Tuesday, December 31, 2013

12.30.2013

Hey Family!

We hope you had a very Merry Christmas and that you have a HAPPY NEW YEAR! (almost) I hope we're all able to evaluate our lives, set goals, and then actually accomplish them, for an unaccomplished goal is only a wish.. And wishes only make things happen in Aladdin. :)

Here's what happened during our Christmas..
Twas the night before Christmas and in Lowville's apartment,
surrounding the Christmas tree were the gifts you all sent.
(I'm going to stop trying to rhyme now because that first line took way too long to do...)


Pretty cool tree setup, huh? Also, we had tons of pictures of Christ.

We woke up at 6:29, managed to roll out of bed and say our prayers before I really realized it was Christmas. SO...... We got the peanut butter hot cocoa going and took some pictures to document how excited we were to be awake.... A member here named Sister Call made us sweet knitted slippers! They're so cool!
 
 
 
We drank our hot cocoa and then opened gifts. It was simple, practical, and a fun start to the day. After we were done, got ready, and then studied the Nativity, we went to visit some people in the Nursing Home here in Lowville. We had some good visits with Sister Collatz, Sister Shanks, and a few non-members we talked with for a while. We gave them all a picture of Christ and shared what Christmas was really about. It was great seeing them and it really seemed to make their day.

After visiting them and grabbing a PB&J, we decided to play Santa Claus for a little bit. We made the runs around our area and dropped off the pictures of Christ that Heather had sent to me. (We had gotten frames and wrapped them the Preparation Day before.) We were also able to stop by several members homes and sing a Christmas Song with them. People really seemed to enjoy it and we got a bunch of sweets.
 
The rest of the day was kinda a blur. We saw a lot of people, then headed up to Jay's house. Elder Sedgwick Skyped while I talked with Jay, Sister Ryle, and Garrett. We ate a delicious meal of turkey, ham, stuffing, potatoes, rolls, etc. Then, I was blessed to have the opportunity to Skype with all of you! I loved getting to see all of you and talk with you. Maylee sure was cute! Heather sent me more cute Christmas photos of her. It really seemed like all of you were doing well and the chance to talk with all of you was one of the greatest gifts I could receive on Christmas. The time went by quick, but it was really fun getting to talk with all of you.

Afterward, we talked with Jay and Sister Ryle for a while, took some pictures, then headed back to Lowville. 
 
 
What I really seemed to understand this Christmas was how important it is to appreciate and love your loved ones. I feel so blessed to have you guys as my family and I know how lucky I am to be a part of it. Because of that, I also felt the Joy that came from visiting those who might no longer have family. We can all look out for each other and love one another, because we're all spiritual brothers and sisters! I love spending time with everyone. Family bonds and strong friendships are really what life is all about. I really enjoyed Christmas though and am grateful for the opportunity I have to serve as a missionary during such a sacred holiday. It taught me a lot about Christ, his birth, and his life. I loved Christmas and I hope you all loved it too! It sounds like you all had a good day.

It is crazy to hear about people being home and reporting on their missions already.. The 2 years goes by quickly! Jared also emailed me and sounded like he was doing well. It does seem like it is a difficult thing to adjust to though! Good thing I don't have to worry about that for a while. ;)

We also taught during combined 3rd hour yesterday. We focused on creating a Branch Mission Plan and personal goals to share the Gospel. It was really good! We just have to determine that we are going to act and make a conscious effort to share the Gospel. Then, if we pray for opportunities and then look for them, we'll be blessed with missionary experiences. It sounds like you guys are having a lot more interaction with missionaries that we ever really did when I was growing up. That's a good thing!

2014 should be good. I'm setting goals to strengthen myself spiritually, mentally, and physically by taking simple steps. Going to bed on time, drinking more water, and bearing my testimony more often. I'm going to try really hard to not overwhelm myself with goals and make sure that I actually go through with what I'd like to accomplish. I hope that the new year goes well for you and that you're all doing good.

Love you guys!
-Elder Hussey

 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

12.23.2013

Hey Family!

Merry (almost) Christmas! It sure is an exciting time of the year, huh? I know one thing for sure.... Walmart is PACKED! You should have seen the lines this morning as we were doing our shopping. It was ridiculous! But it was really cool to see how happy people were when we were just nice and smiled.




