Wednesday, October 21, 2015

October 19, 2015

Hello family!

What a week! This week flew by so fast!  Being in the YSA is making
things go even faster than I am used too.
Well we have had some amazing experiences that I have been so blessed
to be a part of this week!

First experience--The Amherst elders received a call from a lady
named Anna that needed help moving a bunch of stuff from one of her
storage units to another storage unit. Anna had missionaries help a
year ago but fell out of contact with the church. Then when she needed
help she called over 20 churches to  look for help or just someone to pray
for her. And then she remembered the Mormons and boom we were there!
Her storage unit was literally filed up to the top with just tons of
cloths. As we were helping she told us how she felt that the
Lord was pushing her towards this church and that she needed to change
her life. And also she was testifying to Tammy who was a lady that
worked at the storage unit place and was helping out.  Anna was
telling her how she felt, that this was God's true church. It was super
cool! As we were helping out we found like 8 bottles of wine and Anna
told us that she was done drinking and that we could get ride of it,
and Tammy said we could just dump it right there on the pavement and we were
just have  a blast while doing it too! Tammy thought that was on of
the most refreshing things she had seen in a while, seeing a bunch of
young men dumping alcohol on the ground!  We
also got ride of so many cloths, we took two huge truck loads of
cloths to Goodwill. It was a lot! But the best part was seeing how
appreciative Anna was. 

The elders are going to meet with her again and
will start teaching her the lessons. Tammy was also really intrigued
so we got to give her a Book of Mormon, and she wanted to learn more!
Service really softens hearts! I am a firm believer of that!

We have our sports night and for it we played glow in
the dark capture the flag! YSA is awesome! Something I didn't expect I
would do on the mish. But we are always up for new adventures.

We were walking near Delaware park in Buffalo, and we saw this
group of about two young men and 6 young women playing football.  So
we went up started talking to them and  apparently these two young
men were coaching this girl's team for the powder-puff game they had
coming up. Luckily I have a two time state champion for a companion so
we got to help out.  It was fun just playing in my shirt and tie. After that 
we just got to talk to them and answer questions.
It was a fun experience.

We met and had an awesome lesson with this young man named
Brad. We met at a McDonald's before church. And it was great! We told
him what we believed God to be. And just as we were telling him he got
this big grin and we asked him how he felt when he heard those things
and he told us that he felt happy! The rest of the lesson went very
well and he committed to reading and praying about the Book of Mormon!
And he would be baptized if he finds out it is true! Such a great
start to the day!
It has been a great week! Things are going very well for us Shellyites
in New York! I couldn't be happier! Right now, I love you all so much.
Elder Todd Houghton

Back in Buffalo October 12th 2015

Hello My Name is Elder Houghton and I would like to share with you this most amazing Book!

It's so good hearing from all of you! It sure sounds like you are having some amazing missionary experience back at home! That is so awesome!

This week has been weird for me. That is the best way to describe the  feelings I have had. A lot of it has to do with going back to an area that I served in literally a year ago. I feel like I never left except now I have a lot more experience under my belt. It has also been weird because I am serving with Elder Tomlinson who I  graduated with from back at home! We have, some nights, talked about everyone we know from back at home and we know everyone we are talking about. Elder Tomlinson is such a solid missionary and I am learning so much from him-- it is great. Third reason as to why this week has been "Weird" is because I am now serving in the Young Single Adult Branch for all of Buffalo, and it is a completely new world! First night I was here we went to the UB campus (University of Buffalo) to have our ward correlation meeting with our ward mission leader. He is super cool and is like only a few years older than us. I get to work with a bunch of people my own age and it is extremely different for me but I am so excited because we have so many great things lined up! 

