Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Ironbound Week 14 - temple trip!

Whats up family!
We had a solid week here in the Ironbound. No distractions or nothing. Just work, work, work and we saw some cool miracles. Spiritual and non spiritual. So we just can't be any happier with how the whole week went. Haha I laugh sometimes about how fun it is to be a missionary. Its nice always having a purpose and knowing what to do next. There is no like "ok well, what should I do now?" No its like sweet we got an extra 15 min lets find some new people, or 10 extra minutes at night-  let's study some Spanish. Its a lot of work but when you balance it with fun and have fun throughout the day, it all works out. I just enjoy it so much.

So we have a big push in the mission to find more people to teach and get out of just trying the same old people in the area books and going out and talking to people on the streets. Not going to lie, we dont find a lot of people by street contacting and hardly any progress at all, but we do show God that we are diligently teaching and searching and so he waits and then when the time is just right . Boom.  We get a text from our teenage member who just moved in with her friend and her friend's family and they all want to hear about the Gospel and come to church. And she even mentioned baptism. So we were like sweet! Lets go on Wednesday. We went and saw them all Its a mom and dad and three daughters and the uncle. The dad wasn't there this last time but the rest of them were. Taught them a Restoration and they had lots of questions about Joseph Smith. The lesson went alright but then the member texted us after and said that he family had been asking her questions after we left and they are all super interested and want to come to church. Sweet Miracle.

We had zone conference this last week with about a third of the mission. It was nice to see everyone. Got to sit by Elder Aspinall. Haha man we were just cracking up so much thinking about that transfer we had together. So much fun. He is a great guy. The conference was all about how we can go from just one progressing investigator to five progressing investigators. They also talking tons about how to work with the ward councils and with members better. Really good and powerful meeting. 

Alright Saturday was a crazy day. I just gotta tell you the whole story. So remember M--- and S---? So they got baptized last October and still haven't gone to the temple to do baptisms and this last week on Saturday was the ward temple trip and they had it planned to go finally. I mentioned a little about that last week I think. Ok so the rule is that 2 missionaries can go with a recent convert if it is their first time going to the temple. So for the last 2 weeks I have been telling M--- and S---  that they can take 2 missionaries to the temple with them. I mentioned to them a few missionaries that were here when they were being taught and when they were baptized because I feel like those missionaries had more priority over me,  because I have only been here for like 2 transfers. So I mentioned this to them like 3 times in the last 2 weeks and they always said okay yeah we will let you know. So Friday comes around and they still haven't mentioned anyone and didn't even mention they were going. So Saturday morning I was worried and wanted to make sure they were still planning on going so I texted them, "are you going to the temple today."  And they respond " Yes! We are going with the ward." So I was pumped they were going. About an hour after that I get a call and its S--- and she is like, "Elder I want you and Elder Warnock  to come to the temple today with us today." I was like, "wow okay sure when?" She says, "ahorita (right now)". So within 10 minutes I went from comp study to making like a half a dozen calls to being dressed ready to go to the temple. Haha I called President Taggart right off the bat and miracle he answered. He said yes. I called the temple. Then the zone leaders. Then Elder Warnock, who had no idea. Haha I said, "Hey Elder what are you doing right now?" He was like, "Um language study." Ha well "Wanna go to temple right now?" IT was crazy. So we went to the temple on Saturday with them and another sweet member here. It was a super cool experience and they both loved it. It was super special for all of us. It was a miracle to even be there.

So super solid week. We found new people and things are just going strong. Haha yes we still walk  A LOT. My companion's foot isn't bothering him. He has only mentioned it like once in the past week or two. We are doing great. Thanks for the prayers. I pray for you all so much every day. I love you

 Elder Sumsion

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ironbound Week 13

Okay what in the world, this week was awesome and crazy and long and just everything in between. So many ups and downs and twists and turns. The week started off super weird, like half our zone left including three of my good friends as well. Okay seriously though, God answers prayers and I know for a fact that he knows us perfectly. He doesn't take everything we love away from us, there is always good things, friends, and people to turn to. We stayed in the same district and Elder Warnock got called as our district leader. Pretty funny because he only has a few weeks left. Big change up in the mission though. Everyone got switched around in seems like. I am just pumped to be with E Marquez for another here in the IRONBOUND. We are going to blow this place up.

I asked E. Marquez for a blessing the other day.  I have been learning about charity. I think God has been trying to get me to focus more on that for a long time. A lot changed in me that day. Like I was reborn. I can still feel it.  Haha I dont know, I felt so good and just full of energy. Its not like Ive been oblivious to charity before but it hit me a little differently this time. Just more often recommitting to focusing on the work is a pretty big tool to missionary work, I've found. Its blessed me a lot.

