Monday, September 30, 2013

Hialeah Is Great!

Dear Family,

(I know there are people who receive this email who are not related to me by blood, but if you're still reading my news at this point, you're family!)

Hialeah is great! This week was somewhat less exciting than recent weeks have been, but we had lots of cool experiences and are looking forward to many more!

A couple of bullet point experiences first...
-We met a ginger Nicaraguan yesterday. What?? 
-Yesterday we also met a guy who had just gotten custody of his two sons from their mom in Dominican Republic. His friend was with him when we left the blessing, and was very excited to come to church and learn more - but the single dad didn't seem too interested. As we were about to leave he mentioned that his kids' mom had been baptized into our church. We asked the two boys if they had gone to Primary and their eyes lit up. What a blessing that the very interested friend was there; without that, who knows if we would have been able to help the other man to talk openly, and bring the kids back to church!
-We met a wonderful woman named L the other day. She told us right off the bat that her brother is a bishop of our church in New Orleans, and that her sister-in-law has been telling her that she needs to check out the church. We came back for a first lesson with her and found out that her husband is a member! He was very active when he lived in Honduras, but hasn't been to church in the 14 years he's been in the US. Now she wants to get baptized and he wants to come back to church! Wow how the Lord works.

On Monday the elders were visiting a recent convert and met a cool guy who wanted to learn more about the church. He lived in our area, so they got his information and gave it to us. We called P and met him on Wednesday at the church. He had never been in a church before in his life, and now wants all of his lessons to be in the church. We gave a chapel tour, explaining each of the pictures on the wall and talking about baptism and the priesthood as we went. We got to a picture of a baptism and he asked, "When can I do that?" We told him October 6, and he couldn't believe it. He kept asking if he could really be baptized on October 6, and asked us to write it in the back of the Book of Mormon that we had just given him. Then he signed it and wanted us to sign it too. From there on, teaching him has been unbelievable. We taught him Word of Wisdom and he was ready to give up all soda and chocolate (then we explained the difference between cafe/coffee and cafeina/caffeine and he was relieved). When we taught him about keeping the Sabbath day holy he said that he would never work another Sunday, and as he is looking for jobs he will tell employers that straight up. He is truly an evidence to me that the Lord's ways are not our ways - because I don't see the methods that the Lord used to prepare him for the Gospel, but he is so prepared. 

In the Book of Mormon this week I was reading in 3 Nephi 3:8 and reflected on how nobody other than God has the power to guarantee promises. Somehow I thought of the ten commandments and "thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain" (Exodus 20:7), in terms of making promises. I saw in this commandment something that I had never noticed before. It's about covenant-keeping. We take the name of Jesus Christ upon us when we are baptized. So the commandment means more than respecting God and His name, although that's important. It means having true adoration and devotion, worship through covenant-keeping and at all times living worthy of the name of Christ, acting as He would have us act. I loved that realization, especially following the Relief Society General Broadcast :)

Another cool conversion experience. I've been telling you about J for a while now. And it just keeps on getting better! He went out with the elders to teach on Saturday, and then on Sunday came to church and shared his testimony in fast and testimony meeting. This is what he said (basic translation):
"My name is JB, and I've been a member of the Church for very little time. I was baptized three weeks ago and confirmed the next week. The change in my life has been radical. To those who aren't baptized yet, you need to get baptized. It has been the greatest blessing of my life. The Spirit is with me constantly. I am a Mormon, and I am sure (Yo soy Mormon, y estoy seguro.)"

A member gave him a tie to go with his white shirt, and he was interviewed to receive the priesthood for this next week. The first time we met J he told us he was going to be baptized Mormon, and he was going to stick with it; he just needed to change his life to get to that point. He has, and he is SO. happy. He is a different person.

I've been reflecting on that, actually, that during this mortal experience we are really learning to be different people. We work every day to become more like our Savior Jesus Christ, doing our best to live up to God's standards, and not the world's. We don't want to end up being good human beings. We want to end up like our Heavenly Father and His Son. 

