Tuesday, August 2, 2016

My Bags are packed and I'm ready to Go!! Aug. 1st 2016

See You Soon!!

Go Forth Bodly, Nobly and Indepedant July 25th 2016

Hello Everyone from good old Wellsville!

I am excited to tell you what has been happening here! We have been
seeing countless miracles and seeing a lot of progress! Elder Cummings
and I have been working as hard as we can in this great little branch,
and we are beginning to see much fruit from our labor. I know that
anything we have been able to accomplish is all due to the Lord. Without his help we couldn't do anything. Also thank you, we are feeling of your
prayers in our behalf.
First I want to talk about a lady from our branch named Sister Tears.
She is a member that hasn't come to church in almost twenty
years. The sister missionaries started to meet with her at the
beginning of this year again and when we first started meeting with
her, she was very adamant that she was going to read the bible all the
way through before she would even start to read from the Book of
Mormon. We and the Taylors, the senior couple, have been teaming up with
meeting with her and supporting her and now she has started to come to
church again! This last week when we went to visit with her, she asked
if we could do her a favor and read the chapters of the Book of Mormon
in preparation for our Book of Mormon Sunday school class! We were so
happy to do it! We read Alma 30 about Korahior and as we read you
could see her getting excited with it all!  The power of the Book of
Mormon has really grabbed hold, and it is amazing to see the changes
in her! We are going to the sites with her this week!
That was a good miracle, but what really describes how our week went
was what happened at church yesterday!
Elder Cummings and I had the great opportunity to speak in church! So
this whole week we have been inviting everyone to come! Then at
The Lipkas came!!!! They are the family we have been meeting with,
Brother Lipka is a member but hasn't been to church in ages, and his
wife and three boys all came! They looked so good, all three boys in
great plaid shirts! They really looked so good! They loved it!
Andrea came!!!! For the first time which was also amazing. She
finally made that step to come!
Eric also came! We saw him this past week and had a good lesson about
baptism and invited him to be baptized, and he accepted the challenge!
At church he came up to me and asked "I know last time we talked
about baptism, so what do I have to do to make that happen?" So we
told him! It was one of those moments that you kind of dream about.
Then there was the Lentz family that came! The Taylors have been
working with them and they are really beginning to love church!
We were basically running around to accommodate everyone! We had 9
investigators there! To add to it, there were 9 returning less
active members! My joy was so full! The branch just about doubled
yesterday! It was amazing. Elder Cummings and I were pretty nervous to
speak but it was cool once I got up to speak. I felt totally
comfortable. It really helps when you have the spirit!
I am so grateful for what blessings this gospel brings! It's
amazing to see the work go forward, and I know I will not always be
here for it. But this work will go forth Boldly, Nobly and Independent
until the great Jehovah shall say the work is done!

I can't wait to see you all!

Elder Todd Houghton

Thursday, July 21, 2016

I Looked Out the Window and What Did I See July 18th 2016

Good Morning Everyone!

I hope you are all enjoying your summer and making memories!
Elder Cummings and I have been crazy busy this week! There is so much going on and we have had some amazing experiences! 

In our area book there was a lady name Patricia that the previous sisters had met with.  She showed a lot of promise however due to some health issues her they were unable to get a hold of her.  We tried getting a hold of her but it was to no avail. Sunday the 10th, we made a plan that we were going to call her again and see if we could set something up with her. When, by "Coincidence", a less active member family that we had been trying to get to come to church for the past 8 weeks came and they Brought Patricia! They told us that Pat needed a place to go and so they invited her to come live with them! They asked if we could help them move on Tuesday, which we readily agreed to! 

Tuesday came and we filled up our truck and loaded almost everything of hers. After we unloaded everything we had a sit down lesson with them. Patricia told us how she has been to several churches but has never felt right about any of them. She told us about an experience she had while at church. When the second speaker got up she had an overwhelming feeling come over her where she described as if she were dead and she heard a voice say to her "You are blessed". She absolute loved it. Then during our lesson as we were describing the Apostasy and we used the analogy of the Church as a vase which fell and shattered in  many pieces and others coming and taking pieces and forming their own church. When we said that she couldn't believe it.She said she had seen what we were talking about before! She was then Blown away by the first vision. After it all we invited her to be baptized.  She said "Heck Yeah" ( that's the screened version) haha she is all for it! It was a Remarkable experience! 

Later that night we met with the Lipka family, a Family that we have started to meet with. They have been making some huge strides and they have been reading from the Book of Mormon. It was amazing!! they also have 4 young boys and they are all warming up to us as well. It is so exciting to teach a family! to top it off to they Gave us a container of homemade Laundry detergent! They are amazing!

