Happy New Year!

December 30, 2013

Hello Fellow New Year's Resoluters,
This past week was a little slow, since everyone decided to take a vacation. So visited and revisited members that were still here, and visited those we didn't usually see. Good thing they all like us.

Skyping with my family was awesome!!! This one made me a little more homesick than the first one. Probably because I am coming up on my year mark (11 month mark exactly today!!). I wish I had more time than around the 45 minutes that I got. "I didn't go on a mission to skype with my family, though!" :) Christmas on the mission, was great.  Next year, the Holidays will be even better, because at that point I would only have a month left on my mission, and will want to squeeze as much out of it as I can! That is going to come very quickly.

The highlight of our week was probably our lessons with Jesse. We reviewed the baptismal interview questions with him, and he is pretty much set. We haven't taught him everything yet, so there were some things he didn't know about, but he is very open and ready to learn. The only thing stopping the baptism: marriage. I hope they figure it out. Til then, we will just keep teaching and strengthening!

Today was yet another mission conference!
 Elder Kent F. Richards of the 2nd Quorum of the 70 was coming through town to visit family, and he asked President Van Cott if he could meet the missionaries. So he did! To summarize what we learned: Teaching simply, and to their understanding, so the Spirit can easily bare witness to them. That, and don't be a marshmallow hammer.

I love you all, and thanks for all the Christmas cards! I loved hearing from so many of you.  Keep the letters coming! :)


Elder Summerhays  

Family and Friends, Happy New Year to you all!
I want to thank all of you that sent cards, letters and packages to Caleb.  Sadly, our family gift to him was lost in the mail (still yet to be found) but because of all the love he received from you he didn't even miss it until we asked about it during the wonderful 40 min. we had him in our living room via Skype.  I know your letters and prayers truly sustain him and I hope you are blessed for your efforts.   With Love.

Merry Christmas!

December 23, 2013

  Inline image 2
Hello Festive Fellows,
I have an important announcement to make. After trying one right after the other, I have to say that Five Guys has better burgers than In-and-Out. Five Guys is still my favorite burger.

Anyway, it's been a good week this week. Some fun things have happened. I shall recount an even that happened, but I was not conscious enough to witness it.  Ah hem. The other morning at about 3:00am, Elder Bushman heard a knock on the door. He woke up Elder Taylor to go with him to check it out. Right as Elder Bushman left his room to the living room, he saw a figure walking back out of our apartment towards the door. She stopped, looked at him, then booked it outside with her friend screaming "What!  Some one *expletive* lives here? !". Elder Taylor locked the door, and they both went to bed. Nothing was stolen or moved. Crazy.

It's been hard to meet with people this week, since everyone is out of town for the holidays! We did have a few good lessons with investigators, though. Jesse said he believes in everything!  We just need to make sure that he understands, and eventually gets married to his girlfriend.  Second time in a row coming to church, hopefully next week he will stay the full three hours!
Now that I think about it, Sunday was probably the best day of the week (surprise, surprise). We had three of our investigators at church today, and despite us thinking no one was going to be at church, it was packed! We didn't set up enough chairs in the overflow. Sure, people are out of town, but others are visiting from out of town. So yeah, a whole bunch of people. We ended the day with good lessons to members, and a wonderful dinner.

I wanted to highly recommend Elder Holland’s talk, "Safety in the Soul".   I had a really good spiritual experience reading it.

The message that we have been leaving with members this week has been about blessing Jesus Christ this Christmas. Without all the filler talk, we challenged members to write down a gift that they will give to Christ. It can be reading your scriptures 15 minutes a day, or finding a friend to bring to church. On the back of the December Ensign, Elder Ballard is quoted saying (from the Oct 2013 Conf.) "We are simply asking all members to pray, knowing that if every member, young and old, will reach out to just “one”between now and Christmas, millions will feel the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. And what a wonderful gift to the Savior." It can be anything! We had them put it in an envelope, and put it under the tree. When you "give" that gift, whatever it may be, it will mean a lot more, as it is a gift to the Savior. It's not a goal that you will make and forget about. Since it is going to the Savior, it is going to be the best. The Little Drummer Boy did not give much, but what he did give, it was his best, and it was worth more than the"gold that perisheth". I know the Spirit of CHRISTmas will be better remembered and understood if everyone were to do this. And no, this is not a replacement for a New Year's resolutions. Still do those. :)
I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas! Thanks to everyone who has so far sent me Christmas cards and such!
Love you all!
 Elder Summerhays

P.S. Something we discovered: most generic Christmas cards, at least with an outside setting, have two cardnals in them, and they are usually red and yellowish-orange. We have found about five cards that have followed this pattern.
No idea what it means. Still cool.

A Precious Experience

December 9, 2013

This week has been crazy! I am not sure where to start. Good thing I have my journal, so I can just start at the first entry. :) Oh, and two of our lights in our apartment are broken, so I wrote in my journal partially by candle light (thanks mom!)
There was nothing too noteworthy at the start of the week. We had to catch up Isaac (Precious's son) so he would be ready for the baptism interview. We had Paul, his dad, teach the Law of Chastity to him. They were so mean!  It was hilarious!
Then we had a good lesson with John, a new investigator. He is an interesting fellow. Not much to say other than he is pretty interested.

