Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Happy Last Week of February!

From 24 February 2014

Dear Everyone,
First, to assuage any concerns that I have been able to ignore the mission rule of no swimming due to flooding, the floods haven't really been that bad at all. In fact, this week, half the days were like spring. Gloucester was never hit by any real floods, it's just that the big fields that are meant to absorb the flood around the city are totally full and the river is really high. It's actually gone down lately so things are ok. The Gloucester Cathedral is way bigger

than the church thing in the picture that was posted on the blog and also not surrounded by water at all. I don't even think that it's in Gloucester but I don't know the southern side of the city and it could be down there but I really really doubt it.
This week was really cool. There were many miracles but also challenges.
First, pictures.

1. I WENT TO ANOTHER COUNTRY THIS WEEK!!! The Forest of Dean Elders in our District live in Monmouth, Wales. I got this picture of the Welcome to Wales sign on the way in but it got mostly blocked by the insurance sticker thing on the windshield. Sorry! Fortunately, you can see that it says Wales.

2. There are many sheep in Wales. While not actually in Wales, this picture was taken when we had to slow down for sheep on the road (that's right, the Forest Elders have a car!) They are a lot closer than they look and I was going to go and touch one but they ran away so ya, I just pointed at them weirdly...

3. Elder Parham, who I was on exchange with in the Forest on Saturday turned 21 earlier in the week so the Sisters made him a Birthday cake. It's so epic. Hopefully you can see all the gummie bears in different stages of being destroyed by the lava. Also, I think you can see the Sisters in the background and Elder Decaudin's suit. They're great!

The French Family that we've been teaching came to church this Sunday! It was awesome. Miraculously, the Ward Music Coordinator had chosen to have a French Song from the French Hymn Book as the Prelude music. It is "Souviens-Toi" and it was really cool. I could sing it but I don't know what it all means. Hopefully they liked it. Their kids enjoyed primary which was really cool. Also, it's the first time that I've ever had a family that I've taught come to church. Ok actually, not really. But it is the first time where a family unit of two parents and more than one child came to church together. So it was really cool! It will be a slow process teaching them but hopefully things work out. Pray for them!
Otherwise, the week passed by quite nicely, we've had 3-4 days of absolutely gorgeous weather which has been great. The only problem is the 30 minute downpour that still happens randomly during the day after it's been sunny for most of the day... So yes, pretty much I will be wearing or carrying a waterproof layer for my entire mission! Someday, I'll count the calories that were spent on lugging that weight around.
This week in my studies, I've learned a lot about the Plan of Salvation. Really truly, it is all about our Heavenly Father's Infinite and Eternal Love for us, His children. The Plan of Salvation only makes sense if it is in that context. It is remarkable how most people haven't even an inkling of an idea of how much Heavenly Father loves them and wants the best for them. I'm working on living up to that infinite love He has for me and so trying to become a better conduit and messenger to share that love with others.
Elder Decaudin is great. I'm not sure if his English is better or if I'm just getting used to the way he says things but the number of times where I have no idea what he means per week has dramatically decreased since the first week we were together. It was never that high anyway and I can understand him just fine. Sometimes it's just hard to communicate complex ideas to which I don't understand the context. Also, there is sometimes a bit of confusion on his part when he doesn't understand what I mean or the context in which I am saying it (the other night brushing our teeth over the bathroom sink took an interesting turn-probably not helped by the fact that our mouths were full of toothpaste). His pronunciation has gotten a lot better though! That's a good thing. Elder Decaudin is great and I'm learning a load from him!

Other random news: We're going to the Gloucester City museum after emailing today. I still haven't been into the Cathedral but we'll have District Preparation day there in a week on "dodge day" (the day of transfer calls coming out as they come out on the infamous "dodge night").
I love you all lots! Have a wonderful week! Thanks for all the prayers and support and love. They really truly help a lot with the challenges that we face as missionaries.
Elder Houghton

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