Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Short Hills Week 2, week 44 Mission

Wow pretty solid week this past week. We had some fun and did some work out here. So for the first 10 months of my mission I truly believed that there was no limit to hard work. The harder I work, the happier I will be? right? Ha I think I worked myself out. I got super sick this past weekend from Saturday until yesterday. At the start of my mission I made a goal to not waste any time on my mission sleeping EVER. Just get to bed on time and wake up on time and things will work out. NO NAPS.  But all this work finally added up on me and I was knocked out cold on P-day for a about a two hour nap. I was pretty sick and had a super bad headache. I needed a rest. It worked out though and I am feeling a lot better today. We even went to buy medicine. As we were there we were trying to figure out which one to get we both realized we had never bought medicine before. It was always just provided at home. (Ha thanks mom and dad). Pretty funny. It was the sickest I have been on my mission, but things are a lot better. Lots of prayer and faith. Thank you for praying for me!

Memorial day was on our P-day so things worked out pretty well. We had a huge ward party with our Branch and the Short Hills ward at this big park. We played frisbee, soccer, softball, and volleyball. There was tons and tons of food. I didn't eat much cause I was feeling pretty sick. The whole time there was pretty much a constant water-fight. All the little kids had squirt guns and water balloons. They got all the missionaries pretty good. I was super wet but it felt good because it was like 90 degrees. It was just a super fun party. Everyone was so nice and social. We had a pretty good turnout from the Spanish Branch. I think a lot of them had to work still, even on a holiday. Kind of sad, but that's life in Jersey. 

So this week I got to do a baptismal interview for on the the investigators the sisters were teaching named Ja---. He was so prepared to be baptized!!! The sisters found him about a month ago and he got baptized this last Sunday. Man, he is so prepared and loves going to church. He is super funny too. Rretty quiet but he always is laughing or joking around. Especially with us missionaries. He got baptized this last Sunday and it was so special. Practically the whole branch was there. All 35 of us. So special though.

We have been working hard with this one family in our area. The father Ru--- just got baptized and the rest of his family are non members but they have so much potential. They are a little shy around us but we are working with them. We are trying to help Ru--- share the gospel with his family, rather than having it come purely from us. So we decided to do a Family home evening with them tonight. So we are excited to teach the rest of his family. They are prepared, we just need the Spirit there and things will click. Such a blessing.

We are teaching this one family named the Ro---s.  They are from Ecuador (shoutout to Brett) and just the coolest family. They have been investigating the church for a while and one son really wants the get baptized but the parents are a little hesitant. They said last week that they have been doubting whether this church was true or not. It was crazy how fast the Spirit told me to talk about the Book of Mormon with them. That is where the testimony can begin. So last night we had a super powerful Restoration lesson with them and focused it all on the Book of Mormon at the end. We read with them in the Introduction and invited them to read and pray about it. They all committed to. We are so excited to see how it goes. Christ is the center of our work. It is the center of all we do. The Book of Mormon testifies of Christ and those that read it and pray sincerely about if it is true WILL always receive an answer from God manifesting the truthfulness unto them. I have such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon. I love that book with all my heart. Anyone who hasn't read it and prayed about if it is true or not must do it! It is the start of a testimony in Jesus Christ. 

Thank you for the two packages you sent the last few weeks!! Miracle. Love the goldfish!! and the iPod is PERECT!! Thank you for taking the time to do that. Hope it wasn't too stressful. I have realized how much I love music. SO this is a big blessing. Thank you

We also just got news that Eli Manning (NFL) moved in down the street from us. 

Love you all.  Things are good,
Elder Sumsion

Elder Lundquist and I at our beautiful apartment.  HE IS A GIANT.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Short Hills Week 1, Week 43 Mission

Hola Familia!!!!!

Let me first start out by saying that I am in heaven!!!! I love this place so much. I got transferred to Short Hills, New Jersey. I don't even know why I am so blessed to be here. Wow, where do I start! This place is so amazing. The first big change I am noticing is that there are people here!!!! I haven't seen this many people in a few months. There are houses and people everywhere. There is still a lot of trees and parks, but nothing like Clinton. Clinton was farm-town tiny. I'm not used to being around so many people all the time. Its so fun. So yes Short Hills is pretty much the good near the hood. We are in a super nice part of Jersey. There are some nice houses and its a super clean city. And about 20 minutes away is Maplewood and Irvington and Newark, which is just straight hood. So we get a nice part of Jersey but still lots of people. I love it. We are in the Spanish Branch which is even smaller than my old Branch. There is probably like 30 active members. I love these branches. They are small but big enough to be super functional. This branch is sooooo focused on missionary work too. They come out with us to lessons and love having us over. We are trying to work more with them to teach some of there friends.

