Monday, October 16, 2017

Week #67

Howdy y'all! Man what a good week. I hope y'all had a great week this week! The weather here has been so nice, I think it's here to stay now! There have been a lot of big things that have happened this week, and it seems like time just keeps getting faster and faster!

So this week we were privileged to hear from President and Sister Youngblood. They gave some great trainings, and I was able to learn a lot from them! We also learned how to change a tire and change the oil in a car, which was fun. Thanks Grandpa Tracy and Dad for teaching me that when I was younger, it came in handy!

This week we had the opportunity to do some service for an elderly lady in our ward and her roommate, Deborah. Deborah is a solid investigator we have! We had to move about a ton of rocks from one side of their property to the other. They rented a truck, and Elder Paulukaitis, the Zone Leaders, and I shoveled it into the truck, which Deborah drove to the other side of the house, and then we unloaded it. It only took 1 1/2 - 2 hours, and we had a lot of fun doing it! Deborah is progressing well and is reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and coming to church! She's doing great.

The Redd family is still going strong. Their only hold up is attending church, but Holly and the girls Gracie and Vannah are all reading and praying as well. They are such a wonderful family and are loving the lessons we are teaching!

Tyler is doing great! Jakob has helped us with the lessons so far, and we are going to see him again later today. He wants to get baptized so bad, it's great! On that note, Jakob also received the Priesthood yesterday. It was such a wonderful moment to witness. Now he can baptize his brother if Tyler wants him to.

We have a few more people we are working with, but we have not been able to meet with them too much this past week. We will definitely be picking it back up with them this upcoming week!

The spiritual thought I wanted to share this week comes from 3 Nephi 11:39, which reads;

39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.

I love this verse. In this part of the Book of Mormon, Jesus visits the people and teaches them His gospel. At the end of this chapter, after He teaches more principles, He leaves this promise. If we build our faith and our testimony on the Savior and on His teachings, we will have a strong foundation, a foundation that is unshakable when the winds of the adversary try to beat us down. The Savior gave us these teachings so that we can find the most peace, happiness, and joy possible in this life. Life will not magically be perfect as we live the gospel, but we will be able to bear with patience our afflictions, and we will be able to find joy in the things that matter most. I know that to be true. Our Savior willingly gave His life for each of us. He knows us personally. He loves us. He knows exactly what we are feeling and what we are going through, because He felt all of that first. I challenge each of you to turn to Him a little more this week. Thank our Heavenly Father for the endless blessings He has given you, and seek guidance from Him through the Holy Ghost. Allow the Atonement of Jesus Christ to carry you, because that is what it is there to do. They are all waiting to help us. I promise you that as you do so, the Lord's hand will be implemented in your life, and you'll find greater happiness and joy in your lives while turning to the Savior. I say these things humbly in the name of our loving Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.

I love y'all so much! I hope you have a marvelous week! Until next week! God speed!!

Elder Houssian

 Zone Conference!

  My new favorite Halloween decoration!

 I hugged Hermione Granger.  Hermione is and will always be my favorite.  #magical
Shout out to my boy Q.  Do work on the other side, make us proud.  See you soon brother 10/1/17

Monday, October 9, 2017

Week #66

Hey hey y'all! Hope this week has been a great week for everyone. There are lots of big things happening in our area, and this week has been full of miracles!

This week has been great with the Redd family. We had a great lesson with them and set them to be baptized November 18th and they accepted! They are a wonderful family and it has been so great working with them!

We went to go visit Jakob our recent convert this week and see his family as well. His older brother Tyler is my age, and he has been helping us teach Jakob before and after baptism. So come to find out, Tyler was never baptized, even though everyone including himself thought he was baptized. So we went over and asked him if he wanted to be baptized and he accepted and was super excited!! So we are working with him and he is scheduled to be baptized in a November as well! It was such a cool miracle! 

