Monday, 20 October 2014

Autumn is Here!

Dear Everyone,

It's getting colder and wetter and there are leaves falling. My bike is getting old and making new sounds and we have to turn the heating on more.

On Thursday, we had interviews with President Rasmussen. It was really good except for that it's during District Meeting so it was the District meeting of 1000 interuptions. Plus we had the Zone Leaders there so there were 12 people (biggest District Meeting ever!). It was great. We used my Lego stickers for a role play set up as well. Great fun.

We got home from interviews and the windows were fogged up at the house. Turns out the atht flexible tube/pipe leading to the Hot water faucet in the upstairs bathroom had burst and was spraying hot water everywhere in the bathroom (I'd guess for about 2-3 hours). It wasn't our fault at all-actually negligence on the part of our landlord from unresolved problems before. Also, the landlord did an awful job sending a plumber out. It's long story. So, we spent Thursday afternoon and evening dealing with immediate problems (condensation all over the house (literally everywhere-it was intense) and then having to sleep at the other Elders' flat because we had no water (no toilet, no drinking water, no shower). Then we spent all day Friday basically cleaning up from the ceiling collapse in the kitchen and the rain forest that the kitchen had turned into for the hours of the burst pipe=dirty water/rubble everywhere in the kitchen, lots of food stuff destroyed. It was a crazy few days. Also, there's supposedly a hurricane (which will be downgraded and just a bigger than normal storm really) coming to England tomorrow so maybe it was just to teach us how to do clean up work like that... It kind of put a major clamp on our week but we learned from it and survived and everything is ok.

Other than that, we're having District P day today and I've got to go. Thanks for the letters and everything. I love you all lots and hope all is well, you are in my prayers!

Elder Houghton

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Meet the Mormons!

From 13 October 2014

Dear Everyone (in the world... who reads my blog),
You should totally watch this movie:

For the Sonora Locals, it's playing in Manteca and Modesto. You can get tickets and see playing times on I really really wish I could watch the movie but I can't right now. Maybe someone will figure out a screening in the UK but we probably won't be able to go. I'm just hoping that we get to watch it once it is in DVD/online format(s). It just looks so so cool.

So, in other news, it's beginning to get cold and wet in Walsall! It's great but also a bit hard because we have to more aggressively prepare to adjust plans to unforeseen weather events. Elder Tukuafu is experiencing the wonders of England weather and being grateful that he didn't throw away the thermals that he brought with him (as he'd planned to do a few months ago when the weather was nice).

In other news, namely the Walsall Advertiser, we were in the newspaper for sort of participating in a walk put on by some ward members for polio-it was quite low-key but we got in the paper which was cool. Unfortunately, the bad luck I've had with newspaper people making errors in stories in which I've been involved has continued and Elder Tukuafu is now believed to be from Togo rather than Tonga. He's excited To Go back to Tonga at the end of his mission but that's the only way he's Togoing from here...

It's been a pretty interesting week. We've had some good things happen but there have been continued challenges. I love living in the immigrant quarter of Walsall surrounded by Muslims and Sikhs and all sorts of Eastern Europeans but it can be difficult finding. I have a general rule not to seek after people who are wearing extensive religious attire (Massive beards and huge orange turbans or Bhurkas especially) so that whittles it down to about 1/3 of the population. I always did want to serve in the Middle East. I guess that wish was granted. It can be hard though.

I couldn't wait for the Ensign of the October 2014 General Conference so I downloaded the Audio onto a flash drive today and will be listening to it shortly.

So, there's lots of other stuff that happened this past week but I shall keep it short as I'm running out of time. The Gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives because it really truly works. I've seen that so many times on my mission. When we feel powerless, the Saviour has the power to help us. He wants us to be free from guilt and anguish so He has restored His gospel and taught the truth anew through a living prophet in our time. It's wonderful and it has changed my life and my eternity!

Lots of Love,
Elder Houghton

It's October!

From 6 October 2014

Dear Everyone,

This past week has been really good-quite busy as well though not in the ways we'd expected. I have an experience that I could share which was really interesting but I think I will save it for after my mission. It's about Kenneth Alfred Stone, the man I met in the temple at the MTC who was in the Walsall Ward until he passed through the veil to the Spirit World on Saturday morning. It was pretty amazing to make a small connection with him in this life and to be inspired by his goodness. I've written it all in my journal so you'll get to hear it in a few months.

General Conference was amazing! I love listening to the words of Prophets and Apostles who receive revelation for all of God's Children on the Earth. Please listen and learn: ... I just wish that the talks were all published so I could read them now instead of having to wait until the conference Ensign comes out.

