Monday, November 10, 2014

A Great Week in the Carolinas!

Hello!  It has been another good week here in Jacksonville.  Let me fill you in on some of the highlights of the week:)

Our investigator Mellisa got baptized and confirmed this week!  She was SO happy and it was so obvious that she knew this was where she is meant to be.  I am so proud of her.  She has a rough life, but the church offers EVERYTING that she is searching for.  It's crazy how much good the church gives our lives- it astounds me.  She told us that we were 2 angels sent from God to her and that she would never forget the happiness we have brought to her.  I feel like I have done nothing, but that through the Lord he has used me in so many precious ways.  It is a neat thing to look back at because you don't recognize it DURING the moments, but more in hindsight.

We had another exchange this week!  My companion and I do a 24 hour trade with our Sister Training Leaders for our zone.  They make sure we are doing okay, that the work is going well, and make sure that the companionship is doing what it should be.  It was a fun day and luckily it was a BUSY day.  So I definitely impressed this Sister Training Leader;)  Haha.  We had two lessons, a service activity, dinner with a member, and helped with family history.  BOOM!

Our Exchanges
We ALSO had interviews with President and his wife this week.  I was so nervous because it was my first one and I didn't know what to expect.  They asked us to prepare questions, scriptures, and more plus they would be asking us questions, checking our planners and seeing if we were doing what we should be doing.  I walked in first to see Sister Burnheisel which was probably a good thing, haha.  Because the second she asked me how I was doing, my eyes started filling up with tears, and I couldn't stop them!  I think it was just a moment of emotional weakness, plus she is so much of a mother figure for us missionaries, plus I was still feeling the stress of the weeks that have passed she probably told her husband they better keep an eye on me, HA!  I laughed afterwards because I felt better, but also felt like a dork.  But it ended up helping me!  So that's okay:)
Brooke (a lady who got baptized last week) gave me and my companion a gorgeous bracelet with an infinity symbol on it.  There was a charm dangling off of the bracelet that had my last name initial "G" on one side, and the date of her baptism (11-1-14) on the other side.  She told us that we had changed her life in more ways than we even knew, and she would always be indebted to us.  This was the moment the mission changed for me.  That is exactly the experience I needed to have to make me more consecrated.  I have been living day to day, doing the tasks, teaching the lessons, but not much of a permanent feel had set in yet.  After Brooke told us this I cried.  Because I THEN realized that THIS was my purpose.  I am here, working my butt off, slaving over scriptures, enduring both physical and mental and emotional exhaustion not just for the sake of sacrifice, or because the Lord asked me to, but because there are people, and families out here that need to be brought to the gospel.  They need someone to bring them the blessings of eternal life, a way to receive the gift of the holy ghost and feel like for the first time, they belong here on the earth as a child of God.  This realization hit me so hard- but I was so grateful for it. That feeling comes and goes, but I do know that as I continue to serve and work, I will have rewarding experiences such as this to make it all worth it.

Here are some of the insights I was blessed to gain this week! 
1. We all have struggles, but we all can find an extra minute and a half each day to show love to one of God's children.  It might make all the difference- even to  that one we think we don't have to worry about.

2. The quantity of darkness surrounding us in the world simply does not matter.  Light is eternal and is cast and more powerful than darkness.  (2 Cor 4:6; Mosiah 16:9; D&C 14:9)  If we remain worthy of the Holy Spirit our souls can reflect sufficient light to displace any amount of darkness, and others will be drawn to that light within us.

3.  A quote I found in an Ensign in my apartment that I really liked.  "You must learn to walk to the edge of the light, then a few steps into the darkness; then the light will appear and show the way before you."  (Ether 12:6) -Harold B. Lee

Okay so the funny moment of this week:
My companion and I were on exchanges with a lovely lady from our ward.  we were visiting some less active sisters that lived on the military base opposite of Camp Lejeune.  I had left my jacket in one woman's home and had jumped out of the car to go grab it. My companion and Sister T. were still in the car watching me (I only had to go across the street).  On my way back to the car I saw a man training his dog in the grass nearby.  The dog saw me and broke free of his owners grasp and started charging towards me.   I recognize that this is a very large dog and that it is actually a Rottweiler.  My first thought wasn't “Oh how cute a dog!” but it also wasn't “I should probably brace myself if he isn't being friendly.”  I just STOOD there smiling at the owner who is sprinting after his dog yelling between puffs of breath, "Don't worry! He's friendly!  Don't worry!"  (First of all, sir, that makes no difference whether or not your Rottweiler is friendly...he is racing towards me full speed.)  Funny thing is I wasn't even scared.  I felt like I should drop my bag and put my arms out as if telling him he should jump into them.  He keeled back at the last second and jumped up so that his paws were on my chest.  I looked at his face and saw that he was smiling and just being playful.  He licked my neck and then went on his merry way down the street to find a fire hydrant or something.  The poor man apologized and continued chasing after him.  My companion and Sister T. just had their mouths gaping open as I climbed into the car.  Haha.  I told them I knew Heavenly Father would protect me and then asked where we were off to next.

I am so grateful for the gospel blessing my life.  I wish I had realized that sooner before I left.  But I know that this mission has given me more understanding and purpose for my own life than I would have gained if I had stayed home.  Thank you so much for all the support, letters, emails, prayers and love.  I feel them and they DO make a difference.  

Love you so much!  
Sister Mallory Golden

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