Thursday, September 25, 2014

Jersey City - Week 7 - Elder Anderson

Whats up family!

Super good week for us. Lots of spiritual boosts and pump ups and once again we had a busy week. One of the lowest weeks of actual time proselyting though, because we had tons of meetings to go to. They were so heavily charged spiritual meetings though so I feel like I am all recharge spiritually and ready to just go and spiritually unload on every one in the street and all of our investigators. Ha and I am sleeping on a bed again after 2 weeks!

Yesterday we had Elder Wilford Anderson of the Seventy come and do a mission tour. It was a big meeting with zones 1-4 that went from 9am to 4pm. Very very spiritual and he didn't do a big throw down or get super intense or anything but he was very loving and humble and kind. It was pretty neat because before the big meeting with all the missionaries, he wanted to meet with leaders. So us 8 zone leaders and the 4 sister training leaders got to have a cool private session with him at 8 in the morning. Such a blessing to be part of that. Talked about church and missionary leadership and then opened it up for question and answer. One quote I love was: "The genius of the church is not in the correct decisions of the leaders but of the sustaining hearts of the members." We have a responsibility to sustain leaders and follow there council. He said that the Lord will make decisions of leaders work out in the end but we have to support and sustain them first. That concept can resolve so many problems on conflict and pride within wards and church groups. He had so many good points. In the main conference he wrote 6 words on the board from 1st to last: exaltation, endure to the end, Holy Ghost, baptism, repentance, and faith. And discussed how one is needed after the next and how we can help companions, family, investigators, pretty much everybody, progress in the Gospel. He said "It is impossible to endure to the end without the spirit." Pretty powerful stuff. He was in my role play group as well and was so kind and loving to the missionaries in helping out these missionaries I was with and me as well. He s a great example to me. So grateful to just be there at the meeting.

We had transfer conference last Tuesday. Not much of the zone changed. We got another new missionary so now 5/8 companionships in the zone are trainers and trainees. All just so powerful. I really feel like our zone is stacked with the best missionaries, and then me and Elder Drewes up top trying to figure out how to help them all, but they already are so good. They are all such example and teachers to us two.  I love them all. My love seriously had grown so much over the last month. It has changed my whole perspective on life and missionary work. So happy to be with Elder Drewes for another transfer. We have become good friends over the last 7 weeks. Its so nice having a companion to just be open with. I feel like I can just talk to him about whatever. We are laughing so much too. He will be here for the rest of this transfer then I will get a new companion. What usually happens for zone leaders is they stay in their areas for 4 transfers. So there is a good chance I will be here until about January. which I couldn't be more thankful for. I love Jersey City. Also, Elder Packer got called zone leader too. So I have got to see him like everyday this past week. His zone is like 20 min from ours. Most of our zone actually overlaps with theirs. He is just up in Union City so way close. Also Elder Warnock, one of my good buddies at the beginning of the mission got called zone leader too, so its been fun to see them more often now. I feel so blessed to be here. I am starting to really see how this mission is a gift and privilege, not a duty.

We had stake correlation last week where all the ward mission leaders, bishops, stake presidency, Mission President and a few zone leaders meet together to go over how the stake has been doing with missionary work and how we they better coordinate the work between missionaries and wards. We didn't get to help a ton, but I realized the blessing of just being in those meetings. I will be on the other side of the work as a member someday and now I know what both sides of the work are like. Seeing how stakes work with missionaries and the culture of doing missionary work in the US will definitely be a big bonus at home when I will have to help out with the ward side of missionary work. I am learning so much that will help me now and after the mission. What a blessing.

Super funny. So for some reason we had to do a baptismal interview outside last Thursday at like 8:00. it was all going well until we heard this dog walking by behind this fence, we looked over and saw that it was a skunk! What in the world is a skunk doing in the middle of The Heights? Its pure concrete and houses in this town. Super random but luckily it just looked at us frozen and we stared back and then it just ran off down an alley. Weird stuff. But he passed the interview so it was good.

So we have had BED BUGS off and on for the last two months. Didn't want to gross you all out or anything. Who knew these things even existed? I was sleeping on the ground for the last 2 weeks, but finally got back onto a mattress last night. It was heaven. No more bedbugs. We had an exterminator come and destroy them.

Things are good. Happy as can be. I love you family.

Elder Sumsion

Monday, September 15, 2014

Jersey City - Week 6 Transition stage

hola familia,

Well, things have been changing lots. I feel like we are just in transition stage of everything. Things are still settling in with the new mission President and we are still trying to find new people to teach. Change is good though.

We have been teaching Nel--- lately but we had to drop him this past week because he hasn't came to church for the 4th week in a row. Its always hard to drop someone but it is time to move on and look for more willing people. He will be baptized someday just not quite ready yet. We are just looking for new people to teach. Shouldn't be too hard right? Ha we have been talking with lots of people but not a lot are interested. We will continue looking though. Never givin' up.

A miracle happened a few weeks ago with one of the companionships in our zone. They got a media referral for this family of 6 from the Philippines  in the area. Well they went and taught them and they wanted to get baptized. A family of 6! I have never really even heard of a family getting baptized in the mission so this was a huge miracle. They were all baptized (well 5 of them, the daughter is only 3) yesterday after church in the English ward. Coolest family. Elder Drewes and I got to interview them all on Saturday. They were all so excited to get baptized, especially the young children. It was a special day yesterday for them. Such a humble family too.

