Sunday, November 20, 2016

Dearest EVeryone!

From 15 November 2016


TRANSFERS!

That´s right kids, we are in a NEW area (for my last transfer).  It´s called Pradera, Vergel, and it´s a great area, with a good ward and lots of investigators and progress!  The curious thing about these transfers, is that we are not actually living in our area!  We are, in fact, living on temple grounds, in a dormitory where the old Mexico MTC used to be. Now, our dormitory is occupied by 22 other Hermanas who all serve in the Visitor´s Center.  We are here because.....!!!... well, we´re still figuring that one out.  We´re the first field sisters to live in the dormitories, and it will certainly be interesting because of that.  The good news? We now have a full fridge, washers AND dryers (no more hand-washing and line-drying), and we live right next to the temple, which they are going to light up with Christmas lights in just a couple of weeks!

So it´s a party :)  Hermana Bracamonte and I are staying together for our 4th cycle (which makes us VERY happy!) and we are going to go out and knock the socks off of the people here in Pradera!
Life has been a bit crazy lately, but we are happy and working hard here in Mexico.  For those of you who were worried, no, I´m not trunky.  I´m too busy for that kind-of stuff!

I hope you all have a wonderful week and share your testimony with someone!

Love,
Hermana Houghton

HELLO WORLD!

From 8 November 2016

Last week (and the week before that, and this week) we have been going on a LOT of adventures, so I apologize for the lack of information/responses to emails.  Today, I shall repent and give you a full report of what is going on!

This past week, we were a bit swamped by meetings.  We had a 5-hour meeting on Thursday, another one on Friday, and then a 3-hour meeting on Saturday.  Now, we´re in a fun part called the "go and do" stage.  Basically, after being filled up with inspiration and good cheer during all of those amazing meetings, it´s time to go out and apply everything we learned, as we work in our areas as missionaries.  It is PRETTY exciting!  One thing that we talked about (again... so it´s REALLY important) is using the modern tools of internet and all of the amazing videos, photos, and messages the share the gospel through facebook, twitter, instagram, etc.  I really liked one idea (and I´ll share it with you as an invitation) of just looking through your list of friends on facebook and listening closely to the spirit to identify a person or two who you could send a message or a video or just a smile to.  It´s miraculously easy, and as we do it, we can learn better how to listen to and follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost. As Nephi explains in 2 Nephi 31 and 32, we ALL have the "tongue of angels" after we are baptized adn confirmed, which means that we can speak the words of Christ (aka share the gospel)!  Isn´t that amazing?  I think so.

In other news, I am heading into my home-stretch (last cycle) of the mission, which is a bit odd.  I still feel as if I just arrived in Mexico!  But that´s all okay because we´ve got a WHOLE lot of work to do here in Hidalgo this week, and in the weeks to come, even MORE!  Hermana Bracamonte and I really like to work hard, so that is good news, and we are excited!  Speaking of Hermana Bracamonte--SHE TURNED 21 THIS WEEK!!! We didn´t actually do anything very special on her birthday (Monday), but today we had a birthday celebration of sorts, and we went ice skating and ate ice cream--YUMMMM!  

Last week, we went to the City center and checked out the "day of the dead" celebration with some other hermanas.  It was interesting to see a bit of a culture-mix with some people dressed up as skeletons dressed in fancy clothing (traditional day of the dead) and also the people dressed up as pikachu, Elsa, and other more-american-themed things.  Anyway, it was really interesting (and there were thousands of people there!), and then we went and found an out-door artisanal market where we shopped around for a bit and then headed back to our areas.  It was an ADVENTURE!  Also, the week before, we went to the city center and saw a ton of "Alebrijes" (pronounced Al-eh-brie-hays) next to the Angel of Independence (classic Mexico City icon/monument).  They are a tradition that began here in Mexico City of weird animals that the artists basically invent and create out of card board and other materials. They were AMAZING.  I will send you a couple of those pictures :)

So that is what has been happening!  We also have been working with new investigators, we put on a ward activity, and we´ve been working on a project of checking ALL of the less-active memebers in our stake to see who really lives here still, and who does not.  It has been quite a project, but we´re finally wrapping it up.  

