Monday, February 23, 2015

Elder Christofferson Comes to Visit!!

HELLO!  This week in the Carolina's has been a good one filled with lessons, sun, rain, freezing wind, humid balmy afternoons, cupcakes, an Apostle of the Lord, homemade tortillas, cancelled activities due to weather, hospital blankets, Greek food, a flooded church building, Chinese New Year, and ding-dong-ditching. Yes.  Quite the week.

On Tuesday we cleaned and cleaned and cleaned our little apartment.  Who knew you could spend hours in a little place with only 3 rooms!  But that was deep clean day, so it had to be done.  Luckily we didn't find any cockroaches which love to come in the apartments during winter time and hide out.  Gross.  That day was really windy and cold and school in the area had a 2 hour late start.

This whole week the local schools were either on delay time, or cancelled all together.  I wonder what they would do if they moved to Utah or Rexburg, haha :)  But since the weather was 'bad' Institute and all other activities for the next few days at the church were cancelled.

On Wednesday after district meeting Sister Jones and I were in the kitchen (hovering over the stove tops trying to get warm as usual because our church is an ICE CHEST) Sister McDonald our senior missionary walks by.  She stops to chat with us and thanked Sister Jones for the nice closing prayer she had just given.  Then she continues and blows our minds: "You know, I have a feeling that the person you are now is very different than what you were before you came out on your mission.  You learned how much the gospel really means to you and needed that conversion to move forward with your life."  (directed to sister Jones). Then she turns and looks at me and says, "Sister Golden.  You were so ready when you came out.  You didn't need training or a testimony of the gospel.  That you already had.  The reason you came on a mission was to learn how to love."  The hit me dead in the chest.  She had been able to look into my eyes, discern some of my deepest feelings, and tell me spot on what she thought I had learned and gained since being in Jacksonville.  I was pretty much speechless, then teared up, then hugged her.  After all, she was right.  I had come out with a thick wall around my heart, and was ready to fake my emotions with those I was going to come into contact with.  But the Lord and the Atonement are REAL.  I have been changed.  With the broken heart I came out with, the power and reality of our Savior and His sacrifice for us, I have been able to learn how to love, trust, and open up again.

That night, the temperatures were supposed to drop.  And this sweet family we had dinner with the night before heard that our thermostat was being glitchy and we were waking up to a 64 degree morning in the apartment!

So they asked us to meet them at a local gas station, and gave us 2 white blankets that they had gotten from a hospital some time back.  They were pretty thick and warm!  Sister Jones wears hers around like a little shawl and puts it on her lap in the car when we drive, haha.  But hey, they work!

Thursday we went to that really good Greek restaurant again!  Santorini Grill!

It is so so good and the food is made fresh every day.  So that means their menu changes during the week.  The Cunningham's are so cute and they love going out with us :)  We love them as well, so it just happens to work out. Since they are such a frequent customer, and they brought the 'girls' (us) Georgio took care of our lunch for us and said it was on the house.  So nice!

Friday was an EARLY morning, holy cow.  We woke up at 3:45, left the house at 4:25, got to the church, and left with Ryan and Brooke to head to Raleigh around 4:45-5 ish in the morning.

We wore sweats in the car so we could sleep better and not ruin our church clothes.  So when we pulled over to get gas, we decided to go in and change before we got to the church building and heaven forbid let anyone see us and the state we were in.  Good thing the gas station bathroom door didn't lock, nor have a working light, haha.  That was fun, getting dressed in the dark holding the door shut.
We got to the church and sat by Zones in the Chapel.  At 8:30 Elder Christofferson, his wife, Elder Soares of the 70 and Elder Parker entered the building.  When they walked through the door, everyone turned to look at them.  It was amazing the spirit they brought into the room.  We were able to get a picture with them as a mission, then as we exited the gym we got to shake all of their hands.

When I shook Elder Christofferson's hand, he smiled and looked into my eyes and said, "Hello Sister Golden, it's so nice to meet you."  I was SO thrilled!  Then we were privileged to sit through 5 wonderful talks and instructions by each.  It was an amazing experience.  Elder Christofferson was funny, personable and bashful.  As he would make a joke he would kind of smile in a giddy way and let out one chuckle like he was shy.  It was so cute.  He became a real man to me in that moment.