Missionary work is amazing! There truly are people whom the Lord has prepared to receive the Gospel, and if we rely on Him, they will be put in our path.

I love you all!

Hermana Houghton


P.P.S. We are having a mission conference with Elder Oaks on October 19!!

P.P.P.S. Sorry Mom, I'll tell you more about Sister Ware in a letter or next week. Forgot until the end... and we're going to play smashface, so who knows how many letters I'll write this week :)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

We Get To Stay In Hialeah!

from a 24 September 2013 letter

Dear Everyone,
Hermana Houghton, R, and Hermana Ware

I don't even know where to begin! The picture of a baptism is R. He is so sweet. He absolutely loved his baptism and came back that night with A for a two-hour-long devotional/fireside/missionary farewell. Loved that too :)

Another transfer is at its close. Our district, from left to right, is Sister Fletcher, me, Sister Espinosa, Sister Ware, Elder Ward, Elder Shepherd (going home tomorrow), Elder Williamson, Elder Pond + Elder Burgon (our zone leaders, the gingers. Elder Houghton would fit right in, colorwise!), and Elder Allen. Leaving the Hialeah district tomorrow are Elder Ward, Elder Shepherd, and Elder Burgon. Do you know what that means? I get to spend another transfer with Sister Ware in Hialeah!!!!!!!

Let me just take a minute to tell you how wonderful and amazing Sister Ware is. She is kind, generous, smart, hard-working, and faithful. And we get along SO WELL. We jinx each other about 10x/day, and we're on the same page regarding just about everything. Plus she likes peanut butter almost as much as I do. I am SO happy that we get another transfer together :) Also, we're in the best area in the mission. Our area is densely packed with amazing people, 99% of whom speak Spanish. Our ward is small but full of powerhouses - this week we got the most member-present lessons of any area in the mission! Our zone is on fire - we had a goal of 30 baptisms for the month, and we hit that goal on Sunday, with one week left in the month. SO EXCITING!

So, some fun things from this week.

I learned a lot about following the Spirit this week. We had a couple of interesting experiences that highlighted what I've been thinking about. 

On Saturday night we got turned around and lost - which is hard in an area that has maybe 5 or 6 named streets in a city with the grid system. As I drove my head just flew up into the clouds and we ended up somewhere different than I'd been planning to go. We decided that obviously we needed to be doing something different than what we had been planning, and thought of a former investigator whom we've never met but whose name we had read earlier in the transfer and who lived right by where we got lost. As we parked next to his apartment building an older woman walked up and stared at our car. We jumped out and asked her if we could pray with her. She loved it - absolutely felt the Spirit and wanted to get baptized.

She didn't come to church. That night during the fireside (we don't normally attend, but this one was missionary-themed and attending were a lot of non-member friends and family of Omar Villeta, who leaves on his mission tomorrow) I started feeling antsy about an hour in. So we decided to go out and follow up with some people who hadn't come to church and find out what had happened. We got to C's house and found her two grown daughters outside. One of them had met with missionaries years before and they had helped her out a lot. The other was going through some hard times and wanted God more in her life. Sweet! Now the entire family is investigating the church.

Following that Sunday night visit we needed to go back to the church. Somehow we got turned around again, and to get back on track we were going to drive right past N's house. She had been very sick when we'd visited her on Saturday night, and hadn't come to church or answered the door Sunday morning. We felt like we should stop by and see if she was all right. We pulled up and the door was open! She was still feeling very poorly, but we asked if some priesthood holders from the ward could stop by and give her a blessing (and they confirmed her too!). 

(OK that was the part about following the Spirit. Now on to continuing the story about N :)

Early Monday afternoon we biked down to N's house to visit her. She was there, as was her sister " "I. She told us that after the priesthood blessing she had felt entirely better - when we'd come by before she could hardly walk, and her son was talking about coming from Spain to bring her home with him. But the church is true! Priesthood power is real! She was healed! We had planned on teaching a lesson on the Plan of Salvation to her - simplified as she likes to talk a lot. But then the rain started pouring. So we taught the entire Plan of Salvation to her and her sister. "I" accepted baptism and gave us her information so that we could have the missionaries in her area come and teach her. As soon as we finished teaching, the rain stopped.