So last night, we had a companionship who was having a hard time finding people in their area this week. I felt impressed to text them Sunday night and see how the work was going for them. They were struggling a bit, so we went with the other companionship in our district and just hit their area hard. From 8:30-9:15 at night we were able to find 6 people to teach and some awesome potential future investigators. It was so fun working as a District and really cool to see the Lord's hand active in the work.

So this week has been a tender week for the Vegas valley, and for a family who I have grown to love so much on my mission. One of my friends, the oldest kid in the family, lost his life this past weekend in the tragedy that occurred on the Strip. It has been a rough week for me, as I have not experienced something like this before. I was able to go and see the family and visit with them Friday, which was a wonderful reunion. Then Saturday I attended the funeral service for my friend. There were 1200+ people there, and more than half of the people who attended were not members of the Church. The two main topics that every speaker mention were the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and the Plan of Salvation. The Spirit was present and was very very strong during the service. I learned so much from that service, and this week has helped me grow closer to my Savior and understand God's Plan. My testimony and my faith have been tried this week, and in turn I have had to rely on the Savior and on the scriptures more than ever this week. The spiritual thought I wanted to share with y'all came from my friend's 17 year old sister. She wrote down her testimony of the Book of Mormon and made copies of it, then put them and copies of the Book of Mormon next to the programs at the service. The copies were taken and majority of the copies of the Book of Mormon were as well. I wanted to share with you the testimony she wrote, which will be attached as a picture. Please read it, and please prayerfully read the Book of Mormon. I testify that it is true. It is the word of God. As my friend's sister said, "It is the only pure and perfect thing on this Earth after Jesus Christ", and I double testify to that. It can comfort us in our darkest times, and we can get closer to God through its principles than by any other book. I know that to be true. I hope you all take the time to read it. God's Plan is perfect. Families can be together forever. And I know that one day I will be able to see my friend again. I know he is with me in this work and is leading the charge for the missionary work in the next life. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I hope y'all have a fabulous week! Until next week! God speed!

This is the Strip normally

This was the strip last night.  For 11 minutes all the hotels dimmed their lights as a tribute to those victims who lost their lives last weekend. 

The wonderful testimony

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Week #65

Hey hey y'all! I hope this week has been a fun filled week for y'all, and I hope y'all enjoyed General Conference and were able to get something out of it. The talks given were wonderful and they all had great messages to us as God's children!

So for starters this week, I turned 20! I don't feel a whole lot different, but also it was made known by a few fellow missionaries that it was my last birthday in the mission. It's crazy how fast time flies! It was a good day though, I got to spend it doing what I love, and that's Missionary Work! Plus a few members helped make it a bit more eventful! Overall, it was a solid day!

This week we were also able to set another person with a baptismal date! Her name is Cindy and she is a wonderful lady! 

The Redd's are doing great! We are continuing to meet with them and they are progressing very well!

Sorry this email is kind of short, it's been a crazy day with lots of stuff going on. My spiritual thought this week comes from Matthew 11:28-30. With the events happening across the world, and along with that, the recent tragedy down on the Strip in Las Vegas which has affected many lives here including my own, these scriptures have brought peace and comfort to my soul, and have reassured me that we have a loving Father in Heaven and a loving Savior who are there to comfort us and carry us in times of need. It reads;

