Thursday, December 29, 2016

Week #25

What an awesome week. We had a White Christmas!! (No snow though) I hope y'all had a great week this week spending time with family, remembering the Savior, and getting stuffed with tons of food!

This week, we had a baptism! (Hence the "White Christmas") It was a family that was found about a month and a half ago, and the mother and oldest daughter were baptized. Jen is a single mom raising three amazing daughters, and Kylee is the oldest of them all at 13, and she definitely led the way and set an example for her younger sisters who will be turning 8 within the year. The Spirit was felt so strongly there and it was a wonderful way to start the day that Christmas Eve morning. Seeing two beautiful daughters of God enter the waters of baptism and take a huge step in their spiritual progression really helped me feel the Spirit and see the true converting power of this gospel and the truth that it contains.

I was also able to see some relatives of mine Christmas Eve and have dinner with them! It was great to see them again after so long and to get to know all of my cousins again!

Christmas morning we went to church and heard a beautiful Christmas program that ended with "Oh, Holy Night", which is my absolute favorite Christmas song. Then we went to the Wagstaff's house for brunch. After that we went to the Davis' household to Skype our families. It was so great to see them and talk to them and just be with them again. And it surprised me how much has changed in the last 6 months! The Davis family also gave us gifts, and one of them being homemade ties from their 15 year old daughter who is really really good at making and designing clothes and such, so bonus. After that we went to the Flinders', the die hard Texan family in one of our wards, and they're a very entertaining family to be around! After that we went to the Ramirez's for some filet mignon which was bomb!!

My heart has been about the same as before. Sadly we are back to playing the waiting game until next week on the 4th, but I will keep y'all posted!

My spiritual thought isn't a scripture or anything this week, but an invitation. I would invite y'all to reflect on the birth and life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This season is a wonderful time to do so because we are literally celebrating His birth. Christ has done so much for us. He took on our pains and sufferings and mistakes and suffered for them and died for them. He was crucified and rose again on the 3rd day. Because of that we can be forgiven of our sins and we can be resurrected again some day, and ultimately return to the presence of our Heavenly Parents while having our families forever. Families are eternal, I know without a shadow of a doubt that they are. May we all strive to be Christlike and to remember the Savior Jesus Christ. I say these things in His sacred name, even Jesus Christ, amen.

Have a wonderful week y'all, and a Happy New Year!! Till next week!

Elder Houssian

 Puppy therapy for my heart 😂


Christmas Eve with Dad's cousins! 

Houssian side loves "Take 2"

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Week #24

Howdy howdy! I apologize for not sending out my letter yesterday! Just a heads up, there isn't much to talk about this week due to the fact that I still am having heart troubles. So the work is very limited and it's the worst! But its ok, the Lord is still here and is guiding me through this. I hope y'all had a great week! And also, Merry Christmas!! 🎄 

This past week we had a Christmas Conference with 3 of the zones in the mission including ours. It was a lot of fun, the Spirit was there, and the talent show after was awesome! My comp Elder Moen did stand-up comedy and it was hilarious! My companion is a goon haha. It was great.

This week, one of our members suggested that we go to the temple, and in the mission we are allowed to go every other transfer, and it was about time for us to go! So Elder Moen and I went with Brother Ramirez to the temple, and man how great it felt to go into the house of the Lord. The Spirit was so strong and it was an amazing experience. 

Sunday was Elder Moen's birthday! So after we had church and then lunch/dinner with a family in the ward, we went over to the Ramirez's for cake and had Jen and her family over with us. Jen and her family are getting baptized on Christmas Eve! It was great to have their family over and spend time with everyone!

My spiritual thought this week comes from Alma 26:27, it reads "Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success." This week has been a struggle for me. One of the worst things on the mission is being restricted on doing the Lord's work, and that's what I've been going through this past 2 weeks. But I know that as we turn our troubles, our sadness, our worries, ANYTHING to the Lord, He will help us and comfort us. He will guide us back and guide us through our trials. I know this to be true. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ lives. I know as we turn to Him, all things are possible. This gospel is true. I know that with all my heart. I say these things in He name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I love y'all! Have a Merry a Christmas! Until next week!

Elder Houssian
 6/8 of the OG MTC district at Christmas Conference (L to R: Elders Rigby, Smith, Houssian, Stucki, and Brandli)
Temple trip!
ust chillin with Phineas the new puppy!