To finish off, here is a special thought from one of the many meetings we have had this last week:
When the work of the Lodr isn´t going forth as it should in the places we live, we need to remember that we are not part of the PROBLEM, but we are certainly part of the SOLUTION.  Heavenly Father sends us to where we are with His eternal goals in mind.  

Be safe and super-duper happy and do WONDERFUL MARVELOUS things this week!  Please!

Love
Hermana Houghton

P.s. I´m just going to invite you all to see my google-drive which has a LOT of pictures from the last few adventures, so if you want to see the physical evidence of all of my adventures, you can check that out :)

Monday, November 7, 2016

Hello!

From 1 November 2016

Foto de Distrito
I don`t actually have any time to write today!  So I`ll just let you know that I love you all, and I have been going on lots of adventures and working REALLY hard in your honor!

Love,
Hermana HOughton
Mission Conference

Hello Again!

From 25 October 2016

Dearest Everyone,

We need guidance from our Heavenly Father.  We need it every single day, and if we learn to SEEK it actively, we will be SO much more blessed in our lives.  I invite you all to pray for guidance, write that guidance down, and then DO IT.  And afterwards, you can report on what you did with it to our Heavenly Father.  That´s what I´ve been learning to do!  I really don´t have words to describe the amazing blessings of that process.  

In other news, we are here in Hidalgo, working hard!  Next week is Day of the Dead, and then... well, then comes November... weird.  Tomorrow Hermana Bracamonte and I celebrate our 1-year anniversary of being companions!  (haaapappppppyyyy :) ) Anyway, it´s going to be a busy week (#2) and we started it off pretty well.  

Today we visited a very touristy part of the city called "Reforma". This trip included a LOT of cool sights and pictures, but (of course) I can´t send pictures on this computer, so... you will have to wait.  One day...

Have a FANTASTIC WEEK EVERYONE!

Lots of love
Hermana Houghton

HELLO EVERYONE!!

From 18 October 2016

we got REALLY tired one day... 
Dearest Everyone,

This week´s lesson has been rather deep and complicated, but the gist of it is this: If we want to receive guidance from Heavenly Father, we have to be willing to do what He tells us.  And it´s usually not the easiest/most comfortable thing to do.  Receiving Revelation (personal guidance from Heavenly Father by way of the Holy Ghost) is REALLY simple, and REALLY complicated.  (I´m still figuring it out, so I´ll leave the topic right there).

Sssooo, this week we had Zone Conference, Zone training, and we preached the gospel a fair bit as well!  It was good!  Today we played volleyball and kickball as a zone, and then Hermana Bracamonte and I started a water fight that we didn´t win.  That is what happened!  We also ate ice cream (old Pday tradition), and corn (new Pday tradition)--mexican style!  AAaaannnd life is crazy.  Time seems to be flying by, and each week goes faster than the last one!

So here´s the invitation to you all:  Sometimes we think that our missionary efforts have to be limited to ACTUALLY talking to people, but we live in a time and age where we tend to communicate more with our thumbs than with our mouths.  So.  I invite you all to share the gospel/your testimonies with those thumbs today!  Take a selfie with some missionaries near you, post a video from General Conference, or send a quick message to an old-time friend who you haven´t talked to in a while!  Do SOMETHING to share the beautiful light that the gospel has given us.

And have FUN!
Love,
Hermana Houghton

P.S. photos: 
we... ate corn!​

we had a zone activity! (and got wet!)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

HELLO EVERYONE!

From 11 October 2016

adventures in the cold
HELLO EVERYONE!

This week.  We went on SO MANY adventures.  It was great!

the park is called "crocodiles"
Hermana Bracamonte and I are working all kinds of hard here in Hidalgo, and we are determined to preach the gospel to ALL of the people.  We´ve been knocking on doors, talking to people in the street, making apointments, teaching the gospel, praying, fasting, smiling, waving, studying, aaaaannnnnddddd laughing.  Lots and lots of laughing.  You see, if you take life too seriously (even as a missionary) you will go CRAZY.  So it´s better to laugh.














how we feel about apostasy





Then, on Pday, after working hard all week, we PLAY hard (aka, go sight-seeing and visit all the places we can).  This week we visited the Basilica, and we ate at a tasty restaurant named "Huarachín Huarachón".  MMMmmmmmmmm good.  We´also celebrated Hermana Bracamonte´s year-mark by buying ice cream!  Anyway, you can check out the pictures for more details!

 ice creaaaammmmm....

