Monday, April 24, 2017

Beautiful Weekly Update April 24, 2017

Mark Owen Vickers

4:52 PM (3 hours ago)
to me, bcc: me
Hello Everyone!

Just wanted to say hello from Houston, Texas. For once I can say that and actually mean it. :) It's been great serving here in the city. We get to see new places, new people, and meet new challenges everyday.

Our mentoring at the elementary school is going great. I don't know if I mentioned this before in detail. If I have you can skip this part. Elder Yost and I have the opportunity on Tuesday and Thursday mornings to volunteer at a local elementary school. Our role is to help the 3rd graders, two classed specifically, prepare for their end of the year tests. The kids are great, if a bit rowdy. The whole experience had been really rewarding. It's honestly made me want to consider teaching, however I don't know if it's something I could be passionate about long term. I could see myself volunteering in schools after the mission. Helping people learn is the best feeling ever; about the gospel or knowledge in general. 

We were able to regain contact with our investigator James this week. He had to go into the hospital for a short while but is back and doing great. He is so solid. In our lesson yesterday he essentially taught us the message of the Restoration. Namely that God is our loving Heavenly Father and we are his children. He has a plan for all of us. This plan is something he wants all of us to know and so he sends us prophets. These prophets testify and witness of the life, mission, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christ established a church when He lived on this earth with the foundation of apostles and prophets, Himself being the chief cornerstone. In this Church was found the power and authority to preach repentance, baptize, confer the gift of the Holy Ghost, heal, and bind families together forever. The people rejected and killed Jesus Christ and eventually the foundation of that church was also gone. Because our Father in Heaven loves us all he restored that same church through a young man and prophet, Joseph Smith. The 'fruit' of Joseph Smith, the way in which we might know that the Church of Jesus Christ is back on earth today, is the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is a record of the people who lived here in the ancient Americas. It is another witness of Jesus Christ and serves to establish the truths we learn about in the Holy Bible. I have read, studied, pondered, and prayed about the truths found within the pages of the Book of Mormon and I know that it is the word of God as is the Bible. We learn in the Bible how it is that we can expect answers from God. One way is through our feelings. The Spirit of God, also know as the Holy Ghost, sends us feelings of comfort, joy, peace, patience, and love to name a few to confirm the truth of all things. His role is to testify or witness of the truth. When we come to know the Book of Mormon is the word of God we also come to know by that same Spirit that Joseph Smith truly was a prophet, that Jesus Christ is our personal Savior, and that the Church of Jesus Christ with all of it's blessings is back on the earth. I testify that this message is true and that as we learn about the restored Gospel greater peace and happiness will enter into our lives than we have ever before known.

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

All the best,

Friday, April 21, 2017

April 21, 2017


Apr 17 (4 days ago)
to MarkSpencer
 So cool. I don't know if Bryan already wrote to you about it but yesterday in grandma's sacrament meeting a return missionary was speaking for his homecoming from Tennessee. So after sacrament meeting Bryan went up and talk to him and found out that he had actually served in Brian's branch when it became award any  knows Bryan's parents !

Mark Owen Vickers

Apr 17 (4 days ago)
to me
That's awesome! I bet it made both of their days! Has the ward been growing much where Bryan grew up?

-- Elder Mark Vickers


Apr 17 (4 days ago)
to Mark
That would. E a great question to ask him🤗   

I think he did mention that it was still pretty little.   Lou said  Bryan and maybe only one or two others had served missions from it


Apr 20 (1 day ago)
to Mark
He's not too far from us. 24 miles...35 minutes without traffic. I have an errand that way tomorrow around lunch time. If he's in an iPad mission email him and tell him to text or call Sister Maloney.   I'm the Houston Texas Coordinating Council Director of Public Affairs, and he's in the North or West Stake which are two of the nine stakes I work with. 🙂 

Sometimes on Fridays, they have Zone or District training, so I could try to take a cake or something to their meeting.

I will also contact the bishop and see if he and his companion have a dinner appointment tonight. Maybe that family could surprise him with a little cupcake.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Mission Leadership April 2017


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Love Expressed in the Lord's Way

To the Missionaries of the Great Texas Houston Mission,

We loved Elder Palmer's talk in the recent General Conference. He spoke of a the interaction between the Savior and the young rich ruler. He mentioned that after the young ruler had approached the Savior, Jesus beheld him and loved him. Ironically, it was as a consequence of this feeling of love that He felt for the young ruler that the Savior asks more of him by saying:

"One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.” (Mark 10:17-21)

It is interesting to consider that one of the great manifestations of the Savior's love is that as we draw nearer to Him,  He asks MORE of us rather than less. Elder Holland reaffirms this in his talk when he indicated that the Savior's invitation is to "come as you are, but don't expect to stay as you are." In PMG, ch 11, we read that we too can show "love for the people and your faith in God's promises by following up to help them repent and keep their commitments." (p. 196)

Upon reflecting on the process of building our faith and the faith in those we love, I have been reminded of my first experience going to the gym after my mission. I quickly realized how much strength I had lost and began the process of building strength back up. For muscle to grow, two things have have to happen:

1. Muscles need to experience stress/tension
2. This stress needs to damage the muscle so that it can be built back up or repaired