 Celebrating Moen's birthday at the Ramirez's with our investigating family getting baptized Christmas Eve! (This is Kylee)

Hanging with the girls and Troy (the blondes are all part of the family getting baptized)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Week #23

Hello everyone! This weeks email will be kind of short. This week I haven't done very much at all. I hope the week went well for everyone! 

So this week I have been having some health problems and going to doctors trying to figure out what's wrong. So far we have found nothing, and I am going to a few different doctors to try and figure out what's going on and how to fix it. Do not be worried, I'm all good and I'm in the Lord's hands, so all I can do is wait and trust in the Lord. And it is nothing super serious, like life threatening or anything, just more of a nuisance is all. The only thing I ask is that y'all keep me in your prayers. Thank you for your love and support for me while I am out in the service of the Lord. 

On a happier note, we have 2 baptisms on Christmas Eve! It's super exciting! They're names are Jen and Kylee, and they are progressing very well. Then they will be confirmed on Christmas Day, which I think is amazing, and they will also receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, which I think is the best gift to ever get on Christmas.

I also had a baptism on Saturday for one of my favorite investigators ever who was in my last area. Her name is Marshah. She's amazing and her and I got a long and joked around a ton. She is a wonderful woman and I am so happy to see her enter the waters of baptism and grow closer to Christ!

I was also able to see my dad this week!! It was crazy how it all worked out, but he was in town and we worked out some stuff and I was able to see him, which was an amazing blessing. Christmas came early this year! Haha it was great to see him and to be with him.

My spiritual thought this week comes from Alma 36 verse 3. Part of it reads "..for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day." I know this to be true. This scripture really stuck out to me this week as I have been going through the trials I'm facing this week. I know that as we put our trust in the Lord, we can have the support of the Lord in everything we do. I know Christ lives. I know this church is true. I love my beautiful family with all of my heart. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I love all of you! Thank you for the many things you do. Talk soon!

Elder Houssian

Me and the big fella! 

Marshah, the OG, not having it 


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Week #22

Hello hello! Another week is through! The time is just flying by, its crazy. So like I said last week, I was transferred into Henderson. It is such a different place overs here than in any other part of the Vegas valley that is in our mission. There are lots of big houses and lots of stubborn people haha, so the work is a little harder, but I love it! My companion's name is Elder Moen (how he describes it, "its pronounced like you're 'mowin' the lawn") He is such a funny guy and really makes the work so much more enjoyable (not that it wasn't before, because it was)! He's always making jokes and smiling and it is always a good time with him.

We went by a couple member families this week so I could meet them. One of them was the Flinders family. We had knocked on a door a few houses down from them, and then Elder Moen took me to go meet them. We knocked on heir door but they weren't home, so we started walking away. As we did that, they pulled up! (Before I go any further, just a heads up, Sister Flinder is a die hard Texan, she bleeds it eats it and breathes it haha)! So we go out to meet her and she says "Well howdy y'all" with quite the southern drawl. She proceeded to ask where I was from and of course I said "Austin, Texas" and she flipped out! She waved her arms and said "I've been waiting for a Texan to come through here for so long" and then said "I need to hug you"😂 So before I registered it enough she gave me a hug and Elder Moen was dying laughing. It was a sight to see for sure! Then, one of her kids gets out of the car and she excitedly says "Guess where he's from!? Austin, Texas!" And the kid gasps and gets wide eyes and smiles, then her other kid that was in the car got out and she said the exact same thing, and then the second kid proceeded to have be exact same reaction haha, I guess sibling really are alike😉

The other funny experience this week happened Friday night. We were finishing up the night, and went to a member's house to ask them for a ride to our apartment (we live a mile away from our area, and it's all uphill, so we walk instead of ride bikes which I am definitely ok with). We knock on the door and their cat runs at our feet. So Elder Moen goes to pick it up and as he bends over, he splits his pants! And we're not talking just a little tear, like he had a split that was a foot long at least! Then the door answers and it's one of their kids and Elder Moen asks "Is Mike (their brother) here? I need him". So we walked in and Elder Moen used his back pack to cover his huge hole and ran into the bathroom. It was hilarious!

