Monday, 25 November 2013

One Dark Night When the Sun Shone Bright, Two Young Missionaries Went Out To Find. . .

Dear Everyone,

Hopefully you appreciate that burst of creativity (the title of the post) from me. It's weird, as missionaries, we don't have tonnes of opportunities to express things in an artistic manner. Ok, we could if we tried but I don't very much anyway.
This week has been really tough for missionary work. We had four investigators who we thought were lined up to come to church on Sunday. Then, they all stopped answering the phone and none of them came to church. Also, it was the primary program and was by far the best Sunday an investigator could come to church and see because it was simple and beautiful and it really wonderfully invited the spirit. Then all of our plans for the upcoming week got thrown into disarray because we went from planning on having four progressing investigators to only having one (and she was one who didn't come to church). It's really frustrating to have the carpet pulled out from under you like that but I guess it's just an excercise in trusting in the Lord and doing things his way.
It's also been really tough because it gets dark at five every evening. The missionary work day doesn't end until nine though so that's four hours in the dark trying to be productive. Most people go home and stay inside once it's dark so there aren't people out to talk to. Also, some of those who are outside tend to be a bit interesting and/or drunk. It hasn't been that wet this past week but the cold is definitely sinking in. Thermals, gloves, a coat, and a hat are now necessary and will be for another 2-3 months. Because England has had one of the nicest summers on record, I hadn't really appreciated why so many English people are jealous of me being from California. Now, I know.

This is how Elder Houghton feels when he's riding his bike. . .
Last week we had a really cool Zone Meeting on using Family History for missionary work. I'm still a bit unsure of just how to get people interested and connected but it was really great and I've come to a greater appreciation of just how important our families are. Every person on this Earth has a lot of heritage and many people before them who need to receive the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ just as much as they do. It gives us a much better perspective as missionaries when we remember that the work which we are doing can really save people, not just help them live better or happier lives. It's a great responsibility that we have and a lot to live up to for members of the church but especially for those of us called to serve as full-time missionaries.
Anyway, I hope everything is wonderful with you all. My Thanksgiving dinner this year will be at a Ghanian home on the other side of Coventry (=40 minute bike maybe in the rain...) which should be pretty cool even if we are soaked through when we get there.
Other than alll that, things are really good. The Lord is really teaching me a lot through the trials that we're having. I'm seeing that I know very little and have tonnes of room for improvement in just about every aspect of the work in which we are engaged.
A few funny/cool things:
>My diet totally adapts to the place I live. When we eat at home and I want to cook nice, it is usually some Chick-pea (Garbonzo Bean)/chicken curry thing with rice.
>I'm keeping track of the countries from which I've met people. This week, I added Turkey, Iraq (Kurdistan), Gambia, and Indonesia. So far, I think I've got most of Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa covered.
>We found out that one of the amazing members of the Coventry Ward who had to leave to finish serving a temple mission (sad day for us) when the temple reopened in London also translated the Book of Mormon into Punjabi. Woa! That's pretty cool. We totally didn't know that when he came teaching with us in Punjabi and he was reading from the Book of Mormon.
My time is short. Things are tough in Coventry but great. I am and we are learning a lot and growing so it's good even if I'm exhausted and no one is out on the streets to talk to us.
Elder Houghton

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