I've been focusing lots on love lately and how I can better develop it for every single person I come in contact with. Things change when you see others in the way God sees them. Especially the way God sees yourself. Love is a big factor and part of everything we do. What do we really love? We need to love people more than anything. First God, and Christ, then everyone else. Its a game changer. Jesus Christ suffered for everyone, even the ones that are living on the streets. Nobody is a nobody. We all matter to God. If you don't believe that then ask Him.

I love the work, things are going good. I hope you are all happy, I love you so much!

Elder Sumsion

Monday, September 8, 2014

Jersey City - Week 5, Soccer, Teaching and Families

The fam,

Busy week. I'm just going to tell you when we don't have a busy week from now on, because life is just straight crazy as a zone leader. We saw lots of good stuff happen this past week. On Saturday we had a big ward activity that the missionaries and the ward mission leader put on. Big sports day in the park. We invited everyone. All the members, investigators and nonmembers. Super fun day. We planned it from 9 to 1 but it ended up lasting until 4. Ha there were tons of people there and majority of the ward came and a few nonmembers and it turned out to be way fun for everyone. We played a big soccer game of the missionaries versus a few people from the ward. I think it ended up 1-1 but then in the last second they scored and beat us. We had volleyball and basketball set up. Tons of food. Burgers without ketchup (Hispanics here do not like ketchup) ha but the mustard and hot sauce was definitely there. We also had Argentine chorizo as well. At the very end we played this sweet game of soccer. Pretty much a Hispanic team with two missionaries and we played against this young team from Egypt. Half field 7 v 7.  Oh it was so sweet. A real intense game with some good players. Haven't played that in a while. It was a major blessing though.  I haven't realized how much I miss that. It was nice to get sprinting again. But Sooooooo much preparation for this event. It took us hours to get everything planned and to get the ward involved and to get the food. So much work but turned out great.

We taught Ne--- twice this last week. He is reading the Book of Mormon and I recently read a talk from Drew that talks about inviting people to be baptized so we invited him and he said he wants to go to church again before he decides. So we got all pumped for Sunday, but he didn't show up! Super bummed. We are going back Wednesday and are going to really sit him down and focus on what he is lacking. President Taggart has been talking a lot about making sure the people we teach know why we are there. We are their to invite them to Christ to be part of HIs kingdom once again established on the Earth. Its not an invitation to join some church but to be part of this great kingdom. We are planning on giving him a vision of who he can become.

We are really in finding mode right now. Trying to find some more people to teach. Not a lot of people are too open about it when we contact them on the streets. We are trying to find ways to offer more service to people. Definitely something that people need here. Its crazy how much people are to themselves. Ha most of the people here don't even speak the same language whether its English, Spanish, Arabic, or Tagalog. I have been praying a lot to just find one family that we can teach and prepare for baptism and the temple. Just one for now. That's what were pushing for. I have only heard of one or two stories my whole mission where a whole family got baptized, but that's what we are going for. I know it can happen. Why would got send us all the way out here to fail? He wants us to be successful in our lives. I know it. This is about God's blessings for families and their eternal progression together. I realized this past week about how much families really matter. I have had many fun times with all of the missionaries here and all of these members and investigators, but nothing can replace the love I feel from my true family. Its some different kind of love. I can't figure it out, but its real. So that's what were shooting for. So someone else can feel that too! Feel God's love through the family.

I love you so much family!

Elder Sumsion

Softball Zone 4

Soccer with the Egyptians

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Jersey City Week 4 - JC Mentality

Hello family!

Wow this week has been nuts. Thank you for sending all those pictures and letters every week. I love seeing them and all the fun things you are doing together as a family. It gets me pumped to see them. I love our family. We had a very busy week. Saw tons of cool miracles in the zone too! At the end of every month we have a bunch a big meeting with all the zone leaders and sister training leaders to council about things in the mission. Lots of cool trainings from President and the Assistants. Our new monthly focus is making love our motivator and inviting people to be baptized in the first or second lesson. We did a big zone meeting this morning, Elder Drewes and I. Took tons of prep and a pretty crazy weekend but it all came together today. We have such a great zone, so many powerful missionaries. I love teaching with them and being around all of them. Its very easy to make friends as a missionary. We are all a family. 

We have two main investigators right now. One is named Ne---. Dominican. We have gone over the past few weeks and really helped him focus on coming to church. We committed him last week and he was all in to go but he never showed up on Sunday. We were bummed. We will be focusing mainly on baptism this upcoming week. 

Our other investigator right now is named Ro---. He has a wife and kids, but they are never home. He wants to learn more but is stuck in his mindset of beliefs. We are trying to help him break through the barriers. I love him though.

Had a big mission softball tournament on Monday. We won our first game, and the second game was going well until we got three outs super fast and the other zone scored on us. It was fun. The whole northern half of the mission came. Sister Taggart made hot dogs and lemonade and there were cracker jacks. Ha it was super fun. Our zone played like champs. Some solid hitters and catchers we just choked in the third and last inning we played. Fun to see all the missionaries again. 

Very tired the last few days. Super busy. Now we won't have any major meetings for a few weeks where we have to plan for. So now time to focus on some exchanges and our area as well. We are really looking to find more people to teach. Starting to contact a few more people and really bring the spirit to connect with them. Super tired. Ready to sleep. Ha I will get caught up the next few nights. Loving things out here. Its so fun being with all these awesome missionaries and people here in Jersey.

We are headed to court next week for a parking violation. Should be interesting.

Love you all so much!

Elder Sumsion