Jan 30, 2017

Week 35 - January 30, 2017

Hello hello my beloved friends and family,

Ahh, I think this week may have been one of the funniest weeks that I have yet to experience here in Santa Ana. I spent almost all week laughing, and also crying- because while I have grown in a lot of ways, I am still the most emotional person that I have ever met.

Okay okay. So my health is good. Kind of. I am feeling a lot better. Kind of. I still have some difficult stomach pain, but we keep pressing forward, and it should all pass soon. But, funny story. So one night this week we were eating dinner at the house of a family who is always really sweet with us. After I ate, I just had the worst stomach pain, and I was trying to ignore it but it was absolutely terrible. So, the Sister was trying to explain to me that the solution was to drink oil, and I was trying to explain that I had medicine from the mission and that everything was okay.. When all of the sudden she just yelled, "Sientese! Le voy a dar aciete!" (Sit down, I am going to give you oil) So with my passive personality and fear of offending others I sat down and she handed me a huge spoonful of pure vegetable oil. My companion at this point had tears running down her face from trying not to laugh, and asked if there wasn't a different type of oil that I was supposed to drink. All of the sudden the Sister grabbed my head and shoved the spoon in my mouth. As you can imagine... Yummy. After, she brought me a huge glass of Limeade, as if I wasn't already dying, and told me to drink it because she made it with love. Also.. Yummy. You guys, I love everyone. And I continue my trend of throwing up outside of members houses.

We have 3 really amazing investigators who all have baptism dates! They are wonderful! And progressing in the gospel! And also did not come to church yesterday.. so now I am sad. All 3 were for logical reasons, but I am still sad. So I will tell you more about them next week. If they come to church. And if I am not sad... Missionary work.

Well, I hope you guys know how much I love you. I hope that I am making you guys proud. This week I will complete 8 months in my mission which is unreal. I still feel like I got here yesterday. I am so thankful for my mission. For the things that I am learning, and the ways in which I am growing and progressing. It isn't anything easy, but it could not be more worth it.

Hermana Houston

Jan 23, 2017

Week 34 - January 23, 2017

Friends and Family,

Hello! It has been a..... week. I am doing okay, but a nasty stomach bacteria kicked my little missionary booty this week. I don't tell you to worry you, just that over Skype we said that there wouldn't be anymore secrets.. But I am doing okay! I started taking a medicine that has helped me a ton, and the members here in Centro took such good care of me. I threw my baby girl, Sister Chinchilla, out against the wolves to visit with some members' and she did such an amazing job! So, the work is still moving forward.. And I am a happy, proud, and now not sick mom.

The good news is that we went to the temple this week! Oh my goodness, it was so wonderful. I was feeling pretty stressed.. And just overwhelmed because I was sick, some trials that our investigators are passing through, and just.. missionary life in general. However, my testimony continues to be strengthened that our Heavenly Father knows his children! He knew that I would need to be in the temple this week. I felt the peace and strength that I so desperately needed, and I feel optimistic for the coming week.

We have been teaching the Rajo family for about a month and a half now, and they are truly just amazing people. They attend a different church, but have always been warm and receptive of our message. The father of the family, Fransisco, received his answer that this is the true church about 2 weeks ago, but has been struggling with a fear of how changing his religion might affect his family. His wife is wonderful, and firm in her beliefs in the gospel in which she was raised, and doesn't have much of a desire to consider anything else. We have been praying and fasting that she could soften her heart a little bit, and on Saturday night the Lord helped us out. She told her husband that she just wanted him to be happy, and that she was okay with him going to church with the (mormons) and that she would make more of an effort to learn more too. Ahh! I am sure you can all imagine how the spirit blessed their home in this moment, and we were absolutely thrilled.

Sunday morning I was reflecting on the miracle that happened within the Rajo Family, and also the power of prayer.. I loved what I found in the bible dictionary "Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them." Here's another humble missionary testimony that God hears and answers our prayers! He knows our needs and the needs of our loved ones, and through the power of sincere prayer, he can and will work miracles in our lives. He will bless us in ways that we have never imagined were possible.

I love you all, I love missionary work. Thank you for your support. Have the most amazing week:)

Sister Houston

Jan 16, 2017

Week 33 - January 16,2017

Hello Sweet Friends and Family,

You are going to have to forgive me, I don't have much time today. One of my best friends serving here with me in El Salvador received some tough family news, and we have spent a lot of time crying and hugging.. Because that's how life works out sometimes. I am just glad that I was here when she got here and that we can get through this next week together. She is amazing.