The next day was insane although it started out normal. We have a new investigator named Jesse. We were looking for another less active guy that we had been working with.  He wasn't home, though his mom's boyfriend was. So we asked him if we could teach him, and he said ‘Yes’! It was a good first lesson (he is on date for baptism for Feb. 8th. Now we just need to help the rest of the family get active!).

We then went to the church building where the baptismal interviews for Precious and her kids were to take place, three days before the service. The kids were the first to go, and everything was fine. While they were going on, I was showing off my piano and magic skills, which was kind of fun. Then it was Precious's turn for her interview. Long story short, and without giving too much detail, the baptism almost didn't happen. Actually, for a day or two, it wasn't happening. Through misunderstandings and such, people were offended, depressed, and tried. I had to talk to President VanCott a number of times, trying to figure things out. Satan had done his best to prevent this baptism. Our whole apartment and Paul fasted the next day, hoping and praying for the best. Even with biking in the cold and stressing, it probably was the easiest, most dedicated fast I have ever done.

We felt like we should make brownies for Precious, in hopes to cheer her up. It was the first time EVER in my life, and probably Elder Weaver's life too, that we did not lick the whisk or scrape the bowl for a snack. We just washed it out with hot water. Making brownies while fasting is pretty hard, but we did it! Then, using a spaghetti strainer (my idea) we put powdered sugar on it. It worked. We missed them at the Christmas party, but we learned that things were cooling off, and that the baptism was now a possibility. The whole time we were acting as if it was going to happen regardless of the situation. People kept asking us about them, and we would talk normal as if nothing was wrong. Our hope was pretty strong. The next day, we delivered the brownies, ding-dong-ditch style. We later learned that a) Brownies are her favorite, and that she ate three immediately, and b) Pres. Miskin, a counselor to Pres. VanCott, was able to convince Paul to convince Precious to let him talk to her, something that she did not want to do, which was talk about anything related to the situation. He talked with her the morning of the baptism. Right after, we spoke with Pres. Miskin and eventually Paul, both of which pretty much said there were tears everywhere, strong Spirit, and that the baptism was a go. 
I'm not sure how many people were at the baptism, but a rough count in my head tells me it was around 50 or so. There were family and friends from everywhere. The talks were amazing! The ordinance was performed flawlessly (though Paul started out backwards, raising his left hand and such. It was funny). It was such a great relief to everyone that knew what had happened. It was an amazing lesson for me in faith and patience. 
Later that night, I invited Pres. VanCott to go with us to a lesson, and he blew my mind. The man is an amazing teacher. He gave me a lot of ideas. We tried to squeeze where we were getting transferred to out of him early, but he wouldn't budge. :)

So, parents, you will love what I did yesterday! I helped an awesome couple in the ward set up a fake tree, identical to our old fake tree. We listened to Bing Crosby on a record player. And, as a cherry on top, I suggested it and we did it, we did a time lapse of us setting it up. It was awesome. Nostoglia ensued. The Christmas Devotional was wonderful. Elder Nelson's talk was pretty cool! I loved it.

Today, we learned what's going on with transfers. Much to my surprise, I am staying in Redlands for at least another six weeks, and I will be training another missionary!!!! I was positive that I was going to leave, but God had other plans for me.  I am super happy that I get to stay in this ward and area. I love it here! The price I pay is training, and I accept. 

I am loving the work. I have learned so much!  D&C 90:24 is our mission scripture, and now it makes total sense to me. 
Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good, if ye walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith ye have covenanted one with another.
Keep up the holiday cheer, and if you want to send me Christmas gifts, please mail them to the mission office instead of directly to me. It's safer. :)
Love,  Elder Summerhays

December 2, 2013

Hello Dear Offspring of God,
This week has been slower than others, but not slow. Thanksgiving took a toll on our work slightly, but we are back on track! Thanksgiving was great. I will pay for it  next week. Lots o' food!  I had TWO! Thanksgiving dinners, since a family had a late one on Friday

My companion and I helped out with a food drive for the poor before Thanksgiving. We sorted boxes, expired jelly, and made sure every box had some gravy, among other things. It was fun. We may help Family Services again with Christmas. Later that day, after a wonderful dinner all our evening appointments fell through and we were at a loss of what to do. We prayed, traveled, prayed, and traveled some more. E. Weaver felt inspired to knock on a door, so we did. No one answered. We are going back another time. It was brutal, just trying to figure out what to do. Eventually we biked to a park, and sat on a bench. I was about to make a phone call, when a stranger came out of no where and attacked us!!! Just kidding, a stranger did approach us and asked our names and thanked us  for the work that we do. We talked to him were able to teach him the greater part of the Restoration. He is moving to Redlands to get away from his druggy friends. No immediate potential, but we have his number, and will contact him in the future. If we had just given up and gone home, we wouldn't have been able to be in the right place at the right time. We wouldn't have been able to give him a Book of Mormon, and to plant a seed. God tests our faith. It's sometimes super hard, but worth it in the end. I just hate waiting. I must learn more patience!!!!! :)
In our ward, there was this elderly that we never met, but have been trying to for a couple weeks. We talked to her on the phone a couple times, trying to figure out a time to meet. We finally do set up a time. We go there, no answer. We were disappointed. We learned a few days later that SHE DIED!!! Sadly, the police found her in her house, dead. This is the third elderly lady in our ward that has passed away in the past month. One we were happy we knew, the other was like this situation: we never got to met her despite our efforts to visit a few times without success, then dead. So yeah, I am being a little more careful with visiting older women in the ward. 

