Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Called to Serve March 7th 2016

Hello family!

I hope you all had a wonderful week!
We have been seeing a lot of great things here. Elder Detlor and I
have been just running! It is pretty nice to always have
something to do!

We went on two exchanges this week! Which was pretty great! One of the
exchanges we found and taught about five lessons to some pretty cool
people.  For example, one guy we met on the street wasn't very interested at first but talked to us and told us that three of his family members had
passed away. We brought up the "Plan of Salvation" and told him how it
answers the questions as to where we came from, why we are here, and
where we are going.  He was like, "you know I have really been
thinking a lot about that! I would like to know the answers."  We
gave him a Book of Mormon and set up a return appointment! I am
excited to see him and grateful to have  the knowledge of the plan of

Our second exchange we had 4 of our lessons cancel but sometimes you
win some and sometimes you lose some! :)  However, on that exchange we went and 
met with Chris again, and we brought President Francis with us to the
lesson. It was so good!  Chris had so many deep questions
and I had no idea how to answer them but president was just awesome
and the spirit was so strong!

On Sunday we had Stake conference and they had all the missionaries in
the Rochester stake be the choir-- there were 52 of us!
At the very beginning we sang "Called to Serve" as we marched in :(
that was kind of a train wreck but it was the thought that counted!) The best part was that Chris came to church! It was great!
Sorry this is a short on but we are seeing lots of wonderful things
here in Rochester!

I love you all so much and hope you have a great week!

Elder Todd Houghton

 My new Companion Elder Detlor! ( notice our ties!)

Us and Tandra on the temple grounds

Sunday, March 6, 2016

And I Dunked it! February 29th 2016

Hello hello! 

This week has been a blur! It's crazy how much can happen in a week, and then also with how fast it goes!
We had a lot of meetings this week and probably my favorite part from our meetings was when President Francis told the story of the time he dunked a basket ball in a game. He practiced and practiced dunking a ball.  During his senior year in High school it was the championship game and the game was tied and with just a little time on the clock, the other team was was shooting free throw, and missed!  His team caught the ball and passed it up to president, and he got there and he DUNKED IT!!!! It was just such a build up that we were all on the edge or our seats when President just yelled it!!!! I am pretty sure he scared everyone in the front row. But his purpose was to help us understand the importance of setting a goal and accomplishing it! I was motivated! I wish  you could have been there because it was hilarious!

We have also had some interesting experience this week! We got a text from our investigator saying that she wasn't feeling well, that she had been awake for the past 36 hours a couldn't fall a sleep. She asked if we could pick up a sleep aid for her so we did. We hurried to Rite Aid. We met with her for about 15 minutes and showed her "The Mountains to Climb" video. After the video we offered to give her a priesthood blessing. She was like "I know I need it!!" Elder Detlor gave the Blessing and because she is hard of hearing he spoke very loud and clear. haha After the blessing she was like "Wow that was powerful"
Right after that we hurried over to the church for FHE. One less active member we have been meeting with came to FHE for the first time in a long time. We were so excited to see him. When I first saw him he came over to me and just gave me a big hug, which really threw me off. This member is not one I would think of as a huger, He told us one of his friends from his AA meeting, who had been three months sober, reused Heroin, OD'd and passed away. For about 40 minutes we stood around him consoling this member as he cried and cried. This member has been struggling with alcoholism. He kept saying he knows he has to quite using alcohol or he will die. It was a big moment for him.  Since then we have met with him every day trying our best to help with this process of quitting, I hope and pray he can do it! I really have learned why we have the word of wisdom because it really is a dangerous trap, and is so hard to get out. The sad part is how it really only takes away our agency. So don't do it!

We had a really cool miracle happen that I was able to witness the fruit of! A little over a month ago before I got to this area, Elder Longhurst and Elder Detlor had pulled up to a red light next to a bus stop where a guy was standing, Elder Longhurst told Elder Detlor "hey give that guy a card!" So he rolled down the window and said "hey we are missionaries for our church, would you like a card?" The guy was like, "sure", and they were like, "cool, would you like to learn more?"  And he was like" sure", so quickly they got his phone number before the light turned green. They met with him the next day and set a baptismal date with him and just this last Saturday he was baptized! This man was so prepared. He got up and bore his testimony of the church and of Joseph Smith. It was an amazing experience! There really are people ready!! Sometime we just have to be willing to invite them!

I hope you all have a great week and see lots of miracles!

Elder Todd Houghton

Here is a picture of us with Tandra in the log home!

"Drunk as a Skunk!" February 22nd 2016

Hello once again! And Happy Valentine's Day  (last week) 

I recognized after emailing last week I didn't even wish you a happy Valentine's
Day! I love you all so much! Holidays have gone down a lot in meaning
as a missionary, because everyday I am just so focused with the job at
hand! Which is to bring souls to Christ! There is truly no greater
work! I did get the package you sent so thank you, thank you!

