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

Monday, June 8, 2015

Ironbound Week 20 - ONE MONTH TO GO

N'ork. Newark. New Ark. Nwerk. Nrk.

Hows it going family,
Solid week this last week. We saw a whole lot of success in different ways. Little things and big things all throughout the week. Its a blast being with Elder Welch. We are just good friends and maybe laugh too much now. Haha no but we are working hard and seeing some cool miracles already. Its crazy how fast the last two weeks have shot by with him. Its good being with companions at times that you are not so similar to so that you can learn and grow, but man, we are super similar and have the same sense of humor and work pattern so we are just working hard. And now without doing 12 week program with a trainee, we have a little more time to go out and hit the streets. So things are good. We are in the baptism month. Last year we hit our max in June and we are planning on blowing that out of the water. We have had a bunch of focuses on finding and now its time to really dig deep and help bring people to the waters of baptism.

D--- is doing great. Its insane how many 'coincidences' we have had with him. haha there is no doubt that every little coincidence is God's planning and timing. Things are working out too perfectly to be a matter of chance. Its been quite the last few weeks with him and he has some nuts stories of his life and he has had some crazy opposition to get where he is now, but he is on the right path and headed to freedom. It has taken a lot of faith and building him up and testifying, but he has seriously showed his faith to repentance and is taking those necessary big steps to come back. We gave him a blessing this last week. And we saw him randomly once when we were walking and he picked us up and we went and taught him. He is a beast and has a whole lot of faith. He laughs a lot but also gets into like these thinking stages were he is just sitting there thinking and we have to stop the lesson and are like- ok D---, whats up? What are you thinking about? And he tells us and its something really deep or something funny that we all just start laughing about. He has some heavy stuff to get over in his life. But he is making the right steps and talking to the right people. Its interesting how much we feel God's love for him and for us when we are with him though. I can just say God is always pleased with someone when they just take those first steps to come back. His arms are always open. He never gets mad or disappointed but he loves us and wants us to come back and turn to him.

We had a big zone meeting this last Tuesday. The zone leaders tore it up. They are such studs and we learned a lot about how to work better with ward councils and members. Its a big change by focusing and combining our efforts with the wards better. Well, its not really a big change, but its a change that brings big results. So we are excited for it. We also had an all mission fast and we all started it together through facetime on the ipads. It was sweet. We were kind of the link up spot here in Newark and we each facetimed a zone leader in a different zone and so all the zones were together on like 9 different Ipads. It was sweet. 

Well we got call from M--- this last Friday. He has some bad news that he had to head back to Ecuador and he had no idea when he was coming back. Could be months or years or never. So we went over on Saturday with the second counselor in the bishopric and we showed him where the church was down there and how he could get there and talk to the branch president down there. I wanna call up Brett and see if he can go teach him. haha too bad its on the other side of the country practically. Oh well. But he is good. I told him to add me on facebook so we could communicate. I guess thats the best way? haha weird... 

Well we have been working a lot with these two families and they haven't been progressing much and now we haven't seen them for like two weeks. We have set about 6 lessons with one of them and they have cancelled every time. Its heartbreaking but we are working with some of the other investigators. We are seeing tons of success with less actives though. We had 9 less actives at church yesterday. 2 boys are getting the Priesthood for the first time. One lady hasn't been in years, and another is working through some repentance stuff. Its been a good week.

Thank you for all the help with getting things set up for college! The schedule looks awesome. Thanks for staying up late late late. 

Tell Sam he looks like a boss working at a REAL job. Haha his bro didn't stand a chance with that. 

I love you all so much!

Elder Sumsion

skype zone conference or could be the fasting skype conference

Skype conference - they look so surprised. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

IronBound Week 18 and 19 - last transfer

 May 25, 2015 (5-25-15)
iPads and the Power of God


Welcome to phase 2 of the NJMM. Haha aka-the future. They are finally here!!! After 22 months and many jukes the iPads have finally arrived.
The long night of apostasy is over and here comes the lights and screens. Haha I don't know if you knew we were getting them. You probably did. But wow are they awesome. I first learned that we were getting iPads about a year and a half ago when I was being trained.
There were many dates set when we would get them but they kept getting moved back and I honestly thought for a while that the iPads wouldn't make it before I left. But to my surprise they called an all mission conference this past Tuesday. We sat there for 8 hours through some trainings and then around 3:00 we got them. So know they are in our hands and the work of God is just taking off.

