Thank Goodness for Clouds

July 21, 2014

Hello those who know and don't know me,

As usual, I feel there isn't too much to report on, as far as details. Still, there are a few people I'll talk about, because, you know, I am a missionary, and talking to people is what I do.

We are teaching a 10 year old, Gunner, right now. It's really helping me to learn to teach even more simply. His mom is supportive, though doesn't share her beliefs so she doesn't affect Gunner's decisions. He shows awesome understanding, and accepted to be baptized if he learns the Book of Mormon is true. Our challenge is going to be fellow shipping him. We want to bring kids with us, which might be a little hard, though we have to do it before school starts again! We are hoping for the best.

We are also teaching another family that is similar to the situation of one of my converts, Bobby (remember him, he was the Atheist that got baptized in Redlands). He believes in God, but not in Christ or in organized religion. He thinks it takes away from the important things. Why have all of these fancy shamncy rituals, in all religions, when we should focus on worshiping God? He's partially right. I would say that we should never let the culture, people, or the occasional politics get in the way of our salvation. If you get offended or confused, think about the sole reason you go to church, and then keep going. I have seen so many people who got offended, and then stopped going. Don't do that!! So yes, in that aspect, the man-created parts of organized religion is occasionally distracting. The God-given parts, however, are not. That's what we should focus on. Baptism and partaking of the Sacrament are important because, in all simplicity, God said so."I made this my rule- when the Lord commands, do it." - Joseph Smith 
So yeah. He is a great investigator, and wants to know. It's the desire to change, though, that will get people.

Pray that all the missionaries investigators will keep commitments. That's how we help build their faith, and help them receive answers to their prayers.

Thanks for all that you all do! I am loving the mission, and hope that I will be able to write more next week. 

Elder Summerhays

Hills + Golf Course = Yucaipa

My new companion Elder Ashcraft

July 14, 2014

Hello those who don't have to bike up and down hills to share the gospel,

No longer am I in the city of San Bernardino. Here I am, in the city of Yucaipa. I started out in this stake when I was in Beaumont. It's nice to be back to a familiar-ish area. A lot of the members know people I know from the Oak Valley ward, and even Redlands! There are so many hills here. It's pretty much a bunch of hills on one giant hill. I live at the top of the hill, out of my ward boundaries, so it's a lot of biking to get in our area, and especially to navigate it. It may have taken years and years, but I know have a great appreciation for the grid system. That doesn't exist here, so it's going to take me a while to learn the area. So far so good, though.
My new companion is Elder Ashcraft! He is from American Fork, UT. There goes my mission-long pattern of having a companion not from UT, then one from UT, and repeat. Two UTs in a row. I'm not complaining, though. 
God watches over me and my bike! When I arrived, I just had my broken bike. I broke the crank on it a few week prior, so when I had to start using it again, I just used it as a glorified scooter. Rode it down hill, walked up hill. Eventually, we meet a member, who's husband is not a member. They see my bike, and say I can borrow their bike, which was seldom used anyway. Back in business. 

I just started the Book of Mormon over again, and decided to keep a study journal of every thought I have when I read. I have felt super inciteful these past few days with it! The first chapters of the Book of Mormon are filled with so many things that can be missed over if just simply read. I feel like a cross-referencing master! There is so much to be learned! For example, Laman and Lemuel talk about how they are not sure how God can deliver them from the wicked King Laban, since he can "command fifty, yea, even slay fifty." They forgot that God is God! It's similar to tithing. Some may think "How can God deliver me from this financial burden? Doesn't he know my rent is due, and I won't be able to pay my tithing?" We sometimes forget that God is God. Is God greater than man? Yes. Greater than money? Most definitely. So what are we worried about? We must exercise faith like Nephi, and go and do. "Wherefore, let us be faithful to him." No wonder Laman and Lemuel were afraid, because they forgot the greatness and grandeur of God. Do not forget the greatness of God.

Loving life!  Approaching my 18 month mark! I feel so old...

Be Strong!
Elder Summerhays
​Elder Ashcraft and I doing service for an investigator.
 Can you tell who worked the hardest?

Good Bye, San Bernadino

July 7, 2014

Hello those who probably can't fit all of there belongings in two suitcases (and a couple bags),

That's right. I am leaving the San Bernardino 4th ward. I am going to.....
the Yucaipa 3rd ward! I have heard some great things about the ward. Plus, it's in the Yucaipa Stake, which is where I started out! So I am sure I will run into some people from Beaumont. I will miss the 4th ward. It was a fantastic ward. The people could really love people. Members, wherever you are, do your best to not be, or even appear to be, judgmental, and show love to all. Fellowship is a part of the doctrine of the Church, and we must all do it-- because it's good for us and others, and God said so. So there.

