Monday, June 30, 2014

Short Hills Week 7 - New companion, New Mission President

Wow this last week has been crazy! Thank you for all the prayers and support! I am doing good. We had transfers on Tuesday and I got a new companion, named Elder Lopez. He is originally from Oaxaca, Mexico but moved to Pennsylvania when he was 11. He is such a awesome missionary. He is on his third transfer, just got done being trained by one of the ex-assistants so he knows his stuff. I have already learned a lot from him. We get along super well though. We are pretty quite but we have been laughing a lot together as well. He knows perfect Spanish so I have been able to ask him tons of questions that I have been building up the past 11 months. Its really helping me. I think Heavenly Father gave me this transfer just to learn Spanish and improve my teaching even more. Its been a blessing.

Yes, the 4 man is now a two man! Pretty sad move but we are holding down the fort well together. Its a massive apartment for us two. Its three stories. We have a "weight room" below, a kitchen and a big room where we sleep, then two study rooms and a bathroom upstairs. We are actually getting a new apartment in a few days though. We checked it out and it looks sweet.

We taught one of our investigators named Vi---. He is such a humble guy and always seeking the truth. We teach him just on his front steps and we invited him to church this past week but it was a no-show. We have been committing him to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. We have invited him to be baptized a few times, but he is still "thinking about it." Its all good though.

We got to do some service for one of the sister's half investigators. She was German. We had to sand her deck down, just me and Elder Lopez. It took us a good four hours in the sun. We even had those big machines too. It was way fun though. She invited us in for some lunch and she made us a bunch of German food. We went in and she just started railing on us for about a half hour about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. I don't think we said one word for a half hour. She was just going off. I looked at Elder Lopez a few times and I could just tell he was thinking the same thing I was thinking: -Crazy lady, we aren't backing down from what we know to be true, so don't try to tell us all your false ideas. If you want we can share what we know, if not we are going to get back to work-  So it was pretty nuts. We tried our best to help her but she was pretty set on her ways. Sad stuff, but we did laugh about it later. You can't force anyone, Only invite.

We taught this lesson last night to one of our member families. They are Peruvian and they invited two other ward members to come to dinner. All Peruvian. And all talking about the world cup. Man, all my Spanish was out the window. Ha I have never heard so much slang and heard such fast Peruvian Spanish it was nuts. Elder Lopez and I have really started to work with members and inviting them to do missionary work. Elder Lopez really opened my eyes from something his trainer, Elder Carballo, said. He said, talking to member, "If you don't know anyone prepared then prepare someone!" Such a true concept. I feel like when we think about people we know, nobody just really jumps out as being "prepared." But we can prepare people by doing simple things. It has been helping the missionary work grow here.

Haven't heard  anything about President and Sister Taggart being here, I hope they made it... Nah just kidding, but seriously...

Crazy Chloe is at half way! Mindblown!!!!  (Ben's sister on her mission is half way)

Things are going good.
Love you,

Elder Sumsion


Mom- Thank you for sending letters every week in the mail. They are a miracle at times. I love hearing about how everything is doing. I know its a lot of work but thank you.

The Barbers- Loved the quotes you sent from General Conference. We have plans to stick those up around new apartment.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Short Hills Week 6, Week 48 Mission

Hola Familia,
Hope things are going great at home and that dad is recovering well. I have been praying a lot for you all. I loved the pictures today with Alexis and Frank home!!!! So good to see them there. I knew you missed having them home. I got to see them flying overhead this past week. Ha its nice to see them at home. 
So I was fairly certain that Elder Lundquist and I would stay together for another transfer in Short Hills, but we got transfer texts this morning and we found out that he is leaving so I will be getting a new companion tomorrow at transfer conference. Im excited but I really wanted to stay with him and work hard and have fun together like we have been doing, but the scripture keeps ringing in my head, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." So I have been having faith I will get somebody hard working and obedient and that it is for the best. Change is good. Elder Lundquist is leaving and we have been told that our apartment is turning into a two man again tomorrow. So the other Elders are out. So it will be an interesting transfer coming up.
I also got a call being released from district leader last night, which is typical. It has been 4 transfers and about 6 months, and usually district leaders don't get much more than 4 in a row in this mission. I was super not expecting it though. I am actually pretty sad about it. I loved being a district leader and being involved with other missionaries and helping them reach their potential. So it will be a big change but I know its from the Lord. We will see where this next transfer takes me. Ready for it.
We got to visit the New York City temple on Tuesday. It was so fun and yes I did get to see the new temple video. Man, it almost brought me to tears. SO GOOD. I loved it. The whole trip was fun but so crazy. Just the transportation is so nuts. We drove to Newark, took a train to a big station in Newark. Then switched trains to cross the river and enter New York to Penn station, then took a train to the temple. So crazy. We actually got lost on the way back. Super funny we all (our zone) got onto one train then realized we needed tickets, but the train was just about to leave. So we all just ran down the aisles of the train and rushed out in probably 5 seconds right when the train was about to go. It was so funny. Just imagine 22 missionaries running through a train and all getting off in a few seconds. But the temple was such a blessing. I just loved going again. I just can't describe the peace I feel there. Just everything is going to be ok. I love it. 
Its been crazy. One of the Elders in our apartment in going home on Wednesday to complete his 2 years. So we have had to rush him to the mission home a few times this past week for interviews and meetings. IT has been fun to be around him and to learn from him. Elder Gossner is his companion and he is a very spiritual missionary and very solemn. It will be sad to see them both go. Their area is getting combined with a sister area so this sisters will take over their investigators. So they are leaving and it will just be two of us in the apartment.
President and SIster Jeppson are leaving on Friday and the Taggarts come in that morning. Big change. This whole mission is changing. But its for the best. Its sad to see them go but I am excited to have this change. Wow change is tough but its the only way we progress. I have learned that a lot out here. 
Things are good and they will continue to be good if we are faithful. I love that promise.
Hope the family is doing well together and Sam loved EFY. I miss him.
I love you all,
Elder Sumsion

