Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Stroud is a lot like Sonora. And Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling.

Elder Houghton's neighborhood?

No pictures yet. Sorry. Working on it.  (So his mom will add some from Google Images.)
Cheese Rolling in Gloucestershire
A Cheese Rolling victor!
Yesterday was a Bank Holiday and P day so we went with the senior missionaries (who are a huge blessing-- there are only like three couples in the mission and they have a car and our area is one of the biggest so we need it and they feed us sometimes and they're really funny and they're new like me-- it's great) and two YSA members (there are actually a lot of YSA people in the Stroud ward (which itself had only 52 members on Sunday of which about 8 are moving out in the next week and six (us, the senior couple, and a senior couple of Stake missionaries) are missionaries--the Bishop also lives elsewhere in the Stake--it's pretty tiny and would definitely be a branch in the States)). Anyway, the six of us went to world famous Gloucestershire (pronounced Glah-stir-sure) Cheese Rolling which you'll have to watch on youtube as it's quite complicated to explain. It was quite epic except that the actual action only lasted about 5 minutes and we were there for 5 hours waiting for it to start and then waiting for a Spanish man who majorly broke his ankle to be taken off the slope (TH lifeguards could have done it in 20 minutes easily but England Fire/ambulance department were making a point of taking a long time because the event (100+ year old tradition) is officially banned). That basically took up all of P day though which is why there are no pictures as I need either an SD card reader or a cable that attaches my camera to a USB plug.

Stroud is a lot like Sonora in many ways. It's a hippy town with a lot of outlying areas (tons of placenames) that all have their own little downtown areas and such. It's also on a hill and very white. Most other areas are completely flat, including Yate where I had an Exchange on Wednesday and will have another tomorrow (our District Leader (our District is just us, the senior couple (the Darracqs), and his companionship) is there) which is where J.K. Rowling once lived. There are some interesting things in regard to that. A little town in our area is called Durseley and lots of neighbourhoods look just like Privet Drive. It's kind of freaky. The houses are all really tiny and the cars are miniature (as are the windy roads). I was walking by one building that was actually two houses (lots of houses are just parts of a bigger building) and realized that it's longest outer wall was shorter than our short one but that I had been thinking of it as big in comparison to other houses I've seen. Basically all the cars are little hatchbacks.

To answer some questions:

Marta; the MTC was about 65% American. There were three English missionaries, one Irish missionary, two Danish, one Swedish, one German, two Pacific islanders, one Brazilian, two Chinese missionaries, three Russians, and three Canadians. That's all I can think of now. The rest were Americans and probably half of the Americans were Utahns. I haven't been forced to eat an egg yet. Nice try though. In the MTC they really drilled the fact that we are always supposed to call missionaries by Elder___ and Sister___ and not ANYTHING else (just their last name, their first name, or even referring to a group of missionaries as "guys") so just Elder___ or Sister___. I almost called Kirsten Sister Weber in an email I wrote her. I was in the MTC for 13 days. The flight wasn't too awful but it was pretty lame as the navigation screen we could watch was really poor and the rest of the entertainment system was not missionary appropriate. Most people just pronounce Houghton like Americans do when they're introduced to our name so I help them out. A few have told me that they've seen it pronounced Haw-ton though. I actually didn't feel sad at the Sacramento Airport at all. It just wasn't a sad experience for me-just happy really to move on. How were you all?

Tess; the English keyboard has a shorter left shift key and the backslash key takes up the right half of what would be the left shift key. The " is on the 2 key, £ are on 3, $ are on 4, @ is where " is on the American keyboard, there ~ and # key is next to Enter, and I think that's it. The MTC was awesome. There were only like 60 of us there and it was totally different from Provo and I had the best District ever and an overall awesome experience! The missionaries there were inspiring.
Ok. If I failed to answer questions, please note that it's hard to answer them but easier if you highlight/number them in letters. I know that sounds super lame but it's really helpful. Mail stuff to my real address which is:
Elder Houghton
Flat 29A Lansdown
Stroud GL5 1BG
Caroline's getting MARRIED!!! Crazy! I'm jealous though because all the Kemper family  will be out in California and I won't be there.

Now some spiritual stuff. I've been studying Preach My Gospel (I wish I knew it way better than I do right now) and the Book of Luke in the New Testament in addition to the study that I do each day for the investigators and others that we are teaching. I'm learning a lot from the New Testament about the life of Christ that I've forgotten since seminary in 2008-09. Also, the Book of Mormon amazing and is definitely the most powerful tool we have as missionaries to invite others to come unto Christ. I'm so glad I had Brother Largey's class the last two semesters and Marta, make sure you get him. His class really prepared me for understanding the scriptures the way missionaries need to.
I've got to get on to writing an email to President Rasmussen so have a lovely week and keep me posted.
Elder Houghton

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