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New Jersey is a great melting pot of cultures from all over the world. English missionaries can expect to come in contact with people from Ghana, India, Nigeria, Italy, Korea, and Ukraine, just to name a few, while Spanish missionaries will surely encounter a wide range of Hispanic cultures from Uruguayan and Ecuadorian to Dominican and Mexican.
It is humid year round in New Jersey, making the summers feel incredibly hot and the winters feel incredibly cold. All the humidity is worth it, however, to be able to experience Jersey in the fall. The leaves turn multiple shades of reds, oranges, and yellows around the beginning of October and create scenes that look like they are right out of a painting. Springtime is just as gorgeous as the trees blossom with bright pinks and whites.
The Church is small but growing. There are 5 stakes and 1 district in the state with 4 of those stakes and the district belonging to the Morristown mission. Members are always willing to help missionaries in their areas and ensure they have everything they need. Most of the missionaries are in car areas due to the large size of areas, geographically. However, the areas along the northeast coast are more densely populated so missionaries do not have a car there.
A popular snack native to the southern part of the mission is water ice (like Italian ice). Popular foods in the north are fried chicken and pizza (yes, they are usually served together). Jersey pizza (known as Jersey pie) is a must!
Many of the areas where missionaries serve are ridden with gang violence and crime. Missionaries are instructed to follow common safety precautions, like not carrying a lot of cash and not walking around after dark. Most missionaries, however, don’t encounter too many problems from locals because they are seen as “God people” and are well-respected.
8 Forest Way
Morris Plaines, NJ 07950
Straight from the New Jersey Morristown Mission:
*What items were hard to get or not available?
*What did you eat the most of?
“Normal American food (and a lot of Philly cheesesteaks, hoagies, and pizza).”
“New Jersey is a melting pot so I ate every nationality of good on a regular basis (except for Mexican) There is a lot if South American food but not Mexican.”
*What is the craziest thing you ate?
“Cold cucumber soup from Finland, and Tripe from South America.”
*What was most surprising about the culture?
“When I heard I was going to New Jersey, I pictured cities that would be similar to New York suburbs. I was shocked when I arrived to find beautiful rural areas covered with peach trees and farms and stunning landscapes. I found out that people in South Jersey consider themselves to live in the suburbs of Philadelphia instead of New York. Most areas were very safe and pleasant.
“It was the first time being Caucasian made me a minority. It is a bit of a culture shock all the different cultures but you will get use to it and miss it when you finish your mission and go home. New Jersey has beautiful country and industrial urban city so you will experience both extremes of that.”
The diversity was great in the bigger cities. We would go tracting in neighborhoods where we would meet staunch Italian Catholics, Hasidic Jews, Southern Baptists, Pentacostals, Buddhists, Hindus, and Atheiests all on the same street. I loved learning about their religions and seeing the common beliefs we all shared.”
*What advice would you give to someone going to the New Jersey Morristown Mission?
“For all sister missionaries: don’t have bangs. The humidity will make them weird and curly! :)”
“Be bold. It is customary when you get picked up at the airport to go and have a street meeting where you shout your testimony and truths of the gospel to a very busy corner in the city. Don’t be shy bear your testimony to everyone you can’t tell who The Lord is preparing so share it with anyone who will listen. Be mindful to have clothes for very cold snowy winter and for extremely humid hot summers. Also the people feel such sympathy watching you walk in the heat and they will often give you water bottles or invite you into their homes for water/juice, it’s a perfect opportunity to teach and let them know why you are there.”
*What do you wish you had known before you served?
“Obedience brings blessings. Keep the mission rules and the spirit will assist you in the work. Also love your companion, when your not getting along with your companion the spirit withdraws and you can’t effectively teach. You will have companions that you will be good friends for life but you will have companions that will be a challenge. Learn to love them, you are together for a reason/ purpose that you might not understand or know. If you do your best and give your all to The Lord each day and your effort is acceptable to him it doesn’t matter what happened or what disappoints come, he will bless your efforts and the work will move forward, the biggest tool the adversary uses on you is discouragement. People will feel the spirit n know what they should do and still not choose the right and it is heart breaking don’t let disappointment or discouragement fester. It will bring you down, just do your best, that’s all you can do. Remember this is the Lords work. He will help you.”
“They now has several languages being spoken in our mission: English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Koren!”
**Did you serve in the New Jersey Morristown Mission? If so we would love to hear your advice and your stories! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org**