Elder Christofferson started by carrying the theme introduced by Sister Christofferson from 2 Kings Chapter 4 about the widow with debt who was told by the prophet Elisha to gather or borrow all the vessels she could, which would then be filled with oil by the power of the Lord to be able to be sold to relieve her debts. Elder Christofferson said that the Lord is prepared to give us what we are prepared to receive. He also mentioned several times not to ask for those things that we were not ready to receive or that we are not willing to do. However, if we do ask for things: people to teach, service to do, weaknesses to overcome; and if we do it with “real intent” and with all our “heart, might mind and strength,” He will fill our vessels.

-Prayer, Fasting and Scripture reading to receive the Spirit of Revelation and Prophesy. (Alma 17:2-3). The Spirit of Revelation: “I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart. Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation.” D&C 8:2,3).  “And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good—yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit. I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy. And then shall ye know, or by this shall you know, all things whatsoever you desire of me, which are pertaining unto things of righteousness, in faith believing in me that you shall receive.” (D&C 11:12-14) The Spirit of Prophesy “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10). See also Alma 5:45-47

-Missions are apostolic callings with the Senior Apostle (President Monson), who holds all of the keys, issuing our call to be a missionary.
-Does the Spirit accompany my teaching? How to obtain the Spirit? Submit our will to His (example Jesus Christ). Testify of the Savior (2 Nephi 9:6-10; D&C 19:16-19). Sacrifice. Give the Lord all that you are and all that you have. Be Thankful for specific blessings (which you should be observing: “Count your Blessings”). At times, slow down your prayers and listen for directions.
How do we forgive ourselves when we come up short? (Question posed by a missionary). We should learn from our mistakes, but not let them impede us from advancing (focus on making weak things strong through humility and the atonement, Ether 12:27 and not “beating ourselves up” Moroni 7:12,16,17). “How do you think Peter lived after denying Christ three times? He became the ‘Fearless’ Peter, indicating that the stain of guilt was gone.”

I am so grateful for that experience and will never forget it.
His closing statement will stay with me forever.  He said "This is ALL real.  And YOU are His."

To make the day even better, we were able to go over to the Benson's for dinner that night and have a Chinese feast! They were celebrating Chinese New Year and had been cooking home-made authentic chinese food since the night before!  It was SO good.  We got to participate in a few traditions and learn some Chinese sayings after dinner while eating mango pudding haha.  Sister Benson is from Hong Kong, and her husbands family grew up there for a time. They are so amazing!

Saturday was a good day as well.  We took some sisters out with us to visit some families in the ward we think they would get along with.  It was great because now those families have plans to do dinner together this next week!  Yay :)  That night at our dinner appointment (which we also successfully invited a less active sister to) we were given 15 banana muffins that were all decorated differently!  Coconut glaze on one, butter cream on another etc.  We had no idea what to do with we went around to the young marine wives that lived nearby and handed them out like it was Christmas.  They all enjoyed that!

We got a call later that night from the Bishop saying that church the next day would only be one hour.  WHAT? Well he said that one of the pipes in the church froze, and burst and had flooded the whole back half of the church.  The fire department was sucking out the water and fans were currently all over the church trying to get it to dry.  It was pretty crazy!  Our day was super funky after that because of it.  But we made do!
For dinner that night we got to help make authentic black bean burritos and squish them out on a little tortilla maker!  It was so fun and OH SO GOOD.  We probably ate so many of those tortillas.  I am gathering a lot of recipes out here...just none of them 'southern' haha. Go figure.  I have more mexican food ideas than I do southern :)  Oh well!