My spiritual thought comes from 3 Nephi 9, verse 14. It reads "Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me." As I was reading this in my personal study, I reflected on the phrase "eternal life". In this verse, Christ is proclaiming that those who come unto Him will have eternal life. What a great blessing that is. Eternal life is one of the greatest gifts of God. I know that as we come unto Christ and strive to be like Him, we can and we WILL have eternal life, we will be able to live in the presence of our Maker, and we will be with our families forever. This is not the end. Because of Christ, death has no sting and the grave no victory. We will see our loved ones again someday. Those who have passed on before us are watching over us and walking with us side by side through the ups and downs of life. And not only that, Christ is doing the same thing as well. We have so much support on this earth from our loved ones here and in Heaven. May we all continue through life knowing that we will all be together again some day. This church is true. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is risen. It is through Him and only through Him that we can have eternal life. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Before I go, I just wanted to shout out my family. I love them so much. They are my rock and are what keeps me going on the mission. I would not be here today without y'all. I love you guys so much. My mom is my number 1 fan and is my favorite woman in the world. Nothing can separate the special bond that she and I hold. Not a day goes by where I don't think about or talk about my mother. She has taught me so much, and has been an example to me on how a mother should be, especially while being the odd woman out with 7 boys counting my dad. My dad is like a brother to me. He's my best friend and always knows what to say, and gives me a lot of good advice for the mission. I hope I can be half the missionary he was by the time I'm finished. He also is a great example on how to be a father. My brothers are my best friends and brothers through everything. They mean the world to me. I hope they know how much I love them. I look up to each of my younger brothers, they really set an example for me on how to be Christ-like. I know I will always have them, and that means everything to me. I am eternally grateful for my wonderful family. I am so thankful for all of you and for the many wonderful things y'all do for me. I love each of you. Thank you for the impact each of you have on me. You are blessings in my life. Until next week!

Elder Houssian

 The Flinders gave me a Texas Flag because they have like 5 of them #yeeyee

Baptism!  Elder Brady is out in the sticks and couldn't make it, so we called him on FaceTime!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Week #21

Hello everyone! Week 21 is in the books! This week has flown by, I don't know what happened! Just a heads up, I tried a new way of writing my weekly email where I wrote about my day every day. So it is a little long and I apologize! Also, big news! I am getting transferred to Henderson! I will be covering the McCullough Hills and Laurel Hills wards in the McCullough Hills stake out in the Black Mountain area. I was very surprised that I left after being here for only 6 weeks, but I guess the Lord wants me in Henderson!

Monday: We went into Henderson (with permission of course) and a friend of ours got us some clothes at the store cause we missionaries go through clothes kind of fast. Then we ate some food and went to Smiths to get some groceries. After that we went to the church and emailed for a bit and shot some baskets. Then we went to Sister Rice's house for dinner and had some awesome lasagna and talked with her and a few other members of the ward that were over there. It was a good day.

Tuesday: We had District Council today, our last one for this transfer (😢). Our district leader challenged us to each get at least 70 street contacts this week, and if so he would bring us Sour Patch Kids. A street contact is talking to someone on the street (obviously) but it's not just a simple "hey how's it going", you actually stop and try to talk to them and get to know them and share some gospel truths with them. So all 4 companionships hit 70+ and Elder Jarvis brought us Sour Patch Kids, and lots of them. 7 lbs of Sour Patch to be exact. So that was fun. Then we took some pics as a district and then went and had Subway. Then I had a doctors appointment, so we had a member drive us into the West mission because that's the office that our mission likes us to go to. After that we had a steak dinner with the Haubrichs, and then went to a lesson with the Esquivel family. We are teaching their son Antonio Jr. primarily, but his father isn't a member either so we teach him as well. It was a great lesson and Antonio is progressing wonderfully. After that we had a lesson with Diane Bynum, who is another "part-member family" and just stopped by to see how she was doing. We weren't able to teach her because we were limited on time since she had just got home from work and was exhausted. But it was good to see her.

Wednesday: Well last night into this morning (Tuesday-Wednesday) we had some Elders from our district stay the night because their apartment smelled a lot like weed. They have neighbors that like to smoke it a lot, and I guess it was too much for them to stay there, so we didn't get very much sleep. So we walked around our complex this morning talking to people and hitting up potential investigators. It was kind of uneventful haha. Then we had lunch and rode our bikes to an appointment which fell through. So we stopped by a part-member family, the Heglmeiers. Then we dropped off a Spanish Book of Mormon to a family we are currently teaching. After that we had dinner with the Sanders family, they're great! Then we had a lesson with our upstairs neighbor that fell through, so we went to our next appointment with Diane and had a nice little discussion. Her husband was there too and he's a member so it was good. Then we came home and planned, then went to bed because we were drained!

