Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Studying the Book of Mormon

New mode of transportation!

Dear Family,
This week has been crazy. Among other things, we had a really interesting lesson last night with our investigator-on-a-baptismal-date GM. He's got caught on some stuff with the Word of Wisdom which led us to see that he hasn't really received his answer about whether the church or Book of Mormon are true. It's a much more complicated situation than that and would take too long to explain so I won't here. It was an amazing lesson for us though. Elder Wood spoke by the Spirit so well! Words were put into our mouths. I said things that didn't make sense to me. At one point, we both got the prompting to have G say a prayer at the same time. I felt the spirit more strongly there than I think ever before. I felt that burning of the bosom and it was wonderful. The challenge is helping G to feel the same thing. I also saw G as someone who is just like me in many ways. He thinks and understands things the same way that I do and struggles with some of the same things I struggle with. I know that I was sent here to help him because I can relate to him in a way that perhaps someone else could not. I'm grateful for that opportunity and doing my best to utilise it fully.

This past week, I've been studying the The Book of Mormon. I'm trying get to a point where I can use the Book of Mormon to answer the questions of investigators and others with ease. Doing so will help them see that their concerns can be answered by the Book of Mormon and that the Book of Mormon is valuable and worthwhile for them to read and follow. The challenge for me is becoming accustomed to locating those answers throughout the Book of Mormon on the spot. Reading the Book of Mormon with that in mind though helps me to remember where particular verses are and learn how I can really rely on the Spirit in those situations if I am as prepared as I can be and worthy of his help and direction.
Great to hear that you're all enjoying Yosemite today! I've been using Yosemite as my landmark so people will get an idea of where I'm from. Today I met an American who knew where Sonora and Twain Harte were but other than that, Yosemite is kind of hit and miss. I often just end up telling people that they've probably seen pictures of Yosemite but might not remember them. The American I met today was actually at the Bike shop where I bought my bike. I hope the exchange rate was good today! I lost quite a few pounds (I'm skinny enough as it is) and don't really want to know the value in dollars. I ended up getting a Specialized (brand) Hybrid which I like quite a lot. It was a bit pricey but I've been told by everyone to buy a good bike and that I'll be able to sell it when I'm done with it--some people even take their bikes home at the end of their missions (we'll see about that...). I would have rather gone much cheaper and even thought of getting a really cheap bike (£100ish) but was convinced otherwise.* Hopefully this all works out. It is a nice bike so I did get a nice D lock with an £800 guarantee.
Note: I'm using English Spellings as much as I can.

Marta, I miss being with my family most about home. That and the wide open spaces everywhere. The accents here aren't that bad at all actually, some regions are really bad but they're ok here. They do get easier after you've been here for a while. The funny thing is that in the MTC, we were all talking with English accents subconsciously but now none of the missionaries do. Stroud is a hippie town (and only the largest of many towns in our area) and it is quite diverse. C of E (Church of England) probably dominates as elsewhere. Other than that, it's like Sonora, lots of people with little or no belief and then a lot of "spiritualists" who offer free healings down the street from us Wednesdays at 3. Favourite part of being a missionary-don't know. One interesting thing is that I've sort of lost my past identity. I'm a missionary now so when people are rude to us or something, it's to missionaries and the church, not to me. It's kind of weird and there are other aspects. Basically, knowing that I will be blessed with the ability to eat anything that's put in front of me makes it all work. Nothing has been really disgusting. It's all pretty normal. Eating English is a bit different but it's not bad. I've got pictures down but have none to share today. Yes, it's really wonderful to know that people on the other side of the planet are thinking of me so thanks.
Tess: I just got your post-parade letter. I've been wanting to do a band pool party after the parade for years and am quite jealous. Nice job at sections. Elder Wood likes to tease me that I let my sisters be faster than me-it was a mistake to tell him. It's fine though. I'm glad you're an awesome swimmer and I am a tad jealous. Thanks for the advice on prayer-it's a good point. How's Tuolumne Pool? Tell Paul Hi and keep him in line for me please.
Levi: What's up Brother?!? I'm really missing my favourite Brother Levi! I'd love to hear what's going on and you're out of school so you can write me! Make sure your summer is productive though.
Mum: Thanks for managing everything for me at home. I missed your weekly email and hope all is well with the homefront.
Dad: Your preaching isn't all that bad. It's often really applicable and helpful so thanks and keep it up. Don't go crazy on the ward though. Also, I thought I would suggest that you can probably type an email and then print it if that would be easier than writing out and copying a letter. Thanks for it though. I would be interested to hear how Bishopping (sp?) is going--especially working with the missionaries. Make sure you use them!
I love you all and love to hear from you. Things are difficult but great out here--if it wasn't a challenge it wouldn't be worth it. Sorry my communication with you is so short. My typing speed is increasing. I'm hoping to get a letter to the Family out today in addition to one to mi hermana.
Elder Houghton
P.S. I'll get better at pictures. I promise! Comments on the last batch if any???

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