If you want this process to happen faster, you have to lift more weight. There is one critical requirement that has to be present to protect you from injury if you are going to lift heavier weight: you need to have a "spotter". A spotter is a person who is there only to help you be successful. They don't necessarily touch the weight if they don't need to, but they are there to make sure you succeed. A good spotter will push you beyond what you think you can do because they know what your objective is and they want to help you achieve it. He will hold you accountable

The process of building muscle is very similar to the process of building faith. In Ether we read that "you receive no witness until after the trial ("stress") of your faith" (Ether 12:6). Similarly we read Lehi's council to Jacob who suffered some "stresses" of his faith when Lehi says of Jacob's afflictions that God will, "consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain." (2 Ne 2:3)

None of us come into this work with faith that is sufficient to do God's work. Consequently, He sees the need to stress our faith in hopes of helping it grow. The first step of this is to "damage" the faith that we have which is usually faith in ourselves so He can build our faith back up; a faith that is in Him rather than in us. This sometimes a painful process. Sometimes the natural man in each of us resents the process. Mercifully the Lord has given us "spotters" in our mission to help us succeed in building our faith. These spotters are trainers, district leaders, STLs, ZLs and Sister Mortensen and me. The Savior Himself is the ultimate spotter. All of these missionaries are here to help you build faith; the kind of faith necessary that Joseph Smith taught was necessary unto life and salvation. This happens as Invitations, in the forms of commitments, are extended and followed up on. For our faith to grow however, it requires the sacrifice of all things (Lectures on Faith 6:5).

If we understand that the Lord wants to build within us the kind of faith that endures, are we going to resent the process? Will we resent the spotters who are in place to help us succeed? In Paul's words, "God forbid". We ought to embrace the process, embrace the accountability and give all that we have to accept and keep commitments so our faith can endure well beyond the mission field.

We love the great faith we see in you collectively and individually. We all need to allow the Lord to help our faith grow and continue to draw even nearer to Him as more is asked of us!

We love you and are honored to serve with you in this great mission!

President and Sister Mortensen

The following pictures were taken at Mission Leadership Council last Tuesday.

Monday, April 3, 2017

General Conference is the Best!

To the Missionaries of the Great Texas Houston Mission,

What a wonderful time of year it is to have the opportunity to hear from prophets and apostles as well as other church leaders. We hope you were inspired by the messages of this weekend. We also hope you took great notes. We would like you to be prepared to share the messages that made the greatest impact on you at zone meetings this upcoming week.

March has been another great month in our mission. It is a tribute to your sustained efforts that is related to your growing faith and commitment to the Lord. We thought of you when we listened to Sister Joy D. Jones speak. She spoke of "spiritual integrity." She defined this as living consistent with your vision. We can't think of any group with whom we have ever been associated that has had greater spiritual integrity than the missionaries in this mission. You know the vision and the goals, but more importantly, you are living your lives in ways that allows the Lord to bless you consistent with that vision.

We love you and are honored to be serving with you!


President and Sister Mortensen

Elder Vickers is an awesome District Leader

April 10, 2017

April 9, 2017


Apr 9 (1 day ago)
to mark.vickersspencer.vickers
Dear boys,

It's a beautiful Sunday afternoon here.  About 60 degrees with beautiful blue skies.  Mom was doing some Geneology and I needed to get out for a ride.  

Hope both of you are experiencing a fantastic Sabbath Day.  

By the time that you get this you will both have had the opportunity to view General Conference.  Hopefully you will have had the chance for your investigators to watch all or part of it with you.  

What were your favorite things of this conference?  Even though it seemed so short I really enjoyed listening to the prophets speak.  

How has the work gone for both of you this week?  Do you have any good prospects that you would like us to pray for specifically?   

Mom and I are sitting up at the temple soaking in the gorgeous day.  

We love you to eternity and beyond!!!
(Of course that was from mom:)

Love eternally!

On Mon, Apr 10, 2017 at 2:15 PM Mark Owen Vickers <> wrote:
Hi Everyone!

What a great week this has been. Last week was General Conference weekend. The talks were amazing! I especially enjoyed "Gathering the Family of God" given by President Henry B. Eyring and "Then Jesus Beholding Him Loved Him" given by Elder S. Mark Palmer. The entire conference was powerful and can be found via  Anyone who has not yet had the chance should go watch!

Elder Yost and I had a great week in our area as well. We met the Walker family this week who have lived in the area for a few years but had not recently been attending church. They have a strong testimony of the gospel and commented how just days before a brother in our ward contacted them, they had been thinking of the Church and the Melbourne ward. We hope to have them join us here in the next several weeks. We also met with a woman by the name of Caroline this week. She has been battling cancer for the last several years and has a hard time leaving her home. We felt impressed to teach her about the process of indexing.  This is a great way to serve people all over the world in and outside of the church looking for records about their ancestors. On Saturday we took off our white shirts and ties and donned our t-shirts and jeans. We were invited to come and help with a project cleaning up a home that had become quite cluttered over the years. By the end we had filled most of a 40 foot dumpster, a 20 foot trailer, and a 2nd 10 foot trailer. All in all it was a lot of work but very worthwhile. We are currently teaching a young man by the name of James. He is on track to be baptized on April 29th and really loves learning more about the restored gospel each time we get to share something new with him. 

Thank you all for your prayers! Please let me know what I can do for you!

All the best, 
Elder Mark Vickers

Attached is a picture from our most recent Zone Meeting