Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Things are Heating Up in Georgia!

It is late in the day and I still have a million things to do, so this is going to be very, very short. We had our Zone activity today, and we just played field games for several hours out in the nice, hot sun! All of us are sporting slightly sunburnt looks, but at least we know it's time to break out the sunscreen when we're out tracting this week.

The highlight of my week was going on exchange with a Spanish Sister who came out with me and being able to observe how we have both changed so much over the course of a year. Being representatives of Jesus christ truly has changed the both of us in many good ways. I am so grateful to be a missionary!

Happy Mothers Day to all the wonderful women I know! I love y'all!

Love,
Sister Houghton
9102 Holland Place
Lawrenceville, GA
30043

Monday, April 30, 2018

Miracles Abounding!

We ate lunch at a beautiful park this week, where we also met a neat lady feeding the geese who were there.
Wow, it has been quite the week in the Collins Hill Ward! The ward here is amazing, for a whole multitude of reasons. It's been super fun getting to know all of them and experiencing their testimonies. Actually, I haven't had a "normal" set of Sunday meetings yet because of some unique opportunities/events happening in the ward. Last Sunday we had a 2-hour "Ministering Conference" and this week we had a professor of marriage therapy (a member of our congregation) lead a discussion with all the adults in the ward for one of our meetings. Next week I should get to see what an average Relief Society meeting is like here, unless something changes. Something I have discovered is that a huge part of our ward are swimmers and water polo players, just like me! I've loved getting to connect with several youth just by talking about some of my favorite things with them!

My companion, Sister Fullmer keeps making me laugh, laughing with me, and laughing at me (only when I deserve it, so far 😁) - she is great! Plus, she is really good at keeping me humble by pushing me to do a little more each day, which I really appreciate.

I believe I told you last week about a lady we tracted into who was super-amazingly-neat and somewhat of a miracle. Did I call her L? That's what she will be known as here. Well, this week, we got to go see her again. Apparently, she was busy doing some research about us between our visits, and when we first found out about that, we were very nervous, because we assumed it meant she had probably found some serious anti-Mormon literature or something. As it turned out, however, she had actually gone to a "Mormon community" on her pixel-simulation game she does and asked a lady on there about it. Whoever that lady was, she told L all about missionaries and that she should keep meeting with and learning from us! Hooray for that member, wherever she is! L also watched a documentary and read a decent bit of the Book of Mormon, so when we saw her on Friday, she had a list of questions and was prepared to take notes on our discussion. She was thrilled when we told her about Gospel Library, with all its videos, articles, and other resources. Although our appointment went way longer than expected, the Spirit was definitely there as L pondered on the truths we were teaching her. We have another lesson with her on Wednesday, and I can hardly wait to see her again and hear some of her new questions.

Besides L, Sister Fullmer and I have seen a handful of miracles happen as we have followed up with several potential investigators and referrals from other missionaries. This coming week appears to be full of promise and potential and I am excited to see how it goes!

Love,
Sister Houghton 
9102 Holland Place
Lawrenceville, GA 
30043


When it rains in Georgia during the springtime, pollen puddles
form and then the wind blows them down hallways
 in our apartment complex, where they dry! 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Adventures in Collins Hill

From 23 April 2018
We tracted into somebody while it was raining yesterday from Yugoslavia (which doesn't exist anymore, right?) who gave us candy from her home country! 


Hello world!

As far as my new assignment in Collins Hill with Sister Fullmer goes, I'm loving it! The Collins Hill Ward (located in the towns of Lawrenceville and Suwanee) is geographically about 1/4 the size of the area I just left, so everything is relatively close by. That being said, there are a whole lot of people for us to work with and the ward here is solid. Sister Fullmer is from Chandler, Arizona, comes to my shoulder in height, and has been out for 3 months! She is doing a great job introducing me to the area and people while also helping me return to the basics of missionary work.

We've had a stellar week full of neat little miracles, one of which I am going to tell you about right now! Shortly after the transfer meeting, we got blasted with a handful of "soft referrals" from other missionaries (people who have been contacted and have interest in learning more, but have never been officially taught by missionaries). We were excited and began reaching out to all of them. We went to knock on the door of one of the referrals and it turned out to be the home of some members of our congregation. Even though we were bummed that the referral clearly didn't live there, we decided to knock doors on that street. Only two doors down, we met a lady who told us she had been asleep after spending the night at the hospital with her mother, who she expected to pass away that day or the next. Normally, people don't want to talk to us when we have woken them up from a nap, but Sister Fullmer gave an elevator speech like I have never heard about eternal families and L invited us in right away! We shared a brief lesson with her and left her with a Book of Mormon to read from. She read some that day and told us later that she loved it! Now we are checking in with her periodically until we can see her again (which will probably be after her mother passes away). Mostly it was really, really cool to see how Heavenly Father put us in exactly the right place at exactly the right time to help one of His daughters. He definitely knows what He has us here to do!