"28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Brothers and Sisters, these short yet powerful verses are true. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, suffered and died for ALL of our pains, sorrows, sadness, afflictions, and everything else. It was for ALL of us. No one is excluded from the comfort and solace found in the Atoning Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. With troubled hearts and minds with whatever situations we are dealing with, if we turn to Him, He will strengthen us and empower us, and be our guides through our trials and afflictions. On the contrary, we must also recognize the hand of the Lord in our lives, even though we may not be going through servers trials. Heavenly Father provided us a Savior, so that when our imperfections show due to us being human, when we are knocked down, when we are struggling, in pain, questioning, or anything else, we would be able to be strengthened, uplifted, and healed by the infinite love of Him who suffered and died for us. I know our Savior is there, waiting with outstretched arms to carry us and help us through our trials. He will NEVER abandon us. I plead with each of you to take the struggles and pains of your heart to the Lord. He will give us rest. We will be yoked with the only perfect Man to walk this earth, and our burdens will be made light. We can all be strengthened by Him. I testify from the depths of my very souls that's CAN and WILL be strengthened by the Lord, and the healing power of His Atonement will surround us, comfort us, strengthen us, and make us whole. It is only through our Savior and His Atonement that we can find true eternal happiness. He loves each of us and is aware of our needs. Please, turn to Him, and "ye shall find rest unto your souls". I humbly say these things, in the name of our perfect Brother and loving Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.

I appreciate all of you who continue to support the missionaries throughout the world! Your thoughts and prayers are felt and are with us each and every day. My sincerest condolences go out to anyone affected by this tragedy that occurred last night. May God bless you, strengthen you, and be with you. 

Until next week. God speed!

Elder Houssian

Week #64

Hey hey y'all! Man this week has flown by so fast! We were able to see so many miracles this past week. The Lord's hand is very active in the work right now! 

For starters, Jakob and Mathew were baptized Saturday morning, and it was a wonderful service! Mathew has been taking the lessons for a couple years. He knew the Church was true, but his father wanted Mathew to make sure he was ready and really understood what was going on, and how being baptized would lead to a life-long commitment, before he was baptized. In the long run, it was a good call by his dad, and patience pays off! He was so ready and has a great testimony. Jakob has come such a long way. When he started talking with missionaries, he didn't know if he believed in a God. Now he has a growing testimony of our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and of this gospel. I had the privilege of baptizing Jakob, and the next day, Elder Paulukaitis was able to confirm Jakob, and he did great! 

The Redd family is progressing very well. When we met with them this past week, we asked them all why they wanted to meet with us. When the mom answered, she said "I want to know more about your church and beliefs, and learn about the truth" and all of the kids piped in and agreed. They are so willing to learn and grow their faith. We have high hopes for them.

We were able to set a wonderful couple with a baptismal date this week! Diane and Michael Werner are their names. They called the Bishop and asked to meet with him, and then after that came to church, and have been coming since! They are set to be baptized on October 21st!

Kasie and Harold are doing well. We were not able to meet with them this week due to some family issues, but we are going to pick back up with them this week!

Fun fact, we went golfing last pday. It was my first time in 7 years so it was brutal haha but we had fun! We teed off at 7:48 am, so we got nice cool weather and an awesome sunrise! A member gave us a coupon for two free rounds, which was nice so we took advantage!

My thought this week comes from Alma 26. I came across these two verses in my studies this week, verses 11 and part of 12. Here, Ammon and his brethren are conversing about the missionary work that they were able to be a part of. Aaron, one of Ammon's brothers, cautioned Ammon that it seemed like Ammon was boasting in himself and his brethren. Then Ammon responded with these verses;

"11 But Ammon said unto him: I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.
12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things;..."

As we go through life, we will have ups and we will have downs. Our trials help us build our faith, and when we keep the commandments and are faithful to the promises we make with God, we are rewarded. When we receive blessings from on high, or when we are able to accomplish great feats, if we must boast, let us boast in our God. Without Him and without our Savior, we would be nothing. We would have no where to go after this life. We are literally nothing without Them. BUT if we turn to our Heavenly Father with an honest and humble heart, we will be strengthened and carried by the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and we will be able to endure our trials and experience wonderful highlights in this life and exaltation in the life to come. May we all turn to the Lord a little more this week, and acknowledge His hand in our lives, is my humble prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I love y'all so much! Thank you for your emails and letters! Until next week! God speed!

Elder Houssian

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Week #63

Howdy howdy! I hope this week has been a great week for y'all! We have had a super busy week this week, and have seen many miracles!

