Monday, July 9, 2018

Goodbye Georgia

Some members tried to teach me about sparklers and ended up helping me decide which clothes I won't be bringing home. 
Hey y'all!

In a few short days, I will be on a plane headed home to take off my nametag - at least for a little while. That being said, this past week was my last full-proselyting week and Sister Harper and I worked hard to make it count! It was a little tricky because it seemed like everybody was out of town thanks to the 4th of July, but we made it a good week. I wish I had a really cool story to tell, but nothing that crazy-cool happened. That's okay, because my theme for the week was that "Heavenly Father works through small and simple things." Every door we knocked matters, every individual we helped move, they won't forget it. I have been so blessed to be a part of this work!

Tonight will be my last few hours of proselyting, and after that I'll be participating in a whirlwind of "departing missionary" events until I get on a plane on Wednesday to fly home. I look forward to seeing a whole bunch of you this week! I love y'all!

Love,
Sister Houghton
1150 Cole Dr SW 
Lilburn, GA 30047

Pics:
Each missionary in my district sat on the number of chairs that they have transfers left (back row: Sister Harper, Elder Wood, Hermana Williams, and Elder Roberts, front row: Hermana Oldham, Hermana Rhoton, and me).
Last Monday, Sister Harper and I spent part of our preparation day at a swim meet in our area which a huge portion of our ward was competing in! We were tempted to "fall in" but left without touching the water. 😁🏊‍♀️


 

Monday, July 2, 2018

Sweet Land of Liberty



Hermana Rhoton and I had pupusas with the Olivares family in our ward the other day and they were delicious! 

Wow, time is absolutely flying by! It's already Monday again! And it's July!

This week has been here, there, and everywhere, so I'm going to go in order for once! For the most part, Tuesday and Wednesday were missionary work as usual. We did have interviews with our mission president, which took a long time, but he didn't say anything particularly special, so I won't go deeper into that. On Thursday, an amazing member, named Sister Rose, took Sister Harper and I to the airport (Sister Harper flew home for her father's funeral) and then acted as my companion for an hour or two until the Hermanas (who are a trio) could meet up with us to let me steal one of them until Sunday. So, from Thursday evening until Sunday afternoon, my companion was...(drumroll)...Hermana Rhoton! We've been pals our whole mission long (we came out together) so it was a blast! On Saturday afternoon, we had a really cool experience while tracting that I will tell you about in detail later. Yesterday, after church, Hermana Rhoton's companions stole her back and my companion was another amazing member, Sister Coffee, for several hours until we picked Sister Harper up from the airport. So now I'm back with Sister Harper and we are ready to pound the pavement until transfers next week!

Okay, now that you know the gist of my week, I'll tell you some of the fun little details!

1. As we were getting ready for the day on Thursday morning, it was pretty stormy (in Georgia that means it is raining and ther is thunder and lightning) outside. Sister Harper likes lightning, but not thunder, so you can imagine her dismay when one lightning strike was accompanied by a very loud, earth-shaking crack of thunder that sounded like it might have exploded a car outside our apartment. Several minutes later, we heard a whole lot of sirens coming up the street. Well, we assumed something had happened nearby and just kept getting ready for the day. Come Saturday night, Hermana Rhoton and I went to check our mail and discovered that the lightning had in fact struck a storage spot in our complex and caught the building on fire (luckily, it's not a residential building, just a row of garages)! There was a whole right through the roof and everything! Yep, that's the most exciting story of my week!

2. On Friday morning, our Area Book App changed a lot. Not as much as it changed last October, but still a lot. For example, we don't "drop" people anymore, we just "stop teaching" them. Also, all the dots of our investigators are the same color now, so it's a little harder to distinguish them on the map and they aren't sorted the same when we look at our list of people we are teaching. Part of why our Area Book system changed so much was to correlate with the new edition of Preach My Gospel (the guidebook to missionary success) that also came out on the Gospel Library App on Friday morning. For the most part, that is the same, although there were some adjustments made to the key indicators (which we've been anticipating since they told us to only keep track of 4 of them since January 2017) and some of the lessons we teach. For any of you who served missions, you might be interested in looking into it! Several doctrines are clarified in the way we are supposed to teach them and I appreciate that very much.

3. Last but not least, I'm finally going to tell you the tracting story I mentioned earlier. Hermana Rhoton and I were tracting in an apartment complex on Saturday morning, and after an hour or so, we met a family from Pakistan, who invited us in from the heat and talked with us for a moment. I think Heavenly Father set up our meeting them more for us than them. The oldest daughter in the family told us their family's story about coming to America to escape religious persecution, and I couldn't help but sit there and think how grateful I am to have been born and live in a land where I have the freedom to live and worship as I choose. It was a serious moment of reflection for me and will be on my mind for the next several days as we here in the United States prepare to celebrate the 4th of July. It's a testimony to me how much God wants us to be able to make and learn from our own choices. Stop and think about it for a minute, okay?