This week has been pretty decent. I feel that we have worked hard. The fact that people don't like to keep commitments makes it a bummer. Maybe we aren't committing people with enough Spirit or conviction. Either way, it's always a bummer not to see people at church or at home when they said they would be. It kind of makes for a slow week, but it also makes one think and rely on the Spirit. The times that I do, I feel blessed and accomplished. It gives the week the little highlights it needs to make you feel like a missionary. 
One morning, we decided to walk. So we walked and walked. We saw an older couple sitting in their awesome front lawn. A western/hot rod theme. We started talking to them, and I used the knowledge of cars that I had (thank you, Top Gear) to talk with him. It was really interesting, and really cool. I found the perfect opportunity to segue into religion, and almost immediately he shoots it down, saying "No, it's okay. We like you just the way you are, you don't need to tell us about it, because we won't change. We have had some bad experiences with your religion." I got really bummed. What seemed like it was going to be a great contact, seemed to turn 180 degrees. Then he mentioned that his daughter wouldn't go to his mother's funeral because it wasn't of her faith, the faith that he thought he were, which he had come to dislike. I got a little confused, verified, and then told him that we weren't of that faith, and that we were "Mormons." "Mormons?! In that case, it's great to meet you! We love Mormons!" They told us about how they worked at a hospital that was on the downhill, then Mormons came and treated people nice, paid nice, and fixed it up. Good job, members! They gladly accepted a Book of Mormon, and said they would read it and let us know if they have any questions. 

So the Spirit is good! The Church is good! The Gospel is good! Be good, whoever you are. I hope I get to have the same, if not better, great experiences I have had here. Hopefully I will get to come back to some baptisms if all goes well. 

Love you all,

Elder Summerhays

Almost July

June 30, 2014

Hello people who have just experienced time travel,

Today, I have been out 17 months. What?! It's almost July, which is strange because Easter was yesterday.

Missionary work can be funny sometimes. Sometimes, you are on fire: everyone is home and answers their door, investigators keep commitments, and it's 75 degrees. It was not one of those weeks. It was spotted with good experiences though, guided by the Holy Ghost. For example, while on exchanges with an Elder Teisina, we decided to walk to our dinner appointment. We walked past a lady sitting on her porch, not really talking to her. I felt guilty, but kept on walking. Then a prompting and an idea came to mind. We walked back, and I asked her if she knew of anyone who was in need of help, physically or spiritually (don't get your hopes up, no new investigators). She said no, then called for her husband, asking if he knew. He came out saying "It's okay, we are not interested.", not really answering the question. By the end of our conversation, they had a card with our number on it in case they ever needed help or had any more questions about the Church, leaving them both with smiles on their faces (and ours), being representatives of Christ.

It's those little experiences that remind me that God is there, and that we should really listen to those little promptings that we sometimes brush off. 

Another good highlight of the week was due to one of my favorite things: meetings! All the district leaders, and some other elders, had a conference, talking about our duties, and some ways to increase the productivity in our district. The theme, if you can call it that, was having every number supported by a name. Having the district know about everyone's investigators. We don't just set mindless goals, but have a child of God to back each of those people up, so we focus on people, not numbers. If we love the investigators, we will automatically do all we can to help them reach baptism, and if we simply love, we will (almost) automatically keep the commandments. 

Transfers are next week. I wonder what will happen. As long as I get to teach, I'm happy. 

Elder Summerhays

Me, edging with a weed whacker like a pro.
A beginner pro.

Elder Smith and Elder Langi.
Working hard, and hardly working.

Service = Sore Muscles

June 23, 2014

Hello people with and without hair,

Once again, I have forgotten my journal. Oh well. Pray that my memory is good. I forget if I have amnesia or not, though. So bear with me, because I forget if I have amnesia or not, so bear with my because I might have amnesia.

I'm done.

We performed service for the city of San Bernardino for a couple days, and it was awesome! The first day, I shoveled, filled, and hauled sand bags. The next day, I picked up garbage around a baseball stadium (I felt like I was a convict) and power sprayed the bleachers. Sometimes we had a little too much fun with service (especially the power washer. I won't give details, but let's just say it was hot, okay?) Service is a wonderful missionary tool. Our mission is beginning to work through a new service called It has been shown that the test missions of this service showed an increase of 30 baptisms! I wish I could remember the examples of service in the Book of Mormon (aside of Jesus Christ, of course). Those that performed service showed greater success, as far as conversion, than those that did not. Service is how we can serve ourselves, others, and God at the same time. Who wouldn't want to serve? 

We had interviews with our mission president this past week. Have I mentioned how amazing President Van Cott is? Elder Walker of the Seventy told us that "it doesn't matter where you serve. It matters who your mission president is," and that we "have an amazing mission president". He has helped me so much. Love your church leaders. Follow and pray about their counsel, and you will be alright.

