Monday, October 27, 2014

Letter from the Carolina's

First off!  Happy Birthday to little Lukey who is now a teenager!  I can't even believe it!  He is getting so old; I am so sad:( 

Well hello.  Another week has gone by and guess what.  Today marks two months since I have entered the MTC.  I can't believe I was home just this last August, crazy.  So this week went well- there are lots of Halloween activities going on!

We were able to go to the Fall Festival on Friday where we got chosen to judge all the chili, all the cornbread and all the pie.  I had to try EACH thing.  I only took a little, but I was still so full by the end.  I felt like a cow, haha.  Then we had to judge the hallway that was decorated for the kids to trick or treat in and the top costumes of each age group.  It was a fun time and I even got to dress up as well!  I was a rugby player and even got a bruise painted on my face, haha.  Unfortunately we had to walk through Barnes and Noble on the way home with the lady who was giving us a ride and we got a lot of weird looks from everybody inside.  I don't blame them! 
Rugby Players in skirts!?
This week we were able to meet with one of our investigators and plan out her whole baptism! She was so excited.  We went over hymns, talk assignments, prayer assignments, and then out of nowhere she goes, "Sister Golden will do the special musical number..."  And I stop and look at her thinking to myself, "Uh what did she just say?"  She told me that in church she doesn't sing because she just listens to me the whole time and I remind her of Snow White or Rapunzel and she wants me to sing for her baptism.  I never sing solo’s in public!  I told her I would think about it:)  Haha.

During the week my companion got sick because someone fed us dinner that apparently wasn't all gluten free.  So we were able to spend part of the day at a members home to give her time to recuperate.  During this I got to go out and pick that the proper way to say it?  Gather eggs from their hen house.  Haha I don't know what it is called.  But I got eggs and we got to keep them!  They are so much better than the ones you buy at the store!  I think maybe one day I will get chickens and eat their eggies ;)  As long as my husband agrees to clean up the pen they stay in...and not kill them for dinner because that is sad.  Anyways!
Homegrown Egg
So Sister McDonald our senior missionary here in NC, got me this special Holistic bug spray that her cousin makes because she heard from some people that I am getting bit no matter where I go.  And this is so true.  Every time we go to knock on some one's door I leave with a new bug bit on my ankle.  I guess I have sweet blood...
She said she doesn't know how well it will work, but it is worth a try.  I just laughed:)  Maybe I will put some on my forehead after getting that huge bite there.

Another piece of good news is that two of our less active families we have been visiting have been coming to church lately.  They only stay for the first meeting and leave, but sill that is progress! The one is married to a man who is not interested in the church at all so she comes by herself with the kids and it is a challenge for her to have no support.  I am so grateful for my strong family that supports one another in our church- going.

It is starting to cool off a little bit.  It's so funny, people from here are saying, "Brace yourselves, the worst winter is afoot!"  I asked what the conditions are like... and they respond and say, weather in the 40's and maybe some snow.  They continue on and say that schools are cancelled, the bread, milk, and eggs are always cleaned out of the grocery stores, and that you don't see people for days because they keep themselves shut inside!  I was thinking to myself, well if I can handle -15 degrees and 12 inches of snow in Rexburg and still go to school and play sports then I think I can handle a winter here in North Carolina;) Although I hate the cold and will say I'm cold if it's under 70, I know I will survive here!

One thing I get nervous about here is how much people joke about the road kill.  They say it makes for a good stew, or a good pot-pie.  I really hope I never run into that... and if someone  cooks it for me, they better not tell me and just let me eat it in peace.  Ha!  So gross.  Although there always is an animal on the side of the road no matter where we are.  Luckily we live in a good city and I don't think the people are into that here.  Further out in the boonies I've heard missionaries say that has happened!  Yikes.

I love you all and hope you are doing well!  Keep the letters and emails coming!  I so appreciate them and need the support! Have such a fun Halloween and watch a fun movie for me!
Sister Mallory Golden 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Raleigh Temple

So this weekend we were able to go to the Raleigh temple.  It is a beautiful temple, and is rather small, almost like a stake center.  You have to make reservations way in advance to get into a session!  We were accompanied by a wonderful woman in our ward who drove us there and back and got us lunch at Chipotle afterwards.  It was such a fun day!  We left at 7 in the morning and got back at 7 that evening!  How crazy is that!  I loved every second of it though - I wish we could go more often!  I hope you get a chance to attend the temple soon:)  There are so many blessings we can receive if we go.