Thursday: Ahh turkey day! You know what that means.... Stake-wide turkey bowl. Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to announce that for the first time since July 6th, Elder Houssian has been in his element... Football😍 There were lots of people there to play so we ended up having 4 teams of 10-12. It was awesome. It felt so nice to run around and play ball again. It really made me miss those Friday Night Lights, because there's nothing like it! But my boys out in Drip are representing as they tear up the playoffs! Then we came back, showered, and then went to the Thornton's house for our first meal of the day. It was so good as expected! They had their grandma and grandpa and their grandparents there from Sister Thornton's side of the family, and Sister Thornton's sister and her husband were there with their kids, so it was a lot of fun! We were there for a bit and then went to the Carey's for our second meal. That was really good too. Sister Carey made some really really good blueberry cheesecake and peach cobbler. They had tons of food and only 9 people there counting us haha so we got lots of servings! Then we ended the day going to the Sanders' house. They had some mac and cheese that was delicious, and the "Great Turkey" (some tradition they have) came and brought everyone socks haha so we got some cool socks to wear! That was my day today, and then when we got home we went to bed early cause we were very tired from our day! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

Friday: Today was a good day. We had to plan for the week which took about 3 hours and that wasn't anything near exciting. Then we went on mini exchanges with our district leader, which was a lot of fun. We rode our bikes around and talked to this lady named Breanna who was super friendly and wanted us to come back and teach her again. Then we had dinner given to us by Sister Henderson which was very good! We had mac and cheese, duck, ham, greens, and desert. It was super good. Then we had a few more lessons and then returned home!

Saturday: Oh man today is transfer doc. aannnnnddd *drumroll* I'm getting transferred to Black Mountain! I got transfer trashed (meaning I was in an area for only 1 transfer) out of North which isn't fun, I'm leaving a lot of wonderful people. But the Lord has other plans for me, and He has called me to serve in the McCullough Hills stake. I will be covering two wards which will be interesting, but in those two wards, its only four neighborhoods. So I will be covering four gated communities in the area nicknamed "mini Utah"... This will be interesting. Elder Brady's last companion served there and he said that by the end of his time there he knew the non-member's dog's names. I'm excited for this opportunity though! My new companion is Elder Moen. He is a really hard working missionary and is known around the mission as one of the funniest missionaries in the mission. So this will be a lot of fun! Elder Brady will be going to Dolan Springs Arizona. It's in the middle of nowhere and is about an hour and a half away from the valley. He is from Arizona so he's just going home. His area is nicknamed "Stolen Springs" because things get stolen there all the time haha. After that we had two missed appointments cause the investigators weren't there. Then we had dinner with the Leavitt's, then stopped by the Heglmeier's, the Guzman's, and Diane's house. Then we got in and started packing! 

Sunday: Today was a very sad day, as it was the last day I was able to be with my ward. This is the hard part about transfers, because you get to know the members of the ward and grow to love them, and then you have to leave. Church was wonderful as always. After church we went and stopped by a couple ward member's houses and then went to a lesson that fell through. So then we went to Diane's one last time to say goodbye to her and her family, and then came home to finish packing!

My spiritual thought this week comes from the Book of Mormon, its Helaman 5:12. It reads "And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall." Here, we are taught that if we have a firm faith in Christ, if we build our faith and create our foundation, we cannot fall. I testify that what Helaman teaches here is true. As we grow our faith in Him and in His word, we will be unshakeable. The influences of Satan will have no effect on you, you will withstand him and be a light to those around you. As we build our faith, we grow in our knowledge of the Savior and in turn grow closer to Him. We build our connection between Him and us, which enables Him to shower His blessings upon us and help us through our difficult times. I have seen this on my mission thus far. There are many hard times on a mission, but I have seen that as I stay rooted in the scriptures, I go to church, I fervently pray, and I repent of my mistakes, He has helped me overcome the trials I face and has made me stronger in the end. Without Him, I wouldn't be able to do what I'm doing now. I would not be here without Him and the many things He has done for me. This church is true. I know it to be and I testify with all my heart that it is. I love my Savior. I love my wonderful family and thank God each and every day for their love and support for me, and for helping me become the young man I am today. Christ lives and loves each and every one of us. I say these things humbly in the name of my beloved Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.

