Monday, November 9, 2015

Signing Out

Hey guys! 

So this is it! My last email! My last day in the field! This is all so much to handle. Looking back I see many good times yet, many hard times indeed. These hard times helped me to turn to the Lord like never before.

I love these countries and the people here and will miss them dearly in my heart. I am excited for the new experiences life has yet to bring me. As I travel these next few weeks with my family I am going to cherish the present as well as the great memories that have taken place. My mission wasn't easy, but I believe it was worth it. 

Take the time this week to cherish those around you. Show them your love and care for them, because life, just like a mission goes by in the blink of an eye. Take care everyone and I will see you on the other side! :)

Signing out,
Elder Houk 

Monday, November 2, 2015

I Will Submit Cheerfully

Well, here we go. This is one of my last emails in Romania. Whew! So weird. I'll be honest I haven't been thinking about the end too much. Been trying to focus and stay in it to win it! 

Alright but seriously, things are going good here. We had a great Halloween party and we all came dressed up as missionaries. We had some sarmale and mici with some Romanian cakes and candy. The kids carved some pumpkins and we watched Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Ware Rabbit. A good amount of people came and we all enjoyed each others company. 

We also met up with some Marines who are stationed here in Constanta and came up to Galati for a day. They saw a free English flier and gave us a call. They were some civil officers and we met up and we told them who we were and what we were doing here. They were some cool guys and they want to help us out if they can and, of course, we offered to help them if we could. So he gave us his business card and we gave him a number for the missionaries in Constanta. So that was a cool experience. It was weird to see some other Americans that weren't missionaries though. haha

This week for Language study I studied a talk by Elder Bednar called "Bear up their Burdens with Ease." It's a super cool talk that was from General Conference in April 2014. He talks about how the atonement isn't just for the sins and for the bad things that we need to repair in our lives but it is also to help us in our trails and our daily struggles. Sometimes we pray just to get out of the situation that we are in, but just like in the book of Mosiah when Amulon persecuted Alma and his people, they poured out their hearts to him and the Lord heard them. But instead of making their problem go away and getting them out of the circumstance that they found themselves in, he instead said this: 
Mosiah 24: 14 "And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions."15 "And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord."

So what​ we learn here is that, sometimes we may not understand why we are in certain situations or what we can learn from them, but if we pour our heart out to God, he will reach out to us. He may not change the things that we want the way we want or make the problem disappear, but he will make the burden light on our backs so that we can endure it even with happiness.
Thanks for staying tuned for my mission updates. You guys are the best. I hope you all have a great week and a happy November! See you guys in December!
​Elder Houk​

Fratele Prada gave Elder Evans his jacket because he looked cold.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Black Sea, Romania's Coast

Hey Guys,

So this week we met with Rainov and he didn't bring his book to the lesson but had some questions that we answered and the lesson didn't go bad. We took pictures at the end and I am going to get those developed for him. 

Rainov and I
We also went to Buchurest for my last ever zone conference. We then went on exchanges in Constanta with the elders there and I got to see the Black Sea. 

The Constanta District and us
Elder Evans and I at the Black Sea
The search...
The Cazino
We came back to Galati on Thursday night. When we came back, we went to the botanical gardens here in Galati to visit a non-active member who is extremely busy. He is in charge of the gardens here and the zoo and some other business that he mentioned so he just has no time what-so-ever to do anything. But somehow, we just walked into the Gardens and we were able to sit down and talk with him. Our reason for meeting with him was to see if he could lead a tour for our branch of the botanical gardens. He said that he is busy but that he just might be able to do it. So that's exciting. Our hope here is just to build a friendship and trust with this guy so that he knows that we are here to help him out when he needs help.

Thanks for tuning in guys and I hope you have a great week!

Elder Houk

group email continued... wait theres more? yes

SO coming up from Constanta to Galati we actually missed our train! By 2 minutes! Needless to say we were frustrated, but then the lady was like, look over there, that train is going to Bucuresti, if you take that train one stop you will arrive at the same stop before the train that you are suppose to be on and you can catch the right train there. We were amazed and bought the tickets and was able to catch our train. Too crazy. There was also a super nice dude that helped find our other train that we had to connect to that night so that we could get back to Galati. Crazy night. 3 trains later we made it home.
This was the city that we go off at to catch our train
This Sunday we decided that we wanted to go the church a little earlier and get it all cleaned and preped for the members. On the ride over there I noticed that there was a clock in the city with the wrong time. But I just thought, "Well, it is Romania" and didn't think much of it. We arrived at the church and got it all ready to go. With ten minutes to 10 we were wondering why no one has showed up yet. Even the Branch President wasn't there. Then when it was just about ten we were all wondering what was going on and my comp was like is it day-light savings!? We go to the computer and what do you know, it was only 9 oclock! haha the funny thing was is that we thought for sure at least one romanian would have told us about day-lights savings or at least came early by accident, but everyone knew the time! They weren't going to miss out on their extra hour of sleep! no way! haha 
So those were some of the experiences that I had this week. haha hope you enjoyed them!

Elder Houk

The basketball crew

Monday, October 19, 2015

Onward, Christian Soldiers

An old soccer field or as the say "teren de fotbal"
Hey guys! 