So cool experiences, Wednesday we do what we call the UB Booth where we got to go to the The College and in one of their main buildings got to set up a information desk. There was so many people just going in and out, and I felt like a fish out of water, but It was so much fun we would have people come up and we could tell them all about Mormon's.
I have had an investigator take us out for Donuts.
I have been able to participate in the branches sport's night.
I have gone apple picking for a branch activity, that was really fun.
I have gone to institute.
I have gone and had Duff's Buffalo Chicken wings, so good! 
We made a ham. and had mashed potatoes with it was so good. 
We also made a chili for our branches,"break the fast"  after church, we called it Hamtastic Elders Chili. We put ham in it and anything else we could find. It surprisingly turned out pretty good!
Church during sacrament meeting was the quietest meeting I have ever attended.
Its just weird because I feel like I am doing many things that I would do back at home.
Really this week has just been awesome! 
I hope everything is going great for all of you! And I love you all!
Elder Houghton

1 Ne 8:10-12

Sharing the donuts with the district

Making a ham dinner!!

 Apple Picking with the branch!

da Homies

Moving to Buffalo NY October 5th 2015

Hello family!!!

I miss spud harvest! It looks like you all had a blast! And wasn't
conference the best!!!!! Talk about a Spiritual reboot! I feel so
pumped and ready to go!  Our leaders really are inspired because I had
some questions answered.

Today we got our transfer calls, and I have to pack up my bags
because I am going back to Buffalo! I am going to be in the Buffalo
YSA ward! And guess who is my companion! Elder Tomilson! My fellow
Shellyite!!! I am so excited! But then I am also really sad that I am
leaving Pittsford.  I have grown to love this area, the members, our
investigators, everything. But I am happy with what we have been able
to accomplish here. It has been a great experience and a part of my
heart will always be here in Pittsford. But it will be fun because I
am going back to be in my first district! So I am super excited!

We have seen so many really cool miracles this past week and I have
loved it! It has probably been on of the busiest times of my mission.
First cool miracle.- so remember Kristarlo from the previous week. We
went back with a member, and when we got there Kristarlo told us that
it wasn't a good time because her son in law was doing a project 
to put in some shelves in her home or something like that. Well Eric came
over to say hello and basically said that there will never be a good
time. . . So come on in!  It was a great lesson Eric told us that he
is searching to educate himself on our religion and so we taught him
the restoration! It was such a good lesson and it was perfect because
the member that came with us was a perfect fellowshiper! There really
was a reason that we were lead back to this family.

So we had met this lady name Elanor the previous week because she
moved In to where one of our older investigators lived.   Well, she
answered and said she was of a certain faith and that she wasn't
interested. So we asked if she needed any help moving because we knew
she was new to the home  and she did. She was rather surprised by the
fact that we were willing to help, so we set up a time to come today
and help her.  We brought the service elders with us and it was just
really cool.  She sat us down in her living room. she had baked a
beautiful plate of cookies and said she wanted to get to know us
before she put us to work. And so we talked to her a little bit about
where we were from and things like that. Then she told us how we had
completed our mission, because after we had dropped by and had offered
service she was so blown away that she went and looked up what
Mormon's believed, and she was amazed at how Christ centered we
actually were. She told us often when she would think of these great
missions she would think of going to Africa and South America or third
world countries but she realized that there really is a mission that
is just right here at home. And then she told us how she really needed
the help because she just doesn't have that kind of support. She didn't
know what she was going to do and then she said that when we had
dropped by she said we were like angles showing up at her door to help and
to serve just as Christ would do. It was really touching.  We
got to help her move a ton of her stuff to the attic or the basement.
It was really good and after we gave her a Book of Mormon and invited
her to come to a service which she said she would in her own time! It
was a really neat experience. Mosiah 2:17 is becoming more and more
special to me because when we really are in the service of our fellow
beings we are only in the service of our God!

Then we had a great lesson with a young man name Tucker who desired to
take the lessons!  It was such a good lesson we taught the
restoration, and we invited him to pray and I think it was one of the
first times that he prayed out loud but it was really cool! He texted us
later and told us that he felt that a whole week in between visits
was two long so we will be seeing him now twice a week! He is so
prepared! I love it!

