Monday, July 6, 2015

"The End"

Dear family and friends,
 Thank you for being interested in our son Elder Sumsion.  We are so grateful for your prayers and emails and packages and well wishes for him.  We cannot thank you enough.  Here it is drawing to a close.  He will be home Wednesday.  While we are SOOOO excited we can hardly stand it, our hearts aches a little for him as I can feel his pain of leaving a life and service he has grown to love.  All I can say is to add my testimony in tears that I believe with all my heart that this work is divine and that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way for us to be truly happy now and in the future.  It is a Pearl of Great Price and I cherish it and am grateful to have this knowledge in my life.  I am so grateful for the man Elder Sumsion has become and I will be forever grateful for his willingness to serve the Lord in a most unselfish way while smiling through the hard times.  He sent a very sweet personal note of his gratitude for all of us.  I love his reference to soccer.
Kristen Sumsion

Last Email from Elder Sumsion:

July 6, 2015 

Well I can definitely say that was one CRAZY week. Probably one of the hardest weeks of my entire mission. Hard but good. I cant believe its the end, I mean I always realized it would come someday but now it is weird to see it in full. Wednesday was rough. Really rough. I had my last departing interview and just had to pray a lot after that. But the peace came. Like it always has and like it always does. A way of God telling me he is there. The same peace I have felt thousands of times on my mission.

But boy does it feel good to have just left it out all in the field. I feel like coming out of one of my soccer games in high school. Dead tired, feet aching, shins all cleated-up. But a smile on my face. Its sad to be leaving all this, but at the same time it feels good. A peaceful good.

I will be forever grateful for the last two years. And for everything that has happened. The people I have met and the friends I have made. And for the person I have become. This last week I realized how much I have truly grown and changed. It truly is because of the Savior and what he has done for me. What a blessing a mission truly is.

Thank you family. Mom and Dad, Sam, Alexis, Chloe. And all my friends and leaders at home. 

Guess this is it. 

Its all good in the hood,

Love ya!

Elder Sumsion


Where is the GOOD, without the HOOD???? haha 

Notice the text - East to West - love it!  Here he comes!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Ironbound Week 23 - ONE WEEK TO GO!!!

Well started off the week good with hitting the temple on Tuesday as part of the departing trip. It was a great trip and nice to be with the Elders and Sisters from the group. Although I really only came out with Elder Packer, I have grown to love these other Elders and we have become good friends. We all hopped in the mission vans on Tuesday morning, sister Taggart driving one and President Taggart in the other, and went through the Lincoln tunnel to NYC and had a wonderful time at the temple. Then afterwards we got to meet a member of the mission presidency and we got to ask him questions about all sorts of stuff. After that we went to Central Park to eat lunch and enjoy the nature and grass there. Overall it was a good trip. I felt good and not too weird.
We get to the temple and the Taggarts break the news to us: "We have been encouraging you to not think about home for the past year and even before that, but now its time that we WANT you to get trunky and start thinking about home and making plans..." WHAT? haha no way.... We were not expecting them to say that at all.

Then, yesterday was our big Statue of Liberty day with the departing missionaries and the Taggarts. We hit up Ellis Island first and got to take the ferry over. I do remember going there a few years ago but I couldn't remember much so I got to see it all again. Then we went to the Statue of Liberty, which I guess is actually in New Jersey (and Ellis Island) and we got to climb up to the base of it. It was a beautiful day and sunny but not hot or humid and there was a gentle breeze in the air. It felt so good to just be up there looking out over Jersey and NYC and think about all that has gone down over there and all the stories. And so we just stayed up there for a while and didn't even go into the museum below. Then we went over to the huge cathedral in Newark. Ha it was sweet to check out and we got to sing some hymns together as a group.
And that brings me to today. We had zone meeting today and I learned a ton again and excited to use it this last week. Then we do this thing in this mission called a 'Hot Seat' where the departing missionaries sit in these chairs (usually like a couch or armchair) in front of all the other missionaries in the zone and the zone members just get to ask us whatever questions they want. Usually its all about stories and scary things and funny things. Like the ones that were asked today were: scariest moment in the mission? Craziest contact? Most awkward Elder/Sister moment? Craziest thing that has happened when an investigator is at church? haha so just random stuff like that and we tell our stories. Then it moves to more spiritual stuff like: Most spiritual lesson? Or Who did you come to New Jersey for? and then we bear our testimonies. haha the whole things last usually like 45 to an hour. It was pretty fun and funny today. Its amazing how many crazy thing we experience on a mission. Especially in Jersey.
If you want, we can have a mini one at home. Ha
Well we are actually finding some great new people and are working with them. One of them was some less active lady named M--- who came to church a few weeks ago. Turns out she has real desires to come back and has a non member boyfriend who she lives with. We went and saw them both last night. Chileans. Of course we walk in 15 min into the Peru vs Chile Copa America game last night!!!!!!!!!! Its the semifinals and no way this guy is turning off the tv. Haha so we just did our best to chat with him but he was pretty into the game and so we talked with his wife a bit, doing our best to not watch the darn tv. I knew our only break was halftime so right before halftime, we asked them if we could share something and they were cool with it. So we taught them about the Book of Mormon and reading and praying. He has the right desire but not the faith to do things, he said. But we will be working with them throughout the week.
D--- is doing great. We see him like 2-3 times a week. But only once last week. He is really taking off and just becoming his true self. It has been the biggest miracle to see in this area. So grateful the Lord allowed me to be part of it all. He heads over to Nevada on Thursday. So tomorrow will be the last day to see him.
We had a big all mission fireside on Sunday. Got to see S--- again for the last time! I called her up before and invited her and she came! It was so good to see her and say good bye. Man it feels like ages ago I was there in Perth Amboy. Saw E Bellavance and a few old comps as well. Good to see them.
Well this is it. Last week. Doing my best to do work and focus. Tonight we are sleeping over with the other elders and then tomorrow morning three of us drive to the mission home for our departing interviews. Pretty weird. feeling good but freaking out at the same time. haha nah Im doing fine, just weird to see the end.
Thanks for the love. ill answer those questions in another email.
Love yalls, be safe. Im praying for ya.
Elder Sumsion