Ok. Spiritual thought today comes from the book of Luke, chapter 2.  This is a pretty famous chapter, where Christ is born, and wise men and shepherds come to see him, etc.  One of my very favorite parts of this whole thing is a little line about Mary, who "kept all these things in her heart and pondered them".  I think that sometimes when big, wonderful things (or little things) happen in our lives, we get excited, they happen, they´re over, and then we forget them.  But I think with things like General Conference, or other experiences during the week, we can remember this very important lesson from Mary, and keep these things in our heart to meditate.  I invite you all to do it, and to have a fantastic week meditating!

Lots of love,
Hermana Houghton


goodbye to Hermana Beck

welcome back Hermana Bracamonte!




please notice the man in the back of this picture who has tied his child up with a blanket.

hmmmm... the park was empty

camel ride, anyone?

#signsofthesecondcoming...

we contacted in a park as a district!

SSSsooooooo...

From 4 October 2016

SSSsooooooooommmething WONDERFUL happened this week!  President Naumann sent me an early birthday present named: HERMANA BRACAMONTE! Yeah.  In case you didn´t already know, she was my companion LAST October-January.  And now WE´RE TOGETHER AGAIN!  YAY!!!  Hermana Beck shall be missed very much, but the Lord called her to Balbuena, and off she faithfully went.

So this past week we went crazy getting ready for General conference, and it was COMPLETELY worth it!  The messages shared in this conference were VERY powerful, and I especially enjoyed the musical numbers that acompanied all of the powerful talks.  As you can probably imagine, I LOVED the focus on member missionary work, and the added power of a choir of missionaries in the Saturday session of conference was really special.  Honestly, I can testify of the enormous blessings Heavenly Father has for His children who want to share the gospel.  He worries about all of us, and send His gospel to help.  I hope that you all thought seriously about the invitation that Heavenly Father made for each one of us to share the restored gospel with those around us.  We should do it with a spirit of prayer and love, but the point is mainly that WE DO IT!

Here in Mexico, we will continue working, with joy in our hearts and smiles on our faces! I love you all and hope you have a great week, with lots of joy ! (my other favorite part was President Nelson´s talk) :D

Love,
Hermana Houghton

P.S.... I will send pictures next week... sorryy!!!

Hello to EVERYONE!

From 27 September 2016

templo mayor


Eating quesadillas in the Tiangies today
Hello to EVERYONE! 
Life is good.  Today we went on an adventure to the Tiangis, ("tee-ang-ees"--outdoor street-market where they sell... everything: sea food, tacos, hand-made tortillas, tlacollos, cleaning supplies, fruits and vegetables, clothes, accessories, phones, plants, shoes, kitchen stuff, etc.), where we wandered around for a couple of hours bargaining for trinkets and eating strange foods. Now, we´re going to go clean... And that abour wraps up our pday (other than buying groceries, emailing, and doing laundry)  Anyway, it´s been a fun little time :)





bike-taxi, and the Cathedral


Also, last week we went to the Zocalo, where we saw the "Templo Mayor" or the ruins and museum of ancient temple from the times of the Mexicas. We also saw a really old cathedral, and we took a ride in a bike-taxi :D  (see pictures, attached)

As far as the work is concerned, we continue to preach the gospel.  One important lesson we learned (which some of you have also learned this week from the General Women´s session of the world-wide Conference) is that there are 2 things that faith CANNOT do.  #1 Force the agency of another person, and #2 Put our will above God´s will.  Even with ALL of the faith in the world, we cannot do these two things.  Which is good.  Everybody gets to make their own decisions.  I also learned more about how to receive revelation.  When we need divine help to make decisions or do things, we need to put our brains to work FIRST (before we just ask Heavenly Father for the answer) and we need to come up with some plans/ideas.  Then, when we´ve "studied it out in our minds" we need to ask the Lord if those plans are good, and if He will bless them.  And that´s how we can receive the divine help we´re looking for.  If we never think to make our own plans, the Lord won´t usually just reveal it all to us.  We have to do our part! (LIGHT BULB!)  

