Monday, 14 October 2013

It Finally Started Raining!

Dear Everyone,
     It finally started raining. This is not the best thing but it's alright. One day it was cold. The next day it was colder. The next day it started raining and it hasn't really stopped yet. Saturday night biking in what I realized were not waterproof trousers and jacket, with soaking wet gloves was a bit of an adventure. Especially since we were going to a place I'd never been before and Elder Maligon's former companion knew the area so well that Elder Maligon never realised where he was going... so we had no idea except for a map in a waterproof bag that wouldn't allow us to turn pages and see part of the journey. So yes, it was an adventure.
Pictures speak a thousand words.

The first person I've taught who was baptised! M lives in Warwick. We were led to her in the park and she taught herself the Gospel with only a bit of direction from us. She was baptised on Saturday in Warwick and one of the perks of being transferred only 10 minutes up the train line (but almost an hour journey when things are said and done from our flat to the chapel in Warwick) is that I got to go to her baptism. I spoke about Baptism at the service. It was short and sweet. M is golden. Literally, she taught herself the Gospel.

My first PB&J sandwich. Note English Jelly is American Jell-O. The funny thing is the Peanut Butter was alright but weird, and the Jam (which was more like American Jelly but called Jam here) is called Florida but made in Belgium and eaten in England. both the PB and J were left over from previous missionaries in our flat.

My little brother is awesome! And he sent me a ninja star that he used as campaign material. He is the best. Also, I'm not sure if he remembers the fact that I was the treasurer at Soulsbyvill Elementary as well for a bit. I didn't run nearly as cool of a campaign though.

Just a few people we're working with:
X is Chinese and studying for a year at Coventry University. He really loves learning and sees the joy that comes from having a relationship with God. He had us over for real Chinese food (many dishes) and then again for real Chinese noodles. He's amazing but it's kind of hard to teach people with no concept of God. Preach My Gospel lessons kind of assume a bit of a Christian or at least religious background so we're trying to figure out a good approach with all of the people we're teaching who don't have that background. It's interesting and with Xu Yang it's a bit slower. He said he would be baptised once he knows it's true though and he's on the right path and has already changed his life a lot.
S is Jamaican and has had a really rough past. He's awesome and really prepared to receive the gospel-it's just a bit of a challenge to help him see the importance of doing the daily things that will help him learn the gospel. He too said he would be baptised but has cold feet on a date at this point. We're teaching him tonight and we asked him to pray about the date we suggested for him. Pray that it goes well
The As are from Romania. I think they were taught by missionaries there but they don't speak very good English so we're trying to figure things out. Fortunately they have a cousin who does speak English. There are four A sisters and then their cousin/translator who we have taught. Their father is a Pentecostal pastor but is fine with us teaching them and actually seems to like us. It will be interesting. All five of them said that they would be baptised if they found out it was the truth (which they will if they will just read, ponder, and pray about the Book of Mormon) and all five were going to walk about an hour to church on Sunday but then it started raining so they didn't come. We're going to stop by them tonight as well so keep them in your prayers!
     The week has been alright but a bit slow. A bunch of our key appointments got cancelled last minute for various legitimate reasons which kind of slowed all of our plans and goals down but it's alright. We just have a lot of catch up to do this week. We're going to the Gadfield Elm Chapel on Friday for a mission even which should be cool. Hopefully it isn't raining.
     Also, I realised how much my knowledge and testimony of the Gospel and particularly the Book of Mormon has grown since I've been serving my mission here in England. It's easy to believe something but much harder to know it and believe it enough to defend it and support it 24/7. So yes, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true. Heavenly Father has a plan for us and he's sent me here as a missionary to help other people know that plan. It is so sad that so many people do not know the truth. A week back, an investigator commented that, if it really was the restored truth, shouldn't Joseph Smith have gone out and preached the word-not just established a church. And then it was like, well ya, he did go and preach and he sent others and published materials so everyone could hear the glorious message of the Restoration. The church he established now sends missionaries to every corner of the world to proclaim the gospel. I am one of them. It's really quite marvelous.
Other random/unimportant things that might interest you:
 I really like Indian food. I think all the stuff I've had has been a bit cooled down from their normal but it has been all really good at members' homes in our area.
  I bought some waterproofing detergent today. I really hope it works. I really need my clothes to be waterproof. Not water-resistant, waterproof. We'll see how it goes.
  I also bought some thermals because it's getting cold and will get colder. Combatting the wet and wind will be all about layering and staying dry.
  Ties in England are really cheap and a bit of a different cut from American ties. So I got two cool ties for £5 today. Woot woot!
  I found some socks with names written on them at the store where I got the thermals. They had Mark and John but no Luke. I got some with Mark on them for cheap and am debating between wearing them just to get back at Dad for always wearing my socks at home and turning the other cheek and sending them home to him.
I love you all lots and lots and hope everything is going well in the U.S. of A. I heard the federal Government was shut down. It's funny though because as a missionary, I'm so out of the loop (especially compared to how keyed in I was to those things before) that I didn't hear about it until it had already been shut down for a week or something. I don't really know...?
Elder Houghton