This may be the longest weekly update I've ever written, but I do still have other things to do today, so that's all for now. I hope y'all have a fabulous week and I'll do my best to work hard for the next week or so until I head back home! I love you all!

Love,
Sister Houghton
1150 Cole Dr SW
Lilburn, GA 30047

Atlanta is outside our mission, and so is the airport, so I was shocked to discover that Atlanta is a real city and place as I drove through it a couple of times this week.


Monday, June 25, 2018

Up and Down and All Around

25 June 2018

: Hobby Lobby is a great place for store contacting and we find all sorts of random stuff there. 


Hello everybody. This week has had its ups, its downs, and now it has come all around!

We had a couple of really powerful lessons teaching about baptism this week and we are hopeful to see them come to fruition. It's been a busy week, but a good one for missionary work!

On Thursday, I got to be Hermana Houghton for 24 hours with Hermana Oldham and Hermana Rhoton. By the end of the day I could sort of-ish pray in Spanish! We joked that I might get switched to being a Spanish missionary for my last few weeks, but I don't think President Marsh would try to pull that one on me.

Speaking of President Marsh, he called us yesterday after church and told us he would be at our apartment in 3 minutes. We quickly straightened things up and then he came in to deliver the news that Sister Harper's dad had passed away. Sister Harper took it pretty well, but she may or may not be going to his funeral this week (that is yet to be determined), so stay tuned for next week's email. It's made both of us very glad to know the Plan of Salvation that God has laid out for all of us.

So the work is good, but sad things happen, and that is when we have an amazing opportunity to exercise faith and trust in God. I love you all and hope you will take some extra time to appreciate your families this week.

Love,
. The tres hermanas during exercise time.
Sister Houghton
9102 Holland Place
Lawrenceville, GA
30043


Try Sharing Your Testimony!

From 18 June 2018


A Sister Houghton original watercolor!


Hi everybody!

It's been a wild, good day, so I don't have much time to email - sorry! This week has been missionary work as usual and there is still plenty to keep us busy. I'm going to skip story-telling this week and jump right into the good stuff (at least, to me).

Probably the highlight of this past week was Zone Conference on Wednesday. Instead of our usual trainings all day, we mostly just heard a lot of testimonies from our new mission presidency and their wives and all the missionaries departing in July. The Spirit was amazingly strong in the chapel all day and I left wishing it could just go on and on forever! It brought home to me the power of sharing our testimonies, and I've been trying to implement that each and every day since. I hope you all are able to step out of your comfort zone and share your testimonies this week.

Sorry for the brevity. I hope you all have a fantastic week!

Love,
Sister Houghton
9102 Holland Place
Lawrenceville, GA
30043

P.S. Sorry for no pictures either! 😅

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Best Problem in the World

There are a lot of these little, bright green lizards in Georgia, and the other day, one rode several miles on our car with us and we also found out it can change colors (it's brown, sitting on the windshield wiper).

Hi everybody! 

This week I've been experiencing the best problem in the world! Since the Elders left, our teaching pool of investigators doubled on the first day of the transfer. Our zone goal this transfer is also to find a new investigator every day, so in accordance with that goal, we've been working hard to find and teach new people every single day. Now, we have more people to teach than I can keep track of! And that's my "best problem in the world." I love it. :) 

In other news, I got to go on exchange with Hermana Rhoton again this week - it was a blast! Despite the heat, we made it through a day of tracting and miraculously found a solid investigator at one of the last doors we knocked on. This lady has always rubbed shoulders with Mormons, but never had the chance to learn about what we believe. She also has the mind for remembering historical details (especially about the Bible, which she has studied extensively), and when Sister Harper and I taught her on Friday, we were overjoyed when we could answer her questions because of some old, goofy seminary videos we watched last week. It was awesome, and we are excited to follow up with her this week!

That's all for now everybody! It's been a great week, and today we are having a water balloon-based zone activity, which should be fun! Happy mid-June y'all!

Love,
Sister Houghton
9102 Holland Place
Lawrenceville, GA
30043
 
Tracting in the heat sometimes gets to you, but it's worth it. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Catching UP!

From 4 June 2018


We get to wear some fancy-schmancy hats where we serve ice cream at an extended care center!
Hello everybody! It has been a crazy-busy week, mostly because we have been trying to meet all the investigators the Elders left behind. Probably the best word to describe it is "hectic." Possibly the best part of the week was that we were able to contact not just one, not just two,...but five investigators on Friday within about 3 hours. It was a miracle!