Another great thing from this week is that one of our investigators, Brooke, who has been taking lessons for 2 years asked to be baptized November 1st!  She is making so much progress and now her 18 year old daughter wants to take lessons as well.  Her husband wants them to be a part of the ward when he gets back from deployment in February so he can just jump right in. 

Second, our new investigator Mellisa came to church for the second time since we found her two weeks ago!  This Sunday she surprised us and brought her 2 step sons, their little friend, and her husbands cousin!  Amber, her husbands cousin, says she wants to come back because this is the best she has felt in any church!  How amazing! :)  How we welcome and make a point to say hello to new people at church drastically changes their views and makes them more prone to come back again!

In one of our lessons we were able to watch the Joseph Smith movie with Gabby and Erin who have been taking lessons for about a month.  Her mom who is a devoted Catholic came out and ended up watching the WHOLE movie with us.  At the end she was very impressed and said she had learned a lot!  By small and simple things, great things are brought to pass, right?? ;) Maybe this is the beginning of her conversion story!

This last week I participated in my first missionary exchange!  The sister training leaders in our zone come and switch with one of us to see how we are doing in our area.  I was super nervous because I am still training and didn't know if I could lead out the whole 24 hours we were together!  But it ended up going well and we had a really powerful lesson with a less active woman who ended up coming to Sacrament meeting yesterday:)

I also was able to see my first banana spider this week.  It was quite horrid and I would be quite alright if I were to never see one again.  It was huge.  Literally could eat a banana.  So gross, haha.  There was also a cockroach in our room that we had to chase around and kill!  Those little buggars are fast, let me tell you!

The weather is starting to get cooler!  I don't like is supposed to be the worst winter that NC will have seen.  Just my luck.  I come from Rexburg’s worst winter straight to NC’s worst winter.  Good thing I have a large fluffy coat ;)

Halloween is coming soon!  I hope you all have fun but safe plans! Eat some chili for me and some candy!  I love you all and pray for you every day!
Lots of Love,
Sister Mallory Golden

Monday, October 13, 2014

Fun P-day!

Alright I'm going to have to keep this one short!  We spent all day in Wilmington touring around the USS North Carolina Battleship with the Anderson family!  So fun!  It is a huge boat and we spent a good 2 hours walking around it watching films and looking at the different parts and going up and down 9 flights of decks!  It was a great day.  We even stopped for frozen yogurt afterwards which I haven't had in forever!  So good :)
                                                                                 Anderson Family
USS North Carolina Battleship
Sleeping Quarters

Frozen Yogurt

So this last week, are you ready?
We found a new investigator!  She let us right in her door and after a very powerful 20 minute lesson on the Plan of Salvation we invited her to be baptized and have a clean slate and forget all of her past mistakes she had been hanging onto.  She immediately accepted and came to church with us the very next Sunday!  She is grasping everything quite well- it is neat to see how the Lord prepares people for us to meet and teach!  
Second, we went out to Mexican food (yummy) with one of our investigators and a girl from the YSA in our ward to get some fellowship going on.  They are both so cute and we had a great time with them.  We taught a little lesson over dinner and then drove the young lady home who had accompanied us to meet the investigator.  She told us that we were the kind of missionaries she had always wanted to meet and that she really looked up to us because we were always happy and shone when we walked into a room.  She confided in us about the challenges in her life and said the lesson we taught really helped her.  We don't always know it, but our examples and kind words can really make a difference in someones day.  I didn't expect me, as my goofy self, to touch this girl who is struggling right now and say things she needed to hear because it wasn't in a formal lesson.  But what we do and say all the time has the ability to effect someone else.  Are we all living in a way that will bring others up?  Or down?
Think about that this week!

Funny of the Week!
We went to the Library to check on FB (we are a Facebook mission and use the social media to proselyte) and people kept coming up to me asking me questions on where they could find certain books!  I just assumed they thought I was cute and approachable and sought out my assistance because they saw me first when they walked in.  Well I was wrong.  The last lady asked me how long I had been working at the library since I looked so young, and I told her I didn't work there!  She looked confused and told me she thought the name tag meant I worked there!  Haha.  I then explained to her what it was.  It was quite humorous :)

Things in the South:
This weekend being Columbus Day and what not meant that there was a parade in the little town we are living in!  Then afterwards there was a Festival!  It is called the Mullet Festival.  So here I am thinking there are going to be people walking around with mullets or wigs and I am trying not to judge or be weirded out.  I was then told by our lovely senior missionary couple that the festival has to do with the Mullet Fish... this is usually served down in this area. Ha!  I felt silly.  They came and picked us up at our apartment and we jumped on a trolley that was transporting people down to the water front.  It reminded me of Gig Harbor and the parade and fun things that happen during the summer each year.  We had fried fish and hush puppies straight from the south and then toured around the street for a little while looking at all the vendors and things that they were selling.  It made me miss home!  Being right there on the waterfront and all.  It was a great day!