Things are going really good this week! We did get a little bit more snow, then it got really cold, then it warmed up to about 45 degrees for 2 days, and then the weather got really crazy! We had an ice storm hit the county above us, and we got a little bit of it as well. That was pretty weird to see! Luckily, the roads were really clear and we didn't have to cancel church again.. Although there were only about 10 of us there. It was one of the best days at church we've had though! We were asked to fill in for the Christmas Program (because most people involved in it weren't able to make it to Church), so I gave a talk about the Nativity and how we can relate the lessons from it to our life. I talked about studying scriptures, being humble, following the prophets, etc. It went really well considering I did absolutely no preparing for it.

The ice storm had a lot of people worried this week. In 1997, there was a really bad ice storm that hit this area and took the power out for about 2 weeks.. Luckily, it was only 24 hours for most people this time. It was really weird seeing everything coated with ice though. As you opened the car door, there would be a "POP" and the ice would explode off of the door. Walking on frozen grass was a little unique as well!


The mission is pretty fun during the Holidays. People are all really happy and excited about Christmas, and it's really easy to talk with people about Christmas. The thing that has really struck me this year is how many people feel that Christmas is too commercialized! Several people I've talked to have shared their frustration with the Christmas Season being turned into a money making season. Hopefully everyone will start to feel this way, then start to act accordingly to make a difference! I've really enjoyed working towards Christmas without being focused on gifts, spending money, etc. I was really blessed to be here in Lowville and have a unique idea for a gift to send to you guys! Make sure you microwave it- It's much better microwaved. :)

I'm excited to see all of you on Christmas! It will be really exciting to see Maylee in real (kinda) life, as well as share part of Christmas day with you guys. Because we're allowed to call for 30 minutes and then Skype for 30, I'll probably end up calling you at the start so we can get Skype all set up/figured out.

This Christmas I've learned a lot about service and how simple it is to spread Christmas Joy! On our way into Walmart this morning, I saw a lady get done unloading her car and she was about to walk the cart to the storage place, so I offered to take it for her. She got a big smile on her face and said thanks, and I responded by saying "Merry Christmas!" It was really easy for me, and it really seemed to brighten up her day. If only we could spread Christmas Cheer all year round, huh? Try to make sure that we aren't just extra nice and happy during Christmas, but do it throughout the whole year. That's been one of my thoughts and a goal I'll try to accomplish this upcoming year.

Well, I hope that Christmas Eve is great for all of you. Looking back, I really appreciate doing the Christmas Caroling, watching Christmas Story with everyone, and then reading through the Nativity. I love all of you guys.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 -Elder Hussey

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

12.16.2013


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Guess what the total snow amount is up to now?

Made your guesses? We've gotten....................... 6 Feet of snow! Woohoo! It's actually getting to the point where there is enough snow that it is starting to compress itself and look like less. The "Powder" is almost compact enough that you can walk on it! It's pretty exciting!

The Storm started on Wednesday, which was when we got our first 2 feet. Then we got a break Thursday morning, ran to Watertown to do another baptismal interview, then the snow started back up as we came back into town. We got another 1.5-2 feet that night, but weather was cleared up enough in the morning that we were able to go to Utica for a Zone Training Meeting. Then it started again Saturday night and dumped another foot or two. In fact... Church was cancelled! That was really really weird. I didn't like that. It's funny how you can come to appreciate something like Church so much. In the past, I didn't notice how much of an impact missing church had on me. However, I could tell a big difference to my day yesterday! But yeah! It's been pretty snowy here in Lowville. It's gotten below 0 degrees a few times, but then it's warmed up again and snowed some more. Everyone is talking about a warm front that is going to hit us this Friday. The rumor is it's going to be 50 degrees. If that's true, and all of this melts, we're probably going to get hammered by another storm. The weather fluctuating this much is crazy and I'm sure it'll be a winter to remember!


This last week has been really good here in Lowville though. It's really taught me about the importance of service. We've gone out and shoveled a lot! We would walk almost everywhere (because roads were bad) and just shoveled out people's walks! However, after doing a lesson and walking back the same way, it didn't even look like we did anything. But doing anonymous service that nobody will probably know about feels pretty good!

We had a less-active member that we really were wanting to meet with on Wednesday, but she had been unresponsive to our efforts to contact her all week. So, we had the idea to go with a member and shovel out her driveway! As we did so, she ended up seeing us, coming out to talk with us, then inviting us in and making us grilled cheese sandwiches. It was great! It turned out that she had just been having a really difficult week and was struggling with some things, and she didn't feel like talking to anyone. However, after our visit with her, she felt a lot better and has been doing really good! We've been in contact with her several times and she is really looking forward to meeting with us later this week.