NYC Temple


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Short Hills Week 5, Week 47 Mission

Hola Familia!    June 16, 2014

(Dad got in a road bike accident and broke his leg and has a nail and screws holding him together...)

WOOOHOOO!!!  Dad you are a stud! So good to hear that everything is alright!!!!! That sounds nuts. Crazy weekend! Way to stick it out! So glad you are alright. That is some intense hardware you have in you now. The pictures look are pretty sweet and I have to say that is quite the crack through your bone. Wow what a blessing from the Lord. I know that the Lord really does watch over us and protect us. Get better soon. How long is the recovery for that? That is pretty cool though. At least you're having fun!

So, I went on exchange this last week with my zone leader, Elder Augustine. It was so fun. We go home together and we graduated the same year as well. I swear I must have played him in a few soccer games. His parents are from Haiti and he is black and he has a twin brother and they both played soccer for the Rangers. Definitely one of those tournaments. I must have played him. But we had so fun together. He sees things differently that any other missionary I have met. He is very independent and a very good leader. He taught me a lot about being my own kind of missionary and not following the flow of missionaries just because it seems right. Each missionary has their own talents and abilities and teaches in their own unique way. I learned a lot about being a leader from him and being confident in decision making. We were working hard and just laughing all the time together. We got along super well. One of my mission changing experiences though.

We had our summer all mission conference this past week on Friday. So much fun. I will send some pictures. Basically the whole mission got together to play summer games and have fun for a few hours. It rained super hard that day so they had to move the whole thing inside into the Morristown chapel. So fun though. We played a bunch of sports/games and ate food and I got to see a few missionaries I haven't seen in forever. I absolutely love this mission. We were all laughing and having so much fun. Its cool to be around a bunch of people who are so focused on the Lord and just happy  and laughing. At the end, President and Sister Jeppson basically gave their farewell talks from the mission. Sister Jeppson sang a bunch of her little songs and President Jeppson basically told us about his whole life and why our mission's vision is TRUST. He has had a crazy life. His brother passed away when he was in high school. Then his father a few months later. Then the day before he went on his mission, he found a growth in his leg and his left leg had to get amputated. (He had a fake leg if you didn't know). Then one of his sons passed away about 20 years ago. He talked all about trust. I think we were pretty much all crying. It was one of the most powerful meetings I have ever been in. President Jeppson is one of the most inspiring, dedicated people I have ever met. I love them both!

We got to do tons of service the past week. Basically a bunch of yard work. I loved it. I absolutely love doing stuff like that in the morning. I think it should be part of our morning schedule everyday. Study then do some service before starting to proselyte. That would be heaven. Never loved it so much before.

We met this guy on the street yesterday named Ismael. We ended up teaching him a lesson. He said that he has seen the missionaries all the time but never had the chance to talk to them. He has been trying to get closer to God recently but felt super bad for some past mistakes so he felt like he was pretty stuck. We helped him see that through Christ he can be forgiven and that all he needs to do is to live the Gospel. We gave him a Book of Mormon as well. It was a miracle to find him. Super prepared. He lives in Irvington, which isn't our area but we are contacting the missionaries there for him. Such a blessing!

We are headed to NYC as a zone tomorrow for our semi-annual Temple Trip! Can't believe its been 6 months since the last time I went. So pumped though. My companion has never been there so I am pumped to go with him. Hopefully (finger crossed) that we will get to see the new video! Ha still haven't seen it.

