Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Dearest Everyone

From 27 June 2016

So we were walking around one day with our good friend Fernanda,
and we were gifted 3 giant cotton candies!   We (almost) finished them all!

Modern-Day revelation is literally THE BEST! 

So this week, we received our Liahona magazines that contain the General Conference from April 2016, and I was reading it, and it is THE BEST.  The only thing that made me more excited this week was getting new pamphlets about service in the church, and temples and families.  They are BRILLIANT and explain ALL of the things that are hard to explain as missionaries.  Basically, this church is guided by divine revelation, and Heavenly Father knows EXACTLY what we need, and when we need it.  I invite you all to review the April General conference, because it was FANTASTIC.  As a missionary, it´s especially helpful because there are some questions that exist in this day and age that the prophets 2000 years ago simply didn´t forsee.  Fortunately, prophets in OUR time are answering those questions.  It´s just the best.
Celebrating Hermana houghton's 1 year mark
with. . .ice cream!

Anyway.  This week our ward (which still doesn´t have a new bishop) got a little bit more mixed up.  One of the two remaining counselors in the bishopric moved today, and our Ward Missionary Leader got released.  The good news is that they called a new one!  His name is Ricardo, and we contacted him on the street  5 months ago (so he's a pretty recent convert!).  

Olivos House "before"
Olivos House "half-baked"
The party in-between

Also, we decided to rearrange the house.  We decided we just couldn´t live in such a cramped space, so we took apart beds, cleaned out dust elephants, and "ta-da!" we have WAY more space.  It only took about 5 hours!  Then we bought ice cream to celebrate.  So it´s been a pretty successful Pday :)

I love you all MUCHLY.  Keep keeping the commandments and following the prophet.  Those are really smart things to do :)

Lots of love,
Hermana Houghton

Our neighbors.  Hugo, training on his bike, and Natalia... in cleaning... hmmmm

Monday, June 20, 2016


We don´t always twin, but when we do, it´s raining!
Dearest Everyone,

So.  It´s raining.  I love rain.  This week we worked hard, and saw a couple of miracles, and we´re praying for more!  The Olivos ward is great.  Even without a Bishop!  I really truly don´t have much to say, and I don´t even have any fun PDay adventures to tell you about because all we did was take a nap!

I promise more  exciting details next week, but for now I leave you with this spiritual thought:  We are part of a church that is organized and directed by Jesus Christ himself, and so we trust and follow his chosen servants, the prophets.  In a world that is increasingly full of problems, it is INCREDIBLY important that we listen to their guidance, and the personal guidance that we may receive by way of the Holy Ghost.  So I invite you all to read the scriptures, listen to a conference talk, and/or say a prayer.  And search actively for the divine guidance that our Heavenly Father is giving to each one of His precious children.  

I love you all, and trust/hope that you´re doing WONDERFUL and PRODUCTIVE things with your lives!

Be safe and happy!

Lots of love,
Hermana Houghton!


From 13 June 2016

Going to the Visitor´s Center with Berta,
Iltse, Aaron, and Ricardo

Dearest FamBam,

It has been quite a week for everyone, or so it seems.  I´ll give you a quick rundown of all the craziness on this side of things:

Polanco Adventures
1) We went on an adventure to Polanco to renew our visas.  Polanco is a fancy/rich part of town that feels (almost) like American-city-life.  We renewed our visas and while we waited we got Dairy-queen, and walked around the giant fancy malls (great and spacious buildings) that were nearby.  It was an adventure, but it was strange for us all to realize that a year has already flown by and before we know it, we will be heading home :/

Zona Anáhuac (June version)

2) President Anaya and his wife had a good-bye devotional, and we all shared our testimonies, and he gave us life counsel and instructions on how to treat our new mission president who´s coming in a couple of weeks.  There were some powerful testimonies born, and the spirit was VERY strong.

