Monday, May 15, 2017

Catching Waves!

Hey y'all! 

First things first, don't panic when I don't email next Monday. The whole mission is taking turns going to the Temple by zone in the next couple of weeks, so my next preparation day will be next Thursday!

Transfers! Yep! Those are happening! I am no longer a greenie and my trainer, Sister Thorn, will be leaving me tomorrow! She is going clear across the mission to the University of Georgia Young Single Adult Ward! My new companion will be Sister Evans, who I will get to meet tomorrow morning. It should be a pretty fun time here in Allatoona!

There are two big things I want to tell you that I learned about this week.
#1  You meet all sorts of interesting people in Georgia! On Tuesday we found 2 new investigators. One from Kenya and one from Persia! On Thursday, we found another new investigator, who is opting to go homeless for a bit (although he owns and rents out a house). As missionaries, we knock on doors, and most doors look very similar. However, the people behind the doors and each unique! We never know exactly who we are going to meet, and that is the fun part!
#2  The moment you have all been waiting for, where I tell you about what my title means! So, missionaries aren't allowed to go surfing, but on Saturday, I was catching all the waves! We were putting on an open house with 5 sets of missionaries, and nobody was there, so we decided to take turns standing outside holding bright yellow signs and waving at every car that drove past. Plus, it was raining! So the waves were even wet! Even though nobody came, we waved to a lot of people who drove past, so our efforts weren't completely wasted, right? That's right! "No effort is wasted." (PMG) :)

On Sunday for Mother's Day I got to see/talk to my family for 45 minutes, which was awesome! I love my family, and I love that we get to be together for eternity through the sealing power of the Priesthood. That is part of why I am on a mission- to let people know that their families can be eternal and to let them feel that joy.

I love you all and want to wish a late Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful mothers who work so hard each day!

Sister Houghton
701 Downsby Lane
Apt. 333
Woodstock, GA

Pics: The open house crew was my district plus the Spanish missionaries in the zone!

Exchange, Ill, Exchange, Car!

From 9 May 2017
Us with the Hermanas in the new car!
What a week it has been!

The week started off really well on Tuesday with District Meeting and then an exchange! Once again, I was in the Hickory Flat area with Sister Nickels. Sister Nickels is an Amazing missionary! She has taught me a lot about how to "Talk with Everyone," which is a valuable skill as a missionary. Working with her gave me a lot of ideas about how to contact more people without spending quite so much time knocking on doors (which is great to do, but not super effective). Going on exchange is great, especially when you know the area really well from going there 4 or 5 times before!

The low point of the week was that I got sick so nothing terribly exciting happened on Wednesday or Thursday except that I slept A LOT. Sister Thorn was a trooper getting things done and helping me feel okay about staying inside during proselyting time (the mission nurse told me to stay in and get some rest). By Thursday night we were able to get some medicine and now I am back to being fully functional!

On Friday I got to go on another exchange to Collins Hill with Sister Pierre while Sister Thorn went to Mission Leadership Conference. We met and taught some really interesting people during our time tracting in the rain (Fun GA Fact: The weather goes from hot, humid sunshine one day to cold wind and rain the next, even in May). The highlight of the exchange was that they found out their investigator (whom I have met on previous exchanges there) was actually able to be married and baptized the next day! Hooray for him! When Sister Thorn came back to pick me up (and drop off Sister Pierre's companion) she came in a new car! Our little VW Jetta hit 50,000 miles on Wednesday, so we got a brand new Chevy Malibu! It was exciting, but we are now really scared of anything happening to our car (which may not be such a bad thing as we are now taking especially good care of it!)...

Sister Thorn and I at a Recent Convert's house. 

Sister Thorn really loves the new car!
Since then we've been back to normal missionary work! Nothing terribly exciting has happened, but we are looking forward to an open house this week with lots of hope and excitement!

This is my last week of being a "greenie" (new missionary), so I am trying to learn as much as I can while I've still got my trainer around! (I've learned a lot, but there is still so much more!)

Have a wonderful week! 

With lots of love,
Sister Houghton
701 Downsby Lane
Apt. 333
Woodstock, GA
Pics: (1)  (2) (3)

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Miracles in Finding

From 1 May 2017

Kudzoo! a huge vine-plant that grows all over the place here in Georgia
Hello y'all!

Every time I say "y'all" I feel like an imposter, but it is slowly becoming more comfortable! :)

What an exciting week it has been! It's been missionary work as usual, but this week has been especially great. We have had lots and lots of service opportunities and have met lots of interesting people!

