Wednesday, March 22, 2017

30 Minutes and 39 Seconds

From 20 March 2017

Hello everybody!

My title today is, as you might have noticed, an amount of time. To be more precise, it is the length of time it takes for a sweet lady from Georgia to tell you that her husband read a whole bunch of anti material so he doesn't want us in his house so we can't visit her anymore. Yep. And that wasn't even in person. Just on the phone. While it was sad that we won't be able to visit this lady anymore, it also made us laugh that it took that long for her to tell us so.

Well, this week has certainly been interesting! On Tuesday, we had Zone Conference for 6 hours! It was awesome! We talked a lot about finding and what we can do to be more successful missionaries in our particular areas. One thing that President Bennion told us to do is to work more with the mid-teen to mid-twenties age group. Just in the past two days, Sister Thorn and I have had the chance to run into two people fitting that description who both seemed interested in learning more about what we go around telling people about. Young people have an enormous impact on the church now and in the future! Another thing we talked about was how to listen to what people say when we start contacting them and then using that to figure out what to share with them. For example, if somebody mentions a recently deceased family member, that might be a cue to talk with them about the Plan of Salvation. Oftentimes, the Spirit will direct us with what to say if we will only listen to the person we are talking to! There were lots of other things I learned at zone conference, but those are the ones that stood out most. :)

One morning this week, while we were out tracting, we had several interesting experiences. The first door we knocked on was answered by a lady who had previously met with missionaries and had read bits of the Book of Mormon. She wasn't particularly interested in talking with us at the moment, so we kept going. A few doors down, we met a Ba'hai (I don't know if I spelled that right) gentleman who came out onto his porch and talked with us for about 30 minutes. He also already had "several of those books," but did tell us we could come back later and talk more. A little while later, at the other end of the street, we met a lady who actually let us in to talk to her! She told us that she wasn't really sure if she had faith in Jesus Christ because of some very difficult things she has been through. She did, however, have a powerful testimony of prayer. We were able to share the Plan of Salvation with her and talk a lot about eternal families. When we had to go, we asked her if she had ever heard of the Book of Mormon, she went to her shelf and picked one up that some Elders had left there previously! We gave her a chapter to read, set a return appointment, and left. As we walked away though, we realized just how many seeds had been sown by the missionaries who had previously tracted this particular street. That morning, I realized that although I may not see immediate results for my efforts, eventually, something will come of it.

Pictured: Last night this cat went tracting with us for about 40 minutes. He was super friendly and meowed at every door, so we took some pictures with him! 

Also, it was super cold earlier this week, so every time we got back in the car, Sister Thorn had to take a moment to defrost her fingers before driving.

Quote of the week: "Keep on keepin' on and do it more effectively!" (Elder Oaks)

- Sister Houghton

Hermana For a Day

From 13 March 2017

Zone Meeting was on Tuesday and we have zone conference tomorrow!

Hey y'all!

Pi day is approaching, and the gas station on our street knows it. :)
As my title suggests, this week, I got to be Hermana Houghton for a day! On Friday morning, Sister Thorn, Hermana Solis, Hermana Rhoton, and I had to go to a trainer/trainee meeting in Lawrenceville with all the other greenies and trainers in the mission. After the meeting, Hermana Rhoton and I got to try Bruster's ice cream for the first time! It was some of the best ice cream I have ever tasted! When we got back to Woodstock, I became Hermana Solis's companion for the next 24 hours. She has been out for 14 months and grew up speaking Spanish and English. Besides being able to speak Spanish (something I quickly learned I am not good at), she is an amazing missionary! We got along really well, and even though I couldn't participate in most of the conversations we had while tracting, she still made me feel like I was being helpful. It was a blast to be her companion! On Saturday morning, we exchanged back to our normal companions and Sister Thorn and I got right to work!

Daylight Savings is a wonderful thing for missionaries because
it doesn't get dark until later, so we can tract until it is
almost time to go home, even though it is freezing!
I can't think of much else to tell you about this week, so I'll briefly tell you all about Georgia weather. It goes like this. Thursday morning was a beautiful, sunshiney day. Perfect short sleeve weather. Jump to 3 am on Friday. Sister Thorn and I both woke up to a thunder and lightning along with an absolute downpour. In fact, we had a power surge and our smoke alarm started going off to make things even more exciting! We opened some windows, made sure we weren't going to die in a fire, and waited for the lightning and thunder to move away before even trying to go back to sleep. Fun stuff, right? The next morning it was sprinkling but fairly warm out, and by Friday afternoon, the weather was downright beatiful with just a little bit of wind. By Sunday morning, the skies were completely clear and it was freezing. Literally. It has yet to warm up at all, and it is still very cold outside, but I'm sure by Thursday it will be sunshiney and warm again!

On a more spiritual note:  One evening this week, all of our plans had fallen through and Sister Thorn and I weren't really sure what to do. We had several ideas, but it was after dark, so our options were limited. We decided to pray to know what to do or where to go. After the prayer, the name of one of our investigators popped into my head. I told Sister Thorn my thoughts and she told me that nothing had come to her. She further explained that sometimes, the spirit doesn't speak to both companions and when he speaks to only one, it is one of the ways Heavenly Father tests our companionship to see if we trust each other and if we are truly working together. It was a powerful learning morment for me as I realized the power of the Spirit in directing our companionship. :)

With lots of love,
Sister Houghton
701 Downsby Lane
Apt. 333
Woodstock, GA

You Win Some, You Learn Some

From 6 March 2017

I am in the Allatoona Ward, and we found it!

Hey y'all!

This week I learned a lot, but I think the most important thing I learned is that Satan tries really hard to stop us missionaries. However, we have the power to tell him to knock it off, because we get to choose what our attitude will be each and every day. There were several instances this week where I started to feel insufficient or incapable of doing the work, especially while trying to find/contact people. But here's the thing: if we decide to be positive and look for the good in every situation, we can get a lot more done than if we are dragging our feet. Heavenly Father wants us to be happy. That is what we tell everybody we meet. How often, though, do we realize that He wants us as missionaries  to be happy as well? When we are discouraged or lack motivation, that is Satan talking to us telling us that what we are doing is not important, when, really, it is! To bring it back, the thing I really learned this week is to tell Satan that, no, he cannot win, and I am going to be happy even when things get hard. :)

To explain my title, sometimes we think we are losing in a situation because things aren't turning out how we hoped they would. In reality, we are being presented with an opportunity to learn something, which is just another way of winning! :)

I got to go on exchange twice this week. The first time was for 24 hours with Sisters Nickel and Housel, who are awesome. We knocked on doors, talked with a cop, gave a Book of Mormon to a cop (who was in her car and stopped to talk to us after deciding not to scare us by turning her lights on at us), and got to do lots of service. My second exchange was with Sister Pierre, who is also a greenie. Both of our companions had to go to Mission Leadership Conference (which entailed 4+ hours in the car for my companion and I - Atlanta traffic is the worst!), so we were left to go tracting for a day. Exchanges are awesome, though, because you get to see how other missionaries work.

Sister Thorn and I got to see lots of miracles this week, but I am out of time to tell you all about them! Basically, Heavenly Father works in mysterious ways, and often in the evenings when we are about to go home.

I love you all and hope you each find a way to share the gospel with somebody each and every day!

With Lots of Love,
Sister Houghton
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