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!

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

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!

Sister Houghton
18001 Summerwood Ln
Alpharetta, GA

with Sister Fertig

Good Stuff

From 4 December 2017

At the Temple with the Sisters and the Elders in the Zone

It has been a pretty crazy week here in Georgia! Now that December has arrived, things are warming up and the weather is beautiful! I'm loving it. :)

On Monday, we only had a half-preparation day because...

We got to go to the Temple on Tuesday! It was pretty much an all-day event, so we made sure to take plenty of pictures! Our whole zone went, so everybody was really, really excited. Why? Because there is so much peace to be found in the House of the Lord. It was especially wonderful to me because it has been just over a year since I went through the Temple for the first time. So much of my understanding of and perspective on life has changed since then, and it was interesting to me to review all those changes. I could see the hand of my Heavenly Father behind each one and also how each challenge I faced has helped me become a stronger, happier person. If you haven't been to the Temple lately, I highly recommend it, even if you aren't able to go inside.

On Wednesday, I got to go to a conference with Elder Weatherford T. Clayton of the Quorum of the Seventy. He gave a group of us missionaries a whole lot to think about, and it may take me the rest of my mission to apply it all. Nevertheless, I am going to try! Directly after the conference, I found out that I was going to be personally interviewed by him, along with the other 3 missionaries who went from Athens. He gave me an opportunity to ask any questions I had and, of course, my mind went completely blank. I managed to come up with a half-decent one that has been on my mind lately, but nothing extraordinary came of it.

a quick image of the Nativity event
(pictures were allowed and
even encouraged) set up
in the cultural hall of our church
The next interesting day of the week was Friday, when we had a zone conference (our second this transfer) with Elder Clayton. He talked to us about a lot of the same concepts and ideas, but I was able to get a whole lot more out of it this time around. He talked about teaching simply, what our mission funnel is (walking through our key indicators), and what each member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is like in real life. Everything was a little bit less heavy than it was on Thursday, and I was excited to get to work afterwards! However, we got back to Athens just in time for our Stake Nativity Event (a display of 400+ nativity scenes from around the world with a live nativity outside- complete with live donkeys you could pet!). Which was still work, but not the kind I envisioned during the trainings earlier in the day. Sister Nielson and I went around trying to talk with everybody in search of those who had never been inside an LDS church before. Probably my favorite part of the day was the choir performance during the last hour of the event. And by "choir performance," I really mean the solo of "Carol of the Bells" done by the world-class organist in our congregation. You had to be there. It was amazing! We spent Saturday evening the same way and it was even better the second time!

The biggest miracle we experienced this week was Seleta. She showed up to church two Sundays ago, and came again yesterday. Afterwards, we managed to pull her aside for a lesson and now she is planning on getting baptized next Saturday! Sister Nielson and I are feeling SUPER blessed to be able to work with her, and it is going to be a busy two weeks until then!

I love you all and hope you have a fantabulous week! Don't forget to #LightTheWorld this week (see and enjoy this Christmas season!

Sister Houghton
Athens, GA 30605

P.S. Transfers are next week, so probably hold off on mail after today until I let y'all know what is happening next Monday. :)