Sunday, July 8, 2018

Week #104

Howdy howdy everyone! Another week is in the bag! This week has been another hectic yet awesome week in the work. It’s crazy how fast everything is going, nevertheless, the work is moving forward!

This week we had Zone Conference and it was amazing. I am sad that it is my last Zone Conference. I always love coming together with other missionaries and feeling the Spirit through the trainings and the insights of others. It’s always a wonderful and uplifting experience!

This week we also were able to work some more with Manny and Kelly and prepare them to be baptized on July 14th! They are making huge progress and are soaking in everything that we are teaching. Their mom was also able to get off work, which was huge! They are really looking forward to being baptized.

Also, I don’t really talk about today (the Tuesday that I write this) in my emails, but I wanted to today. I had a really special opportunity today to go and visit my friend Q’s gravesite today. It was a very spiritual and calming experience. His grave is right under a tree, and there is a nice bench under that tree, and I was able to go and sit there for about 15 minutes and just think. The Spirit was definitely present. It was great to sit and think about the memories I had with him, and the joy that comes from the knowledge that I have of the Plan of Salvation, that I will be able to see him again. I know and can testify that there is life beyond the grave. Heavenly Father loves us so much, and because of that, He provided us with the wonderful blessing of having our families forever. I know that that is true, and it brings great comfort into my life.

For my spiritual thought this week I wanted to share a scripture from the Book of Mormon, in Ether 4:18-19, which says;

“18 Therefore, repent all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and believe in my gospel, and be baptized in my name; for he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; ...
19 And blessed is he that is found faithful unto my name at the last day, for he shall be lifted up to dwell in the kingdom prepared for him from the foundation of the world. ...”

I know that as we strive to live the principles of the gospel, we will find great spiritual power more abundantly into our lives. We are promised so many wonderful blessings that are at our disposal, all we are asked to do is to seek after them through prayer, study, and practice. I promise that as we each strive to be a little better, and practice with the help of the Lord, we will be changed over time, and we will be lifted up to dwell in the kingdom of heaven. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Have a rad week! Until next week! God speed!

Elder Houssian

 Great Elder who had to return home because he needs to get some surgery done. :/

I saw Elder Bannagao today! 
I know my boi was cheesin when we we snapped this pic #QJ3

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Week #103

Howdy y’all! Man the time keeps going faster. I can’t believe it! I hope that the week has been full of fun for each of y’all! This week has been great, and it has been heating up! I am definitely not going to miss this heat haha.

First off, I wanted to apologize about not sending weekly emails, I totally forgot about one and then I thought I have sent the next one, so that is why you are getting 3! Haha so here we go!

This week we had a lot of craziness happen again. It seems like the closer it gets to the end of the transfer, the more crazy and busy things get. I’m not complaining though, because I love being busy! It’s better to be busy than to have nothing to do while on a mission! 

We found a super awesome family this past week! They are the Torres family, and they have a mom and dad, and 5 kids! They are such a friendly family! We stopped by to try and contact them, and Juan (the Dad) answered and asked us to come back the next day, so we did and met Candy (the Mom), and 3 of their kids! They have such a strong faith in Christ, they have gone to our church before and loved it, and they all want to grow closer to God! We set up another time to come by and share our message with them, and they are super excited!

We also met someone who is going to play in the NBA (eventually). His name is Mataya (muh-tie-uh)m he is originally from Africa, but recently moved here from Cali. He is working on getting an agent to get into the League as we speak. He is super humble and very spiritual, and he said he really respects us because he lived in the hood in Cali and would see missionaries walking around in there, playing basketball with the kids, and brining hope and a smile to everyone. We talked to him at the bus stop, got on the bus, and missed our stop by two stops to talk to him haha. He said one of his regrets was not being baptized, and he has the desire to. We were stoked! We go back to see him on Wednesday, and we are really looking forward to it.

For my spiritual thought this week I have a verse from the Book of Mormon, Mormon 9:21, which reads;

“21 Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.”

I know and can testify that God hears and answers our prayers. He will always listen to us. He will answer our prayers, in His way and according to His timing. We have a way to communicate with our Father in Heaven any time, any where. Prayer is one of the best ways that we can build and strengthen our testimonies, and is something so simple to do. Turn to the Lord in prayer, and I promise that He will hear you and answer you. I say those things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Have a wonderful week this week! Until next week! God speed!

Elder Houssian

Week #102

Howdy howdy! I hope y’all have had a great week! I know I always say this, but this week flew by! I can’t believe how fast time is going. I absolutely LOVE being a missionary!

So first off, our thermostat broke 😂 so we can’t control the temperature! It is either constantly blowing cool or constantly blowing warm. So the past few days we have been icicles while sleeping haha. We got it fixed though, don’t worry!

