Monday, January 28, 2013

Settling In

January 28, 2013

Hermanas Clayton and Houghton, with  (Eliza's) first investigator baptized, Daniel,
and Hermano Gutierrez--1/27/2013

Dear everyone,

Missionary work is hard. I know, I know, it's obvious. But really, I'm learning the art of mental stamina and relying on the Lord! (Mostly the latter)
Yesterday Daniel got baptized! It was really, really exciting. He's the first convert who I really felt was affected by my testimony, and that added to the joy, but just seeing someone receive the blessings of the gospel in his life was amazing! He is a crack-up, and someone who really loves the knowledge of the gospel and the spirit, like me. I am thrilled to see how much he is going to be blessed. (Side note: he was telling his friend about Sister Clayton and I over the phone, and he told him that we're like Batman and Robin. It was hilarious. He wouldn't specify which was which.)
This week was crazy. We spend so much time studying, and learning, and going to training, that sometimes I wonder how we get anything done! But we really do, and we especially need all of the training and studying. I love the verse in Alma 56 that's talking about how the army of Helaman didn't doubt that their mothers knew the truth of the gospel. As missionaries we really need to be able to know, and be mothers and fathers in the gospel to others. I want to be the kind of missionary who has so much faith that all of my investigators know that I know.
This week I've been learning about the importance of the Spirit in missionary work. It is much more effective to bear your testimony to someone of Jesus Christ and the gospel, and then challenge them to be baptized, than it is to persuade them to let you into their home, teach them each of the lessons with eloquence and well-placed scriptures, and then hope they'll want to be baptized. That's kind of the main focus of the Florida Fort Lauderdale mission. Sister Clayton and I have been applying this to all of our lessons, and have found out how much good we can do by keeping our lessons short and sweet, applying the gospel and the scriptures to people's needs, giving them homework, and most of all inviting the Spirit through testimony and increasing our own faith.
The thing that really made me focus on this was when we had specialized training with President Anderson, and we watched a video clip about Brigham Young. It showed how all the persuasion in the world didn't do a whit of good for his testimony, but when a normal man stood up and bore his simple, pure testimony he felt the Spirit and it changed his heart. Our role is to testify and challenge, as it says in a talk that is pretty much the philosophy of our mission. I don't know if you could find it on or through google, but look up "The Challenging and Testifying Missionary" by Elder Dyer. It's amazing.
One other quick spiritual thought. We sang "Battle Hymn of the Republic" at the specialized training, and I was really touched by the last line of the third verse, which reads, "As he died to make men holy, let us live to make men free. Our God is marching on." I read Mosiah 5:8, which talks about how the only way we can become free is through Jesus Christ and baptism, and it was amazing. Our goal as missionaries is to make men free. We are an army of hand-picked soldiers fighting against trials and difficulties and sometimes the people themselves to help them to become free from sin, and sorrow, and being alone, and not knowing how to achieve salvation. This is really a marvelous work, and it is worth it!
I love you all!
Hermana Houghton

Some pictures from the missionary. . .

With Hermano Florience--2nd MTC
teacher, who posed as
"Jose" the investigator
Goofing around with Elder Perez--MTC

With MTC teacher, Hermana Van Vliet
And this is where she's headed!

Arriving in Fort Lauderdale, FL--a tired crew after cancellations
and many hours of travel!  1/15/2013

With Sisters Sablan, Ellett, and Price outside the
Fort Lauderdale Mission Home--1/16/2013

"The Digs:"  West Palm Beach North, Sisters' Apartment

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