The highlight of the week was sacrament meeting. We had three less actives show up to church, one of which is on his way to returning to church. Both Precious and Paul bore their testimonies on the journey they have been on, and how the gospel has changed their lives. Both cried. I cried. It was awesome. I saw a tear on one of our less actives that is returning to church, so I know something hit him.( Either the Spirit, or dust in his eye). It was great. I am super excited for the baptism of Precious and her children this weekend.

I love the gospel. The mission takes a little extra effort than normal life, and sometimes it gets super hard. Christ didn't say it would be easy. He said it would be worth it. 

Keep on studying the scriptures and being good Christians!

Elder Summerhays

A long but eventful week...

November 25, 2013

Hello People!!!!
There is so much to talk about. Let's begin. 
I would say "I don't know what we were thinking", but we did think, and it was a good idea. We decided to leave our bikes at home, and walk all day. Everywhere. I guesstimate we walked about eight or so miles that day. At least!  We talked with a whole bunch of people, and ended the day with a really good lesson with someone we thought we were going to have to drop. Good stuff. We packed a lunch that day. I wish I had a picture of the soggy bag I took out of my bagback. It smells like mayo now. :)
It rained a whole bunch. We couldn't cross the street because of the river.
 A member we ran into drove us across.

I got sick. I credit it to not washing my hands before eating when we walked everywhere. While my throat hurted a bunch, I got to enjoy a deep "sexy man" voice for a week. I could also do a pretty a good Pres. Monson impersonation during that time. I am better now. Stop worrying, Mom. :)

A wonderful highlight of the week. We have been teaching Bobby, who has been meeting with the missionaries for a few years. His wife is an awesome member. Bobby grew up atheist, BUT is more active than some members. For the sake of his wife, he started taking the lessons. He simply wants to know. The other night, I had the strong prompting to do the following. We all got down and kneeled, and each said an audible prayer, asking that Bobby would recieve a sign, or something. The spirit was strong. While an angel didn't come down, and Bobby doesn't believe yet, he said his first, out-loud prayer, and it was wonderful. I cried (still a man, though). I think he will just figure it out one day. No tears. No being brought down to his knees. Just a simple realization. 
Church the following day was super good. A baby blessing, two farewell talks, and Paul got the Aaronic Preisthood so he can baptize his family next weekend. That about sums it up. 'Twas wonderful. 

A lot more happened, but it's more meaningful to me. Just know that stuff is happening, people are opening up, and more teaching is being done. For those members of the Church that read this letter, please step up your game on your missionary work. Just INVITE people. That's all God asks. If you invite because you love them, all will be well. Agency will take it's course, but their choice won't be your fault. Invite them into your gospel centered homes, and they will ask questions. The church won't grow unless it has it's active members doing their part. 

For those non-members of the LDS church, please visit www.mormon.org and take a look. I promise you will like what you see. :)

Love you all, thanks for the Fall letters and packages! Keep the love coming! As our mission president mentions in everyone of his letters to us, exersize GREAT faith and MIGHTY prayer. Stuff will happen. 

Elder Summerhays

We made cookies for the members! Delivered them "ding-dong-ditch" style

November 18, 2013

Hello Humanoids (and others),

This week got progressively better and better. For starters, we have a new investigator! His name, is Joe Smith. Yep. I do have righteous intentions, but I think it would be a plus to be able to say I baptized Joseph Smith on my mission. We have only had one lesson with him, but he is super interested. Seeing him this week. 
At first we were at a loss of what to do. A fun experience we had in trying to find stuff to do was when we knocked on a member's door, and he wasn't home. I felt the prompting to go knock on his neighbor's door, which I didn't really want to, which meant I really had to knock on the door. So we did. She yelled through the door that it was a Catholic household, and that they weren't interested. I felt that I could have handled it a little better, and felt kind of down. Right after stopping and trying to figure out what to do, the member drives up on his motorcycle! We had a good lesson and discussed teaching his non-member wife. If we didn't knock on the door, we would have left, and wouldn't have been there when he pulled up. 
We FINALLY had another lesson with our recent converts, Sabrina and Andrew. She has been so busy with her new job, and frankly is horrible at texting back, we never got around to arranging anything. We finally did, though, and had a great lesson. Andrew, who is nine, is a pretty smart kid. After explaining it, he was able to repeat back how the succession in the church happens, and how all the apostles are "prophets", one just has the active keys. Smart cookie. 
Then we had an amazing lesson with Bobby, who grew up Atheist, but has been taking the lessons for a couple of years because he knows how important it is to his member wife. We watched Holland's talk on faith, and the Spirit took over from there. So far, no miraculous realizations from Bobby, but he is making progress little by little. This Saturday, he is going to teach us a lesson from Preach My Gospel. Hopefully, after having studied it, he will recognize the spirit in his lesson on how to recognize the spirit. It should be awesome. 
We FINALLY had a lesson with Adrian, our busy-band friend. He says his band (Assuming We Survive-- good stuff, check it out) has won 5 out of the 5 major band competitions in California. I asked him if there were any more, and he said that there was one to win a trip to Hawaii, but they had won all the things that they had won this year and figured they should let other bands win. He's cool. We taught him the Restoration in five minutes, and I could feel the spirit. He is genuinely interested, he is just busy. He is taking the Book of Mormon with him on tour, though-- he told us that, we didn't "challenge" him or anything. We are excited. 
Then, the highlight of the week was the mission conference which we had. Pres. Van Cott returned from a mission president seminar ran by E. Ballard in Oregon a couple week ago, and so he was ready to share. He had the area authority, the mission presidency, a couple stake presidents and a couple counselors, his wife, and himself speak. It was really, really, good. So much spirit, inspiration and motivation received from that conference (it was eight hours long, so something should have been received). 
A small plus: I did a double take, and realized that a friend from BYU is visa waiting in my mission! So that's fun

