Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Week #85

Howdy howdy y’all! This week has flown by, and we have seen some big progress in our area this week in terms of finding. We have been out grinding every day looking for new people who are ready for the gospel, and God has helped us out big time (as always)!

We were finally able to talk with Tyler! We received a text about two weeks ago saying it wasn’t in his best interest to be baptized. We were confused but were able to set up a return appointment, which I talked about last week. Well we had that return appointment and he said the reason why was because he felt like he didn’t know enough, and he still had some questions about the gospel. He wants to be baptized still, just wants to feel more ready. So we are working with him and helping him progress and answering his questions to get him ready to be baptized!

We received some scary news that the father of one of our new families we are teaching, Rod, was in a serious motorcycle accident this weekend. Thankfully he is ok, but he had some pretty good injuries. Our ward mission leader is family friends with them and offered to give him a blessing, so we will hopefully go with him to the hospital and give him a blessing this week!

We were blessed with quite a few more people to teach this week. The Lord is hastening his work in our area, and it’s a wonderful sight to see. I love being a missionary and being a part of this great and marvelous work!

My spiritual thought comes from a verse I came across this week that I absolutely love! It is Moroni 8:17, and it reads;

“17 ...wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation.”

I honestly just love this verse because I too love little children. Having 17 younger siblings and one niece is one of the greatest blessings I could ever ask for! Little children are perfect to our Father in Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ. (And to me of course!) and I know that they truly are a tremendous blessing to this Earth! I know our Savior lives. He loves us. Jesus truly is the Christ. I know that the Book of Mormon truly is the word of God. It is a holy book of scripture written for our day, and we can grow so much closer to God by living the principles contained within. I know families are forever. I know our Savior suffered and died for us, and because of that we can be forgiven of our sins, we can be resurrected, and we can be with our families forever. This gospel is true, and I know it. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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

Elder Houssian

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Week #84

Hey hey y’all! This week has been a trying week, one of the harder weeks I’ve had on my mission. But we were still able to see many miracles in our efforts this week, and it has strengthened my testimony tremendously. I know that our Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers, and He knows us individually, knows what we need, and knows how to help us. 

So this week we received a text from Tyler telling us that baptism wasn’t in his best interest anymore. It was definitely unexpected. We have tried to get in touch with him, but we haven’t been able to get any responses from him since. There was a miracle related to it though, which I’ll share in a minute!

The Redds have been MIA as well. We still have contact with them, they’ve just had the flu for 3 weeks now. We hopefully will be able to visit with them this week, they said that the sickness was starting to clear up. 

So in sit of all of this, we saw many miracles this week, two of which were on Thursday! The first one, we were in our companionship study trying to come up with different street contacting situations and responses to practice. We practiced a few different ones, and then went out. The very first person we walked up and talked to had the exact responses that we had practiced. It was way cool cause we were able to address her concerns and help her see how the gospel can bless her life, and she asked for us to come back! The second one, after not being able to see the Redds and having Tyler drop us, we were out and about and we’re blessed with finding six individuals who were ready and willing to hear the message of the gospel. It was a tender mercy from the Lord, and something that we really needed! The third miracle that I wanted to bring up happened yesterday. We had to go to Walmart because SOMEONE blew a bike tube (it wasn’t me, I swear.... ok it was). We went in and looked all over for a tube, but couldn’t find the right one. We were going to check out (our member needed some groceries) and as he was checking out, Tyler walked into the store! So we went and talked to him, and set up a time to go visit with him some more! It was a cool miracle and definitely attests that God’s hand is active in His work!

This week I wanted to share a scripture from the Book of Mormon, Omni 1:26, and it reads;

26 And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved.

I love this verse. We come unto Christ through fasting and prayer, studying the scriptures, and attending church. There of course are other things we can do, like serving others, developing Christ-like attributes, etc., but I have really come to know that it is in the simple things that we really come to know our Savior. If we truly offer up our whole souls unto him, we will find true happiness and joy, which happiness and joy is found in Christ. I know these things to be true. Christ lives. He is our Savior. The Book of Mormon testifies of the life, ministry, and love of the Savior. Coupled with the Bible, we have the fullness of the gospel at our disposal. It is up to us to use it. I say these things in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I love y’all! Have a great week! Until next week! God speed!

Elder Houssian

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Week #83

Howdy everyone! This week has been super hectic and interesting! We had a lot of cool experiences and some unplanned things come up, but all in all, it was a stellar week!

