Monday, August 29, 2016

Week #8

Hey y'all! I can't believe it's already 8 weeks, I hit my 1 month mark
in the field, and it feels like it's been MAYBE 2 weeks, it's crazy!
This week has been really fun, lots have big things happened.

So last week we met these investigators Tia and Patrick. They are
living above us in our apartment complex. They have been taking the
lessons, and on Thursday we committed them to be baptized. They are
the "golden investigators" haha Patrick wanted to be baptized BEFORE
even starting the lessons, and Tia wanted to be after the first
lesson. It was great! They are set to be baptized on the 17th, which
puts us at 9 after they get baptized. The Lord is working through
Elder Webb and I so much. It's such a blessing to have His power on
our side and have the Spirit through the course of our investigators'
conversions. I am blessed with an amazing companion. We get along
really well, and he is helping me in so many ways.

We also had another baptism this week! Her name is Josie, she is a
wonderful soul and is very excited to be a part of the ward and a part
of the church. She is soft spoken but really feels the Spirit and
invites it into whatever room she is in. She has been one of my
favorite investigators so far. It's such a blessing to find so many
people who are willing to hear our message and have been prepared by
God to make those steps.

Now for the fun story of the week. So we did exchanges with another
companionship, and this time I got to stay in my area and lead it. My
exchange companion, Elder Miller, came out the same day I did. So we
had two brand new missionaries in an area together for a day. Sounds
like a train wreck, and it was..... Just kidding haha it was one of my
best days as a missionary. We set a transfer high for most street
contacts, which we did in just about 4 hours, and then after had
dinner, and then had 7 lessons back to back from 6-9. We also found 3
new investigators. Elder Miller is a phenomenal missionary and we
really just went with the Spirit and enjoyed every minute of it! So we
got back to our apartment after our last lesson, and it was 9:25,
which is 5 minutes from curfew for missionaries, and we decided to
walk down the street a couple minutes to go to the gas station and get
some snacks. So we did that, and ended up getting 5 street contacts on
the way there, in the gas station, and on the way back, and handed out
a couple brochures and cards. We didn't realize it, but we were super
late haha so we went to bed late and woke up the next morning
exhausted. Oh my goodness it was rough. But totally worth it. While we
were out proselyting that day, we rode passed a house that is known to
be the home of a guy who sells illegal drugs, and as we rode by, he
was loading packages into his car. Elder Miller didn't know that this
guy handled drugs because Miller isn't from our area, we were on
exchanges, so he stops and offers to help the guy. The man quickly
said no and said it wasn't a good time and proceeded to pack so we
left. I then told Elder Miller about who that man was and he was in
shock cause haha he wasn't expecting it at all. That's just the day in
the life of the mission!

So I got this idea from another missionary (actually, like my whole
district) and share a scripture for y'all to read that really helped
me that week. My scripture is Alma 5:45-46, where it is Alma bearing
witness of the things he has been teaching about, and that he knows
their truth because of the promoting a of the Spirit. It stuck out to
me and has actually been one of my favorite scriptures for a long
time, but I came across it again this week so I wanted to share it.

God bless you all. I hope you are all doing well in your different
endeavors of life. I love you all and thank you so much for the
thoughts and prayers that are sent my way. They don't go unnoticed and
I feel them often. Until next week!

-Elder Houssian

 Me and Webbo
Elder Webb and I with some random dog with a cone the poked its head out when we knocked.

 Temple for days (sorry if its too dark/blurry)
Another One!  Here is Josie's baptismal picture!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Week #7

What an awesome week! This transfer is flying by! We are more than half way done and it feels like it's been a week and a half! Lots of things have happened this week and it's been awesome. The spirit has been so strong this week, and Elder Webb and I have had much success thanks to the spirit. We don't have the ability to do anything we've done without the spirit.

First, I had my first mission baptism! It was on Wednesday, her name is Linda. Her son Scott baptized her, and it was an awesome experience. Linda was also confirmed Sunday. She's doing really well and is very happy!

We also committed more investigators to be baptized, so we now have 7 baptisms lined up in this area. I warms my heart to see how our message changes people through the power of the spirit. The spirit plays the biggest role in the conversion of investigators, as well as in our own conversion. No matter what, everyone has to go through their own conversion, born into the church or not. It's all through humbling yourself, turning to the Lord, and serving him with your all. We found I believe 13 new investigators this week. The work really is thriving.

Now for the entertaining parts haha. I was almost hit by a car 2 different times this week! And they both got mad at me, it was really funny haha. We also received a referral to go to a drug-selling house, so we went there and they were interested in our message! There's 5 of them living there together and none of them are related haha. Also, we had a family sign up for a dinner appointment, and it was the same day as their daughter's WEDDING RECEPTION. So our dinner, we showed up to a reception hall with 80 people we had never met before to eat dinner. It was definitely a new experience haha. But it made the week that much better!