Things are going so well! I am just loving life! This week has just
been jammed packed full of missionary goodies and lots of other random
experiences! I hope I can tell you some of the best ones!

Tuesday It snowed and It Snowed and IT SNOWED! It's a good thing we
have a big old Silverado with four wheel drive! We were able to make
it through anything! For the most part we were inside all day. I
have discovered a favorite way of contacting. I love seeing some one
shovel, and jumping out and helping them finish. It is such good Ice
breaker (punn intended) and really easy to lead to talking about the

I don't know if you remember but over a year ago on Christmas Eve, I
was in this same area and we were going around caroling with the ward,
as we were going we were yelling Merry Christmas to every one! One guy
named Bugsy told us he was as "Drunk as a Skunk", and came over and
talked with us. Any way, we were able to see him one time and he was
such a nice guy and he said he wanted to change his life. Well, we
struggled to get in contact with him and then I was transferred. Nothing had
happened with this man since. On Wednesday we were on the same
street, just getting ready to drive off when I see this man walk on
the sidewalk and I couldn't believe it but it was Bugsy! I rolled
down the window and yelled "Hey Bugsy" and he said "Oh my gosh! I am
so sorry I am drunk right now" haha on the exact same spot as when I
first met him and he was still drunk but to keep the story short he
invited us to meet with him this next week!  I am excited!

Also we met one of the most legit people I have ever met!  On 
Monday night we had spent about an hour contacting by Eastman College.
No one except a drunk homeless man was willing listen to us and he 
didn't really even do that.  We asked the last person we saw right as we were 
about to leave if he would like to learn more. He said he would!
We set up a return appointment for Friday. Thursday came around and he
texted us! That right, HE texted us! He confirmed our appointment. His
name was Chris and he is super cool.  We got there and he made us
chocolate chip banana bread which he later told us he did so
we would feel comfortable to come again. He had already been
reading and praying and had great questions--it was crazy!  It's a very
true statement, it is always the last person that is willing to
learn more. I am really excited about meeting with him again!

Pretty funny experience... we went to see a less active member and when
we got there apparently they were having a concert in the basement. We
weren't sure if we should knock or not but we did and the guy who
answered was like "Mormons right!" He invited us in so we could talk
to the the member. There was like thirty people in there all just
bobbing their heads to apparently to the band "Bong pong"  ha ha. We were
like, "Its not everyday that Mormons show up to your party" We were
only there for about a minute but as we left one the guys was like
"come again you guy are cool!"

Saturday we took an investigator to the sites, and it was such an amazing
experience.  It was a little rough getting her up there but it worked
out. Elder Bradford, the sites director and former mission president of
Brazil, gave us the tour and it was so powerful! When we got to the
frame home Elder Bradford began to talk about the atonement and asked
her if Jesus had to perform the Atonement for only you would he have
done it? And she said "yes he would." The Spirit filled the room and
she began to cry, it was a very special experience! She is saying how
excited she is for her baptism on March 12th!

I know that our Savior suffered and died for each and everyone of us.
He is the one that makes it possible that we will return back to our
Father in Heaven! What a flawless plan we get to be a part of!

Love you all!
Elder Todd Houghton

Beautiful Cold City of Rochester February 15th 2016

Hello from the Beautiful cold city of Rochester!

I hope your all staying warm! we got some cold temperatures come this
weekend but that should be about it and it should hopefully warm up this
week! With that I have had such an interesting week!

I am now in Rochester and my companion is Elder Detlor! He is such a
fantastic missionary! He is from Albuquerque New Mexico and is a great
seas. I have been learning so much from him and we have been getting
work done. I am still in a YSA branch but it is always different
coming to a new area.

 Wednesday we had to go and give several
trainings. we left at 7:20 am and finished at 5:30pmThen we had enough 
time to go and help a less active named Charley move some stuff! But
the real miracle was that he came to church!

We have also been working with our investigator and she is doing
so well, she got sick this week and so we offered to help her if she
needed any thing, and she said she would of liked a Lemon and some
tea. We hadn't taught her about the word of wisdom yet:)  We went to
the store and picked up a lemon and some herbal tea! It took us for
ever to even find it! ... I don't think I have ever bought herbal
tea before so as we were wandering the aisles of Walmart looking for
this herbal tea, and at one point Elder Detlor stopped and was "hey I
think that is Paco!"  We talked to this  guy that elder Detlor
had met before.   He told us that he and his girlfriend, who is
actually from Orlando Florida, was up in the area for the weekend and
they told us that they were coming to church on Sunday! It was kind of
a cool little miracle. And then we took the herbal tea over to
our investigators house and had such a good lesson with her! And Paco did come to
church! So we were happy about that!