Gratitude time:  
I have come to realize that I grew up in such a great home with loving parents, fun siblings, and good resources.  Here I have met a lot of broken families, financially unstable couples, people who don't have hope or purpose for their future.  We try and teach them things that will bring light and love into their lives, such as the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His plan for us to live with Him again.  But we still see the effects of agency and being human and the consequences wrong decisions can have on people.  As I reflect over what has had the biggest impact in my life, I realize that this church really is the foundation of my family.  I was so blessed to have parents who are strong in their faith and raised me to not only rely on God, but try and become better than I was yesterday.  I cannot pray enough to thank Heavenly Father for the things he has blessed me with.

I have also come to realize that I can do hard things.  Coming out on a mission IS the hardest thing I have ever done in my 20 years of life.  But sometimes good things require sacrifice.  I don't believe Heavenly Father would ask us to go on missions and endure the hardships if it wasn't for an extremely important purpose.  I know that I would not have developed AS firm of a testimony in the Book of Mormon, or have the same opportunities to rely solely on my Savior since my family is so far away.  I know that I will be able to use this experience as a wife and a mother because I have become truly converted in the gospel.  I know that my Savior is there for me, and that prayer is a powerful tool we so often over look.  In a period of 6 weeks I have grown and can't even imagine what 17 more months will do for me.

In closing, I only have 16 more fast Sunday's to go!
502 Days, 2 Christmases, and one summer to get through before I am home ;)  
What a daunting Idea.  I love you all and pray for you each and every day.  Thank you for your support and encouragement- it really does make a huge difference in my life!  I am so thankful for that :)

Sister Golden

Monday, October 6, 2014

Zone Training and General Conference ~ all in the same week!

Hello to all!  I am missing you so much:)  Can you feel October in the air?  You sure can here.  In the mornings it is SO crisp outside, haha.  Not as warm anymore.  It is forecast-ed that this winter will be N.C.'s worst... just my luck -_-

Highlights:  So this last week was another good one.  We had a really good lesson with two of our investigators that have been friends for about 8 years.  They are helping each other progress without them even knowing it, ha!  We showed them a Bible video on the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  They both had NEVER heard of the Atonement before...crazy.  So we turned off the lights, started the video, and 6 minutes later their eyes were wide and they said they couldn't believe someone 'went through all of that'.  We explained why it had to be done and what that means for us if we use the gift Christ gave us through that act.  The day before I challenged myself to let the spirit guide the lessons more than I was.  I have a problem with there being too much silence, so I try and talk to keep things going.  Well today I let the spirit talk more, and that was a phenomenal experience. We let the holy ghost touch their hearts and at the end of the very simple and quiet lesson we extended the baptismal invitation to both of them for November 1st.  They looked at us, and said, "Okay."  It was such a great feeling!  They even wanted to tell their families about it!  We are going to try and meet with them this week and keep things going:)  I know that when we move out of the way, and let the holy ghost guide us, better things will come from it, because it is what Heavenly Father wants to be happening. 

Second, I had my first Zone Training meeting this last week!  I was super nervous because it went from 8-4 pm and we had to sit the whole time and do role plays and listen to all the higher ups speak and what not.  But it ended up going okay and we learned about missionary work...again.
                                                                       Study Materials
BUT,  at the end of it they let us watch the movie "Meet the Mormons" which is coming out soon!  It was really good and I encourage you to go and see it!  We couldn't go to the movies to see it  (or anywhere near a movie theater we were told) so they got us a pre-screening of it.  YAY!  