Spring has certainly arrived here and things are starting to heat up (although this week has started off somewhat rainy). I hope you all have a wonderful week! Love y'all!

Love,
Sister Houghton
9102 Holland Place Apts.
Lawrenceville, GA 30043


Monday, April 16, 2018

#1 Craziest GANM Transfer

The sun was shining for the Special Olympics on Friday, where our ward helped with the "Athletes in Training" portion of the events (games for younger kids).
Last night, at 10:25 pm, our Zone Leaders sent out a message to all 30+ missionaries in the Zone telling us, "The APs have spoken: stay up late for calls... we will let you know when it is over 😎😎." Whaaaaaaaaaaat????? So I'm super tired now. Basically everybody in the mission is getting switched up, so the transfer meeting tomorrow is going to be absolutely wild. Well, here's the news I got: I am leaving Winder to go to the Collins Hill Area with Sister Fullmer! All I know about her is that she has been out for 3 months, so it should be super fun getting to know her this week. I'm sad to be leaving Winder, where I know the ward and investigators, but I am also thrilled to get to serve in Collins Hill, where I have actually gone on exchanges several times back toward the beginning of my mission.

On Wednesday I got to have my ankle checked again, which was pretty exciting! I have been approved to transition into an ankle brace instead of my boot, so now I can drive and kind of-ish walk while wear matching shoes! The PA gave me a few pages of exercises to do in order to get my ankle back to full flexibility and I am trying to work them into my daily routine.

As far as missionary work goes, this week we had several opportunities to implement the latest LDS ideal of "ministering." It made my heart sing when I thought about how much God is aware of each of His children. He knows our exact needs, and He often inspires others to fill them so that the benefits go two ways. So, pay attention to promptings to help other people and be blessed yourselves!

I hope you all are enjoying springtime wherever you are! Here in Georgia, everybody was rejoicing over a pounding rainstorm yesterday purely because it was washing away the piles of pollen all over the place. It makes me really, super appreciate the fact that I don't have allergies! Anyway, I love y'all!

Love,
Sister Houghton
(I don't know the Collins Hill address, so here's the mission office!)
1150 Cole Dr. SW
Lilburn, GA 30047


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Wowsers!

from 2 April 2018
This is by far the most impressive picture of my ankle

What a week! 

Shortly after I emailed y'all on Monday, I went to our Zone Preparation Day Activity and promptly sprained my ankle very nicely. I've documented the way it has been changing colors all week, so if you want to see, I can send those to you! The orthopedic urgent care I went to assured me that it is not broken (after x-rays, of course) and put me in a lovely boot, which I can walk in decently. Sister Wagner keeps relearning that I can't walk very fast, although I'm getting there. Because it just so happens to be my right ankle that I sprained, I am not allowed to drive (and walking any significant distance or biking anywhere are out of the question). In combination with the fact that Sister Wagner is not allowed to drive, walk, or bike anywhere either, we aren't able to get out and do much. As  missionaries, that's pretty frustrating because we want to go work, but we're trying to make the most of the situation. Our ward has been very supportive, so we're surviving!

The next exciting bit of the week has been General Conference this weekend! Really, the best way to describe it is that it was truly epic. Life-changing for the world - so world-changing. A new prophet of God was sustained, along with 2 new members of the Quorum of the Twelve, significant changes were made in the way members of the church watch out for one another, and 7 new temples were announced! It really doesn't get much more exciting than that, but what made it really special for me was the way the Spirit testified to me through all of it that this (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) is the Lord's kingdom on the earth. God loves us, and wants to help us learn and grow. That's why we have a prophet on the earth to teach us about receiving personal, divine revelation on a daily basis. That's why Moses, Elias, and Elijah visited the Kirtland Temple to restore the keys of the Priesthood so that all mankind can receive the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That's why success is not in perfection, but in growing from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm. Most importantly, that's why He sent His Son, to live a perfect, meek life. To suffer, bleed, die, and live again, all for us. So we can become better people and better ministers each and every day of our lives, as we do the small and simple things. Each of us has the opportunity to "Behold the man," the Son of God, working with us to help us return to live with God, who loves us so, So, SO much. And when I say "us," I mean every single person on earth. It truly is a glorious gospel to get to share with people each day. I can't imagine a better way to get to spend Easter Sunday than in learning more about God's marvelous plan for me and you and all of us.

That's really all I have to tell you about, but it still feels like a lot. I hope you all will follow the prophet, seek more inspired direction from the Holy Spirit in your lives, and become a Christlike minister as best as you can. I love you all!

Love,
Sister Houghton
276 Springdale Dr.
Apt. 7 
Winder, GA 30680

Pics:  Pretty much all of my pictures this week are of my ever-so-colorful foot, so here's my x-ray (one of three - I never saw the other two).

Monday, March 26, 2018

#ldsconf


Yay for cars!



