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 fiancé 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 fiancé, 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

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Week # 77 & 78

Howdy y’all! Happy New Year! We were having some technical difficulties last week on my email, so I couldn’t get out an email!

So first things first, Pday is now permanently on Tuesday to better facilitate temple trips. Just a heads up! We have had some fun times the last few weeks! Our Christmas Day was very busy. We had 13 meal appointments and on top of that I was able to Skype my family! It was wonderful to see them again, and on top of that I was able to Skype my stud of a brother Elder Tyler Houssian who is on his mission in Fresno! It was a tender mercy to be able to talk with him. He is an inspiration to me and I definitely look up to him!

We met this awesome guy named Jeff this week. He came out from his garage and started talking to us. He loves studying the Bible and cross-referencing things in it, so we talked about the Book of Mormon and how the footnotes have references to the Bible and other verses in the Book of Mormon. He was very excited and wants us to come back after he reads some of it. He’s a great guy!

We were invited over by a nonmember family to play a game and eat lunch, so we went over and spent some time with them. They are great! Their 3 teenage kids were asking a ton of questions about the Church and loved hearing what they had to say. One of them said “I defend you guys, even though I’m not a member, I think y’all are great”. It was a cool moment!

This week I wanted to share this great scripture I came across in my studies. It is Alma 26:35, and it reads;

“ joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name.”

True joy is found in the gospel and in living a Christ-centered life. God is all powerful and loves us all unconditionally. He is literally our Father in Heaven. He is merciful unto us and desires to bless us and give us salvation. Nice order to receive those blessings, we need to repent and have faith. I know that God knows us individually and loves us. All things are possible, if we turn to Him. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I love you all! Have a wonderful week and achieve the goals that you have set for the New Year! Until next week, God speed!

Elder Houssian

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Week #76

Hey hey everyone! We have had such a great week this week! The work is starting to move forward and we are continuing to see miracles in the work!

We have been really focusing on what we can do as individuals and as a companionship to have the Spirit with us more in our efforts, and we have noticed a change in ourselves and a difference in the work. It’s amazing to see how influential the Spirit is in missionary work!

One of the miracles we saw this week happened while we were out trying to get in contact with some of our investigators. We were walking up this hill in a neighborhood and this elderly lady, Wanda, had stepped outside of her house right as we were about to walk past it. So we stopped and talked to her, and ended up having a very good conversation with her and got to know her pretty well. She seemed really interested in us coming back and we are looking forward to seeing her this week. 

We actually had a string of miracles that day. Right after talking to Wanda we were walking back down the hill, and another lady walks out into her garage to clean up some stuff, so we went and talked to her. Turns out she is married to a member of the church and they sometimes attend a ward out in Boulder City with the husband’s parents! They read from the Book of Mormon and she invited us to come back and said she wanted to feed us! She has family on her side that are members as well, so it’s a great setup! Then we left and walked a few more houses down and we found a Bluetooth ear piece outside on the sidewalk. We left a card with a note saying we had it and put it in the door of the house. We got a call that night, and the next day went over and gave it to them and had a great conversation with them. They actually had just come back from their nephew being baptized into the Mormon Church up in Boise!

This week I wanted to share a scripture that I have really grown to love throughout my mission. It is in the New Testament, Hebrews 2:18, and it reads:

“18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.”

I love this verse. Because of the suffering and temptation that the Savior went through, He is able to run to our aid and help us. He knows where our trials lie ahead, and He knows how to help us through them. Christ is our purest source for help, and it is all because He has felt all of the trials, pains, sorrows, and everything else that we would ever go through as individuals and families in this life. He is the perfect source of unconditional love and support. He loves us, He wants to help us, we just need to ask for it. He will not step in to help us if we do not ask Him to, that is a principle of our agency. But, if we humble ourselves before God and recognize that we cannot go through this life alone, the Savior will step in, and the healing power of His Atonement will envelop us. We will feel His endless love in our life and we will know that we have a loving Father in Heaven and a loving Savior who are both ready and willing to help us find the most joy and happiness in this life. I promise that as we turn more to Him, seek His help, and trust in His power and wisdom, we will be carried through our trials and made stronger for the trials ahead, and we will feel more joy and happiness than ever before. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ amen.

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

Elder Houssian

 Vrrroom! Vrrrom!

 Sweet projected countdown to Christmas

Elder Smith was feeling the 9 hours of church on Sunday!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Week #75

Howdy y’all! This week has flown by, and another transfer has come and gone! I feel like we were just here haha. Time truly is going by so fast. We’ve had another great week together and we are loving working together!

So for starters, transfer calls came in yesterday and...... I’m staying for a 4th transfer and I’m going to continue training Elder Smith! I am so excited and looking forward to another transfer with him. This is by far the longest I’ve stayed in an area, 1/4 of my mission actually, but I’m glad it’s these wards, because they’re great! 

This week we continued the process of weeding out people who aren’t interested in our records and seeing where our investigators are at in their progress and what their end goal is. It’s been nice to be able to get some of that done so that we can focus on the people who are ready to hear the message of the gospel. 