Happy holidays everyone! Enjoy the wonderful weather that is coming or has already started. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Until next week! 

Elder Houssian

 XGames has nothing on this!

 The Heglmeier Girls!

The Leavitt Family!  Taylor in the orange is going to Paris for his mission in March.

 Brady and I posted up one last time . . . for you! ;)
 Espen, we got really close this last transfer

 The Bynum family!

 Subie loooooooovvvvvvveeeeee (Brother Thomas beautiful Subaru!)

Brother Thomas, the other guy I got close with.  Also has a beautiful Subaru

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Week #20

Howdy howdy! Sorry for this email being a day late, our P Day yesterday was adventurous and we didn't get to the church to email until about 3, so I wanted to spend the time talking to my loved ones. But all is well! I hope everyone had a great week and is ready for a break from school!

So last week wasn't very eventful, well it was, just not in an exciting way. We had a lot of meetings this week and then a lot of service as well. We had interviews with President and Sister Snow on Friday. That was a blast. President and I have a very strong connection, and it's always great to see him. He is from Boise as well, so we always get to talking about Idaho at some point in our conversations. He's a remarkable leader. 

This week we also helped a member of our ward pull out flooring from her old dance studio so she could put it into her new one. The flooring was a bunch of frame work screwed into cement, and then there was plywood nailed into the frame. So we took the whole day pulling up the plywood and loading it into a trailer. We were surprisingly sore after that day.

My spiritual thought this week comes from Elder Gerrit W. Gong, in a talk called "Becoming Perfect in Christ". Sister Snow gave a training and used some of this talk, and as I was reading along this paragraph stuck out to me. It reads "Missionaries who want to be perfect now may become anxious or discouraged if learning their mission language, seeing people baptized, or receiving mission leadership assignments do not happen fast enough. For capable young people accustomed to accomplishment, a mission may be life’s first great challenge. But missionaries can be exactly obedient without being perfect. They can measure their success primarily by their commitment to help individuals and families 'become faithful members of the Church who enjoy the presence of the Holy Ghost.'" Being a missionary is very hard. It has really opened my eyes and has given me a new perspective on life. Where it says " exactly obedient without being perfect" says it all. We don't have to get too hard on ourselves when we mess up. We are not perfect, God knows that. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is here for that specific reason, because He knows we are not perfect and wants to help us become clean and pure so we can stand before Him at the last day. Brothers and Sisters, I promise we can be forgiven of our sins. The Atonement is real. Strive to be Christ-like, but when you mess up, know there is hope and there is a way to be forgiven and become clean again. All it takes is us being able to humble ourselves and ask the Lord for forgiveness and for help, and He will be with you side by side every step of the way. I challenge each of you to use the Atonement, don't take it for granted, and see the blessings and the joy that will come out of it. This church is true, the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is on he earth today. It was brought forth by a Prophet called of God, named Joseph Smith. Jesus Christ suffered and died for our sins. He lives. Families can and will be together forever. I know this to be true and it is such a blessing to know that I will have my family forever. I love my Savior, I love my family, and I love all of you. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Have a wonderful and safe week! Until next time!

Elder Houssian
Arrive in style! 

 Me jumping the ledge at our apartment


Monday, November 14, 2016

Week #19

Hello hello! I hope y'all had a great week this week! It's great to get updates from so many of you! This week has been a great week for Elder Brady and I!

First off, this week we went on exchanges, and I went into my District Leader's area with his companion, and my District Leader came to my area with Elder Brady. So I was with Elder Johannson which was a TON of fun. This guy is from New Zealand and served for 6 months in Fiji while waiting for his visa. He's got a sweet accent and is really funny. The day we proselyted together was awesome, we got a ton done, and we even played basketball with some random kids for a couple minutes! Oh yea, Elder Johannson is also 6'4" and plays basketball, so we had some fun! Then someone who served as a senior missionary in Fiji with Elder Johannson came and took us to lunch at this place called Memphis BBQ. It was pretty alright, but nothing compared to the Salt Lick! Then we went and taught a family with 7 kids, and oh man that was quite the lesson! Overall it was a fun exchange!

