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
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