Friday, June 26, 2015

Ironbound Week 22 - two weeks to go!

Mi familia, 

Well iPads are getting hot. We got the call this last week to move to stage 2 which is all about moving our area book and planner onto the iPads. Sounds simple but think about taking a two inch binder FULL of paper and transforming all the information on both sides to a digital form. We have to put in all the info manually. Luckily, we only had to move all the data from the last 4 months, which I am eternally grateful for, seeing that I don't have to spend the last few weeks of my mission at the church filing paperwork. Ha but it's pretty sweet.

We are all pretty slow at using them. Still have to learn all the tricks, especially in planning. I think I'll be up to par in about a few weeks but they might take my iPad before that point comes. Ha so we are finding a good balance of taking time to do iPad stuff and hitting the streets. I wish we could be out more but it's not really about what I wanna do is it? Ha

Okay so this week we had some great stuff happen. We had a training on Tuesday to learn more about family history and how to use it so that we can help people find their ancestors and get them going with genealogy. It was a great training and I learned a lot. I went on an exchange this past Tuesday with my boy, elder Leilua. Straight Samoan.  I mean he didn't speak a lick of English when he got here about 6 months ago. He speaks pretty choppy English now and man I had a blast just listening to all his stories. I hear a lot of stuff from elder Aspinall about Samoa so I asked elder leilua tons of questions. He is a boss and has a pretty cool story about coming on his mission.  I guess his family wasn't super supportive but after a few months out they all got baptized! He is just such a happy guy and we were laughing throughout the whole day, even when we got drenched in rain.  We got home and we cooked up some cocoa Samoa. Pretty much the best hot chocolate ever. Ha 

we had a blast and even found a cool new investigator named M---. She is a former investigator but she explained at the missionaries just stopped coming over because her husband was never there so they weren't able to go in. So We just knocked her door and she started talking to us and she is really cool and has some sincere desires. We taught her about the restoration a few days later when I was back with elder welch and we had a team up with a 20 year old who is preparing for his mission with us. We asked if he would teach about Joseph smith to M--- and he was a little nervous but killed it. Then we invited him to invite her to be baptized and she said yes. It was cool for all of us and to see this 20 year old invite someone to be baptized for the first time in his life probably.   It was awesome. Then she invited us over for a bbq for Father's Day. I can definitely say that Ecuadorians know how to cook up some good meat. Heavenly.

We taught a sweet Noche de Hogar this past week. M---l and S--- and F-- and P--- and some other families and two RMs. Ha well we didn't have to much time to prepare 100% but we felt inspired to read about what president Monson talked about this last conference so we looked it up and he didn't talk much but he this give a talk about temples. We walk in there and start going and my boss companion asks a great question and the spirit took over and it turned into a great night.

Well last night we were nightly planning and it was like just rounding 10:00 and I close my planner and like 5 seconds later something explodes like 50 ft from our window with a super loud BOOM. the whole apartment gets super bright for a second. We both look at each other like no way what was that! We both thought it was some punk kids lighting a firework right outside our window in the intersection. We immediately pop up and run to the window. Nothing is out there. We hear this little hissing noise and then we watch this electric transformer blow up. You know those big cylinder things that are on top of power lines? That's what it was and man we just watched this thing explode before our eyes and same thing, super loud and bright and then all these sparks just floated down. It was sweet. Like a firework right outside our window. All the power was out so we called the other elders and they came and picked us up and we slept over at there apartment last night. Good stuff. But man if all the power went out in Newark, it would probably be the scariest/sketchiest place to be.