This place is going ballistic over the world cup. Ha we have our Costa Rican fans, Mexican fans, Chilean fans, and Columbian fans. Its pretty fun. bummer to hear Spain got shredded. I'm still all for USA!!!!

Dad, thank you for being such a great example and leader to our family. Thank you for being so fun and adventurous to the point where you broke your pelvis and upper leg. I hope you get better soon. I will be praying for you! I love our family. Thank you mom as well for the help and love and support out here. You mean the world to me.

Pumped to see Alexis coming home. And Sam going to EFY!

Love you,
Elder Sumsion

This is our flag. ZONE 7 Im trying to find a good one of our zone but I don't have any.  

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Short Hills Week 4, Week 46 Mission

Hello family!!!

This week was so great. I swear the time is just flying by. This has been the fastest few weeks of my entire mission. Probably because we are so busy. And I have been pretty busy with district leader stuff. I have been at it for a while now so I am trying to be the best district leader I can. Its taking a lot of time and calls, but I love it. So busy all day, everyday!

We had interviews this last week with President. They were super good. I always just walk away from the interviews feeling pumped and ready to tackle any problem. So crazy that he is leaving soon. He is such a good leader for this mission. We all look up to him and his wife so much. But, we are all preparing and so pumped for the Taggarts  (New Mission Presidents) to come though! The whole mission has been praying for them. They are going to be great!! Its only a few weeks away.

We saw Ru--- again this past week. He is doing great. He gave a talk this last week in church about his baptismal experience and his temple trip. (He was baptized in April) We helped him write it and he did such a good job. We are trying to help him see how he can bless his family with the Gospel and help them progress to baptism. he wants them to be baptized and go to the temple with them someday, but he is still a little timid about talking to his family but that's alright we are taking things into our own hands a little. We are trying to see the wife more often and the daughters as well. Things are looking good!

I went on an exchange with one of the missionaries in my district named Elder Call. He only has about 2 weeks left on his mission so it was fun to help him learn and grow his final few months but also super fun to hear about all the things he learned on his mission. I learned a ton from him. Their area is pretty tough. Not the most humble people. The houses we were knocking were pretty much mansions. A lot of people think they already have it all. Its pretty sad but we do our best to invite them to experience even more blessings in their lives. They only teach a few lessons every week and only have one investigators right now. So I have been trying to figure out the best way to help them. The area is kind of like the boss level of the mission. A lot of the best missionaries, like Elder Call, have served their final 1-2 transfers there to try to figure out how to tackle it. It was tough but we are working on a way.

We found this super prepared person named Sa--- this past week. She was just sitting on the steps of her house and we just started talking to her. We asked if we could teach her a little and she accepted. Super awesome and from Costa Rica. We were super direct and real with her and she ended up feeling the Spirit very strong and was crying and after we talked about the Book of Mormon, she told us she would read it and we could come back next week. We are pumped to see her again. So grateful for experiences like that in the mission. They are rare, and I will always remember them.

We had a Noche de Hogar yesterday with our branch at one of our member's houses. It was so much fun. They were grillin' up tons of Hispanic meat and platanos. It was delicious. Then Sister Alv--- shared a message about love. She is solid.  We met with her on Saturday and she told us all about the things she is going through. She is the only member of her family and her husband works all the time and doesn't help around the home with chores or teaching the kids. So she has 6 kids all under 17 and its been hard for her. Two of her teenage kids are in that dumb "teenage mode" where they say they don't care about the family and all the things their mom does and doesn't help out and only thinks about themselves and everything is just dumb to them. Man, I was about to throw down on them. "In two years from now your going to appreciate and realize everything your mom and dad did for you wish you never said that...So start caring about them now!!!" Ha I didn't say that but I thought it.

Loving everything out here. This is heaven out here.

A few answers to some questions: Yes we have a car, but we try to walk around a lot. Our area goes from Summit to Union to West Orange to Livingston if you want to check out a map. Yes we play soccer every Friday, but lately its been canceled. Not playing tennis. We found some paddle/pickle? ball courts like 3 minutes from our house. Never seen one before. We may try it out. Don't need any supplies for it though. We are going to ask around.

Woohoo School is out!!!!! Hope you are loving it Sam!!

Love you,
Elder Sumsion


Bishop and Rose Gay- Thank you for the sweet package you sent me this past week. I loved the letter you wrote as well. I am so grateful for all the love I feel from you and all the help from you in the Park City Ward.

The Peers- Loved all the treats you send me. Thanks also for the gift cards as well. Those will be used for the good out here. Thank you! Hope you family is doing great! Jenna, one more year of high school!


The zone leader and us three district leaders. We all graduate
d in 2013 and all under a year in the mission. We are all pretty much going home together.