SO COOL. (I worry about the number of times the word 'so' is written in caps in this email... sorry bout that!)

Oh, one more thing. Remember J? He is so awesome. This week he shared with us all about King Lamoni's conversion and the importance of the priesthood keys and the apostasy in the Restoration of the church. He got confirmed on Sunday!

I love you all a lot! I hope everything is going amazingly well in your neck(s) of the woods - keep me updated!

Hermana Houghton


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Craziest Day of My Life. . .Perfectly Orchestrated By The Great Conductor!

Letter from 16 September 2013

What a Great Idea!

An even better idea!  Hermanas Houghton an Ware with J, N, and A on the day of their baptisms!
Dear Wonderful Amazing Family and Friends,

THIS WEEK WAS CRAZY. Yesterday was the craziest day of my life. But we'll go in order :)
Hermanas with N, who is looking at a
picture of Christ's baptism

Three people to talk about. N is the blonde lady who's looking at the picture instead of at the camera. She is the one whom our member invited to be baptized who is a family history fanatic. She is so funny - when we went by last Monday night she had been reading the Relief Society manual on Teachings of Lorenzo Snow and wanted to know how to pronounce all of the English words - Kirtland, Pettibone, Ohio, etc. I said "ok" at one point, and she wrote up for me the history of the word okay. Here's the story: "Un pueblito en Nueva york habia un general que se llamaba Olkinbell y se firmaba 'OK.' De ahi viene la palabra ok=okey, esta bien." Oh, and one more thing. Her maiden name is Noelia Natividad. And she was born on Christmas day :D
Hermana Houghton, A, and Hermana Ware

We met A last Saturday when R (who has been convinced by family members that he doesn't need to be baptized again) asked us to pray for her (when we teach him he always invites people to come hear about Christ, and then if they decline he tells them that Jesus loves them :). We said the prayer but A was not at all interested. Then the next day R invited her to come to church with him, and she came! We gave her a Book of Mormon and she accepted baptism for the following Sunday. We went by the next day and didn't know how to get ahold of her, so we started teaching R. Then she came out of her apartment singing, holding her Book of Mormon open under her arm. She came down the stairs, sat down, and told us "Me bautizo este domingo" (I'm getting baptized this Sunday). She had read most of 1 Nephi! She had her interview on Wednesday, with R, and while he was being interviewed we taught her Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity, Tithing, and Repentance. On Sunday morning she wasn't ready when her ride came and so they left. We finally got ahold of her through R, and found out she was still sitting, waiting patiently for her ride. She got baptized yesterday afternoon!

J with Hermanas Houghton & Ware

J is incredible. He gained a testimony of the Restoration of the gospel about a month ago, without any outside help from us, but at the time was almost always drinking. He's told us from the beginning that he was going to be baptized Mormon, and he was going to change his life. Well, this week he did. He had his interview and still wasn't sure about being baptized this Sunday, but during church he made the decision to not wait any more.