So first off, Glenna got baptized! It was such an awesome service, the Spirit was super strong and there was a good amount of people there too! Some of her family came me surprised her for the baptism too which was awesome! Her husband served a mission and then went less-active, and he ended up baptizing her. It was such a neat experience to witness.

Jakob and Matthew are both doing well and are still on track for this Saturday! They are growing so much and are really enjoying the gospel!

We had the blessing of finding a lot of new people to teach this week, including this awesome part-member family! Their name is the Redd family! They have 5 kids with number 6 on the way! Blair, the dad, is the only member, and all of the kids have lots of questions about the church. They are doing really well, and the kids even want to come to church!

My spiritual thought this week comes from the Book of Mormon, in Ether chapter 12 verse 6. It reads;

"6 And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith."

This is great verse. A lot of times as missionaries we run into people who want physical evidence of the things we teach, but aren't willing to exercise their faith to find out if it is true. It says we will not receive a witness until after the trial of our faith. That means we have to act upon our faith and show the Lord our faith. As we do this, we will receive help from on high and answers to our prayers. I challenge each of you to exercise your faith and rely on the Savior and His power! I say these things in the na,e of Jesus Christ amen.

Have a great week y'all! Until next week! God speed!

Elder Houssian

 An awesome storm we watched the other day.

Glenna's baptism! 

My Son :)

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Week #62

Howdy y'all! This week has been a crazy week, and man did it fly by! I hope y'all have had a wonderful week this week! 

First off, our Mission President dropped some big news on us this past week! We received an email mission-wide saying that we are going to become an online proselyting mission! So we can use Facebook, Skype, and other apps to continue spreading the word and have more resources to do so! Also, I've been sick for the second half of the week which hasn't been fun. Its alright though! 

This week we were able to set two more people to be baptized! Harold and Kasie (Cassie) are set for October 14th! They are such a sweet family and it has been so much fun getting to know them and teach them. They gospel is truly changing them for the better, and they are uniting as a family!

Glenna is doing great! She had her interview and passed! She is ready for this Saturday, and is eager to be baptized! Jakob and Matthew are still doing great and are anxiously looking forward to their baptism next Saturday

For my thought this week, I wanted to share part of a verse from Alma chapter 22. It's verse 18 and it reads

".. and I will give away all my sins to know thee"

Here, Aaron is teaching a king about God. The king had very little knowledge of God, and was curious to know the nature of God and how we as humans came to be. After Aaron taught about eternal life and how it comes only through Christ, the king asked how he could have eternal life. Aaron taught that he needed to pray to God with faith, to repent of his sins, and pray for conversion to the Lord. In doing so, he would receive the blessings God had in store for him. As the king prayed, he said "..and I will give away all my sins to know thee". He was willing to sacrifice all of his ways that weren't in line with the will of God's. Are we as members of the church willing to do that? Are we willing to make sacrifices to align our will with God's, and to take upon ourselves the name of Christ? To take upon us the name of Christ (which we promised to do when we were baptized) means to have a willingness to do whatever He asks of us. We do that by giving away all of our sins, to know Him. When we do so, we honor Him, and draw from His power, and become more and more like him. I pray that each of us will work towards and make sacrifices to align our will with our loving Father in Heaven. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Have a wonderful week y'all! God speed!

Elder Houssian

Monday, September 4, 2017

Week #61

Howdy y'all! I hope y'all have had a great week this week! This week went by really fast, and we were definitely able to see some miracles!

So first off, Glenna, Matthew, and Jakob are doing great! Glenna is ready for the 16th! She's reading to the Book of Mormon, saying her prayers, and she's at church every week. Jakob and Matthew are both getting ready for the 23rd! Their baptisms are together, and will be at 8 am so we'll be up early! These three individuals are progressing very well. It is incredible to watch the Spirit work with these wonderful children of God.

