Monday, March 27, 2017

Week #38

Howdy everybody! I hope this week has been great for you. I am so stoked for General Conference this weekend. It'll be my 2nd session out of 4 on my mission😬 time is flying by! 

We had a lesson with David, Rachel, and Samson on Tuesday. It was so great. The Spirit was very strong and very present. Brother Schmauss joined us for the lesson and him and David hit it off. They are both very familiar with scripture and had a great conversation about Hingis. David was asking questions and implying things like "I know there's more" or "I know that something like this exists", and referencing things about the Plan of Salvation and the Restoration. We just need to help him understand that we DO have that "more" which is the Book of Mormon, and in due time, that will happen. They are a wonderful family and really help us feel the Spirit.

I was asked to give a training during District Council this week on "Energy/Excitement/Motivation in the work". I loved it because it was basically me getting hyped in front of the district (all Elders) and then getting them hyped and motivated as well. It was so much fun! The funny thing is, is all of the Elders in my district have been out 15-20 months, and I've only been out 9, and I'm the one giving the motivational training 😂 we laughed about it. But it was good. I came across a quote while preparing for my training that says "Be the missionary that your mom dreamed you to be". That hit me hard, because I do not want to let my Savior down, but I don't by any means want to let my mom down either! For me, that was my pick-me-up, my motivation. I hate to break it to y'all, but I have the best mom in the world. 😜

I was privileged to be asked to speak in sacrament meeting yesterday on the Atonement. It's my first time speaking in sacrament meeting on my mission! I made it 9 months haha. The talk was great. While preparing, I talked to our Stake President/member of the mission presidency about the Atonement. I expressed how I sometimes felt that I wasn't adequate or worthy enough to be on a mission because of mistakes I made and repented of in the past. He asked me if I confessed my sins and if I forsook them, and I said yes, so he said basically "get over it" haha not in a harsh way, this man is a remarkable person. He then said "maybe someone in the congregation needs to hear you say that you've been experiencing this kind of thing" and that really hit me. So of course, I included it in my talk, and it went great. The Spirit was really strong and it was the most relaxed I've been while giving a talk. Normally I'm shaking so bad that my knees are hitting the pulpit and people can hear it haha.

We had a less-active member call us last week asking when church was. She hasn't been to church in a year, and has an amazing story. She's now engaged to a non member, and she also has a son who is a member. So she randomly calls us and says she hasn't been to church in a year and wanted to come! She showed up yesterday with her nonmember fiancé, and he loved it! It was definitely a miracle to have her call us out of the blue.

My spiritual thought comes from part of my talk actually, where I took a few quotes and added some personal commentary. The quotes are found in the talks "When Thou Art Converted" - D. Todd Christofferson, "The Great Plan of Redemption" - Linda S. Reeves, "The Plan of Happiness" - Boyd K. Packer, and "Am I Good Enough? Will I Make It?" - J. Devn Cornish

"Don't be afraid of the effort required." You are not alone. Christ personally felt everything we have gone through, are going through, and will go through. He hears our prayers and answers them in His time and according to His will. Don't give up. Don't you quit. The Atonement is for EVERYONE. "It is not possible for you to sink lower, than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines." If you have doubts, which we all do at one point or another, then I challenge you to pray about it. Get on your knees and pour your heart and soul out to the Lord, expressing your wants, desires, and needs, and ask for His help and guidance. He will hear your cries and He will help you. "The Atonement is not a general thing; The Atonement is individual, and if you have something that is bothering you--sometimes so long ago you can hardly remember it--put the Atonement to work. It will clean it up, and you, as does He, will remember your sins no more." I promise. I have experienced it in my life and in the lives of the ones I love. All you have to do is show a sincere desire to be better. "His grace will make you clean, even holy. Eventually, you will become like Him, perfect in Christ." "If you truly repent, you are going to make it to the celestial kingdom, being perfect in Christ; and you are going to receive the blessings and glory and joy that God desires for each of His precious children--including you and me."

Brothers and Sisters, it is because of this event that we are all here today. It is because of the Atonement that we can be forgiven of our mistakes, we can be cleansed and become pure, and we can one day stand in front of our Maker and enter into His presence. And to me, the greatest blessing of all, because of the Atonement we can have our families forever. I know my Savior lived and died for us, to set an example and to atone for our sins. I know He rose on the third day and was resurrected. He lives! I know we have a loving Father in Heaven who desires all of us to return to Him, and we can only do that through Christ. This gospel is the word of God. It is here for our guidance and to grow us closer to our Savior. I love y'all and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I hope y'all have a wonderful week this week! Keep doing what you're doing. As long as you're doing what you're supposed to, God will help you and bless you. Until next week! God speed.