Later that a night, a homeless kid approached us and basically said he believes the Book of Mormon more than the Bible, and wants to come to church with us. So that was cool. While he didn't show up to the meeting spot which we had determined, we did get to talk to a guy, and have a potential lesson with him, so it was not totally in vain. Hopefully we see the kid again. 

So, that has been my crazy week. We have another crazy week planned ahead of us. Teaching and finding by the spirit needs to play a huge roll. Hoping for the best. 

Elder Summerhays

October 28, 2013

Dear people that don't have to worry about transfer calls,

This week has been an amazing one. No, I didn't have any shotgun baptisms or near death experiences, but just the guidance and counsel that has been given has been awesome. 

First and foremost, Elder William H. Walker visited the mission. All the missionaries went in a line and shook his, his wife's, Pres. Van Cott's, and Sister Van Cott's hand. Elder. Walker was recently in CT (for the new temple in Hartford!!!!). He asked if I was related to the golfers, and I said yes. Turns out he played with Bruce Summerhays just a month ago. Small world.  We heard talks from him and his wife, Pres. and Sister Van Cott, and a couple stake presidents that were attending. It was great. No blood and thunder doctrine revealed, but awesome counsel regarding how to be better, more efficient servants of God. Some great stuff. We were there for about four hours. As a cherry on top, the church building it was in was in Beaumont! My first area!  So I got to ride memory lane.  I didn't realize what a crazy large bike area that was compared to the one I am in now.

The next day or so, we were blessed to have an amazing lesson with some investigators we hadn't seen for a while along with some good people fellowshipping them. It was an awesome lesson. Lots of questions were asked and answered. I can't wait to teach them again!

We had an awesome breakthrough with Precious.  Basically, she wants to be baptized, but she doesn't know when, and she doesn't know why she doesn't know when. But it was awesome! She has just seen the effect it has had on her husband and even herself.  She says that there is no way it can't be true. I'm super excited.

The next day, we did a five hour (more or less) service project. We helped set up some haunted yards, that are the most legit and amazing haunted yards in history!  We took an awesome picture of me getting eaten by a giant spider, though it wasn't on my camera. Once I get a copy, I will scan it or something and send it. Don't hold your breath.
That night was the adult session of stake conference. We wouldn't usually go, but the stake president wanted us there, because it was a First Presidency mandate that that session of stake conference would be about missionary work.  For fun, we were asked to sing "Called to Serve".  However, we would do a crappy job, the organist would play weak, and the conductor would dink around.  A member of the stake presidency interrupted us and said "This isn't good at all. They need some help. Let's get the bishops and ward mission leaders in!" They got up on the stand, and we sang a little better.  Interrupted again, "Let's get the auxiliaries, counselors, and others. Can we have the whole stake stand up and sing?!"  Everyone sang "Called to Serve".  I doubt I wasn't the only one that got chills. There were some amazing talks that night. It was all super motivating for the Stake. We are going to get a lot more help from members now (I hope). Super excited.

So, now for crazy stuff. We got our transfer calls today. A whole bunch of changes that wouldn't mean anything to you guys, but some that might matter to you: I am staying in Redlands for at least another six weeks with Elder Weaver.  My old District Leader, Elder Taylor, is becoming my Zone Leader with his old MTC companion. Elder Taylor's "greenie" is covering a YSA ward in San Bernadino, so Elder Taylor doesn't get to finish training him. Crazy stuff.  Excited for this next transfer. Awesome things are bound to happen. 
I am loving the work, and excited to continue it. Thanks for the loves and prayers.

Elder Summerhays

with  Elder William H Walker

Hello fellow readers of my life,

On Wednesday, we had our quarterly interviews with our mission president. It was good. Pres. Van Cott is a great man. Got some good ideas. The rest of that day we just visited people. Got in a lesson here and there. Pretty tired at the end of the day. We also went to lunch with Brad and his mom. It was Brad's birthday. All of his friends were either at college or on missions, so he asked us to hang out with him. It was fun.
On Saturday we did about four hours of service. In the morning, we helped paint a Sister's house with a bunch of other guys from the ward. It was the foulest smelling paint in the world. Painted the house grey with a maroon accent, from the really bright yellow it used to be. It was fairly fun. Then we had breakfast, studied, had lunch, studied, and then someone else asked us for help to move some things from a storage unit. So we did that for a couple of hours. By the time we were done, it was time to go to dinner. Our lessons had cancelled, so we were left with an empty night. I forget what we did. It was such a busy day and we got nothing done.

