Wednesday, March 18, 2015

March 16th 2014 Though our Sins be as Scarlet they can be as White as Snow

Hello Hello again! 

This week has been quite the week we have had many interesting things happen, and they are keeping us very busy! 

This whole week has been so nice! people are finally emerging from there cocoons! people actually live here! It's great now they are just that much easier to catch! :) 
Tuesday we practiced a special musical number that Elder Gibby and I are planning on doing next Sunday with one of the members in our branch! and I am so excited about it! This brother is quite the character.  He has this deep gravely voice and can totally be a movie trailer announcer! and he can just belt out when he sings I absolutely love this man! He also has slight Tourette syndrome so he randomly says yes and no, all the time! So we are going to be able to sing "I Need the Every Hour". It is going to be so good! After practice was really weird, I got the three hour cold and just felt terrible, So realizing that I could hardly move I figured It was more important to get feeling better so we just went back to the apartment to sleep for a little while because we had a lesson with Ron in the evening and I wanted to be ready for that. Elder Gibby had a some extra time and decked out our wall, we found a Book of Mormon that was just super beat up and we could never give it to anyone so we made a book of Mormon wall! :) our wall is awesome now!

Out lesson with Ron went well, I was able feel almost back to normal which I know the Lord was helping me with that! Ron is doing well he loved the sights so much and he was telling us how he is seriously praying to know if it is true. So we are excited for him. He has a hard time in the mornings so getting him to church has been a struggle but we are just going to keep working with him.

Thursday we went up to Penn Yen for district meeting. They reorganized our districts so now we are up with the zone leaders of our district which I am so excited about. These elders are awesome! We have there sets of elders and all of us our training, so that is pretty fun! Penn Yen has a large population of Mennonites( Mennonites are very similar to the Amish) as we were going up to our meeting I saw a horse and buggy and just going down the road, It was so legit! 

Friday Elder and Sister Ray came to do an AMO( Apartment Make Over) so we just did a deep clean all day! it was kind of fun I never thought I would enjoy cleaning, so needless to say our apartment looks super good now, it  is basically spotless! :)
I tell you this because then on Saturday I had a very different experience! Saturday morning, we went to go help one of the member in our branch move to Hornell which is just out of our branch. We got there and I have moved a lot of people since I have come out but the difference was this family were Hoarders. . . we walked in to the house and It was just filthy!!! There was garbage everywhere! the house smelt of cat and dog pee, and I don't think they cleaned ANTHING for the entire time they lived there! It was kind of a nightmare-- really! Like you look and there just looked like and inch layer of dust and filth on the entire floor. It was probably the dirtiest place I have ever been. I just couldn't actually believe that someone could live there! It was a huge Eye opener! I am so grateful the way I was raised! I might of hated it but I so glad that I learned to clean! I know that you( MOM and DAD) are just saying "We told you so" --but I really am grateful!

We got home, we washed our clothes, and I took a deep shower, and then walked around our freshly cleaned spotless apartment! It was a huge contrast! But It is interesting that for us, spiritually, no matter how dirty we might become, covered by garbage and filth, through our Savior, we can become as clean as our apartment! We can become white as snow! What a wonderful promise that is! 

Sunday was great! Our investigator came to church!!!!!!! We were a little nervous because she missed sacrament because she slept in but she made it for the other two hours! We were so happy and she really enjoyed it! she came in and she already knew a couple of the people there which was a huge blessing! We were also able to teach Gospel principles and young mens! 
Good things are happening here and I feel so privileged to be able to witness it every day! its the best!
Hurrah For Israel! 
Love Elder Houghton!

Do you want to build a Snowman?

Do you want to break a snowman?

Monday, March 16, 2015

March 9th 2015

Mar 9 (7 days ago)

Hello Hello!

Just me and the farm!

Needless to say things are Happening here! We are seeing some amazing miracles and it is such a privilege to be serving here! We Just got transfer Calls and luckily Elder Gibby and I are staying here in Bath! :) I always get a little nervous for transfers because you never know what is going to happen! It's so exciting!

We had some pretty cool experiences this week! We met with  a nice lady again and taught the plan of salvation! It went really well.  We asked if she would be baptized and she accepted!(and said yes!) We set the day for April 11th she was so excited about it-- she went and wrote it on here calender! She also told us that she was very excited about coming to church that she went and bought a longer dress for it! There is so much joy that comes from missionary work! I love it.