We saw M--- and S--- last night. They were the ones that were having a few problems. Haha okay they are like super solid and strong now. We taught them about temples last night, but we taught it differently because we realized that EVERY time we talk about temples with them then something comes up and the devil sneaks his way in and they start having problems again. So we shared Helamen 5:12 with them and pretty much just told them that Satan does not want them to go to the temple but they have more power than Satan if they build their foundation of life on Christ. It was sweet. They are seriously sooooo excited to go. Every time we talk about the temple, S--- always puts her hand over her heart and says that she can feel the spirit just burning in her heart. It was like introducing candy to a child. They are so excited.

Played some intense soccer on Saturday. Okay I haven't had that good of exercise in like 6 months. It was a sweet indoor tournament in the church. 4 v 4 and in this tiny gym in the church. (only a few churches here have full gyms). It was like a multi stake thing. So I saw tons of member from Short Hills and Jersey City. Way sweet. It was some serious soccer. Never seen these members get so intense. One of our investigators, Mauro, wanted to play so we made a team with his and his little brother. Haha we held our ground alright. We lost 0-3 though and we were out first round. Kinda lame but it was super fun. I miss playing intense soccer like that.

Things are good, hood, and rollin. Loving life. 

Love Elder Sumsion

Monday, April 13, 2015

ironbound Week 12

You're in the same picture!

(We sent this to him...)

Sister Sumsion on the way home from the airport from the Iowa Des Moines Mission

Well hello family and Chloe included this time!

Haha okay wow can I just say- I can't believe Chloe is home!!! I love all the pictures and all the emails you sent today. Seriously, it has been a very happy last few minutes reading about how it all went down and seeing all the fun pictures. Woohooo!! That is so exciting. That was one weird week though. It was just like okay Chloe is still a missionary... and now she is not... now she is with the family... and now she gets to sleep... I even wrote her going home in my planner. Haha but, honestly, it was more of a happy week than a sad one. Yes, I would've loved to be a part of it, but I felt good being here. It was just a sense of peace. So I am doing great and no Im not trunky even though every part of my soul is telling me to be trunky after seeing all your beautiful faces. haha nah really im fine.

What a week we had though. I know I say that every week but this one was especially awesome. We saw tons of random miracles throughout the whole week. First off, we are staying in the IRONBOUND together!!! So pumped for that. The transfer text came in this morning and we are staying so its all good. They were thinking about pulling us both out and doubling us in to a different area with a car to help E. Marquez' foot. but he played it off nice and told them he was fine.... SO we are staying. hallelujah. I've been praying for it and its going to be a great new transfer. Like half our zone is leaving though. We pretty much had the dream zone last transfer with tons of friends and crazy fun missionaries. They are all leaving though. E. Warnock is staying and this is his last transfer. Crazy. Talked to Elder Packer this morning and he is training!!! So excited for him. Ha I told him to get ready to meet his last companion! Ha he is a good friend. Other than that things are pretty much the same. 

Okay next miracle! M--- got confirmed yesterday in sacrament meeting and it all just went so smoothly and peacefully. He even walked all the way to church. He is doing great and is just soaking everything in. He absolutely loved General Conference last week. He was blown away that some of the quorum of the 70 actually were native Spanish speakers. Cool huh! 

Next miracle: This week we found four new investigators, which may not sound like a lot at all but trust me its a lot and they are all super solid. One was another media referral again named J---. (Miracle!). Seriously third one (media referral) my whole mission! He is this super old Peruvian guy who has a crazy thick accent and is super tranquilo. We started teaching him and we saw that his son was in the other room so right after the prayer, we went over and invited his son into the lesson. The father accepted baptism the first lesson and we set a date for the baptism the second lesson. Miracle!

Okay next miracle on the line: we found three less actives this past week. Ive probably knocked on each of their doors like 10+ times looking for them and no answer or anything. So this week we were just walking by and we stopped and tried each of them, three separate people, and they all let us in. It was weird how it all happened on the same week. What in the world?

Remember that family with the marriage problems last week? Yeah we got over this week and guess what! Everything was different and they are doing great no. Like no problems or anything. So again another miracle.

Well it feels weird to have 3 months left but things are just going good out here. Im excited to stay in the Ironbound for another and hopefully another after that! Thanks for being an awesome family. Glad it was a great week for all of us!

Love your boy,

Elder Sumsion

The hood - Newark NJ graffiti 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Ironbound Week 11

What a week is was. General Conference was amazing the past two days. Wow I was just blown away at how much I felt the Spirit and enjoyed the testimonies on the Apostles and Prophets. I think Sunday morning was one of the best sessions I have ever heard. There was just such a dense Spirit in that meeting that made me feel the power of it all. What a blessing. I especially loved Elder Brent Nelson's and Elder Holland's. It was a powerhouse and definitely life changing. Well I can't believe Chloe (his sister on a mission) is heading home this week. Thats been on my mind a ton the past few days. Its been nice having her out here with me. Honestly, its felt like we were super close even though we didn't have the best communication for the last 18 months. But wow she is actually heading home and I will miss her serving out here with me but I know she will do great things at home. Give her a hug for me!