I loved the message from General conference! Really the gospel is
simple and doesn't need to be complicated, as we keep the
commandments, and keep the sabbath holy or make it a delight it will
help us take the steps that we need to return to our Heavenly Father,
We aren't perfect but by simply trying to be the best we can the Lord
will magnify our calling! What a blessing to have living prophets and
Love you all!
Have a great week!
Elder Todd Houghton

Working together and having fun

"Even Worse we're Mormons" September 28th 2015

Hello family!!! 

Did you get to see the lunar eclipse yesterday? It was so cool it was pretty funny when we called President Francis last night to report how our zone is doing. He told us to walk outside and look at the moon! I love that kind of stuff! So we have had a fantastic week! I strongly believe that miracles happen on a daily basis!
First one-- We had about an hour before we were going to go over to Tom's
for the lunch bunch so we were just walking through the
neighborhood by the church. We were pretty much just looking for homes
where it looked like someone was home. The third house we knocked on
a young boy with literally nothing to cover his bottom half ran up to
the door, with no shame! It was really funny, the lady behind him
came and apologized and was really friendly and asked us how are we were doing. And then she asked where my other bigger companion (Garland) had gone. Then BOOM it hit me that this was the lady that we had meet about three months ago on that same street walking with her daughter.  We had given her a Book of Mormon and she said her husband would be
interested in having us over, but that they were going on a month and
a half trip to Italy, but they said they would call. . . Nothing. Until this
happened!  She said we could come back next
week during the evening! and that she had read some of the Book of Mormon! It was just so crazy that we found them!

 Ok second crazy experience! We went to go see a potential investigator that I had
 never met. And as we were going we saw this older woman across the
street with a walker coming down her drive way. I remembered that I
had met this woman as well several months earlier by knocking on her
door with Elder Garland. This how that conversation went, add a German
accent as well. . .
 "Are you Jehovah witnesses!"
" No, we are Mormons!"
" bah! Even worse!
And that was it she slamed the door. . .
Well I was less than thrilled to even see this lady again. But for
some reason I just felt that we should go over offer to help rake her yard. So we
crossed over and this how this conversation went.
" Are you Jehovah witnesses?"
" No we are even worse! We are Mormons! And we were just wondering if
you could use any help with your yard. We are looking for service
 She was slightly really taken aback by that and it was just like there was a completely different response she was like Oh really? I could really use some help with that. ( I am kind of paraphrasing a little) but she went on to tell us about how she had broken her foot
and had ten screws in it. And was all for the idea of letting us come
and help! I mean she also told us that we didn't believe in Jesus.
Which we corrected. And then she told us how Mr. Schmitt was not a
true prophet. and that we could not be saved by him. which we also explained what we actually believe, but the cool thing was despite all that her heart softened .                                                                                          
It was an interesting experience. I think it also shows how there are
different ways to touch the hearts of these people. Some you just have
to try another way. I am excited to go and rake her yard!
Third awesome experience! So I might have told you about Kim our Goodwill Miracle, who had read the Book of Mormon and everything.  Well, on Saturday we were able to take her and her daughter to the sites!!! It was absolutely fantastic! We took her to the Joseph smith farm, and the sacred grove. They told us several times how peaceful it felt there! We then took her to the Palmyra temple and got to walked around it. Brother Broadbent, a member of the ward,  came with us for the trip.  While we were there his cousin who just happens to be one of the Councilors of the temple presidency, came to say hello. It was perfect because Kim had many question about the temple and he was able to answer all of them. It was powerful, he pointed out each room in the temple and explained there purpose and everything we could not have planned it any better. There was definitely some Heavenly intervention that's for sure! But that's not all, we then went to the Hill Cumorah Center and after seeing it  as we were getting read to head out the door, who do we meet, but The Former mission president to this mission President Jack R. Christensen! I don't know how much you have heard of him but I have heard so much about Brother Christensen Its hard to believe plus he is a motivational speaker so I have been able to accumulate and hear several of his talks that he has given. I loved the last thing he said to us and that was that it is all true! I hope and pray Kim and Julia felt the spirit! Our next goal is to bring them to General Conference! It is amazing to see Gods hand in so many things because we couldn't have planned  that trip any better. And without the Hand of God and the Spirit it would not have even held  a candle to what it was!
I love this Gospel!
I love you all!
Have a great week!
Love Elder Todd Houghton