Sunday was really good. Elder Weaver and I spoke in sacrament meeting. E. Weaver spoke on Teaching the Gospel in the Home, and I spoke on obedience. E. Weaver gave a pretty good talk for someone that doesn't like speaking. I helped sing the in choir by sight reading. A page was missing at one point, so the times we had to sing that page, I just tried to guess the words. It turned out okay. I guessed well. :)

In my talk I included the story of when my cousin Tyler and his friends found a whole bunch of money in an abandoned house, but then did the right thing by returning it. I fasted before this talk as I did before my first talk on my mission, and it blessed me wonderfully. Never giving a talk again without fasting.

We were asked to help out in the primary that day, for Jr. and Sr. We helped a little bit with singing time. I knew all the songs but one. Then we divided into four groups and taught classes for about four minutes on how to be a missionary. I taught about prayer and how it can help prepare you to talk to people about church. Then I drew a picture of a missionary, tore him up, and restored it back together. What happens when a missionary does and doesn't pray, sort of thing. They enjoyed it. A bunch of kids were telling me about the glue I had or how I only ripped it part way, but I just smilied and let them look at the paper. I win. :)

This is the last week of transfers. I can't believe that I have been in Redlands, on bike, with E. Weaver for just about three months. And next week will be my nine month mark! That means if I made other decisions instead of going on a mission, I could have been a father by now. So you are welcome, Mom and Dad!

Hope everyone is doing alright, and that everyone is sharing the gospel to help build up God's kingdom on Earth! I will let you guys know if I am staying or going next week.

E. Summerhays

Hello fan base,

This week was good. Since Columbus Day closed the libraries, I don't have as much time to write as I usually do, so I will be brief but hopefully fulfilling.

A good chunk of the week has been filled with people flaking-out on us, with the occasional lesson here and there. Some fun experiences though. Like the crazy downpour of water from the sky! Since our bikes were locked in the garage, and the other elders had the key, we decided to just walk. We thought it had stopped raining, but of course, right as we finally walk into our area, it starts to rain like crazy. We were close by to Paul and Precious's house, so we walked over there, popped in and dried off, leaving a nice lesson with Paul. Most of the time we helped their kids with homework, which was pretty fun.
Exchanges with E. Barker was pretty fun, with two highlights. We got a new investigator that morning. At first he wasn't interested, but eventually he invited us in for some water, and then we started talking. He was a young guy, and had a rough life. Gave a great lesson on the Word of Wisdom, and even a blessing! We set up a time to see him the next morning. Unfortunately, when the other elders finally went over there to meet up with him (after rescheduling for a later time in the day, since he was tired), they saw two people talking on the drive way (one being the guy's dad), and a forensics van. They asked if he was there, and the dad made a stern face and shook his head. So they headed out of there quickly. So yeah, we don't know if he is dead or alive. Good lesson, though.
The other fun experience was that we started talking to one of our neighbors. Talked about the Plan of Salvation, and gave her a pamphlet and Book of Mormon. She started flipping through it and said "I don't understand. I shouldn't be able to read this. Any text this small I need my glasses, but I can read this!" We told her it was a sign! Another new investigator.

Hoping for more events this week. We are giving MIGHTY PRAYER a shot. Should have been forever ago, but now re-emphasizing it. So pray for me (or at least continue). Love ya all!

E. Summerhays

This was an odd week. 

It was not has productive has I had hope it to be, but we had some good moments. For P-Day, we went to the President Van Cott's house. I played pool (and won both times), and had Pres. Van Cott's 7 y.o. on my team, who was surprisingly good. He showed me a "magic trick" that he learned by flicking a coin into his sleeve. Played some piano, talked to Sister Van Cott, and sang happy birthday to E. Barker and ate brownies. Fun day.

Had a really good experience with Paul, our "re-investigating" friend. At the end of our lesson, he requested that I give him a blessing. This surprised even his wife, since Paul only asked his dad for blessings regarding anything. He just had some decisions that he needed some extra help on. So I gave him a blessing. While doing so, I had a strong prompting to mention the importance of the word of wisdom. One of those "I should not mention that right now, it's a bad idea, but the Spirit is too strong and I can't deny it", so I told him that if he want's clarity to receive answers to his prayers, he needs to follow it. I forget what else I said, but we had a lesson with them last night, and has said he has had no desire for coffee ever since the blessing. Wonderful little miracle. We watched Elder Holland's past two conference talks, which blew them away. Precious said she doesn't understand how people don't stand up and start clapping after his "Lord, I Believe" talk.