So, as you can see, I´m still learning A LOT here in Mexico, and it will continue to be that way because I am determined to keep working as hard as I can here in the Lord´s Vineyard.  Thank you for all of your support!
Love,
  
Hermana Houghton

Displaying image.png

DID YOU HEAR THAT MY BROTHER IS ENGAGED?
HOLY ENCHILADA, GUACAMOLE, TOSTADA. 
¡FELICIDADES A LUKE Y LARA!


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Dearest Everyone

From 21 September 2016

"the district" ... we´re a pretty big district...








Today we went on adventures!!!  Unfortunately, I can´t send you the pictures, because I don´t have any time left!  so you will have to wait 7 more days to see all that we saw today. :/

In other news, this week was the "15 de Septiembre" (Mexico´s Independence Day), so on thursday night there were fireworks, pozole, little carnivals in the street, and Mexican flags, and red, white, and green decorations ALL OVER THE PLACE!  Naturally, we went home early and did weekly planning during the "pachanga" (party), and when we got up the next morning EVERYTHING was closed.  But we did get to see some cool plane formations fly overhead.  

Anyway... I promise to send a better email next week!  Be very safe and happy and PUT A SMILE ON YOUR FACE!

Lots of love,
Hermana Houghton


Monday, September 19, 2016

HELLO EVERYONE!

From 13 September 2016

WE WENT TO THE TEMPLE!!!!  Really, we go to the temple all of the time, but we only get to go INSIDE every now and then!  So it was a special day :)

SSSsoooooo.

This week we made a LOT of good plans, and a LOT of them got really quite complicated as various events and issues presented themselves!  But we continue to learn and grow each and every day, and preach the gospel in every way that we can!

UUUummm... yessssss... Life lessons learned: Trust in the Lord and everything will work out.  He may not give us the answers we want when we want them, but He will send what we need, WHEN we need it.

Have a LOVELY week!
Love,
Hermana Houghton


Anyone who can name the 3 big important church leaders
 in this picture wins a cool souvenir from Mexico!



A visit with these three important church leaders
(including Sister Bonnie Oscarson, Young Women General President)


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Dearest Everyone!

From 6 September 2016


Do you ever get to the end of the week and just feel exhausted?  That´s okay.  That feeling is pretty normal!  Because if you´re exhausted it means you worked hard :) and you´re alive.

So. This week I learned about the importance of planning. Really, planning your life is the key to having an EFFECTIVE life.  Our mission president has taught us that deciding to "work harder" doesn´t actually change very much if we REALLY want to see different results.  So he taught us how we have to plan, and execute plans to be able to use our time better. Anyway, we´re doing that :)  Of course, there are a lot of parts of life that you CAN´T plan, so we do what we can, and then we trust that the Lord will do the rest. That´s what faith is called!

Anyway, this week was interesting.  We have officially begun the Patriotic Month in Mexico, so we are seeing a lot of flags, hearing a lot of fireworks, and people keep talking about delicious foods like pozole, chiles enogadas, and pampazos.  MMMMMMMmmmmm...  (the 15th of September is Independence Day).  Also, the weather is getting a little bit colder, and the rain carries on.  I hope you are all doing GREAT!  Hermana Beck and I keep cracking jokes and eating chocolate, and we´re as happy as can be! 

Lots of love,
Hermana Houghton

the weather today :O

We rearranged the house :D



With a HILARIOUS dog named Nena :D 

She looks like a little bear

 zone activity: Centenario-- volleyball

Elías, an 88-year-old man that we´ve been teaching,
but who is now moving to Oaxaca... :(

yep... it´s eating paper... :(


I thought you might appreciate the amount of chocolate we have in the house right now...
It wasn´t on purpose... just turned out this way...
Love your favorite chocoholic,
Hermana Houghton

Hello from Hidalgo!