We had an awesome Stake Conference this week with Elder Torres of the Seventy presiding at the meetings! We were out proselyting with some members and we received a call from a Stake High Councilor telling us that Elder Torres requested us to attend the Priesthood Leadership meeting that started at 4.... it was 3:55 when we received the call! So we booked it home (7 minute drive) and put on suits then jammed over to the church (another 7 minute drive) to attend the meeting. Afterwards, we talked to Elder Torres and he asked us if we were attending the adult session that night. Before we could answer, he said “Elders, I need missionaries at every one of my meetings”. So basically this General Authority told us to attend the adult session as well! I was glad we did though, I learned so much from Elder Torres. He is a very inspired man and speaks with conviction, and I loved it! 

Yesterday we were just about to eat lunch when we received another call from some Elders asking if we could help some people move. We agreed, and went to help this lady move. Elder Olsen and I lifted 2 washing machines, 2 driers, 1 freezer, 2 stoves,  and 2 refrigerators all by ourselves. It was super crazy, I’m so sore! That took about 2 hours, and then after we went and helped pain some outdoor stairs with our district, which took another 2 hours. So that took up most of our day. BUT our district combined did 16 hours of community service that day, so bonus!

My spiritual thought this week comes from a talk by Elder David A. Bednar titled “Converted Unto Thee”. He shares a passage from the Book of Mormon, and then breaks it down, talking about the relationship between a testimony and personal conversion. The verses read;

“As many as were brought to the knowledge of the truth, through the preaching of Ammon and his brethren, according to the spirit of revelation and of prophecy, and the power of God working miracles in them--yea, … as the Lord liveth, as many of the Lamanites as believed in their preaching, and were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away.
“For they became a righteous people; they did lay down the weapons of their rebellion, that they did not fight against God any more. …
“Now, these are they who were converted unto the Lord” - (Alma 23:6–8)

He then goes on to say that there are “two major elements described in these verses: (1) the knowledge of truth, which may be interpreted as a testimony, and (2) converted unto the Lord, which I understand to be conversion to the Savior and His gospel. Thus, the powerful combination of both testimony and conversion unto the Lord produced firmness and steadfastness and provided spiritual protection.” I know that as we build and strengthen our testimony, we become more and more converted unto the Savior and His gospel. We strengthen our testimony by doing the simple things: read and study the scriptures, praying fervently and often, and attending church weekly to partake of the sacrament, and to teach and learn from one another. We will grow spiritually, strengthen our ability to feel and heed the promptings of the Spirit, and truly become converted. Conversion is not a one time thing, it is a life long process, and the more we develop the habits of doing the simple things, the more constant and powerful our conversion process will be. I know that our Savior lives. He loves us and He wants the best for us. He truly suffered and died for us. We cannot sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines. I know families can be together forever, and I’m so grateful for the blessing it is to have my family forever. I know that the gospel is true, and I know the Book of Mormon, coupled with the Bible, can bring us the most joy and happiness in this life and the life to come. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I love y’all and I hope y’all have an amazing week! Until next week, God speed!

Elder Houssian
‘63 Corvette we saw today 😍

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Week #82

Howdy howdy y’all, I hope you’ve had a great week this week! This week has been lots of fun and there have been some changes in our area!

First off, Elder Hubbell is a lot of fun! He’s been out 5 months and is a great missionary. He reminds me of some of my brothers, so it makes it even more fun!

Not a lot has changed this week in terms of our investigators. We have found some solid new people to teach, and our investigators are doing well. Tyler is preparing for the 10th and is doing well! He is very excited, and his work schedule looks like it’ll free him up to be baptized then!

So the changes to our area is that we don’t have a car anymore. So we are biking and our area is basically uphill both ways and it’s 10 miles left to right and like 7 miles top to bottom. BUT that being said, God has given me strength and stamina to be able to bike our area. It’s crazy to see how tired I am at the end of the night, but the next day I’m up and ready to go. God definitely takes care of his servants!