Secondly, we had a family walk into church Sunday who we have never seen before. There was a daughter, a mother, a grandmother, and a great grandmother. Everyone was a member except for the mother, who came up to us and said she wanted to be baptized. It really threw us off haha but she is doing very well. It was fun!

My highlight for this week was on Friday. We had a Zone Training and the theme for the second half of the meeting was Christmas. (I feel like people start celebrating Christmas earlier and earlier every year). So, with the theme being Christmas, my whole district wore Santa hats, and some of us wore Christmas ties. It was really funny. We took Christmas card photos as well which i will attach, and one of them was a prom-type photo, it was great. 

My spiritual thought this week comes from Elder Bruce R. McConkie. It was his last talk before he passed away. It is called the Purifying Power of Gethsemane, and it is a very powerful talk. I wanted to share his testimony, and invite you all to go and listen to it on Gospel Library, and hear it in his own words. It is one of the most powerful testimonies I have ever heard. 
"And now, as pertaining to this perfect atonement, wrought by the shedding of the blood of God--I testify that it took place in Gethsemane and at Golgotha, and as pertaining to Jesus Christ, I testify that he is the Son of the Living God and was crucified for the sins of the world. He is our Lord, our God, and our King. This I know of myself independent of any other person. I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears. But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way. God grant that all of us may walk in the light as God our Father is in the light so that, according to the promises, the blood of Jesus Christ his Son will cleanse us from all sin." Brothers and Sisters, I add my testimony to Elder McConkie's. Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. He suffered in Gethsemane and died on the cross for our sins. He knows us each individually, and has felt all of our pains, sadness, and sorrows. It is only through Christ that we can be forgiven of our sins and ultimately return to our Father in Heaven at the last days. I challenge each of you to continue to recognize the Lord's hand in everything you do. Without Him, we wouldn't be here. The Lord loves each and every one of you. I know He lives. I say this in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.

I love you all so much! You are in my thoughts and prayers. Talk soon!

Elder Houssian

 The Zone!

The District Elder's Quorum
Throw back to prom!

 Squad Up!
Our member during a lesson, the one and only Rj Bruland (a.k.a BruBear) he's a stud!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Week #18

Hello everyone! I hope you had a wonderful week and enjoyed the extra hour of catching Z's! This week has been a busy week, but not all of the busyness was in missionary work, nor did we really have a choice.

So for starters, Halloween was on Monday! We as missionaries headed to the mission office for a halloween party from 6-9, that way people know that the real missionaries aren't out during halloween (because yes, people dress up as missionaries all the time, whether its Halloween or not). We watched a movie and ate snacks and it was fun. The movie was Shrek, which caught us off guard but it was really fun and entertaining haha. So that was fun. Also on Monday around 5:30 we got a text from the housing coordinators (they are in charge of where missionaries stay and do apartment checks in case anyone was wondering) saying that they were closing our apartment in the near future, which meant we were moving to a new apartment. Elder Brady and I were super stoked. Then they texted us again about 20 minutes later and said "yep, you're moving apartments on Thursday morning. You need to thoroughly clean your apartment and get everything ready to move". By thoroughly clean, they meant we had to deep clean everything because this apartment wasn't going to house missionaries anymore. The thing was, they told us at the END of our p-day, after we had the whole day to clean it. That caused us to be stuck in our apartment Tuesday and Wednesday cleaning it, so we couldn't go out and work at all. And on top of that, we had no one signed up for dinner all week. So that was rough. Then Thursday we spent all day moving and unpacking, and then it was Friday. So we had to give up half our week to move everything from our apartment into an apartment two buildings over. But on the plus side, its brand new, very clean, there's more space, and its on the first floor so we don't have to carry our bikes up and down stairs anymore. It was a stressful couple of days, but in the end everything worked out and we have a brand new apartment!

So with that set back, we were scrambling to try and make up for lost time. We worked and worked and worked non stop, and by the end of the week we were toast haha. But the Lord showed us tender mercies, He understood our struggles and blessed us for our efforts. It really showed me and confirmed to me that He knows what we are going through, He knows us individually and knows what we struggle with. He knows our feelings because He has felt all of them. We were blessed to come across a family this week that has 10 kids! I thought my family was big haha but I looked into this house and I couldn't see the floor cause it was occupied with so many kids! They were very interested in our message and asked us to come back. It was truly a blessing. Our other two investigators with a baptismal date are progressing well. One, Diane, is having struggles with the Word of Wisdom, but she has a desire to break her habits and be baptized. The other, Jason Reeb, is progressing very well. We have a few more lessons and then he is good to go. His parents are both members and less active, but want him to be baptized and are starting to come back to church because of it. It is amazing to see this family change as they continue to come to church and get back on the strait and narrow. 

