Monday, January 15, 2018

Brrrrrrrrr!


Game Day matching (aka companionship unity)



Well hello there!

All of Georgia is sad at the results of th UGA v. Alabama game on Monday. My companion and I included.

 the ice we tried to scrape off
our windshield yesterday!
We thought we were past the ridiculously cold weather, but apparently not. It is still freezing here in Georgia. The humid cold, by the way, is a whole different world than the cold I have ever experienced in California, Utah, or Wisconsin. I'm still trying to decide if it is better to wear lots of layers or just a rain jacket, because multiple layers seem to capture the cold. I'll let you know if I draw any conclusions this week!

Not a whole lot has happened in Webb Bridge this week, but I did get some exciting news from Athens on Thursday morning. One of my investigators there is getting baptized this week! That day just so happened to be interviews with President Marsh, so I was able to ask him if I can attend the baptism and he said yes! Road trip to Athens on Saturday! When I have pictures next week, I will tell you her story. :)

The only other really exciting thing is that we had a Regional Broadcast for church yesterday. Elder Bednar (Quorum of the Twelve) wasted no time in teaching us about having faith unto repentance and Sister Marriott (YW General Presidency) thoroughly enjoyed being with her "fellow Southern Saints" and told us about the grits she ate for breakfast yesterday.

That's all for this week! I hope you all maintain the goals you set two weeks ago this week (remember those?) and that everything is peachy!

Love,
Sister Houghton 

lunch after a combined District Meeting on Wednesday
Pics: , , and

Good, Better, Best

From 8 January 2018
Me, Hermana Rhoton, Hermana Willener, and Sister Parsons
(we found this across the street from our complex this morning and had to stop for a quick picture). :)

Hi everyone! Just as an fyi: UGA plays Alabama for the national title today and all of Georgia is super excited! In fact, all of the schools in Fulton County (where I live and work (as a missionary) right now) were closed today due to "weather" (rain and warmer than it has been for the past 2 weeks!) -- basically everybody will be watching the game, so... :) Go Dawgs!

Well, this week has gone by like many others. We knocked and talked and taught and did our best to serve and lift those around us -- nothing too crazy. We are still on the lookout for people to teach (we found one person yesterday, so that's exciting!) and have been trying out a whole bunch of ideas given to us by our mission leadership. Speaking of which...

On Thursday there was a Mission Leadership Council and I want to tell you a little bit about what came of it. Lately, President Marsh has been, rather than answering questions about vague mission rules, telling all of us missionaries to consider the good, the better, and the best of each scenario people have been asking about. This week, he applied it to obedience. There are so many different commandments Heavenly Father has given us that can be taken to various levels or in various ways. Thanks to President Marsh, I have started considering more of those this week and really examining the way I go about being a missionary. Have I been doing the bare minimum, or have I been continually stretching myself and my capacity to serve? It's definitely an interesting line of thought to follow in my brain, and my whole perception of what I do each day has been altered drastically because of it. I invite you all to think about some things you can do to be your "best" for the Lord rather than just your minimum "good."

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

Love,
Sister Houghton
18001 Summerwood Lane
Alpharetta, GA 30005

Don't Leave the GPS Up

From 4 September 2017






At the Botanical Gardens today, lest you think I have lost my goofy nature :)


Hello all! I hope you are having a great week! I have some fun things to tell you about!

So my subject line/title is meant to go right alongside Sister Johnson's for this week, which is "Don't Leave the Hazards On." It will all get explained after I tell you about some other thiings first.

During the pep talk.
Saturday was the first home football game for UGA, so we had 7 sets of missionaries on campus for various parts of the day, trying to talk with the 40,000+ people who were wandering all over campus and downtown Athens. We started the day with a good pep talk from one of the Elders in the zone. Mostly he just quoted Doctine and Covenants Section 4 and we all got pumped up to talk with everyone! Then, we got to work! It was super intimidating but also really fun to see all the people all over the place. 









The tuba circle! 
Outside the stadium (before the crowds of people got there)

















Nearly everybody was wearing red and black (UGA colors), and we had a blast talking to people about the game and tying it back to missionary work/gospel topics! Some of the Elders had some crazy stories, but the best one I've got is that I contacted a very inebriated man while he was sitting on a bench in the scorching sun with beads of sweat rolling down his bald head. It was quite the experience, overall. My favorite part of the day was getting to hear the tuba circle! As many of you know, I played the tuba (well, sousaphone) in high school and it was a lot of fun! On Saturday afternoon, Sister Johnson and I were walking around talking to people when I suddenly heard some musicians having fun. Since musicians always draw a crowd, we headed that way and we got to see the UGA pre-game tuba circle! Sadly, once the band came out, we had to head back to the institute to avoid the really drunk people, so that was the end of that. We continued talking to people until about 6 o'clock (the institute building is right on one of the main roads people were walking on to get to the game) and then took some pictures and went to head home. 