A highlight of the week. We met a kid named Jordan on the street the other day. He is friends with a less-active Samoan member we found, who is pretty cool. We started talking with Jordan about the gospel. I forget what was said exactly, but it hit him. Even with this little Asian lady came by, telling us that we were deceived, and to go to the local Christian church to find out why we were wrong, Jordan stay strong. I even offered service to her, with a card with our name and number on it, and she said "No, that's just how you 'get' people, is by serving them." Well, she is mostly right. I made sure that she did not want free service from the missionaries, and then told her that if we got the opportunity, we would ask the pastor at the Christian church. After she left, we continued talking to Jordan, and all was awesome. He was our only investigator that came to church that Sunday, and it was ward conference, talking about the importance of missionary work. After services, he said that "he liked it, almost loved it", and that we was going to come back next week! It was a little miracle. We have over 20 investigators (some are technically investigators, though we haven't been able to meet with a handful of them), and most of them aren't as progressing as Jordan has proven to be. The Lord puts us where he needs us, and then we, as his servants, should do his will. If not, then the blessings will go to someone else who follows his well. I'm sure I have had my fair share of both sides, but of course we should all strive to be the once to receive the blessings, and not hope that someone else will do it. We just need to do it. 

Loving the mission. Exciting things are about to happen. Share the Gospel. Love one Another. Repent and forgive. Be and Example. Keep your family close to the gospel. Keep yourself close to the Gospel. Be Awesome. "And above all things, have charity."

Elder Summerhas

I guess I had one to many goodie.
One good pedal and I snapped the crank off my bike.

Highs and Lows

May 26, 2014

Hello my fellow friends, family, and other (if you are not my friend, feel free to become one),

HUGE grasshopper guarding the church
This week has had some highs and lows. I don't have as long to email since the libraries were closed yesterday for Memorial day. So here are some events:

-I am staying in San Bernardino with Elder Frost for yet another transfer! This will be an eventual total of 4 months together. Our Zone Leaders, E. Smith and E. Langi are also staying together, and will have been 6 months. A lot of other people are staying too. So we must be doing something right. Or we need to learn something. I will go with both.
-While standing on a corner of a busy street, making some calls, a lady stopped and got out of her car, came over to us, and basically asked for us to teach her. She was going through some difficulties, had met with missionaries before, and felt that she should stop. It was awesome. Our follow up appointment didn't work out, but I am excited to start teaching her.
-I had a delicious dinner with some investigators, and taught them the Restoration. It was great. They really wanted to learn about the Plan of Salvation next, but we told them next time. Leave them wanting more. :)
-I gave a talk in sacrament meeting. On what? The Message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I got a lot of really good compliments. And one "complaint"... because I made them cry. :) It was really awesome. The more you share your testimony, the stronger it gets, and I can testify of that. Share it with every one.

-The Low? Well, it seems that I have developed a horrible habit ever since the start of my mission. I never really considered my self a forgetful person, but I have misplaced, lost, or had stolen so many things on my mission, and now, unfortunately, it's time to add to the list. My backpack got stolen out of the back of a truck while we popped inside the mission office. So in front of a church. I went to grab it when I emailed last week, and there was nothing to grab. The other elder's stuff was fine. There goes all of my notes, camera, sd cards, scriptures, the backpack, a few magic tricks, a flash drive, sd card reader, some lint, a hymn book, and my dignity. Okay, I still have some dignity left.
My companion attempted to kill a fly that landed on my flower.  Flower mangled, fly unharmed.

First thunder and lightening I have seen here.  Intense.
So yeah, it's been a fun week. I am excited to work hard this transfer! Keep me in your prayers as always. It's getting pretty hot...

Strengthen your faith! Be obedient! Love one another!

Elder Summerhays

100 Degrees and Enduring

May 20, 2013

Hello to all who likely did not sweat as much as me this week,
Yes, it was  over 100 degrees, and week biked a bunch. This San Bernardino weather is so strange. It's going to cool down for most of this week, so we are looking forward to that. It is the last week of the transfer, and lots of things are changing. Our Mission President is making two Spanish speaking zones, and one English speaking zone per stake, where it simply used to be two zones a stake. So stuff will behappening. 

We are working harder and harder to become better missionaries. We have learned that planning is everything. If we master planning on our missions, we will not only be able to use the skills for our missions, but for our lives. If we ever are having trouble teaching, finding, or baptizing, then we need to plan better, especially by the Spirit. With planning, teaching simply is another skill we need to develop. We need to teach so simply that a child can understand it. So we are doing that.

As on things to report on, not much. Found some new people to teach, had a great Zone Conference on planning and teaching, and how obedience brings blessings sort of thing. 

Transfers are coming up, so we are going to work out hardest to make it the best last (knock on wood) week in the area! Maybe. We will find out next week.

I love you all! Read the scriptures daily! Say your prayers fervently! Go to church weekly! Serve everyone!

Elder Summerhays
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