Tuesday, November 25, 2014

That's not the language they taught me at the MTC.

Hola Mi Familia y Amigos!

This has been a happening week here in the New York Rochester Mission! As you have probably heard Buffalo got slammed with a ton of snow! Lake effect is the weirdest thing! It was right next to my last area as well so I dodged a bullet there. But to be honest I am a little bummed I missed it because It looks flipping crazy. Here in Rochester the weather is Bipolar. Its snowed a little. It was basically freezing last Tuesday, but today it is 68 degrees! It feels like summer right now! and it is wigging me out!!  It is going to drop to 40 degrees again. I am loving it here! Rochester is not in 8 feet of snow because We Are On Fire Here! :)

Just last Saturday we went to our third baptism into this ward and one from each set of missionaries. During the service all the missionaries that were there sang the Spirit of God, and on the last verse they had everyone join in, and that was a very touching moment the spirit was so strong. Baptisms definitely are a special day as a missionary!

We also had Zone Conference this week and as always it was Incredible! So remember the "Because of Him" video the church made for Easter? Well the Church is making another on for Christmas and it's called "He is the Gift" and the Church is going big on this video.   They bought the head banner of Youtube and they got one of the main billboards in New York City and they gave all the Missionaries "He is the Gift" cards and they want us to go around passing out at least ten a day. So this is going to be huge! I am a little excited about it!

Being the Spanish Missionaries and not speaking Spanish has been kind of interesting, last Monday we went to give a Spanish lady from our ward a blessing because she is beginning chemotherapy, and I didn't understand like anything they were saying, Its weird I can understand like the main topic of what they are talking about and recognizes one or two words and that's about it. The same is true with some of the other Spanish lessons we have had and school at church! I am trying though but the weird thing is I am picking up more ASL than Spanish! But its fun and really we don't have that many Spanish investigators.

Thanksgiving is Coming Up! I am super excited! We are planning on going to a members home for dinner! But really food is good and I am Grateful for it but there is so much more that I am so thankful for that by coming out on a mission I have been able to more fully appreciate what I have been taking for granted my whole life. Growing up and having a wonderful family and friends, the home I grew up in and the education I have been able to receive BUT what I am most Grateful is for the Gospel in my life, it really has been the most amazing blessing I could ever of asked for and Being able to serve each day and to try and share this joy that I have felt with the people of New York Has made me even Happier than before!

I Love You ALL
Stay Warm!
Hurah For Israel!
Te Amo!
Elder Houghton

November 17th, 2014

This week President Fransic raised the bar for us.

Rochester is the place to be, it is wonderful and super fun, I never know what to expect each day.  Because it's always different.  Also it was snowing huge flakes earlier today!  I got ot go jump around in it for a little bit!

As missionaries we have our "Standard of Excellence", which is to contact
10 people a day, have new investigators each week, and 1 baptism each
month. So now he has made it that in our weekly email to him we have
to tell him how many people we contacted each week.  Elder Scott and
I set the goal to reach 70 this week, so we worked hard! Tuesday was
perfect! It was super warm and every one was out it was way nice! Also
that night we went to go see Luis who is a Spanish investigator that
we have seen a couple times now.  Each time we haven't been able to
teach any of the lessons, but he is super nice and is really patient
with our Spanish. Tuesday night we went and talked to him on his porch
(it's always on the porch). Anyways as we talked to him he told us how
he had cancer for 4 years and he got a blessing and the next visit to the doctors
his cancer was gone! And the then he told us that be knows the Book of
Mormon is true! And then he turned to Elder Scotland asked him "Will
you baptize me"! But the crazy part was I didn't know what  was said
until we were leaving the appointment, and Elder Scott said, " well he is
going to tell us what day he wants to be baptized!" I was so happy! I
just wish I could speak/understand it!

Wednesday it got really cold! I am now bringing out the layers!
It is going to take some getting used to the cold humidity here. And
one problem with the cold is that not as many people like to be out
side In the cold. But We Do!

One of the days we got to prove our manliness by pulling up a super
heavy desk up the side of a house! We were all pretty pumped about it!
Another funny thing happened, I saw my first utterly wasted drunk guy!
We saw him on the ground with a brown paper bag in his hand, and we
decided to give him a mormon.org card, but when we got there he
held  a sign "just keep on walking" and then proceeded to yell out random
basket ball players, were I couldn't even understand what he was even
saying but it was pretty funny.

Saturday I went to the ASL elders baptism. And it was the coolest
thing they did all the talks in sign language, and they performed the
ordinance in sign language! It was so cool! And then on Sunday elder
Longherst performed the confirmation in sign language as well! It was
so cool. He starts off by putting his hands on her head and then he
takes them off and signs the blessing and then finishes by putting his
hands back on her head. It was on of the coolest things I have seen!
Sunday night we were at 68 contacts. So we were like we got to get at
least 2 more!--  We went to the Groc-er-y store! And we contacted two
more people changed their lives forever and we achieved our goal! I
was pretty excited about that. And we get to do it all over this week!
Rochester is such an amazing place! I am loving it here! The work is
really going forward here!

