Monday, March 26, 2018

#ldsconf


Yay for cars!



Springtime means the bugs are
coming out in Georgia!
Hello world! Not very much has happened this week, so instead I'm going to tell you all about how I ended up on a mission!

2.5 years ago, my older sister, Marta, was on her mission in Mexico City. It was the week before General Conference and she challenged me to come up with 3 questions I wanted answers to. Well, I could only come up with one. As a 17 year-old freshman in college, I was trying to figure out my plans for schooling and career and I decided that if an 18-month, full-time mission was going to be in the mix of things, then I should probably know that sooner rather than later. My one question, therefore, was, Should I go on a mission? That Saturday, conference weekend began. I anxiously listened to the announcements and speakers (after all, they are the living Prophet and Apostles), and toward the end of the day, a certain Elder Martino stood up to speak. The address he gave was titled, "Turn to Him and Answers Will Come." I felt the Spirit witness to his words, which directed earnest seekers of truth to turn to Heavenly Father in prayer, with real intent, and answers would indeed come! That night, I decided to act on that counsel, and sure enough, I felt the confirming witness of the Spirit that I should leave my life behind for 18 months to go and serve the Lord and my fellowman. I am deeply grateful to Marta for issuing me the challenge to have questions all those months ago. Since General Conference is this weekend, I invite each of you to write down some questions you have (at least one) and then pay attention to the whispering of the Holy Spirit as you listen to the inspired counsel given to us by God's chosen servants. The things you hear from them will answer your questions or at least teach you how to obtain answers to your questions. That is one of the great blessings of having a living prophet and apostles on the earth today - through them, Heavenly Father can direct not just one person at a time (which He does every day), but the whole world at once. I'm excited to see what direction the Lord gives us for our day, and I hope you are too! And General Conference falls on Easter weekend, which is a whole other added bit of excitement and gratitude to Heavenly Father (which I will address next week).

Have a fantastic week this week! I love y'all!

Love,
Sister Houghton
276 Springdale Dr
Apt. #7
Winder, GA 30680


Monday, March 19, 2018

Happy Hard Work Holidays!

19 March 2018


The Winder/Fort Yargo missionary crew

Hello everybody! Every week I sit down to write this email, and every week I experience a "stupor of thought" as I review what's been happening and what I've been learning as a missionary here in Georgia. There are always good, happy memories, and hard, happy memories. Missionary work (ask anyone who has served a mission) is no easy thing, but it is always a happy thing because everything we missionaries do is centered on spreading the joy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as much as we can!

This week has been one of hard, happy memories. We talked with lots of strangers, found some people to teach, and a whole bunch of them decided not to be taught any more. There's agency (the ability to choose for oneself) for you! One of the hard things about being a missionary is that I know how much the restored gospel of Jesus Christ can bless any individual on the planet (and through them, their family and friends and everyone they know), but all I can do is invite them to learn more and act on the truths they are taught by the Holy Ghost. Ultimately, it is up to them to choose to have the peace of the gospel. It saddens me when the people we teach decide not to have that in their lives, but it doesn't change how much God loves them, so I trust he'll take care of them.

So far, this has been a very serious email. Let me tell you about a good, happy occasion from this week. Every Friday morning, we go help out at an adult day center, just working on crafts and then preparing the tables for lunch. One of the regulars there always asks us if we know who he is, and we always respond with, "Chuck Norris!" (His name is not Chuck Norris) He then proceeds to tell us, "That's right, I'm Chuck Norris! I'm tough, and I'm strong!" Well, on Friday we went through the same conversation and, when the room was unusually quiet for a moment, one of the workers there got him started singing the song "I'll Fly Away," which is a hymn (I'm not sure if it's Baptist, Methodist, or something else). The whole room was smiling as he sang, not one, not two, but three verses at the top of his lungs. As he sang that hymn, giving glory to God, the Spirit filled the room in a very tangible way. I was beaming as I hummed along.

Weatherwise, spring is coming but we get bits and pieces of winter every few days/hours. Georgia has lots and lots of flowers and, lately, we've had lots of snacks while out contacting and tracting because there are pecan trees all over the place! We even found a nutcracker in our apartment the other day, so now we don't have to step on the pecans to crack the meat out of the shells.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you about the holidays of the week! On Wednesday, for Pi Day, I had a pot pie for dinner while on exchange with one of the Sister Training Leaders, and on Saturday, I made sure to wear green. We were actually doing some family history work on Saturday morning, and it just so happened that the family line I randomly chose to start working on was Irish! I was super excited, given that it was St. Patrick's Day.