We had some crazy miracles happen this week. One of which happened Wednesday. So we have these two kids in our Area Book who are not members of the Church and were being taught by the missionaries a few months back (their mom is a member). They were set to be baptized and were coming up on their baptism day, and they were super eager to be baptized. Some things happened with another family in the ward, and both of the missionaries were transferred out, and the new missionaries lost contact with them, and so the baptism didn’t happen. The missionaries that came into the area tried and tried to contact them, but nothing happened. Then I was transferred in, and Elder Gardner and I couldn’t get in contact with them either. So Wednesday (June 13th) Elder Hernandez and I stop by to try and visit them. As we do so, the family pulls into their complex, parks, and comes and talks to us. They were super excited to see us, and we were super excited to see them. We went in, sat down, and immediately Joyce (the Mom) says “My kids need to be baptized”, and we about fell over with excitement. So we set up a time to come back and start teaching them some more, and helping them get on track to being baptized! We are very excited for them!

Another exciting thing happened this week! We had our lesson with Shannon (our neighbor). We made some cookies (Mom you would be proud!) and brought them over to them, and had a lesson. The Spirit was so strong. Shannon asked a lot of questions, and she said she wants to come to Church and wants her and her family to grow closer to God. It was. An amazing lesson! She also said she wanted to feed us, so we set up a day next week to go over and have dinner and a lesson with the family. We hope to get them on track for baptism soon!

This week for my spiritual thought I wanted to share with you something I came across in my studies. It comes from the Book of Mormon, in Mormon 7:5, which reads;

“5 ... ye must ... 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 verse. It is something so significant. Here, Mormon is giving his last words, his final plea. And in that final plea, the thing he chooses to write is to believe in Christ. He sees his people completely destroyed, gone, and he urges us today to learn what his people had forgotten, that Jesus Christ is our Savior, He loves us, He knows us individually, and because of Him we can repent and be forgiven of our mistakes, we can be resurrected, and we can return to live in the presence of God, and be with our families there, forever. That is the entire purpose of the Book of Mormon, to help everyone learn of Him. There is so much power that comes from this book. It is the keystone of our religion. It testifies of Jesus Christ and His ministry, and helps us learn about Him and what we can do to be more like Him. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that Jesus is the Christ, and that through Him, we are all able to return to live with Him and our Heavenly Father again. I invite each of you to read this book sincerely, and then ask God if it is true. I promise, as a representative of Jesus Christ, that you will receive an answer, this book will change your life, and you will find answers to your questions, and know true joy and happiness. I say those things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Have a spectacular week! Until next week! God speed!

Elder Houssian

Week #101

Hey y’all! Another week is in the bag and the work is going very well. I love being a missionary! This week has been a lot of fun and we found out about some big things happening in the mission!

This week we found out that we are a pilot mission for the whole Church in using some of the features we have on our Area Book apps on our devices, and we are the only mission in the world doing it. We are almost being watched by the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the First Presidency. So there is a lot of pressure I guess you could say haha. We also found out that all of the District Leaders are going to share a car with another District Leader and their companion, so that will be nice! We rotate every week. The down side is, we can only use it for leadership purposes — going on exchanges, doing interviews, and to meetings. Despite all of that, having a car with limits is still better than no car!

This week we also were able to go on exchanges with our Zone Leaders, and some crazy things happened! One of which was we saw someone who had broken into some lady’s car and overdosed, so that was interesting. And a cool miracle happened when we were being dropped off by the Zone Leaders. We ran into our neighbor, Shannon, while she was walking her dog. We talked to her for a bit, (we met her a little bit ago) and started talking about the gospel. She said she really wanted us to come by and teach her and her kids! We are super stoked to go by this weekend and teach her!

Art is doing well and is on track for the 23rd! He is doing great and is continuing to grow and progress every day! 

For my spiritual thought this week I wanted to share an awesome verse I read in my studies. It comes from the Book of Mormon, in 3 Nephi Chapter 5:1-3, which reads;

“1 And now behold, there was not a living soul among all the people of the Nephites who did doubt in the least the words of all the holy prophets who had spoken; for they knew that it must needs be that they must be fulfilled.
2 And they knew that it must be expedient that Christ had come, because of the many signs which had been given, according to the words of the prophets; and because of the things which had come to pass already they knew that it must needs be that all things should come to pass according to that which had been spoken.
3 Therefore they did forsake all their sins, and their abominations, and their whoredoms, and did serve God with all diligence day and night.”