This is where the GPS comes in. We got to our car and found the hazard lights were on. And then the car didn't start. So we had some of the Elders in our district look under the hood and try some things, which led to the conclusion that the battery was dead. Miraculously, one of the first people we called to come help us out was available and was able to come give us a jump. Upon some investigation, we discovered that the GPS had fallen off the windshield and hit the hazards button, which is why the hazards were on. Eventually, we made it home and finally got to rest from a long day of walking around in the sun! Moral of the story: don't leave the GPS up in the car above the hazard button!

Well, that is the most exciting part of the week. The only other news is that I got to go on exchange with Sister Thorn (my trainer) for a day last week. We had a blast doing missionary work together again, and it was good to spend some time with her before she goes home in two weeks

At the botanical gardens with the Sisters this morning. :)
Oh! Also. We went to the Georgia State Botanical Gardens this morning with all the sisters in the zone, which was nice. We didn't stay for very long because we all spend our days walking around in the heat anyway, but it was nice to just enjoy the flowers and trees and nature! God certainly has provided us with a beautiful world to live in! :)

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

Love,
Sister Houghton
Athens, GA 30605



Saturday, January 6, 2018

Missionary Holidays

From 1 January 2018
 
I got to hold a sugar glider (flying squirrel)
the other day at a member's home!


Well hello there! 

Between exchanges we went to get lunch with all the other sisters
(left to right around the circle: me, Sister Parsons, Sister Hansen,
Sister Evans, Hermana Kammerman, and Hermana Aranibar)
Between normal-people holidays and missionary holidays, it has been quite the week! 

As you can guess, the normal-people holidays I am referring to are Christmas, Boxing Day (I've heard it's a thing), and New Year's. As far as missionary work goes, not a whole lot was different because of those things. In fact, the only really unique thing about any one of those days was that I got to see and talk with my family! I loved every second of my 40 minutes, although it was a bit surreal. For those of you who don't know my family, you are missing out on some amazing people! Other than that, it was missionary work as usual on the holidays. 
From a few weeks ago) the Roswell Zone!
You may be wondering about these "missionary holidays" I mentioned, so let me explain myself. The first one we had was a zone conference on Wednesday! President Marsh's whole family was there to give us missionary advice after we had our usual trainings from the mission leadership in the morning and we finished the conference with some Christmas caroling. The other missionary holidays I am referring to are exchanges! I have found that going on exchange into other areas is a sort of holiday unto itself because, even though we are still doing missionary work the whole time, I can leave a significant portion of the stress of my own area (scheduling appointments, making phone calls, taking note of events, etc.) behind as I get to know a new area and a different missionary for the day! Plus, "miracles always happen during exchanges" (I don't remember who told me that early in my mission, but it is so true!). The particular exchanges I went on this week were in the southern-most part of the zone, in overlapping areas. The first was in the Norcross Spanish Branch that covers the bottom half of the stake and the second was in the Peachtree Corners Ward. I had fun biking in new areas and getting to practice my Spanish just a little bit, although I am not very brave about using what little I know.


 "Swim"! Featuring yours truly!
"No soliciting" featuring Sister Parsons
The rest of the week has been a blur of knocking on doors, meeting new people, and trying not to freeze in the bone-chilling cold of Georgia! Sister Parsons and I are continuing to see little miracles each day as we work with ward members and seek out those who are ready to receive the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that every person on earth needs the peace that comes from living Christ's gospel- that's why I am a missionary!

I love you all and hope you have a fantastic first week of 2018!

Love,
Sister Houghton



Hard at Work!

From 25 December 2017
Two of Santa's reindeer were very busy delivering cookies early this morning to the Sisters in the Roswell Zone! 
Sometimes when you are finding, your
companion just might find some
 scrumptious-looking insects.

Merry Christmas! Although today is a holiday (which usually merits preparation day being moved to Tuesday), President Marsh decided that we might as well enjoy the holiday, so I am emailing you all today! It is worth noting that it feels like a pretty normal preparation day, and it hasn't quite sunk in yet that I will be talking to my family later today. Nevertheless, it has been a pretty good week!

Sister Parsons and I worked hard this week to contact 70 people by Wednesday (normally that is the goal for the whole week, but our District is kicking things up a notch!), and succeeded by the skin of our teeth! We managed to have a lot of fun while trying new ways to find people to talk with about the gospel of Jesus Christ. As usual, some people were more receptive than others, but we kept pressing forward.

I also got to go on an exchange this week, which was great fun! One of them was with a mission legend, Sister Rasmussen. She is basically a Sister Assistant to the President, but her official title is "Special Assignment Sister." Really, all you need to know is that she is hilarious while getting work done (much like Sister Parsons) and I have several new ideas of things I want to try based on what she showed me while we were working together.

