Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Staying in Coventry for Christmas!

From 16 December 2013

Hello all!

 First pictures in an order that I don't know:

     The view out of our Window with wonderful sticky Christmas decorations from my amazing family. The leaves got mostly cleared up by a massive windstorm a while back so it does look a bit different from a picture that I think I sent before.
      We had the England Birmingham Mission Christmas Conference at the Harbourne Chapel in Birmingham on Friday. It was the first time I've seen the whole mission together and it was quite an event to get everyone there and fed (with mock Cafe Rio--delicious). For the first time ever, everyone from our MTC district who came to this mission was together so we took a reunion picture. We are so old! We've been out now 7.5 months and it's so weird that we are now close to the average age in the mission (because tehre are more younger missionaries). The picture is a bit blurry but it was cool to see everyone.
Elder Bills is now in Stamford
Elder Tanner is in Warwick A
Elder Stubbs is in Solihull
I'm in Coventry C
Sister Reed is in Cardiff
Sister Heikki is in Rwbina (Ruh-bi-nuh... spelled something like that, it's just north of Cardiff and it's Welsh...)

     My warm feet! My wonderful Aunt Greta made these amazing socks which are the best. I would be frostbitten without them. There are in total four pairs of hand-knit socks that I depend on as the backbone of my foot-warming force.

     Coventry is wonderful. Missionary work is hard but we have picked up a few good leads lately. We're still praying for F and B to get back in contact as they've gone off the radar. We're working with a lot of people and things are going well if still a bit tough. The weather has been comparatively nice lately. Not too much rain and the cold hasn't been too bad. We're still having to deal with darkness at 4:30 though. ugh. I miss Sunny California.
     A random thing that I've meant to tell you for a long time is that the mission has a blog (mostly of pictures) that you can check out at ebmission.blogspot.com for your perusing pleasure.
     So, in transfer news. Elder Ramos got sent cough banished cough to Wales in an area called Cwmbran (pronounced Koom-brawn... I think) and I stayed in Coventry C. My new companion is Elder DeHaan. He's from SLC, UT and has been in England for 4.5 months. He's quite different from Elder Ramos in many ways and there will be a bit of adjusting but it should be fun and we should get some good work done. I'm excited for this transfer. It will be fun and great things will happen.
     Some funny/cool things
     1. There's been a group of Middle-Eastern ladies chanting/singing the whole time I've been emailing. I think it's reciting the Qu'ran but it might be some Hindu thing. I can't really tell as I can't see them-I can just hear. It's pretty interesting.
     2. I get to skype my family for Christmas! It's basically the best Christmas present ever and I'm super excited! Some wonderful members in the ward here are having us over to do it maybe on a widescreen TV with their Skype enabled X box.
     3. With transfers, we got six new missionaries in Coventry. Every team changed at least one and the Zone Leaders got whitewashed (mission lingo for both being replaced) so we now have a Scottish Zone Leader with an Irish Zone Leader and I've been in Coventry longer than anyone else who's still here (except Sister Moser, we're tied for being in Coventry and we're in the same group and we both came from the same district before... it's weird). I still have no idea how to get around City Centre or who the members are or anything that we had to ask all the people who had been here for the longest when I got here.
     4. The chanting/singing just got a lot louder and there's stomping and "whoop! whoop! whoop!" now... The joys of living in a Middle Eastern(?????) part of the world... I love it.
I'm runnning out of time but I am so grateful for the season of Christmas. It's amazing and I love being out here serving and teaching other people so that they too can have the joy that comes from having Christ at the centre of our lives.
Elder Houghton
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