So yesterday during church everything was crazy. We went by an investigator's house before church and found out she'd slept in - so we waited for her to get ready and were late for sacrament (then she decided that it was too late and she wasn't going to come anyway :( After sacrament we realized that A wasn't at church, and got a member to come with us to pick her up. Another investigator then had some questions for us before he had to leave. Then I had a low blood sugar and had nothing left to treat it with. The only thing available was butter-flavored maple syrup in the church fridge (gag). Our ward mission leader Hermano Villeta went to fill up the font and found out it was clogged. Worked on that for 1.5 hours and gave up. Then we called President Anderson to get permission to have the baptisms in a pool... following which it started storming, lightning included. Finally we talked with our zone leaders and decided to have the baptisms at the stake center, 25 minutes away. We had to fill out J's baptismal record, find baptismal suits, and make sure everybody had rides. Amazingly half the ward came for the baptisms, and our Relief Society President had arranged for lunch for everybody. Everything went over smoothly, even though we hadn't talked to any of our investigators during church at all. It was a rush. I figure that if they can make it through that then day-to-day craziness will be nothing!
After the baptisms and eating with the amazing Villeta family, we decided to stop and talk with l A. (our recent convert :) who hasn't come to church in two weeks. He wasn't there, but his brother F was. F has never even let us talk to him. He always leaves and tells us his brother isn't home. But yesterday he opened the gate and we sat down with him. We taught him about prayer and Jesus Christ, and Sister Ware persistently invited him to be baptized. He accepted it all. We gave him a Book of Mormon and a pair of reading glasses (I keep a stock of cheap reading glasses in the car so our investigators don't have any excuses for not reading), and he was touched by the Spirit. He said he was going to start reading as soon as we left, then come to church next week and get baptized the following Sunday.  
Sister Ware and I went home and decided that we needed to spend most of the rest of the day finding new people, and visit a less-active recent convert, L, whom we'd been meaning to see for a while. As we prayed about where to go to harvest I got the impression that we needed to ride bikes. Rain was threatening so it sounded like a bad idea, but we prayed about it and decided that was what we were supposed to do.
We biked down to L's house, contacting people on the way. We sat down with him and he told us he kept on meaning to come back to church, but he never quite made it. So we said, ok, let's go right now. L rides his bike to church, so he was a little bit incredulous but was really excited. He told us about the first time he met with the missionaries he went to the church and had a member, K, meet with them there. So when he went inside to change shoes we texted her and asked her to meet us at the church. We biked over with him and welcomed him back to the church.
We walked around the chapel and talked about each of the paintings. L relived his memories of feeling the Spirit at church. We ended in the chapel, where I felt like I should go up to the stand and play "How Great Thou Art" on the piano. When I started playing he asked who told us that was his favorite hymn. As I kept playing he started crying.
K walked into the chapel as I finished. We went to the clerks' office and watched the new "Daily Bread" videos by Elder Christofferson, after which L and K had a heart-to-heart and figured out the root cause of his inactivity.
IT WAS AMAZING. Everything was perfectly orchestrated by the great conductor. I saw and felt the love of the Lord for His children. He has a perfect plan for each one of us, and is always watching out for us.
I love Alma 60, by the way. I think every member and missionary should read this and think about his or her personal responsibility to God and His children. Because with our knowledge of the gospel and our many blessings, aren't we sitting on thrones, surrounded by people who are spiritually dying? We can't ever give less than 100% with what we have been given.
I have been so drained by this week. But it is so incredibly worth it. I know that the Lord loves His children. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, and is led and guided by a living prophet who is in turn directed by the living Christ. I am so amazing blessed to be able to be a part of this church, this great work of salvation, and this wonderful plan of God.
I love you all! Don't ever give up - this is the work of the Lord!
Hermana Houghton

Monday, September 9, 2013

Lots of Awesome People. . .And Some Other Fun Experiences. . .

Does this need explanation?
(I would be surprised if this is Eliza admitting a great love of basketball--
I think she must be talking about the weather!)