Then some fun stuff. I went on exchanges with the zone-leaders one day. We were waiting in the ward building's court yard, waiting for an investigator to show up so we could give him a church tour. The zone-leader get's a call from an AP. All of our plans switch around, because he had to be emergency transferred to my last zone, and E. Rosa (who has been both my district leader and zone leader) came here. Just some happy-fun-recent-convert troubles. Nothing major. So we said good bye to a bunch of people, and still some how got five lessons in. I loved being in a car.

Conference was amazing. I would have to agree with Pres. Monson, that it was one of the most spiritual conferences ever. I loved Uchtdorf's and Holland's talks (as usual), and especially the "exclamation point" guy. Can't wait for the Ensign!

With the boost of G.C., I am going to work harder and more efficiently this week. We are going to find investigators, teach a whole bunch, and just be so busy we don't have time to breath. Keep praying for me, and keep sending me letters! :)

E. Summerhays

Cool Weather, Cool Week

September 30, 2013

Wating for a ride
Dear Carbon-Based Life Forms,

This week has been a long one, but some wonderful little things have happened here and there. This week has been a lot of biking around, looking for people to visit. We have a good teaching pool, but the majority of them our lessons are few and far between. They are interested enough, though, that we can't justify dropping them. Slowly moving, but nonetheless moving forward. For example, Adrian's band has taken off a bunch. Shows almost everyday, and potentially signing with some record company ( I think, I forget exactly what he said. He is pretty busy), but he reads here and there, and wants to meet more. So we are wait for that wonderful day that we can have a legitimate lesson with him. 

   A family, where the mom is active, dad and son are not, brought a friend (the son's girlfriend), named Cyleen, to church. She surprised everyone else by telling them Sunday morning that she wanted to go to church. So even the LA son went! She loved it, and even cried during one of the talks. We met with her the following day, had an amazing first lesson, and she accepted the invitation to be baptized. We set a date the next day (though it will have to change due to Stake Conf, etc.), but she accepted it as well! She said the closing prayer, and said she almost cried during it. It was amazing. We also explained to her about Young Single Adults, having great fellowship there among other things, just so she would have the opportunity to choose, but she has decided for the moment she wants to go to the family ward. We are meeting with her again tomorrow evening. :)

   Then we had the opportunity to bring Paul and Precious (the part member family, where the husband is "re-investigating") to a baptism of another set of elders. Lots of people were shaking there hands as they came in, which was nice. The Ward Mission Leader of the other ward came to shake their hands, and one of those "what are you doing here?" moments happened. Turns out the WML used to work with Precious at a job they both got laid off at. So there was a connection and fellowship there. So much so, the following Sunday they said they were going to visit the other ward. Pretty much the whole stake was having their Primary Program, so it would have been the same wherever they went, since they don't stay for the full three hours (yet). Still, I'm so happy they are going to church. 

I meant to take a picture for you to see the giant hole in the back of my suit pants, and it's not the type that I can sew up.  All of the missionaries coming out and who have come out were asked to bring two suits.  Riverside for some reason only asked for one, but now most missions require two. The suit lasted at least 1/3 of my mission though, which isn't too bad.  I have to figure out how to buy a new suit now, any advice?

President Van Cott has challenged the whole mission to get 4 new investigators per each companionship. That is quite the challenge  but with the magic of Conference Weekend, I'm sure that is possible. 

Looking forward to an awesome week this week. Hope everyone has the same!

Elder Summerhays

P.S.  Today marks my eight month mark, which means I am one-third of the way done!!! Time flies too fast. Pretty soon, I will be going home, getting married, having kids, getting jobs, having grandkids, dying and going to heaven. Life is short... but still, WOOHOO, EIGHT MONTHS!!!"

At the Library waiting to email 

Transfer Magic

September 23, 2013

Hello people who wish they knew magic,

Not much happened this week, but of what did happen was pretty big. The baptism for Sabrina and Andrew!  It went well, with no hiccups or problems whatsoever. We are going to start teaching her new member lessons, so we are excited and anticipate the best.

A dinner of ours cancelled, and said they would drop off McDonald's for us, which we were happy for. While we were waiting in the living room, a man, with his hands full of things,  barged through our front door (without knocking), and says "Hi Elders".  Freaking us out! The first thought that went through my mind was "Why didn't our dinner knock?  That's a little strange, but that's okay." Then my eyes focused, we all realized about the same time that it was our mission president, President Van Cott,  dropping off brownies his wife made for us since we housed some greenies for the night. That was funny. He just got back from golfing with the mission doctor and a couple other mission presidents.  He said Pres. Smart asked about me. I guessed correctly when I asked if it was about my ankle. 

On top of the world at
Big Falls
 San Bernidino National Forest

We went to a the San Bernidino National Park today for a P-Day activity.  Our first zone activity in this area. We got some pictures. The only thing different about our district is new sisters, and minus a Spanish Elder companionship. One of the sisters is Sister Mickelson, who was also in my last neighboring area. Yes, Dad, I asked her. No, she is not related to Phil (the golfer). She said she gets that all the time.
"Leaning like a boss"
with Elder Taylor

Biking at night under a big
Californial Moon

That's pretty much it for the week. We are planning to have a busier week. I am not sure what I did to deserve finding two of God's elect, so I am going to credit my family, who fasted for me that week without me knowing. Thanks Family!
I have found Revelation!

