Thursday, October 29, 2015

Training in Bosques

From 28 October 2015
 Our last district meeting with Hermana Chavez (she was the only one who got transferred this cycle which means that all of the Latino Elders in this picture are going to finish their missions after this cycle--in their current areas--AHHH!)

Ok.  So apparently there was a hurricane, but no, it is not raining buckets and super-windy in Bosques. The weather has been a bit funky, but just a bit of rain and wind--nothing crazy. 
She´s here!  (by the way)  My "Hija" (daughter in spanish) Hermana Bracamonte has arrived (see attached picture).  She´s pretty awesome, and we work well together--it will be a fun 3 months.  Hermana Bracamonte is a fellow Californian, and she has Peruvian heritage, and speaks a lot of Spanish (which is a HUGE blessing), and has a great testimony.  Also, I´ve already got her addicted to the ice cream in Bosques (SUCCESS!)

Hermana Bracamonte
In other news, we had our first baptism on Saturday (of Angie) which was AWESOME!  It was a good way to finish a pretty tough 3-month drought of baptisms, and a good way to see off Hermana Chavez (she wasn´t super-excited to leave Bosques, until she found out what area she would be opening--Olivos).  In other news, we´re teaching some awesome investigators, and on Monday we had a spur-of-the-moment Family Home Evening with one family that we are teaching, and we talked about the Word of Wisdom.  It was quite exciting, mostly because Hermana Chavez and her new companion were staying with us that night, so there were 4 Hermanas in that lesson!  Now we´re down to just the two of us, but we get a lot done, and it´s exciting to teach and talk to all kinds of people in Spanish.  I feel very blessed to be able to be training right now, and I know this is another opportunity for me to keep working on improving my Spanish.
So that´s what´s happening in Bosques!  One bit of sad news is that we don´t actually get to go to the temple every 6 weeks because I guess there´s a rule that we can only go 4 times per-year.  But we still get to go SEE the temple all the time, so that´s exciting. 
Spiritual thought of the week:  1st Nephi 3:7:  We can keep ALL the commandments. All of them.  We just have to work at it, and bit by bit, we will accomplish the goal.  I encourage everyone to find something in their lives that isn´t in accordance with the commandments, and do away with it.  We can always work to improve.  As for me, I´m working on that whole "obedience with exactness" thing that´s SO important in missionary work.  Without obedience, we can´t receive the blessings of success. 
I LOVE YOU ALL!  Be safe and happy!
Hermana Houghton

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Last Week of Training

From 19 October 2015

Dear Family, Friends, and Random Internet Browsers,
I hope you´re having a gorgeous day, and it´s not too hot or cold where you live!  One thing I´ve learned since coming to Mexico is that people complain about the weather EVERYWHERE.  Not just in Mexico.  It doesn´t matter where you live, how beautiful or temperate or awful the climate is, people will ALWAYS comment if it´s hot, if it´s cold, or if it´s rainy.  Lately, here in Mexico, it´s been a bit like Fall, and everyone has pulled out their jackets and sweaters for the special occasion.  But that´s enough about the weather.
This is my last week of training, and it is sure to be exciting!  We are hoping to get in a few baptisms before the month is out, but we don´t have a ton of control over whether those baptisms happen or not, so we WILL see!  Right now we´re teaching a family of a mother and her two daughters, an 8-year old girl whose parents aren´t members (but she wants to get baptized like her older sister), a golden investigator who works at a buffet in our area, and several others who are newbies and I don´t really know yet .  We´re also still teaching a bunch of recent converts (about ten).  AAnndd then we´re also talking with some less-active families (ten plus), and of course all of the active members in the ward, who we try to keep up with!  It´s very exciting, and really these people are awesome, and I love talking with and teaching them! 
We didn´t do much for P Day except laundry, clean the house, buy food, and take naps, but Hermana Chavez and I are looking forward to making our last week in Bosques together count! 
Thanks for all those who are sending me mail (snail and email) and keeping me updated on life back in the states--I love to hear from you!
Ok, spiritual thought for the week:  KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS!  LIke the prophet Thomas S. Monson said in this last conference!  It´s incredibly important that we remember these commandments that we have, so we can continue on the correct path to happiness in this life and in the next.  I have a testimony that obedience to these commandments truly brings blessings, and I know we can do it! 
I send my love back to you all--be safe and happy, and don´t forget to pray!
Lots of love,
Hermana Houghton

P.S.  P Day next week isn´t until Wednesday

P.S.S. This is Armando, one of our Recent Converts, who fed us this entire pizza last night!  (BTW, fun fact: The worst thing you can do to offend a Hispanic person is to not eat their food!)  Fortunately, it was delicious, because he´s an awesome cook!

