Monday, December 8, 2014

Prayers really do get answered!

So as you know- transfers were last Tuesday!  Oh my goodness was I a nervous wreck.  I had never prayed so hard or fervently before.  WELL...after enduring through transfers, I have come to the amazing realization that our prayers ARE answered! :)  The President announces your new area and your new companion AT the meeting over the pulpit in front of everyone.  Lots of suspense; I guess he enjoys a good laugh.  But when he called my name, "Sister Golden, staying in the Jacksonville 3rd ward will be serving with..." Dun dun dun.... "Sister Jaleisa Jones."  OH MY GOSH.  This was a small miracle and blessing from the Lord!  She was in my current Zone and we had built up a small friendship due to all the Zone training meetings and lunch dates we would go on afterwards.  So I already knew her and knew that she and I were pretty similar.  She loves to exercise, eat healthy, work hard, and she is super outgoing and friendly!  This week has been amazing.  I haven't had this much fun on my mission, laughed as much, learned as much, or felt the spirit as strongly as when I have this week with Sister Jones.  We were thinking last night and realized we have only been together for 5 days and we’re already best friends.  I know that Heavenly Father places specific people in our lives for certain reasons; and he has placed an amazing girl in mine at this time.  How grateful am I.

New companions

My new companion ~ Sister Jones
At Zone Training the next day when Sister Jones and I walked in everyone busted up laughing because they couldn't believe she had only been transferred down the road...(not really.)  But she had been in her area for 7 months and everyone was betting on her going up to the Raleigh area.  So many people there said we are the new power companionship.  That made me laugh.  As tradition goes, all of us Sisters went out to lunch afterward to our favorite Mexican place.  The waiters all know our orders and get things started for us right away- haha.  We had a chance to meet the new Sisters who had been transferred in...and they are all so nice and genuine.  I feel lucky to have such great girls in this area. 

On Thursday we went out on exchanges with a super nice lady in our ward named Sister LaBanc (Luh-Bank).  We drove around and didn't have much success in making contact with the less active members in our ward, but every effort counts, so we didn't get discouraged.  On our way to get dropped off at our dinner appointment *BAM* all of a sudden a headache hit me so hard I felt nauseous and was afraid I would throw up inside of her brand new white BMW.  She was so kind- she pulled off at a gas station and said in her cute Texan accent, "Let me go get you a Diet Coke.  That'll help ya!"  It's a good thing I drink soda ;) Haha.  She came back with Cheese Its and Reeses PB cups telling me that chocolate will clear any ailment right up!  (I ended up giving those away to the Anderson kids we saw later, haha!)  But after being with her we had dinner with the Bensons and had an amazing bowl of curry & rice.  She is 23 and he is 24 so we all get along pretty well!  It is weird being around the same age of some of these younger couples.  But he told us some of his mission stories and got us pumped up to endure through the rest of our missions.  His sweet little wife had wanted to go on a mission but he wanted to marry her so she stayed home.  She said we are lucky to have this opportunity, and to work hard during this short time. The people in our ward are amazing.

On Friday I got to participate in my first day of TRACTING!  I thoroughly enjoyed it- and yes because it was extra exercise I too was equally excited.  We handed out the new 'He is the Gift' cards, that the church is advertising this season, to quite a few people.  I am starting to realize just how diverse this world is...some people are very...unique :)  But Christ talked to everyone, and that means I need to talk with everyone as well!  An awesome lady in our ward named Sister Parker came on exchanges with us that afternoon- and boy that was divine intervention.  She is a raw woman; says things how they are.  She is one tough cookie and is really into lifting competitions.  Well we went around trying to make contact with less actives that are on our ward roster and ended up running across a few random people while doing so.  Some of these people were weirdos!  Sister Parker laughed and said it was a good thing she came out with us that day.  One guy answered his door with blood and guts all over his right hand and a knife in the other...I was like, "Uhm, hello.  We are just coming to invite you and your wife to our ward Christmas Party this next Saturday"...*please don't kill me*  I guess he was in the middle of skinning a deer in his kitchen.  I kindly handed him an invite between two extended fingers and made my way off of his porch.  Another house we went to we witnessed a fight between a young married couple in their driveway...ending with him locking her out of the house.  Another woman told us that since no one from the church had contacted her in years she said, "to hell with 'em!" We ended up getting a return appointment with the crotchety old lady...I will kill her with kindness...

On Saturday the LaBanc's called us after our study time and said they wanted to take us to lunch.  This worked out perfectly because our appointment for that afternoon fell through.  They came by our apartment not empty handed.  They brought us a little 4 foot Christmas tree, gold glittery ornaments, a nativity set, and some twinkle lights!  Our apartment was looking pretty much like a prison cell, so after we set all of that up it was looking a lot better! :) They took us out to a little restaurant called Yana's that is themed after Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe.  My order came with onion rings, but when they dropped them off at our table they looked like DOUGHNUTS because they were so huge.  They made them and fried them in pancake batter.  I did not finish them because they were so darn big and greasy.  But it was made up by the banana fritters they gave us afterwards.  Sometimes southern cooking IS really good ;)  I asked them what makes a southern dish and the waitress responded with, "Oh honey! Just Butter and Sugar!"  -_- Remind me not to ask again.

On Sunday we were in the church building doing some FaceBook proselyting when a member informed us that a man had walked in and asked to meet the missionaries.  He told us that his girlfriend was in Florida and he had been Skyping the Elders that were in that area.  She encouraged him to find the local ward and come to a Sunday service.  I was astounded that sometimes the Lord sends us people to teach, and we aren't always doing the finding.  This was a tender mercy to me because I had been feeling the stress I was putting on myself to do all of the work.  In reality this is the Lord's work and we need to let Him assist us during this time.

So for my little Christmas spiel: President Benson said that, "One of the greatest things about Christmastime is that it increases our sensitivity to things of God. 
I hope you had a chance to watch the Christmas Devotional that was broadcast last night.  I really enjoyed it :)  President Monson taught about love in a previous Christmas Devotional saying, “Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values. It is peace because we have found peace in the Savior’s teachings. It is the time we realize most deeply that the more love is expended, the more there is of it for others… There is no better time than now, this very Christmas season, for all of us to rededicate ourselves to the principles taught by Jesus Christ.”

I hope you are preparing for a great Season full of love and service.  Think of all the gifts you have been given.  And this week, do something for someone else with those gifts and talents you have been given! :)  

I love you all so much and can't wait to Skype you!  I will let you know the details as SOON as we figure them out:)  So don't you all worry.  
CHALLENGE!  Everyone write me a letter this week ;)
Sister Mallory Golden

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