One of the miracles this week that we saw was this past Thursday. We went to go contact this girl who the past missionaries were talking to, and in the past few weeks we have never been able to catch her. But finally, we did on Thursday! We were riding our bikes down the street and saw her getting out of her car, and her neighbor was standing there talking to her. We rode past her and then I felt this prompting to go turn around and talk to her, so we did. We rode up and she was leaned over in her car, and her neighbor put his hand up signaling he didn't want to talk, but we still stopped and we asked if we could have some water. She comes out of the car and was super excited to see us, ran in, and got us water. We were there talking to the neighbor and he started to relax and talk to us. Then Kasie came back out with water for the both of us. We set a return appointment for the next day, and when we came back her husband was home and so was their 6 year old daughter! So we sat down with the three of them, and they said that their daughter was asking about who God was. So we went to the very basics and tried teaching a 6 year old who God was haha. Nonetheless they were super interested. They expressed desires to come to church and get closer to God. We went back and saw them the next day, and then invited to church! They committed but then couldn't because Kasie's sister shattered her wrist, so she was in the ER with her. But we saw them today at Walmart and set a return appointment for tomorrow!

Another cool miracle this week was when we went to stop by a former family that had been taught in the past. We had tried before and no luck, but this time caught them sitting on their porch! We talked to them for 20 or 30 minutes, and then set a return appointment. We came back the next day and had a great conversation with them, and they really opened up. Their 12 year old daughter wants to find a church, and is very interested in our teachings. Her mom has some high standards and morals very similar to the church, and when we told her that we believe in the same things, she was very intrigued. We invited them to come to church, and the daughter came! She has a friend in the ward that is a member, and this member had invited her in the past to go to church. So Mikayla (the daughter) came to church this week! Her mom just got a new job so she had to work, but she still wants to meet with us this week.

My spiritual thought this week comes from the Book of Mormon, in Mormon 7:5 and it reads

"5 Know ye that ye must come to the knowledge of your fathers, and repent of all your sins and iniquities, and believe in Jesus Christ, that he is the Son of God, and that he was slain by the Jews, and by the power of the Father he hath risen again, whereby he hath gained the victory over the grave; and also in him is the sting of death swallowed up."

I love this scripture. Here Mormon is admonishing these people to believe in Christ and accept His gospel. The scriptures are for our day, and so here Mormon is admonishing US to believe in Christ and accept His gospel. We do this by really studying the scriptures, by fervently praying, and by attending Church so that we can partake of the sacrament and renew our covenants, or promises, with the Lord. And in return, we are promised to have His spirit to be with us wherever we go, as long as we live worthily of it. As we take heed to this counsel and do the things we are asked to do, and keep the commandments, we will grow and progress, and the Lord will mold our hearts into better disciples of the Lord. We will be changed and we will grow closer to our Savior, and we will learn what we can do to be more like Him. It also says that He gained victory over the grave, and in Him the sting of death is swallowed up. When the Savior suffered in Gethsemane for us, He didn't just take on the sins of the world, He took on the sadness, the sorrows, the pains, the afflictions, and everything else. He knows what we are going through. We ALWAYS have someone we can turn to, no matter what, because the Savior felt everything, and He felt it first. As you build your faith in Christ and accept His gospel, you will come to a sure knowledge that Jesus truly is the Christ, and that He knows us individually, and knows what we have gone through, what we will go through, and what we are currently going through. He did this for us, and this gift was freely given. I pray that y'all will use this freely given gift, the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I promise if you do, you will be strengthened and uplifted, and the Lord will help you withstand the roadblocks we face in life, and you will be made stronger and more prepared to take on the trials ahead. I say these things humbly, in the sacred name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.

I hope this week is a great week for each of y'all! Enjoy the holiday weekend and be safe! Till next week. God speed!

Elder Kyle Houssian

 Water bottle bowling!

This stake was literally the size of my face!