3) We had stake conference and 2 area authorities of the church (70´s) came and spoke to us.  Elder Peiper talked about how, as members of the church, we are blessed immensely, but sometimes we only eat "frijoles" (beans) at this "grand buffet" of blessings.  He invited us all to participate more fully in the gospel and enjoy the blessings of it.  

what Mexican wards get to celebrate
Ward Conference (Dad, take notes :) )
4) Our stake Presidency got reorganized and THEY STOLE OUR BISHOP!  That´s right, they took him right out of Olivos Ward and made him the stake President.  The ward (and the missionaries) will miss his leadership a LOT.  HOwever, probably the mostly inspiring thing I have seen in my mission was when he got called on Sunday morning.  You see, this particular Bishop is a young, hard-working father who, within the last year-and-a-half has lost his mother, 3-year-old daughter, and father.  His father passed away as the evening session of the Saturday conference was starting (around 7:00) but Bishop stayed the whole time.  Then, they held the service for him at 1:30 a.m. and by 9:00 a.m. he was at the stake-center with his family ready for the conference that started at 10:00.  They buried his father that afternoon, and then hosted a dinner at the church in the evening.  We happened to be in the chapel at the time of the dinner for a meeting, and he greeted us with a smile and cracked some jokes. Wow.  This is the gospel in practice, people.  

DAnna´s baptism

5) At that same stake conference, we got to sustain 5 men who I have had the opportunity to teach (from Olivos and Bosques) to receive the Melchezidek Priesthood.  Wow.  That was a really special moment for me.  

Okay folks, that just about all the adventures I have to share with you for today.  Life rolls on, and we keep working hard to share the gospel with those around us.  I learned a special lesson from the Bishop this week that was reinforced in a chapter of the book of Ether (in the Book of Mormon). In chapter 6, the Brother of Jared and his family set out to cross in ocean in barges, trusting COMPLETELY in the Lord to save them and guide their course.  They are blasted, by wind, storms, and waves for over a year in that journey, but they don´t complain.  In fact, it says that when they were most afraid, they sang praises to the Lord, and when they finally reached the land, they knelt down and gave thanks.  I love this passage, because it demonstrates that, as in the case of our Bishop, the Lord sends us trials, and sometimes it just seems like they don´t stop coming.  But he does it to help us reach "the promised land" or the place/person he wants us to be.  He loves each and every one of his children, I just know it. 

Keep up the good work everyone, and don´t forget to sing a happy song if life´s trials have got you down!

Lots of love,
Hermana Houghton

P.S. Pics: These ones are WAY overdue:

Well Hello there! Welcome to the R1!

 Happy 1-year Hermana Woodard!

giant pig in the middle of the highway

Welcome to our lovely Ecatapec.  Why yes, that is pollution :)

Sunday, June 12, 2016


6 June 2016

Dearest Everyone,

This week has been CRAZY to say the least.  We´ve had meetings, zone-changes, investigators getting dropped, other investigators getting found, and everything in between!  Here´s one of the most exciting, inspiritional events of the week:  We were visiting a family who recently converted (Karla (11) and Carlos (Father of the family) got baptized in April, and their Elvia (mother) and Aldo (older brother, on mission) got baptized about 1.5 years ago) and talking about the importance of family scripture study, etc.  The next time we visited them, they told us that they were singing a hymn, reading a chapter in the book of Mormon, and saying a prayer EVERY NIGHT.  Isn´t that just beautiful?  As a mission it certainly is :)

In other news, we had a zone activity, Danna got confirmed on Sunday, and we got to go to the Visitor´s Center with some investigators.  It´s been crazy, but wonderful, and I am REALLY sorry, but I can´t send you all the pictures I have because of some technical difficulties we are having.  

So I will leave you with this thought from one of my favorite prophets, Mormon:  We are all in the hands of God, and if we´re doing what He has commanded us to do, we don´t need to worry about it!  All is well!  