Friday we were able to go up to The Pageant again with a bunch of the members.  They took an RV up so that was really fun. While we were there I was able to see Sister Sofia who was baptized a year ago when I was in the Pittsford ward. She is preparing to go through the temple so I am excited about that! The nice part of the RV was that I got to take a nap on the bed on the way back. One of the best things I have ever had the chance to do! :) We got back really late that night.

Saturday morning I had another very unique experience. We woke up to this Sound that was coming from outside. So we looked out the window and there were about a dozen or so Hot Air Balloons Floating past our apartment! It was So cool I felt like a little kid again! 

They had a huge Fair on the main street during the day. We had a booth on family history. it was really funny because the booths that surrounded us were on Vaping, wine, tattoos, Guns, and then for part of the time there was Concert right in front of our booth! we went from 8AM to 5.PM that day and we talked to a boat load of people literally thousands of people came for the Balloon Rally! It was amazing! One cool experience we had was we saw a lady named Anastasia that we had meet about two weeks previously on her porch, she wasn't to interested but was friendly. Well we saw her on Saturday and started to talk to her again. This time she was much more open and ended up saying " Can I ask you a question? Could I give you my phone number and have you guys come over and tell me more about the Bible and your church?" haha We said of course! and set up a time to see her on Sunday! We had a powerful lesson on the restoration, and she wants to learn more! Sometimes you just never know when someone might be ready! we just have to make sure we invite! 

Being a missionary and share the gospel really is one of the most wonderful things! how grateful I am for this wonderful and sacred privilege! I love you all so much! 
Elder Todd Houghton 

Baptize Me Alma (Favorite quote from the pageant) July 11th 2016

Hello Hello! 

I hope you have all had a wonderful week! We have had such an exciting week! It literally started with a bang! ( Because of the fireworks) 

We got to meet the new Mission President and his family on Thursday. I am very excited to see what great things he will bring for this mission. He is a powerful teacher and has a great vision of what we can accomplish through our Faith and Obedience! 

We got to go to the opening night of the Pageant on Friday with Andrea. We crammed in the back of the Moore's car and made the two hour drive up. On the way up we had a fun little experience when a cop pulled us over for speeding (in a spot where everyone speeds) and then instead of giving us a full speeding ticket he gave us a parking ticket so it wasn't as much of a fine. HaHa then as we were pulling away we saw him make a U turn and pull over someone else. That was pretty exciting. 

The Pageant was such a wonderful experience. It felt like every five feet there was someone that I knew from one of my previous areas. It was so wonderful to see them all again! The Pageant was packed that night. I haven't ever seen it that full before! It was a weird feeling as the pageant started because I felt like I had just barely been there watching it like the night before. But nope it has been a whole year. Crazy how fast time travels. Andrea seemed to like it! We are really hoping that this will be able to help her to take those steps in the right direction. We got back about 12:30 in the Morning. Its not to often when we missionaries get to do that. Needless to say it felt weird.

While I was on Exchanges With Elder Keller.

Us getting ready! 

 The Stage all ready to go

That next Morning we had a great opportunity to help a Methodist church set up for a fundraiser  festival they had going on. It is always a wonderful experience to help others. We then went to the Balloon Ralley Parade in Wellsville. It made finding people to talk to very easy because everyone was out. This upcoming Saturday they are going to launch several Hot air balloons all day. This is what Wellsville is known for and thousands of people come down for it! I am very excited for it!

One huge miracle for us was getting to meet this member that recently moved into the the branch.  His name is Tim and he is one of the funniest guys I have had a chance to be around. He recently got out of Prison about 3 weeks ago and was in there for about 13 years. He is a man that has turned his life around. He told us about the man that he used to be but now he has had a complete 180 degree  turn. He studied the Bible a lot while he was in prison and loves it and now he is going back into the Book of Mormon. He is on fire. Tim is a great man, and has been introducing us to many of his friends and family members and is already being a great missionary. Well, the neat part about this is we met a young man name Tristan who wants to turn his life around as well. It turned out he lives in the same complex as Tim and it just so happened that Tim has been helping Tristan already come unto Jesus. So last night we dropped by Tim's and asked if he wanted to join us for a lesson with Tristan and he was out the door and already walking over. haha It turned out to be a powerful lesson and Tim really helped Tristan feel more comfortable around us and he is a great fellowshiper! I am excited to see what things will come! 

Another triumph this week was that we had 8 less active members come to Church for the first time in a really long time! That was a Miracle! 
There is so much work to be done! We are running to try and do as much as we can in such little time. Honestly 2 years is really short when it comes to the Work of Salvation.

