Monday, March 28, 2016

Week of March 28, 2016

Mark Owen Vickers

Attachments11:23 AM (4 hours ago)
to bcc: me


This week was sweet. We had the opportunity to serve with an local organization here called Special Angels who host a day care for adults with special needs. Aaron played Monopoly with us for most of the time and we had the chance to talk with several of the other participants. Can't really explain the joy that comes through service. Guess you all with just have to give it a try. :)

On Thursday we had a mini Zone Conference consisting of around 50 missionaries. The subject was on family history and how the work we do for our ancestors and missionary work are really one work. This training was perfect as later that day we were on campus at Lone Star teaching a family history course to about 30 people. A little intimidating, however I realized towards the end that I know more than I thought I did, so that was cool. 

We continue to work to get to know the members in this ward. Working with more than one ward has been different and a challenge, but a good one. 

Love you all, until next week

P.S. Not sure if I've sent this picture home yet. This is Elder Roper, Bishop Ryan(he's the man!, from my first 
area Spring Creek), and me on the right. 

Mission Presidents' Letter of the week

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter and Passover

To the Missionaries of the Great Texas Houston Mission,

We thoroughly enjoyed seeing you at our mini zone conferences this last week. We hope you found the training to be helpful and we look forward to hearing about the wonderful experiences you will have as you begin to teach others to do their own family history.

With Easter here, we have been reflecting on the significance of the Passover. The Passover is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the Hebrew exodus from slavery in Egypt. It is also the celebration that took place in Christ's day right before His crucifixion and resurrection. 

We invite you to read Exodus 12 in your personal study that explains the way that the Lord institutes the Passover. It is rich in symbolism. Unleaven bread means without yeast so that the bread doesn't spoil. There are things that we indulge in that can spoil our spirits. Perhaps the most important symbol is the blood of a lamb that is male and without blemish. The children of Israel were commanded to take the blood and, "strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses" (v. 7). The reason for this was that the Lord promised to pass through the land to smite/destroy the firstborn of Egyptians, but would "Pass over" those who had the blood of lamb upon their doors. This would ultimately prepare the way for them to be delivered from bondage by the Lord. 

We hope you can see the application of this symbolism in our day. We too depend on the Lord for deliverance. If we will allow His atoning sacrifice to permeate our lives, we will be delivered from our sins as well as those calamities foretold by the prophets of old. It is interesting to consider the counsel by Prophets in our day to observe the Sabbath in this context and the value of the sacrament as we consider its protective influence in our lives.

We love you and hope you have a very Happy Easter!


President and Sister Mortensen

Monday, March 21, 2016

Message from the president March 21, 2016


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Easter Season is Upon Us!

To the Missionaries of the Great Texas Houston Mission,

We hope you had wonderful experiences with family names in the temple. We are eager to hear about your experiences. We are so happy for you. We have never had the opportunity to do all of those ordinances in a day for one of our ancestors before. What a blessing for you!

We are coming upon perhaps the greatest Christian holiday that is celebrated across the world. For Christians, the Easter season is a time to celebrate Christ rising from the tomb, overcoming the bands of death and giving hope to the world for life after death. It was this victory over death, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, that caused Paul to write to the Corinthians:

55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (1 Cor 15)

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have an expanded understanding of this victory, or the Atonement of Jesus Christ, that is critical that the world understand.

Over the next two weeks we hope you will work with members and leaders diligently to use the #Hallelujah initiative and invite commit the ward/branch leaders to encourage members to invite friends to church for an Easter service this coming week as well as to listen to General Conference (including the women's general session this Saturday evening) the following week so they can hear from those whom God has called as Prophets, Seers and Revelators in our day. Some of our greatest memories are when we have invited friends not of our faith to participate in these events with us.

We promise you that as you work diligently to invite ALL members (children, youth and adults) to use this initiative and invite their friends, we can help many turn their hearts to God and receive the blessings that He has in store for them.

Because of the promise of the resurrection, we are excited to about this week when we can roll out our Family History curriculum to help us be more effective in helping those we teach (members and investigators) deepen their faith in Jesus Christ as their hearts are turned to those who matter most to them.


President and Sister Mortensen
These wonderful sisters provide food for the needy in our community
The Cypress Zone was recognized for their community service 

We held a fireside in the Woodlands tonight and were blessed to have the Jeppsons as our keynote speakers. They shared some of the faith filled experiences they've had since losing Jazmyn in a car accident last month. We all loved hearing about our dear Sister Jeppson and left with a greater resolve to be a little better and to "be the Hero in our own story".  It is wonderful to have them here with us. 