We also went and met with a less active couple this week that we have met with a few times, the first time we helped shovel their driveway and are one of the sweetest couples, While we were there he told me he jokingly really liked my tie because it was green and that he just might take it if I wasn't careful ( that was a couple weeks ago) Then we met with him again and we found out that green really is his favorite color and that pretty much all the shirts he has were green. They haven't been to church in a long time now but they love the elders. So I decided I would wear that same green tie the next visit just cuz I knew he like green! So when we meet with them again this week, we asked if they wanted to go to church this week, because We were the ones who would be speaking in sacrament.  Any who, he told us that he didn't have any ties but he had a white shirt, So I looked down and I was wearing that green tie so I gave it to him! He told me he would never give up a green tie and then said that I was being a little pushy. Haha It was a rather tender moment. and the spirit was very strong.

We have been meeting with a  a guy for about two times a week for a while but really we weren't getting any where.  He had been meeting with a couple other ministers as well that had been giving him anti material so he had a lot of questions and was just so confused. We would try and and clarify things for him and just told him how important it is to just read and pray about the book of Mormon. But he just wasn't putting much effort into it. so we were about ready to just call it good. His brother( who is a member) was about ready to be done working with him too. We decided to take it to the Lord, and for some reason we just felt that we needed to work with him a little bit longer not to give up yet! So Elder Gibby and I put a lot of thought into what could we do to help Ron, when this Idea sparked in our minds, To take him to the Sites! It seemed so obvious then what we needed to do! So we called his brother and he was all on board, So we figured it out and took him up last Saturday! IT WAS SO AWESOME!!!! It went so well all of the tour guides answered all his questions, and showed so much love to him that he was stunned by how much love he felt from everyone there! We went to the Joseph smith farm we got to testify of Josph Smith right were it all happened! it was so spiritual! Plus I saw a family there that was from my first area. :) Then we went the Granden building where the book of Mormon was published! It went so well then we went to the Hill Cumorah! There we ended up watching the Joseph Smith movie! and the best part was that while we were there he looked at us a told us how he loved it so much and how he will always remember us! I was pretty happy! it went so well then on the way back we got Ice cream and danced in the snow it was really fun! 

Then we Got to speak on Sunday! I got to talk on the first 3 Articles of Faith! I know the lord helped us a lot in those talks. Sadly not one of the people we have been working with showed up to church. so we still have some work to do but I am just grateful that I get to stay here another transfer to do it!
  Plus How lucky I am to be able to be able to have Palmyra in our mission! 
I love getting to be a Guardian of the Grove!
Hurrah for Israel!
Elder Todd Houghton

.Top of the Hill Cumorah!

enjoying icecream

 My awesome district!

Monday, March 2, 2015

March 2nd, 2015 #Share Goodness

Hello again my most amazing family!

Some really big and exciting things are happening not only here but also through out the whole world! We Went to a big mission wide Conference last Tuesday up in Rochester in my old stake center. They had all the Missionaries there and that was so much fun its like a big reunion but that wasn't even the cool part! We had TWO members from the Quorum of the Seventy come and speak to us, Elder Allen and Elder Even. They came to tells us what the church is planning on doing for online proselyting and moving forward with the technology we have.

So as you might of known the new York Rochester mission was one of the guanine pigs in starting out with Facebook and with Ipads and all of that. so now that they have done all of this testing they know have a foundation to go on! so they told us how we are starting all over. There were about thirty online proselyting missions out right now but now they are jumping it up to like 80 missions mostly in the Us and many in some other countries that are starting this online proselyting! it is so exciting to see how this work is going forth so boldly nobly and independent! It literally is penetrating every contented and visiting every climb, sweeping every country and sounding in every ear! and I am so so so excited about it. 

So as you know they are having all the missionaries buy their Ipads, Now in about two weeks or so we will be getting a new Ipad that we will be able to keep after the mission. so thanks Mom thanks Dad for complying! :) Now with the Whole starting over again they want us to be trained on every thing before we even go online. so they are shutting down Facebook for a good 2 months so we can be trained on everything and then once president Francis thinks we are ready we will be able to do that again!

also they told us about some of the things that the church is working on. One is that once a missionary gets his mission call he will be able to take some mission preparation classes where he can go online and be in a district with others that have their mission calls and be trained by return missionaries. This will help get the elders training earlier and will shorten their time in the MTC,

Also they are developing a program for missionaries that will be returning home to help them adjust back into the real world.