I sure love you all! Hope you have a great week.
Elder Todd Houghton

Proud to be an American July 4th 2016

Hello again! And Happy Independence Day! 

We got to enjoy a nice parade this morning, It was the largest one in Allagany county, (but I think Saint Anthony's pioneer day parade is better!) :) Tonight we will be able to enjoy a firework show as well so I am excited about that but other than that today Is another P-day.

This Week the baton has been passed as President Francis finished his service and President Evans, From Meridian Idaho, is picking it up!  It is always exciting. He seems like a great Man and we will get to meet with him this next Thursday.
We have had some fun experiences this week. One was we were meeting with a less active lady, Brenda, that lives in a cabin in the woods. Well, right as we finished meeting with her her neighbor, Denise, came over to drop off some groceries that she had gotten for Brenda and she also had her thirteen year old niece. I thought they were only going to give us a nice "how do you do?" and leave but No! Denise came over and  sat and talked with us. Her only understanding of Mormons was that of Polygamy, which we quickly cleared up. She went on to tell us many of the hard things she had been going through but now she is going upward in her spirituality. We told her how the Book of Mormon is something that strengthens our faith in Christ and how it can help us. It was weird what happened next. Denise said almost warningly to us "Here is where I will shoot you down" and  she started to ask us what she thought were difficult questions about why would we use another book (the Book of Mormon) other then the Word? We happily and calmly responded and told her how we use the Bible and Book of Mormon together. We had the chance to answer many other questions. By the end of it all we gave Denise and her niece a copy of the Book of Mormon, and set up a time to see her again this week. she told us she wouldn't have asked us those questions if she wasn't curious and that we had talked enough to satisfy some of her questions.We are excited to see what happens next! 

While on Exchanges on Saturday we had a great opportunity to help out one of our investigators on his engine. We went over got our hands dirty and got to rub shoulders with this man named Eric, He really wants to start coming to church again. And is a really good guy, I was happy we were able to help him out. It wasn't until after that I realized that he lived about a quarter of a mile from the Pennsylvanian border. We were at the very bottom corner of the mission. We snapped some pictures and then went back to work!

 We have been having so many other great experiences this week things are really going well!  I love being a missionary! There really is no greater job than to be a representative of Jesus Christ! 

I also love this country something about seeing American flags everywhere gets that patriotic spirit to swell in side of me! How grateful I am for the those who have sacrificed so much for the Freedoms we enjoy!
I hope you all enjoy the rest of your 4th of July.
Elder Todd Houghton

Ps. For the 4th of July we have Fireworks, parades, wear all assortments of red, white and blue, and barbecue late into the night to celebrate our nations independence. What do you think the Nephiets did to celebrate the day they came to the Promise land? Food For Thought. :) 

Some adorable German Shepard puppies

Another Week! June 27th 2016


Looks like you're all enjoying your summer! I hope your having lots of
chances to put on your swimming suits and enjoy the pools and beaches!

I really am enjoying this Summer! There is nothing like walking around
in the hot sun, swimming through the humid air, in my suit, shirt and
tie! I get to have the full the summer experience too! :) I am loving
it! I can't wait to tell you all of the wonderful experience I have
had! there are far to many to even count! There is nothing like
serving a mission.

Elder Cummings and I have been working hard! And we are seeing some
great things and people are coming out of the wood work. And we have
had  some interesting experiences as well!

 The first couple I want to talk about is Devin and Katie. They are a young
newly wed couple that live in the northern part of our area, so it's
a little harder to get up there. We had a meeting a few weeks ago and they said
they were interested in learning more! Elder Cumming saw them on exchanges last week and had a really good lesson teaching the restoration to them. Then we got to see them again this week and Devin was telling me how much he enjoyed their visit the week before and how he really liked that we were not forcing him into anything instead we were inviting him to learn more. They both like that.

We read through the first chapter of 1 Nephi with them. They really
enjoyed it and then, before we left, we extend a baptismal invitation
to them and as we were inviting Devin and Katie were nodding there
heads in agreement before we could even finish the invitation! Haha
the only down side is Devin is moving to Pennsylvania! So we are
coordinating with the missionaries down there to meet with him! Katie
doesn't go with him till October so we will still get to visit with

We got to go on another exchange on Saturday.  I was with Elder
Hamilton. Several of our plans fell through so our back up plan was to visit an investigator who lives in Bolivar. When we got there
they were having their annual Pioneer Oils Day Fair. So they had
blocked off all the roads and put in a huge car show! It was really
cool. We met with the investigator and taught a pretty good lesson. However, on the way back we started talking to two young men that are going to be
seniors this next year and they were really cool. As we were talking to
them this man , in a wheelchair, went past us.  He stopped and turned around
and then proceeded to "Anti" us. So here we had these two cool young
guys who were interested and an anti.  Elder Hamilton and I
instinctively split up, he distracting the anti and I with the two
young guys. I told them of the restoration which really seemed to peak
some interest and we set up a time to see them again this week! I
definitely had the better job of the two but it was cool seeing us
work together and Elder Hamilton did a great job holding off the anti.