Lastly, all of my health problems I've been having have all gone away except for my heart problems, but I've had those since freshman year so it's nothing new! 

That's all for this week! Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. I love you all. God is real, His power is great, and his love is endless. The power of the Spirit is real and stronger than I could've ever imagined. The church is true. The Book of Mormon is a true testament of Jesus Christ, it is the keystone of our religion and goes hand in hand with the bible. Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. I love the mission. It is changing my life. Until next week. Love you all.

Elder Houssian

 President Snow, Elder Webb, and I
 My Zone!
Posted up in front of the Las Vegas Temple

New Haircut! 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Week #6

This week has gone by so fast it's crazy! I've had a lot of struggles
this week, I'll keep it short so that this email isn't just about my
problems haha cause there's a lot of a,along things in missionary
work. My heart problem has been acting up more than normal, I've had a
pretty bad headache for about 5 days now, the last couple nights I've
been waking up multiple times a night for no apparent reason, I had an
ingrown toenail that I actually got taken out today, and I possibly
have a hernia that has been bothering me for the last 2 weeks. I've
been taking meds and been following the council of our medical
coordinator person for the mission, but nothing is working. So it's a
process and it's really hard, but I'm trying my best to get through
it. I'll keep y'all updated!

So time for the good stuff!! First off, Elder Webb had me take the
lead in committing 3 investigators to be baptized, and all 3 said yes!
So now we have 5 baptisms coming up and the first one is this
Wednesday! I'm so excited and it was an amazing experience! I'm
learning as much as I can and growing a lot as a missionary, and Elder
Webb helps me a lot with that.

So a really crazy thing happened. We went with Brother Whitehead to go
visit his home teaching assignment because his companion wasn't
available. The ward boundaries for this ward were changed a few months
ago, and they just did a huge reassignment. So we went with him and
this guy's name is Michael. He's been through a lot. His wife faked to
be interested in the church to marry him, and then later down the road
got addicted to drugs. She went to rehab in Texas (of course) and then
ran away after a week, and said the only way she'd go back to rehab is
if she could do it I'm Vegas, so she was transferred to the Vegas
facility. When she gets to the airport, she disappears. He hasn't seen
her or heard of her since. But here's the catch. She got her drugs
from their neighbor across the street. That house that she got the
drugs from, we got a referral the same day to go visit the house cause
someone there was interested in the church. But we didn't have time to
go cause we had just gotten home from church, so that's something new

Lastly, for the big things this week, we were biking around and were
about to head home cause it was getting close to 9, and as we were
leaving the apartment complex, we came across a family of 6. They are
a beautiful family. They have 4 kids and have been married for 5
years. They were really interested in the church so we are seeing them
this week. I have high hopes for this family!

That's all for this week! Sorry this one was a little shorter than
normal, next week will be better! Thank you for your continuous
thoughts, prayers, letters, packages, etc. everything really goes a
long way for me, especially being out here and struggling but also
serving the Lord and finding joy in that. I love it here and I know
this is where I'm supposed to be. I love this gospel, I love my
Savior, I love my family, and I love all of you. Thank you for all
that you do for me.

Talk next week!

Elder Houssian

 Awesome view from one of my ward boundries looking towards the strip
 More of the valley
 Elder Webb and I
Elder Webb's mom sent $40 in McDonalds gift cards, you already know #missionlife

Monday, August 8, 2016

Week #5

Howdy y'all! Another week is in the bag and they're starting to fly
by! I love being out here and getting lost in the work of the Lord. A
lot has happened this past week. Sorry this is so long haha but hey, I
have pictures at the end so it's worth it to read! ;)

So Elder Webb and I live in the ghetto. It's pretty bad. There's a lot
of run down houses around us and we hear a LOT of sirens. There were
cops in our complex like 2 or 3 days ago for something, we don't know
what. It's crazy though, always keeps you on your toes haha. Nothing
has happened to us or even come close to happening to us which is
good. But the area we walk around in and teach in is also the ghetto,
it's bad. It's very Hispanic and African American populated which I
didn't really expect in this part of Vegas, but it brings new
opportunities to the table to teach. We are also on bikes, I forgot to
mention that last week. It is so hard being on a bike when it's 100
degrees plus, with no clouds. I get very gross and sweaty. But that
doesn't stop the work and I love it because it give us more
opportunities to talk to people.

We've found 5 or 6 new investigators this week. It's been super busy,
but totally worth it. Elder Webb and I have been working super hard,
which I'm happy about because a lot of missionaries who are towards
the end of their missions start to get lazy, but not Elder Webb. He's
taught me a lot and I'm so excited for the time ahead on my mission.
One of our investigator's names is Buddy. He reminds me a lot of Uncle
Dave haha so we get along very well. He was in a car accident in April
that I don't remember the details of, except that it was bad. He
should've died to be honest, but he didn't. He had a broken neck and a
few other smaller injuries, but he lived. He's healthy and working. Oh
yea, Buddy has also had 4 strokes. So he feels like God is trying to
tell him something by keeping him alive, which is good cause now he's
super open to learning about the church. I have great confidence that
him and his wife will be baptized soon, and that makes me so happy.