Dear Everyone,

We had an amazing week in Hialeah! Lots of awesome people whom I need to tell you about... and some other fun experiences...
I'll start off with the not-so-great stuff. Last week someone we will call L, whom we had dropped a month or so back (he's the one who sent us the text about "I need warrior womens of God by my side, i got big challens in my future"), came to church. We set him with a date for the next week and came by to see him Monday night. We had a somewhat awkward lesson with him, joined in by his neighbor RR. (more about him later, and I have to put the R. because you've heard about so many Rs recently!), and saw him briefly on Wednesday. We texted on Thursday telling him we wouldn't be able to come and his reply text was very awkward - he assumed it was just my phone and asked me out to dinner.. (in Spanish) Let's clarify; L is 40+. On Friday we tried to smooth things over by thanking him for inviting us to eat but told him the members fed us and we were good. After the lesson he sent us another text, saying that once I trusted him more I would accept him, and then started making all kinds of comments about us being allowed to get married, plural marriage, etc. It was very creepy. We don't answer his texts anymore.
So! On to RR! We think he may have had a stroke or an accident, so it's a little bit hard to understand him. But he is amazing. He came up in the middle of a lesson and wanted to join in. Then in another lesson with L (pre-creepy) he made the analogy of a road between God and the Devil; you go one way or the other. We were walking with him to a dinner appointment at the house of a member nearby where he lives, and I was giving out cards and inviting people to be baptized, as usual. We passed by a woman sitting a little bit out of our way and were going to just keep going until he asked us why we didn't give her a card too. He loves the Restoration Pamphlet that we gave him and tells us about the things he's learned from that and the Book of Mormon whenever we come by. On Sunday we arranged a ride for him and he asked if he could bring a friend - he brought two, one of whom now also wants to be baptized next Sunday. So. cool.
I told you last week about meeting N, whom our member invited to be baptized when we met her on the street. Well, we went and harvested the apartment building where she told our member that she lives, and we found her again! She is incredible. At our second lesson she was wondering which tribe of Israel Nephi and family were from and asked us what she would be wearing for her baptism the following week! She came to church on Sunday and fit right in - we didn't even realize she was there until someone pointed her out, because she looked like a lifetime member.
Foods recommended in the Word of Wisdom

We have another investigator who is amazing. He has a very strong testimony that this is the restored church of Jesus Christ, that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that he needs to get baptized. He has a lot of struggles with the Word of Wisdom though, and he's fighting to quit drinking and smoking. He didn't show up for our scheduled lesson on Friday night and so we went to get gas on our way home because we didn't have time to go to another appointment. As the gas was pumping, guess who walks out of the gas station minimart, smoking a cigar and carrying a bag of beers. We talked to him and told him that those things were from the devil, and would he commit right then to giving them up. He gave us the beers and we went to say a prayer. He stopped me as I started to pray, telling us to wait. He took one more puff of his cigar and threw it as far away as he could. Then he asked for the beers back and threw them into the trash. Finally he turned back and said we could pray.
Thinking of him and some other investigators led me to studying some material from the LDS Family Services Addiction Recovery Program this morning. There are 12 steps to quitting, and I wanted to know how they worked and how we as missionaries can help people to apply these steps. The first three are the ones that we have the most influence on:
1. Admit that you, of yourself, are powerless to overcome your addictions and that your life has become unmanageable.
We can help those we teach to fulfill this step by teaching them the commandments that God expects them to live and teaching them the Plan of Salvation, and our role in the grand scheme of things.
2. Come to believe that the power of God can restore you to complete spiritual health.
We do this by teaching of God's power - using scripture stories, testimony, personal experience, and teaching the Restoration and how God helps us day by day (also, PRAYER!).
3. Decide to turn your will and your life over to the care of God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.
We help to do this by inviting our investigators to commit to change, to follow the example of Jesus Christ and live His commandments.
SO COOL. It also follows the gospel pattern of faith, repentance, baptism...
One more thing :)
Depiction of Ammon teaching King Lamoni's father

From the Book of Mormon, I learned about how the Spirit works with the elect. In Alma 22:5-7, King Lamoni's father has burning questions that he needs the missionaries to answer, and he is willing to believe anything they say. He started wondering about these questions as a result of Ammon's example and simple testimony of truth. The Spirit really works with the elect, and our example makes a difference!

Hermana Houghton

A friend in my helmet this morning!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