After dinner we wanted to go visit our Relief Society President since her husband is back from deployment.  We still don't really know our way around base because it is like a maze, but we pulled up to the house and walked to the front door.  Since she had taken the decorations down, the house looked like all the other ones on the street and we started second guessing ourselves as to whether or not this was her house!  So after ringing the doorbell there was a moment of sheer panic, us running down the steps, realizing that was probably stupid, running back up the steps, taking off our name-badge just in case it wasn't them (we aren't allowed to wear our name tags on base) and hoped for the best.  Luckily when the door was opened it was our RS president and all was well :)

I hope you have had a good week as well!  I love you all so much and hope that you are succeeding at everything you are doing at this point in time.  Happy Birthday to Camryn tomorrow as well :)
Take a balloon out there for me and wish her a happy birthday.
We are so lucky to have that little angel in our family and to be sealed to her.
Love you all immensely!!!
Mallory :)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Freezing Cold!

This week was a super good one.  Sister Jones and I have been praying extra hard for new investigators and people to teach.  Our Mission President promised us that if we studied chapters 8 and 9 in Preach My Gospel, our numbers would double.  Well, we saw just that this week.  And it was incredible.
This weeks weather was a little on the FREEZING COLD side and we have some ice warnings coming up later in the week.  But that didn't stop us from going out and tracting for an hour per day.  We had a lot of success doing this and I have found that I actually enjoy tracting!

Yes, our faces are frozen, haha!
I haven't really ever done it on my mission- and Sister Jones said this has been the most she has tracted on her mission as well.  I have a few stories from it that I know you'll enjoy:)

We hit up one trailer park and stayed there the whole time, it seemed to be working out well for us! At one trailer two little girls opened the door and said they would go get there mom.  Enough time passed by that we contemplated on leaving because we thought their mom told them to just ignore us.  Well then this woman comes to the door in a robe and sees that we are missionaries.  She told us that she had just gotten out of the bath to come to the door - we immediately apologized for disturbing her and hoped we hadn't upset her.  She laughed and was actually really sweet.  She thanked us for what we were doing and said they already went to a church and they were Baptist and happy with where they were at.  So we said goodbye and continued on our way.  At the next trailer a man opened the door and we introduced ourselves.  The conversation went as follows, "Hi sir!  How are you doing today?  You're smart to be staying inside, it is freezing out."
Man: "Well, I'm not the owner, I'm just a friend.  I'm here looking after my friend's cat.  She just had kittens."  *Thrusts open the door to reveal a box of squirming furry bundles*
Us:  "Oh! That is so nice of you.  What a great way to help out your friend.  We are the missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and we are out serving for 18 months because we love our Savior.  We want to help everyone we come in contact with grow closer to Jesus Christ.  Do you feel like you have a personal relationship with Him?"
Man: "Well...I...I actually believe in Aliens."  *Looks at us with squinty eyes*
Us: *oh crap. what the heck*  "Oh wow!  What led you to believe in that?"
Man: "Well I still read the Bible and stuff..."
At this point in time my companion flipped to the scripture that talks about how everything denotes that there is a God.  She asks to read it and the man backs up and says he really isn't interested.  We persisted to see if he would change his mind and he goes, "Listen ladies, I have a show on I'm watching.  I can't miss it.  It's playing in the back over there."  We said it would only take a minute but he wasn't feeling it.  So he replies, "I am watching the Titanic right now, so I just am gonna give you a donation for your church and then finish watching it."  We declined the money which shocked him- and then said goodbye.  Haha!
The next trailer was the one where we found 6 new investigators.  It is a family who is all living together for now.  The grandparent, parents, and then their kids.  The ones who were home though were the kids.  The daughter was 17, had an 8 month old, was newly pregnant and was with her fiance.  The other kids ran in after a bit and are all aged between 9-12.  They asked us a lot of questions about church, and primary and scouts, and sacrament, and when we asked them if they wanted to come this week they said YES!  We will have a sleepover and go to church together!  It was cute.  They asked us to come back on Tuesday next week, so we will see how that goes!  But that was a tender mercy because sister Jones and I had set a goal to find 7 New Investigators, and only had 1 so far.  We had a day left to find the other 6.  Well, right there in that trailer park, the Lord delivered.