Love you all,

Elder Summerhays

Wonderful Things

September 16, 2012

Dear People Who Have Fewer Stains On Their TiesThan Me,

It has been a crazy week. My thoughts are all unorganized (as always), so I will just do some bullet notes for this week's letter. Enjoy.

- We have been teaching Sabrina and her son Andrew for almost two weeks now. Unfortunately, this weekend they will no longer be be our investigators. It is a sad day, and we will miss teaching them the lessons, but it's what happens-- you are not an investigator when you get BAPTIZED!!!! Their baptism is this Saturday! In our second lesson, I asked if she had specifically prayed about the message of the Restoration, and she said "No". So I just asked her if she believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and she said "Yes". It caught me a little off guard, so I asked a few more questions, and they were all "Yes". I asked when she would like to be baptized, and she said "As soon as possible!"  So we set it for the following weekend, and have been teaching her almost everyday along with a ward member. It has been awesome! Elder Weaver will be baptizing Andrew, and I have the privilege to do his confirmation the next day, Sunday.  Sabrina is having some member's who have fellowshipped her do her ordinances. It's been wonderful ride.

- Elder Weaver and I have had great lessons with the part member family we have been working with. Not much to update, but they are progressing nicely.  I can't wait 'till they can stay for church the full three hours. That should help.

- With a referral from a member, we picked up some new investigators, Randy and Rebecca.  The member made some pumpkin bread, wrote Rebecca a note, and gave her a hard bound copy of the Book of Mormon with her name engraved.
The husband was there the first time we visited, and we talked a little bit. He said his wife most likely would not be interested, but he wouldn't mind chatting with us, especially about the history of the church (he is a history buff). We came back the following week and gave a wonderful lesson. Rebecca joined in for the middle of it, but had to leave to put her kids down.  They seemed to accept our message rather well, asking great questions and joking along the way. The following Sunday the member who referred us to them said she got an email from Rebecca, basically saying how much she enjoyed our visit, and how much she is
looking forward to next weeks visit.  It took all of us by surprise, and we are super excited to see them again on Wednesday.

-We finally met with Lucas, the only investigator we had coming into the area.  Due to school, family, and work, he hasn't been able to meet with us, though we, as a whole, have tried to make it work. Finally, he was able to find some time, and we met for about 30 minutes.  He is super interested in the church.  He believes in God, but has a hard time with Jesus Christ.  He says that doesn't mean he won't in the future. He asked if he could interview us for an essay he has  to write.  He has to write on something he is interested about, but doesn't know anything about, or something like that.  Of course, we said we would.  He says he will be writing about our dedication to our work, and our motivation to do it  even when times are tough.  It's very interesting. Looking forward to it.

-We walk around at a Farmer's Market every Thursday night to be seen and approachable, as per suggestion from Pres. Van Cott. Only two bashes have come from it, which isn't too bad. They weren't even good bashes.  Just annoying.  But we have handed out Book of Mormons (or Books of Mormon?) and pass-a-long cards to vendors and people walking around, and it has been great. It's probably a good thing that I only brought $2 with me last time, because there was amazing cake, olive oil, crepes, and roasted corn (corn on the cob, mayo, parmesan cheese, and Tapatio. Tried it in my last area. It's amazingly good!). This week though... I will just bring enough to buy a crepe. :)

-We biked all the way to the corner of our area to check up on a less active who lives in apartment behind a very popular brewery. Fun stuff. He wasn't home. I don't think he even lived there.

For the most part, those have been the highlights of the week. Today is the first day of a new transfer. Elder Saxton (who has been in the area for two transfers) is getting moved, and Elder Taylor (who just came from the San Bernadino Mission as a District Leader) will be training. So we will have a 'greenie' in the house!  Again!  Speaking of which, Sister Van Cott requested that we clean the apartment really well so we can house six or seven greenies for a night. We are getting brownies!!!   :)

This new transfer period is going to be great. New motivation, an increase in knowledge and spirit, and a clean house. I can't wait. 

direct address for at least the next 6 weeks is:
1122 Oxford Dr.  #D
Redlands, California

Hope all is well,

Elder Summerhays

Elders Weaver, Talylor, Saxton and Summerhays
"being themselves" from a thoughtful member feeding them that night

Best Week in a Long Time...

September 9, 2013

In a freak down pour, hiding under a tree. I did not get hit by
lighting, thankfully.

Dear Little Cabbages,

This week as been crazy. It would take too long to give details, but I will do my best to describe the cool things that have happened.
My District Leader, Elder Taylor and I went on an exchange. Another set of missionaries took us to go emailing (since it was Labor Day the day before, we couldn't go to the libraries to email). After emailing, we received a call from a recent convert saying that he needed help that instant to move out of his house. Too hard to explain why he had to move all of the sudden, but we said we would help. Long story short, that was our whole day. Besides having a really good talk with an investigator that night, we did not do any missionary work in our own area. We helped move for much longer than we had anticipated, and since the other elders were going to be late for their dinner, they asked permission and we just tagged along with them to their dinner. So that was a tiring day, but nonetheless interesting.

