Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Jersey City - Week 3 - "Done with Food"

Hello family!

Things are going good! Jersey City and being with Elder Drewes is such a great experience. This week was hectic. Just lots of running around and all. I love being a zone leader. We have the best zone in the world, hardly any problems. Just lots of solid missionaries that make our life easy as zone leaders. Ha Well I will give you a rundown of the week.

On Monday we went and saw this new recent convert family. Iran is the mom, Kelvin and Ivan are two sons and Jennifer the daughter. No dad, but just the most solid family in the Gospel. I just love them. I feel like I've known them my whole life. We are laughing all the time when we go and visit them. On Monday they fed us Baleadas. Some super good, super dense Honduras food. I was stuffed to the max. Its basically a thick tortilla with crème, cheese, beans, and avocados. Super heavy stuff. I ate two and was super full. Then they fed us even more. Some dessert and horchata. Love them. Just such a solid family in the Gospel.

I went on exchange to Bayonne with one of our zone members, Elder Winfield. Awesome missionary. Super funny and always cracking jokes. We taught this Egyptian named Helmi who understand basic English. So we had to teach super simple and check for understanding a lot. It was a neat lesson with him. He has a desire to learn more. Then his son walked in and we started teaching him. He wanted to bash a lot but we handled it well and answered some questions and then pointed him to the Book of Mormon. He took one and a Restoration pamphlet. We were happy that we were able to shut down the argument quickly.

On Wednesday Elder Drewes felt pretty sick. A member took us with hmo Ampudia to this restaurant called Noches de Columbia and order just tons of food for us. We started off with hot chocolate and bread. Which was delicious. Then they brought out tons of Empanadas. Then I did my best to tackle this local plate with tons of rice and meat. I got pretty far through it and just kept shoveling food down. I finished most of it but could not put down the rest of the Chicharon. Which is pretty much pig skin/fat. Oh I was like shaking. Super good but towards the end I was so sick and full. Probably the most full I've ever been. Then later that day another member fed us mashed potatoes and ribs. ha I have never disliked food so much in my life. I put all the food down though to show respect. I ended up throwing up like 90% of it at 12:30 that night. Ha it was terrible. But after it was all out I was laughing like "No way that just happened." Ha pretty funny.

We had Stake Conference yesterday. Some good talks about hastening the work. They talked about missionaries being full time teachers and members being full time finders. It was really interesting and reminded me of stake conference at home. Its interesting that anywhere you go the church still has the same good feeling to it. I saw Lauren Johnson and her Husband there. I guess they are living in Hoboken. It was fun to talk and catch up with them.

The cops are onto us out here. Ha Elder Drewes has like $200 of tickets and fees that we are trying to lower. The cops and parking police are a nightmare out here. We got a ticket for obstructing traffic (We didn't do anything. Just threw our hazards on and ran into a check store for honestly 5 minutes so Elder Drewes could pay off a different ticket. ) but we got summoned to court for the 9th of September. Sometimes I feel like the world's on my shoulders...

So awesome that Sam finished up his Eagle scout and even cooler that he was made a Priest to prepare and help with the Sacrament. So happy for him. So happy to hear that things are good. I am so grateful for such a good life.

Love you,
Elder Sumsion

More food

Baptism!!!! - He was happy I promise!

Me and Lexi (sister in NYC)

Exchange with Pres. Taggart, Elder Drewes

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Jersey City Week 2, Week 56 of mission

Hola Familia,

Sounds like things were super fun and happy at the wedding (cousin Lauren in CA) this past week. Props to  Lauren and Trevor. That's awesome. Glad to hear that almost the whole Montgomery side was there, except a few others and a few missionaries. But don't worry. We are livin' a good life out here!

This week was so good. Things are finally starting to settle down and set in. I finally got over the fact I'm in the middle of a giant city, well maybe not entirely- this place is crazy, but it is feeling a lot better. I feel so blessed to be here. Its so fun being surrounded by all these people. I have had a ton of people just stop us in the street to talk about the Mormons. Some a little drunk or so and others just asking real, sincere questions. You never know what you will get. Zone Leader responsibilities are settling in too. I love being able to help all these missionaries in the zone. We had an awesome 2 1/2 hour zone meeting on Tuesday.  We ran the whole thing, and gave some trainings and had the sister training leaders give trainings and one other missionary. Then some role plays!! So good. We have tons of new missionaries in the zone who are tearing it up.

So guess what! We had a real baptism yesterday! So sweet. This guys name is Al--- from El Salvador. Super spiritual guy. Right when he stepped into the water he bowed his head and said a personal prayer for about a minute. So touching. It all went well and President Taggart came. It was super spiritual. Elder Drewes and the other missionaries before had been teaching him for 7 months and so I kind of just walked into it.  I really only had the chance to teach him once or so. Great guy though. So nice to see a real baptism again. We will be teaching in the follow-up lessons this week.

