Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The plan of Salvation REALLY WORKS!

From 23 February 2016

I was really impressed this week by the behavior of our Bishop and his family here in Olivos, and I want to share their experience as a testimony with you all, that our Heavenly Father LOVES us.  So last Saturday, our Bishop´s 3-year old daughter had to go to the hospital, and on Monday she passed away, due to a bacterial infection.  They held her service Tuesday, and Wednesday, the Bishop and his wife purchased and distributed a LOT of supplies and food in order to prepare for the ward activity planned for Saturday.  At the activity they both faithfully showed up and participated, with smiles on their faces, and warm hugs and hand-shakes.  Now, I know a lot of people go through hard things, but I was just so impressed with these two people who were clearly heart-broken at the sudden loss of someone so dear, but are still so ready to serve and reach out to others.  I know that they are fortified by the understanding that they will see their daughter again, because they have the blessings and promises of an Eternal family.  They were married and sealed in the temple with their children, and now they have the sure knowledge that no matter what happens in this life, they cannot be separated.  

I know that the Plan of Salvation is a gift from God, and He wants with all of His heart for us to follow His plan and reach the eternal life with Him.  

This week we have been working hard, and we´ve seen a lot of miracles!  Our investigator Asuncion received the Priesthood, and invited his family to come to church and to the ward activity, with some success.  We´ve had some minor setbacks with some of our investigators, but Hermana Saylor and I have a lot of faith that things will work out in the end.  I also finished reading the Book of Mormon, and I just had a strong reaffirmation that this book is the word of God.  It is our guide in these perilous times, and will help us conquer any problem we might have. 

I love you all, and hope you have a wondrous week, full of spectacular surprises and marvelous miracles!

Lots of love,
Hermana Houghton

P.S. Still no pictures...

Monday, February 8, 2016

The potato is coming! Oh wait... I mean the Pope!

Dear Family and Friends,

Image result for pope francis visits mexico 2016To explain the title here, I`d like to point out that the only difference between potato and the Pope in Spanish is the little word you use before ("la papa" = potato, "el Papa" = the Pope), and to an English-speaker learning Spanish, the difference can be confusing!  But in all seriousness, this coming week the Pope is coming to visit here in Ecatapec (the county/colonia where I am right now) and there has been a lot of excitement.  School is being canceled, missionaries are being taken out of their areas, and people are setting up tents outside of the Basilica de Guadalupe!  Everybody loves the Pope!  Also, this past week, on the 2nd of February, we saw lots of people walking around with Babie dolls of the Christ child, because it`s a tradition among the Catholics here to dress up a Baby Jesus (with a crown, throne, etc.) and take it to a chapel on the 2nd of February.  I`m still not sure what the doctrinal basis of this tradition is, but it was a pretty big event this week.  

When we get crazy.  Because really,
missionaries ARE crazy.

In other news, we didn`t have a wedding this past week, but we`re looking forward to a wedding and a couple of baptisms this coming week, and for that we are VERY EXCITED.  In fact, it`s hard to explain in words how happy it makes Hermana Saylor and me that these people are making these important changes/decisions in their lives!  

Also, I just wanted to share with you all my love for Christ`s Sermon on the Mount, which can be found in the book of Matthew in the Bible, or in 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon, and which is WONDERFUL.  I especially love His invitation to "consider the lilies of the field", and remember that if He can take care of these plants and give them the nourishment and life that they need, He can surely take care of us if we put our confidence in Him and "seek first the kingdom of God".  I invite you all to review this potent passage, and think about how you can apply it in your life and receive the blessings of a loving Heavenly Father.

That`s all for now folks!

Lots of Love,
Hermana Houghton

P.S.  I almost forgot to tell you about the time we were turbo-walking down the street one evening and we went to step over a hole in the ground, and then a hand came out of the whole in the ground because a child was climbing out of it.  We may or may not have shrieked a bit and then continued turbo-walking. :D

Snoopy, the dog that lives at the church and thinks he deserves to be let inside the chapel, and who gets really sad when we leave him outside.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Free Stuff in Mexico!

From 1 February 2016

We randomly received these two lovely items throughout the week from strangers.  Anyone need some hair dye?
Dearest Family,

I`M ALIVE!  I know you were all pretty concerned about that point, so I thought I`d clarify it straight off!  We are working HARD here in Olivos, and we are seeing MIRACLES!  This week has blown by pretty quickly , inspite of the usual challenges to over-come (people not being at appointments, walking all over our giant area, eating "Chicharron en Salsa Roja", etc.), and I`m very excited to announce the wedding of our investigators!  Woohoo!  One of our investigators isn`t married to his wife, so he has to legalize everything before he can get baptized!  Fortunately, his wife decided that she`s okay with the idea, and they`ll probably be finalizing everything this week, and we`ve got his baptism scheduled for the 11th!  Also, this Sunday was really awesome because we had Stake Conference (a big meeting for all 11 of the congregations or "wards" that are in this area)  It was especially exciting because my old area, Bosques, is in the same stake so I got to say hello to Hermana Bracamonte, and a bunch of ward members (AND SOME INVESTIGATORS!!!!) from my old-area.  It was a crazy couple of hours, but it was wonderful!  

