord as a missionary. He came yesterday at about 1:00 and talked for about an hour of the history of the Priesthood and the importance that we have in now. He talked all about the keys of the Priesthood and about some church in Denmark that has that statue of Christ we have in our our house and how in that church they have statues of the original 12 Apostles and Peter is only keys representing the Priesthood keys. He talked a lot about the importance of the order of the 12. He is 2nd in line after President Packer to be prophet. he is 92 and got called to be an Apostle at 51. Crazy 40 years as an Apostle. He talked a lot about prayer too. The best place to receive revelation is when you are in a quiet place kneeling and praying. He was super funny too and a super tall man. Probably like 6' 6 or something. It was truly a blessing to have him come.
Love you,
Elder Sumsion

Monday, April 14, 2014

Clinton NJ Week 14, week 38 mission

Hellooo Family!!!!

This week has been a great test of faith and diligence. Things from last week still really haven't picked up but we are working our tails off. We were contacting the world this past week. I've pretty much got it in me to contact everyone. I have recontacted probably like 10 people this past week. Hey have you ever seen us missionaries walking around? Um yes you contacted us last week... Ha pretty funny. We mainly focus on contacting people in areas that speak Spanish. But we have really talked to a majority of them. We have been talking to more English American people too and been giving their contact information to the English elders or the English sisters. We are hoping to see blessings from that in the near future. 

When I say we were contacting the world, we really were. There are probably more people in Jersey from outside the United States than people from the United States. We contacted a Indian person, a Italian person, a bunch from Guatemala, Oaxaca Mexico, Dominican, and honderanean. And  few from El Salvador and Nicaragua and costa Rica. Egypt a few weeks ago. A Colombian woman. Ha Jersey has them all. I even contacted a guy named Yang when I was on exchange with our zone leaders. This guy was from China and had no idea about God. So its been a nice mix. The funniest/hardest part is the accents. Dominicans speak a different Spanish than Mexicans do- that's for sure. Its hard to get your brain to switch sometimes. We teach mainly Guatemalans here but occasionally we talk to some Domincans. The first probably 2 minutes are so confusing then the accent sinks in again and they become super clear. They all have their crazy slang too. So many words just don't make sense in some countries. Some normal Mexican words are straight swear words in other countries. We have to watch our tongues for sure. Its a blast though.

We went on exchange this week, as I mentioned, with the zone leaders. It was so fun. I went with our zone leader named Elder Thompson.  Super quiet but very smart and diligent. He is such a solid leader. He has like no competitive/comparative genes in him. Very focused. We taught this guy named S---.  He was from China too I think. He didn't know much about God and his main concern was why do we need to learn about God from the scriptures? Why doesn't God just tell us? We bore some pretty powerful testimony of God and the importance of the scriptures and really the importance of showing faith. We need to have faith and read the scriptures to know more about God.

Okay best decision ever: Last week we started a new Branch sports night. Which pretty much just means an hour and a half of soccer with of bunch of Hispanics. We played in this park in Boundbrook where there are just tons of Hispanics outside walking around. We would call out to everybody and ask them if they wanted to come play soccer with us. Pretty much every one said yes. We had a good game. Nice to get some solid exercise like that. So soccer was pretty much heaven.  We found a few people from it and even found a random less active that just moved into the branch. 

Last night was pretty hard for us. We had 5 lessons set and we got juked (they weren't there when we went) on all 5 of them!!!! Ha we were just thinking- no way that just happened.... Ha but luckily this one Dominican family that are old investigators( weren't progressing) let us in and fed us a dish called Mongu. Look it up. Its delicious. But then after we ate we asked them if we could share a message about PRAYER in the BIBLE.  Yeah they just said no. So pretty sad. I was heartbroken. That was probably the most conservative lesson we could have offered. But we have been working hard even though things have been super slow. We know miracles are coming. We are all in. We are giving everything we got. 

Nice job Sam getting that unbeatable record in Tennis this year. Thats legit. Hope it was a fun season. Crazy there is only two more months of school! Love you brother. I miss you tons. Keep being that awesome example that you are to me. 

With love,

Elder Sumsion

Monday, April 7, 2014

Clinton - Week 13, Week 37 mission


Hope you enjoyed General Conference. I learned so much. Watching General Conference as a missionary is just so different. We spend 6 months talking and teaching about prophets and how they always teach and testify of Christ and then when the time comes around we get to go see our actual living prophet speak to us all in this day. It is a blessing to me. It is truly 10 hours of constant revelation for my investigators and myself. I loved Elder Oaks talk in Priesthood about Priesthood keys and Priesthood authority. He explained a lot. I also enjoyed Elder Ballard's talk about following-up on things. He was just saying everything right out of Preach My Gospel in the follow-up section. I was impressed on how well he knows it but then I realized he probably wrote that part. Ha. Super spiritual Conference though. A lot about trusting in God through hard times. I think that relates to pretty much all of us. I guess revelation works pretty well... ha

We have had a solid week but we did had to drop quite a bit of our investigators earlier this week because we were not able to see them and they really weren't progressing. It is a hard thing to do to drop a real person from our teaching pool but we just have to do it at times in order to use our time to find other people who God is preparing. Well after we did that we hit about rock bottom. We were struggling to find ANYBODY to teach. We knew almost every Hispanic in this town. We were at a serious low for the first five days of this week. God was truly testing our faith to see if we would hold true. Its tough when your hands are freezing and the wind is blowing and nobody lets you in. But there is a quote which I kept thinking of a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His spiritual trainer who had coached him through the years was getting mad at him for turning the protestants against the Catholics. Responding to his spiritual leader, he said,"You wanted me to change the world. Did you expect there would be no cost?" How right he is. Just like Elder Drew Harris said that there really is opposition to all growth. Tough time but we saw miracles this past weekend.

After conference on Saturday we went by and tried this potential's house named Re---. She let us in and we taught a awesome lesson to her about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She was super interested and asking tons of questions. She has a whole family we are going to teach this upcoming week. Truly was a miracle. 

Then yesterday we were contacting over on Main Street Flemington and we ran into this guy named He---. It was a pretty normal contact but then he got super interested at whatever we said and he asked if he could get a ride to church and give us his phone number. He was interested in learning more! He also showed us where a bunch more people lived that we are going to try this next week. We also tried contacting this guy yesterday who turned out to be one of our less actives we had been trying to see for the past 3 months! I had never seen him before but he knew exactly who we were. I don't know what he would have thought if we had just passed him by. 

Then last night we knocked on this man's door named An---. He immediately let us in and put up two chairs and let us teach him and his wife and his wife's brother. We were just shocked. It has been a long week of rejection, and it was such a tender mercy that he let us in. He also has a bunch of children we can teach of well. God truly lead us to a prepared family! We are so grateful.

Today we got to do a service project for some members named the Ponds. This guy, Brother Pond, is awesome. For service we were basically filling in these grass holes that surrounded this airport runway for his plane that was pretty much in his back yard. It was awesome. There were these big planes just everywhere. They are the nicest people, and he showed us his plane that was in his hanger. So legit. It was fascinating. Afterwards we were eating lunch and I happened to walk past their fridge which had a picture there family in front of this old white barn that looked super familiar. I said hey I know where that is! Thats right by my house. Ha nice to see the white barn again. 

Well off to another great week ahead of us. 

Love you,

Elder Sumsion

Elder Ragma (one of the final four) and Elder Sumsion ping pong tourney

I played the winner first and lost.