Tuesday, 4 June 2013

June in Stroud

Dear Everyone,

It's interesting how food is here. I went shopping at Tesco today (real Tescos are like big grocery stores-not corner marts-those are Tesco Expresses). You can get really yummy and quite sizeable fresh bread for 45p and a few other things really cheap like that but most things are approximately the price in pounds that they would be in dollars. My food budget is £35/week which was my target budget in dollars at BYU. We do get fed for dinner often which is a major saver. However, whenever we eat out, it can be a drag. Some things eating out are really cheap but others are quite expensive. The other day I got a really fresh cooked burger with onions cooked on the street outside a butcher shop for £2 in a little village called Tetbury-it was great but a little bit small. Also, despite people thinking Americans are really fat (English people think that Americans are all unhealthy and have loads of sugar and salt in everything), there's tons of fried food everywhere--much more so than in the states. There are always local "chippies" where you can get fried anything (fish and chips, battered candy bars, etc.). In the end, like America, you really choose how healthy you want to be. My companion is trying to loose a little weight that he's gained and is going on a caveman diet. It was quite expensive today and I had to help him out with some shopping. I don't think he knows what he's getting into/how intense the real caveman diet that I've heard about is (no seasonings or processed foods, etc.) but it should be fun for him.

This week, I was on exchange for two days and in travel for basically a third day getting to and from those exchanges. It was a bit lame because Elder Limb (the missionary I was on exchange with both times as our District is just myself and Elder Wood, our Senior Couple, our District Leader and his companion Elder Limb) and I have a combined total of just under 10 weeks in the mission field and the areas we were working in were... sparse. Anyway, the benefit was that on the way to and from Yate (where J.K. Rowling is from and Elder Limb lives) and Gloucester (where we trained to meet up), I got to see quite a bit more of our area. There are just a bunch of little quaint villages all over this region of hills, grass, and greenery (with sheep and cows and picturesque houses too). the villages all have a central church or two, winding and random narrow streets walled in by old stone buildings and skinny pavements (sidewalks). It was cool to finally get out to the other villages as there really are quite a few. It's remarkable how similar Sonora is to Stroud. We have the central city (called villages here because they're small) and then a bunch of outlying areas along windy roads in the hills. The difference is that Everything is more compact. I don't think I appreciated how small the cars are and how narrow the roads are in England. All the car brands are different. There's a bit of overlap but not much and many of the car brands here that we have in America sell totally different cars in the different countries (I keep seeing this ugly Ford convertible that looks like a sad VW bug). The weather has also been really nice here. I'm still working on a method of getting pictures to you so sorry again.

The work in England progresses slowly in comparison to what Eliza reports. We just picked up a new investigator so our total is up to four. It's interesting to see how Eliza's rapid fire get in, get them to feel the spirit and then drop them or teach and convert them contrasts with us here. Just getting past hello is a challenge--let alone getting on to teaching and testifying of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are a lot of Spiritualists in Stroud. Some people just love telling us how they commune with the Universe and have found happiness through accepting their place with some great everything. It's wonderful. Alternatively, there are a lot of pretty strong Christians who believe they are all part of the "Body of Christ" and have no interest in hearing about why God would establish exactly one true church on the Earth. Most aren't too bad once/if you get to talking with them and appreciate that we have a lot of faith to come and do what we do as missionaries. I think that part of their niceness comes from living in much closer conditions than anyone except the most inner-city dwellers in the U.S. People are used to walking around and talking to people they run into-even if most of them know who we are and are really good at ignoring us.

I've had some great experiences during Personal Study of late. I just wish I could spend all day studying sometimes because there's so much to learn. Also, Heavenly Father Answers Prayers! I was searching for some inspiration on how to get inspiration and got it in the moment of my need when I prayed for the help and guidance I needed. This is really His work and the way to get His blessings and help is to make your work His work. As long as we are focused on doing what he wants us to do, he will provide us with everything we need to be able to do it.

Elder Houghton

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