Monday, April 22, 2013


Dear Everyone,

Eliza didn't send pictures.
So this is a reminder of where she is.
I'm actually not sure who ends up reading this email/blog post that I send out, but hey! if you want more direct salutations you'll have to write me directly :)
So a funny encounter we had the other day. We said a prayer with Eddy, and ended up giving him a card with a picture of the Salt Lake Temple on the front. He loved the picture, and told us he was immediately going to post the picture on his facebook. We told him he should take a picture of the back of the card and post that too, so he said he would!
One of our investigators, referred to as Cuban Jorge (not the one from above), thinks we're family. You try to shake his hand and he holds onto the hand, pulls you closer, and grabs the back of your head. He pulls your head down and kisses your forehead. We've told him that's not allowed, but it doesn't bother him...
We've met several people this week who are so prepared. Two single Latin men who don't drink or smoke and have been wanting to go to a church! One of them told us he had been waiting for us, and the other is an old coworker and friend of one of our strongest ward members. Jose and Jorge both have questions that are answered by the Restored Gospel, and both have recognized that hole in their lives that so many converts fill when they are baptized. We feel so blessed to have found them, and have them both progressing. We have many other amazing investigators, and have really seen the hand of the Lord as we have been working to rely more on him.
This week a verse that I really loved was 2 Nephi 4:20, which says: "My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep." Note that it doesn't say that God always takes away our afflictions, or parts the sea so that we can walk across on dry land. He is just there for us through our hard times, and we can trust that everything will work out for our good if we are directing our steps in the way he would have us go. Later on in that chapter Nephi says, "Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul." When we look forward with hope and faith, grateful for what we've been given in the past, and rejoicing in the present, we are able to drive away the enemy of our soul - contention, anger, despair, fear, etc.
I love that our internal happiness doesn't have to depend on what is outside. I've heard that since I was little, but I've really seen it in action this week - referring back to Elder Kopischke's talk in General Conference, we can be happy when we know we are worthy of being accepted by God. We know this because we have the companionship of the Holy Ghost, which allows us to have confidence that the Lord will direct us for good. When we have the Holy Ghost with us we have a greater love towards others, more patience in problems, and a more positive outlook.
Let me just tell you, having an hour of personal scripture study every day just has my brain forming connections left and right, and seeing things that I never saw before! Sweet.
I love you all soooo much!  Send me mail!
Hermana Houghton
P.S. I told you that Sister Smaellie is a water polo player. What I didn't know at the time is that she's a state champion water polo player! Anyway...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

New Trainer--Welcome Sister Smaellie!

 Three generations: Sister Clayton, me, and Sister Smaellie

Dear Everyone,

The twin towers :)
Sorry, I have very little time this week. My new companion is Sister Smaellie (pronounced Smaylee). She is 21, from Tooele, UT, and awesome. She has a wonderfully strong testimony and a focus on the Restoration. Our minds work alike in many ways, and she learns and accepts the ways of our mission like lightning. We have the same priorities and focci, and she is willing to work hard and keep going when the going's tough. She has some of the same questions and concerns that I did when I came out, but has gotten over them about ten times faster :) She's 6'1" and is a water polo player, swimmer, and lifeguard. She's serious and has a dry sense of humor. Basically perfect.
Being a trainer isn't as scary as I thought it would be. The biggest challenge is getting over my own preoccupation that it will be hard, and still realizing that it's the Lord's work and I don't have to make sure everything's perfect. I really love how training has helped me to put my focus more on others than myself - it helps a lot in having the Spirit!

<3 HH


Me, Sister Smaellie, Sister Clayton, and
her new trainee, Sister Moody

Sister Clayton and I together one last time :(
We didn't even plan the matching outfits
 Elder Rodriguez is from Sonora, Mexico.
It may have been somewhat awkward
when I basically just walked up
and told him I wanted a picture
with him, but so worth it...
And I actually did explain why later.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Where Do I Even Begin?

Hermana Houghton and her new best friend, Carmen (4)

