Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Jersey City - Week 12

Drewes Christiansen Sumsion Maddox


Wow what a week it was for both of us. First off: Woohooo! I am so pumped that Niki got baptized!!! What a special day for her. Looks like the whole crew was there to support her too. Such a blessing. Wow.  (A good friend of Ben's from high school was baptized.)

This week was super nuts here. Just lots of zone leader errands and driving to Morristown and Bayonne and Union City. But we had some fun in the Process:

Had a super good exchange with Elder Maddox this past week. He was serving in an Argentine mission. He left the same day as Connor to Argentina but he doesn't know him. But he had some back problems so he had to go home for a few months and then they sent him here. So he spits some super funny Argentine Spanish and the people here just love it. There aren't too many Argentine's here. It was a fun exchange though. He is such a happy Elder and always positive despite some of the medical challenges he is facing. They might send him home any day for his back problems but he just works like a champ until that day comes whenever it may be. Always happy and always cracking jokes. He got a cortizone shot this last week so I got to head to Morristown with him to the doctors. He is always has such a positive attitude.

Well yesterday Sunday was one of the toughest days of my mission in a while. Things got stressful really fast. I just finished drawing this big thing that said "don't get stressed out" and then at church things got stressful real fast. We are sitting in Gospel Principles and one of our ward members called for us to come out of the class. Her two daughters were supposed to get baptized that day (Turning 8!) but she told us the baptism is off. We found out that there has been some problems in her marriage and ended up that the husband (who was going to baptize the daughters) just left. Oh it was so sad. She was in tears. So the baptism almost canceled. But after about an hour she ran over and asked Elder Drewes to baptize the daughters. So we just through together this baptism ON THE SPOT. Everyone was already sitting and waiting. It was nuts. People were getting frustrated. AHHHH just trying my best people. Tranquilo. Nah turned out good though. We had a fun dinner lesson at a district president's house. So that relieved some stress. Oh it was a crazy day.

So its that time of the mission again: transfers!!!! HA oh snap... Good thing I LOVE changes. Nah this will be a breeze. Elder Drewes has been the best companion to me though. It has been a blessing to be with him. I feel like we are super close friends.It will be sad to see him go. He got released from being a zone leader last night so he is for sure going to a new area. Which means I will be getting a new companion tomorrow. We have  it almost narrowed down to a few people who it may be but then hey the Lord works in mysterious ways and who knows who I will get as my new companion. A majority of the zone is getting switched up. These two Elders, Elder Christensen and Elder Maddox have become two good friends to me and they are getting double out meaning that their area is getting closed and combined with another area (ours). Also two other elders, Elder Welburn and Elder Comish are leaving the zone two. So there is going to be some major changes. It will be excited to see who is coming in. So happy I am staying in JC though. I love this place. Couldn't have asked for a better place to be right now. 

We taught Ju--- again. This time his wife was there!!! Her name is I---. So pumped though. Everytime we go over there there is one more person in the family. Ha they even read the Book of Mormon chapter 1 as a family!!! So cool to see them already progressing. We will be setting a baptismal date for them this week.  

Things are good. A little nervous for the upcoming transfer but nah it will be chill. thanks for all the prayers family. I love you so much!

Elder Sumsion
The JC Boyzzz

sopping wet - rainy days

Waiting for baptism - stressful
Elder Drewes had to go home and get his baptismal clothes.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Jersey City - Weeks 10 and 11

Sorry - I was out of town to post these...

October 20th, 2014

Hello family!

So happy to hear that things are going great. I am so glad that you mom and dad had a wonderful trip and are safely on your way home. Cant wait to see some more pictures (If there are any left after your phone broke.) But hey what matters is that you had a fun time together and saw some cool places. Maybe not the pictures to remember is all but you both know it and someday we will be able to remember everything. That's how I feel out here all the time. I wish I could get so many pictures and write down and remember all the amazing moments and all the amazing people and all the hard times and all the good times. And as much as I try, there is always so much that I can't document but I can at least be happy for the times that I know I have had. Every second out here is worth writing about. Ha but I will try to get more pictures for you. Its just sometimes not on the top of my mind. So happy you were safe though and Sam had a good time with Alex and Shaylise. I love the fact that you looked for missionaries there too! Ha I think its funny about how different all the missions are in the world, but all us missionaries are carrying the same message.

We did a big service project about a week ago at Liberty State Park (island where statue of liberty is) with about 40 missionaries and a bunch of Muslims and different people in the community here. We were planting tulip bulbs all around the park for next spring. However, when we woke up that morning though to find it cold and raining. So we all threw on the coats that we had and by the end up it we were all so wet and muddy. Its nice to go out and do some service like that. Everyone was so happy despite the fact that it was cold and all wet. I just love the missionaries here in this mission. They are always so happy and humble and ready to work and serve. We were talking and laughing with everyone the whole day. Its a blessing to be with such solid missionaries. Honestly, our zone is amazing. They are all such hard workers. There is never any problems, only people getting sick. Ha

I went on exchange this past week with one of the new missionaries in the zone named Elder Pastene. I was hoping to teach him some things but turned out that he is an awesome new missionary and I learned  a lot from him. He is from Vina del Mar, Chile. He is in the English program here and when he got to the mission 3 months ago, he couldn't speak of lick of English. But wow only a few months later he already speaks so well! He is so committed to speaking English. He is so funny too. All day he would speak to me in English and then all of the sudden, he would stop and say, "wait I need to explain this part in Spanish" Ha so then he would explain the rest of a story to me in Spanish, then I would often talk back in Spanish then he would respond in English. Ha it was a fun day with him. We worked Elder Drewes' and My area.