My thought this week comes from.... Well me. I just wanted to bear my testimony to y’all. I know that the gospel is true. I know it and testify of it’s truthfulness from the bottom of my heart. I have experienced God’s hand in my life countless times, and those experiences have helped me build a foundation and a testimony that I cannot deny. I know this gospel is true, and it is for us. I know that our Savior, Jesus Christ, truly did suffer and die for us and for our sins. I know that because of His sacrifice, Christ can heal us and guide us. He can walk with us, mend our broken hearts, and strengthen us. I know He and our Heavenly Father know us each individually. I know that God’s Plan is perfect. Living the gospel and striving to be like Christ will bring us the most happiness and joy in this life and in the eternities. I testify that repentance is a joyful process. I have experienced it and have been humbled to the very core by the love that my Savior has for me and by His grace and mercy. I know that He is the means whereby we are able to repent and be forgiven, to return to live with God again, be resurrected, and be with our families forever. I know families are eternal, and I am forever grateful to God for the blessing of my family. I love them so much, I love y’all, and I say these things humbly, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I hope y’all have a great week! Until next week, God speed!

Elder Houssian

Friday, January 26, 2018

Week #81

Hey hey everyone! Another week and another transfer are in the bag! Man time is flying! We’ve had some great moments and we have had a lot of fun this transfer!

So for starters, we received our transfer assignments and the unthinkable happened.... I’m staying for a 5th transfer in Pueblo and Calico Ridge, AND I’m getting a new companion. Elder Smith will be heading out to Kingman, Arizona! It has been such a blast serving with him. I have grown to love this fine young man and I have learned so much from my Aussie mate! He will do so great out there, and he is with Elder Smith who came out with me! He will be in good hands!

This week has been an eventful one for sure!  We had a lot of fun this week! To start off, this Saturday I was able to attend the baptism of an amazing little girl from one of my previous areas. She calls me her “second brother” (with the air quotes every time) and wanted me to be there, so I showed up! It was a wonderful experience for sure.

This week we were able to have some great progress with our investigators. Tyler and the Redds are all doing very well! They are all looking forward to their baptisms next month!

In my studies this week, I was able to read talk given by President James E. Faust called “The Healing Power of Forgiveness”. This is a powerful talk, and I wanted to share with y’all one of the quotes I really liked. He said;

“It is not easy to let go and empty our hearts of festering resentment. The Savior has offered to all of us a precious peace through His Atonement, but this can come only as we are willing to cast out negative feelings of anger, spite, or revenge. For all of us who forgive, ... the Atonement brings a measure of peace and comfort” 

I absolutely loved this quote. The Savior and His Atonement make repentance and forgiveness a wonderful healing process. Through repentance and forgiveness, we are able to feel our burdens lifted off of our shoulders and will be healed, over time, by our loving Savior. I know it is because of Him that we have the wonderful blessings of healing, forgiveness, resurrection, and eternal life with our families. I know t these things to be true, and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I hope y’all have a wonderful week! Until next week, God speed!

Elder Houssian
 The Squad! 


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Week #80

Hey hey everyone! It’s been a great week out here in good ole Las Vegas, Nevada. The weather is really warm for January (which I have mixed emotions about), so people are outside more which makes our job easier. We have been able to see some great miracles in the work, and our investigators are progressing very well!

The Redd family is doing very very well. We are working on a day and time to go to the Temple to walk around it and have a lesson. They are super excited for it and they are keeping their commitments. Things are looking up for them to be baptized in February!

Tyler is doing well also. He is still working tons but we are able to keep in contact with him via Facebook which has helped a lot. He is finishing up soon and is looking forward to being baptized in February as well.

We have been implementing many new finding methods this week (methods we have not done ever/in a while), and one of them was tracting. So we knocked on some doors one day and came across this man who was “a hard-nosed southern baptist” but wanted to hear what we had to say. It turned into a very lowkey bash session, not intended, and him asking us questions about some of our principles we teach and where we get them from. After quoting the Bible for many of them and stumping him, he told us to leave because we were getting annoying haha. Satan was trying to draw us away, but we kept going in that neighborhood and knocked on the door of a Less-Active family who wanted us to come by and visit with them this upcoming week. Miracles do happen! 

This week I wanted to share a few verses in Mosiah 4 that I came across this week in my studies. They are verses 11 and 12, and they read;

“11 .... as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God,... and have received a remission of your sins, ... even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, ... and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in .. faith.
“12 .... if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him”