Visiting the sites
Add caption

September 21st, 2015

Hello to my amazing family!
I think I say this every week but holy cow we have had a week full of miracles! But I think if you look you can see miracles happen in even the most simple of things!
Any-who this week we had zone conference! which is always a great experience! I love the training and the things that we learn there! However, this zone conference was a little different than the norm because we had several people from Salt Lake come in. They told us to clean our cars extra nice for them because they came in to install TIWI which is also known as the Black box that tracks how you drive. So mother you can sleep more soundly with our driving because we have an extra pair of eyes watching over us and telling us to slow down! We also, I am proud say, came away with the Golden plate award for the nicest car in the zone! It was awesome! 
On Tuesday we got to go over with the service elders and we helped two ladies move into their home. It was a really good experience. As we were moving they asked us all types of questions about what we do as missionaries. And I think they were surprised with how young and willing we were to come and help. I think it really set the stage to soften their hearts.  Before we left we told them about the Book of Mormon and invited them to come to a baptismal service that Saturday. They were really interested in coming and they said they were interested in learning more! It was just awesome. They weren't able to come to the service but then we told them all about Palmyra so that's our next step -- to get them there! We are really excited about it!
Thursday we were heading back to our apartment for lunch when we walked past a hot dog stand. I couldn't wait any longer I  had to get a hot dog from a hot dog stand in New York! so we stopped and got a hot dog! We sat next to a really nice man named Benny. He started asking us questions about church and how he was wanting to go to church. We told him about the Book of Mormon and gave him a copy and he just got so excited and wanted to learn more and kept saying how he was so glad we had stopped and talked to him. He turned to his sister who was sitting there pretty quite, and showed her that he had a Book of Mormon. and she said :" yeah I used to study with the Mormons many years ago. I used to go to the Hill Cumorah pageant every year. until I move to Georgia, and I just lost contact. I haven't seen the Mormons come by in ten years!"  She (Ruth) was just visiting for the 3 weeks,  and so we got her information and now when she goes back she will be able to meet with the Mormons again! It's amazing how the spirit works even if it a strong impression to have a hot dog! :)
Saturday some of the sisters in our district had a baptism! It was such a Spirit packed meeting and the best part was that Linda came to the service!!! It was such a good experience and then Bob the older gentlemen who was baptized got up and bore his testimony to us all! He had been investigating for the past 3 years before he made the commitment to be baptized. He said it was one of the happiest days of his life! I sure hope Linda felt the spirit as strongly as I did!
Well that is just few of the things going on in this part of town! Hope things are going well in all of yours! I am so excited for Brian or soon to be Elder Harris! He is going to do so many great things!
Hurrah For Israel
Love Elder Houghton

"The Mormons are Coming" September 14, 2015

Knock knock 
Whose there.
FBI open up! 
. . .
Ha just kidding it's just the missionaries!

Maybe one day I will use that as a tracting method. What do ya think! :)
It is so wonderful hearing from you.  It  sounds like some great things are happening.
Today we had an awesome opportunity to go to the Grand Canyon. . . of the east. :) it's called Lechworth Park! and it is the largest gorge east of the Mississippi. A sweet couple, Jack and Marilyn, offered to take us. They are a couple that works at the farmers market so we have been able  to work with them over the summer. It is absolutely beautiful!! I hope you can see it someday. I will send a few pictures.

This week has been a week full of miracles! One of the first ones was Monday night. We got a text that we had received a headquarters referral. So we went and got the teaching record for a lady and her son that are moving in from Independence Missouri, They have been investigating the church for a while there and  they are moving in to our ward and needed help moving. Then after that we also got a call from our Bishop saying he had received a call form the sisters telling him that she was moving in. All of that happened in thirty minutes time.   Let's just say they were very thorough and made sure we knew they were coming in!  We got a good crew togethT

And I sure love you! 

Have a great week!


Elder Todd Houghton