There are some good things happening in the mission world!

There are also some great things happening here in Bath! We have been finding many people to teach and that seem so ready for this gospel.

We really are seeing miracles happen here in bath, plus the weather is so nice outside right now it"s 27 degrees and it feels so good! talk about a heat wave! ;) We are loving it! Elder Gibby is a stud! and I really am so happy to work with him I am learning a lot from him!

Hurrah for Israel!
Elder Todd Houghton

February 23rd, 2015 Yoo Hoo! Big Summer Blowout!

Each morning as I get ready for the day I look outside and then think of how excited I am for warm weather. But really though it is so much Fun! I love all the snow we have been getting the only thing that I am sad about is that it is so cold that the snow is just powder and trying to make a snowman is pointless, but one of these P-days we will do it! :)

This week was weird because we didn't have church last Sunday It has felt like an extended week and has thrown me for a little bit of a loop.

Since we have been here we are continuing to see miracles happen. We have been so busy this week. We have had several appointments and in between we are tracting on as many doors as we can. We are seeing the lord place people in our path that have so much potential and it is incredible to be able to witness it. One of the times we were out tracting we meet a young woman on the street and got to talk to her for like thirty minutes! We taught the whole Restoration and even after that she told us how she was surprised  by "How Normal we were.
We got her info and now we will get to meet with her in a week.

The senior couple in our ward, the Jones, are incredible! Sister Jones has basically been a mother to us since we have been out  and it is amazing how much they do to support this branch. But one day Sister Jones wanted a taco, so she went to Taco bell, and started talking to the young lady. Somehow in the short conversation this young lady told Sister Jones how she is a young mother that has been recently divorced and that she has two jobs and is always busy and how she knows she needs God in her life and that she had been church hopping trying to find the truth! The funny thing was Sister Jones was wearing a jacket over her name badge, so she was able to then move the jacket and indicated how she was a missionary! She then gave us her information and we got to go meet with her last Wednesday. It was one of the most spiritual lessons I have been to because she is so prepared! She is Golden. Elder Gibby and I were so Pumped after that lesson! We were on a spiritual high!

I had a very awkward experience as well this week. Which isn't uncommon because missionary work can be very awkward at times. So some random number called us. I shall recount the following conversation.
Me:"Hello this is Elder Houghton, . . . Hello?"
Her "ummm Is Todd there? "
Me "umm, Yes this is Todd?"
Her "I don't think this is the right person."
Me "Well My name is Todd, How can I help you?"
Her "Well the Todd I am looking for is my sister"
Me" Oh. well that's an interesting coincidence"
Her," haha yup well I hope you have a nice day"
Me "you too"

That was one of the weirdest experiences of my life!

Saturday we helped our Branch president with some service we went and shoveled a couple of tons worth of snow and then Hauled wood, it was a great opportunity to gain the trust of our Branch president. We slept very well that night!
This has been a Great week the work is going so well here! I love this work!

Love ya!

Elder Houghton

February 9, 2015- Called to Shovel

Once again Hello My most wonderful family! You guys seriously are the best! I don't know how I ever got so lucky to have y'all as my Family!  
BATH IS AWESOME! It is so much fun to be in a small Town! I am seeing so many new things and also so many things that make me feel like I am right at Home!

We have had a lot of service opportunities this week. For instance It has been snowing. . . a lot. so we have been shoveling . . . a lot. :) and because of all snow/ shoveling we have been able to get through to many Less actives and New Investigators, that we are now going to be able to go meet with.

 We were just driving down the Road- out in the country in a very poor neighbor hood of trailers when we saw a man stuck in his drive way and couldn't get out with one guy trying to push him out. We pulled over and ran over to their assistance and by using our brute strength we were able to push him out! I love opportunities like that! We then got to help shovel the drive way and that opened the way for us to talk to them. It was great! We ended up talking to him ( the one that was stuck) for about thirty minutes about the miracles he has seen in his life. He is a super nice guy with Zero teeth and a great spirit about him, and just thirty minutes ago he called us! Woot Woot! I don't know if you know but having someone call us, that is not a missionary/member, is a rare occasion! So We are super happy about that!  

And that was only one experience another time we knocked on the door to a less active. . . Nothing. 30 seconds later they pulled up! But it wasn't the member it was their parents who are not, so we got to help them bring in a mattress that they had brought/We got his number and he invited us back! Coincidence I think not!