Monday, 7 October 2013

It Still Hasn't Started Raining!

7 October 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

Hermana Houghton of the Florida Fort Lauderdale
mission with a monstrous fruit!

     First of all, Happy Birthday to my wonderful and amazing sister and good example Hermana Houghton! Hopefully you're following her blog because it's much more wholesome, spiritual, and well written than mine. Basically, she's getting really old though and I'm having a hard time thinking that either of us are actually adults now.

Who says the language of England is English?

     This week has been pretty epic. We've actually got quite a large teaching pool built up. It's just a little bit difficult because some of these are either not too solid, not progressing, or are always busy. We've basically decided that we have no time to do "normal" finding this upcoming week because we're going to be so busy contacting the Potential Investigators we've found already and going by Former Investigators who were dropped for no apparent reason and may just need to be followed up with to get back on track.

The pile of candy from our awesome new investigator!

     One of our New Investigators last week was taught by Sister Missionaries a long time ago on the other side of Coventry. She was happy to have us over and share our message but was always really busy. We finally figured out a time and brought a member who I'd never really met before. He warmed her up perfectly so that she was friendly and happy and readily accepted everything we taught about the Restoration. One of her questions was why Joseph Smith just established a church and didn't go out preaching like Paul. It was a really obvious connection that I hadn't really made before like that. We told her that in fact Joseph Smith did go out preaching the gospel to all the world and the purpose of the restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is largely to proclaim the gospel to all the world as did Paul. I realised just how awesome it is that I get to be a part of this, the greatest movement in the history of the world. I am an ambassador for the truth of God. It really just struck me like that. This is how the Lord works and our Investigator really understood and appreciated that it was the truth and that it made sense that Heavenly Father would do that and work that way. Unfortunately, her husband works in Birmingham 12 hours/day and so it will be a challenge to teach him as they're both very busy. The silver lining of that cloud though is that he works for Cadbury so she has tonnes of free chocolate that she offered (and we accepted). Also, Elder Maligon doesn't like the taste of Cadbury chocolate for some reason. The result is that we had basically a grocery bag full of chocolate and other sweets (since Cadbury which was bought by Kraft now makes all of their candies in the UK) and I got all the chocolate. Another important note: shipping prices just jumped really high so I can't send any to my chocolate monster/brother Levi. Darn!

The park outside the window of our flat.
     As you saw in the subject line and because when in Britain, do as the British and the British love to talk about the weather, "It Still Hasn't Started Raining,"  Admittedly, it did rain on us once which led to slippery bike pedals which led to me slipping and messing up my front gear shifters (ugh!) and it looks like it could rain most days (today it's looking particularly stormy). But the weather is nice. It's getting darker earlier in the evening and staying darker later in the morning. I'm a bit apprehensive because it doesn't get its worst for another 2.5 months and then it has to start getting better (=5 months=the length of my mission thus far where it will be darker/colder than it is now). It's kind of worrisome but that's alright.

     Also, Coventry is amazing! The ward here is really great--even if it's overwhelming to have such a big ward and so many missionaries. (200 and 10 on Sundays). The people here are great! The city is great! Cities and towns in the UK are separated by having a Cathedral but it's definitely a big difference. Coventry is one of the smaller cities but still quite a different environment from Leamington or Stroud.

I'm out of time so Lots of Love,

Elder Houghton