Yesterday was the highlight of the week, though. Christmas Eve, of course. We started the day off with a beautiful music-based Sacrament Meeting for church- the ward I am in has a multitude of talents, and my ears appreciated every one of them! After church, we went through the usual missionary struggle of scheduling and rescheduling our day for a significant portion of the afternoon until we got into the rush of the evening! We had 3 appointments (all of which we ran late to and for) with families and each one of them was wonderful. Our focus for the night was on gifts that we can give to our Savior. After all, it was Christmas Eve, and He is the reason for the season. It was really wonderful to see how each family tries to focus on Jesus Christ at Christmas in different ways. Plus, it has been helping me to ponder on what things I can do/set as goals for this coming year (2018!) to draw nearer to my Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. 

Today has been wonderful so far, but most of it is yet to come! Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Stay safe and keep Lighting the World!

Love,
Sister Houghton


Our creative Christmas Tree


When you find a reindeer sitting on a bench, 
you have to take a picture with it! 



President Ernst (Roswell Stake President),
me, President Marsh

Bacon+asparagus+water+me (interesting structure at a park) 

Family Joy. . .Skyping in 5 different locations:
Eliza and Phillip--Provo, UT
Levi, Grandma H, Dad, Mom--Saint George, UT
Marta and Jeff--West Richland, WA
Sister Tess Houghton--Alpharetta, GA
Luke and Lara--Cottonwood Heights, UT

Thursday, December 21, 2017

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

From 18 December 2017

Love from my home ward in the form of treats and notes (thank you!)
Hi everybody! Due to lovely Atlanta traffic, post office lines, and getting our apartment semi-organized this morning, I only have about 20 minutes to email today. Nevertheless, I am going to try to show you what fun I've been having here in Webb Bridge! 

Out finding with Sister Parsons (squinting at the sun)
My new companion, Sister Parsons, is from Walla Walla, Washington and has been out for about six months. We were actually both trained by the same person and we served in Athens together for 2 transfers (I was in the family ward while she was in the Young Single Adult Branch). Really, all you need to know is that she is AWESOME and hilarious and we basically wake up laughing at each other each morning- it's the best. Especially since we both got a lovely dose of the annual cold this week, so things were going kind of slow. We managed to see miracles despite our runny noses and sore throats though, so the work moved forward anyway!





At the Relief Society Christmas Party getting to know the ward.



Webb Bridge is not quite city, but close enough to Atlanta that we have all the city benefits without quite the crowdedness. Except for the traffic, it's pretty nice. The ward here is amazing! It just split about 5 months ago, but it is still huge. I have already met so many really neat families and individuals and they all have strong testimonies of the gospel and a fire for sharing it!

I wish I had time to write more, but it is not so. Have a merry Christmas and stay safe while you are all traveling! I love you lots!

Love,
Sister Houghton 





Don't forget to Light the World this week!
 

Monday, December 11, 2017

T'was the Week Before Transfers. . .





Us with Rachel (the investigator who loves the Temples, met with us to say goodbye).

Hi everybody! I have a lot to communicate to y'all and not much time in which to do that, so here goes nothing!

Blurry picture of Sister Nielson and I at the
end of the parade (Santa in the background!).
Christmas is coming, the air is getting cold! Many of you may have heard that it snowed this week in Georgia! Which, by the way, is pretty rare and when it happens, there is normally only about an inch of white stuff on the ground. However, this particular snow dumped about 6 inches onto many unsuspecting Georgians. Athens didn't actually get any accumulation, although it did snow for several hours on Saturday morning. Also, cold in Georgia is at a different level than the cold I have personally experienced elsewhere in the country. Basically, it goes right through to your bones! Sister Nielson and I have been bundling up all week to stay warm-ish. We got to do lots of Christmas celebrating this week as well! On Thursday night, we went contacting at the Christmas parade in downtown Athens and then Friday night was the ward Christmas party. Both events were very well-put-together and lots of fun for everybody involved. On Saturday evening, we kept up the celebration by going with several other sets of missionaries to give out free hot chocolate at the UGA Arch to #LightTheWorld! Sister Nielson only almost lost her toes because it was so cold. (Just kidding, but she did lose feeling them for a bit...). Merry Christmas!

 Sister Van Katwyk challenged me in one
of the Minute to Win It games at the
Ward Christmas Party, so...
The other big news of the week is that I got a transfer call last night! Yep, I'm leaving Athens tomorrow morning, headed for the Webb Bridge Ward over in the Roswell Stake. It is more of a suburban area, much like Allatoona was, so it should be a fun time! My new companion will be Sister Parsons, who I am SO EXCITED to work with! She was actually trained by the same person who trained me (Sister Thorn!) and we were working in pretty close proximity for two transfers before this most recent one. I am sad to leave Athens and all the wonderful people I love here, but I also know that there are people to love and things to learn in Webb Bridge! My new address will be:

18001 Summerwood Ln
Alpharetta, GA
30005

Well, I've got to get to packing, but I love you all and I hope that your plans are in place for Christmas in a few weeks! Sorry for not including something more spiritual. Hopefully next week I will have a bit more time to do that. Merry Christmas!

Love,
Sister Houghton
18001 Summerwood Ln
Alpharetta, GA
30005

with Sister Fertig