Monday, 12 January 2015

Greetings From Milford Haven

Lovely Milford Haven

Dear Everyone,

We've had an amazingly blessed week in Milford Haven! I love everything about serving here (except the boiler breaking down twice-->no heating or hot water-->relay race of kettles to boil enough water to have a sponge bath in our cold bathroom but it's resolved now and wasn't too bad anyway.)

Firstly, a story from my email to President Rasmussen:

(names Cl and Ce are different people-names omitted for privacy).

Elder X has been sending in, repeatedly, the same referrals on for people he taught when he was in Milford Haven. In the midst of those, whether from him or not, I don't know, we got one for Cl Jones in Narberth. No other address information was given at all and Jones isn't a helpful name in Wales. With the Galloways' help, we were able to find online two C. Jones near Narberth but none in Narberth itself. We couldn't see their full names-just C. I thought to myself that it was probably pointless to try to contact this referral. However, I felt that we needed to contact the referral despite the overwhelming odds that it was going to be a total waste of time. On our way back from starting an exchange in Llanelli, Elder Silva and I got off half way in a tiny town with a stop-by-request-only station. We then biked for about 30 minutes in pelting rain over steep hills to find the house. I am sure that missionaries would never randomly knock that door. With some difficulty, we found the house (which had a name and not a number). We knocked on the door (completely soaked as we were and looking probably like absolute fools to be out in the middle of nowhere on bikes as we were). A woman answered. Her name was not Cl but Ce Jones. We commented that it was funny to be meeting her after spending so much time looking for Cl. She invited us in but we couldn't go in as there wasn't another man present. She mentioned that the house next-door was where many of her ancestors had lived and that that was why she lived there in the middle of nowhere. I asked if she'd done much family history. She was stunned. She's been stuck at home with a bad back and can't work (she normally works about 35 minutes drive away near the chapel in Johnston) and she absolutely loves family history. She was so excited that we knew a bit about it and that we had appeared at her door. We were able to talk about Family History for about 20 minutes and told her about the Family History Clinic the Galloways will be setting up in February at the chapel. We asked if we could come share more about family history later (and then did on Sunday with the Galloways). It was a miracle! When we called to make the appointment, she was really excited and still dumbstruck by how we were able to meet. The Lord sent us there knowing what she needed and He had prepared her to receive us. He'd also prepared us with the planned clinic, a bit of knowledge about family history and how to use it in proselyting (thanks to a Zone Meeting by President P. (Coventry Stake President) way back when I was in Coventry), and the right spirit at the right time to become friends with her. She told us when we came to visit on Sunday that she wasn't interested in religion but gladly accepted an invitation to read the Book of Mormon (in Welsh which she speaks). A week before, I'd also felt prompted to have a chat with a member who lives in Narberth-somewhat near Ce. This member has three boys who attend the same Welsh-speaking school as Ce's daughter. We texted the member to ask her to pray for Ce as the Galloways drove us back to Milford Haven after the visit. Ce said we could come back any time she was available to talk about Family History. She's excited to attend the clinic and we have faith that as we continue to follow the spirit, she can be prepared and have her heart changed so that she would be interested in learning of the Restoration of the Gospel. The day before we went to find Cl Jones, I prayed fervently that I would learn how the Holy Ghost works in my life. I know that God answered that prayer and many others by arranging for us to meet Ce Jones as we did. I'm so grateful to be part of this great work!
*Many thanks to Mom, Grandma Houghton, Grandma and Grandpa Kemper, Eliza, and others for contributing a while ago to my "My Family" Booklet which I was able to share along with a complete seven generation fan chart. I felt bad because she'd had to do all the work herself and I was just showing off the stuff that other people have done on my family tree.

Tanker in Milford Haven
So, that is just one of many miracles. The weather hasn't been too bad. The days are slowly slowly getting longer and lighter and R+S are working on quitting smoking and will be ready to be baptised shortly after they do that! It was a miracle because they'd sort of backed off because they were afraid of trying to quit. I finally saw a big tanker manoeuvring in the harbour today (we always see them docked and it's kind of lame when they don't move) which I've been hoping for. We made Pitta Bread+Spaghetti sauce and some kitchen experimentation-->pizza sauce+chorizo+English mature cheddar pizza last night which wasn't too bad. I got a new battery for my watch (the substitute watch doesn't come out of my jacket easily so I can't see the time unless both hands are free (so biking and checking the time aren't compatible)). We started a Gospel Principles class on Sunday and it went ok-only a few wrinkles. We miraculously met another person who wants to quit smoking and needs our help with the stop smoking program (which R+S aren't using btw-they're doing it with another group which may be better in their case) right after teaching R+S. In the process though, Elder Woodruff got jumped upon by an energetic dog who had muddy paws-->long walk past lots of people. I really like the dog though (despite him using me as a urinal the last time we met...).

Things are going really well. I'm just so grateful for it all!

I love you all lots! Have a great week!
Elder Houghton

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