We went on another exchange this week!  And I was really excited because I got to go serve with Sister Alldredge in Hampstead who was in my MTC district and we got really close.  We did a lot of talking and catching up and had a great time.  She has turned into an amazing missionary and I have learned so much from her.  We did a ton in Hampstead that day.  Found some new investigators, met with a few potentials and former investigators, and saw a few less actives, recent converts and members.  We were successful and had a blast :)

Friday was the day we did weekly planning.  So we stayed inside all day. Planned, sat, and planned some more.  We took a break to go and visit a few of the old ladies in the ward that live down the street which ended up being a good idea.  Because the one invited us over for dinner which was a blessing because we didn't have dinner for that night and we didn't want to stay in our apartment any longer than we had to.  She was so cute and made us Pork chops, asparagus, applesauce, rolls, rice and gravy, salad, and then blueberry crisp with vanilla ice cream for dessert. 

She went all out and it was really good.  Then she pulled out two wrapped boxes of assorted chocolates and gave it to us for Valentines Day.  She said that we had made her feel loved, and wanted to make us feel loved in return since the next day was Valentines Day.  How sweet was that!

On Valentines Day we made heart cookies and went around to all of our less active families and couples and handed them out.  It was fun and they let us come in and share a message with them.  I have really come to love everyone in my area!  And they have come to love us as they get to know us better!  That night since it was Valentines, we headed over to a young wife's home in our ward and had dinner with her and one other girl.  Both of their husbands are deployed so they were going to be alone for the day.  We set up the 'date' and made it happen because there is no way they needed to be alone for Valentines day!  We made chicken fajitas and salad and watched the movie The Restoration (since that is one of the only movies we can watch, haha).  It was a blast.  And getting the young wives to meet each other is one of our goals so that they can have friends in church and want to come.

Sunday was a great day as well.  I have come to really look forward to the 3 hours of 'rest' I get when going to church.  It is a little bit of 'me' time and we get to listen to other people teach.  After church we went out and tracted a little bit which wasn't the most fun thing ever.  That was because it was super windy and that made it even more cold.  We filled up our water bottles with boiling water from the church and stuck them in our coat pockets to keep our hands warm!  Haha. Everyone we talked with told us they weren't interested, but that is okay!  Someone has to meet them and plant those seeds before anything else can happen, right?? Right.  For dinner that night this sweet family in our ward had us over.  They ended up making one of my favorite dinners from home because they had messaged my mom and asked for the recipe!  I teared up a little bit when she told me that:) I really enjoyed it though.

Wish us luck this week!  We are hearing about ice and freezing temperatures and we are supposed to drive the 2.5 hours to Raleigh to see Elder Christofferson on the 20th!

I love you so much and pray for you every day:)  Take care of each other and know that I am doing well.
Thank you for all your love and support <3 I am so grateful for a family like you!
- Mallory

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Church is True!

This week ended up being one of the better ones I have had on my mission so far:)  Why?  Well I will tell you:)
After an AWFUL, awful preparation day last Monday, luckily things started to look up.  (Life will always be a roller-coaster I need to remind myself...) 
Tuesday held nice enough weather that we were able to go running outside that morning for our 30 minutes of exercise!  I can definitely tell that I haven't been exercising like I used to, haha.  But that is one of the sacrifices of being a consecrated missionary I guess.  Just no judgements when I get home please!
That day was full of trying to contact our less actives on a never ending ward roster, but coming up short because no one was home, or they pretended NOT to be home.  Little do they know I can hear their footsteps when they walk up to the peep hole in their door.  I had to refrain myself from putting my finger over the glass to prevent them from seeing out... but decided against it.  We were fed wonderfully that night though!  The Juarez family is so great.  They arrived here in December and they are both returned missionaries with 2 kids.  Sister Juarez served her mission in Brazil and she made us traditional Brazilian food for dinner!  It was so good.  I wish I could tell you what we ate, but I can't pronounce the foods let alone spell them, haha.  