We have 2 baptisms coming up, one on the 17th and one on the 20th.
Both of these two women are so ready to be baptized. I'm so happy for
them and that they have decided to accept the Gospel into their lives.
They are both so happy and have grown so much closer together with
their families. It warms my heart to see wonderful families like
theirs be brought closer together.

We live about 10 minutes from the Las Vegas temple. It's such a
beautiful temple, I love going to it and seeing it on top of the hill
every day. Since it's so close, we give tours of the outside, and then
go inside and through the foyer to an outdoor foyer within the walls
of the temple and give a lesson. As you walk around the outside of the
temple, the path represents the Plan of Salvation and the steps to
returning to heaven. So we get to bring the investigators and tour the
temple while teaching one of the lessons. It makes me so happy to go
and give tours and be on the grounds of the temple. I feel the spirit
a lot there and it makes me happy. I was able to give a tour two days
in a row last week. I love it. I love it so much.

In the mission there's something called "exchanges". It's where a
companion in one companionship and a companion in the other switch
places for a day and teach with another missionary. So I went on an
exchange Wednesday night into Thursday, and just my luck, I was put
into the Spanish area.... So I went to 6 lessons that day and spoke
like twice. Haha it was a new experience for sure but I'm learning
Spanish now and picking it up pretty well. So surprise, I might be
fluent in Spanish when I come back even though that's not my mission
language.😂 I also has this Mexican dish of corn, mayo, parmesan
cheese, and chili powder. It was so nasty oh my goodness. But I
powered through!

I was given the talk called "The 4th Missionary" and it really hit me.
At one point it says something like "if you don't serve the Lord with
everything you have, and have positivity about what you're doing, you
will get nothing out of your mission". I love that and I am all for
giving everything in my mission, because it will bless the lives of
those I teach, and my family and loved ones. I couldn't ask for any
more of a reason to get lost in the work.

I am having so much fun and loving the mission. It is so hard, the
work is demanding and your faith is testing constantly, but it's worth
it and I feel myself learning and growing so much more and I've
already seen changes in myself and I've been gone for 5 weeks. I love
this church so much. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ, for the ultimate
sacrifice He made for us so we could be forgiven of our sins and
return to live with Him someday. I'm grateful for Joseph Smith, for
his desire to know what church to join and with God's help, being able
to establish the church back on the earth today. The power of the Holy
Ghost is real, I know it is and I've seen it work wonders in the eyes
of our investigators, the ward members, Elder Webb, and myself. I love
my family. I know we will be together forever and there is nothing
more I could ever ask for. I love y'all.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers, they get me through the day
and I'm praying for all y'all as well. I love you all. Thank you for
your support as I embark on this journey these next 2 years. Until
next week!

Elder Houssian

 The "S" in Sunday stands for "suits" right??
 This is what about 75%-80% of my area looks like (or similar)
 1st Temple Tour
 2nd temple tour
Yeeeeeeee haw!!!!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Week #4

Another week in the bag! It's been crazy.

We woke up at 2:45 am to go to the airport. We went to bed at like
12:30 that night so we were on like 2 hours of sleep. I don't know how
I stayed awake that day. So we go on the bus and they took us to a
train station. We went on that train, got off, and then had to get on
ANOTHER train that took us to the airport. Then we went and checked
our bags and then made phone calls! I got to talk to both my parents
at the same time which was nice, and I also got to talk to Lou, so I
was content! Then we got on the plane, got to Vegas at 8:30 am Vegas
time, and met our mission president, President Snow! It was super
cool, he's an awesome president. We went to the mission home and got
fed a REAL breakfast; pancakes, bacon, the whole setup! Then we met
the APs and STLs and they're super cool. Then we had training and then
went to the church to meet our trainers! My trainer's name is Elder
Webb, he's from Arkansas and has been out for 20 months! We get along
really really well and have been tearing up our area.

So the first day out in the field, we knocked 7 doors, and all 7
wanted return appointments! We still teach them! Then the next day we
find out that we have 2 investigators with baptism dates. It's
awesome! After that it's just been appointments, street contacting,
and knocking doors. We've had a lot of success so far.

We also got to meet our Zone Leaders on Friday and then went to Jack
in the Box haha. It was a funny site to see. A bunch of missionaries
in a fast food place.

We've been fed every night by the members, it's good cause they LOVE
feeding us! They love coming and teaching too. It's a really small
ward but super active!

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers, they don't go unnoticed
and I feel them daily. I love you all. Till next time!

Elder Houssian

 Sweaty after being out an hour!

Elder Webb, my comp/trainer 

 My bedroom

Us in the front office of our complex cause we don't have wifi anymore