Well, that's all for now folks! Missionary work is going and there's always lots to do. I love you all and hope you have a fantastic week this week!

Love,
Sister Houghton
276 Springdale Dr.
Apt. 7 
Winder, GA 30680


You'll never guess what I finally got around to...making pbebfernøddex! There are 3 containers in my cabinet,
1 of which is very well hidden and disguised as Gatorade. 

A Week of Work

From 12 March 2018

We found this sign in downtown Winder and had to take pictures with it.


Well, it's been a pretty usual week of work in Winder. We visited and taught a bunch of people and carried on the normal routine of missionary work.

The absolute highlight of the week was a lesson we had with one of our investigators, named M. She has been meeting with the missionaries for about 3 months now, and we have recently had some serious breakthroughs with her, just in terms of helping her understand what we're teaching. On Wednesday evening, we went over and let her choose a topic for us to learn about from the Book of Mormon. She chose hope, so we read the story of Alma the Younger with her. As we read about Alma's converting experience with the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the Spirit was very strong, and M was able to recognize it. She didn't decide to be baptized right then and there, but it was wonderful to see how God teaches His children small and simply truths in small and simple ways.

I know this is relatively short, but that's really all there is to tell you about this week. I love you all and hope you are able to feel the peace of the Spirit at some point this week.

Love,
Sister Houghton
276 Springdale Dr.
Apt. 7 
Winder, GA 30680

Sometimes animals go tracting with us, and it's awesome. 
One of our ward missionaries turns 80 this week, so we were invited to a big party to meet some of his nonmember friends, but there was also a great chance to drive a cardboard car (a past-time of mine ;) ).

All the Sisters

From 5 March 2018
Athens Sisters + Sister Marsh


It has been quite the week, but before I tell you about it, I'll update you on transfers, because I've already been in Winder for 6 weeks now! Actually, it's pretty straightforward, because I am staying here with Sister Wagner. That's all of the update. Okiedokie.

Athens Zone @ the Temple
Tuesday morning got our week off to a great start when we had 3 new investigators by noon! One of them was actually a lady I briefly taught back in Athens who recently moved to Winder and loves reading about Nephi. She's older and may or may not be all there mentally, but I love seeing how Heavenly Father is aware of her and her needs. It's a good reminder to me that He is aware of all our needs! The other new investigators we found are the parents of a young family with such great faith in God. They each have an awesome perspective on the importance of families being centered in the gospel and so many good questions. As we talked with them, they kept having more and more questions, which they eagerly anticipate answers to. Sister Wagner and I are excited to teach all these precious children of God!

Athens Sisters @ Breakfast



On Wednesday, we hopped in the car with some Sisters in the branch above our ward and headed over to Sandy Springs, Georgia, where we had brunch with all the Sisters in the Zone and then headed to the Temple! I had printed 6 names that needed a certain ordinance done, and because of the timing of things, we (myself and some of the other missionaries) were able to get 5 of them done, which was a wonderful tender mercy to me. Also, the Temple is such a peaceful place. It was good to just sit and not have a care in the world for a short while.

From Wednesday night to Thursday morning, we stayed in the mission home in Lilburn (note to Levi: President Marsh may be challenging your position as primary popcorn maker and consumer). It was a good time chatting with other Sisters and President and Sister Marsh.

Then there was Thursday. We spent most of Thursday at a Mission Sisters Conference, where all of the Sisters in the mission got together for special trainings and whatnot. We did (no joke) yoga, coloring, skin care, and some more spiritual trainings on grit, grace, problem-solving, studying our Patriarchal Blessings, and "linking instead of ranking." Overall, I think it achieved the desired effect, and I personally walked away with lots of ideas to try applying in my everyday missionary work. On the way back to Winder, we stopped at a Dwarf House Chick-fil-a for dinner and by the time we were home, it was time to get ready for bed!

The rest of the week has been a wild blur. Here's the good news though: I have lots of pictures from this week. I'll attach a few of them. ðŸ˜‰

Well, I hope you all are having a great week and that everything is peachy! Spring has sprung here and everybody with allergies is feeling it real good. I love you lots!

Love,
Sister Houghton
276 Springdale Dr
Apt. 7 
Winder, GA 30680