(1) Vacuum+Hand
Remember how last week Sister Thorn tried to break my finger (not really)? Well, this week, I decided to continue the trend by doing an even better number on my hand/thumb. With a vacuum. I know. How? Well, it turns out that if you pull on the hose too hard, the vacuum tips over with some speed and if it hits your hand just right, it can paint some pretty bruises! This time, I thought to take a picture to show you all (nothing gross, just colorful). My hand is still fully functional, so all is well. (Don't worry, Mom. :) ).

On Thursday we had Zone Conference! We had Elder and Sister Alba join us from the Area Seventy and President Bennion had a lot to tell us about a big long conference he had last week with Elders Ballard and Rasband from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. I learned too much to explain, so I'll just tell you some of the things all of us missionaries committed to do by the end of the meeting. (1) Mighty prayer for finding, (2) Invite boldly, (3) Talk with people about families, (4) Intensify Studies and Planning, (5) Leave with love, (6) Repent Daily, (7) Testify every Fast Sunday, (8) Check understanding with questions, and (9) Use the Book of Mormon as much as possible! Sister Thorn and I are trying hard to keep all of those things in mind and do each one and it has made such a difference in our missionary work already!

Ever since zone conference on Thursday, I have been working really hard on having "mighty prayers to find" along with the faith necessary to find those who have been prepared. Before daily planning and during every prayer we said, Sister Thorn and I have been asking Heavenly Father to place us where we need to be in order to be the answer to a prayer and also to let us feel the guidance of the spirit. Every single time we have gone tracting since we've started focusing on those things, I have seen a miracle! On Thursday night, when we had enough time to knock on one more door, we met a lady named Joan. She told us that she had met the Elders not too long ago at her daughter's house and that she had completely forgotten about it! By the time we were finished talking to her, she told us that we could come back and that she would read the Book of Mormon!  On Friday night, the first miracle was that we were eventually able to leave a door at which the man really wanted to bash and got mad at us for refusing to bash with him. The second miracle was that as we continued walking along his street, we ran into a lady who had randomly asked us for a copy of the Book of Mormon last week. She told us what she thought of it (she is all the way to 1 Nephi 14!) and we were able to clarify a few things for her and get to know her a little bit better. Just after our Book of Mormon lady walked away, we were trying to decide which way to go at an intersection and a teenage boy came up to us as he was walkig his dog and asked us if we were the same people who had talked to his friend a few weeks previously (on the same street)! The overall miracle of the evening was that Heavenly Father knew exactly what would pick us back up after that painful first contact of the evening (the basher). Fast forward to Saturday evening. In order to reach 70 contacts for the week, we needed to talk to a lot of people in not very much time. We drove to the street we had planned on tracting and found a family having a front-yard gathering. At that one house, we were able to contact 4 people in not very long (since they were politely not interested), and a few houses down, we had an amazing contact with a young father and two of his children. Each time we had to decide which direction to go at an intersection or which house to start on, we tried really hard to let the Spirit guide us, and each time, we met somebody who we were able to have an engaging, gospel conversation with. On Sunday night,we still needed to contact 19 more people to reach our goal of 70 for the week. Since we only had 3 or so hours to go finding, we were worried that we wouldn't quite make it. Accordingly, we prayed very mightily! By the end of the day, we had 20 contacts, 2 new potential investigators, 2 return appointments, and a lot of gratitude to the Lord for helping us achieve our goal. I have personally felt guided by the spirit more in the last 4 days than I ever have before. I have learned for myself that the Holy Ghost really is a very still, small voice, but that if I listen for and to it, the Lord will be able to direct His work, which will make it so I am using my time that much more effectively. I know that this is the Lord's work and that if I earnestly desire to do it the way he would have me do it, then I will be a million times more successful as a missionary. :)

The other exciting bit of the week was working with a man named Jon (that's not his real name). We found him about a month ago and have only been able to meet with him once since. Until this week that is. On Wednesday evening, we were in his neighborhood, walking along the street when he poked his head out his door and asked if we would like to meet his wife and one year-old daughter. Of course we would! We were able to not only meet and talk with them that night, but on Saturday, we got to help them pack up their moving truck! (This, by the way, is the double-edged sword of missionary work. We always want to help our investigators, but we also never want them to move in case they move outside of our area boundaries.) Sadly, Jon and his family no longer reside in our area, but they are still in the mission and they promised to come back and meet with us one more time. Their family is amazing!

Happy May to everybody! Here in Georgia it is getting to be hot and humid, but "no unhallowed [heat] can stop the work from progressing" (Standard of Truth)! I hope you all have a wonderful week!

With lots of love,
Sister Houghton
701 Downsby Lane
Woodstock, GA 30189

Sister Thorn caught a frog before figuring out what she would do with it once she caught it. :)