When we went to Utica on Friday, our Zone Leaders (Elder McPhee and Elder Davis- Both Elders that I came out with!) gave a training on Christ and the "Christlike Attributes". It was a really cool meeting! They had assigned everyone to study one of the Christlike Attributes before and I studied humility. In my study, I really came to understand how important it is that we trust God. Unfortunately, I have the tendency to trust my own knowledge and wisdom a little bit too much. This helped me realize how important it is to trust though. Trust that God is in control. Trust that all of the other missionaries have the Spirit and have good ideas I should listen to. Trust that God trusts me. It was actually a pretty enlightening experience in preparation for the training. Then the training was really good and helped me understand the Savior a little bit better, and recognize that there is a lot that I don't know. I still have a lot to learn! But I feel like I have a new sense of peace and direction in my life since Friday. It's a subtle difference, but I think it will make a big difference throughout the rest of my mission and my life. It was really good.

I cannot believe Christmas is already so close! It absolutely baffles me. Honestly, I feel like it was Dec 2nd just yesterday. I'm not sure what will happen with the packages, but it'll all work out however it works out. :) I'm not sure what we're going to do this year for Christmas.. I might see if I can order some pictures of Christ again.  Then we could get frames out here and maybe get that together before Christmas. I had plans to figure this out far in advance, but Christmas has just snuck up on me!

I have something that I'm going to get sent to the house. Hopefully that makes it there okay. Besides what I've mentioned above, that's about all that is going on out here! I love the Christmas Season and the things which it reminds us of. I'm grateful for all of you and the things that you do for me!

I love you guys!
-Elder Hussey

Sunday, December 15, 2013

12.9.2013


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

What a special time of the year! There are so many unique blessings that we have during the Christmas Season. We talked about this at District Meeting and talked about all of the unique missionary opportunities we will have this Christmas Season. It is fun to think about how we can share the true joy of Christmas with others, and I like the ideas that you sent Mom. One thing that is really fun that you could all possibly do is set up a time for the missionaries to come and share a Christmas Message about the true meaning of Christmas, then invite some non-members or less-active members. We're trying to get that set up with a lot of the members here in Lowville.

We had a pretty unique experience right after our District Meeting. As a district, we all went to the City Hall in Watertown and decorated Christmas Trees for something like the "Festival of Trees" in Utah. That was really fun! There was Christmas music, everyone was happy, and we were able to help other people set up their trees after we finished ours. It was a lot of fun and we were able to meet new people we wouldn't have met otherwise! Here's a picture of us by the tree-


As you can see, everyone had a lot of fun and it was a good experience. After that, I did an exchange with the missionaries in Watertown. It was exciting to see another area and be back in a city for a while. We had a good opportunity to share a little bit about Christmas when a lady let us in and we watched a Nativity video with her, a neighbor, and a few kids. It was really good! The exchange was really good, but it helped me appreciate Lowville a lot. I love getting to serve in Lowville! It's such a great place.

Elder Sedgwick and I are doing really well here in Lowville! We're being blessed with quite a few people to teach and exciting things are starting to happen. I know that there are people that are searching for the Gospel, and we will find several of them this next month. The Lord just asks us to do our best and then he provides the miracles.

This morning, I was studying in Alma 26 and verse 17 struck me. How amazing is it that God is so merciful to us, that he is willing to "snatch" us from our natural, carnal state? God loves us enough that he was willing to give his Son, Jesus Christ. As we think about how much we love our families, we can barely understand how hard this must have been. But that is the joyous message of Christmas! Jesus Christ came to this earth for the purpose of helping us overcome our sinful nature. We can be transformed as we come unto Christ, and I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ does change us. We can become saints as we come to know Christ. If this knowledge is one of the greatest gifts God can give us, it can be one of the greatest things we can ever give to anyone else.

I'm grateful for all of you!  It is tough being on a mission, but there's nowhere else I'd rather be during the Christmas Season. I look forward to seeing all of you when we get to Skype, and I hope that you all are able to think of some good ways to share the Christmas Spirit! Love you all.

-Elder Hussey

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

12.2.2013

I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving was really good for us here in Lowville. Unfortunately, I woke up in the morning with a little bit of a stomach bug... that wasn't very good. But, I decided I would humble myself and let God help me out, so I confessed that I felt sick to Elder Sedgwick and had him give me a blessing. I drank a bunch of water, took some vitamin C, then I slept for a few hours. When I woke up, I felt a lot better and we got out working.
 