Tons of Hispanics as well!!! We have this little area which we call Zona Hispana, which has a bunch of good investigators and potential. Okay get this though. This is crazy... I am in another 4-man apartment!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You should have seen my face when I heard I was going to a four man apartment!!!! SO pumped. Its crazy the chances of that. There are over 120 companionships which means about 120 apartments minus the four-man apartments. And there are only 4 or 5 four man apartments left in the mission. So of those 4-5 I have been in 2 of them!!! Ha its the best. Just watch the "Best 2 Years" to get an idea. The cool part is that we are all super focused and super hard working and very obedient. So the work is super good here. But we do have fun talking and laughing at night after planning and during lunch. It is sooo fun. Being a missionary is the best decision ever. Everyday is a blast.

My companion's name is Elder Lundquist. He is the man!! He just finished being trained so this is his 3rd transfer in the field. Ha So this is my third young companion. I love it. Its fun to see the growth and how they rely on the Spirit to offset weaknesses. I think that's a problem with a lot of older missionaries. They start to get good. Good teachers. Good at Spanish. Good at leading. Good at talking to people. I think a lot of missionaries start to rely on their own skills instead of the Spirit. So I love being with the new missionaries to see how they try so hard and the Spirit really does cover the rest. I can learn a lot from them. So Elder Lundquist is from Payson, Utah and is the same age as me. Both graduated in 2013. He is so fun to be around. He is happy and positive, and he has no fear in missionary work. He just loves to do it despite the challenges or the lack of skills. We have so much fun together. We are laughing all the time throughout the day. We have the same kind of humor. We are getting along super well. And he is obedient!!! which makes all the difference.

So our are is doing good. We have 4 people on date right now. I have met most of the investigators and this area has a lot of potential. There are a few part-member families, and a bunch of families that we could teach. We are working hard to get people to church and make sure they stick to baptism. There is this one recent convert named Ruben and he is so awesome. He is super active and learns from the scriptures so well. His family is now starting to listen and learn as well. I am so excited to teach them and help them progress towards baptism and the temple. This other investigator, Oliver, is 17 and we are really working with him to get baptized. He has a girlfriend in Austria and she doesn't want him to get baptized. So we are teaching him tonight and helping him see how God's way is the right way. We also taught this member, Hermana Alverado, and she is starting to come to church again. She talked to her boss to change her hours and not work during church. Ha I swear, work is the biggest obstacle for Hispanics to be baptized. They work like crazy. 

I am loving this area. Thank you for the package. Loved it. And the beef Jerky. Its nice to be back in an area where we see success ha and people!!!! 

Still District leader as well. Loving the chance to serve. Its becoming so fun to be district leader.

Love you,
Elder Sumsion

Our friend who ran into him while visiting her daughter in the Short Hills ward.  She texted me this picture.

Bedroom of Short Hills - 4 man apartment!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Clinton Week 18, leaving Clinton

(We got to skype for one hour yesterday!  It was so fun!) 

Hola Familia!!!!

Transfer text came in this morning and.... Im out! Goodbye to Clinton... And hello hood... Ha no I'm messing. But yes I am getting transferred tomorrow!!! Its pretty crazy, but I'm pretty chill about it. I've learned so much in this area. The knowledge I have learned here has changed my mission and changed my life. I will be forever grateful for my time in Clinton. I will always remember this place. Im staying district leader as well. And maybe follow-up training... which means I'll have an Elder one transfer fresh. But not sure. We will find it out tomorrow. I will let you know next week. Crazy...

So this past week we contacted people from Paraguay, Vietnam, Czech Republic, and Ireland. This guy yesterday was from India. He couldn't speak a lick of English. Ha we just communicated through the Spirit I think. It was a very foreign finding week. We also tried this new part of our area, Hampton, which we went into thinking that might have appeared some new Hispanic people, but we didn't find any new Hispanic people. Ha didn't even see one. But we did find some cool people that have some potential that we gave to the English Elders. We have a good system. When we contact English people we give the English Elders the referral, and when they know where the Spanish people are that they tried to contact, they give their names to us. 