The highlight of my week this week was Thursday night, where I had the privilege of witnessing a beautiful daughter of God enter the waters of baptism. This woman's name is Judy. She has come so far in her journey to get to where she is today. Being able to see her be baptized a member of the church and enter into the fold of God was an privilege and a blessing. Judy is a remarkable woman who fits in perfectly with this church. The spirit was felt so strongly that night. 

My spiritual thought this week comes from D&C 88:63, which reads:

63 Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

The Lord gives us a promise in this verse.  He promises that as we turn to Him in prayer, looking for answers to questions and guidance in our lives, He will give them to us IF we do so sincerely when we pray. If we turn to HIm with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, willing to act on the answers He gives us, He will provide guidance, help, and answers to us to help us grow our faith, make the right choices, and stay on the strait and narrow path. Brothers and Sisters, the power of prayer is very real. I promise that if we turn to Him with sincerity, if we ask for guidance and do so sincerely and faithfully, He WILL answer our prayers, but in His own time and according to His will. And the answers we receive, we must act on them. We must have that intent to change our ways to live according to the will of the Lord. Jesus Christ lives. He is the Son of God. He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane and died on the cross for all of us out of His unwavering love for each of us. You are not alone, the Lord is there for you. He is with you every step of the way, and is waiting for you to turn yourself to Him so that He can pick you up, get you back on your feet, and bless you with His tender mercies. He knows exactly how we felt. He suffered every sorrow and pain and affliction we have ever felt and will ever feel in our lives. He KNOWS. I challenge all of you to turn yourself to the Lord, to acknowledge His hand in your lives, and to trust in Him and His will. I can promise that the Lord will bless you beyond measure for having that faith and trust in Him. I know that families can be together forever. I am humbled by the blessing the Lord has put in my life through my family. I do not deserve such an amazing family. They are my everything, and to have them forever is more than anything I could ever want or need. I love my family with all of my heart. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. The teachings in this testament of Jesus Christ has the ability to change lives. I have seen its power work through many people, including myself. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. Stay anchored in the scriptures, pray fervently, and I promise you that you will see your testimony grow more than you can imagine. I know that President Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet of God. He is His mouthpiece  and spokesman in these latter days, and He is a man ordained of God. Heed his council, it is true council to us that comes from God. May we all continue to strengthen our testimonies, to act on our faith and trust in the Lord, recognizing His hand in our lives, and prayerfully seek forgiveness and guidance in our lives. The change you will see in your life and the blessings that will be unfolded unto you will be beyond comprehension. My Savior lives, and He loves you and I. I say these things in the name of the Risen Lord, even Jesus Christ, amen.

I love you all. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for the love and support you have for me while I am out on a mission. It helps me more than you know. Until next week!

Elder Houssian

 Here is an awesome young man who we took a pic with at our convert baptism this week.

This beautiful young lady, Judy, was baptized this week!

Elder Brady said the only thing he learned from a year of college was sleeping in weird positions, ANYWHERE

 He also likes to sleep in positions that make him look like his neck is broken
This Mustang just couldn't wait to get to the play place in McDonald's, so he tried to hop the curb haha

Monday, October 31, 2016

Week #17

Hello everyone, I hope you all had a great week this week! This week has been another interesting week. We were FINALLY able to get the bike fixed, but the following day, Elder Brady ran over an earring that pierced his tire and tube. (Yeah I know, we were shocked too as to how that thing held its form when he ran over it). So that put us on foot again for this whole entire week, which was really frustrating. But the Lord works in mysterious ways. I don't know why this is happening to us, but I do know that God has a reason for it, and all I can do at this point is trust in Him and go and do what He wants me too.