It was a pretty weird week having an iPad. I mean a real handheld electronic device. The first few days I felt guilty just using it.
Like what in the world- it's been 22 months since I've had my own phone or tablet, I can't use that! I felt like I was restarting as a missionary. Ha but after it sank in it was pretty clear that this isn't the "end" of missionary work like it has been. Missionary work is still the exact same. You still teach people, knock doors, have disappointments, contact people, see miracles, change lives, study teach, find, baptize, cry, laugh. It really is all the same. The principles of missionary work will never change, but the tools we are given change all the time. First we had missionary discussions, then it felt right to have preach my gospel. Just as a phone, a planner, a pen, paper, car, or anything is a help for us, the iPads are the same.
Just another tool we can use to invite other to come to Christ. It's been fun getting used to them. I remember sitting there on Wednesday morning thinking "what in the world am I supposed to do with this thing?" Ha there are three stages of using the iPads for the mission.
We are on stage one which is teaching a studying with the iPads. So that all we do now. In a few weeks we will move to stage 2 which is about converting our records and area book and planner and making them digital on the iPads. They have all these cool programs. Stage three which will probably come after the next 6 weeks which is online proselyting, using Facebook and all that. But I probably won't be around to see it. Which is cool with me.

Well family some things happened this week that can't be explained except by the power of God alone. I can't describe everything that happened but I have seen some things happen that have change my life.
I know for a fact I was called to jersey for a reason. I have come to know for a very real sense of how much God loves us and how real his mercy and justice is. Basically we found this less active guy in the street about a week ago. He actually initiated it and called out to us, "elders!" His name is D--- and let me just say this has been the best, most spiritual week in the mission. There are some pretty interesting things that have happened and it's been a testimony to me that I have been prepared for jersey and meeting this guy and he has been prepared to meet us.

We saw him for the first time 10 days ago on Friday but we were on our way to a lesson so we got his number and we set something up for Monday. Well Monday comes around he calls us and for some reason I don't answer it. Just felt like I shouldn't. I call him back about 2 hours later and I'm like hey we still good to come by tonight at 8. He says yes. Well we go teach a lesson to a different family up in Harrison and on our way back to the ironbound my comp starts feeling pretty sick and is all shaky so we sit down for a second. We are already late but we had to stop so we didn't know what it was. Maybe the food or something. He couldn't tell. Well at this point it's like 8:15. Already 15 minutes late and I'm about ready to call this guy to cancel and set something up for tomorrow. We talk about it together for a sec then my comp jumps up and he is like "you know what no I'm fine. Let's go." Sweet. So we go and wow we finally get there he invited us in, within 1 minute he starts telling his whole life story and wow what a story it was. Baptized when he was 12 almost went on a mission. Had his call and everything and then fell away. It's been 15 years since he went.  Well so much more happened this week. I'll tell you more in detail maybe when I'm back in 2 months. It's about 10 pages in my journal of all that happened with him he last week. Well he comes to Church yesterday. We didn't even invited him initially he just said he was going. He says elders this is the first time in 15 years I have been in church and wanted to be here and I feel great.
His son calls him later and asks dad is something wrong. He replies you know son, I've never been better. Oh it was the greatest week. He is a great guy.

Well can't believe mom and Chloe are just chilling in New York. I looked you up. Where you are. It really is about 15 mile drive.  (We went back for Chloe and Alexis to see each other after 2 years)  Haha have a great week in New York and the rest of the family in Utah. La Tierra prometida. Haha well transfers today. My comp is leaving and I'm staying in the ironbound! Haha so pumped to be staying. Prayers are answered. Transfer conference is tomorrow. Well this is it. Last transfer. The beginning of the end.

