Thursday, March 27, 2014

Kind of Crazy and Way Out of Time!

From 24 March 2014
In the car--Hermanas Houghton and Sanchez

Dear everyone,

Sorry if this email is short and ooc. I am signing up for classes and applying for housing while I do this so things are kind of crazy. 

This week was great! We kept up with our positive goals and got coconut ice cream after 5 new investigators by Friday. This coming week it's 5 people set with baptismal dates by Friday

Speaking of people set with baptismal dates, we are teaching an amazing guy named D. He's the son of two recent converts and is loving everything. Both of our lessons with him have been really, really powerful and Spirit-filled.  He is set for a baptismal date this coming Sunday!

The M family has hit some roadblocks but will hopefully be able to overcome them soon! On Wednesday we went over and arrived just in time to see a neighborhood guy pulling their doberman off of the M' grandma, Hermana R. Her dog (Duke) had gotten out and attacked a girl (no serious injury, but bit her a few times) and so Hermana R had tried to pull Duke off the girl. Duke had turned and bitten her arm, subsequently breaking her wrist quite badly. She went to the hospital with her daughter shortly thereafter. We were able to help with translating for animal control and getting everything under control, but I was sad that my lifeguarding skills didn't prepare me to splint a wrist when there weren't any spare sheets, handkerchiefs, or large shirts.. I was going to try with an apron but her wrist was hurting her pretty badly and her daughter was almost there to take her to the hospital anyway...

Ok, way out of time. Love you all!


P.S. We received notice last night via my brother's wife, Jill, that her parents had seen HH helping with tours at the Fort Lauderdale Temple Open House.  It will be fun to hear her report on that next week!  HH's Mom

Weekly planning lipstick party
Facial mask party

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Some Fun. . .and Focus!

From 17 March 2014

Hermanas Houghton and Sanchez

Dear family, 

Our apartment is really fun: (see pictures to the right of the "Flying Party!"), lipstick parties every weekly planning, (I didn't get a pic my first week with all four of us but that's ok...), Sister Bauman is a hairstylist so she does fun/funny things with our hair, (french braiding lesson/party the other night had all three of them making french braids in my hair) funny English accents (we did all of our planning and accounted to our District Leader with English accents the other night. They're helping me practice for when I see Elder Houghton next :)... And this morning I made green pancakes. The other sisters were surprised to find out that the leprechauns had somehow sneaked in and put peas in the middle of each pancake, but what can you do? Leprechauns are very mischievous. Plus we had a really fun flying party last night. It was great.

This week we really focused on making and achieving our goals. Accountability is really important but it's hard to keep it positive, not just a daily drag because we do it so much in missionary work. When that happens we generally don't hold ourselves accountable for achieving our goals and don't accomplish what we had wanted to. So, to make sure we were accountable for our goals and got them done, we set up a positive accountability system. We wanted to have 5 member present lessons by Friday, and decided that if we did then we would go to Chili's and get molten chocolate lava cake on Saturday. By Friday we got 6!

Our Relief Society is singing "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" (in Spanish...) for the RS anniversary the 26th and guess who their pianist is! We were asked to come to the first rehearsal on Tuesday and showed up to find about 10 ladies there, all sick and coughing but all ready and willing to sing. They are amazing, and the numbers have been increasing. We are doing verses 1-3 and 7. It will be great! 

Speaking of pianoism, I played during sacrament meeting my last Sunday in Miami Beach English and also have played at many baptisms and other meetings on my mission. I think I have practiced more playing prelude music than I had practiced in several years before my mission, when I had more time! I now have about 21 songs on tap that I can play without any practice, and a few more that I can do with a few minutes to warm up... Who knew?

This week we had a specialized training with President Anderson where we talked about the Book of Mormon pride cycle and temples! That's right, the Fort Lauderdale temple open house begins next Saturday and the dedication is May 4, following the cultural celebration May 3. You can go online to sign up for reservations to the open house starting in 30 minutes! So exciting :) We (the sister missionaries in the mission) will be taking turns helping out at the open house, showing the video in the waiting tents before the visitors go in for the tour. All of the sisters will be involved, going about every 4 days from March 29-April 19. So exciting! (Don't write this next part in the blog please, it's not supposed to get out to everyone) Also, all of the missionaries will be singing in the grand finale at the cultural event. Yay!!!