Keep doing wonderful things, and be safe and happy!  (of course)
Lots of love,
Hermana Houghton

Dearest Fam

From 30 May 2016 

I´m still HERE (in Olivos, that is)!!!  It´s a lovely feeling :)  Hermana Woodard and I are getting a third cycle here, and we are STOKED because this is going to be an AWESOME time.  We are both hitting our year-marks, President Anaya is leaving and President Nauman is coming (changes in mission Presidents are surprisingly big events), and there´s a whole bunch of other exciting things happening as well :)

This last week was lovely, and in spite of being sick, we got a lot of work done, met and taught some new people, and we helped our little friend Danna get baptized :)  It was a happy day!  Also, rainy season has started, so we got stranded twice, and the chapel flooded once this week :D  We were going to have a lesson at the church, but first we had to clean up the 1.5 inches of water that were in the entry-way and a couple of classrooms.  The good news is that carpet is pretty rare in Mexico (for this reason) and water doesn´t do much damage to tile.  And we did eventually get the water cleaned up, and we had our lesson :)  

Also, here´s a funny tid-bit: when we fill up the baptismal font here, we use a LOT of water.  Because we don´t really get it that dirty, the church uses it to water the lawns outside of the chapel.  So the grass is LITERALLY greener when a lot of people are getting baptized.  It´s pretty exciting :)

not the pig seen, but an internet image that
confirms, this does happen!
Other exciting things that happened this week: we got sick (and toughed it out), our mission President called us up one day and dropped his wife (Hermana Anaya) off with us to go on visits for a couple of hours, and we saw a pig the size of a pony in the middle-section of the divided highway in front of our house :) It was being shepherded by two dogs (no humans) to who-knows-where.  Mexico continues to surprise Hermana Woodard and I every day.

Have a truly fantastic week, and don´t forget to read the scriptures because "the words of Christ will tell you all things, what ye should do."

Lots of love,
Hermana Houghton

Well Hello There!

From 23 May 2016

Baptism of Lorena
Dearest Everyone,

Is it really May already?  I feel like Christmas was yesterday... All is well and good in Mexico City, and not too many crazy things have happened this week.  We went on divisions, and Hermana Aguilar came with me and it was cool to learn from her persective, because she´s one of the Latina Hermanas who is normally in the Visitor´s Center, but got to come out to the field this cycle. She loves it, and has a unique vision and work-ethic because of her time in the Visitor´s Center (and becuse was born in Mexico and understands some things better!).

Lorena's baptism:  The sun was REALLY bright
In other news, this week we got to help Lorena get baptized, which was a REALLY cool experience.  She´s really the last member of her extended family (on the side of her husband) to get baptized, and she decided to do it because of the example of her 12-year old son and 13-year-old daughter.  They´re both active members of the church and invited her to come because they want to be sealed in the temple as an Eternal family (a family that extends beyond this life).  Anyway, all of the neices and nephews sang at the baptism, and the two kids spoke, an the Spirit was very strong.  It was a special day for this whole family :)

Today we played volleyball and ninja as a district, and made "pastel impossible" (imposible cake) with Minerva, our neighbor.  It was lovely :)  We´re going to go out and knock-em-ead this week, and I´ll let you know how it went in "8 días".  (in Mexico, there are 8 days in the week, not 7.  Ok, not really, but it´s what they say instead of "in a week").

Do wonderful things with your lives this week, and (if you have a moment) read the talk from Elder Uchtdorf from this last conference--it´s just lovely!

Lots of love,
Hermana Houghton

 English spelling just really doesn´t make any sense

Pedro and his kitty-cat "Tigress" (and a few other dogs, they have about 6.. I think...)

Zone Anáhuac!  With the mission banner

District volleyball and ninja :)  Also, sometimes the little timer on cameras is REALLY hard


From 16 May 2016

Zone Conference
Dear Family,

I know you probably don´t want to hear this, but not much has changed this week.  Right now we´re in an internet business thing and the guy behind the counter is watching youtube videos and singing at the top of his lungs (yes, in english)  :) We had zone conference this week, and we worked really hard in our area, and that´s about the biggesst news.