This week, I went on exchange to Wylde Green C, the area that reopened this past transfer. It was fun as I went with an experienced Elder who is going home in December. We had a great time and I saw many miracles. The next day, I started an exchange with our Zone Leaders, one of whom came to Walsall with me. We ended up being dumped on with rain so we decided to walk instead of biking to Wednesbury. It was a longer walk than we had anticipated so we didn't have much time to do anything in the actual area. We did go visit a member of the church who lived on King Street and saw next to it Queen Street, unfortunately for my family history interests, the area has been fairly recently redone so there are no old buildings-just one old brick wall that would have been there when my ancestors lived on Queen Street in Wednesdbury. It was cool anyway. I think we're going to make a regular thing of going to Wednesbury on Wednesday. Wednesbury Wednesday it shall be!

Things are going slowly in our area with investigators-of which we have very few at the moment. But, we've been working hard and doing good things so I feel that we are doing what the Lord wants us to do and he's preparing us for something great in his eyes. So, we shall keep working and seeking out those who hunger and thirst after righteousness but are kept from the truth only because they know not where to find it. It shall be good.

In the meantime, the weather is getting darker, wetter, and colder. September was remarkably dry and warm (though it would be wet and cold by California standards) and Autumn has officially begun. It shall be good. I am wearing a sweater under my jacket today and will have to get out gloves, warm socks, and my scarf soon. It shall be good. I think missionary work is better in the winter here because people aren't so busy. It shall be good.

Hope everything is good for you. I look forward to your letters and will try to respond to those when I've got the time!

Lots of Love,
Elder Houghton

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

GQ a Redhead, High Five a Stranger, Introduce the Book of Mormon With Pictures

Dear Family,

So, it's been a good week. We've been really blessed and there are a few really good things coming through the pipe line despite the transfer week always being tough. Transfers were good. Elder Ruka went to Redditch which is just South of Birmingham and I got a new companion named Elder Tukuafu (say 2-ku-ah-fu) from Tonga. It's great. I've now had three companions from Pacific isles. Funny joke: I mentioned that my companion (then Elder Ruka) was from a Small island in the pacific and this American Elder I was talking to said that he was also from an island in the pacific. I thought he was totally joking but apparently he's actually from an island off the coast of Washington State so it was real-not what I was imagining when he said Pacific Island though. Elder Tukuafu is great though. His English is really really good which is just amazing. I can talk and explain things and it's just wonderful. I'm still getting used to being able to communicate openly with my companion. Elder Ruka was a great companion and I learned a lot from him about how your spirit and attitude often speak more powerfully than your words. He was obviously a good example of that. But it's good to get a fresh start with a new companion and get things really going. Also, the third area in the other ward in our district was reopened (Wylde Green where the mission office is A is the Assistants, B is the sisters there and C is the newly reopened area) so we now have five teams in our district! Woot woot! One of the assistants changed but other than that and Elder Ruka being replaced by Elder Tukuafu, everything in the district stayed the same.

So, Elder Tukuafu is really great. Here's a picture of him from a newspaper article before his mission. 


You can tell it's him because he's the only boy in the pictures. He says it's because the other guys in his (lds) high school didn't really want to be involved in things so he always was. It's funny!

Elder Tukuafu is really funny and happy all the time. It's great.

In other news, we're building great relationships with ward members and leaders and finding opportunities to teach which is great. We received a referral from a woman who wants to learn and come into the church. After meeting with her the first time, we gave her a plan of salvation leaflet and in the next visit, she had studied it thoroughly and read all of the additional study scriptures. So, it was awkward trying to teach because she already knew and understood everything-there were just some things that were new to her. It was actually quite a challenge to teach based on that because I was so unused to it but it's also really amazing! We're really excited for her. She couldn't make it to church so pray that everything goes well over the next week and general conference and everything!

Other than that, there's a young teenage sort of recent convert we were told to visit. His family is awesome. Not sure why they didn't join the church when he did a few years ago but they haven't had contact with missionaries in a while. So, we came and we get a fresh start. They offered to feed us so we're going for dinner and a lesson tomorrow. I'm really excited. They are great! We have a number of less-active people we're working with as well and they're doing alright-two came to church on Sunday and brought their non-member grandson. There were more people at church than ever before while I've been in Walsall-even though none of our actual investigators came.

So ya, things are good and I'm learning a lot. We're going to hit the ground hard this next week (yay!) and it should be great! Also, the Zone Leaders started challenge week-three challenges per day and then points at the end. Today it's:

1. GQ a redhead
2. High Five a stranger
3. Introduce the Book of Mormon using pictures

We're going to win and also convince the other teams that we're not competing so they shouldn't either... Muahahaha! or, convince the Zone Leaders to make a prize for the District that gets the most challenges completed. We shall see...

Love you all and hope the September-October shift treats you well. Keep up the prayers, we always need them!

Elder Houghton