This week we were able to go on exchange with President Taggart on Wednesday. Well, he really came with Elder Drewes and I all day from 1 to 9. It was a great experience. He has a lot of really good ideas about being more service oriented like the Savior was. So we spent some time at a rest home with some older folks and got to talk to some of the nurses working there as well. President Taggart is also really pushing to bring back less actives who hold the Priesthood to bring their families and help build the Lord's Kingdom. Powerful stuff. We went to our Bishop's house and we ate some super good Mexican tostadas and then we were able to talk with him and President Taggart about some less actives we could go visit this week. Very impressive exchange. And the most stressful 8 hours of my mission. Ha! just kidding

We taught this awesome member yesterday named Hmo Amp--- with our ward mission leader. This guy is super nice and sincere. He is from Columbia. He hasn't been coming to church lately because he lives in Hoboken which is far from everyone else in the ward and nobody has been reaching out to him. We just went to cheer him up. We talked with him for awhile and then all 4 of us shared our favorite scripture. He loved it. We are going to lunch with him on Wednesday so he can show us what real Columbian food is like.

We are also teaching this investigator named Ne---. He is very spiritual. I could just feel the Spirit right when we were in his house. He is doing good. We taught him about God's love and repentance this past week, and we should be putting him on baptismal date this week.

Things are going good. Glad to hear that Sam got his license as well. That's whats up. Cant wait to drive with him.

Love you all,

Elder Sumsion

Thank you for the package this past week. The shirts are perfect. That will be good for now. Thanks for the Cholula sauce as always! Love it. I didn't have any in this apartment I'm in. I will send some pictures!

Answer to my questions:

Yes me and Elder Drewes get along super well. Best companion so far in the mission. There is no tension or conflict between us. Our apartment is in a good area. Safe place, like a block off Journal Square. It really only gets a little sketchy down in Greenville and on Ocean Ave. That isn't in our area but its in the zone. A new missionary and his trainer are there right now! We have to drive through it every once in awhile. And plus its not even that bad. No trouble or anything. I feel 100% safe.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Jersey City Week 1 - Zone leader

Hello family! This is Elder Sumsion reporting to you live from Jersey City!

 The last couple days have been some of the craziest days of my mission but I made it! Things are going good. So I got transferred to be a Zone Leader in the Jersey City Zone. It is madness up here. I have never lived around so many people in my entire life. Ha I feel like its a dream and I'll wake up soon, but no I am living the real city-life. Our zone covers from the bottom of Bayonne to basically Union City and Secaucus. So just this cool little island with a million people. I am actually in the Secaucus library now. It is so fun though. My companion is the one and only Elder Drewes! He is the one you were talking about that his grandpa is in the Park City Stake Presidency. So we are just tearing it up out here and having so much fun.

So right off the bat things got crazy. I was called to be with Elder Drewes in Jersey City and then an hour later, We were rushing to make sure everybody had rides back to their areas. There are 8 companionships in the zone and we only have 4 cars. And we have 4 new missionaries in the zone with all their stuff. So getting everyone's stuff from transfer conference into the cars was a nightmare. We had to put a lot of it in other zone's cars and so the rest of the night we were just driving around Jersey City trying to get everybody's stuff to them. Ha it was crazy busy. Then the next morning we had to plan out all these crazy rides to get everyone to district meeting. Then we got to conduct district meeting at the beginning. Ha so much fun. It has been a big change for me in my mission.

Then on Saturday we had mission leader council with all the zone leaders, sister training leaders, and the assistants and President and Sister Taggart and their family to talk about the upcoming month. Super fun to be with all them. Elder Vargas ( I lived with him in Perth Amboy for 3 transfers) got called to be a zone leader this last transfer and Elder Aspinall (my companion in Clinton) and two other good friends I have had on the mission. So it was fun to see them all their again. President and Sister Taggart are awesome. They are doing things way different than the Jeppsons but it is just what Jersey needs.

I am going at like a thousand miles and hour. We have been preparing a whole zone meeting for tomorrow too and we have splits with President and the Assistants on Wednesday. Ha its has been absolutely nuts and this week will be too! Ha it doesn't feel like this is how it always is as a zone leader, but I think things just got piled up this past week with all these meetings.

Jersey City is the best though; tons of people to teach. Our area got split last week so we have to pretty much start fresh again. But we have already found a lot of potential.

So this is what it feels like to be in the city life? Ha now I see where Lex is coming from.

I hope all is well at home. I love you all and have been thinking about you. Cant believe Drew got home a few days ago. He is a stud.

Thank you for the package and letters this past week. I loved it. and I love the salt water taffy.

Love you all so much!

Elder Sumsion

PS -

Guess what? Every other day we run down to the Hudson and there is  NYC across the river. It is just the coolest view, right in the morning at 6:45. I swear I can see Lex's house! Ha not really. We are a little more south so the view we get is mainly of lower manhattan with the Freedom Tower. So fun. The Holland Tunnel is right by us.

(With our friends the Taggarts being the new mission presidents there, they were very concerned that I knew that the Lord called Ben to be a zone leader not them.  Sister Taggart communicated with me this week and told me that the missionaries that are the Assistants to the President were the ones that presented Ben's name as a Zone leader - not them. :-) She assured me that it was a call from the Lord. )