Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Kangaroos & Miracles

From 19 November 2013

Dear Everyone,
     Firstly, the pictures. Sorry that these probably aren't the kinds of pictures that you're interested in at all but they're the only ones I take and I never thing about it until Monday when I'm uploading them. Last Monday, I found Kangaroo meat at Lidl where we usually do our grocery shopping. There were also Reindeer chunks next to the Kangaroo Steaks (and a funny quote from the member who drove us--> we're having Reindeer soon because "there's nothing more festive than eating Rudolph for Christmas!"). Anyway, here are the pictures of the Kangaroo in process of being cooked and then in the process of being eaten. It was actually quite tasty and nice. Not really tough like I'd been told it would be by an Australian missionary in our Zone (who made the claim that Australians are the only people in the world who eat their national animal (which, Elder Ramos pointed out, is not true; South Africans eat their national animal too)).
     This week has been full of miracles. One miracle was when we went to stop by a less active member of the church near our flat right before we got a ride to a baptism in Wolverhampton for Elder Ramos' Investigator. The less active member wasn't home but we had a few minutes so we decided to knock some doors. Not a single one of them answered and we got to what we both thought would be the last door to knock. The man at the door promptly invited us in and we got to teach a first lesson to this really neat Romanian family. Despite us saying we didn't need or want anything, they sent their daughter to the corner shop to get us Fanta and some cake things which we were then obliged to partake of (much to the chagrin of Elder Ramos who hadn't had a fizzy drink in four years (because he's really healthy, etc.) and reacted a little bit to the sugar rush). At the end of the lesson, we found out that the Romanian family had investigated the church before but their English hadn't been good enough and only their aunt (now less active) had joined the church. So basically, they are totally ready to receive the gospel and really willing to learn and act on the things we talked about. We're bringing a Romanian Book of Mormon today and we may have to go back and take back the one we left with a Romanian family we stopped teaching a few weeks ago so we can give it to the new Romanian family.
     Another miracle was some other missionaries in Coventry getting in touch with another former Investigator. She hadn't heard from missionaries in years and was having a rough time and then out of the blue, the missionaries call to see if there's anything they can do for her. Well, it turns out she lives in our area now and so we ended up teaching her. She is a single mom and has an awesome little son and she's really prepared to receive the gospel. She accepted an invitation to be baptised on December 14th and it's going to really bless her and her son! I'm so excited to get to teach her. We've only taught her once though so there's a lot left to go and many hurdles to clear.
     Third miracle was with another Investigator. He hasn't been in really good contact with the missionaries in the past and has been technically investigating for about three years now but can't make it to church because he works on Sunday. He has a testimony of the Book of Mormon (sort of) and wants to learn but so far, it's been sporadic and he's had about 20 first lessons with different missionaries. In our second visit with him, we decided to teach the Plan of Salvation. He hadn't really progressed in the past because he didn't see what else there was yet to learn. It was a tough lesson because his kids were being a bit obnoxious and there were other distractions but we taught some basic truths and he was saying things like "really?! God has a body? I didn't know that." So hopefully, our persistence pays off and he gets really going seeing the difference and the reality of the restored truths we're helping him understand. We'll see how it goes!
     There were many other miracles as well. Lots of learning experiences too. Elder Ramos is the best! Coventry C is amazing and I'm learning so much about how to be an effective missionary. We are learning and developing together and it's great! Things are really getting going and though there is a lot left to go, we are already seeing dramatic results. It's hard sometimes to get the momentum going and keep it going but it does work and the Lord is blessing us tremendously.
    Last Thursday, we had an awesome Zone Conference with Elder Timothy J. Dyches of the Seventy. It was really great. Lots of my questions and concerns about teaching and serving the Lord were addressed quite well and we learned a tonne. Elder Dyches shared some awesome analogies and ideas about how we learn to teach and then what we do to help our Investigators. Basically, we're like Surgeons. The Surgeon can help people with a disease but only if the person wants to be helped. So, it's our job to help them see that we know what we're doing, that it really will help them, and then to be an example of the end result as well. He also shared a really simple teaching model. It's just three things: Simplify/Clarify, Verify, and Testify. It's a lot more than that and it was really helpful for our Investigators. Anyway, the Zone Conference was in general awesome!
    In more mundane news, the weather is getting drearier and drearier. It is getting darker earlier each day and it's cold all the time now. This week we're supposed to get a major cold spell (down to -10 C = 14 F) with potential snow. We'll see how we cope. I hadn't thought that I would have to be getting all of my heavy cold gear out so early but I think the winters in England are a bit earlier than they are in California and Utah (where the worst months are January and February, not December and January). We'll see anyway. Mostly, it's just tough with the dark because if we don't have lessons or other plans, there aren't really people out who we can talk to and find. It will be alright and the Lord is providing for our needs so it's ok.
I'm running out of time but I love and miss you all lots and lots. I hope everything is great for you. I'm learning and loving and growing a lot and it's marvelous. Heavenly Father Loves His Children.
Elder Houghton
P.S. Hopefully you enjoy the title this week.

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