Besides that, the highlight of my week was stake conference this weekend. Elder Whiting of the General Authority Seventy came and led two (that I went to) very good sessions. He taught us about what it really means to minister and love the people around us as Christ did (well, does). I'm hoping to implement many different ideas he talked about in the coming days and weeks, because missionary work is really about loving the people around me.

Last week, I forgot to tell you about Sister Harper! She is my new companion and is from Ajo, Arizona (nothing to do with garlic, for all you Spanish-speakers). She has been out 9 months and is an amazing teacher who even occasionally laughs at my terrible puns. It's been a fun week getting to know each other as we've been running around trying to figure out our lives. I'm looking forward to the rest of the transfer with her.

Love,
Sister Houghton
9102 Holland Place
Lawrenceville, GA
30043

P.S. News of note from Mom:  Sister Houghton's brother Levi received his mission call to Cordoba Argentina.  Fortunately, we will have almost 3 months between Sister Houghton returning home and Elder Houghton departing! 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Miracle Sunday and Transfers

From 28 May 2018

It rained and stormed a fair bit this week, so we got plenty wet!

Hey y'all!


Before I get into the details of my week, transfer calls were last night, and I will be getting a new companion, Sister Harper, here in Collins Hill. Sister Fullmer is going to train and whitewash an area a couple of zones over. I'm sad she'll be leaving, but she'll be an excellent trainer and I'm excited for her. Also, the Elders are being taken out of Collins Hill (because the mission's compliment of missionaries is being drastically reduced this summer, so almost every English area is getting cut to one set of missionaries), so it's going to be a crazy next couple of weeks trying to work with twice as many investigators as we have been. Outside of my area, there are even a couple of quads in the mission, and as Zone Leaders. (Normally missionaries go in twos, or occasionally in trios, but now there are a couple of sets of four missionaries because so many people will be finishing their missions in July!)

Besides transfer news, I only really have a couple of things to tell y'all about.

First, I had the opportunity to be an office missionary for a couple of hours on Friday while Sister Fullmer was in her meeting for training. I gotta say, it was a blast! Our office missionaries are mostly senior couples, and they do a lot of the important things that keep the mission going. Plus, they are really fun and love to joke around with us, which makes them twice as cool. Basically, my appreciation for senior couples and office missionaries has grown immensely this week. If you're considering going on a senior couple's mission, I highly recommend it!

Yesterday (Sunday) was something of our miracle day for the week, so I'm going to tell you about it. There is a mission goal to have 10 lessons each week (per companionship), and Sister Fullmer and I have not had trouble hitting that goal in the past. This week, however, was graduation week for the county we work in, so a lot of our regular appointments didn't happen. Yesterday, we were at 9 lessons and none of our investigators were available for a lesson, so we asked Heavenly Father to help us find a lesson while we were out knocking doors. Sure enough, we got knocking, and on our 4th door, we met a couple who were willing to talk with us for a while. In the end, they weren't interested, but kindly told us not to give up and to "keep spreading the Word." Heavenly Father answered our prayer in a way that wouldn't have happened had we not been willing to work toward our goal. That's a lesson I've experienced time and time again on my mission. Just like prayer is a 2-way communication between ourselves and God, oftentimes, the answers to our prayers are a group effort to make them happen - Heavenly Father will set everything up for us if we will just "go and do." The other miracle yesterday was simply that one of our investigators, H, is actually reading and learning from the Book of Mormon! She was writing a paper for her schoolwork, and had the idea to use a verse she had read in the Book of Mormon. She wasn't sure, but felt good about it, so she asked her 10 year-old daughter what she thought about the idea. Basically, both of them felt it would be good, and now, H's professor wants a Book of Mormon! H was excited to share it with him, and is earnestly seeking her own answer about whether or not it is true. Plus, she is going to make us authentic African food this week, and I'm excited for that. :)

Missionary life is good, and I'm learning to look for little miracles every day, which has really helped me see how this work is truly directed by God. I hope you all are also able to recognize the little blessings in your daily lives this week! I love y'all!

Love,
Sister Houghton
9102 Holland Place
Lawrenceville, GA
30043



We planned to treat ourselves to BurgerFi the other day and ended up getting it for free!

My district this past transfer: Hermana Williams, Hermana Rhoton, myself, Sister Fullmer, Elder Knight, Elder Salle, Elder Roberts, and Elder Nuffer.
Last but not least, Sister Fullmer out-did herself while serving ice cream at an extended care center where we do service.