We had a cool experience this week with one of our members, Rudy Ruettiger (the guy who the movie “Rudy” is about). We help him take care of his pets, and this weekend he called us over to give us a Christmas present. We went over and he pulled out two jerseys with his name and number on it and signed them! It was so cool! He is a great guy and we have built a great relationship with him. I’ll send the picture next week!

Tyler is doing well, he is our most solid investigator right now. He is getting ready for baptism and is progressing very well!

This week I wanted to share a scripture that I came across in my studies. It is
Alma 36:17-19, and it reads;

17 And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.
18 Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.
19 And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.

I love this passage. Alma is speaking to his son Helaman and is talking about his conversion experience. He was “racked with torment” because of the sins She he had committed. Then remembering the teachings of his father, he humbled himself and prayed and asked for forgiveness and mercy, and the Lord provided it. As we go through life and make mistakes, striving to be better, we can be forgiven and healed by the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, but we must humble ourselves and ask for it that forgiveness and healing. It isn’t necessary to carry the burden of our sins on our shoulder. Repentance is a joyful process, and I know that to be true. It will benefit us more physically and spiritually to repent and ask for forgiveness rather than weighing ourselves down by keeping them to ourselves. I pray that we may all come to this realization, and allow God to forgive us and the Savior to heal us. I know these things to be true, and I can promise you will feel an overwhelming sense of joy and happiness, because I have experienced it in my own life. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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

Elder Houssian

 Rudy's Bird, Willie

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Week #74

Howdy everyone! Another week is in the bag! This week flew by, as did this transfer. It’s already week 6! We’ve had a great week this week, and we definitely saw some miracles! 

This week we had back to back Ward Christmas parties, and had a great turn out! We had 6 of our investigators attend and one of them, Aida, was one of our miracles we saw this week! So we were about to start driving Friday night, and we received a referral for Aida on our phone. She had gone onto the Facebook page and requested us to come by! So we called her and she asked us to stop by the next morning, and of course we went! She is the sweetest lady and is originally from Egypt! She has lived in a lot of different places and has talked to missionaries before, and she has a very strong belief in Christ. So we met with her and invited her to the Christmas party, and she came! She loved it and she was able to meet a ton of ward members! We are continuing to teach her, and things are looking promising for sure!

Another highlight was us doing service for a single lady in the ward. We had 19 tonnes of rock to move, and we showed up with members from the ward and went to work! We have a few members in the ward who own landscaping companies, and they brought their equipment (including a small tractor to load rock into wheelbarrows) to make the job easier. We ended up moving all of the rock and getting it laid out in an hour and 15 minutes. It was so awesome to witness!

My spiritual thought this week comes from a scripture that I came across in my studies. It is found in the Book of Mormon, Alma 37:6, and it reads;

“6 Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.”

Often times as humans we are always wanting to do the great, miraculous, grueling tasks, but we tend to overlook the small and simple things. These small and simple things can be things like reading the scriptures daily, praying daily, going to church, and so on. These small and simple things are what will help us keep and build our testimony. I testify with everything that I have, that these simple things can have some of the greatest impacts on our lives and our testimony. We can become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ through the little things. I promise that as you focus on the little things and strive to do them, you will see a change in yourself and you will build and strengthen your testimony in the gospel and the Savior. You will truly become converted. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Safety Stanley making sure to have a safe ride 😂

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Week #73

Howdy howdy! This week has been a blast and has flown by! Like I said before, today is our pday because we went to the temple today! It was such a blessing to be in the house of the Lord. The Spirit was incredibly strong, and it was wonderful to spend some time with my District!

Things are going great! We went to 6 houses for Thanksgiving, it was great! It was nice to spend some time with some members and share the wealth of food😂

This week has been a pretty good week. We have been able to see some miracles in our work and the Lord is helping move the work forward!

Our investigators are doing very well, especially Tyler! He is getting ready to be baptized on the 16th and is progressing very well! We are about to have some make or break lessons with a few of our investigators. Elder Smith and I are in the process of weeding out people who aren’t as interested and are more wanting us over just to hang out. We have been being bold and forward with our investigators and so far it has been effective.

We had a miracle Sunday night. We were visiting with some of our investigators who are getting ready to move, and as we were with them, one of their friends asked us to come outside and talk with him, so we did. He wants to change his life around and wants our help to do it. We are starting to teach him and he definitely has some potential!

My thought this week comes from the Bible. It is Psalm 27:1, and it reads

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

As we align our will with the Lord’s, what do we have to fear? We can find strength, happiness, and joy that can only be found in the Lord. The purpose of the Savior and His Atonement is not to make us perfect in this life, but to help us learn right from wrong, be forgiven of our sins, and be prepared to be perfected in the life to come. Perfection is not possible in this life, but through the Savior, who is our light and our salvation, and the strength of our life, we can one day stand before God and be judged, have the Savior stand as our advocate, and then be perfected and live in the presence of the Savior and our Heavenly Father, and be with our families for eternity. I know these things to be true and I am so grateful for my family and the blessing it truly is to have them forever. 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