I love this passage. King Benjamin gave a very powerful sermon to his people, and while delivering it, he gave this wonderful charge and blessing. As we strive to remember our Heavenly Father, in all of His mercy, grace, and love, we will be filled with his love, and will retain a remission of our sins. What a wonderful blessing, to retain that remission. Elder Neal A. Maxwell said this about retention, “Retention clearly depends on the regularity of our repentance.” So the more we are repenting and changing ourselves to become more like the Savior, the more we retain that remission of sins. It is such a wonderful blessing to even be forgiven in the first place, and that is all because of the matchless life and love that our wonderful Savior, Jesus Christ, had and has for us. His life and His sacrifice was and is the most significant event in the history of all mankind. It is because of Him that God’s plan is in effect, that we have a purpose in this life, and we have a destination to reach after. I know these things to be true. As we come to know our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ, “calling on the name of the Lord” though prayer and humility, we will feel of Their love, we will receive Their grace and mercy, and we will retain that remission of our sins, which will lead us to being with our families forever in the presence of our Heavenly Father. I know this to be true, and I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I hope you have a great week! I love y’all, I miss y’all, and I pray for y’all. Until next week my friends. God speed.

Elder Houssian

Sorry, no pictures today, so I wanted to share this quote!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Week #79

Howdy everyone! I hope y’all have had a great week this week. We’ve been having loads of fun and have been seeing miracles in the work! (I’m lost on what week it is so bear with me)

So first off, I hit 18 months this past Saturday. It’s crazy how fast time is going. Elder Cook will agree with me, but I’m exhausted! Haha 18 months hits you hard as a missionary. BUT, we still have time to grind, and I wanted to randomly shout him out for being a rock for me on my mission. I thank my Heavenly Father for the blessing it is to be serving with one of my best friends!

Next, IT RAINED! It actually rained in Vegas! I love it haha it hasn’t rained since like September, so it’s really nice! The rain made it more “humid” so that was nice.

Alright enough with the weather updates. We saw a really cool miracles this past Sunday night!

We received a referral to go visit this member who was very active until this past year. She has a fiancĂ© who is not a member and is living with her, and they are getting married in a couple months. We go over there and meet her (Sister Williams), and her fiancĂ©, Jason. We got to talking and I recognized Jason, I just couldn’t figure out where I had seen him before. Then, all of a sudden we made the connection. We were teaching a part-member family in my last area, and it was a blended family. The oldest kid was 17 and the mom had him from a previous marriage. They were working towards being baptized. The 17 year old, Tommy, and I got to be very good friends. He of course has a different dad, and one day we were at his house and his dad showed up so we got to meet him, and it was Jason. Jason is Tommy’s dad! So we made that connection and then had a really cool moment! He wants to come to church on Sunday and wants us to come back for dinner and a lesson. It was a great miracle!

We started over the lessons with the Redd family, since everything has been hectic with a new baby and the holidays. We have had some great lessons this week, and one of them we invited them to be baptized, and they accepted! We set them for February 3rd, and the date was definitely revelation because it’s one of their daughter’s birthday! They are doing very well, and there is a lot more growth with them now that everything has settled down.

For my thought this week I wanted to share with y’all a quote from an article in the Ensign that I have been studying. It’s called “The Gospel of Repentance” by Spencer W. Kimball, and it’s a very good talk. It reads;

“Repentance is a glorious and merciful law. ... The great and wonderful and miraculous benefit of the Savior’s atonement cannot have its full saving impact on us unless we repent. .... How grateful we should be that the Lord finished his preparation in our behalf! Now it is up to us to finish our preparations in our own behalf--by partaking of his loving forgiveness, which is the reward he eagerly desires to give all who truly repent.”

I know that these things are true. Repentance is a very joyful process, something that we should find joy in doing. Generally speaking, repentance is looked at as a shameful, negative thing, when in reality, it’s the better path for us to take. The Bible Dictionary says that repentance is “a change of mind, a fresh view about God, about oneself, and about the world.” Repentance = change. We are promised that “if we will earnestly seek our Heavenly Father’s help and apply the steps that constitute the doctrine of repentance, then we will find peace and joy both in this life and in eternity.” As we strive to be better, seeking for the Lord’s help, and have the desire to change, we will find peace and joy in this life and in the eternity. We will feel our burdens lifted off our shoulders. What Jesus Christ did for us enables Him to lift those burdens and ease our pains, because He felt all of them in our behalf. We will also be able to witness that change of mind within ourselves, and fresh view about God, ourselves, and the world. He loves us. He knows us individually. Turning to Him will bring us unfathomable joy and happiness. I know that to be true, and it is my humble prayer that we all strive to be just a little bit better, strive to change ourselves little by little, and experience a mighty change from Him who is Almighty, and I say those things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I hope y’all have a wonderful week! I love each of you, and I definitely miss y’all! Until next week! God speed!

Elder Houssian