I love these verses. The Nephites had developed faith that the prophecies that the prophets had spoken of were fulfilled, and they knew that the fulfillment of those prophecies meant that Christ had come. They had such strong faith in and knew that Christ had come, that “they did forsake all their sins, and their abominations, and their whoredoms, and did serve God with all diligence...”. True faith leads to action. Faith is the principle that underlies all else; that is, it takes faith in Christ to repent, or be baptized, or perform any other saving ordinance. That means that repentance, baptism, and all other principles and ordinances are not entirely separate, but are actually extensions of our faith in Christ. With faith in Christ, our lives become focused on doing things of eternal value. I invite each of us to do the things necessary to build our faith, our faith in Jesus Christ, and then to put that faith to action through repentance, baptism, and other ordinances in the gospel. I promise that your life will be blessed tremendously if you do so. I know that to be true, and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Have a super duper week! Until next week! God speed!

Elder Houssian

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Week #100!

Hey y’all! Holy moly 100 weeks... that’s crazy! Another week is in the bag! This week has been great and the work is progressing quickly! I hope y’all have had a great week! It has started warming up, and it’s warming up quick. We hit 108-109 the other day, and I am not looking forward to the heat to come 😂

We have been able to see many tender mercies from the Lord this week, one of which came last week! We were walking to go visit a former investigator, Diego, and as we were walking up he opened his garage to get ready to leave. We talked with him and he was super cool! We were able to get to know him, and he has been attending church occasionally with his friends in another ward. He is super awesome, and we had a lesson later in the week and he accepted an invitation to be baptized!

We have to push back Art’s baptism due to scheduling conflicts, but he is still going strong! We found out that Curtis and his “wife” aren’t married, so we have to push his date back. Pauline is doing well and is still on track for June 23rd!

My spiritual thought this week comes from the Book of Mormon, in Alma 38:2, which says;

“2 And now, my son, I trust that I shall have great joy in you, because of your steadiness and your faithfulness unto God; for as you have commenced in your youth to look to the Lord your God, even so I hope that you will continue in keeping his commandments; for blessed is he that endureth to the end.”

Enduring faithfully to the end brings so many blessings to us! As we strive to emulate the Savior and do as He would do, we will be blessed with happiness, joy, and small incremental changes that will draw us closer to our Heavenly Father. This gospel is a gospel of action, and if we act and LIVE the gospel, we will ultimately be changed and become a true disciple of Jesus Christ. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Week #99

Howdy everyone! This week has been a great week! But it will be short and sweet this week!

We have been working with our investigators Art, Curtis, and Pauline who are scheduled to be baptized June 9thJune 16th, and June 23rd! They are all doing great and progressing very well!

Transfer calls happened this week, and...... I will be staying, getting a new companion, and I am the District Leader again! I am very excited and looking forward to it all. I will definitely miss Elder Gardner, he has been a great companion and will do very well in his mission!

For my thought today I wanted to share a quote that I heard at Church in our Sunday School class from a visiting member of the Church. She said "There is no comfort in the growth zone, and no growth in the comfort zone". I really loved that quote from her! We were discussing the Christ-like attribute "Faith" and she brought this up. In order for us to grow, God pulls us out of our comfort zone. We cannot have our "weak things become strong" and "[become] a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord" without being pulled out of our comfort zone. It is when we step outside of those bounds that the Lord works wonders in our lives. I know that to be true. I know God lives, Jesus is the Christ. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Have a wonderful week! Until next week! God speed!

Elder Houssian 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Week #98

Hey hey everyone! I hope this week has been a great week for y’all! This week has been another one for the books, we had a lot happen!

So we received a call on Pday last week from a member who had stopped attending Church. She was wondering if we could come by and visit her, so we did! She lives with her sister who is not a member of the Church and wants to be baptized! Her name is Pauline. We have been teaching her and she came to Church this week! She is set to be baptizedJune 23rd, and she is progressing very well!

We also were able to find another new person to teach! His name is Josh. He has a ton of health problems and is only in his 30s. He has had some experiences in his life that have helped him grow closer to God and strengthen his relationship with Him. We were able to meet him and share a message about God’s plan for us and eternal families, and he was very touched. I will keep y’all posted on that!

My spiritual thought this week comes from Alma 17:2-3, which reads;

“2 Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God.
3 But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God.”

Here, Alma is speaking about the reunion he had with the Sons of Mosiah after they went on their missions to preach the gospel. Upon returning, Alma was glad to see that his brothers were still strong in their faith and belief in God. This was the case because the Sons of Mosiah had studied the scriptures, and fasted and prayed DILIGENTLY. It is one thing to go through the motions, but when we actually are diligent and faithful in those things, great strength is brought to our faith and our testimonies. I know that to be true, and it is my prayer that we all seek to be diligent in the simple things, for those simple things will make all the difference! I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Have a wonderful week! Until next week! God speed!!

Elder Houssian