Elder Houssian

Saw Scotty G from my last area who was here for a farewell in another ward



The Comp

Monday, March 20, 2017

Week #37

Hello everyone! What an awesome week this week has been! After overcoming some setbacks our first two weeks, we have been grinding nonstop and seeing miracles come from it! The Lord's hand is active in His work throughout the world, and we as His sons and daughters need to be actively searching for opportunities to share the gospel and He will back us up with power from on high. I hope y'all had a great week and spring break this past week!

So this week we went on exchanges and I went with my District Leader into his area. Elder Holmes is a stud, a very spiritually strong missionary and also loves to have a good time, within reason of course ;) we had a lot of fun and his area has a car, so bonus. We went and visited a family that was recently baptized/reactivated, and their step-dad had said that he too wanted to be baptized. It was awesome being able to see them and teach the family! The next morning we painted a fence for a member in his ward. They had planned to have us paint it that morning and then the next day Elder Holmes and his companion would go back and add a second coat, but Saturday night I got a text from Elder Holmes saying "We painted the fence so well that they don't want a second coat" haha. My uncle Stan paints houses and would be so proud!

We had interviews with President Snow this week and it was a ton of fun. President Snow and I have gotten pretty close as of late with interviews being more frequent. It went really well and is always fun to see the missionaries around us!

Saturday we went out with my friend from North Las Vegas again. He had a rough week at work with one of his coworkers, so we took part of the day and went to eat and adventure. It was a blast! We went to this place called Hash House and I ordered the chicken and waffles. The plate comes out and it's MASSIVE! Brian gets entertained with how much I eat, and has been trying to find a dish that will top me and I won't be able to finish haha. I was actually thinking he had found my maker, but I finished! Pics attached.

Sunday was awesome as always. The Banks were sitting in front of us during our first ward's sacrament meeting, and they have the cutest little girl named Alle. Well Alle saw us sitting behind her and wrote us a note saying "hi" and it was circled. So then we just wrote back and forth for about 10 minutes, passing it under the pew to each other, and her mom and brother even got into it haha. She ended up asking us to come to her house for dinner, so we are having dinner with them tonight! It was the cutest thing ever, she's adorable! In the other ward, the topic of sacrament meeting was families. Man that really made me miss my family! The talks were wonderful and both speakers had kids around the ages of my brothers and I, so I related to them and their stories a lot, and it really hit home for me. I felt the Spirit so strongly, it was a great Sabbath Day.

My thought this week comes from the Teachings of President Gordon B. Hinckley. There's a quote I liked a lot that was mentioned during Sunday school, it comes from Chapter 6 which is about prayer and receiving answers to them, and it reads:

"Be prayerful, my friends, and listen. You may never hear a voice. You likely will not. But in a manner that you cannot explain, you will be prompted and blessed. For the Lord has promised, 'I will tell you in your … heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you.' .. Be prayerful, and you will know that God hears and answers. Not always as we might wish him to answer, but with the passing of the years, there will come a realization as certain as the sunrise that he heard and responded."

Like President Hinckley says, we may never hear a voice and most likely will not when we receive an answer to our prayers, but we WILL receive that answer. It will be a feeling or impression that you will be able to distinguish from all other feelings as something from God. Our answers will come to us, not always in the way we want or expect, or at the time we want it to be given to us, but it will come. I have seen this in my life numerous times as a missionary. I have never prayed more frequently and fervently in my life. The power of prayer is so real. It is a wonderful blessing to have the opportunity to openly speak to our Heavenly Father, and have Him listen, hear, and respond! I testify that He does hear and answer our prayers. I testify that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He lives! It is because of Him that we are blessed with all that we have. It is because of Him that we can be cleansed from our sins. It is because of Him that we can live with our beautiful families for all eternity. That is the greatest blessing on this earth to me. The Book of Mormon is the word of God and was brought to us as a result of the Restoration of the Gospel, through the priesthood authority which was bestowed upon the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know my Savior lives and loves us. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I love y'all so much. I really do. My thoughts and prayers are with you. May God continue to bless you and your loved ones. Until next week! God speed.

Elder Houssian

My companion was cold!

Before massive chicken and waffles

After the massive chicken and waffles 

 The notes that Alle and I were writing

Someone took the time to make a march madness bracket on their notes #dedication

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Week #35 & 36

Hey y'all! I hope the week for y'all has been fun-filled and good!
Happy Spring Break for those who that applies to, I'm so jealous haha.
This past week has been crazy busy and I've loved every minute of it.
We have seen miracles this week as well, all around a great week!