But hey! It's all good in the hood. I'm doing great. Sad to be really hitting the beginning of the end. Tomorrow is the departing temple trip. But I miss y'all's a lot so I'm happy to see you.


Elder Sumsion

Glad to see he is still having fun..... their Zone in the elevator...

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Ironbound 21 - 3 Weeks to go!

Hola familia,

Whats going on family. We have had quite the week all starting off with taking a trip over to NYC to the Manhattan temple. What a pleasure it is to be back in the temple and able to do an endowment session. We all drove over to Union City, parked at the church, and then jumped on these little 30 person buses that are called WAWAs here. We took that over to Penn station in New York and took the subway up. What a crazy place, New York. We all just were staring at all the people. Just thousands and thousands. It gets me every time. This temple session was great. I tried looking for the earrings, mom, but didn't get them. Ill ask during my departing temple trip. But last time we went to NYC was with our Zone in Jersey City and I think I was a little preoccupied making sure everyone was good and not lost. Ha but this time I was able to relax a little more and ponder so it was great. I just love the temple. It seems to give a new spiritual boost ever time I go. And this time it was one that was much needed. A little boost through the end so it was good. 

We had a big famous Portuguese festival in the Ironbound this past week. Tons and tons of people were here I think from all over Jersey and I imagine even some from Portugal. It started Friday and went until Sunday night and was nuts. They blocked off the main street here and just tons of people running everywhere. We sort of tried to avoid it mostly just because about 75% of the people were drunk and crazy and they had some loud music. Not saying the music was the bad part but it was soooooo loud we couldn't even talk to each other as companions. Ha! and we almost got in a fight but Ill share that story with ya'll later. Ha it was a crazy weekend though, they even had a parade, but it was during church and we didn't get to see it at all.

D--- is just impressing us more and more every time we go visit him. He had a rough week at work and it looking for a new job and he got turned down by these two companies. So he was a little down at the start of the week. I don't know if I have mentioned anything about his family. Has three boys and two of them, like 10 and 8, live with his x-wife in Bayonne. He had negative feelings for the church back then and about 6 years ago he told his kids that he had one rule: neither of you are going on missions. Pretty sad but  as he is now coming back he is realizing that what he said was wrong and he told us a story that happened this past week. He was with his 2 sons and they were sitting in the car and had about an hour of time to kill. He said they usually watch movies together but this time he decided instead to ask them if they wanted to hear a story. And earlier he had just asked them if they wanted to get baptized and they said no. But he explained all about the pre-mortal world and living with God and Jesus Christ and how there was a big opposition. And one of the boys asked,"you mean the war." and D--- was like, "What do you mean?" and the sons said, "You know the war in heaven that happened." and D--- asked "How do you know there was a war in heaven." To which the son replied, pointing to his head, "Because its in here." So D--- was like no way, he had never taught his kids that or anything, so he was surprised and kept going with the story and all about the Restoration and Joseph Smith and they watched a video about in. And then D--- basically just bore his testimony about it to them and they were all getting teary eyed and then he invited them to be baptized and both the boys said they really wanted to. So we went and visited D--- a few days ago and the two boys are going to get baptized in Bayonne of Jersey City in the next couple weeks. Pretty sweet stuff. Its such a miracle story every time with him. 

Saturday was a death heat day. So hot and humid and we were on the streets in the afternoon and it was killer. And we were like so darn thirsty in about an hour and we just kept trying doors and talking to people and following our plans. We finally had to stop by a member's house and she gave us water and lemonade and then we went back out into the heat. Then after a few hours we headed out to a far corner of our area that we have never really been to because it gets pretty hood and not a whole lot of Hispanics or anything. But we ventured out there looking for this house of a former investigator, finally found it and turns out they don't live there anymore. We then tried another and they weren't home. So we left the doorway and were standing there on the sidewalk just talking and thinking what we were doing way out there. Nobody had let us in the whole day, and we were way far from our next plan. Then suddenly this lady like out of no where walks up to us and was like, "Hey what is the address of the church here? I am a member from Peru and I haven't gone to church in 15 years because I haven't been able to find the new one that was built." Haha no way. So we started talking to her and she is awesome and we took down her name and number and told her where the church is. She has a husband and three children who probably haven't been baptized. So we are going to be focusing on that FAMILY this week. So pumped. We are seeing miracles.

Thank you for the package this last week. It was perfect and all the food and treats are delicious. Especially all the cookies! ha Thank you so much.

Thanks for being an amazing family. I love you all and miss you lots.

Elder Sumsion