In God's Fan Club: Repentance, the Spirit, God's Timing. . .& Cockroaches

Dear Everyone,
Hermanas Ware and Houghton
This week I've been reflecting a bit on a training from my Mission President that we had a while back. It was about repentance, and how sincere repentance creates a desire to share the gospel (Note both Almas, Ammon, Aaron, Omner, Himni, Paul/Saul, Corianton, Moses, etc.). We have a ward member who was inactive for years but in the last 6 months has come back to church. He struggled with quitting smoking a lot, and is very open about it. He hadn't taken the sacrament for a long time, and this week he did. Yesterday we took him out teaching with us, and it was amazing. He shared powerful testimony in all of our lessons and taught about the importance of repentance in every one. Then, as we were rushing to our cars to get to another appointment (with our lovely baptized but not-yet-confirmed P whom we hadn't seen since her baptism the week before because she started school... and just think, if we had met her a week later who knows when she would have gotten baptized! God is great), we gave a card to an older lady.
He stopped to talk with her, and told her straight-up that he wanted her to get baptized and would come pick her up on Sunday morning. You could see that she felt loved and wanted. He kept talking to her, got her address, and found out that she had her genealogy for generations done, and had been working on it since she was five years old. It was a huge inspiration to me to see how the light of the gospel had really set this member on fire with missionary spirit. We were rushing and didn't give N the attention she really deserved, but he did. Because of it, when (I almost said if, but the situation was no accident on God's part!) we are able to bring her to Christ through baptism, she and her generations will be blessed. I want to have that kind of enthusiasm every day. It will always stick with me how he told her that he personally wanted her to get baptized because he wanted her to have the blessings of the Gospel like he did.
Another miracle experience this week came with our investigator PT. She is a member referral and has been in the hospital since we started teaching her. We've felt the Spirit a lot teaching her - she has an open heart and is very receptive to the truth. The one big roadblock (aka opportunity for the Lord to show His power) was with the Word of Wisdom. She is a former drug addict, and although she's conquered that and alcoholism through AA, she still had a serious problem with smoking. We had taught her a few times, and had talked briefly about how God didn't want her to smoke, how she needed to take care of her body to feel the Spirit, etc. But on Thursday we were planning to really teach the doctrine of the Word of Wisdom.
We came in just as she finished her Cuban coffee (very strong and in very tiny amounts) and told us that she needed to go out and take a smoke. We talked briefly about why she shouldn't, but she swept past us down the hall to go outside. When we got out to the little balcony, looking over the city, she was smoking. We decided to start off with a hymn, which we hadn't done at any of her previous lessons. We sang "Abide with Me; 'Tis Eventide." She really felt the Spirit, and when we asked her how she felt she said she could feel the angels around her. I said the opening prayer, and it was like it wasn't even me. We had never left her with a harvest blessing, but somehow that's what the prayer ended up being. It was one of the most powerful blessings I've left on my mission. After we said amen we looked up and asked her again how she felt. She looked down at her lighter, hit it against her hand, and said, "I've got to quit this. God can't dwell in unclean temples." We told her that was exactly what God wanted and left with a closing prayer, in which she asked God to take away the desire to smoke. It was incredible.
I learned this week in the Book of Mormon that the nature and will of God is our endless joy and eternal life. As we live the commandments (aka blessings) we are able to receive greater happiness and progress toward eternal life. (Is it sacreligious to say that I'm in God's fan club?...)
I had an exchange with our Sister Training Leaders this week in which I learned a lot about having a positive attitude about rejection and the people who aren't interested in progressing. I've been thinking that trusting in God means that I can trust Him to prepare the people we meet, or that they will act. But I feel like I now have a greater trust in God's timing. The Spirit is what motivates people, and I don't need to stress so much about how much everybody needs the Gospel right now. God will work miracles to motivate the people whom He has truly prepared, and it's okay that not everyone is ready to hear the gospel immediately. As long as I am doing my best to invite and share my testimony and show them God's love, that's enough. He will prepare them! We will see miracles! I can trust that they will have the opportunity to receive these blessings, and my love will help them more than my words.
I'm loving the work. My wrist is doing mostly better (thank you, smashface...), and we evacuated the kitchen to kill all the cockroaches, so our food + dishes have been on the table for most of the week. Sadly this means that the cockroaches have been looking for other hiding places, and some of them really like our bedroom, but hey... Sister Ware is awesome, the Church is true, and we're going to Olive Garden for lunch! (That's my stomach speaking.) Keep me updated and I LOVE YOU ALL!
Hermana Houghton