This week was full of miracles. One of which came while at an appointment with our investigator Judy, who has a date to be baptized and had been struggling little bit. She felt like she didn't "know enough" about the church and the gospel, which is definitely an understandable thing to feel as an investigator. But the wonderful thing about the gospel is, you're always learning no matter how long you've been in the church. When planning for her lesson that day, we planned to read in Alma 32, which talks about faith in comparison to a seed, and continually nourishing it to ultimately grow it into something beautiful. We walked into the lesson and before we said a word she said "before we start, I want to say something. I was reading in Alma 32 this morning about faith (it just happened to be where she was at in her reading of the Book of Mormon) and I want to be baptized on my birthday still, I'm going to do it". Her birthday is this Thursday. Elder Brady and I were taken off guard haha. It was a really neat experience for us. We continued on to have a wonderful lesson, and the spirit was very strong during the discussion.

Another really cool experience happened this week. We were able to hear from a General Authority, Elder Dyches of the Seventy, who came to our mission to speak and give a training and answer any questions we may have. We heard trainings from President Snow, Sister Snow, Sister Dyches, and Elder Dyches that day, and it was a very powerful meeting. It really helped me notice and recognize what I have been doing right as a missionary as well as what I can do to better myself and become a shepherd of Christ.

My final experience this week happened Friday. Every week on Friday, we take 3 hours out of our day to plan out the week and make specific plans for each investigator we teach. After that, we make individual and companionship goals for the week. One of my individual goals was for us to find a family to teach. We finished our planning session and ended with a prayer, and in the prayer prayed for help and guidance to do the things we needed to do to accomplish our goals. After that we went out and talked to people. While we were out knocking doors, we came across a man named Jeremy who is looking to find himself in his life and find a church that fits him. His wife is fully active and practicing in a different religion, and he didn't really agree with everything they taught. We talked to him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as well as God's plan for each of us. He was interested in our message and set a return appointment that next day. Before we left his doorstep, he told us that he had 2 kids and was married, and that all 4 of them would be there for the lesson the following day. We found a family to teach. When he said that it hit me, and I was overcome with a feeling of humbleness and gratitude to the Lord for hearing and answering my prayers, and doing so just hours after the prayer was said. That is something I've never experienced before, and it really touched me. I am eternally grateful for my Father in Heaven who loves you and I, and who hears and answers prayers. I have a firm testimony in that, that He hears and answers our prayers. He is always here for us, He NEVER leaves us alone. He knows us individually and knows what we need and what we desire. I know this to be true. I love my Father in Heaven and His son, our brother, Jesus Christ.

My spiritual thought this week comes from a devotional given by Michael Wilcox at BYU-Hawaii. In it he talks about prayer and receiving answers to them. He talks about a story in Mark chapter 6 where Christ feeds the five thousand, then goes to pray while the Apostles go out to sea. Christ prays a very long time sometimes, because He's the Son of God. The apostles were out at sea and rowing throughout the night, waiting for Christ to come, and He didn't come until the fourth watch. The Hebrew night was split up into four watches, 1st is 6-9 pm, 2nd is 9-12 midnight, 3rd is midnight to 3, and the 4th is 3-6. So these apostles were rowing throughout the night, waiting for their Master, and after Christ finished praying, He sat and watched the apostles rowing in the strong wind and struggling, but waited to walk out to see them. In this devotional, Brother Wilcox compares this to prayers. No matter how intently and sincerely we pray, sometimes it will take some time to receive an answer. That is because we worship a "fourth watch" God. Sometimes God lets us struggle a little bit, he has to let us get to the fourth watch. That really stuck out to me, because I have been feeling like i haven't received answers to prayers, or I haven't felt the spirit as much,, and its been hard for me. But this really opened my eyes as to how Christ sometimes works. Don't assume He's not there, He doesn't care, or He's not listening, because that isn't true. He cares, He listens, and He's there. He is always there. Sometimes we just have to get to the fourth watch. Brothers and Sisters, I know that God hears and answers our prayers. He is there for us every step of the way, no matter what. Keep pressing forward, keep fighting, and keep on keeping on. The Lord is there and hears your fervent and sincere prayers. Trust in the Lord and continue to show and strengthen your faith in Him, and those answers will come. 

I love all of you. You are all blessings in my life. I pray for you and your well being. Until next week.

Elder Houssian

Some of the original squad from the MTC, Elder Rigby, me, and Elder Smith featuring Sister Gibson in the background (she's in my zone haha)

 We went to 7-Eleven and this dog looked like he was getting impatient waiting for his owner to get back into the passenger seat

I came out of the shower to find Elder Brady using himself and a blanket to make a tent out of himself

Member's made us some mean omelets, super good!