Grateful For:
So this weekend was General Conference!  Oh my goodness how amazing was that!?  I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.  It is a different experience when you are watching it as a missionary- I don't know why, but it is more deep and held more personal revelation than it ever has before.  My companion and I watched the first Saturday session in the church building and the evening session at Sister Anderson's house on base with her family.  It was nice to be with a family during conference because it reminded me of home!  I went into conference with 12 questions written down, and by the end of that day, 10 of them had been answered and talked about quite a few times!  I couldn't believe it.  After conference we had dinner which is a southern tradition I guess.  We ate 'Carolina Pork' which is pulled pork in the crockpot, but they use vinegar and a little bit of balsamic to marinate it instead of BBQ sauce.  It was super good!  They made me put coleslaw on my burger because supposedly that's the only right way to do it in the South :)
                                                               Sister Anderson's House
Sunday session went just as well.  We watched it at the church and had lunch that was provided by the two senior missionary couples.  I seriously love them to death.  We went over to a members home for dinner after the last session and had eggplant lasagna (that's a new one!)  This family is really big into missionary work and is so, so fun to be around.  They are energetic and ALWAYS looking out for us sisters.  I love them.  We had a great gospel discussion and then they had us take one item off the table and relate it to a gospel topic.  The parents try and get their kids prepared to share the gospel in any way they can.  So by practicing like this, they will be able to share more with people around them in situations they may not have known could relate to the gospel! 
Lastly, I am so grateful for the work out cards my mom has sent me!  It has rained a few days this week and it is swampy in our area so we aren't able to work out outside.  Well, no need to fear.  The workouts and resistance band my mom gave me took care of that.  I was actually sore the next day from it- wow.  I am out of shape!
                                                                  Laminated Workouts
Funny of the Week: 
So this week we met with a couple who don't have children, but a wide variety of pets.  We introduced ourselves and they immediately started talking to us like old friends!  One of the first things they shared with us was that they were parrot whisperers... I had to contain a laugh because I wasn't expecting that.  But they have 5 parrots they talk to and are teaching things to.  Along with their  3 cats and 2 dogs and fish.  To each their own!  Haha.  But what got me was when they introduced themselves.  The wife went first and then her husband followed suit.  He reached out to shake my hand and said, "Possum" and I looked behind me and asked, "where?" .  He responded by saying, "No, that's my name."  I of course had to ask, "Is that your real name??"  I probably should have just said it was nice to meet him but I thought it was funny and wanted to know who names their kid that.  He says it is a childhood nickname that stuck and everyone calls him that now.  
Second!  We went to a house that has lots of bushes and trees around it, and since it has been raining, there was a manifestation of mosquitoes that were living there as well.  They literally ATTACKED.  I'm standing there SWATTING and RUNNING in little circles as the bugs bounce off of me only to return and attack once again.  The woman came outside and looked at me for a second and said, "Hon are you okay?"  I just laughed and fast walked into the house.  After the lesson we get into the car and my forehead is itchy- low and behold I have a HUGE bite on the middle of my forehead.  I don't even have bangs to hide it!  It literally looks like a bulbous bouffant is on my face (haha the kids will enjoy that joke).  We had a dinner appointment with a member after that.  She was kind enough to pretend she couldn't see Mt. Everest on my forehead.  Bless her. 
                                                                     Mosquito Bite
More about the South:
So I think either people are very festive in the south, or they are obsessed with Halloween.  Everywhere we have gone we have seen full blown decorations.  Wendy's is decked out, peoples homes, both inside and out.  Restaurants and lawns.  One neighborhood we were making some contacts in had this house that had a full size boat in the front yard with skeletons on deck.  Then a little dingy with more skeletons.  I was impressed and a little freaked out. 

Halloween is about the candy right?  Haha.  Live and Learn! The Trunk-or-Treat here at the church is also a big event I've heard.  The families actually have competitions against each other to have the best car and room decorations.  A whole family will dress up (ie: Wizard of Oz characters or something like that) and try and out-do the family down the hall from them.  It is going to be fun to see!
                                                                  Getting in a Festive Mood

Second,  maybe it's just me and I'm too proper, but people here aren't bothered with sharing their bodily noises in public.  There is lots of burping and passing gas as we chat with people or friends.  The first time this happened at a members home for dinner and the daughter passed gas really loud and no one said anything!  By the end of the night I knew which sound came from which family member.  I need to try and find humor in these funny life moments, but I was more shocked than anything.  Haha.  

I hope everything is going well for you.  I love getting emails and mail so keep it coming:)  

I have been privileged to learn that Heavenly Father answers me personally through the BOM and through other people.  I challenge you this week to try and see how Heavenly Father answers your prayers.  
Lots of love, 
Sister Mallory Golden