Monday, March 30, 2015

One More Week in Swansboro!

Well next Monday I'll be packing and spending my last Preparation day in Swansboro!  It is surreal, but I think I am ready to see what the rest of North Carolina has in store for me.  I have a feeling I am probably going to go serve up North.  The mission president is actually taking sisters out of 3 areas in my zone!  There aren't enough coming out to replace how many are leaving.  It's crazy.  I hear missionary work is a ton different up north, but we shall see!
This week was a good one.  I was definitely spiritually fed due to the General Women's Broadcast and having a leadership training with President Bernhisel and the other missionaries holding leadership positions.  The theme for the Broadcast was great; perfect for this day and age I think.  I loved what Sister Esplin said about being filled with light and truth.  If this broadcast didn't encourage me or make me want to be a righteous parent, I don't know what will :) I would encourage every one to view it if they haven't.  At the leadership training our Mission President talked about patterns for success and those included: Listen and rely on the spirit, mighty prayer, study for understanding, and be unified.  It was quite good and I learned a lot at that meeting! 

During the week we were able to go help two sweet ladies who were part of the Episcopalian church down by where we live.  They had ordered a lot of bark to mulch the yard around their church, but when it arrived it was a lot more than they had expected.  We passed by them during the week and told them they would love to help.  They were a little shocked at first but said if we really wanted to we could.  But they said on another day when we weren't dressed so nice, haha!  we always dress like that.  But we went back over the weekend in some work clothes and helped them spread bark for a couple hours.  They were so impressed that they got ahold of their minister and had him come down to the church building so he could meet us.  When he arrived he told us that we were truly humbling him.  He said, "Two girls from the Latter Day Saint church helping and serving us...I am humbled.  You come from a good church."  I think it is important to leave a good impression on those around us because we do represent our Savior and the restored gospel that is here on the earth.  I was reading in Jesus the Christ, a book written by Elder Talmage (I am loving it!)  He talks about how we are the salt of the earth, and how salt is used as a preservative.  We as saints are trying to preserve the name of Christ and the true church here on the earth today.  I learned that before the time of Christ, salt actually held the symbolism for fidelity, hospitality, and covenant.  I am trying to apply those three things into my life as of now.  How can I be more loyal to my savior?  How can I show hospitality for all I come in contact with, no matter what?  How do I want to live so that I can keep the covenants I have made?  To be of use, salt has to be PURE.  If there is any chemical alteration to it, or has anything mixed in, the salt loses its effects, and its savor.  If we allow ourselves to be altered, or swayed by the ways of the world and not stay pure and virtuous, always striving to be more like the Lord, then we too will lose that influence on the world.  As a missionary we are under a magnifying glass, and our influence is noticed and felt by all.  

This week we had a pretty rough experience with one of our investigators.  I won't go into detail, but they weren't able to keep the baptismal date we had set because there was lack of keeping commitments and not coming to church.  They were pretty upset and that caused some drama (which I am not used to anymore!  And I don't miss it either!)  But what I have been able to take away from that experience is that the great test of this life is obedience.  The Savior asks us to follow Him.  And there are so many different ways to do that.  Being set apart as a missionary means we are on a different plane than the rest of the world.  We are expected to be EXACTLY obedient, and represent NOT ourselves, but Jesus Christ.  Because we are human, because I am human, I am no where near perfect nor will I ever be in this life.  And at times I get overwhelmed when I think about how far I am from where I would like to be.  In contrast to that I know that when we are firm in keeping our covenants and living true to the light we have, the Lord will bless us and our lives and give us inspiration and hope.  

So, a few things that are super great about the south: when leaving a store, or anything of the sort the people working there say 'Have a blessed day!'  It is so cute :)
The people here also love family.  So when we teach that families are together forever they usually latch right on and give a few 'hallelujahs' or 'amens' haha.  That makes it easy.  

A tender mercy this week happened when we went over to a part member families home for dinner.  She is a member but her husband and kids are not.  Her son is 10, daughter 8, and other son is 5.  We have gotten to know them really well and we love when they have time in their busy schedule for us to come over.  It is neat to see the bonds that grow as you love and listen to people.  Well, we saw the mom at the church building for Wednesday night activities and she asked us if for the lesson we could talk about baptism.  She felt that her kids were ready and they had been asking about baptism.  We (the sisters) had gained their trust and made them feel comfortable enough to approach us when they were ready for baptism.  In the past, others have confronted them, or asked them right away to be baptized, which threw this family off a little bit.  I was so excited when she told us that they are ready and want to start working towards baptism for her two children!
This week we also:
- helped a family move
- professionally organized a home
- almost ran out of miles
- drove to raleigh at 5 am
- ate Brunswick stew (look it up)
- said goodbye to the senior missionaries and had a pizza party
- got yelled at by an angry mom
- looked for chicken eggs
- got asked how many husbands we have (polygamy thing)
- had the best curry of my life

I have loved serving here, but being in a place too long means you get to know people too well, resulting in LOVING them.  Love is a hard thing.  It is so good, but so bad at the same time, haha.  Everyone here is so heart broken when I tell them I am being transferred.  Which is so nice to hear, but hard to think about.  I have truly seen a change in myself and have no one else to thank but my Savior.  And for that I am grateful.  Elder Talmage says, "the capacity to be grateful is a blessing..." and it is.  I love being able to say prayers each and every day because I have felt unworthy of all the blessings I have been receiving.  Serving a mission has really opened my eyes to how many things I have been privileged to have, yet, it has helped me gain so much more. 

I love you so much and hope you have a great week :) Don't forget about me and know that I think about you ALL the time!!! 
<3 Sister Mallory Golden

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