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The Houston metropolitan area is divided into three missions, of which the Houston Texas mission covers the actual city and suburbs north of it. The city, which is the fourth largest in the United States, is very diverse, with around 90 languages spoken and around 6 million in city and surrounding metropolitan area (2.1 million in the city proper).
There are 5 stakes within the mission boundaries where missionaries serve. The church also has a very strong Spanish-speaking community, with 13 Spanish wards in the mission. The nearest temple is the Houston, Texas Temple, dedicated in 2000; however, it is not within the mission boundaries.
Houston is famous for its Tex-Mex cuisine, which combines Mexican ingredients with American thinking. Foods such as fajitas, burritos, and chili con carne, which one would not typically find in Mexico itself, have found a home in the border regions, including Houston, and are extremely popular. Food carts selling Tex-Mex cuisine are a staple of Houston.
Also because of the high density of Vietnamese immigrants, a large Vietnamese influence is seen. Its relativity to Louisiana and New Orleans also adds a Cajun influence to the already existing cuisine diversity in the region. Southern-style foods are also prominent; however, one can always find some good old-fashioned American food throughout the region, and expect to eat lots of it with members throughout the mission.
In the Texas Houston East Mission, the predominant form of transportation that missionaries use are cars and bicycles. Houston has a great system of highways providing easy access to all parts of the city and suburbs; it is, however, ranked the 4th worst city in the United States for traffic congestion so avoid driving at rush hour times. There are also 160 miles of dedicated bikeways in Houston, providing access to different parts of the city. The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County also provides public transportation in the form of buses, light rail, and lift vans. They carry passengers all throughout the city, but there is limited access to the suburbs from the city.
Being as as large as it is, Houston as a city sees lots of crime every year. Missionaries should always be on the look out for muggers and potential petty theft. Because of its size and proximity to countries involved in the production and transportation of narcotics and other illegal drugs, Houston is a major hub for the trafficking of drugs and experiences lots drug-related crime. However in comparison to other cities of similar size (pop. 750,000+), its crime rate ranks behind many other large cities. It should be noted that the crime rate has decreased significantly in recent years, dropping by 11% in 2011 and continuing to decrease. For more information on the Houston Police Department, please visit:
Houston does not experience many natural disasters. However, occasionally floods and tornadoes occur in the region.
Citizens of Houston, and Texas in general, are known for being very proud of their state and heritage. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is held every year in the city. This is a 2-day celebration that occurs in February and March every year including a barbeque cook-off, rodeos, concerts, and carnival rides.
Another interesting fact about Texas related to their state pride is the custom of flying the Texas flag at equal height with the United States flag. It is the only state in the U.S. where this custom is observed.
Houston’s theater district ranks only behind Broadway in New York City in size and popularity. Houston is famous for being home to NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (as in the line: “Houston, we have a problem.”).
“Y’all” = “you all”
“Well, I’ll just be swaney!” means, basically, “I’ll be darned”
“Brown Laws”= Police officers
“Flossin” = showing off
“Third Coast” = The Gulf Coast states: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the panhandle of Florida
“What it do?” = “How’s it going?” or “How are you?”
2815 W Lake Houston Pkwy Ste 109
Kingwood TX 77339-5220
Straight from the Texas Houston East Mission field:
*What items were hard to get or not available?
*What did you eat the most of?
*What is the craziest thing you ate?
“Alligator (tastes like chicken).”
*What was most surprising about the culture?
*What advice would you give to someone going to the Texas Houston East Mission?
*What do you wish you had known before you served?
**Did you serve in the Texas Houston East Mission? If so, we would love to hear your advice and your stories! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.**