Dear Everyone,

Where do I even begin? This has been a crazy week - my last week as a trainee, and my last week with Sister Clayton :(
My district, doing awkward family photo pose. From left, Sister Ellett and Sister Johnson. Top row Elder Levy and Elder Doria. On the bench Elder Call and Elder Haddock. Then me and Sister Clayton.
For those who are wondering, yes, I will be training starting tomorrow. I will be staying in West Palm North, thankfully, but a whole new level of excitement is coming down the pipe!
Okay, updates on everybody. The original Daniel (who got baptized my second week here and is awesome and moved to Chicago) is back! He's in Boynton right now (about half an hour away), but we luckily got to see him yesterday before Sister Clayton leaves.
 Hyrum, and Daniel #2,
with Daniel's brother Brandon behind the fence
We also had a really great lesson with the other Daniel, whom I told you about a few weeks ago. We talked about repentance, and then wrote down some things we wanted to change in our lives to become more like Heavenly Father. We ripped them up (symbolizing repentance) and then burned them (aka baptism). The picture attached has Hyrum Vilorio (member) and Daniel watching the fire. This week we're going to start teaching Brandon (Daniel's 10-year-old brother who's behind the fence) and hopefully the rest of their family.
We had a great post-baptism lesson on the importance of the Book of Mormon with Emma.We also had a wonderful district training on the subject. The last two paragraphs of the introduction to the Book of Mormon are crucial. The Book of Mormon's role in our lives is basically to help us build a testimony of Jesus Christ as our Redeemer and to teach us how we can follow Him. Having a testimony of the Book of Mormon is really what allows us to 'build on the rock of our Redeemer!' I have seen this in my own life, and am ever so grateful for parents who helped me to build my testimony on the Book of Mormon - because I know it is true I will always have that to fall back on, no matter what else may try my faith.
Martin (6) Emma, HH,  Carmen (4) + amazing Natalie  (8)
Emma's family, HH, and Natalie,
including Gabriella (6 weeks)
Okay, back to Emma. She is amazing! Her baby was sick on Sunday so she couldn't go to the church for General Conference. She understands that she needs to keep the Sabbath Day holy and go to church, so she watched all of General Conference on TV... in English. She didn't understand it, but she understood the importance of obedience, the importance of keeping her covenants, and the importance of listening to a prophet's voice. She is a huge example to me. She has also shared the Joseph Smith story with the family that lives with her, and we are going to start teaching them as soon as they get their schedule worked out. We are already teaching their 8-year-old daughter Natalie, who has read the first three chapters of 1 Nephi on her own initiative! I feel confident that Emma's humility, faith, diligence, and obedience are going to bless her family immensely.
I absolutely loved General Conference . It was like Christmas - so much fun! And I swear there weren't so many things to learn before! I can't say I have a favorite talk, because there were so many! President Monson's stories, and Elder Holland's emotion, and Sister Dalton's conviction. I did really like Craig A. Cardon's talk... Also how much he resembles Elder Eyring.
Okay, a few other notes... I won't be sending a lot of mail this week because our mail is on hold for transfers, so I haven't gotten any from you this week - but I will try to respond to everything next week!
Also, this week my Book of Mormon reading was amazing! I was going through the war chapters, which really haven't done a lot for me in the past. But this time - wow! Helaman 1 was particularly great. I compared the Nephites' lands to my own testimony, and the Lamanites to Satan and the world. I got a LOT out of reading the chapter that way, and one of the concepts that I liked the most was about rebuilding our testimonies, or winning back our lands. It's cool to think that when we build up our testimony after it's been broken down by some trial, we're not just getting it back - we're weakening the forces that Satan can use against us next time. So awesome. It explains a lot about the nature of trials certainly.
The planning board--they keep busy!
Map of the "West Palm North" area--
"It's huge!"
So much more to write! But I'm out of time. I love you all! Keep my trainee in your prayers.
Hermana Houghton

Monday, April 1, 2013

Emma got baptized yesterday!

Dear Everyone,

Sister Clayton, Emma, Mery (a ward member
ho has adopted Emma) and I
Emma got baptized yesterday!!! It was so exciting. She was so ready for the gospel, and it was so evident the changes in her as she accepted it. And it was interesting - before her baptism, I had been thinking that none of the baptisms we've had so far were fully 'mine,' as in I'd been there for the whole conversion process. Emma was the first person who's been baptized and had her first missionary experience while I was there. But the most curious thing happened - her baptism doesn't feel like 'mine' at all. I knew in my mind before that the individual missionary isn't all that important. But now I really see how little it had to do with my contributions. Emma got baptized and it was all the Lord's work (and the work of members of the ward, who are now her family). I was just lucky enough to be along for the ride!

The Martinez family sent us home with food
after we shared a message with them.

We've had a great week. There are so many good people here, and I love seeing and contemplating how much the gospel of Jesus Christ blesses their lives. I may have written about this before, but baptism is so important. It is the way that these amazing children of God can really access the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in their lives. I love it.

A couple of random things. I'm not sure whether or not I've told you about Rick. He ran up to us on the street and asked us for a pamphlet. He had talked with missionaries in New York years before, and it was a miracle that we met him. We had to pass him to the English sisters to teach, because we just work with people who will be attending the Spanish ward. But on Saturday he got baptized!! Through him I really gained a testimony that everything is in the scriptures for a reason. At the beginning of First Nephi there's a verse that has always puzzled me - it seemed largely irrelevant. 1 Nephi 1:2 says, "Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians." I couldn't understand why that would be in such an important and sacred book as the Book of Mormon, especially at the beginning. But that verse was what gained Rick's interest and kept him reading long enough to gain a testimony for himself of the truthfulness of the message. He loved that it was written in Egyptian, because he is Egyptian and likes to study languages. And now he is baptized and has the gift of the Holy Ghost and has opened the gate! So amazing.

Okay, one awesome thing from the scriptures. I read John 15 yesterday, and loved it. One section that especially touched me was in verse 15, where Christ is giving his definition of friendship. He says, "I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you." It made me think about what friendship really is and what is most important in our lives. If I really am a friend to somebody, I'm going to share the gospel with him, because that is what is of the most value in my life, and sharing that is how I really demonstrate my love for my friend.

I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ really has been restored to the earth, and that it is true. It applies to everybody. Christ "inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness... black and white, bond and free, male and female." The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the organization that God has established to share this Gospel and power with all the world. I am so excited and grateful to be a part of this great work, and I love seeing how much it blesses everyone. I love you all!!

<3  HH

Sister Clayton and I

A bunch of the sister missionaries!