Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Week #47

Hey y'all! Happy Memorial Day! I hope y'all had a fun and safe weekend this holiday weekend, and had an awesome week this week as well!

Alright first the funny part of the email. So we went on exchanges with the ZLs and I went into their area with Elder Smith. Him and I came out into the mission together and were in the same district in the MTC, so bonus! Anyways we went into this apartment complex to go talk to a few investigators, and while we were walking away from this door this guy comes up and starts yelling at us saying we were soliciting and we were "forcing religion on people" and what not. He had also brought the manager of the complex with him! So he's blowing up on us and then the manager asks us to come into her office, so we follow her and this guy is still mouthing off, and then ends up calling me Elder Smith's boyfriend. That's a new one. Needless to say it was an entertaining exchange haha Elder Smith is a great guy and I got to learn lots from him!

This week has been crazy busy! The Lord has blessed us with many tender mercies, and lots of spiritual growth!

This week we had the baptism of the Pogorzelski family! It was an amazing event to witness, and there was a great turnout. The Spirit was felt so strong there which made that much more memorable of an experience for everyone, but especially them! They have come such a long way after investigating the church for years! It was a great day! Then on Sunday we got to confirm each one of them and give them the Gift of the Holy Ghost. It was a tremendous blessing to stand in the circle and participate in that ordinance.

We have the Tso family and Melissa Hopkins getting baptized this Saturday, and we are so excited for them! They have all progressed very well this past week and are super eager to enter the waters of baptism!

My thought this week comes from a quote I heard from one of the members of a ward I cover. He said "God is never more than an arms length away, because that's as far as we can push Him away". This quote really stuck out to me. Often times when we go through trials, we feel like we can do it on our own. It's human nature to say that we don't need any help, that we got this. When we do that, we put God at arms length. He doesn't leave, but He respects our agency. He stands and waits for the moment when we will turn to Him again. This is something we can always improve on while going through this life, letting God come in and take on our trials head on side by side with us. I testify that God is ALWAYS there for us, waiting for us to finally humble ourselves and reach out to Him for help. I know our Savior Jesus Christ lives. He is Risen! I know He suffered died for our sins so that we could be forgiven and live with our families forever in the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I hope y'all have a wonderful week! Until next week! God speed!

Elder Houssian

 Pogorzelski baptism

 Audi R8!!
A member has this old school football card of Ty Detmer back in the day!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Week #45 & 46

Hello everyone! This week has been an awesome week here in the desert, and I hope it has been great for y'all wherever you are!

So first off, I got transferred to be a DL in the Carnegie, St. Rose, and Paseo Verde wards in the Carnegie Stake! We are covering 3 wards, and one of them is actually my aunt's ward! I'm super excited to serve in this area! This is my 5th zone that I've served in out of 7 in our mission (fyi they split up the mission into zones, and each zone has 2-3 stakes in it)! There are missionaries who don't serve in all 7 their entire mission! I'm excited, and I get to have one of my good friends from the MTC, Elder Stucki, be another DL with me in this zone, and another Elder from our MTC district, Elder Smith, is one of our Zone Leaders!

My new companion is Elder Fowkes. He's from Colorado, he has 2 siblings, and like the outdoors. He's been out for about 22 months, but (thankfully) still works very hard! He's a great guy and we are really enjoying being together!

This week has been a blast! We saw many miracles and have seen some great progression in our investigators! We have 4 people set to be baptized this Saturday, the Pogorzelski family, and Melissa Hopkins. Melissa and the Pogorzelski's are progressing very well. Melissa is living the Word of Wisdom, which is a struggle for her,  but she is doing well and knows it is what she needs to do! Chris and Desiree are living the Word of Wisdom as well, Chris even said we could throw away his beer! Then we have the Tso family, Ginger, Kyler, and Kaleb. Ginger's sister was baptized a few weeks ago in the Paseo Verde ward, and Ginger saw the change that the gospel brought into the life of her sister and her family, and she wanted that same thing for her own family. They are doing very well also. We also have this wonderful couple, Randall and Kelly Morris who are progressing so fast and are looking forward to their baptismal date next month!