Saturday -the day it was really cold, I got to go on exchanges back in
Pittsford! It was such a great day. We couldn't stay outside very long
but we were able to go and see several of the people I got to work
with while I was there. We went and met with Linda again and it was so
good to see her again.  She has been progressing very well. it was great
seeing her again, and apparently it was her birthday so that was kind
of neat! We also went to a baptism while we were there and I was able
to see many of the members from the Pittsford ward again! I love them
all so much! It really made me so happy!

I sure love you all! And hope you Have a great week!
Elder Todd Houghton

From the land of the Chicken Wings February 8th 2016

Hello once again from the Land of Chicken Wings!

 Sadly not for much longer because the inevitable Transfer calls came in and I have been called to another land farther east. I am now going Back to Rochester to serve in The GVB branch which is the YSA branch for both the Rochester and Palmyra stake! Pretty crazy! I am so sad to leave Buffalo because I love it here so much.  I love all of the members and the many people we have been meeting with.  Alas I will go where he wants me to go! 

Kind of a strange thing with that was I was just on exchanges there this past Friday and Saturday and now I am going there! My New Companion is Elder Detlor and he is a power house and I am so excited to serve with him! Its going to be good! haha

We have seen some great miracles this week though! On Tuesday we went to go and see Nanii again and it was such a good lesson. She told us about this dream she had had the night before.  In the dream she saw herself receiving this medallion with a the Young Woman torch on it from our Branch president.  She didn't know anything about the  Young womanhood recognition medallion so we got to talk to her about the Young woman's program and everything. She is on the Right track!  It has been amazing to see the changes in her For Good! It is amazing what the Gospel can do for some one!

The other great Miracles was that Jesus Came To Church And Was Confirmed! It was Amazing! He came in a White shirt and tie we had gotten him. He was Clean shaven and looked so good! (He looked like a Mormon! and Now he is Official! it was just another great experience that I am so grateful that I was able to be a part it! It is just an amazing feeling to witness those we people we have grown to love, take these steps that will help them reach exaltation! I just love being a missionary! 

I hope you all have a fantastic week and i hope you can see the miracles happening where you are! 
Love you all so much! 

Love Elder Todd Houghton

The Buffalo Branch (at least some of it)

Elder Glenn playing Pokeman against one of the members we have been meeting with during lunch

Beautiful Balmy Buffalo February 1st 2016

Good Morning from Beautiful balmy Buffalo! 

I wish you could experience how weird of a winter we are having right now! It has been close to 50 degrees! We just barely walked to the library in just our white shirts and ties and it feels Amazing! Of course it think you had a similar thing last year, when we were experiencing the negatives. I have now experienced the coldest winter in Buffalo history, and also the warmest! 

 This has been such a great week with so many great memories and miracles that have happened! i just love being a missionary, the weeks are never the same! I love it!

So we got a Referral from a member in the Buffalo ward for a girl that works at Cold Stone(the ice cream place). Apparently she was looking for a church to go to so he had talked to her about the church and gave her a Book of Mormon. He called us and told us to go and just try and meet with her. That was about all we knew.  we weren't sure when she would be working or what she looked like but we just went in and ordered some ice cream. There was one girl up front so as we ordered we just talked to her, and of course she asked if we were going to college and so we told her how we were missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She told us how her uncle was a member in Florida. She told us that she had recently converted to be a Christian and was looking for a church. We told her how our church was for College aged kids and so we gave her a Mormon.org card with our info and we told her we are often referred to as "Mormons"  She was just like stop and kind of freaked out a little bit saying, "there have been a couple of people from your church that  have come in. I even have the Mormon Book!" she said how she was like this must be a sign from God!  so we got her info and  we will try to meet with her some time this week! It could not have gone any better. The Spirit really helped us say exactly what she needed! It kind of reminded us of Ammon teaching King Lamoni, Alma 18:22-23

"Now Ammon being wise, yet Harmless, he said unto Lamoni: wilt thou Hearken unto my words, if I tell thee by what power I do these things?  and this is the thing that I desire of thee.
And the king answered him, and said: yea, I will belive all thy words. and thus he was caught with Guile." 

That was basically what happened!  We were Wise yet Harmless! And it turned out to be a great experience :) 

We met with Jesus literally every day this week to prepare him for Saturday! I wish you could meet Jesus, he is such a funny character, but Saturday came along! And Jesus Was Baptized! It was a great experience for me because I was able to be the one to perform the Ordinance. It took a while for Jesus to show up to the service and for a little while we thought we were going to have a Baptism with out the man to baptize, but he made it and I just thought he looked really nice in white! 

The sad part of it though is I am pretty sure that he lost his phone and we weren't sure where he was yesterday we called him several times but we had no contact with him. We don't know what happened but he didn't make it to church yesterday, so right now he only has half a baptism but we will get him next week! 

I sure hope you have a great week! I love you all so much! 
Elder Todd Houghton