We had a pretty rough week with one of our recent convert families. Well pretty much they got married about 6 months ago and we went by this last Monday and they told us they wanted to separate. Flip. So we talked it through with them for a little bit. We can only do so much because were not marriage counselors or anything. We then prayed with them and left, not sure what to do. The Bishop is out of town now. But we called E. Warnock and I told him whats up because he was there when they were getting taught so they know him pretty well. So on Tuesday night we went on a mini-exchange, me and him, and went over and wow it was powerful. Elder Warnock shared this story about two missionaries in Russia and how they were protected and taught the people there and then they fed us some Brazilian BBQ and then we talked about how powerful family scripture study and family prayer is. And the importance of going to church to center their relationship back on Christ. It was a pretty powerful lesson and we didn't give any marriage tips (don't have any) but we did teach them what we did know. The Gospel. And we knew that that would help them more than anything. So it went well. And they are doing a lot better now. They had us over on Friday to eat some famous fish soup that is traditional for the Holy Week in Ecuador, and they were both smiling and happy. They are awesome. 

We ate 9 times this last week. SOOO delicious but wow wayyyy to much food. Ha its a fun variety. Ecuadorian, Peruvian, and Brazilian. its like heaven. We barely have to buy groceries every week. Seriously I buy like milk and cereal (hate to break it to ya) and a few other small things. But besides that, we just get fed so much so we dont need any food. We haven't been walking a lot lately because we have been teaching more and had a few meetings. But the walking helps mellow the stomach out. So we have been in some need of some more walking.

I know this Gospel is true and it will bless anyone who lives it and that Christ died and lived again for all of us so we can be happy. Thats what this whole thing is about. Thanks for being such an amazing family. 

Love ya lots,

Elder Sumsion

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Ironbound Week 10


And we made it. After a few months of working with him, M--- got baptized yesterday!!!! Oh man it was such a cool experience. It all came together so nicely and yesterday was such a spiritual (and exhausting day)! Ha that was tough putting a baptism together while fasting. I almost passed out a few times. But hey vale la pena. But really it was a great week. We saw him almost 3-4 times this passed week and brought the Bishop with us and it just turned out so well in the end. We had his baptismal interview scheduled for Saturday night and he called us at like 7 and said he was still working. He finally arrived at 8 or so and we walked to the church by 8:20 and he passed his interview. It was like 9 then. So we had to snag a ride off some other missionaries to give us a ride home. We lived like an hour and 15 minutes from the church. It has been such a fun time teaching him though. He had such good desires from the first time we taught him. He accepted a baptismal date the first lesson and the only thing holding him back was a little with the word of wisdom and he had to work a lot so we weren't able to see him as often as we wanted. But it all worked out in the end. Check out the pictures. E Marquez was pumped to baptize him. Baptisms are some hard work here but I am so grateful for the chance to be part of one of them these last few months. Its cool how God makes things work out when we just try our best and act and repent when we make mistakes. It has been a good road. Now with this fire we are looking for some more people!

Yay!  This man was his own referral and well prepared - so great.

 Haha mom when you said that it seems like my area is tough and in a drought of a teaching pool, I almost laughed. haha the area I am in is the bomb. Seriously we have so much work we don't even have time to see everybody. Ha we have to fend off other missionaries from poachin' our members because we have so many. We have to schedule things in advance if we want to see the right people. Almost everyone works in the day so from 5-9:30 we are super busy. But I guess I haven't been super good emailing about that. Yes we need the prayers still tough. ha no but we are just working hard, walking a lot, and praying all the time. Its a super fun place to be. We are eating like none other too and all the walking is nice to get all that food settled. Seriously this place is the bomb and I hope I stay at least one more transfer! I will try to include a few more stories and things. We just had a baptism so this week we will be looking for some new investigators. We have a few but none are progressing super well so this week we will be hitting the streets and talking a lot. There is a new Easter video about Christ and the Resurrection called: Because He Lives. So they give us these cool little pass along cards specifically designed for Easter and this video. Its pretty powerful stuff. Not gonna lie, the church is pretty good at what they do. By that I mean, Christ is really good at what he does and good at preparing for what he wants done. So yeah we are seeing miracles.

It just hit me again this past week about how blessed I am. Seriously thanks for being such an awesome family. Its a good life and I can see how God has put me in certain places in my life and now the mission so I can learn and grow but also just be happy. I am doing good in this area and the zone around me is awesome. The members are great. The weather is good. There are just so many things to be grateful for. I just base it all off the Gospel and of what YOU do for me! God is so merciful and loving. 

I love all the pictures you are sending. I will try to send more myself. Love the smiles and the bike riding. Nice job, Sam, on giving that class in relief society and priesthood. That's intense and in front of a lot of people! I am glad things are going good. Thanks for all the love and packages. The brownies were great. Thank you! Wow if things are tough for anyone reading this, just know things will get better if you live according to the Gospel. Things will always get better. I know it to be true. Yes we have our dips and dives but happiness is God's plan.

Love you all,
Elder Sumsion

ouch poor racoon! - nature in Ironbound