So this soccer night every Saturday is working so well! We found a few less-actives and some sweet new investigators. They all live in the Sister's area but we don't care. We are just glad to be helping anyone come unto Christ and be saved. We sort of have two districts right now. We have our Clinton district, but then we spend so much time working in the other branch with our branch mission leader and 3 Sisters that they feel like our district too. Our ward mission leader is one of my favorite people I have met on my mission. He was less active until he was about 23 then he decided to come back to church after he met an x-missionary on the bus who invited him to watch conference again. He came back to church and went on a mission at 26, and he just got back like 2 months ago to be our ward mission leader. He taught me something great yesterday. He said that missionaries worry way to much. They are always thinking about what they aren't doing right and what they should be doing instead. He said don't let those thoughts affect you. Be your best and take one thing at a time. Yes keep seeking to improve, but be proud of what you are already doing, because God is proud of everything you are already doing that is right. It helped me a lot.

I will miss a lot of things from this area. It is unique in every way and there is no other area in the mission like it. I will definitely miss the beauty of things here. We are in farm town right now. I have never seen so much green in my life. Plants everywhere and super humid dense air.  To me, this place feels like Hawaii. There is not too many other places in Jersey that are like this. The rest of Jersey is filled with buildings, roads, and people. Definitely will miss the new branch that we helped start as well.  We had a mother's day party (linger longer after church) there yesterday and I just remember sitting back and thinking how much I love these people. I expect to come back and see this place as a stake center! 

My companion is doing good. He is excited to lead this area when Im gone. Wow, Have I grown to love him through the past few months.  I have learned a lot about love and why its so important to love everyone. You never know what some people have been through in their lives. Sometimes people just need a real friend for once. And we have become good friends. 

You are the best family in the world. I love you all so much. So glad to be able to talk to you and feel your love and happiness. Keep it up family!!!

Hablamos la poxima semana,
love you,
Elder Sumsion

Neighborhood Soccer Saturday night in Clinton

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Clinton Week 17, week 41 mission - Spring time!!!

Que pasa familia,

Pretty solid week out here. A few weeks ago we were pretty low as far as numbers and investigators go but recently we have learned some new tactics and things are starting to pick up. We have had some great trainings and a lot more of just trial and error. We are figuring out what works and what doesn't. I have definitely learned somethings that will be of great use the rest of my mission. Things are starting to flow. I have learned so much about talking to people the last 4 months, its been crazy. People will not want to hear about the Gospel until you address their needs!!! That statement has changed so many people out here, especially me and the way I teach. 

Elder Class and I are doing good. We are already on week 12 of the 12 week training program!!!! So crazy how fast (and slow at times) time flies! Ha we are doing good. I think its been a little tough for him because I am younger than him. He is 20 and been through college life and he is practically married. And he doesn't think I know a whole lot about all this gospel stuff, but I dooo.....  -Ha go watch Nacho Libre if you didn't catch that joke. But we are working through stuff no worries. Definitely taught me how to communicate better! I love him and we have grown a lot from each other. 

Oh my!! Spring is here!!!!!!!!!!!! It is like heavenly weather. 68 to 72 all day with the sun shining and we are in probably the most beautiful part of the mission. Clinton is pretty much a farm town. A few weeks ago I noticed how much grass there was everywhere. I was thinking: who takes care of all this grass? My companion pointed out that it was all natural and nobody takes care of it. Ha okay that does not happen in Utah. Maybe sage brush but no natural grass!! This place is beautiful. Just miles of green trees and green fields and deer everywhere. Its like the coolest thing. Did I tell you a guy, married to a less active in the Clinton English Ward,  a few weeks ago gave us a bunch of venison deer meat? Ha he is a hunter and so we got a bunch of meat from him. I love being a missionary and spreading the gospel everyday and meeting all these cool people. Welcome to the good life!

So we have been teaching this guy named Co---. I think I mentioned him last week. He is the one from Newark. So we brought him to church yesterday. Well, he went to the English ward so he went with the other English Elders, but he went to church!!!! I haven't seen a single person (investigator) come to church since I have been here. He was English but hey he came!! Ha we will be giving him to the English Sisters soon enough to work with him once he progresses more to baptism. He has a lot of problems from living in the "hood" but we will get those worked out in no time. He is the best.

.......You have no idea how much that means to me and all the stuff you have taught me. Especially the teachings of Jesus Christ. I have seen here on my mission what a home is like without the Gospel and I will be ever grateful for loving parents who follow what the Prophets and what Jesus Christ say. That is the key to happiness. A home centered on the Gospel. I know that more than anything. 

I love you, I will talk to you on Sunday!!!!!!
Elder Sumsion


Andrus- thank you for that sweet letter to me talking about your mission experiences! That was very kind of you!

Donahoos- Love you so much! Thank you for the big box of Easter candy!!! Happy to hear Connor is doing work out there.

Oh and Congrats to Lauren for Trevor coming home! 

Our Apartment

Our Sweet Ride

Awesome convert in Clinton Spanish Branch