Well, that`s just about all for now folks.  I`ll just finish up with this spiritual thought: It`s really EASY to listen to feedback and instruction when we are already living the laws and commandments that Heavenly Father has given us.  However, the moment we fall away and start to mess up, it gets significantly harder to listen to that feedback, and we have to be careful that we KEEP listening, and we don`t try to justify our actions that may actually be hurting us.  It`s a lesson that the Nephites in the Book of Mormon kind-of had a hard time learning, but really if we humble ourselves and listen to Heavenly Father and His servants, we are going to be so much better off.

I love you all and hope you`re having fantasmical weeks doing wonderful things!

Lots of love,
Hermana Houghton

My new district is crazy, and almost entirely new (only
Hermana Saylor and one other Elder were here in this district last cycle),
but we`re working HARD here in zone "AnĂ huac".  (and some of us
got special stickers because we remembered to bring Preach My Gospel to class...)

This is our hot-plate... Isn`t it beautiful? 
The spoon helps it to sit slightly more evenly on the melted table :D

And this is Gordito.  Our neighbor`s puppy.  He`s adorable :)


From 25 January 2016
Micro-ride selfie!

Dearest Darlingest Family,

In response to some questions and concerns from the previous week`s photos, no, we don`t have chickens, they just live right next to our house and one of the other renters in our "habitation" takes care of them, and a couple of turkeys.  The roosters crow every morning starting at about 4, but it doesn`t bother us too much, because we sleep like rocks!  Also, I got some fun mail this week from family and friends, and I just wanted to let you know how much I TRULY appreciate getting mail.  It`s the BEST! It`s so fun to hear about how things are going on your end of things, and I will try to get better at responding back when you send things my way :)  

Ok.  Fun-facts about the new area Olivos:  

1) Every day they have something called "Tianguies" on a different street in-town.  It`s basically a giant out-door market where people set up stalls/stations selling candy, clothes, fruit, meat, electronics, etc.  You name it, and it`s there.  When you walk through, it`s kind-of an overwhelming smell-sight-and-sound experience because there`s SO many things and people to look at.  Anyway, not too far away from Olivos is the biggest Tianguies in the world, in a place called San Felipe.

2) The ward here is pretty active, and they actually work a lot with the missionaries, which is AWESOME!  On Sunday we worked with the leaders in the congregation (Ward Council) to plan an activity in February to celebrate Valentine`s day and the family all in one and we`re calling it "When there`s love at Home".  It`s going to be awesome, and they`re going to make hamburgers and I might have to find a violin to do a musical number...

3) (this isn`t really about Olivos, it`s just general Mexico/Spanish fun-factness) In Mexico, "Aguas!" means "Water!" but it also means "Careful!"  So we say it a lot because it`s important to be careful.  

4) Because Hermana Saylor and I are both "gueras" (white girls) we stick out a LOT, but we use it to our advantage by "contacting with our Guera-ness" which means that when people randomly stop us in the street to ask us if we speak English or ask us where we`re from, we contact them and teach them about the gospel of Jesus Christ!  It`s a huge blessing, even if it`s a bit strange.  

illustration:  Captain Moroni
Anyway, spiritual thought for the week: Captain Moroni is my HERO!  Seriously though, I was reading through the "war chapters" of the Book of Mormon at the end of Alma this week, and I was incredibly impressed by the power and passion that Moroni puts into protecting his country and serving our Heavenly Father.  I particularly love chapters 60 and 61 of Alma, when he`s calling his fellow governor Pahoran to repentance.  One thing he says to Pahoran is something I like to apply to myself as a member of the church here on Earth.  He asks him why he is with-holding provisions from the armies of his own people, when they are literally starving to death, and it made me realize how important it is for us to share our "spiritual provisions" with those who are equally starving and might be looking for understanding of the gospel.  I know that Heavenly Father loves each and every one of His children (us) and He wants us all to have and to share the spiritual nourishment he has given us.  

I hope you`re all having a fantastic week!  I love you all and it`s VERY exciting for me to hear from you!

Lots of love,
Hermana Houghton

My new desk
(conveniently in range of the fridge!)
Zone activity in the morning!  We`re zone AnĂ huac!