Holidays are different on the Mission. In the past, I thought that I didn't want to "bug" or "annoy" people on the Holidays, because they were spending time with their families. However, I realized that it's a wonderful time to share a message about Jesus Christ! People are home, relaxing, and reflecting on what they're grateful for. That's a much better time than when Dad's at work, Mom's cooking dinner, and the kids have a basketball game they have to leave for soon. So we got out and did some tracting, and we actually met some really nice people and pretty much everybody was really nice, even if they weren't interested. That was pretty neat.
 
For dinner, we went to one of our good non-member friends, Jay. He is such a cool guy! I may have mentioned him before.We met him through a member of the Carthage Ward, then have done service for him a few times (planting apple trees and yard work projects). We've gotten pretty close to him and his son and they were able to learn that we're (referring to Mormons) not that weird. But Jay is a really good cook and he put on a really good meal for us. I was stuffed! We let the food settle for a little while, then got out the pie. I felt like I was going to die! (partially because I ate so much, but also partially because I was still sick... ) But, I felt better after a little while. Then, the cool part! Jay told us that he was ready to hear about "The Plan". We had tried to go through the lessons in the past with him, and it had never worked. But his interest had been peaked enough that he was finally ready to hear. So we had a great lesson on Pre-Earth Life, Adam and Eve, and the Purpose of this life. Because we have a good relationship established with Jay and his son already, it was a great discussion where we were all able to talk about the Gospel and really see how it can help us in our lives. It was really cool to see them listening and really contemplating the things that we taught and we're going again to explain the rest of "The Plan" later this week.
 
The rest of our week was good. We had to go to Watertown to do a baptismal interview on Saturday, which went well. The investigator was a nice guy that was looking forward to his baptism. It's exciting to see people accepting the Gospel.  After the investigator left, we walked out to get in our car. Just before we pulled away, the Sister Missionaries came out and had a funny look on their face. Turns out, they had a flat tire. I realize that their are certain skills out there I need to learn that I have never thought about, such as putting spare tires on. Luckily, Elder Sedgwick kinda knew what to do, and we were able to get the spare on and they made it to a shop and got everything fixed. You never know when that's going to happen, do you?
 
Yesterday in Church we only had one recent convert there and no investigators, so we went to the Gospel Doctrine class. The lesson was on Doctrine and Covenants Section 134 and I learned quite a bit! I don't know if I had ever really read through that section, but I learned a lot about how we should try to be active participants and know what's going on in our county's politics. I was kinda glad that I wasn't in charge of teaching that lesson though, because I'm sure it would be difficult to keep the discussion from going to specific politics/politicians. But it was really good and opened my eyes on how we should be as members of the Church.
 
It is crazy to hear about all of the missionaries coming home. I cannot believe Julia is coming home, and I'm not sure if you knew this, but because of the storm in the Philippines Jared was coming home 2 weeks early. Something like that. So you might see him sooner than you thought! Isn't it amazing to see how quickly 2 years can fly by? It's a good thing I still have over 6 months left of my mission. :D "I have work enough to do".
 
Speaking of that ,I have really grown to appreciate the hymn book over the past month. I still am not the biggest fan of singing (probably because I wish I was more musically inclined), but the words and messages found in the hymns are amazing! I've been trying to learn some of the hymns that we don't sing as often and have learned a lot from them. There's also scriptures associated with each hymn and they can be powerful when memorized and reflected upon. One that I really like is "Know This That Every Soul is Free". The words are powerful! In the First Presidency Preface, it states- "We hope leaders, teachers, and members who are called on to speak will turn often to the hymnbook to find sermons presented powerfully and beautifully in verse" which I think is a fantastic idea! I want to try and utilize the words of a hymn next time I speak in church.
 
Well, the work continues on in Lowville! We're going to be making a big push this Christmas Season on sharing the true meaning and joy in the Christmas Season, and I would invite all of you to do the same. We have to help people remember how important Christ and our families are. I'm very grateful for you guys. I miss you to, but I'm glad to be out here. I love serving as a missionary and know that it's important that we make this sacrifice to be further God's work. Thanks for your examples as well.

Love you!
-Elder Hussey


P.S. Just in case you'd like to see how excited I was during the first snowfall... Love you guys!

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