Wednesday was a fun day!  We had Zone Training from 8:15-12 in Wilmington (about an hour and a half away from Jacksonville) so it is an early morning for us on those days.  But that's okay.  I have come to really love Zone Training.  I used to get sick thinking about going (new missionary feelings...) but now I receive a lot of revelation and become better friends with my fellow missionaries.  Since we are the Sister Training Leaders we were asked to instruct again at this meeting.  We had a SUPER good lesson planned out if I do say so myself.  It was interactive, original, had relatable scriptures, reference points to Preach My Gospel, and we even used a few pamphlets that the mission gave us, but no one ever looks through.  A few people came up to us and said it was their favorite instruction given by a STL in a long time!  So that was nice to hear:)  After this meeting my companion led the way to South College Deli (a really good sandwich place in Wilmington).  She knows all the hot spots to go and eat since she had just previously served there for 7.5 months.  The workers there were really intrigued when 8 girls all walked in plus a senior missionary couple...I always think to myself, "If I didn't have this little square piece of black plastic on my shirt no one would pay us any attention."  It's crazy how noticed we are out in public.  But that is a good thing:) I am getting used to it! But that doesn't make it any more comfortable. 

After lunch Sister Jones and I said goodbye for 24 hours and switched companions with the sisters from Wallace.  I was able to spend that time with Sister Sonkson in Jacksonville to see how she was doing and try my best to be a good example to her.  That is still rather hard for me when she is going home in 2 months, and I have only been out for 5.  (YES TODAY IS MY 5 MONTH MARK!  I HAVE MADE IT THIS FAR!) But I try my best to hold the responsibility and teach as I go.  We were able to have a really successful day.  We went out with a sister in our relief society and visited 3 young marine wives who are all married to a non-member.  We are their support group basically since they know no one else here in NC.  For dinner we were invited over to the Bishop’s home where they made us Cafe Rio style barbacoa pork, beans, rice, and other yummy delightful mexican type food.  We enjoyed ourselves ;)  I guess in her area she doesn't get fed a lot by members, haha.  We are definitely blessed here in Jacksonville.
THAT NIGHT...was a fiasco.  We drove home and got to our shady little neighborhood apartment at 9pm.  We dragged all of our gear up to the door and I get the keys out to unlock the front door.  Well guess what.  Maintenance had come, and on their way out locked the dead bolt rather than the door knob lock. WE DON'T OWN A KEY FOR THE DEAD BOLT!  So like a mature, 21 year old representative of Jesus Christ, I did what any missionary in that situation would do.  I freaked out! I knew none of the neighbors, most of our members live on base, I was with a companion from another area... I was just frazzled.  We jump back into the steel safety box shaped like a car and sat there in the dark going over our options.  Well, to save you any more drama and time... we ended up making a few phone calls, got some help from the missionaries at headquarters, and got a key brought to us by our management.  Hallelujah the church is true.  We planned for the next day (still quite in shock) and got ready for bed.  I was exhausted at this point, but the sister I was with ended up talking to me until 12 o'clock!  I was so so tired the next morning, haha.  But that's okay:) I'm here for my girls, not for me.

Thursday we exchanged back and Sister Jones and I were reunited!  It's always nice getting back into the routine you both know.  A sweet lady in our ward took us out to lunch with her daughter who just got home from her mission.  We basically picked her brain about missionary work, and her last 18 months, while sitting over pita bread, hummus and chicken schwarma.  It was so good!  I love Mediterranean food I have found.  Sara, the RM, said she would love to go out with us so we set up a day and went on our way to go save the world.  By that I mean see some of our less actives.  Our senior missionary couple accompanied us while we did this and thought we did such a fine job that they took us out to Krispy Kream to get a hot donut (the store just opened and Elder McDonald really wanted to go and try it.. haha).  

Friday- Friday is the day we have weekly conference calls with our leaders that are in our Zone.  We always seem to forget this, so when they call us in we always scramble around to prepare and then take notes.  Well, JUST as the call ended, the Cunninghams pull up.  The sweet couple who is in charge of the Family History center in our ward.  They live just down the road from us and thought it would be a nice treat to take us out to lunch at the local greek restaurant that just opened.  We were excited about that, but felt bad for everyone that had to see us.  We looked pretty homeless.  We hadn't had time to put ourselves together yet since the whole morning had been go-go-go.  But the food was awesome, and now that is one of our new favorite places.  (This week was very culturally diverse with our food options!)  The rest of that day was spent in weekly planning, getting things ready for the week to come; they are really effective and well needed, but sometimes it gets so boring.  Haha.