These five former companions of Sister Jeppson performed, "Each life that touches ours for good" There was not a dry eye!

They comforted us

"I Will Go Before Thy Face" by Ken Turner
Brother Turner painted this for the Jeppsons

First Move in The Mission Field March 21, 2016

     Dad caught the "biggest" fish!  March 19 2016

Mark Owen Vickers

11:46 AM (8 hours ago)
to meSpencer
Nice! Go dad!  How did they like the reservoir compared to other places we've gone before? Better, same, worse?


Attachments9:39 PM (22 hours ago)
to MarkSpencer
Mark O.  Here's my message from Brother Galbraith:  

 "So I just saw your son at church yesterday working on Family History. I failed to take a picture (sorry!) It was funny. I was mentioning to the Family History leaders thatbi had just returned from Prague the Czech Republic and you son whipped his head around and said "Czech Republic? My brother is there as a missionary! I looked at his name tag and said oh yeah, here's a picture of him and with one click on Facebook I showed him the picture you posted on the "roll call". What a small world!

Below is a picture of Elly at Spanish Fork Resovoir, March 19, 2016 celebrating BABA, (Grandpa), and NiNI, (Grandma's) wedding anniversary.

Elly is 17 mths
She can sing the Barney song
Spence daily Herald:)
Elly ion our drive to Spanish Fork reservoir...Laura said stinker stinker.   Elly says,  "dada?"

Did Lance know you were taking the first few pictures? Haha. Looking good though. Is he doing food prep for them or like cashier stuff?

Ha ha!!!  He just got home from work that night about 11 pm.  I think he makes the pizzas:)   btw. He just asked a girl to prom.  I'll have to have him tell you about it:)


I love how you and Elly have matching hats. Haha


11:53 AM (8 hours ago)
to Mark
Hi Toade,

Just got out of Dialysis. How have you been? I am so thrilled for you that you are already a trainer!!! I know that the Lord has so many blessings and miracles for you as you are strictly obedient. I have been so blessed by your service, as well as the ward and the rest of the family.

How do you like your new area and your trainee? I think mom has told you all about our anniversary fishing trip to the Spanish Fork pond. Skylar caught two fish and Bryan and I each caught one. About the size of Tibble Fork.

I am more in Love with your mom each day. I can't believe it's been 29 years since she became my eternal companion. If you get one near as good you will be very lucky!!!

I love you and hope you have a wonderful week.

Love Eternally,


Mark Owen Vickers

12:23 PM (7 hours ago)
to me
Hey Dad!

I am going great! Loving the opportunity to serve the Lord. The new area is so different. It's interesting how the Church is both the same everywhere you go and also so different. We are over the Glen Loch family ward and the Sam Houston YSA ward. 

Being a trainer is crazy. So much responsibility. President Mortensen really helped me understand the significance as he talked about how this time would be a "foundation for the rest of these missionaries lives," as he addressed us trainers the day we met our trainees. 

Congrats on 29 years! 

Love you so much!

Mark Owen Vickers

12:13 PM (8 hours ago)
to bcc: me
Howdy Ya'll,

What a week! I know I say that almost every week but this one was really full.

Monday: We moved from our Spring Creek apartment which took most of the day. One way was about 20 minutes and we made about 4 trips. We had Elder Alder and Elder Pablo there to help us along with Elder Nielsen who is the apartment coordinator for the mission. He drove a 15 passenger van and a trailer about 10 feet long. We moved a couch, both our beds, all of our clothes, all the pots and pans, about 100 lbs worth of books, a book shelf among other misc items. 

Tuesday: We finished moving the rest of our things and did some contacting. 

We continue to teach F******.     He is great and while I have been typing this email he called me and said his sister in Africa would like to learn more about the church! I can't tell you how much joy this Gospel has brought to my life and the opportunity I have to share it with others is the best! 

Elder McDonald is doing great. He is very teachable and a great missionary. We are continuing to work on combining our teaching styles into one conducive style that brings the Spirit into our lessons. We found 4 new people to teach this week which is pretty awesome. 

We have started to teach a woman named M*** who we actually had an appointment with this morning that went pretty well. She has great faith and is very open to everything we have to teach her. 

If you have not already had the chance check out the Church's Easter videos:

Love you all. Have a great Easter!


11:40 AM (8 hours ago)
to MarkSpencer
My grandpa, (your greatgrandfathers) mission journal and made copies for anyone who wanted it.  
They said he got arrested in New York on his mission cuz they thought he was a German Spy:)   I might've already 3rd you that