I love hearing from all of you all! Your letters really do mean the
world to me! You all are definitely living up to  our Houghton
Title of liberty, "as Houghtons will stand as examples of integrity
service and honer." I am so grateful for your examples. Those words
will be with me for ever! I love you tons!

¡Te amo!
Elder Todd Houghton

Monday, November 10, 2014

November 11th 2014

Hello To My most wonderful Family and Friends!

Ok, so remember how before I came out I was in the musical "Guys and Dolls"? Well I was a missionary in it and it took place in New York! Well my new area is right in Downtown Rochester New York! It has been the craziest thing! I have had the Guys and Dolls music going through my head all the time this week because that's what it kind of feels like! except Now I am experiencing/seeing these things for real and It is soooo much fun!

I got my New Companiero Elder Scott, he is so funny I like never know what I am going to get with him, but he is a way hard worker and I love it! He was called as a Spanish missionary so we, this past week, have been able to go and talk to a couple of the Spanish investigators. It is such a cool experience because  I have a good Idea of what they are talking about without understanding a single word that is said! It is kind of exciting so I got to brush up on mi EspaƱol!

Also the area I came to Is ON FIRE! We have been so busy this week that each night we are both just dead tired.  It's hard to describe just everything so I am just going to section it up.
Our district is way cool we have us, the Spanish elders, and then we have the ASL Elders, and then we have some Spanish sisters in our district and we are all assigned to one ward! its so weird to have 3 sets of missionaries at church.

Ok, One of the people we went to go see was a potential that Elder Scott had talked to a couple of weeks before for just like 3 minutes.  We dropped by and she let us in!! We got to teach the Restoration to her and that was way cool and after that she said she was interested in learning about our church! We also offered to rake her leaves for her later that week, and she said we could! ---So we did! and I think it kind of surprised her! She then surprised us by calling us! ( which never happens) and told us she wanted to come to church! We were almost jumping in the air with excitement! and then she came to church and brought her 26 year old daughter as well! We will go and meet with her! The craziest thing was that was only one of our investigators that came to church! We had 5 investigators come to church!! I was so happy and it was just my first week here!

  • Also this ward is one of the most interesting wards I have ever been in! Its the ward that President Frances and his family go too!
  • Also we have a Deaf Congregation in it, so the ASL Elders and one lady interprets the meeting! they are so much fun to watch!
  • Also we have a few members that only speak Spanish so we have some one interpreting Spanish during the meeting!
  • Also there are several people in this church that are let's just say, not fully there. One sat by us in sacrament meeting and in the course of the meeting he made a paper airplane and wanted to throw it at the interpreter. He told me he would steal my bag, and swore at me! and several other things! This is going to be an interesting transfer!
  • The ward council is like a well oiled machine, and it is so amazing to see these great members at work and there diligence to serve those in the ward! 
This has just been a crazy week! These are only a few of the many things that have happened! I can't tell you how happy I am to be here! This is such a new and different experience and I look forward to the many things I will learn here!

I love You also much! I am so happy about all the missionary work that is going on back home! Members really are the best missionaries! Especially Houghton Members! ;)

Hurrah For Israel!
and Come Follow the Fold!
Muchas Amo
Elder Houghton

PS. Weird thing I saw this week was a guy eating out of the garbage. yup it was gross.
PPS. sorry I left my camera in my last area so pictures will have to wait a little bit.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

November 3, 2014 Being Transferred-- Speaking Spanish?

Well I have officially completed my training as in the first Twelve weeks of my mission!!

I still feel like there is so much to learn! So really I will never stop being trained and I will always strive to become better! And I think the Lord knows that and He is ready to Kick me out of my comfort zone because I am being Transferred!!! 

Every thing/ Every one I now as a missionary is about to change!  I am-- well let's just say-- I am a wee bit nervous! Amherst really has been such a wonderful area to be! I love these members so much! and I love the people we have been working with!

 Especially with my trainer, Elder Walker. He is such a great elder and he has trained me well! I will also really miss my district! We seriously have like the best district EVER! I never quite realized how hard transfers could be! 
But they really are! and I haven't even left yet!

 Take a guess as to where I am going! . . . I am going to Rochester Spanish! And I have no Idea what that means! I just might have to learn Spanish! pero mi Espanol es no bueno! But I know that it is where the Lord wants me and if there is only one person I can help with my broken Spanish then I will do every thing I can to find and help that person to the best of my abilities! I am Both Pumped and Terrified about this! It is so exciting! :)

This past week has been great! Heather Got home! Holy Cow! Now that is the Ultimate transfer If I know anything! That is super exciting I was freaking out a little, but the baton has been handed off and Now I am off to a running start! Heather you gave me a great head start so now I will Work with all Heart, Might mind, and Strength to bring it Home! 

Quick sum up of my Week! We raked leaves! I got Sick one night and was better by the next day! Elder walker had a root canal! so he went and got that fixed! this ward is full of dentist and dental students because UB is right there, so one of the members did it for free! 