We had a great exchange also this week with one of the assistants. Ha it was actually Elder Wilcox who came with us. Just a transfer ago he was in our zone as a powerful missionary  and we were going on exchange with him. Now the roles are switched where he came as assistant on exchange to help us on and teach with us.  So awesome though. He is always thinking of new ideas to help out the mission and asking us what we thought about it and would give him feedback then he would always say ,"ok I will talk with my companions some more about it." We have three assistants right now and they are some amazing missionaries. So loving and focused on us missionaries and how we can better fulfill our purpose. Also we got quadruple chunked that day. We ate 4 meals in 6 hours.

Found a new investigator Ju--- last week. We were blessed enough to have another lesson with him and his son this week. He didn't read the part in the Book of Mormon we left him, so we talked to him and explained the importance of reading, pondering, and praying about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. That combined with the Spirit is the only way to conversion. Everyone needs a testimony about The Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith because once you know that is true, everything else falls into place and the rest has to be true. God's plan truly is perfect.

I love you all!

Elder Sumsion

Rutgers baby. Uncle Todd sent me this

The Man the myth and the legend. Elder Packer!   

Ocotber 14, 2014

Whats up Family!

Cant believe you are in Spain right now, parents!  So sweet. Dad, so crazy how much the church has grown in Spain since you have been there. All those seeds you planted are harvesting. Crazy how you can remember the street names huh? I swear I walked down some streets so many times in Short Hills, nothing will be able to pull that knowledge from me. Keep getting pictures and having fun. I love seeing the smiles on you faces!

We had some heavy meetings this week. Dense with the Spirit. First off, we had a big zone meeting on Tuesday. We had been planning for a few days for it. We do this meeting at the beginning of every month with our whole zone. The meeting went great! The schedule this past one went like this:
Opening prayer, hymn, monthly scripture.
Accountability (for the zone goal we had)
Training about Working better with members (we asked an x-zone leader to train about it)
Training about revelation (from us)
Role plays for 30 min
The whole thing took like 2 1/2 hours. It went super well. For Accountability it was pretty fun and spiritual. We had each companionship act out a moment in the week where they showed charity. There was some spiritual stories, and some pretty funny stories. The was one about a companionship that went to a Dominican Barber shop for a haircut. There was a misunderstanding and the barber ended up cutting this big part-line down the side of their head. (Its a big style here in Jersey City). Looks pretty sweet but pretty contrary to a formal missionary haircut. Ha just think of the Utah missionary with this shaved line down the side of his head where the part in his hair is. Ha so they showed charity and didn't flip out when it happened. For our training on revelation we shared a story that we made up about a miner. His mine entrance collapsed except for a little hole that his son could get through. So the son had to go through the mine in the dark listening to his father's voice to find the trapped miners and bring them back to his presence. It turned out pretty sweet and spiritual as we related it to missionary work. Our zone is full of a bunch of boss missionaries. I love them

On Wednesday and Thursday we had the big Leadership Training from 8-4. My all time favorite meeting in the missionary. Its for the new missionaries. I have written about it a few times. This was the third time I had gone. The first, when I was a new missionary. The second when I trained. And now as a zone leader. So I have gotten to see all sides of it. Ha it was a little different as a zone leader though. This time we got to do a 20 minute training in front of all these new missionaries, trainers, Sister Training Leaders, zone leaders, the assistants, and President and Sister Taggart. We counted about 80 missionaries there! So it was intense. Probably the biggest training I have had to do in my life and for 20 min. Turned out super good though. So fun that Sister Taggart sent that video to you! Ha that was right in the middle of our training switching from our demo to our teaching part. I know it meant a lot for you mom! Ha I was super thankful to her for doing it. How did the training sound? Ha no jk.

Well we were training about "How to Begin Teaching" from Chapter 10 Preach My Gospel. We started off with this funny skit where us missionaries were teaching this new investigator who had no idea who we were.  We were expecting to baptized him and he thought we were there to teach him how to drive. We got a few laughs. It was super fun. But then we explained about why it is so clear to teach our investigators about WHY we are there. The first few moments with an investigator are extremely important so they know we are there to help them progress to covenants with God like baptism and not there to teach them to drive. Went super well. A few missionaries came up after and told us how much they enjoyed it. It is weird to be an older missionary and being an example HA I'm still trying to figure out what I'm doing! Ha no but we did tons of role plays too. These new missionaries who are coming in teach like bosses. They amaze me. So prepared to be servants of God.

Loving life as a missionary. Thanks for the package this past week. Have fun in Espana!!! be safe.

Love you
Elder Sumsion