Monday, September 22, 2014

Second Week in Jacksonville

First off!  Happy 18th Birthday to my wonderful sister!  Congratulations, and I hope it went well:)
So last week was a pretty good week.  I learned a lot more about what goes on in missionary work.  It's funny- you see missionaries in a certain way and a certain light and imagine what their lives are like.  Now that I am a missionary, I can tell you everything I imagined back then was SO OFF.  
I have been able to read in the Book of Mormon every day, pray more meaningfully and meet more people each and every day.  I have learned that the Lord answers my prayers through the scriptures and through other people.  The ward here is wonderful and the families are so easy to get along with.  They don't know how much they have impacted me, but they sure have made my first two weeks more bearable, and for that I am grateful.  Plus as I become more familiar with the Book of Mormon, I see how it applies to me and my life right now.  It is quite an amazing thing and I would love for all of you to try and do this as well.  Read everyday out of the BOM and see how it applies to you and your life.
Some highlights of the Week:  
We were contacting some referrals we had received and had for quite some time in our area book.  (So basically we just went and knocked on some doors.  Probably more scary than I thought it was going to be!)   One lady opened her door, listened to us for a minute then invited us right in to her living room!  We hadn't even asked to share anything with her yet!  Haha.  The Lord Provides:)
We taught her the first lesson and have been back again for the second and she keeps coming up with questions that provide for more opportunities for us to come over!  So that is nice!
Next, is another lady we teach.  She is inactive and her husband is deployed (as most are here).  She wanted to come back to church so we started meeting with her and familiarizing her with the BOM again so she could build her fragile testimony.  She had been sharing a lot of things with her neighbor but never made much headway with them.  When we were teaching her last week, she got a text from them saying that the next time she met with The Sisters, they would like to come over and learn from us!  Little did they know, we were right next door waiting for them;)  They came over, took a BOM home with them, and are meeting with us this coming week.

Last highlight.  There is a young marine who had been taking lessons from the sisters before I came.  I was able to hear his story and learn that he is a strong catholic and is debating between whether he believes Mormon or Catholic is the way to go for him.  After some contact he texted us one day and said he was sorry, but he felt he was wasting our time and that going back and forth between two churches just wasn't working out and was not fair to either of us.  Then he said goodbye.  That was that...or so we thought.  We were teaching a lesson to his friend that same night at the church and when we showed up to teach her HE was there waiting for us!! What?? Mind blown.  After the lesson he shared with me why he showed up.  He said all day at work after he sent us that text, he had felt unsettled about the decision.  When he went home that afternoon he had a nagging feeling that distracted him from anything else.  He felt like he needed to come to the lesson that night, and when he made up his mind to do so, he said he felt at peace and could finally focus again.  How great is that!?  Heavenly Father loves all of his children and does not forsake them when they turn away.  I love that.

Not so much of a highlight:  I haven't been kicked out of any houses yet, told to get off the porch or property nor had a door slammed in my face!  That's a plus!  But I have had some people curtly tell us to go.  We were at a few doors just making small talk getting to know the person, and all  of a sudden out of no where they would say, "I don't mean to be rude, but I'm tired and I think I'm going to go now..." as they close the door behind them.  Or one lady cut in in the middle of our sentence and says, "well girls, I hope you have a great day and travel safe to your next destination." and closed her screen door.  Haha. I just kind of laughed!  I almost stuck my foot in the door, but decided I would rather not go to jail for trying to bring them unto salvation.

Tender Mercy:  The ward members make a HUGE difference in a missionaries day.  So many of the Relief Society sisters from the ward have been willing to come out with us to some lessons.  This not only helps with our miles on the car (of which we don't ever have enough of) and it also brings a new spirit of conviction to the lesson.  The members who also give us dinner are so so nice.  I am so grateful to everyone who has fed us since I've been here.  It reminds me of my family and having dinner back home, so it helps with some of the home-sickness.  Everyone back home: help the missionaries.  It seriously can make or break our day, and you will get blessings for helping!  One of the families even took a picture of me and sent it to my family as well as my sister since it was her birthday.  They told me that they also pray for me everyday to help get rid of my homesickness.  It was so kind of them, that it brought me to tears!  

This weekend was Stake Conference, and we had to drive an hour and a half to get there.  So we had to leave pretty early to get seats!  The Saturday night session was ALL about missionary work.  I was just sitting there as everyone around us is going, "oh yeah!  I should do that" and I'm thinking to myself, "I do this EVERYDAY.  But thank you for the reminder." HA!  The Sunday morning session was great too, and there were speakers who said things that I totally needed to hear.  Afterwards there was a ward lunch and I was able to chat with the members and get to know them a little bit better.  I had worn my hair down and a lot of the members commented on how curly it was!  I just smiled at them and thanked them for the compliment while thinking to myself how embarrassing it was...I looked Like Simba from the Lion King.

I love you all and hope things are going well with you.  I love getting all the emails as well as letters.  They are like GOLD to me... and mean a lot.  Keep praying and know that they are being answered.  I pray for you all each and every day.  Only 2 Christmas', 2 New Years, one summer, 524 days left to go and I will be home!
With Love, Sister Mallory Golden

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