Tuesday, 5 November 2013

We Are Working Hard, Being Obedient, and Having Fun. I'm Learning So Much, It's Crazy!

Dear Everyone,

Firstly, sorry that I didn't get a general/blog email out last week. I thought we were going to have more time to email but then we didn't. That was largely a consequence of something that happened a few days prior and seriously inhibited our mobility i.e. my bike got stolen. It's a big bummer. For now, I'm on a kids bike owned by the ward... I think that's what it is anyway. Mostly, it's just a big bummer because I put so much into my bike and now, despite me owning it, it's just totally gone. It really really stinks.

Coventry is amazing!

Secondly, Coventry C is amazing. The C is because there are five teams of missionaries in the Coventry ward (A-E). Despite the bike-stealing types, most of the other people living in Coventry C's area are wonderful. It's gotten really cold lately which is lame and it rains about every other day and is cloudy most others. Today isn't half bad despite the cold (which was tough because our District Leader found someone in our area and set up an appointment for 7 a.m. on P day--it went well despite the oddness of the time--my ears were basically about to fall off). I'm a bit apprehensive about using my cold weather gear since it isn't even really that cold yet and will get much worse. Ugh. The other lame thing is that it's beginning to get darker a lot earlier which really stinks. People don't really like answering the door after dark much so it's difficult.
Elder Ramos, from South Africa!

Thirdly, I got a new companion on Wednesday! His name is Elder Ramos (Ray-mos... mos with an o like open and an s like an s (not a zed)) and he's from South Africa. He's amazing. He's been out only one transfer less than me and is quite skilled and great at missionary work. He's basically the nicest and happiest person in the world and it's wonderful. We are working hard, being obedient, having fun, and having great success. All this and it's only been a few days. Things are going to take off! Elder Maligon left very little food for Elder Ramos and Elder Ramos is a bit health-conscious so I've included some pictures of the food he had for his birthday lunch yesterday (boiling eggs in spinach mid cooking). It's pretty great. We had amazing Indian food at the M's house (They are amazing!) later that night so it wasn't that bad of a birthday for him I hope.

Eggs boiling in Spinach a la Elder Ramos

Fourthly, we had Stake Conference this weekend. It was great. All three sessions were on Missionary work and the Stake President invited all the missionaries to every session (Sisters at Priesthood Leadership!). Our Stake President is really dynamic and energetic and I'm hoping and praying that, at least partially because of the inspiring messages that he and others shared, the members here will get more engaged in missionary work. It will be great. Also, when the Stake President found out it was Elder Ramos' birthday, he gave him £10 to get Pizza today. It was totally unexpected. President Rasmussen was also there at the conference and gave us a tip off that Elder Dyches who will be touring the mission next week may do interviews in missionary flats and that we are within range (we think that he only told us-none of the other teams-and that he's planning on using our flat...). No worries, both Elder Maligon and Elder Ramos are tidy and clean and I am (mostly) but we do have a bit of cleaning and tidying to do before next Tuesday. President Rasmussen also mentioned in his talk that he was on the phone with a Elder Gong, in the Presidency of the Asia area. He mentioned that there are actually wards and branches in China and that he was on the phone because many of the members of the church in China have been taught and joined the church elsewhere-especially our mission. It's pretty cool because despite China not being open to missionaries as everyone thought it would be by the time I came on my mission, I actually have taught a Chinese person (who is now being taught by the Sisters because he's in their area) who will return to China (probably as a member of the church as he's accepted an invitation to be baptised!). Someone in General Conference I think mentioned something about the fact that even in areas where the church is not allowed to preach the gospel, the Lord is sending those he has prepared to receive the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ to missionaries and others elsewhere.
Fifthly, this week has been great. We got a slow start with Elder Maligon packing and moving but since Elder Ramos came, we've added some New Investigators to our teaching pool and we're getting a good start for the transfer (which technically starts today). It's great! The lesson at 7 a.m. this morning was particularly great.
Sixthly, I'm learning so much, it's crazy! This week, I've been coming to realise that many of the things we do as missionaries are really focused on helping people develop the faith that they need to progress in the gospel. Faith is, after all, the first principle of the gospel. So this week, I/we've been working on focusing my/our teaching on helping people develop their faith in Jesus Christ. My own faith has been growing as well-it's awesome to see how so many of the things we do as missionaries can really help us in our own progression toward the Saviour.
Seventhly, this upcoming week is going to be amazing! I'm really excited for all of the work we have to do. The Lord has really put a great trust in His missionaries and it's a lot to live up to but it's wonderful. The Lord qualifies the called and guides us by the spirit to help Him do His work. I'm so grateful to be a part of His work.
Lots and lots of Love,
Elder Houghton

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