This past Saturday I had the wonderful opportunity of attending the baptism of the sweetest little girl Alexa. In one of my previous areas we baptized her and her mom, and I was asked to give a talk on the Holy Ghost after she was baptized! So she was baptized and we move into the next room where I would give my talk and then she would be confirmed, and one of the counselors in the bishopric comes over and asks me what I'm doing in the program and I said "I'm giving a talk on the Holy Ghost" and he said ok and then walked over to Bishop, then came back and said "Ok you're also confirming her" and I was floored haha. I had no idea I was confirming Alexa until about 5 minutes before! But I did it and it was a wonderful and spiritual experience. I enjoyed every moment of it and it definitely strengthened my testimony of the power of the Spirit and the Priesthood.

My spiritual thought this week comes from the April 2017 Ensign, a talk given by Larry R. Lawrence titled The War Goes On. In this talk, Elder Lawrence identifies four of Satan's strategies used to try and bring us down, and how we can defend ourselves against them. The four strategies are Temptation, Lies and Deception, Contention, and Discouragement. These are all four very common tactics Satan uses, but there is a common theme between the ways we can resist these four different strategies. The common theme is doing the things the Lord asks us to do. Follow the commandments, read our scriptures, pray, and do things to invite the Spirit in our lives. The Spirit only teaches truth and can help us better understand the commandments of the Lord. The Spirit can give us light to dispel darkness. The Spirit can help us and aid us in resisting temptation and the influence of Satan. When temptations come, when the devil tries to bring you down, don't be afraid. Respond with confidence. We have the right to tell Satan to leave when confronted with temptation. The Lord will stand with us and help us through those trials, all we have to do is ask for His help, and then act on it. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I hope y'all have a wonderful week! Stay strong! God speed!

Elder Houssian

This lambo is one of MANY nice cars in my new area. 

Alexa's baptism

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Week #44

Sorry this is late, I had some technology problems!

Hey hey everyone! I hope everyone had a wonderful week and enjoyed Star Wars Day and Cinco De Mayo! This week has been an awesome week!

So first off, my bff Elder Cook is serving in part of our mission out in Arizona, and his companion had a doctor's appointment here in Vegas at 7:30 pm Monday night. Sister Snow told them that she didn't want them driving back in the middle of the night because it's quite the drive, so the solution was to stay the night at another missionary's apartment and then drive home that morning. And guess who's apartment he chose? Haha so I got to see him for the first time in like 3 or 4 months! It was awesome, the reunion was great and it was good to see him!

We have seen some wonderful progress with our investigators this week! The Gutierrez kids are doing great and are still on for getting baptized June 10th! Aaron is progressing as well and is still working towards July 1st! We've had lots of fellowship for all of these people, especially for the kids. It is so awesome to see the members getting so involved with the work! They are so vital in this great work!

On Thursday I had my second in grown toenail taken out, but this one I didn't have any anesthetics! They sprayed this stuff on my toe to make it feel like I had just iced it, and then the doc just went to town! Haha I didn't feel it until he was about 70% done, then I felt it, and I felt it a LOT. Buts it's alright, all is well!

This week has been full of tender mercies from the Lord for everyone. On Friday we were walking to go visit a potential investigator, and we saw this father and his 22 year old daughter sitting out on an upstairs balcony. When we walked by they said hi and were really nice, so we asked how there day was and everything. We found out the girl was an inactive member and the dad wasn't a member. Then I asked them if we could do anything for them, and the daughter asked if we could give her a blessing. This girl hadn't gone to church in years. So we went in and met her roommate and her mom, and they had ordered pizza so we ate some of course, and just got to know them! We also came to find out that her roommate, Shelby, and Marylin's mom were inactive members as well! The girl, Marylin, was having a rough time and was struggling a lot, and just needed some comfort, and she asked me to give the blessing. That was a really humbling experience, and the Spirit was very strong during the blessing. They are some wonderful people.

My spiritual thought this week comes from Alma 11:40, which says 

40 And he shall come into the world to redeem his people; and he shall take upon him the transgressions of those who believe on his name; and these are they that shall have eternal life, and salvation cometh to none else.

