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
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