I'm doing great.

Thank you and I love you,

Elder Sumsion

Sent from my iPad

16 paper planners vs 1 iPad! 

missionaries get trained on new iPads

June 1st, 2015
 T minus 1. Awesome comp. Awesome area

Here we gooooo. Well things are going great here. Transfers this last week and Elder Marquez got transferred to..... guess where.... Clinton with Elder Aspinall. Actually its called Branchburg now so its a little bigger. Elder Aspinall and I only got one together when we were both there months ago and for the last year we have been saying that they need to stick us together in Clinton again. Well like two transfers ago he got called back! And I kept telling him that Im headed that way. Well I guess my boy Elder Marquez is as close as he can get to me being there with him again. Ha so it worked out great. They will be a good companionship. Haha well I was feeling a little nervous at transfer conference. I prayed a lot and wow prayers are granted.They called Ironbound Spanish...... Elder Welch with Elder Sumsion. Ha I stood up practically laughing. No way. After President Taggart read our names, with a smile he said, " we expect some solid work to be done," knowing that we are both pretty old in the mission. I replied, "It will be done President!" Haha so I am pretty pumped. Elder Welch was trained by Elder Drewes a while ago and he only has about 5 transfers left. So yeah we are a pretty old companionship so we are going to tear things up this transfer. And we are both staying in the IRONBOUND. Sad to see some of my good friends leave this last transfer. Almost the whole departing group were good friends of mine. 

Well we had a nice hot week this week with tons of good stuff going. We got juked a lot but things worked out perfectly and we were able to see at least three different less active families that I have been trying to see in the last few months but haven't been able to reach them at the right time. SO right off the bat we are already seeing miracles. For example, on Saturday we got juked by a potential investigator, meaning that we set an appointment with them and he wasn't there. So we kept following our back up plans and we went and tried this recent convert's house which we have knocked probably like 50 times in the past and called a bunch, but that day the front of the apartment door was open so we went right up and knocked there door and part of the family was there. Well we taught the grandma and the uncle. It was like the saddest thing. There house was an absolute mess. Stuff EVERYWHERE just in piles piles. The grandma is bed-ridden because she cant use her legs and doesn't like going out much. Well we talk to them and its obvious things are a little rough. She breaks down crying and its just the saddest thing. She feels her family doesn't love her much and she has no friends and cant move but has to stay in this super messy house all day. It was so sad. Broke my heart. We taught her a bit and shared some scriptures on the Atonement and Christ and it seemed to brighten her day. So we get to ward council yesterday and we ask if someone can just call her and talk to her or maybe go by and the war council made plans to do it. So now she will be taken care of by the help of the ward. It was cool to see the ward council and missionaries work together helping and reaching out to her.

On Friday we went and taught F- and P-. It was a great noche de hogar with a few members of the primary presidency. They have been having some marriage problems and it is just the saddest thing. So the ward has learned about this and has been doing all they can to help them out. Well they put on this video about a missionary on his plane ride home (great) and he is telling stories about his mission to the guy sitting next to him. Its like perfect for the situation because it talks about how he help this family learn about the Gospel and forgiveness so they could work out there marriage. It was awesome and then we all spent the next like hour teaching and testifying about what makes us most happy. Pretty much all of us talked about our families and the joy we get from them. It was so good and just loaded full of the Spirit. They are doing better.

We left church yesterday and headed to a lesson and then we had to walk from Harrison to Ironbound and it rained a ton! Ha we had nothing with us so we got drenched to the core. It was crazy but fun. Lots of flooding everywhere. Like all these main roads were closed off and cars buried in like 2-4 feet of water. There were cops everywhere directing people where to go. Felt like we were being quarantined. Weird day. 

Wanna give a shoutout to Jason Barth for getting baptized this past weekend. So happy for him. Its a very spiritual thing to see two of my good friends be baptized. Its a very close thing to me.

Well hope you are loving life and happy. Summer is here. Hot and humid. Love you so much! 

Elder Sumsion