Brothers and Sisters, I know that it is ONLY through Jesus Christ that we can be forgiven of our sins. He showed us the way to return back to our Father in Heaven. It is because of Him that we can live with our families forever. I know we have a loving Father in Heaven who has a plan for each and every one of us. I know this gospel is true. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and was brought to us by the power of God. I say these things in the name of our loving Brother and Savior, Jesus Christ, amen.

I love y'all so much and I hope y'all have a wonderful week! Until next time! God speed!

Elder Houssian

 The Reunion

Bannagao and his banana cream pie😂

He likes dogs

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Week #42 & #43

Howdy y'all! What a wonderful week it has been here in this part of the Lord's vineyard! I hope y'all have been able to have an awesome and exciting week this week!

Before I say anything, I want to shout out my sister Amber who had a birthday on the 19th! And of course, shout out to my beautiful mother who last Sunday had a birthday, and what a wonderful woman and mother she is!!

So this week has been crazy! We went on exchanges (where a missionary from 2 companionships switches areas for 24 hours) 3 times this week! Elder Bannagao and I did not have one full day together this week until yesterday! It was crazy busy! But blessings came of it. Poor Elder Bannagao left our area all 3 times this week, so he's barely been able to sleep in his own bed! I stayed in my area with Elder Ryder from Tuesday to Wednesday. ThenWednesday to Thursday I was in my area with Elder Young, and then Friday to Saturday I was in my area with Elder Shiffler, one of my Zone Leaders! It was a lot of fun being able to be with some other missionaries who we don't get to see as often! 

This week we found a family with 3 kids, who's mother told us she wanted her kids to have Jesus in their lives, so we've been teaching them a lot! The mother is on bed rest while goi through the first trimester of pregnancy with twins, and one of the twins' heart rate is 20% lower than the other twin, so please keep her in your prayers! Her name is Carla. The kids are progressing very well! On Friday night, while with Elder Shiffler, we were planning on teaching them a lesson about Faith and Repentance, but while walking in Elder Shiffler had this impression to show a video of Christ being baptized. At the end of it, we explained how Christ was baptized even though He was perfect, and then asked why this was important. Before any of them answered, the oldest kid, Kayla who is 17, said "I want to be baptized like that!" and immediately after that the other two kids (15 and 11) agreed with her. So right then and there we were able to set them to be baptized on June 10th, and they were ecstatic! The Spirit was so strong during that lesson and really touched the hearts of all of us there!

Following that lesson we went to a Part-Member Family's house to teach the fiancé of a member. We taught the Plan of Salvation, and at the end tied it into baptism and how it is one of the first things we do to work towards living with our Heavenly Father for eternity. After that we invited Aaron to be baptized and he accepted! We set a goal for him to be baptized onJuly 1st! He is progressing very well and attending church regularly!

This Saturday I had the privilege of going to my 2nd area in the mission to watch the sweetest little girl that I've ever taught, get baptized. Three of her siblings had been baptized before and she made the decision to follow their example, and of course the example of Jesus Christ, and baptized as well. The Spirit was very strong and present during the service, and it was so great to see her and her family and reconnect with them!

My spiritual thought this week comes from the Book of Mormon, chapter 3 verse 17. It reads;
17 And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.

In this chapter, King Benjamin is addressing his people and teaching them about the Lord. Here he says that we as God's children can only receive the eternal blessings that are in store for us through Jesus Christ. He was appointed before this life to be our Savior and Redeemer. Brothers and sisters, I know that Jesus Christ lives. He came to Earth and established His church, and that same church was restored by Jesus Christ through the prophet Joseph Smith. With the Priesthood power Joseph Smith received, he translated the Book of Mormon with the help of God. I know this church is true. The foundation of this church and the principles taught will bring individuals and families more joy and happiness than they can imagine. I have seen it bless the lives of so many people, including my family. I know families are eternal, and I'm so grateful for that wonderful blessing it is to have my beautiful family forever. I know Heavenly Father knows each one of us individually and knows what we feel, our desires, our pains, and everything else. He loves us. May we all strive to grow closer to the Lord is my humble prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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

Elder Houssian
 Lifted a 2 story metal staircase into this UHaul with our awesome Hawaiian Friend Valen
One of the kids made this while we were eating dinner 
 The gang (minus one) at Dominica's baptism