We had a wonderful experience last night in finding. We had prayed about where to harvest and headed over. The first people we contacted were not remotely interested but we were diligent and asked if they knew any Spanish-speakers in the area. They told us to try their next-door neighbors. So we started talking with R, who had been given the children's version of the Book of Mormon by a bishop of our church that she had known when her kids were young. Then her husband came in and told us he'd had a Book of Mormon before when he was younger but couldn't find it and had asked a Mormon friend he played soccer with to have the missionaries bring him one, three weeks before. We said the prayer with them and the husband told R that they needed to pray more. They told us that they were church-hopping and knew that God sent us to them. So prepared! (P.S. The husband is Romanian and speaks 6 languages, including English and Spanish. R speaks Spanish and English. They are down to coming to a Spanish ward, yay!)

This week in the Book of Mormon I studied about commitments. I was reading about the Ammonites, and Helaman's concern that breaking their oath to forsake their weapons of war would destroy their souls. I've looked at it before as Elder Scott described it last conference, that sometimes sin leaves deep wounds and you need to not even come close to it again or you will be in danger, no matter how sincere your repentance. But something that I was pondering adds an additional level of importance to the oath (or commitment, covenant, or vow) that they made. When people make righteous commitments and keep them, they generally receive more spiritual light than they would have just by performing the righteous action without committing to it. Conversely, when they make and fail to keep a righteous commitment, they are spiritually darkened perhaps more than they would have been if they had not committed. 

Our culture doesn't generally understand this, and so I have been puzzled by the many people I've met on my mission who have told us that they don't want to commit and not be able to keep their promise. But it's true! Making and keeping commitments (covenants, oaths) brings us to the next level spiritually. We can't get to the highest level of the celestial kingdom without making and keeping a number of important covenants with God, no matter how righteous we are. I continued my study in 2 Nephi 31:14, which clarified somewhat the reason behind the idea "God knows who He wants in His church," and in Numbers 30, which helped me to understand and feel better about some part-member families who would love to keep their covenants but don't have the support they need. It was so cool!

Out of time but I love you all!!

Sisters Bauman and Sanchez

Saint Patrick's Day Pancakes with peas in the middle. .. .

Sister Sanchez's nap place. She is tiny!

Sister Hunter, who is from Manteca

Sister Furner, looking very Irish, eating a green pancake.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Lauderhill South--Back in a Spanish Area and Loving It!

Prelim to the weekly update:  

I'm in Lauderhill South, in the Lauderhill ward, Pompano Beach Stake. Our chapel is the first place I attended church on my mission, and the location of my first baptism! (stake conference my first Sunday in West Palm, last January). My companion is Sister Sanchez, who is 4'11", from Texas, of Mexican descent (native Spanish speaker!) and awesome. Loving it!


Dear Everyone,

I'M BACK IN A SPANISH AREA!!! Loving it. I loved Miami Beach too, mostly for the wonderful people in our valiant little branch, but I'm out of the city and into the Spanish! I found out that I'm not really a city kind of person... Not that my area now doesn't have city, but it doesn't feel nearly so 'city' as my area in Miami did. I have part of Fort Lauderdale, Coconut Creek, North Lauderdale, Tamarac, Pompano Beach, and a few other little cities. Our area is HUGE. We have to try and find the little pockets of Spanish-speakers. Speaking of which...

My first day in the new area we had zero blessings. So we prayed about where to go and went down (and down and down) to the bottom of our area. We found a Spanish-rich area and started harvesting. Within the next 24 hours we had received 2 referrals unrelated to our harvesting who lived on the same street. One of them turned into an amazing new investigator. If we hadn't been down in the area anyway we might have just called (the number was wrong on the referral) and waited a few days before going down, to save on miles. But God knows what He is doing. Ever knows that God sent us to him, and He had a purpose. He is praying to get an answer and progressing!

As well, we were in the area and dropped by the home of some members to say hi. They were trying to figure out how to work out some immigration stuff for a friend on the phone but since they don't speak any English it was difficult to say the least. So we performed some service and Sister Sanchez made the call while I entertained the three little kids with my camera. (see pics)

We are also teaching the sweetest kids ever! L, O, and P (17, 12, and 10) just came from Arizona, where they were living with an aunt for three months after coming from Honduras. They speak very little English. Their grandparents and most of their extended family are members, and they are preparing for baptism this Sunday. Words simply can't describe how dear they are - I'll have to send a pic next week. (And one of Sister Sanchez too, sorry I don't have one yet!)