But for a quick, funny story. Quick background info..  In my mission I have seen a lot of ways in which the Lord has just placed people in our path, and because of that, I have complete faith in that someone walking down the street could be exactly the person that we need to talk to. Okay, so, this week we were walking down the street and this man said, "Hi, wait, I have always felt a need to talk to you!"  And typical Sister Houston.. In my mind I am saying, "Yes! An answer to our prayers! Our Heavenly Father has prepared this man to receive the gospel!" I was so excited. We started talking with him about the gospel and asked him how he felt that God had showed his love for him. "Well, probably by putting you in my path," he said. Again, the mind of Sister Houston.. "Oh my goodness! He can tell that we are messengers of Christ and that we are here to help! How amazing is this?" As we kept talking the man interrupted.. "It's just your eyes.. And your.. your hair. And your beautiful white skin..". Are you kidding me??  As you can all imagine, I was devastated.. And now my companion tells me, "Goodnight Pretty Eyes" every evening.. Because not much has changed, and people still continue to enjoy my suffering.

Hermana Houston

Jan 9, 2017

Week 32 - January 9, 2017

 Hello loved ones,

It has been a happy, happy week here in the ever so hot oven of Santa Ana. Haha, but seriously, it is so hot. Besides getting cooked by the sun almost everyday, everything is absolutely amazing. We are doing a lot of good work here, my companion continues to be one of the best people that I have ever met, and Jose Rafeal was baptized on Saturday! Life is great, and being a missionary is without a doubt the best thing that I have ever done.

This week we had a multi-zone conference which was wonderful. We learned so many great things, and as we have applied them to our work we have seen miracles. But you guys, miracles. I always love the idea that while we might be doing a pretty good job, there is always something to improve. And as we improve, the Lord blesses us. It applies in missionary work, it applies in life. As we do our best to become better people, Christ´s atonement comes, sweeps us off our feet, and makes us who we need to be. Oh, how I love this gospel! And being a missionary:)

Haha, my hair is still orange..(Well it actually just depends on lighting) I still shower in cold water, and the ever so lovely screeches of Geckos is still what puts me to sleep at night or just overwhelming exhaustion. But I can assure you that I am the happiest that I have ever been. My faith in my loving Savior and in the Restoration of his gospel is stronger than it ever has been before. And I have the opportunity to share that testimony every day! What more could a girl ask for- Maybe Panda Express. No, but really, I am thrilled with my life right now. 

President Thomas S. Monson said, "To be an example of faith means that we trust in the Lord and in His word. It means that we possess and that we nourish the beliefs that will guide our thoughts and our actions.  Our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in our Heavenly Father will influence all that we do. Amidst the confusion of our age, the conflicts of conscience, and the turmoil of daily living, an abiding faith becomes an anchor to our lives."

I wish you all a great week! Let it be a week of increasing faith and finding happiness in all that we do. I love you all, and you will hear from me so soon.. Because the weeks pass by like days. I still cant figure out how.


Hermana Houston 

Jan 2, 2017

Week 31 - January 2,2017

Dear family and friends,

Happy New Year! How amazing that it is already January..? I feel like December started yesterday, but I guess that is how the time passes here in the mission. All too quickly.. However I am doing the best that I can to make the most of every little missionary minute that my Heavenly Father is giving me, and I am so happy! I cannot even explain it.

Meet my beautiful "hija", Hermana Chinchilla. I was hesitant to call her that because I didn't want to offend her, but then she told me after our first day that I was the best mom that she could have ever asked for:) so now we are just a happy little family here in Centro. My companion is amazing, but you guys.. Amazing! She came ready to work, and with a testimony of gold. Working with her is such a joy. While I feel very inadequate to be a trainer, things could not be better. We are working hard and truly seeing the results of that.

Jose Rafeal passed his interview on Saturday! And he is going to be baptized this Saturday! I repeat, he is going to be baptized this Saturday! I was talking to Jose yesterday and he said, "Hermana Houston, I had lost hope that I was ever going to be able to change.. But look! Here I am, a very sinful man who is about to start his life over in 6 days. Look at me! Jose Rafeal is now a man of faith!" It has been the biggest blessing, and the most beautiful experience to have watched this man change over the last few weeks. I love this gospel! I love that no matter where we are at, as we apply the gospel of Jesus Christ, we can become better, happier, and more faithful people. I have seen it happen in my own life, and right before my eyes with my dear friend Jose. What joy it is to be a missionary!

I always love the time of starting a new year.. A time of self reflection and setting goals' mostly of losing weight or doing a better job at work or improving our relationship with our Heavenly Father.. Most of which we forget after two weeks.. However, my friendly missionary invitation would be that we make the effort to set goals! To set good ones, and to do what we need to in order to accomplish them. My companion and I made goals on Saturday Night, and the goal that Hermana Chinchilla set for me is that I will find a handsome husband in December hahaha.

Okay, I love you all dearly. I hope that you have a wonderful new year full of success, happiness, and finding peace through our loving Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

Hermana Houston