Saturday, August 17, 2013

Last Week With Sister LeBaron :(

Hermana Houghton with a huge mango!
Dear Everyone,

As usual, I don't even know where to begin. I guess I'll go with Luke's English advice and start off with the weather!

We don't have a thermometer, so I don't actually know how hot it has been. I do know that it has been quite warm. Happily I have adjusted to it, so although I notice it, the heat doesn't bother me too much. You just get used to dripping with sweat all the time :) The humidity is sticky, but I've gotten accustomed to it as well. Usually it's not too big of a deal. However, it necessitates quite a lot of water consumption. We're advised to drink 6 water bottles a day, at least. I usually end up drinking seven or eight water bottles' worth of water - a change from the two to three cups of water I would drink per day at home!
Our house, with a strange person in the light!
Cockroaches are also something that I didn't experience a lot of at home. We don't see the big ones inside too much - the record was two in the house in one night. Medium cockroaches, around 1/2 inch, are pervasive (we usually find them in the cupboards with our dishes daily), and baby ones (1/4 in) are all over the kitchen as well. We use a lot of Raid. Also, all of my food is air-tight in plastic and I wash dishes before and after using them. It's a daily battle.

I don't think I've mentioned this before, but apparently I'm almost Cuban. I've been told that I look very Cuban, I speak quickly, and I'm good at taking over conversations. I'm going to Cuba at some point when I get back from my mission. 4-5 people have offered to be my tour guide when I go and our recent convert J is honestly planning a trip with Sister LeBaron and I for next August :)
R with vodka and cigarettes

Okay, onto some more spiritual stuff/experiences. We had just about given up on our investigator R M (not to be confused with our recent convert R A.). He wasn't progressing, and wouldn't act other than reading in the Book of Mormon. We visited him on Thursday night and had an amazing lesson. Then on Friday night he told us he had to move. We asked him simply what time we could come over the next day to help.

He almost started crying. We started the lesson, taught with the Spirit, and were near the end. He looked at us and told us that we had convinced him that this was the true church, because of that simple question. Our offer to serve helped him to feel the Spirit, which allowed him to gain a testimony of the truthfulness of our message. Some things came up so he couldn't come to church on Sunday, but our Sunday night lesson led to the picture below.

We have another investigator, H. The Elders found her, and have actually been teaching her and her family (who live in their area, and are a big extended family), but she lives in our area so they passed her to us. She came to church on Sunday and is preparing for baptism this Sunday. We had a group lesson (four missionaries and four investigators...) yesterday that was really powerful. Near the end we asked Hailin why she wanted to be baptized. She told us simply that she knew this was right, and would help her to live a better life and be a better person. It was amazing to see how her testimony grew so quickly and strongly. She trusts in God, and it is fantastic!

Yesterday at District Training we did a "real play" instead of a role play. We were working on exercising the faith to find. So each companionship was instructed to pray about where to go, go out, and leave a harvest blessing that would find someone ready to be baptized. Sister LeBaron and I went to a street that we both felt really good about. Then we got rejected from two doors. We left a mediocre blessing with two men who just weren't interested at all, and then left another blessing that was rejected. We knew we needed to head back to the training, because everybody would be waiting, but Sister LeBaron felt really strongly that we needed to fulfill our purpose in coming out. As we were about to drive away, we saw a lady walking a dog, and decided to go up to her. As soon as we told her that we were representatives of Jesus Christ, I told us she knew that God had sent us to her, and that she really needed a prayer. She had said her first prayer in a long time that morning, because of some trials in her life, and she'd also just seen God's hand in getting a new job miraculously. She felt the Spirit strongly during the prayer and accepted baptism, church, everything! It was an amazing experience. Oh, and one more thing. She just moved into the area three days ago.

Okay, I've got to go. But I love you all a lot!! Thank you for continuing to remember me as time in the mission field goes on! (8 days until I'm halfway done with the mission, yikes!)

Hermana Houghton

P.S. I can't believe I almost forgot to mention this! Sister LeBaron is being transferred tomorrow :( I'm going to miss her a ton, and was hoping that we would have another transfer together in Hialeah. However, the Lord is in the work and I'm sure I will love my new companion a lot... More details next week. Love you!

 With the Cardenas family - all matching!

The banana tree in our backyard is bearing fruit!! So excited. 

 A little bit of Spanglish: "superese" = super-easy.
 The rest says roughly, "Learn English and become a citizen."
 Manatee mailbox

Pictures from the car crash! We have a ford fusion now.

Sister LeBaron after a rainy bike ride.

Road-side fruit stand

 This book was in our chapel's library.
Bonus points if you know where it's from :)
(Marta does!  She used to have this book)

The parrot that helped us with round-up
(getting people to church/waking them up)

 Pouring out beer

Florida air conditioning!
 Yes, this is for real.

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