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. 

A Week of Work

From 12 March 2018

We found this sign in downtown Winder and had to take pictures with it.


Well, it's been a pretty usual week of work in Winder. We visited and taught a bunch of people and carried on the normal routine of missionary work.

The absolute highlight of the week was a lesson we had with one of our investigators, named M. She has been meeting with the missionaries for about 3 months now, and we have recently had some serious breakthroughs with her, just in terms of helping her understand what we're teaching. On Wednesday evening, we went over and let her choose a topic for us to learn about from the Book of Mormon. She chose hope, so we read the story of Alma the Younger with her. As we read about Alma's converting experience with the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the Spirit was very strong, and M was able to recognize it. She didn't decide to be baptized right then and there, but it was wonderful to see how God teaches His children small and simply truths in small and simple ways.

I know this is relatively short, but that's really all there is to tell you about this week. I love you all and hope you are able to feel the peace of the Spirit at some point this week.

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

Sometimes animals go tracting with us, and it's awesome. 
One of our ward missionaries turns 80 this week, so we were invited to a big party to meet some of his nonmember friends, but there was also a great chance to drive a cardboard car (a past-time of mine ;) ).

All the Sisters

From 5 March 2018
Athens Sisters + Sister Marsh


It has been quite the week, but before I tell you about it, I'll update you on transfers, because I've already been in Winder for 6 weeks now! Actually, it's pretty straightforward, because I am staying here with Sister Wagner. That's all of the update. Okiedokie.

Athens Zone @ the Temple
Tuesday morning got our week off to a great start when we had 3 new investigators by noon! One of them was actually a lady I briefly taught back in Athens who recently moved to Winder and loves reading about Nephi. She's older and may or may not be all there mentally, but I love seeing how Heavenly Father is aware of her and her needs. It's a good reminder to me that He is aware of all our needs! The other new investigators we found are the parents of a young family with such great faith in God. They each have an awesome perspective on the importance of families being centered in the gospel and so many good questions. As we talked with them, they kept having more and more questions, which they eagerly anticipate answers to. Sister Wagner and I are excited to teach all these precious children of God!

Athens Sisters @ Breakfast



On Wednesday, we hopped in the car with some Sisters in the branch above our ward and headed over to Sandy Springs, Georgia, where we had brunch with all the Sisters in the Zone and then headed to the Temple! I had printed 6 names that needed a certain ordinance done, and because of the timing of things, we (myself and some of the other missionaries) were able to get 5 of them done, which was a wonderful tender mercy to me. Also, the Temple is such a peaceful place. It was good to just sit and not have a care in the world for a short while.

From Wednesday night to Thursday morning, we stayed in the mission home in Lilburn (note to Levi: President Marsh may be challenging your position as primary popcorn maker and consumer). It was a good time chatting with other Sisters and President and Sister Marsh.

Then there was Thursday. We spent most of Thursday at a Mission Sisters Conference, where all of the Sisters in the mission got together for special trainings and whatnot. We did (no joke) yoga, coloring, skin care, and some more spiritual trainings on grit, grace, problem-solving, studying our Patriarchal Blessings, and "linking instead of ranking." Overall, I think it achieved the desired effect, and I personally walked away with lots of ideas to try applying in my everyday missionary work. On the way back to Winder, we stopped at a Dwarf House Chick-fil-a for dinner and by the time we were home, it was time to get ready for bed!

The rest of the week has been a wild blur. Here's the good news though: I have lots of pictures from this week. I'll attach a few of them. 😉

Well, I hope you all are having a great week and that everything is peachy! Spring has sprung here and everybody with allergies is feeling it real good. I love you lots!

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

Monday, February 26, 2018

Learning, learning, learning!

Homemade laundry detergent (the actual cleaner is white/clear, but the jars were purple and green, so it looks more fun!


Hello everybody!

Not too much craziness has happened this week, so there's not much to tell. However, I will do my best to share some tidbits I've learned in the past 7 days. First, I learned to not collect too many dishes. We were helping a lady unpack her mother's dishes into her mother's house, and there were about 8 boxes (2'x2'x4') of various dishes. They were great dishes, but I have promised myself I will never be a collector of dishes. Second, I learned that I would not make a very good mission president. During my interview with President Marsh this week, he had me try to answer my own questions the way he would, and I had nothing. That's why I am just a missionary right now. Third, I learned about a really good Mexican restaurant in Winder that is very close to where we live. It's called Speedy Burrito, and Sister Wagner and I have decided it is our new favorite. Fourth, I learned (at Stake Conference) about what a powerful impact the Spirit can have in helping people come to Christ. Several young single adult recent converts were asked to share their testimonies and experiences joining the church. Even though each of them experienced a lot of opposition from loved ones, they felt the Spirit and knew that they wanted it more than anything else, so they took the leap of faith to be baptized. Fifth, I learned how to make my own laundry detergent and other cleaning supplies at a Relief Society activity we attended with an investigator. The sixth thing I learned deserves its own paragraph. (I promise I learned a lot of other stuff this week, these are just the things which most immediately come to mind).

I think I mentioned this last week, but lately, I have been studying lots of addresses by President Russell M. Nelson, who is God's living prophet on the earth today. This week I have noticed a sort of theme, centered on where we should be focusing our efforts. Several months ago, I had the opportunity to talk with a member of the Quorum of the Seventy, and the only question I could think of to ask him was something along the lines of where/how should I be focusing my efforts in changing myself? Well, his answer was to be focused on the now, rather than the later. As I've been studying President Nelson's talks this week, I have been drawn to some key words. He talks a lot about focusing more on what we are to be than on what we are to do. So that's what has been on my mind this week, and I am going to be doing my best to get out of the rut of what I am to do, and center my thoughts and actions more on what I am trying to be and become. We'll see how it goes!

The week ahead is going to be full of exciting stuff, so stay tuned! I love you all!

Love,
Sister Houghton