For dinner we went over to a families home we had met two weeks prior.  They haven't been to church in 15 years and in our area book is says that they were both sealed in the temple, but after reading anti-literature about Joseph Smith they fell away and think the church is a scam.  But they still invited us over for dinner, which was nice.  Well, that was a really tough evening.  The parents hearts are so hard, that there is no way to feel the spirit in their home.  They parent in such a way that creates a very negative atmosphere and doesn't allow the kids much freedom.  It was a very sad situation and by the end of it when we were leaving we both felt sick to our stomachs.  I want my home to be a place where the spirit can dwell, and raise my children in a way that would make my Heavenly Father proud.  

Saturday was a busy day.  A few plans fell through so we ended up tracting in a trailer park near one of our later appointments.  We ended up having a really good lesson with a young couple who just had twins, and they seemed gung-ho about all they were hearing.  When we asked them if we could come back and teach them more, they said no.  They didn't feel like they needed to go to church or read the bible more than occasionally, or pray often just to prove that they were 'good christians'.  That was hard to hear.  They had so much potential and it felt like a balloon was popped and all the air had flown out.  But everyone has their agency.

That night for dinner, the members we ate with had invited one of their friends who is in a hard spot in her life and would benefit from the gospel message is what they told us.  We had a good time and talked a little bit about the Restoration and what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about.  This lady had a lot of... issues she was dealing with and was more focused on telling us all about them rather than talking about spiritual things.  So we did a lot of listening.  But hey, that is what Christ would do to show he cared and loved her.  So that's what we did.  She may or may not ask to see us again, but I hope her first encounter with some LDS missionaries was a good one and will help her if she ever meets any more.

I am grateful that I have the chance every morning to study out of the Book of Mormon and the other books of scripture.  I have learned SO much and have developed even more of a strong testimony because of that time I have devoted to Heavenly Father.  I know that as we make time for Him and do those things that lead us toward Him, He will reach out and enlighten us as much as we want.  

I hope you have a great week and continue to read your scriptures and say your prayers!  I love you all so much and can't wait to hear from you :)
Love love love, 
Mallory :)
Everyone Rides These

Monday, February 2, 2015

Busy Week!

Hello to you!  
I hope you are doing well:)  This week was a busy one with lots to do.  
So on Monday of last week my companion and I invited a few of the young marine wives, who are less active, to get together for a brunch.  We did it at our friend's house who is the same age as all of us, but is active in the church.  We made orange zest pancakes, turkey bacon, eggs, fruit salad and juice.  It was so good!  This turned out to be pretty beneficial because all the girls got to know each other better and make friends with one another.  A few of them even carpooled because they live in the same military housing.  We are trying to focus on these young wives because their husbands are non members and if we can teach them, they could potentially be a new investigator for us.  Plus, we want them all to go to the temple:)  We then drove to another members that afternoon and went to the beach on base with them. 

It was fun but definitely a lot chillier down by the water.  A good hour and a half was sufficient for us.  When they dropped us off at the commissary to go grocery shopping we had to change back into our missionary clothes, and the only place to do so was in the bathroom.  My feet were so sandy!  I ended up washing them off in the sink hoping that no one would walk in and think I was a weirdo. 