I apologize for the long email, we've had a lot happen this week and I
wanted to catch y'all up because I failed to send an email last week!

Like I said in my last email (which was 2 weeks ago...... sorry!) the
main focus in this area is working with less active members of the
church, as well as building relationships with the members and seeking
referrals from them. Just an FYI, a referral is where someone tells us
the names of individuals who might be interested in our message of the
Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. This past week we were able to get a
referral from an awesome member in one of our wards, to go see a
family. So this past week we went to go see them. Their names are
David and Rachel, and they have a son Sampson. So right from the get
go, we figured they were Christian because they all have bible names
haha. And we were right. A cool fact, their son Sampson is about 7 and
hasn't cut his hair once! Ironic huh? :) They are a wonderful family!
We ended up having an hour long conversation about the gospel. David
was talking about how he feels God gives us trials to make us
stronger, and immediately turned to Job and talked about his story.
David is super knowledgeable in the gospel. After that he brought up
points of the Plan of Salvation, talking about how Paul said there are
"3 Heavens" as well as that he believed he would see his son again.
His son passed away a year ago while on duty in the Navy. So we pulled
out a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and bore testimony on how he would
see his son again, and invited him and his family to read the pamphlet
and then we could come back and talk about it, and they were super
excited! David also asked us to read Genesis 1-3, Proverbs 8, and Job
38, so we have some studying to do as well! Looking forward to our
next appointment with this family.

We have an investigator JD, that I haven't been able to see since I've
been here because he has been having some health issues. He had open
heart surgery, and the machine used during the surgery cause him to
get an infection on his sternum. So we have been giving him space to
get that figured out. He just had a surgery where they went in and
scraped the sternum to get rid of the infection, so we have been put
on hold. He is progressing and is so close to entering the waters of
baptism, he just needs to get recovered health wise. I'd love it if
y'all could keep JD in your prayers, as he is still trying to overcome
this infection.

My spiritual thought this week comes from Alma 8:15, and it reads:

15 Blessed art thou, Alma; therefore, lift up thy head and rejoice,
for thou hast great cause to rejoice; for thou hast been faithful in
keeping the commandments of God from the time which thou receivedst
thy first message from him. Behold, I am he that delivered it unto
you.

Alma was commanded to bring the gospel to the city of Ammonihah, where
he was rejected and thrown out. He found no one that would listen his
message. Being discouraged, he started traveling to his next
destination, the city Aaron. As he was traveling, an angel of the Lord
came and told Alma how proud the Lord is of him, and how Alma has
every right to be happy because of his faithful service and obedience
to the Lord's commandments. No effort is wasted! No matter where you
are, on a mission or not, every member a missionary. Whether our
efforts bring us success or failure, the Lord is aware of our
righteous efforts to share His word, and in the end we will be blessed
in our efforts no matter the outcome. Brothers and Sisters it is our
duty, our calling, to spread the gospel, to be every day missionaries
wherever we are. We are so very blessed to have the gospel in our
lives in these latter days. We all have personal experiences and have
seen how the gospel has blessed the lives of our families, us as
individuals, and so many others around us. So why aren't we sharing
it? Why aren't we loving our friends, neighbors, and family enough to
share the gospel with them and give them a little light as to the
amount of happiness and joy the gospel can bring them? What's holding
us back? I challenge all of you to think of someone you know who could
benefit from hearing the gospel, and then act and share it. The Lord
will accompany you and bless you with the Holy Spirit to be with you
and testify to your loved ones of the truthfulness of this great
gospel. I have all the faith in the world that each of you can impact
someone by sharing the gospel with them. You each have so much
potential inside of you, you just have to find it and show it. Each of
you can do it, I believe in you and I know you will impact those
around you as take that step. I know my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
lives. Because of Him, we are all here on this Earth. Because of Him
we can receive forgiveness for our sins and mistakes. Because of Him
we can become clean and pure and one day enter into the presence of
our loving Father in Heaven. And because of Him, we can live with our
families forever. I know this gospel is true. It is the word of God
and was brought to us in these latter days by the prophet Joseph
Smith. The Book of Mormon is the word of God and is the living,
tangible evidence that Jospeh Smith is a prophet, and that Christ is
real and He lives. I say these things in the name of my Brother, my
Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.

I love you all! Sorry again for the long email! I hope y'all have a
wonderful week! May the Lord implement His hand into all of your
lives, and may you all have a safe and enjoyable week this week doing
all the things you do. Until next week!

Elder Houssian

 Oops!

 Zone Pic!
#artsy