So I realized that I left all you guys in the dark about what happened with Cornel. Unfortunately, he has fallen off the face of the earth. Still trying to get a hold of him though, so if anything happens I'll let you guys know. 

This is Fratele Prada
Last Sunday, one of our friends took us to meet his father and his family. It was a cool experience and we got to share with them what we are doing here. 

Later that week we saw our friend's father at the mall and he invited us to go play tennis with him and his sons. We agreed and set up the date. So I got all ready to go and play tennis and stuff and our friend, Radu, picks us up and he's like wow you're dressed like that? Alright. I had some sweat pants on and a jacket and stuff, I mean it was chilly outside, so I didn't know what he meant but I just went with it. He drove us over to the place and we entered the parking lot, with a small building next to it. Then I realized that we are playing Ping Pong. haha They just use the same word for both. So we went in there and it ended up being really fun. His dad and his brother and he are all really good. It ended up being a good time. We hope to meet up with them again soon.

This last week we also met with Rainov. Remember him? He wanted to be baptised by our mission President. Anyway, so our lesson didn't turn out how we were thinking it was going to be at all. It ended with him telling us that he studied the Baptist church for 6 years before joining and that he wants for us and him to go through this Anti-Mormon book together and have us prove that it's a false book and tell him if the claims made in it are true or not. FUN!

So that's a little taste of what's been going on over here. Hope you guys have a great week!


next to the faleza (cliff or waterfront?)
"yeah, that place"

numai 21 zile mai mult!

Monday, October 12, 2015

All That and a Bag of Bones

Hey Guys,

This week we met with a lot of members and my new comp got to meet all the rest of the members in some individual lessons. 

We both decided that we are 2 sacks of bones...sooooooooo, we bought some protein and we are working out to get big! haha. We've only done 2 days and failed the last 2 days but hey, we are gonna be Arnald Swortzneger size! (yeah I spelled his name wrong) 

Other than that it's been raining today, so it's been a lazy p-day. 

We met with someone this week and had a good lesson and we are thinking that she has potential to be interested in learning about how she can grow a closer relationship with her Father in Heaven. 

Thanks guys and love you all.
Elder Houk

The Galati District. We have, from the left, Elders Evans, Dronyk, Me, and Paterson.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Romania Suits Me

Hey Guys,

So this week I spent most of it in Bucharest. I went down Tuesday morning at 4:50. Almost missed that train. Funny story. But I don't really feel like writing all of it right now. haha Sorry. Spent a whole day with one of my past comps and I bought a suit for coming home. It's stretchy and fits like a glove and it was pretty dang cheap because, well its Romania. So I'm pretty stoked! 

Then, on Thursday we had MLC (Mission Leadership Council). It was pretty good. I got my new comp, Elder Evans, and we headed back to Galati. 

This weekend, we set up the TV for Conference and watched it. We get to see the whole conference except for Sunday Afternoon because the way the time works out. The Sunday Morning lines up with Romania live at 7pm here while its 10am in Utah. Pretty cool to know that everyone was watching it with us.

General Conference on a Saturday night watching the Sat morn live. Thats my comp.
A cool quote I jotted down was from Pres. Monson "Faith and Doubt cannot exist together. One will dispel the other." I liked that a lot, because I had made a goal for this last transfer to try my faith with something by praying for a specific thing and then doing everything in my power to receive what I asked for. But I have to remember that if I do my part and the request is a worthy one, there is no reason to doubt, because it will be given and that is a promise. How cool is that? 

My mom wrote me a quote telling me to remember "Don't focus on what you can't do, but what you can do!" and I thought that was funny because I wrote down the same quote. So I better do it! haha

Today for our P-Day, it was our "Deep Clean" day. So we stayed inside all day and just cleaned our apt. Then a Senior Couple came over and checked our stuff. Intense! We passed though....barely. haha 

Now we are going to go get some Mexican food. It's supposedly the best Mexican food in all of Romania that a missionary has found. It's pretty good, but of course nothing compares to the good, hole in the wall, authentic Mexican (American) stuff over in So Cal! 

Alright guys! Love ya and have a good week!


From Hedresdrau Park
Boat...Bateman took this pic
Little circus in Buc
The Borsalino calzone....Heck Yes

Monday, September 28, 2015

Last Transfer!

Hey Guys,

Taken on the train
So this week, we went up to a city called Iasi and my comp and I conducted a Zone training. Which is essentially what it sounds like haha We trained the zone on some specific topics that President Ivory wanted us to include, as well as other missionaries participating doing other things such as teaching the Restoration in under 4 minutes, for example. It was a cool experience. Afterwards we went on exchanges with the Elders there.

Elder Houk & Elder Anderson
conducting a zone training
This last Saturday, Cornel was not baptised. There were some things that maybe just weren't right and it didn't seem like a good day to try and force it together, so once again we are waiting another week. 

Our other friend Rainov, ended up getting his package in the mail this week, so he was happy about that. We will see how things progress with him. 

All and all that was my week. My companion is going back home to Temecula, CA and I am on my last stretch of 6 weeks. I will be staying here in Galati and getting a new comp who's name is Elder Evans.

Sunrise from my Apt
Love you guys and hope you have a great week! Till next time...