Monday, 29 July 2013

Book of Mormon Study, Skinny English Suits, and Llamas?

Dear Family and Friends,
     This week in Stroud has been a bit slow. Although I hate to start by talking about the weather, you all know the saying "When in England, do as the English." I've been told that the best way to start a conversation is to talk about the weather. It's been mostly hot and muggy. Not as bad as last week but still pretty draining. On Wednesday though, I woke up to a thunderstorm which was really cool. Thunder and lightning are rare here. It's been on and off cloudy and rainy since Saturday afternoon now as well.
     In other news, we heard that the dress code for missionaries was changed recently. We haven't gotten the details. It's kind of funny that other people know about all this before the missionaries who are actually affected by the change know. There are rumors about Khaki trousers (not pants here in England), no backpacks, no skinny ties, brightly coloured ties being encouraged, etc. etc. It will be interesting to see if things are different here. I don't know how I would function without a backpack. Skinny ties were not allowed before but are the norm in England as are brightly coloured ties so it's interesting to see what would seem like at once both a loosening and tie-tening of the rule (so punny... I guess Josh did rub off on me) in the colour and width columns. It's also funny how such a small change as that is actually really significant to us.
    I'd like to share a bit today about our awesome ward in Stroud. The ward is really small (would be a branch in the States and is definitely on the branch/ward boundary even for here) but also very vibrant. Everyone here is so loving and friendly. They are all really willing to help with missionary work and be involved in making things happen. We have a pretty large YSA group here as well. They are the best! On Sunday, our amazing recent convert Brother Kojo Williams (I'll have to get a picture/video at some point) spoke and then Sister Jacqui Webb spoke. It was quite the contrast in many ways. Kojo is really spirited and energetic. He knows the bible very well and did a great job getting the ward energised on sharing the gospel. Sister Webb is a bit older and is a fireball English lady sometimes (especially around Kojo who we've helped to work on her house) but other times quite calm and stately. They are both really interesting people and it was cool to me to see how Heavenly Father has so many different children but how they can all share the same testimony of him. That's how the Stroud Ward is. Each person is unique and has their own story but they all share a deep and abiding love for and commitment to the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are amazing.
No pictures, so we'll have to guess
what Elder Houghton might look
 like in his skinny English suit. . .
     Bad news though, I forgot my camera and though the library is only two minutes from our flat, we lose reserved time and we were late so I don't have any pictures to share with you. Look forward to Elder Houghton decked out in skinny English suit with pointy English shoes. You might laugh but that's ok--when in England, do as the English ok!
     I've been studying the Book of Mormon lately. I'll have Mosiah finished soon. The Book of Mormon is amazing because it's so full of clear and concise truth. Unlike some other scriptures, it's meant for our day--for us. I have such a strong testimony that the Book of Mormon is true and that it is God's word for us. It came forth as part of the Restoration of our Heavenly Father's true and everlasting gospel--reading it and abiding by its teachings will bring every person closer to our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ of whom the book testifies. I love the words of Abinadi which explain that men are not saved by the law but rather by the atonement of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. I just love the Book of Mormon. I wish everyone would read it. I'm also excited to hear that my wonderful Mother and Uncle will be teaching the Book of Mormon in Seminary! I love and miss Seminary so much! I wish I could go back through high school just for Seminary. I'm sure they'll love waking up at 5 every day with their children too!  (Note from Mom. . .we already did!)
I'm running out of time. I love and miss you all so much.
Elder Houghton

P.S. Who knew llamas could teach seminary??? 

(Houghton cousins refer to their uncles as Llamas for some reason.)

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