Tuesday, we went to the Redlands Temple! It was a wonderful experience.  I got to the work for an ancestor of someone I did the baptism for, four years prior in the Manhattan temple! It was really awesome. While there saw some of members from previous wards that I had served in working at the temple!  It was good to see them.
Now for the highlights (summarized, kind of). There is a part-member family that came to church a few weeks ago. We learned that the husband is a returning member who is "re-investigating" the church with his non-member wife and, eventually, kids. We set up a time, and finally met with them. We have taught them two lessons so far, and it has gone wonderfully. I am super excited to be teaching them and look forward to our lessons in the coming weeks. The next day, we taught a woman and her son, who was a referral from a member. We held the lesson at the member's house, and that went wonderful as well. Both sets of investigators had already attended church with their friends/family before we were even teaching them, so that is a bonus! I am so excited about teaching these people. I am praying hard that nothing screwy happens, and that I don't get transferred next week (knock on wood).

I really enjoyed this week.  We got the spiritual boost that we needed. Keep praying for us, and keep sending me letters! I love it.

Hope all is well,

Elder Summerhays

My companion with Nerf-darts in his eyes. This is not photoshopped.

Eating a Twinkie in the first time in maybe eight years.

It's Time to Work Harder

August 26, 2013

Dear partners in crime, and other stuff,

This week has been filled with visiting people. When one is short on investigators, and new in the ward, it's the best thing to do. I wish I could write about all the people I have met, but it would be too long.  Just know that there are some great people in the ward, and some great Less Active people that need the gospel.

We did a nice "Q&A" with a Born-Again couple in their garage. It was a good conversation, the only thing that bothered me is that they were not interested because they "have read and watched enough about it" to know it's not for them. They have not read "It", but apparently they "know". Don't you love TV?

On Wednesday it was Multi-Zone Conference. It was fantastic. So much learned and was so inspired that I can't write it all. It was very motivating. 
One of these days, instead of biking, Elder Weaver and I will be walking.  It will be a good test in planning, and give us more opportunities to talk to people.  Elder Weaver is not too excited about the idea, but that's the benefit of being a trainer!

We have a new investigator names Lance. He is the father of a blended family, so he has nine children. He has been taught by the missionaries before, and loves talking to us, but he made it clear he has no plan "in converting anytime soon". That is okay. If the Spirit tells him sooner or later, he will get baptized sooner or later.

We have another investigator who was really excited about learning about the church, and really felt the spirit. We were going to give her a tour of the church, but her mom did not allow it. Since she is only 17, we can't teach her unless we have a parents permission. The girl  said it's okay, but I'm wondering if her mom said it was okay as well. We will see. If we can teach her, she will be a great investigator, and eventually member.

On Saturday, I prayed for a miracle. The week had been slow, and mostly due to our efforts. I needed a jump start for the upcoming week. On Sunday, we were introduced to a part-member family. The father wants to become active again, and his family, the rest of whom are not members, want the missionaries over. It was wonderful!  We will be meeting with them sometime this week. It was the boost I needed.

All is well with me.  As always, I would love to hear from you!  Even if it's just a short email saying hello!  Hand written letters are great, too!

Lovin' the mish!

Elder Summerhays

Making Connections in Redlands

August 19, 2013

Dear Family and others whom have put up with me,

I only have a few minutes because we are still learning how to work with the library here in Redlands.

Last night, Elder Weaver and I  had dinner with the Tucker family.    Brother Tucker was my Dad's companion for a while in the Colorado/Denver mission back in the day when it covered Wyoming and Kansas too. It was great to swap stories my dad had told me and hear about other missionaries.  Then I gave him my Dad's phone number and assured him that he would be up at the hour we were calling him (which was late in CT).  
While they talked I only heard one side of the conversation but I had the strangest feeling just watching Bro. Tucker talk to my dad about everything!  They caught up with each others life and then started swapping there own stories, some of which they shared, others that were just there own.  I had heard bits of pieces of these stories my whole life.  After they hung up I closed the night by sharing a few magic tricks with them, a prayer, and called it a night. It was a great experience, and made both of our nights.

Our week has consisted of tons and tons of biking. We are trying to meet as many members as possible and fellowship them! Investigators-through-members is the way to go! We have had some good experiences with that, especially yesterday. We were just in the right place at the right time for a family who’s daughter was in a bit of a spiritual crisis.  With the spirit’s guidance, we were able to help.   Her mom thanked us so much and told us that it was a direct answer to her prayers.  Experiences like those keep me going.
My awesome new companion Elder Weaver
that I have the privilege to train
Training has been going well so far.  I wish we had some people to teach, but I am sure this is a test from the Lord. Someone is waiting for us, and the Lord is waiting for us to be at a certain level of spirituality until he gives them to us. There are a lot of great members here. With everyone we have met, we have, simply put, challenged them to give a Book of Mormon to a friend in the next two weeks. There is a guy in our ward that can engrave names on front and testimonies on back of hard cover books, so we are taking advantage of that. It's great.

Now that I have thought about it, that has pretty much been our week.  Pray for us to find people.  As Preach My Gospel says, when you are not teaching, there is no missionary work being done.  So we are going to change that. 
Thanks for all the love!

 Hope all is well,

Elder Summerhays
◄Design by Pocket