We also were able to have another powerful lesson with Andrea. We
watched the Joseph Smith movie, and she really seemed to enjoy it so we
are seeing some good progress with her!

Today we had a reception for President and Sister Francis leaving the
mission. We had all of the Rochester and Palmyra zones come to get a
picture with president before they left. They had another one for the
Buffalo missionaries. So we had to start going at 8 to get there at
ten. It was wonderful to see President one more time before he leaves.
He really has done so much for this mission and I have learned so much
from him. I am so grateful for the Francises. It was also great to see
most of the mission. It is amazing how many relationships you make
from serving. When I first came out I literally knew no one, but now
I have met and made hundreds and hundreds of new life long friends!
I know I say it a lot but I love serving this mission!

We are seeing so many great things here in Wellsville. The work is
moving forward! I love you lots and hope you have a great week!

Elder Todd Houghton

Happy Father's Day June 20th 2016

Hello Everyone!

Happy Father's Day Dad! I can't thank you enough for your great example to me and for all the things I have learned from you! I hope you had a great breakfast yesterday, and had some good brownies after church! :)

Today officially starts my last transfer! It has blown my mind how fast this past transfer has gone. So much has happened in such a short period of time this area has had a complete 180 degree turn! I am so excited to continue to see more wonderful miracles that are in store for this next transfer!

We had a neat experience last Monday night. We were exchanging with the Dansville Elders in our district and so the middle point was at the Hornell Elders Apartment. We got there a little early and there was a beautiful sunset, so we decided we would run up the hill and try to get a better view. We succeeded and saw a beautiful sunset! We started walking back, when a lady sitting in front of her apartment said, "hello", so we went over and showed her the pictures we had just taken.  This got us onto a great conversation! Her name was Amber and as we were talking to her a young girl about 10 years old came out with her dad and said "My dad said that you go around selling church to people and so I just wanted to ask what are you guys all about?" We were Blown away but such a great question. For the next thirty minutes Elder Cummings and I did a tag team. I was talking to Amber and her Husband who later came out, and Elder Cummings was talking to this girl and her father! It was great and both were very open with having missionaries come over! When we got back to our car the other elders were freaking out thinking that we were kidnapped because we had accidentally left the phone in the car and the door was open. We thought we were only going to be 30 seconds so we didn't think about it when we left. but all was well and now Hornell has two solid families to start teaching! :)

The Beautiful Sunset

Then Next day on exchanges we saw miracle after Miracle and found so many people that were interested in learning more. That evening we had about an hour before we were going to exchange back. We were walking on the street past a church when a couple pulled up next to us and asked if we were missionaries. We said we were and they said that they were having a missionary night at their church and invited us to go with them. We figured why not, and went with them, Sam, the Husband, was wearing a Houghton College shirt so we immediately had a great connection for reasons I am sure you could guess! :) it was very interesting! They had a Preacher come from the Czech Republic to show us how the church is growing in the Czech Republic. It was nice, but I will be honest compared to what I know this church can offer it really didn't show much. for example, one idea of missionary work they had was instead of a Sunday service at church they had a bowling service to get non believers to come.  Before we left the couple that invited us said a prayer for us.   They put their hands on our shoulders and blessed us that we would have success. It was neat. 

Thursday we had our interviews with President Francis and that was a wonderful experience. He only has a little over a week left and he has done so much for this mission and for me, I really can't say enough good about him!

On Sunday we went up to Palmyra because there was a musical Fireside and I had been roped into doing a musical number. I was planning on doing a duet with one of the members from our branch but he wasn't able to do it, so I was all on my own. I Got to sing one of my favorite hymns from the Primary song book  "If the Savior Stood beside me" It was a wonderful experience and the spirit from that meeting was powerful. On the drive down to Wellsville we got to see the Fireflies come out and they were shining in the fields and the trees! It was amazing. There are so many wonderful things going on here! The work is moving froward! Miracles are happening every day!
I hope you all have a great week!
Elder Todd Houghton

My fearless district