The Lauderhill ward is amazing too! The sacrament was passed entirely by young men! I have not seen that happen in any ward my entire mission. The young women filled up a sheet of paper with the girls who want to go out teaching with us. The ward teaches the new member lessons and doesn't leave them to the missionaries. The Relief Society is huge! There are about 5 Lopez families and 3 Ruiz families who are active (and the women with the last name Ruiz are Claudia and Claudina...) I simply love it so much! Plus we get fed a lot, which is nice since I lost a ton of MSF funds to towing fees :/

Out of time, but I love you!!!


Pics: H and R

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Be Not Weary of Good Works!

This is where we had lunch last week. . .and we even saw
a less-active member from Hialeah who was visiting
one of our members!
Dear Family,

I'm leaving Miami Beach English tomorrow! I have no idea where I'm going to go, so it's nerve-wracking but I'm excited!

I don't even know what happened this week. My brain is so gone.
As you already know, I'm off into the wild blue yonder tomorrow. I will send an email as early as possible next Monday to let you know where I've gone. I am mostly content to be going. I will miss the members and the organization of the branch - they're so valiant and I have loved being a part of the work here. But I am excited for new places and people and experiences!
So yeah, this week was loca. I made 8.5 planner covers for missionaries in our zone, with 1.5 left to go! This ate up all of my breakfast, lunch, and post-planning time for the week, but it was great fun. I got to go through the talks I've accumulated and find quotes that fit each of the missionaries I made covers for, then put them together with a picture to make it pretty. And to think I didn't have planner covers for the first 5 transfers of my mission! (P.S. Extra thanks for the hole punch for Christmas! It wouldn't be possible without that :)
This is N, one of our investigators, and a member's son.

I rode a Miami bus for the first time this week. Our investigator N isn't too comfortable with public transportation, but she really wants to come. So we went ahead and rode on the bus with her! I got to contact so many people! And have fun conversations in Spanish :) Nicole is set to get baptized this Sunday, and although I'm sad I won't be here for her baptism I am way excited for her! (Also, earlier in the week she told us she had started working on quitting smoking... and we hadn't even talked about the word of wisdom with her yet. Her mom is joining her and will be getting baptized the following week, as she hasn't been to church yet.)

We met a lady the other night who had SO MUCH in common with a recent convert of about 4 months, J. So we texted J right after the harvest blessing asking her to come to the appointment the next day. Come the next day and the investigator wasn't home yet, and J could only be with us for an hour. So we prayed and decided to go see some backups. But we really didn't feel good about the next backup in the plan, so we decided to drop by K, who had seemed so elect a few weeks ago but with whom we had somehow never been able to get a real lesson. When we arrived Keisha was there with her two daughters (ages 9 and 10) and her boyfriend, who we had never met before. We talked about Jesus Christ's role in our lives (teaching the lesson around one inspired question) and left them with the Restoration DVD to watch. J, who had been pretty quiet, piped up and told them about how Joseph Smith had prayed to get an answer, and to get closer to Jesus Christ, and they could do the same. The Spirit was amazing, and they are going to get baptized! She was what they needed all along.

I noticed some contrasts in the Book of Mormon this week that really allowed me to look deeper into what was being said. In Alma 37:34 I learned that being "weary of good works" is the opposite of being "meek and lowly in heart, for such shall find rest to their souls." The way we're able to be spiritually satisfied is by continually working and serving others, putting others' needs ahead of our own - as we do so we will have the Spirit, receive conversion, and be happier, rather than being exhausted by focusing on our own needs. (Now comes the application... :)
I love you all a lot!

(Hermana Houghton
7951 SW 6 st, suite 110
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33324
for anyone who forgot and has been dying to send me mail but just couldn't get ahold of my address.... time is running out! ;)

The District

the Tony the Tiger car. It has a cool painting too but
it was dark and we were driving so that's all you get.

Yep.  This is Miami!
Lunch out!

Sights of Miami!