From 29 August 2016

Dearest Everyone,

Life is good! Each and every day we get a chance to wake up and breathe in fresh air and go out and do lots of good things that change the world "poco a poco" (little by little)! This week we have been doing just that!  We´ve been knocking on doors, looking for less-active members of our branch, talking with everyone we find in our path, and trying to follow the Holy Ghost!  I´ve been learning patience, charity, faith, and hope each and every day :)

Also, one of our leaders this week taught us an important message about missionary work when he shared a quote which I will attempt to share now: "the missionary field is Heavenly Father´s individual training ground for the entire life of a person".  So basically, when you´re on your mission and you go through a hard time, it´s because Heavenly Father wants you to be better prepared for hard times that are going to come in the future.  He´s just getting us ready and turning us into better instruments. I think that is SO applicable to missioanies, but also to all of us in our normal lives. We can learn and grow from our smaller trials, to be stronger one day for the bigger ones that will surely come.

Anyway, you get the general idea.  I hope that you all have a fantastic week and continue to overcome the trials you have, with a smile on your face!

Love,
Hermana Houghton

P.S. sorry... we didn´t really take any pictures this week... 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

HELLO EVERYONE!

From 22 August 2016
Baptism of Zaira

Wow.

Hermana Beck and I just hit one cycle in Hidalgo together, and I CANNOT believe that 6 weeks have already flown by.  Wow.  This past week was a bit crazy. We taught the gospel, knocked on a lot of doors, learned  A LOT in our 7-hour-long zone conference, and helped a really wonderful person get baptized (see pictures).  It was an adventure!  

One of the biggest lessons this week is this: we need to have Faith, Hope, and Charity. In this mission, we are putting our faith to work in ways I never would have thought of before.  From here on out, each month all of the missionaries in our mission are going to announce a baptismal service in their ward.  It doesn´t matter if we have 100 progressing investigators, or 0, we announce a baptism, and then (in the words of President Naumann) we are going to "work like crazy people" to find the people the Lord has prepared for that date.  In simpler terms, it is "an exercise of faith".  Some people think we are crazy, but really, we just have faith, and we are putting it into action.  I invite you all to think of the ways you can put your faith into action this week, and then you an write me and tell me about it!  
In other news, this week we got out-run by a 71-year old Hermana who came with us to an appointment, borrowed umbrellas from an investigator when it started hailing and pouring rain, and we went on adventures to a big giant Mercado near where we live.  So it was a pretty average week in Mexico City.  

I hope you are all having a wonderful week!
Lots of love,
Hermana Houghton

 filling the baptismal font


Dearest Everyone! (#2)

From 15 August 2016
Baptism of Marisol, Alejandra, and Casandra :)  With the help and support of several members of the Branch!


When it comes to baptismal clothing, the important
 thing is that it´s white.  Whether it fits or not,
 is a whole other question!
We match, found a moving train, and a little tiny forest. 
All at the same time, in the middle of Mexico City :)
This week went by really fast, and was full of lots of craziness.  We taught the Relief Society how to make chocolate chip cookies (they were quite impressed!), put on a baptism for a wonderful little family, and avoided getting wet and/or pummelled by hail!  











We also learned a lot about Faith, Hope, and Charity, and we walked in a LOT of circles in our (relatively tiny) area.  It was lovely!  I really like Hidalgo, it´s a beautiful little place full of kind people and lots of opportunities to serve and preach the gospel.







As for other news, we´re learning about using our study time better, and this week we´re going to have a 7-hour-long zone conference!  7 HOURS!  I will tell you about it in "8 days"  (in Mexico, everyone says "in 8 days" instead of "in a week")  ...  Yep.  They say there are 8 days in a week...

Anyway, all is well, and here comes the spiritual thought:  Sometimes we get so caught up asking Heavenly Father for things that we forget to be grateful.  So every now and then we can just take a break from asking and give a prayer of thanks for all that He has given us.  (yes, I know I´m jumping the Thanksgiving gun...)