Springtime means the bugs are
coming out in Georgia!
Hello world! Not very much has happened this week, so instead I'm going to tell you all about how I ended up on a mission!

2.5 years ago, my older sister, Marta, was on her mission in Mexico City. It was the week before General Conference and she challenged me to come up with 3 questions I wanted answers to. Well, I could only come up with one. As a 17 year-old freshman in college, I was trying to figure out my plans for schooling and career and I decided that if an 18-month, full-time mission was going to be in the mix of things, then I should probably know that sooner rather than later. My one question, therefore, was, Should I go on a mission? That Saturday, conference weekend began. I anxiously listened to the announcements and speakers (after all, they are the living Prophet and Apostles), and toward the end of the day, a certain Elder Martino stood up to speak. The address he gave was titled, "Turn to Him and Answers Will Come." I felt the Spirit witness to his words, which directed earnest seekers of truth to turn to Heavenly Father in prayer, with real intent, and answers would indeed come! That night, I decided to act on that counsel, and sure enough, I felt the confirming witness of the Spirit that I should leave my life behind for 18 months to go and serve the Lord and my fellowman. I am deeply grateful to Marta for issuing me the challenge to have questions all those months ago. Since General Conference is this weekend, I invite each of you to write down some questions you have (at least one) and then pay attention to the whispering of the Holy Spirit as you listen to the inspired counsel given to us by God's chosen servants. The things you hear from them will answer your questions or at least teach you how to obtain answers to your questions. That is one of the great blessings of having a living prophet and apostles on the earth today - through them, Heavenly Father can direct not just one person at a time (which He does every day), but the whole world at once. I'm excited to see what direction the Lord gives us for our day, and I hope you are too! And General Conference falls on Easter weekend, which is a whole other added bit of excitement and gratitude to Heavenly Father (which I will address next week).

Have a fantastic week this week! I love y'all!

Love,
Sister Houghton
276 Springdale Dr
Apt. #7
Winder, GA 30680


Monday, March 19, 2018

Happy Hard Work Holidays!

19 March 2018


The Winder/Fort Yargo missionary crew

Hello everybody! Every week I sit down to write this email, and every week I experience a "stupor of thought" as I review what's been happening and what I've been learning as a missionary here in Georgia. There are always good, happy memories, and hard, happy memories. Missionary work (ask anyone who has served a mission) is no easy thing, but it is always a happy thing because everything we missionaries do is centered on spreading the joy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as much as we can!

This week has been one of hard, happy memories. We talked with lots of strangers, found some people to teach, and a whole bunch of them decided not to be taught any more. There's agency (the ability to choose for oneself) for you! One of the hard things about being a missionary is that I know how much the restored gospel of Jesus Christ can bless any individual on the planet (and through them, their family and friends and everyone they know), but all I can do is invite them to learn more and act on the truths they are taught by the Holy Ghost. Ultimately, it is up to them to choose to have the peace of the gospel. It saddens me when the people we teach decide not to have that in their lives, but it doesn't change how much God loves them, so I trust he'll take care of them.

So far, this has been a very serious email. Let me tell you about a good, happy occasion from this week. Every Friday morning, we go help out at an adult day center, just working on crafts and then preparing the tables for lunch. One of the regulars there always asks us if we know who he is, and we always respond with, "Chuck Norris!" (His name is not Chuck Norris) He then proceeds to tell us, "That's right, I'm Chuck Norris! I'm tough, and I'm strong!" Well, on Friday we went through the same conversation and, when the room was unusually quiet for a moment, one of the workers there got him started singing the song "I'll Fly Away," which is a hymn (I'm not sure if it's Baptist, Methodist, or something else). The whole room was smiling as he sang, not one, not two, but three verses at the top of his lungs. As he sang that hymn, giving glory to God, the Spirit filled the room in a very tangible way. I was beaming as I hummed along.

Weatherwise, spring is coming but we get bits and pieces of winter every few days/hours. Georgia has lots and lots of flowers and, lately, we've had lots of snacks while out contacting and tracting because there are pecan trees all over the place! We even found a nutcracker in our apartment the other day, so now we don't have to step on the pecans to crack the meat out of the shells.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you about the holidays of the week! On Wednesday, for Pi Day, I had a pot pie for dinner while on exchange with one of the Sister Training Leaders, and on Saturday, I made sure to wear green. We were actually doing some family history work on Saturday morning, and it just so happened that the family line I randomly chose to start working on was Irish! I was super excited, given that it was St. Patrick's Day.

Well, that's all for now folks! Missionary work is going and there's always lots to do. I love you all and hope you have a fantastic week this week!

Love,
Sister Houghton
276 Springdale Dr.
Apt. 7 
Winder, GA 30680


You'll never guess what I finally got around to...making pbebfernøddex! There are 3 containers in my cabinet,
1 of which is very well hidden and disguised as Gatorade.