Halloween we had to be in my dark so we went and spent it with the Amherst elders! I absolutely love them! and we had a great lesson with Kriza on Sunday right after church in the nursery room! on the little chairs! We got to teach the word of wisdom and it was so great to see her willingness to follow Christ! It was such a good lesson! I really am going to miss the people here! Missions are Incredible! 

Love it! Wearing the black name tag and sharing my name with Jesus Christ! 

Love you all so much! I was a little sad this is my first year I wasn't able to be there for the Epic Annul Halloween dinner! you all looked great! 
love you lots! 
Elder Houghton!  

Epic P-Day

October 27, 2014

Well I have officially one week left as a greenie and then I will graduate as a normal missionary! Woot Woot! It is quite exciting.

 OK, so to clarify my question I asked Elder Hamula during my interview with him was, "How do you receive personal revelation?"  It was was something that I had been studying and I really wanted help on recognizing the Spirit. He gave me an awesome answer and to basically sum it up--  if you are doing what you're suppose to be doing than the thoughts and feelings you receive are from the Spirit. In order to get better at recognizing it than you have to act on it. He then told me that that is how the church is run, on these small thoughts and feelings. 

This week was awesome I had a great exchange with one of the zone leaders, Elder Larson. We went and saw Dee and got to go rake their leaves for them, Dee's husband  couldn't believe that she had asked for our help, but over the course of us helping he really opened up and was very grateful and was impressed that we two 18- 20 year olds would come to help them. As we raked we basically taught Dee the restoration and he is very open to learn more so I am super excited to see what happens with this family.

Thursday night was interesting,-- all our appointments canceled on us, and it is completely dark at 7 and it is super hard to go contacting at night because every one says its late when really 7:00 pm.  It is not very late, so elder Walker and I were trying to figure out what we were going to do with our time.  We got a call that Brother Taylor was feeling the worst he has felt in a long time. Bro. Taylor is a older gentleman that we visit weekly, and that he wanted a blessing, so we went over there and gave him the blessing. He didn't want to talk very much so we just got to sit with him for a while. It was a very special moment for me and the next day he was feeling a lot better! I truly am grateful for the Priesthood, for the Great Honor it is to carry it and to be able to use it to help others.

Saturday Night was our Wards Halloween Party! and it was the coolest Halloween party I have ever been to! I wish I got more pictures of every one there but we had people from middle earth and from Sherwood forest, we even had people form Wonderland make an appearance as well as Mary Poppins And Bert! Seriously like 90% of every one was dressed up! and I absolutely loved it! Elder Walker and I dressed up as your Every day Hero! I had a superman shirt under my white shirt and tie. (I attached a picture so you can see how awesome we looked) and it was so much fun! There were close to 30 something nonmembers there as well. and we the missionary's got to judge the Chili cook off! 

This work is incredible! I absolutely love it and I know that this is the place I am suppose to be! 
Love you all! Hurrah for Israel!
Elder Houghton

October 20, 2014

Hello again! From the beautiful land of New York!

It never ceases to amaze me how different each week can be on a mission. Like before I came out I envisioned the same thing day after day! Ha, Was I wrong! Each day is a new adventure of new things, people and experiences and I absolutely love it!

Just the beginning of this week we had Elder Hamula a member of the quorum of the 70 come to speak to us missionaries! He is the one spoke in General Conferences during the Sunday morning session about the sacrament! It was incredible we got to ask him questions and then he would blow our minds with his answers!  and if that wasn't awesome enough I got to go up and lead us in the theme at the beginning of the meeting 
( D&C 4, the standard of truth and our purpose as a missionary). Oh if that's not cool enough-- Elder Walker, I and two other missionaries from my district got to sing the musical number! We sang An Angel From on High (one of those hymns that I've not heard a lot), acapella and let me tell you we sounded Awesome! And For the final kicker Brother Hamula interviewed a couple of the missionaries and I got to be one of them!  If you ever get the chance to be interviewed go in with a question that you want answered and he will answer it for you! :) It was such a good day, I learned so much and how I can improve. There is definitely a lot of room for improvement on my part. 
The rest of the week was pretty much awesome as well! 

Kriza committed to baptism! she said she feel like she is ready now but we are waiting for the 15th of November so that she can have enough time to have her husband get on board. 

This last Saturday we had this HUGE Family History Seminar that we have been preparing for a long time! Gandpa Houghton I think you would of really enjoyed it! It was A HUGE Success! The Entire Church was Packed full of non members that want to learn more about family history! We got to help direct the traffic like help people know where The Primary room or the High council room was or the most important one--- the bathroom! was to every one. We got to talk to a lot of people, two of the ladies from the Catholic group were there as well, And we got to talk to them, It was really funny, one lady made the comment of how she loves family history work so much and is so glad that our church has all of these resources but that she doesn't understand why she even cares at all.  The Spirit of Elijah is grasping the hearts of many throughout this world even those that are not of our faith and they have no idea! The Lord definitely is in charge! 
Miracles are happening every day here and I absolutely love it!
I love you all so much!
Love Elder Houghton