On Wednesday I went on my first exchange as a Sister Training Leader, with the Jacksonville 2nd sisters!  It was a lot of fun and I was able to learn a lot as well, being in a new area.  I went with Sister Smith to an area called Richlands and we had a few appointments set up for the day.  We had a lunch set up with an older widow who lives in a retirement center but loves having the missionaries over.  Sister Smith told her the day before that I would be coming for lunch and I like to eat healthy things.  So instead of having hot dogs on a slice of bread, or a weird soup that she supposedly usually makes, we had a lovely assortment of celery sticks, grapes, peppers, apples, and cucumber.  Funny enough they were all GREEN. Then we had strawberries for dessert;)  I appreciated the gesture haha.  After that we visited a few people who lived on the town (some younger part- member families) then had a dinner appointment with some members in their ward.  I loved them and it showed me that there are good people in every ward!  I love meeting new people so it was a fun dinner and we all got along.  Needless to say we were all 20-23 years of age.  Haha.  It seems to be a common thing here.  After a meeting at the church their was a man that we ran into who is a Chiropractor.  He said he could tell I was tight and in pain and offered to crack my back.  Well, I said yes of course.  He went to TOWN on my back!  He cracked it 4 different ways, and even did my neck.  I felt like a NEW woman after that!  I was pretty much floating out the door.  We drove to Sister Smith’s apartment that night which is next to a horse ranch!  Who knew!  We fed the horses some grass and then went inside to do our planning and bed time stuff.  As a STL I need to ask her how the companionship is going, how she uses her planner, if they update their area book and all the detailed stuff like that.  But it was a fun day and we talked the entire time:)

On Thursday night the Sisters from the Shallotte area drove to our apartment and spent the night so we could travel to the combined Missionary Leadership Training that was the next day.

I was in the shower and just getting out when Sister Jones yells, "Oh my gosh, Sister Golden!  You have to come out here quick!  There is a huge....Rat!"  I was like what the heck? A rat?!  So I threw a towel on and flung open the door to find all the sisters holding a banner saying happy b-day and a card and an apple, posing by my bed.  They all died laughing and sang me a song and then said they got the apple specially for me and we would all share a 'slice'.  Haha!  They then pointed out the camera set up on the night stand that was recording the whole thing.  After that they said their present to me was doing 25 jumping jacks and some push ups.  It is so funny how everyone thinks I am this health freak...okay I am a little bit.  We all got ready for bed and of course, just like girls do, we stayed up talking. DUMB IDEA.  We went to bed at 11:30 and woke up at 4.  We had to drive to Raleigh and be there at 8:15 for our meeting to start.  That was a BRUTAL drive to make because as a passenger you have to stay alert the whole time to help the driver.

But the meeting ended up being really good.  My companion and I taught at it and everyone said it was good instruction.  We left Raleigh around 4pm and made the long drive back to Jacksonville.  We grabbed some Chipotle on the way for dinner and said our goodbyes as they headed home.
It was a fun day! I am enjoying being a STL.
Although it did take a few days to catch up on the sleep we lost!

On Saturday we visited a few people like usual, went out with a member to visit a few others, and then headed to a members house to help her paint her baby room!  She will be having her first baby in May and it will be a girl.  So we painted 3 walls gray, and did a chevron pattern of gray and coral on the 4th wall.  Oh it was SO cute.  I can't wait to be a decorative wife and mother!  I am learning a ton about marriage and being a good spouse as well.  Haha.  It cracks me up how much we talk about babies and marriage as missionaries.  It is way more than what I used to at home!

It happened to ME moment:  We were at dinner with a member and she was holding her 10 month old on her lap.  He was messing with all the stuff on the table and she had just set her empty plastic cup down.  Well, he reached to grab it and ended up knocking it over!  She reacted as any mom would and threw her hand out to try and save it from falling off the table.  Well, she actually hit it into my glass, causing it to keel over and DUMP the contents ALL over me.  My lap, my shirt, my plate and some of my hair managed to get wet. Haha.  She just stared at me for a few seconds with her mouth open saying, I'm so sorry!  My loving companion was laughing her head off and her little boys were running around yelling that I was melting since the water fell on me.  Oh man it was a great time.  Good thing dinner was so yummy!

Sunday was Fast Sunday and Superbowl Sunday.  Meaning everywhere we went they had food- and the TV on!  Some people didn't answer their doors, others offered us food, and others said we could watch with them!  That was NOT fun for me since my BOYS were playing.  Yes I heard the sad news that they lost :( But there is always next year!  We ended up eating with Brooke later that night and totally annihilated all the food she made.  IT was yummy.  We then talked with her more about what a Patriarchal blessing is and helped prepare her for getting hers. That will be next Sunday!  WE are so excited for her!

I hope you are having a great day and that this week is a good one!
<3 Sister Mallory Golden