P.S.S.  This is Princessa.  Don´t show Belly (our cat at home), or she might be jealous, okay? 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Training! (for real this time)


Life is good in Bosques.  I survived my week-long chocolate fast as well as Fast Sunday--no food for 24 hours--(BTW, I think I´m hungrier, and I have to eat more on the mission than at any other point in my life) and now, we are fasting from English.  For a week!  Strangely, it´s harder for my companion, who speaks fluent Spanish, than it is for me.  But she also helps me a lot, and I´m hoping to polish things up because I will be training in two weeks.  (It´s official because President Anaya told us on Tuesday that we will both be training.)  Anyway, it´s been a crazy week, and we´ve worked HARD.  
Image result for mexico city lds temple visitors center
We´re currently teaching 8-10 investigators, keeping up with 10ish recent converts, and also reaching out to contact people, find new investigators, and visit Less-Actives in the ward here.  So we´re very busy, but having a lot of fun too, because people are awesome and wonderful and occasionally crazy.  This week we got to go to the Visitor´s Center at the Temple for the first time with some investigators, and that was really cool.   

Image result for mexico city lds temple visitors center
One important spiritual realization from the week: When we are on consecrated ground or in sacred places, it´s easier to feel the Spirit and the love of our Heavenly Father.  That´s why we´re always commanded to "Stand in Holy Places".  I feel so blessed to have the Mexico City temple so close-by, and to be able to visit the grounds and the visitor´s center as a missionary.  Also, scriptures are awesome, especially the Book of Mormon.  I LOVE it, which is why I´m on a mission preaching about it in Spanish, in Mexico!  

Okay, now for the funnies:  today we went to buy tacos in "Shakira´s tacos" which is owned and run by some members of the church who live a ways up the metro line.  We came across about 12 Elders who had a similar idea today, consumed a large amount of meat and grease and hot-sauce, and breathed fire for a bit.  (see tacos pictured below).  

Also, we have a cat that lives in our apartment building, and we call her Princesa--she reminds me a LOT of Belly.  

AAaaannnnddd.  That´s all I´ve got.  I hope you´re all having fantasmical weeks, and you´re finding time to get in your prayers, scripture study, and all the other important things in life.  

Lots of love,
Hermana Houghton

One of the guards of the communities we walk into all the time. 
He always asks us "Where are your umbrellas?"
whenever we enter--it´s hilarious!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Conferencia General

From 5 October 2015
What did the prophet say at General Conference?

Dear Family,

First I want to give a shout out to the Maryland Kempers and Sister Waites for sending me some mail.  It made my day!  Also, I highly recommend writing to missionaries as an FHE activity if you´re looking for ideas!  

Ok.  So.  In case you weren´t already aware, for 10 hours this past weekend, the world received specific, modern counsel from our loving Heavenly Father, through His servants--the prophets.  How cool is that!?  I LOVED General Conference.  I did watch 2.5 of the sessions in Spanish, but my comprehension right now is high enough that I understood most of what they were saying, and I was blessed by a sweet invitation from the Senior Couple who work in our mission office, to come watch Saturday afternoon and half of morning session in their apartment (IN ENGLISH!).  It´s a bit easier to comprehend and listen to the spirit also when the talks are in English.  And, of course, with vocabulary like Elder Holland´s it´s always good to be listening in your native language.  Anyway, I hear most (if not all) of you got to watch, and I sincerely hope that if you didn´t, you will take some time to watch or read all of the talks because they were truly inspired, and I KNOW that they will give you direction in life that will help you be happier.  I received some special answers to prayer during the conference, and I also received answers to questions I didn´t even know I had.  Also, some of my favorite talks were Elder Holland´s (as usual), Elder Nelson´s, and Elder Hale´s.  And, of course, the testimonies of the three newly called apostles were incredibly powerful.  Ahhh!  It was all amazing!

Down here in Mexico, we had a bit of a slow week because my companion has a back injury, and we were counseled to basically ¨not walk¨ for a few days.  That´s rough counsel for two missionaries who REALLY want to be out in the field teaching, but can´t get ANYWHERE without walking.  But we have worked it out, and Hermana Chavez is on the mend.  In the mean time, we´ve truly seen miracles this week, even though we only ever had a little time to talk to people.  For the first time since I got here, people in the ward are excited to introduce us to friends, family, etc. who we can invite to learn about the gospel, and teach.  We´ve got our work cut out for us as we head into the last 3 weeks of my training here in Bosques.

In other news, I´ve sworn off chocolate and ice cream for the week and I think I may die by tomorrow.  Wish me luck!

Hermana Houghton

Spiritual invitation: "ponderize a scripture" 

And tell your Mom why you love her!

 Our fridge (we had to send a picture of all our food today
to our mission president so he could make sure we were
eating fruits and vegetables...)
Mom's note:  If this is a "fridge," and if this is supposed to
represent their intake of fruits and vegetables,
their mission president has reason for concern!
My guess--HH sent us the wrong picture?
I do wonder what is in the bag with the nun on it!