So I´ll skip right to the spiritual thought! So, I finished Doctrine and Covenants (FINALLY, YES, I read REALLY slowly) and I was reading the Declarations at the end of the book.  In these declarations, President Woodruff declares, basically, that Heavenly Father will NEVER permit his prophets or servants to lead us astray.  He won´t do it.  His plan is to lead us back into His presence, and He has the power to do just that.  I just realize that the most beautiful thing about the gospel is that it lines up and makes perfect sense.  The doctrines line right up, and if we know one simple thing, we know all the rest.  (eg. testimony of the Book of Mormon, testimony of Joseph Smith, testimony of Jesus Christ, living prophets, etc.)

Anyway, Heavenly Father makes sense.  

I hope you all have FANTASTIC weeks and that you do WONDERFUL things every day, and then you tell me about how it went!

Lots of love,
Hermana Houghton

P.S. Marta's response to pictures of Levi's swimming and prom:
    "That child. Your little baby is just growing up SO fast.  Wowsers."
    "Oh my goodness.  They are just TOO darn cute :)"


From 9 May 2016

Saying "Happy Mother`s Day" to Hermana Anthony,
who helps us out in the offices of the mission and
 is basically a Grandma to all of us here in Mexico
This week was full of adventures and (that`s right, you guessed it!) MIRACLES!!

No, seriously, Olivos is so full of miracles that it`s ridiculous, here`s just a few:
1) We've been working really hard to find new investigators this week, but we haven`t been very successful, and it`s been frustrating.  But sometimes, you just have to show Heavenly Father that you`re WILLING to work, and then He`ll send you the raw material.  So this week, after spending a whole day in meetings and helping one of the Hermanas move because she sprained both of her ankles and has to stay in the Visitor`s Center for 2 weeks, we got a message from our Bishop saying that his sister-in-law wanted to get baptized NEXT WEEK.  And she has already gone to church the required 5 times, so this week we are teaching almost every single night so she can get baptized on Saturday and be sealed with her family for eternity in one year.  WOW.  The truth is, Heavenly father is preparing people all around us to receive the gospel and we just have to be spiritually strong enough to help them out when they`re ready.
Post-skyping adventures (with Hermana Gris!)
2) On Sunday, some new investigators came to church with us and they really liked it
3) On Sunday afternoon a family that lives near the chapel showed up and they say they want to learn about and join the church.  WOW.
4) Yesterday my companion and I had the wonderful opportunity to talk to our AWESOME families and see how they`re doing!  
5) The wonderful journey we call life goes on!

Being hydrated when it`s hot (those bottles
 contain 1.5 liters, thank you very much!!)
mangos in Mexico are DELICIOUS!
Basically, Mexico is still a crazy place, but it`s also wonderful!  On a more spiritual note, I was really impressed by the importance of repentance this week.  Right now in the missionary department of the church, they`re putting a BIG emphasis on the topic, and consequently the recent guidance from our President has echoed the same theme.  What I learned is this: as missionaries and as a church, we work hard to help people in whatever way we can whether it be physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Our work is to "love one another, as Jesus loves [us]."  However, the end goal of EVERYTHING we do is to have whole families be able to return to the presence of Heavenly Father after this life.  Because of this, we don`t simply teach the principle of faith, we also teach repentance so that people can literally prepare to meet God.  Without repentance, we CANNOT reach this point of preparation.  So it`s pretty important :)  Anyway, I invite you all to look it up a bit this week!

The adventures continue here in Mexico, but we pray for you all each and every day, so I hope you`re doing wonderful things and recieving all the blessings that the Lord has in store for you!

Lots of love,
Hermana Houghton

 Emptying the baptismal font with the district

 Pday Aventures:

Where the frisbee ended up

Where we ended up