Monday, September 2, 2013

Florida Skies & Learning About Prayer

Email from 26 August 2013
Florida Skies

Soulsbyville Skies, with fire!
Dear Family,
I hope everything is okay in Soulsbyville! Someone told us the other day about the fires in California, but I didn't know they were that close to home. I imagine Dad has a lot on his plate dealing with all the fallout in the ward...
As usual I don't have a coherent grip on everything that has happened this week, so be ready for a jumble of short blurbs of information!
To begin with, I will explain the lovely attached pictures. This is P, notable for her amazingness and last week's "Me quiero bautizar." She is awesome! And her member friend S is fantastic too. Apparently she actually served in our mission, and near the end of her time here her family moved into the area, so she stayed, and has been here for the year+ since her mission ended :) She is the one who really overcame any concerns. We had another member-present lesson that was amazing. It was one of the first times that I have had a problem with a low blood sugar during a lesson - and it was bad. I couldn't think straight in English, let alone teach a lesson in Spanish. Happily, our member A took over the whole thing by telling about her conversion story and Sister Ware and I were just background music... So basically P was very super prepared and everything fell into place. We answered some questions, assigned some good chapters in the Book of Mormon for her to read, bore our testimonies, and that's pretty much it. She got baptized on Sunday and was just disappointed she would have to wait a week to receive the Holy Ghost. She also invited a friend to her baptism and we are going to start teaching him!
I've learned some things about prayer this week. Number one, God answers prayers. I've seen over and over again that if we pray by the Spirit, with faith, miracles happen. We have to pray specifically and be willing to act on the answer we receive (with "real intent"), and then go and do. If we do our absolute best and it is in God's will, things really happen. Second, in terms of changing ourselves. Throughout my mission I have prayed for help in developing Christlike attributes, especially humility and charity. I realized recently that in order to develop these two attributes, I need to be focused on others. So rather than praying to develop charity and humility, I'm praying more for those I teach and for those around me. Really thinking of others first is helping me to actually develop, not just think about, Christlike attributes.
Another exciting investigator we are teaching right now is named J. He is an amazing person; he is very faithful, but feels that the church he was raised in has gotten too modernistic. He is housing an old friend from Cuba who became an alcoholic and would otherwise be on the street, and wants him to come to church so that he can change his ways. J told us the first time we met him, a couple of weeks ago, that he knew we were "real Christians" by the way we felt, our mannerisms, and our dress, because we respect ourselves and others. We told him that he could know our message was true by praying and he told us that he already knew our message was true. He lives pretty far from the church and doesn't have a license, so we told him we could get him a ride, but he wouldn't accept that, saying he would rather bike than become dependent on people taking him. He came to church this week and absolutely loved it, especially Gospel Principles class. He's getting baptized this next Sunday :)
Wish all people were as anxious to see us as
these dogs!
One amazing finding experience that I want to share. We're walking down the street at 8:45 last night when Sister Ware points at a house and says, "we should go knock that door." As we walk up to the door, we see a woman in the window looking at us and going to the door. She opens it and steps out, then tells us that it isn't her house but she loves Jesus and wants to know where our church is. We're rather startled but give her the information and get hers in return and invite her to be baptized. She quickly accepts it and tells us she knows God sent us there to meet her. Sadly she doesn't live in our area, but it was amazing to see the Lord's hand in preparing her for the gospel.
Mamey, a classic Cuban fruit. Tastes like
a mixture of pear and cake batter.

Anon, aka Cuban dinosaur fruit. It kind of 
tastes like cucumber-melon smells.

I almost forgot! Mom asked about whether or not we get fed. I'll just have to say yes. Last week we had stake conference, so the list didn't get passed around in Relief Society. But some kind and loving sister in the Relief Society passed the list around at the Elders' baptism, and people signed up for every day. And then a few people throughout the week thought the list hadn't been passed and gave us food. All in all we got fed ten times throughout the week. Happily we picked up most of the meals so we could space them out over two or three actual mealtimes :) Also, last night a random lady on the street gave us a box of (old) chocolates because she appreciated our work so much.

Also, in ward council yesterday our Bishop might have said the phrase "fuera del picture." Oh Spanglish :)
Waiting for mail.
I love you all! Sorry, mail might not get sent today because we're playing smashface at the church with our district this afternoon, but I will send more next week...

Hermanas Ware & Houghton, do get
to play sometimes!