Thursday, 5 December 2013

Christmas Is Coming, The Goose Is Getting Fat

From 2 December 2013

Pebernodder (Or whatever we call them. . .A Danish spice cookie!)

And this is what a fat goose looks like!

Sorry for the weird title again. First some cool things:
1. A lady from the Warwick Branch named Gebbie (or Gabbie?) Eaton sang "Coventry Carol," an older Christmas carol named after Coventry (surprise!), yesterday at the Stake Carol Concert. It was pretty cool. The reason this is cool is that there is a Christmas song named after the city where I'm serving (and I really like it) and because Sister Eaton is a spotlight on the campaign that we hand cards out for all the time.
2. I got to make pebfernoddox (just imagine a slash through the last O as I can't make one) with the spice mix that my amazingly thoughtful family sent me. They are amazing tiny cookies which in Elder Ramos' words "taste like Christmas" and I had thought I wouldn't be able to make them because they are hugely labour and time intensive to make. However, Elder Ramos got a flu bug (which I miraculously avoided) so we were in the flat with nothing to do all day for two days while he slept, and recovered from "screaming groceries" ... Both of our stomachs were quite unsettled and/or unhappy for the rest of the week and it kind of put us back as far as missionary work for the week but we both survived and now we have pebfernoddox to munch on until we run out. The great thing about it was that I thought we had more flour than we did and when we were about to run out, I had to start using leftover wholegrain chipati flour from Elder Ramos' chipati endeavours. So some of them have a bit of a more wholesome and ethnic taste than the others but they're all mixed together. It's an adventure.
3. There are only 23 days until Christmas! One of the best things about this is getting to tell people "Merry Christmas" all the time. Basically, it puts a smile on everyones' faces and is way better than "have a nice day/night."
     Anyway, it has been another tough week for missionary work largely due to having lost a lot of the people we were working with and or/not getting a good start to the week. It's been a bit hard but it's ok. This week will be wonderful and we have quite a few things that could line up for great success. Also, last week we had an exchange with our Zone Leaders (who are also in Coventry-they are the D team and we are C (of A-E)) which was great. I got to go with Elder Hansen who has now 8 days left of his mission. It was quite funny to be around someone who is on the other side of things that way. It's weird because I feel like I'm still a really new missionary and have no idea what I'm doing but then I've actually been out for 7 months (officially today) which is quite a long time.
     I wanted to tell you about an amazing Less Active family that we've been working with. I'm not supposed to share names but they're from Angola but they joined the church here. Brother S. (we shall call him) is amazing he's working to support his family of 6 and at the same time getting an education at Birmingham City University. He can barely make it to church on Sundays at all because he has to work on Sundays but he can make it for the first hour-Sacrament meeting. Sacrament meeting is the most important part of church though so it's a miracle that that is the hour that he can come. Anyway, his wife's English isn't very good and she works on Sunday mornings so she can't come to church but he brings all of the kids (including a 6+ foot 13 year old) for Sacrament Meeting. It's really cool to see how deeply converted he is. When he first joined the church, he was only working and he had time so he went teaching with the missionaries all the time and there are a few members who he taught back then. Unfortunately, when he started having to go to school, he just didn't come to church anymore. It is amazing to me how simple it was to just visit them, share a spiritual thought, and invite them to church. Then they came! It's rarely that easy but it was cool to see how simple it is to help people sometimes to do the things that will bring them true happiness. We're going to be working on reactivating more less active members in Coventry in the near future. It will be great.
     Missionary work is wonderful. I'm learning so much and I love it a lot even if it's really challenging sometimes. Also, I would definitely recommend a study of Chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel. I spent most of this morning's study on the first bit of that and I'm looking forward to the rest later this week.
Lots and Lots of Love,
Elder Houghton

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