Be safe and happy, and GIVE THANKS!

Lots of love,
Hermana Houghton


My lds login got a little bit confused this morning...

pday lunch!  (tortillas of chipotle, cheese-and-ham-filled
chicken, and vegetables...)  (Vegetables!!!)

1) 
2) 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Dearest EVERYONE! (#1)



Divisions
So.  It´s been another exciting week, and 7 VERY fast days!  

Starting the day with adventure:
these are "tunas" (cactus fruit)
and this was my breakfast 
on Friday :) 




When one is on the mission, one must go on adventures.  So.  Each day, we look for adventures.  Sometimes we eat weird things.  Sometimes we see weird things. And sometimes we do weird things, but we ALWAYS do something!

We got soaked







This week we preached the gospel!  We spent a lot of time looking for new people to teach, and we saw a few fruits from that.  Right now, we´re working a LOT with the branch and the less-active members because we need to grow from the roots and the branches as well.  It´s really cool to see that some of the strongest members right now (Relief Society President, Ward Mission Leader) are recent converts, and even though they don´t know everything, their conversion is strong enough to help them overcome their dificulties and dedicate their time and talents to serving the Lord in their callings.  They are an example of the "wild branches" grafted into the tress (see Jacob 5!).  Other than that, we´ve been having a LOT of schedule/habit/culture changes in the mission due to the new President, and those have been exciting/stressful (only occasionally stressful) to put into practice.  We have seen a lot of interesting changes in the spirit of the work since he got here, and it´s really cool to see how the power of revelation REALLY works!


Our adventure
at the Basilica de Guadalupe
Also, today we went on an adventure to the "Basilica de la Virgen de Guadalupe"!  It was an adventure, and a good cultural experience!  The Basilica plays a BIG part in the culture of Mexico City, and the Catholic Church in general in Mexico  Also, it´s about 20 minutes away from our house walking, so we thought we should probably visit.  I think it was the most touristy place I´ve been since getting here :)
At the Basilica
Amazing Basilica Architecture
Other part of the Basilica

Thankyou SO much for your prayers, emails, and thoughts!  I love you all and hope you have wonderful experiences this week!

Lots of love,
Hermana Houghton





Monday, August 1, 2016

HOLY COW. IT´S AUGUST.

Why yes.  We do have matching rain jackets!
Wow.  That was a fast month!  Soooooo... Welcome to August! It´s been an exciting little week, indeed, and life continues to be a really interesting roller-coaster of events!  Here´s a brief run-down of our recent efforts to serve the good people of the Hidalgo area:

Service Adventures:
1) This week, we tried to help a man in a wheel chair navigate the uneven pavement of our area.  We pushed him for about 10 seconds, and then he decided he was better off on his own.. and left us in the dust... But we tried! 
2) We were just about to send the Hermanas who came for divisions off on their bus, when a taxi stopped working in front of us.  So the 4 of us helped push the taxi across the intersection and a ways down the street.  We got a LOT of weird looks, and then the couple felt bad and told us that they were going to take it the rest of the way home :(  But we tried!
3) We visited an elderly couple in our ward, who are both in wheel chairs.  A nurse attends them every day, but it´s hard for her to help one of them get up to practice walking each day, because it´s a 2-person job.  So we went by to help out, but the patient was really tired, so instead of helping him walk, they gave us a ton of food and we took shelter in their house while it poured rain for about 20 minutes!  We tried!

The moral of the story is:  Always serve (see Mosiah 2:17).  Even if it doesn´t work out just the way you planned it, it´s a good and important part of being disciples and representatives of Jesus Christ.  And you get to see a lot of special little miracles as you do it!

Anyway, we continue to search actively for people prepared by God to receive the gospel, and we´ve had a lot of fun doing it.  We have eaten a LOT of pastries and other bread-type sweets in the process, and that is what keeps us going (along with a LOT of prayers, faith, and blessings)!  I love you all and hope you have fantastic service advntures (and then write to me about them) this week!

Lots of love,
Hermana Houghton



We went to a fancy Brasilian barbeque restaraunt today and ate...
A TON!  (but not nearly as much as the Elders!)