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 there 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!

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.

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