We are also were called by one of the Eternitgators in our area. He is a nice guy and had us over for dinner.  He has been "investigating" for the past 45 years" and he loves the missionaries, anyways he  called us and asked us to go help one of his friends to get unstuck from her driveway because she had a meeting she had to go to! We  got her unstuck and they invited us over for dinner!

We have also been working with another less active member with finishing his basement. So we have been able to go use tools and feel Manly as we build walls and tear/ smash the tile! It has been pretty satisfying so far! It has been great and I hope that we will be able to help him get back to church! I have loved it!

We have had Three opportunities to Exercise our priesthood authority to give blessing to those in need!  I have loved it so much.  I mean We as missionaries have been called to serve and when "ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God! What a great privilege this has been! Also I know the lord puts us in places right where he needs us. It is amazing to see things happen before our eyes!

I Truly see so much potential here in this small town, I have learned so much so far being in a branch is a very different feeling but I know the lord has sent us here for a reason! and we are here To Go and Do!

Now Service is great and I love being able to help people with these physical and only temporary things, but there is nothing greater than being able to help serve another child of God to come see the light of this Gospel!

Hurrah For Israel!

Love the Badge!


Elder Houghton

February 16, 2015 Baby It's Cold Outside

Hey hey hey! My Oh My, I have something's to tell you!

Ok, well first of I think God is trying to teach me to love the cold,
last year It was one of the coldest winters in Utah and Idaho, and
then I come to New York and we are having record breaking cold/ and
snow! And then back in Utah/ Idaho your all enjoying the beautiful
weather. Hopefully I can learn my lesson quickly because if it is
negative 20 degrees with wind chill then we have to stay in our
apartment. So yesterday it was so cold that the whole mission had to
stay inside, they even cancelled church! It just felt weird and
wrong staying inside. But we were able to call and set appointments
with a lot of people so that made it OK and we made an amazing
collage of pictures from our stack of ensigns and put them up all over
our walls! Our apartment looks so good now! :)

But don't worry I wasn't inside all day! Last Wednesday we had an
amazing warm spell of like 30 degrees! It felt so good so we used this
great weather tracking! We knocked on two houses. . .  Nothing. . .
The third house a young man in his twenties answered the door. And we
told him a little about ourselves, and then asked if he would be
interested in learning more, he said he had time, so we got to teach
the restoration! It was so good! I truly believe this man felt the
Spirit and that is super exciting, I just hope we can meet with him
again! But I mean it was the first person we talked two! I was so
happy the rest of the day! I just wish every door we go to could be
like that!   Elder Gibby is  awesome to work with he is not afraid
of just preaching the gospel to these people and I love it! And we get
along really well and he is a hoot! We are practically laughing all
day! It just makes being in a small town were the closest missionaries
are like 30 miles away a little easier.

Also another miracle from this week. We met with a man on Tuesday.
It was kind of a lesson that was hard to keep somewhat organized
because this man just has a lot of random things that he is reading and
working on and so it has been a rough start with him, and he told us
how he only wanted to meet with us once a week. But after a day or so
we text-ed us and said he wanted to meet with us soon and that he
couldn't wait until Tuesday! So we were excited! This last lesson went
really well! His brother was there and really helped and then we were
able to set a baptismal date with him! And that was kind of cool as
well we asked him what day he would want to be baptized, (I was
looking at our calendar thinking April would be good) when he told us
how he wanted it to be on the most important day to him which is
Christmas. That was kind of too far off and we told him  we didn't think it
would be open on that day. So he told us, “ OK, then how about on my
birthday April 2!” We were like Yes that is perfect!” So we are just
super excited about the work here in Bath! It is the best!

Then pretty much the rest of the week we have been all over the place
for meetings and interviews!
Tuesday we drove to Hornell for interview's with President Francis. He
is the best!
Wednesday we drove to a  zone meeting! Talk about a spiritual boost!
Friday we drove to Rochester for the Adjusting to missionary life
meeting that all the new missionaries go to, we seriously had like 40
people there! It was crazy! Very different then the four I had at my
meeting I went to. But super awesome!

It has been an awesome week! Even though the cold might not be the
most fun thing in the world, the spirit makes up for it!

Hurrah for Israel!

Elder Todd Houghton

Ps. Go on LDS missionaries on face book you might see some familiar
faces if you look through their photos! :)